Day 16 – Where are the internets when you need them


We started the day like normal people waking up on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning in a provincial park campground. Kelly and Jamie went for a swim, Alexe did last night’s dishes, Bogdan hunted fruitlessly for a laundry area, Mike said a private eulogy for his fallen comrade, I made breakfast smoothies. By the time we were ready to roll out it had become apparent that no one except Jamie had any kind of cellular reception. At that point, it felt kinda nice. A forced day off, sort of.

We headed up highway 144 toward the watershed, the latitude at which rivers and streams flow north instead of south. Kelly hopped on the back of Mike’s bike so I scored the luxurious shotgun seat in Jamie’s jeep: A stereo! A sunroof! AIR CONDITIONING!  We stopped for lunch at the Watershed Restaurant at the junction of 144 and 560 and headed on down the road in convoy. After a few minutes to stretch our legs by the water in Gowganda, we were back on track and perfectly on time to be at the Elk Lake Eco Centre  at 3pm to start our tour of local little clay belt farms.

And then the right tire on the trailer blew. Jamie and I watched it happen, a slightly larger than usual poof of gravel as the trailer caught some air off a shallow crater in the asphalt, then the rear right-hand corner of the box dipped lower and lower as parts of the tire flew at 100km/hr toward us. As we pulled over behind the truck and trailer, Jamie said he knew we were in for a long afternoon, but I naively figured we’d throw on the spare and be on our way in like half an hour. But he was right.

Basically, we were missing a lug wrench and the spare was flat. And we had no reception. By this point, it felt a little less nice. Finally Mike and Kelly returned to see what was holding us up, and joined in the melee. It was a four-hour ordeal. I think Mike got heatstroke. But it was actually pretty fun. We had lots of company stop and say hello and assist with the process, and Jamie got to the know the road into Gowganda pretty well because he went back and forth seven times to borrow a wrench, fill up the spare, and return the wrench. For the first time on the trip there was absolutely nothing to do but sit and enjoy the scenery while we waited for the tool and the tire. The rest of the time there was more sweat, grease, and sun burn.

By the time the light changed from maximum exposure to slightly less than maximum exposure at around 6:30pm, we were driving rather gingerly the last 60km toward the Eco Lodge and the lovely Pam who had a delicious buffet dinner ready for us in the cozy dining room.

Day 17 – We’re gonna try and visit the farms we missed today, and do some more eating at the delicious Eco Centre! And remember to call our dads….

Photos by Alexandra Sawicki 


  1. love the search photo!

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