Day 19: And Now We’re Home

It was an early start this morning, as we had a lot of ground to cover to get home.  Our drive took us across northern Minnesota and Up North Wisconsin until we took a hard right and drove straight down the middle of the latter.  Fall color was in full swing and we discovered the beauty and allure of Up North.

Jim, Barry, and Abe

Jim, Barry, and Abe

Along the way we made a few stops, of course, for an important ice cream stop and to get in some last-minute kitsch.  There was Paul Bunyan’s Adirondack Chair in Grand Rapids, MN, the World’s Largest Corkscrew in Hurley, WI, and the World’s Largest Penny in Woodruff, WI.  We may have given a few of those a miss were it not for the fact we recently learned it distresses a dear friend of ours greatly that I “make” Jimmy pose with all these world wonders.  “He’s a grown man!  Stop it!” are the words he used, so of course we had to add a few more photos especially for his scrapbook.  You’re welcome, B.

All told, it took almost 13 hours to get home.  The house was still standing, albeit a bit chilly, and we have great neighbors to thank for keeping an eye on things.  While it’s always so bittersweet to be home after such a fantastic trip, there is just nothing like the feel of your own pillow.

With officers like this, everyone toes the line

With officers like this everyone toes the line.  Even Jim.

As anyone who has suffered reading the entirety of this report knows, we saw and experienced so much in the past 19 days.  We were welcomed by unwavering Canadian hospitality and treated to some of the most sublimely beautiful and unique landscapes on Earth.  I learned that birch trees are my absolute favorites, and would like a forest full of them.  Oddly, however, we saw very, very few maple trees.  Ahem, Canada, is there something you’d like to share?

Here are a few other random items:

  • We (read: Jim) drove 5,279 miles (8,495 km), some of it on the most pin-straight roads we’ve ever traveled. Or unpaved.  Or pin-straight unpaved.
  • The Chevy Impala is not the kind of car you want to drive 5,279 miles in.
  • Everything was just so clean. All of the parks were completely devoid of litter, which was just so refreshing.  There are animal-proof garbage cans everywhere, including randomly along the highways.  With so many it must be quite the chore to empty them all but it shows the level of commitment to keeping things neat, tidy, and not enticing to animals.
  • Speaking of which, there were also an abundance of Do Not Feed Wildlife signs, and from what we saw the campaign seems to be working (hooray!).
  • Canadians overall were excellent drivers; their polite order extended to the roadways.
  • We noticed Canadians seemed to have a penchant for white pick-up trucks, do not have a penchant for spicy food, and our visit renewed my penchant for vinegar on fries.
  • Every morning of the trip we played O Canada before getting going. We finally know all of the words.
  • No matter the size of town, Canadians love to ask, “Have you been here before?”
  • I have refrained from adding “eh” anywhere in this report but you’ll be happy to know its usage is alive and well.
Two happy customers

Two happy customers

Canada, we couldn’t ask for a better neighbor and feel fortunate to live so close.  We’ll be back, for sure, as we still have three more provinces and territories to visit.  Nunavut might be slightly difficult, seeing as there are no roads to it.  Or really in it.  But we look forward to the challenge and all our future travels Way Up North because Canada, we are sweet on you.

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