Saturday, December 1, 2007

My First Trip to Canada

As I mentioned earlier The Oyster Bar in the 80s would get too hot in the summer so we’d take a 2 week vacation. Sharon came up with the idea that Canada would be a much cooler climate. Joanie decided to come with us. I didn’t know her very well yet.

I made several mix tapes for the trip and it became clear that Joanie and I had the same taste in music. I’ll never forget the look on her face when Tommy James’ “Crimson and Clover” played.
We celebrated every state line. We had to improvise with the provinces because they were so far apart.

We found a cabin in Michigan at a lake. I jumped in without testing the water. I found out why I was the only one swimming. I think the only reason the water wasn’t frozen solid was the fact that it was in motion.

I’m not sure why we didn’t enter Canada though Detroit but we drove to Buffalo, NY and spent a day at Niagara Falls. The contrast between the depressing, smelly, dilapidated US side and the fairy tale land of Canada was a shock.

We spent a few nights in Montreal checking out the club scene. This was when clubs only let you in if you looked cool ala Studio 54. We lucked out and got in.

We struggled with our French and I think the effort paid off at the bars. Montreal was thinking about leaving Canada and no one spoke English. After exhausting our finances we decided to drive north about a hundred miles to camp. My French was so bad I ordered a chocolate milk shake at a McDonald’s along the way and got a hot chocolate.

I was already a vegetarian at the time but Sharon wanted meat for the camp fire. We found a small store but that far north supplies were hard to come by. I’m sure the meat had been in the freezer over a year.

The roads had moose crossing signs and I got excited because I’d never seen one before.

It was late at night when we decided we’d better find a place to pitch the tent. We followed signs to Loch Ratt. “That sounds lovely,” we thought. If you hadn’t already guessed that translates to Rat Lake. We stopped the car and were surrounded by thousands of rats. I still get chills thinking about it.

Many miles later we found a nice spot, pitched the tent, and went to sleep. Aroused from sleep by a storm I heard what sounded like a horse walking around outside the tent. A flash of lightning threw the silhouette of a giant bull moose against the tent. I’m sure it wasn’t a dream. I told the girls about it in the morning but they didn’t believe me. We climbed out of the tent to find an enormous pile of shit blocking the door.

During the drive home Joanie and I seemed to laugh about everything. Sharon became withdrawn and got sadder every day with separation anxiety over her daughter. I never appreciated how hard it must have been to do anything and raise a child until I had my own kids.


dominic schaeffer said...

second time in Canada? i was always under the impression that i was in Canada with you and Kevin O'C but missed it as i was asleep and you two boobs didn't wake me.

Doggie said...

Was that Nova Scotia? I know we were in Maine but I didn't remember Canada.------ Hey, who's a boob?

sharon said...

It was a great trip, despite the camp-fired meat; bet it was really ketchup I was needin'.

I do remember listening to you reading aloud Alfred Hitchcock's bio in the tent at night. I remember the first place we camped - it was right across the border -"cul de sac" camping sans trees and all, however it was in a valley of fruit trees, very european. I also remember the warnings posted on Canadian sugar packets about acid rains. I remember 9 ounce cans of coke. I remember listening to Kate Bush over and over - Hounds of Love; I always picture the big skies of Canada when I listen to her.

Oh, the Miro exhibit! Don't forget Miro. It was really very good don't you think.

I don't remember a cabin in Michigan tho, was I sleeping? I remember the way too serious border guard in Detroit ( I don't think he wanted to let us back in). I know I tried very hard to sleep thru Chicago. You know, I just didn't want to see the entire world without my little kiddo.

Hey, check out the beautiful little bit of a tune just published - "Lyra" by KateBush ( I want to use it as my ring tone.

Doggie said...

Miro's exhibit was incredible. I wish I would have thought of it. He assembled trash into sculpture and bronzed it. There's a great Mark Mothersbagh exhibit at the Star Clipper at 6392 Delmar in U City. It's called Beautiful Mutants. I think he used Photoshop and it looks like something I actually though of. Kate Bush is still part of my personal soundtrack.