Islands, Idiots & Isolation

Gimli to Grand Rapids

Another beautiful sunrise, this time over Lake Winnipeg. We drove across the island to a lookout tower for wildlife where there were lots of birds but unfortunately despite it being a prime moose spot we didn’t see any moose (sad face). We continued on the road off the Island and saw the young fox again – probably the same one as yesterday and it just stopped and looked at us before walking away. It was onwards and upwards to Grand Rapids along never-ending dirt, pot-hole ridden tracks yet again (what fun)! There was a stupid dog that decided it was a really good idea to run across the road in front of the car barking, fortunately I spotted it in time for Tim to swerve around it. We stopped in a little place called Ashern to fuel up and find some brunch. The Sat Nav failed once again and said there was a café which wasn’t there, but Tim Horton’s came to our rescue so we got some breakfast bagels. The town was another ghost town which felt like it could be the perfect setting for a wild west film with its dusty, empty roads and derelict buildings.

We were back on the road and think we saw a moose and 2 babies walk across the road in the distance (I’m convinced they were deer but Tim wants to believe they were moose). We were overtaken by a 4×4 that had the back of the car perfectly caked in mud and behind us what looked like a pickup and an enormous caravan attached to the back (we found out later it was a tiny caravan but it looked like a monster in the distance). Funnily enough both cars disappeared and then about 40 miles down the road it happened again, talk about déjà vu! We also witnessed a helicopter landing in the distance.

We arrived at our next campsite at about 3pm to find another perplexed looking woman, although after some explaining she seemed friendly. The campsite was a bit of a dump and muddy mess really. We had to collect our own fire wood from the forest which was great as it was free but also very wet! We decided we were going to try and have a fire that evening and so set off to the local shop a few miles down the road, seeing a flying bald eagle on the way. The town of Grand Rapids is yet another empty ghost town, with a grocery store that has literally NOTHING in it. Most of the fridge/freezers were empty and the only meat was either pre-cooked breaded or just looked like plastic so we settled on bacon as it looked the most edible. It was all pretty awful unhealthy food but we had our bacon and water so we left. Back at the campsite we headed into the forest to find some fire wood and Tim almost fell in the lake as one of the bits of wood he was walking on moved!

Once we’d collected enough wood to cook our bacon we walked around the campsite to try and find the toilets. We were running out of hope but we eventually found them and they were GRIM, really damp, smelly and in need of renovation. Of course it started raining as we tried to start a fire, so we spent the next 2 hours in the car trying to pass time and praying the rain would pass so we could have some half decent dinner. It finally cleared up and we braved the cold outside to try our fire making abilities and to find a spectacular massive bright rainbow! The lighter we had bought from the shop died after about 5 flames so I went to ask some other campers/fishermen if they had a lighter which they kindly lent us. Despite having a way of lighting our fire, the wood was just too damp to stay alight. The other campers could obviously see it wasn’t working out so they came over and made us a fire using their firelighters, dry wood, plenty of fire liquid and a blowtorch (now that’s how you make a fire)!

Whilst being eaten by mozzies, we then attempted to cook our 10 rashers of bacon using the shortest kebab sticks and a make-shift grill using branches. Unfortunately, due to our misfortune of walking into the end of one of our branches we lost 7/10 bits of bacon so only ended up consuming 3 measly pieces – but it was an experience! By the time the bacon had actually cooked I wasn’t all that hungry anymore, but I did manage to fit in a few roasted marshmallows. And that was that, we put out the fire and got into our car for another night.

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