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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Newman grew wings!

After yesterday’s epic journey our neighbour in Fanny Bay, Jim, from Fernie, asked Richard ”Did you grow wings over the winter?” while we were sitting next to his rig in Fanny Bay?That sure seems possible doesn’t it? Given how fast we got across Canada I think we must have flown at a very low speed across the country, instead of driving it!

Today was definitely a brutal driving day for Richard and a very tiring day for me in the navigator’s seat. I didn’t get much sleep last night trying to log into the Ontario vaccination site every time I woke up during the night. I must have gotten up 3 times to try to register us for our vaccines, but every time the website said we still were not eligible. If I had only tried to go into the website as if I was an eligible 70 year old overnight, I would have gotten the ‘website maintenance is performed every Tuesday evening from 11pm to 8am Wednesday morning” notification, and I would have had a restful sleep!

Anyway, this morning I was on the vaccination website on my ipad before 7am central time (8am EST) and there were a ton of people ahead me, but the message said I would only have a 15 minute wait. I then logged in on my phone to be able to do Richard’s registration and I had a 22 minute wait on my phone for his appointment. When I was finally redirected to the website the process worked great and after trying to get a vaccination at a spot in Fort Erie, as well as a spot in Port Colbourne, I finally got one for April 14th at 11:35am in Port Colbourne. My second shot will be August 4th. I then jotted the information down on a piece of paper so I could take note of my times to be able to register Richard on my phone. Lucky enough when it was time to complete his registration I was able to get 11:55am in Port Colbourne at the same location on both days. So we won’t have to go separate days, or places and we’ll be done on the same day. I’m very glad to be coming home to get vaccinated, as this was one of our concerns as we sat out the winter in B.C. We didn’t think it would be easy for us as non BC residents to get the vaccine and knowing Ontario was opening up to our age group, made the push to get home that much more urgent for us!

So now we have another lockdown in Ontario and no essential travel as of mid nite tonight. Let’s hope this works this time as I think people are fatigued with lockdowns and store closings. We are where we were this time last year except now golf courses can open, which is good news for us golfers! At least we know we can come home to golf, although we have a ton of work to do at home, since we have been gone since November 3rd last year. Its hard to believe we have been gone over 5 months!

Liz our amazing caretaker in Fort Erie texted Richard this morning asking us if she could go grocery shopping for us, so that is wonderful to know we are coming home to a fully stocked home. With stores at reduced capacity limits and with all we have to do to unload Newman, as well as clean and organize the house, the last thing we want to do is go grocery shopping! Thank you Liz for being so wonderful to us!

We left the Canadian Tire parking lot in Kenora at 7:48am this morning. We would have left earlier, but the vaccine situation was a priority for us. Richard also wanted to run Jerry‘s engine, as we don’t want to have a dead battery when we arrive home!

Our drive from Kenora was going pretty well today, and then we hit rain and winds in Ignace, which is about half way between Kenora and Thunder Bay.

We stopped for lunch in the back of the Walmart parking lot in Thunder Bay and looked at the route we were going to take for the rest of the day. Outside of Thunder Bay is Nipigon, Ontario and once we hit Nipigon we either needed to go on the Northern Route which is Highway 11; or go on the Southern Route - which hugs the north shore of Lake Superior - Highway 17.

I had been looking at the map while we were driving to Thunder Bay and the concern I had with taking the Northern Route - which is the route we took heading out west in November - was the fact that from Geraldton to Hearst there was no where to stop. Since we lost 1 hour of driving today with the time change to Eastern time, if we got to Geraldton, we would have to stop too early in the day. If we tried to push it to Hearst, we would be driving in the dark, which we didn’t’ want to do.

I showed Richard the map over lunch and said I think we could push it to White River tonight which would get us there just at dusk. The question was: Where would we stay in White River? I searched the town of White River and found that there was a Husky truck stop as well as a visitors centre in White River. So we made the decision to head on the Southern Route - which we had been told is much hillier, but much more scenic, to White River.

After we left Thunder Bay the the rain started to come down even harder and the wind picked up and was blowing Newman all over the road. It has been a very tough day of driving for Richard today with non stop rain and wind on this 2 lane highway, where he always has to be aware of oncoming traffic.

We are really glad Newman grew some wings over the winter because this drive home would not have been possible without his wings!

We are really hoping we can get home tomorrow night. It will be an EPIC drive tomorrow and we are planning on leaving at the crack of dawn to try and make it home. The weather for the drive tomorrow looks good and with everyone supposedly staying at home, there should not be much passenger traffic on the roads.

We made it! We are in White River, Ontario. We arrived at 8:15pm and we are staying behind the Esso gas station in town, right on Highway 17. As we were driving into White River though I noticed that there was a ‘Winnie the Pooh’ on the sign for White River. Then when we pulled into the Esso station, the gift shop at the gas station says they have ’Winnie the Pooh’ souvenirs here. I couldn’t understand why there would be an affiliation with ’Winnie the Pooh’ in all places, somewhere like White River. I mean if you blink, you would miss this place!

The story of how White River, Ontario is affiliated with Winnie the Pooh begins over 81 years ago When a young black bear cub suddenly became an orphan in White River, Ontario. A man by the name of Harry Colebourn who was traveling across Canada to embark on overseas duty in WW1 in England, purchased the little black bear cub from the trapper who had come across the orphaned cub. Lieutenant Colebourn named the bear from his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba and ”Winnie’ as she became known as, would become an unofficial mascot of the Fort Garry Horse, a Militia cavalry regiment. Winnie would sleep under Colebourn ‘s cot. In 1914 the now Captain Harry Colbourne learned he would be shipped to France. He decided to settle Winnie into the London Zoo because she would not be able to go with him. She eventually became the fan-favourite attraction at the zoo. It is said that visitors would knock on her door and she would come out to greet them. She even let children ride on her back and eat out of their hands! Captain Colbourne would visit Winnie during his leave. Because of her popularity with visitors and children, he decided he could not take her back to Canada. Winnie was officially donated to the London Zoo on December 1, 1918. The little bear captured the hearts of many visitors to the zoo, one in particular named Christopher Robin Milne. Christopher Robin and his father, writer A.A. Milne would come and visit Winnie frequently. Christopher Robin was the one who added “Pooh” to her name, after a swan they med on a previous holiday. Christopher Robin received a teddy bear on his first birthday August 21, 1921. The original name was Edward Bear, but it was not long before Christopher Robin changed the bear’s name to “Winnie-the-Pooh” after his favourite loveable bear from London Zoo. After seeing so much joy that this little bear was bringing to many people, especially his son Christopher Robin, A.A. Milne started to write children’s’ books based on the bear ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ from the London Zoo. On May 12, 1934 Winnie passed away. She was loved by so many people and brought a lot of happiness to them. I had used this quote last week I believe which is from Winnie-the-Pooh “If you live to be 100, i want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

So now you know why we stopped in White River tonight! I had to see where Winnie-the-Pooh originated from!

One more day....we’ve got this!

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