We were completely exhausted after our 16-hour day driving to Thunder Bay, but we still managed to wake up early and grab a complimentary breakfast at our hotel. We took turns so that Remi wouldn’t get too stressed being alone in the hotel room and start barking.
Anyway, something I had noticed the day before was that my left eyelid/eye socket was tender and painful. On this day, it was definitely a bit swollen. I had been through this a couple of times before – it was a stye, and definitely not ideal to have on a roadtrip where I had to drive. In my past experiences, styes usually swell up so much that I can barely open the affected eye. I asked Jess if it would be possible to stop at a walk-in clinic in Thunder Bay or Fort Frances (our next stop), and she said Fort Frances would have one. She was eager to keep moving forward, and at Fort Frances, she’d have family to stay with while I waited at a clinic (and pharmacy once I got a prescription for antibiotics).
Because Jess hadn’t slept well, I took on the task of driving. Just outside of Thunder Bay is Kakabeka Falls. We stopped quickly for some photos, which were really nice against the changing fall leaves, but we didn’t linger for too long so we could be on the road again.
On we went and drove and drove. Luckily, in contrast to the day before, it was a short driving day – only about 5 or so hours between Thunder Bay and Fort Frances.
Why did we stop at Fort Frances? Jess has family just across the border in International Falls, Minnesota, and she wanted to stop there to have one last night to say goodbye. Jess’s family have friends in Ft. Frances, who agreed to keep our U-haul and trailer in their driveway. We dropped off the vehicles and were picked up by Jess’s step-mother, who then took us across the border.
We stopped at a cafe quickly to pick up some caffeine, visited Jess’s dad at his work, then stopped at Jess’s parents’ house to borrow her dad’s truck to drive around in, and stopped at a gas station for gas and fishing licences. Jess and I then drove to her grandparents’ house, which sits right on Rainy Lake. I helped Jess’s grandfather make cranberry-orange bran muffins while Jess visited a neighbour who carves wood as a hobby.
Shortly after, Jess’s father and step-mother joined us, and Jess’s father took us fishing! I was really excited for it because, being a city girl, I had never been fishing before. When I told Jess this while on the road, she said that fishing was a must-do.
Jess and her father pretty much did everything for me. All I had to do with sit there with the fishing rod and hope something bit. It was a cloudy, chilly afternoon, but luckily it didn’t rain. We also saw a couple of bald eagles, which was really cool. Unfortunately, it took a while for us to get any fish, and we almost gave up. Then Jess caught something and let me reel it in, though it was small so we let it go. Then Jess’s dad caught one, too, and then finally, I did, as well, and all on my own! I was really happy, although I was too grossed out to actually take my fish off the hook (which ended up being difficult because the fish had swallowed the bait and the hook was deep inside its mouth).
Anyway, we took our catches back to Jess’s grandparents’ house, where her uncle and her half-brothers had arrived. Jess’s grandmother had cooked up a huge feast for us, so we sat down for dinner and stuffed our faces. It was really delicious!
Full, everyone rested a bit afterwards. We had planned to go across the border again for my to get into a walk-in clinic (long story short, no walk in clinics were available for us, so we would have had to go to the urgent care center/ER), but my eye was feeling much better than it had over the last couple of days, so I decided to not go at all. A few of us watched the hockey world cup (Canada VS Europe), but then Jess’s brothers wanted to play a game. We ended up with Telestrations, and had many laughs over everyone’s terrible drawings.
After the game, the boys had to go back home since it was a school night, and Jess and I being tired, headed off to bed around 9:30pm.
Travel Path: Thunder Bay > Fort Frances > International Falls (U.S.)
Distance Covered: 347 km (not including International Falls)
Distance to Whitehorse: 4,117 km