Quiet roads, small towns, blazing colours

Fall weather in Manitoba this year has been absolutely splendid. No cold windy days have whipped the colourful leaves off of the trees. It feels like the long warm fall days will never end. Rudy and I joking said that we really did not need to travel any great distance to enjoy what this time of the year has to offer. Nonetheless, the road has been calling and this morning we turned the heat down and shut off the water in his house, set out the snow shovels for those left behind and headed south to the border.

We have our bikes and hiking gear packed. We jetsoned the camping supplies when it seemed clear that the national parks would be closed. Now however, due to last minute finagling it seems that a US government shutdown has been averted and we could have done some camping. But no use crying over spilt milk: we will just have to enjoy the daytime adventures in nature.

We hadn’t traveled very far down the road when a smell emanating from the back of the van made us realize that we had forgotten to drop off the kitchen garbage in a bin as we passed through town. Now we were stuck with no place to drop off the chicken bones and rotting veggie peels. It took us a while to locate a gas station that had a big enough garbage can to squeeze the reeking bag into. Feeling somewhat sheepish, we quickly pulled back onto the highway and raced away.

Today our drive took us down small highways through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The traveling is slow. We reduce our speed through small towns, following the curving roads past lakes and wetlands. At the risk of sounding like everyone else who takes this route in fall, the colours are fabulous. We are used to the brilliant yellow poplars in Manitoba but here, there is a mixture of those yellows with brilliant oranges and reds. These all interspersed with the many kinds of evergreens. Mostly the dwellings are modest. The people here don’t hide behind tall fences and immaculately manicured lawns and flower beds. Of course there are those as well but there are also ramshackle farms, rusted out vehicles, and wild patches of nature.

I didn’t feel great today and spent much of the trip sleeping and trying to get rid of a headache and general bad feeling. But as we neared Marquette, Michigan where we had reserved a room at the Cedar Motor Inn I began to feel better.

It is great to spend the first night at a mom and pop motel. It is just as you would expect; small, somewhat musty, but clean and a blast from the past. Definitely not a chain. No mention of Wyndham, Hyatt, or Marriott. Tomorrow we have another long day of driving. We are hoping to reach Kathy and Paul Dyck’s place for night in Milverton, Ontario.