Back to the beginning of our journey to Mishkeegogamang!
We left Cochrane early on Saturday, August 2nd, and were stopped as we left town by the police who were doing a seat-belt and sobriety check. The police officer peered into my car and wished us safe travels and we were on our way; me wondering why I felt so pleased at being found sober, as if I am normally anything but, especially at 8 in the morning! I laughed to myself at my silliness.
We had a journey of about 9 hours and 730 kilometers ahead of us to Thunder Bay. We were taking the northern route on the journey there as we had a full truck and it was better to avoid the hills of the southern route.
Paul and A.J. were sharing the drive in the 24 foot rented Budget truck, which was packed to the gills, full of donated items of clothing, baseball and hockey equipment, and food from the Daily Bread Food Bank; as well as our supplies for the week.
In Susan's S.U.V. were her daughter Christy, granddaughter Eliana, and Sharon, who attends our church, whose Metis background made this trip very meaningful for her.
In my Honda Fit was Joyce, a retired Barbadian nurse, who is a stalwart member of our congregation, our 15 year old granddaughter Tori, and Rebecca, recently graduated from McMaster University and going to Mish for her second time (her previous trip was in 2012.)
The 11th member of the team was Jamie, on his motorcycle.
Rebecca mentioned that one of the items on her bucket list was to ride on a motorcycle and as we were leaving Cochrane, Jamie stopped at a yard sale just outside of town, to see if he could find another helmet. He found several helmets and chose the best of them to buy. Unfortunately he momentarily put down the prescription safety goggles he was using for the ride and someone else picked them up. He didn't get them back!
Petite Rebecca hopped on the bike with the big black helmet on, and zipped into my raincoat for added warmth. Looking vulnerable to Joyce and I she set off with Jamie; with both of us worrying about her as we drove behind them and watched her adjusting her sitting position and finding a comfortable grip.
Along the way we stopped for a break and found Rebecca sitting on the steps outside the restaurant, pouring a bottle of water over the side of her leg, which had been burned by the exhaust pipe. I remembered being 8 years old and getting a burn in the same place from a neighbour's motorbike and I remembered the skin peeling off and the nasty aftermath. I got the first aid kit from the trunk and Rebecca was suddenly surrounded by a flock of concerned helpers. Joyce calmly took charge and dressed the wound with Polysporin and a sterile gauze pad.
Apart from Jamie's bike running out of gas along the way, far from a gas station, we arrived in Thunder Bay without further mishap. That night we stayed in the dorms at Lakehead University, tired, but excited that the next day, we would reach Mish.