St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Monday, August 16, 2010

We crossed the border into Canada at 1:30 pm today on Hwy 59 out of MN. At the border we were asked to show our "id." We showed passports.
"What gifts are you bringing in?"
"Twelve 8 oz bottles of WI maple syrup and 4 lbs of WI cheese to take to Seattle."
"How long are you staying?"
"About a week--camping out in a tent."
"Any Liquor or Tobacco?"
"Do you know anyone in Canada?"
"Yes, my old girlfriend from college, Annie, lives in Winnipeg."
Looking at my wife, the border guard said "Hope you are not going to go visit her, are you?"
"She said she will be out of town whatever week it is I come through."
"Well, that's good! Enjoy yourselves!"
And so we drove on into Canada for about two hours until we found Stephen Field State Park near Roland--south and a little west of Winnipeg.
Our cell phones don't work anymore--tracfones appear to not work at all away from the border.
The farmers were harvesting canola--swathing it to let it dry and then combining it. Lots of wheat and oats being combined too. Not much corn; soybeans look like they had too much water early on. The Canadian dollar and American dollar are about equal right now. At the grocery, everyone brought their own reusable bags to put their groceries in. The two lane road speed limit is 100 maximum kilometers per hour. Gas is about 98 cents Canadian per liter-- or about $4 per gallon.

Margo Hauls the gear back to primitive tent camp

At Glendalough State Park in MN, you load a cart with your tent gear and haul it back into the woods. We stopped at this park because Ole Berg and his wife owned part of the park back in the 1890s as their farm. Ole married my great grandpa, John Paulson's sister. Berg and John's half brother Ole Mikkleson both settled near Battle Lake MN. Only trace left are graves in the cemetery and Ole's great grandson, Dr. Robert Nelson, still owns a lake home although he lives in FL.

Onward to Canada

Canada Bound

We leave on a car trip to the west coast though Canada day this Sunday. Our passports are ready, the oil is changed and the car loaded with camping equipment. We have spent the last few months carefully planning travel to a foreign country.

I got DVDs for all the old “Red Green” TV episodes and am listening to them until I get the language down. I am also brushing up my metric measures where everything is in multiples of 10: you buy gasoline, booze, and milk by the liter; your dollars are “loonies” right now worth about the same as a US dollar; distances are in kilometers; and speed limits are kph, in Manitoba they call it killed pheasants per hour. I am having a tough time finding a metric watch and a metric compass—may have wait until I get there to buy them.

I have been practicing on the hilly backroads around home driving on the wrong side of the road and signaling the opposite way on turns, how they do it in those countries who worship the Queen of England.

We don’t have relatives or other old friends in Canada along the way to stay with, so have our tent and plan to camp out in Province parks to keep costs under control. It seems a lot to pay $60 for one night in a motel just to sleep with my own wife.

We meet a lot of Canadians camping in the south during the winter. For socialists, they seem like pretty nice folks.

I checked and our auto insurance is good in Canada. “Just be sure and follow the local driving rules that are often different than in the US,” said my agent.

I asked our health insurance company if we would be covered in Canada and was told “No, in Canada health care is free, so our insurance won’t cover you. Good luck in getting care where medical treatment is a right rather than a privilege.” Worried, I called the hospital in Winnipeg and asked a nurse and sure enough, it is free up there. So, while I was talking to her, I scheduled a few small preventative procedures for August 16th; a heart transplant, full body liposuction, and a new knee.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Today we got the car loaded with tent, cots, clothes, gifts, etc. We head out for a trip to Seattle through Canada backroads tomorrow.