Day 18 – Mapped by quilt

On the roads of the little clay belt, along highways 560, 65, and 11, we’ve been noticing colourful decorations on the front of many barns. They are quite beautiful, bright geometric patterns, presiding over busy farm yards, gardens, junk piles, and pastures. We’ve been asking each other for the last few days what we think they are. Today we learned that they are the family quilt pattern. Like tartans and crests, each family has a distinctive pattern (even the Georgia-Pacific log sorting facility on highway 11 has a quilt up between the gables — it’s a tree made of many triangles).

The quilt in the photo hangs next to a buffalo skull on the barn at the bison farm on highway 560. No name, the owner said, as she waved us on to the field where the animals were lazing, we just call it the bison farm on highway 560. They sell a lot of their organic bison meat to Pam at the Eco Lodge. She also told us the bison were shy — and they were, standing up to inspect us when we were still more than 200m away, and hightailing it for the forest behind their pasture when Alexe wandered to the fence for a closer look.

It’s such a beautiful, peaceful area up there in the little clay belt. Coming around some of the bends today on the 560, the green opens up and just stretches away from the road for miles to the north, all the way to Timmins, really. The road follows the water at some points, gentle curves swooping almost on top of shimmering tree-lined lakes. If you’re not in a hurry and all you’re looking for from the day is a few delicious meals, a sunny dip in a beautiful remote lake, and maybe a bag of cheese curds or some Mennonite cherry pie, it’s really a great place to stop for a day or two. (And there are also many fishing and hunting lodges for longer vacations).

We ended up in Timmins today after a full day of driving — we had some errands to run, and a Yamaha to drop off in Latchford — at the Cedar Meadows Resort & Spa. We spent the evening in and out the steam rooms, hot tubs, saunas, and temperate pool in the Nordic Spa, and Mike even scored a massage. There is nothing better after a long day on the road.

Tomorrow– Cedar Meadows’ owner Richard Lafleur is taking us on a tour of his wildlife sanctuary, then we’re off to the Polar Bear Habitat in Cochrane to visit Ganuk, the new polar bear! We’ll be finishing the day with a feast of ribs at JR’s BBQ — Day Two of Mike’s training regime… wonder what he’ll get to eat?

Photo by Alexandra Sawicki


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