By the time I got to put on the flannel, it was too warm to be practical, but I still kept it on, just because I liked it. It was still dull gray in Duluth. I had some Froot Loops for breakfast and we walked out into the quick wind and drove off. Now Micah was in the back seat with me, so I didn’t have the freedom to spread out like I did before. While we were driving across Minnesota, which is almost Canada, I realized what it was that made Canadian scenery look different from American scenery: most of the trees are pine trees. It was also still dull gray, like it has been a lot of times I’ve gone through Canada. Dad kept driving.
We had built up a lot of anticipation by the time We got to International Falls to cross into Canada, and it turned out not to be as great as I remembered, probably because we didn’t go to the places I like to go to. Instead of the Canada Welcome Centre or whatever, which is friendly and does currency exchange, we went to a clothes store full of Minnesota merchandise; Mom bought me some underwear; and then to a lousy restaurant called Giovanni’s, and I wasn’t even hungry. I didn’t get my currency exchanged at all. Then we courageously approached the crossing, which I was happy to see was just as insane as I remembered. The smell of paper pulp from that paper factory sets the mood. Then there are the various parts of the factory that intrude into the crossing–those big pipes, sprouting up out of the ground like trees from a wasteland planet, and those trains that have two or three cars if they have any. I especially like the part where the railroad runs right up the middle of the road and then out the left side, then curves around and intersects the road again twenty feet farther on. We made it through all that. Then we pulled up to the window and a fat guy with a florid goatee asked us for our IDs and where we were going and what kind of odd stuff we were taking into the country with us. Then he let us go. And that was that.
Canada was just like Minnesota. We drove kilometre after kilometre. There were a lot of nice lakes off to our side, and they all had a dark, deep bluish-gray to them. The sky still spat rain on us. I did my part to relieve boredom by reading aloud the Bill Bryson book I got yesterday. Everyone laughed out loud when the Irish guy came drunk down the street and cussed out Denmark. You have to read it. We didn’t stop much, but one time when we did, at a grocery store next to a bait shop, I got my currency exchanged at the grocery store’s checkout. I thought that was neat.
Kenora kind of snuck up on us. It’s a quiet town and it’s almost like it’s not there when you’re driving by it. There’s a big lake you can see from everywhere in town. I think it’s the Lake of the Woods. Before we knew it we were at our Super 8. I really like this motel, because I was hungry when I came in and they had a big crock of soup right there. It was such great soup. It came from a restaurant next door, and it was hot and really delicious. I checked out our room–also nice–and then donned my flannel, because it was chilly again now we were farther north. Dan, Tracy, Dave, Erin, Sierra, and Hayden arrived. I exchanged hellos and went out and sat on a hill and watched the traffic. I even took a picture of it. The lake is just on the other side of the road. It’s beautiful, really. A little while later I watched the traffic from the other side of the street at a different spot where I could see every car for maybe a quarter mile. I was waiting for Grandma and Grandpa’s big van, but it didn’t come, so I went back in at 2010, to Dave’s room. There were a lot of people there, all the ones I mentioned earlier. Hayden was literally climbing up the walls, or window at least. Uncle Dan was tickling Sierra and she was shrieking happily. Everyone else just watched. I played with the two little kids some too– giving them piggyback rides and that kind of stuff. We waited for Grandma and Grandpa, but they still didn’t come, so we had fun without them. I even took Sierra out to see the lake, but she got cold, so we went back in. Around then Hayden fell asleep. Dave also called Grandma and Grandpa and found out why they were delayed. Here it is. Aunt Irene’s luggage never came in at the airport where they were picking her up, and then she got really sick because (we think) of some food. And she had to buy some more clothes to replace her luggage. The airport’s going to get it to her when she goes back into the US, probably, but that does her zero good now. I felt sorry for all of them and told Dan and Tracy and Micah about it and went back to my room. Everyone talked until about 2300. Then they went to bed. Wimps.
Micah watched the window, and at 2330 or so he spotted them. They came in and explained to us what had happened, and that Irene was still vividly sick, and how today had been for them a total nightmare. I felt sorry again, but also glad that it wasn’t me. They went to sleep pretty quickly, and left me in my room. But everyone there is asleep. They told me not to do my journal entry in there so they wouldn’t have to have the lights on. Actually they suggested the bathroom, but I came out to the hallway instead. There’s a someone down the hall reading something. They let out a burp earlier, so it might be Erin. I’m going to go check it out.
[The next day I found out the airport had Aunt Irene’s luggage delivered overnight on a cargo plane of some sort. That was very cordial of them.]