Destination: Best Western, Thunder Bay, Ontario
When Christine and I first organized this trip, we’d decided to work into the budget a couple hotel stays. We had planned for three in case of emergency, which could be defined however we wanted. We hadn’t expected to stay in so many free spots, so our accommodations budget was actually in really good shape. We decided it was time to get a hotel!
We didn’t bother leaving Kenora super early, knowing that hotel check-ins are usually later. We went to wal-mart and bought a file folder to keep track of all our receipts, maps, brochures, and everything else we were keeping so I could scrapbook them later. I am not the type of scrapbooker who gussies up every page with fancy stickers and lettering, but I know how to glue shit down, so that’s what I planned to do.
Once we were on the road, we found it quite an undertaking to find a hotel – probably something we should have planned ahead of time. Most of them were full or extremely expensive. I ended up handing it off to my mom because she could get a CAA discount at some hotels, and it was getting too difficult to do on my phone. She found us a room at a Best Western – the only room left. There wasn’t a lot of time or opportunities for hotels later in our travels because we had so much planned. Ontario was really the only place where we felt we wouldn’t miss anything by living the high life for one night!
After some deliberating, due to cost, we decided to go ahead with the hotel. And of course we found out their check-in was earlier than usual, so we didn’t get to take advantage of the full stay – only by a couple hours, though.
We stopped along the way at a pretty rest area and filmed a Top Ten video – our top ten favourite moments about the trip so far. It rained on us and we had some technical difficulties, but we got it done and got back in the car. We also stopped at a First Nations store and I got some moccasins which I’ve been wanting for so long, and Christine got some gifts for mom.
Watch the Top Ten in 2 parts!
After seemingly forever, we arrived at the hotel! I think it felt like a drag taking so long to get there because normally we have a lot of work to do when we arrive at our destinations – either setting up camp, or switching the bins over if we’re sleeping in the car. Arriving usually means chores, but arriving at a hotel wasn’t like that at all. We just had to grab our stuff and go up and relax!
The hotel is lovely, pretty swanky for a Best Western! We had a great view of the back garden, forest, and rolling hills, which we enjoyed from a cute little balcony.
The hotel had a pool so we took advantage of that! I’ve never really had time to swim in hotel pools, though I always want to, but we had all the time in the world. There were some kids and people hanging out. It’s always interesting because neither my sister nor I shave, and we always get some odd looks, except from kids! Kids just look curious, or if they are younger, simply accepting. And really, I just want to show kids that women have hair just like men and there’s nothing wrong with that. You can be super hairy – like me! – and not have it reflect anything about you as a person. And honestly, there’s nothing like the feeling or water or wind on your hairy legs or pits.
We moved back and forth between the pool and the hot tub, and we had swimming races where we would only use our legs, or our arms. It felt like being little kids again, always so playful and ready for a game. But the truth is, we are closer now than we ever were as kids. Now that we’re older, our three-year age difference doesn’t matter, and we don’t allow our brother to pit us against each other any more! (Though sometimes a little gang-up still happens around the holidays!). Christine is such a unique, bold, and complex person, and I was really enjoying getting to know more of her inner workings. There is something about a road trip that allows people to be vulnerable with each other. I think a part of it is the ability to stare at the windshield and the road instead of having to look at one another when you talk.
When we got back to the room, we decided to really splurge and order some room service! I had never had it before and fuck was that a luxury. It was expensive, but not more than a night out at a medium-priced restaurant would have been (that seems an odd way of phrasing that – it was about $50!). Definitely worth the experience but not something I see myself wanting to do again.
We decided to watch a show on Netflix, a stand-up comedian. It was the first television we’d seen in 3 weeks and honestly it felt weird! I am so used to watching Netflix or youtube while I’m eating, but when on the road, we broke that habit really hard, and now returning to it felt both weird and completely familiar.
I had a long bath which again just felt like such a luxury. I’m a huge bath person, so I’d missed my weekly submersions. I also took some time to talk to a friend on the phone; she wasn’t having a good day and it was a long conversation.
Once I was done, Christine and I planned the route for the upcoming dates. One of my favourite parts about our roadtrip is plotting the logistics of the journey – it’s so exciting to see what lies ahead, and it involves strong communication to make sure we both feel heard and accommodated. The plan is basically to power through Ontario – the northern route is even longer than the southern route because upper Ontario is wider geographically – and it would probably take us a couple days of non-stop driving. We had no parks planned, only parking lots. We needed to do that in order to justify the hotel room, anyway!