Friendly Manitoba in Rainy Ontario

The rain kept coming down in Northern Ontario.

Things were very grey.

So, we drove on.

When Black Betty started to flash another warning light that her tires were low, I was annoyed.  I just spent time in the pouring rain filling her cup with DEF, what now? Tires. Really?

My rain jacket was hanging and still dripping from the last stop dealing with her stubbornness. Other than beautiful lakes and occasional towns, once on the road in that part of Ontario, there isn’t much in between. Black Betty stepped up her whine with some beeping to go along with the flashing, so I pulled over at a little souvenir shop that appeared off the highway.

I reached over to the glove compartment where Matt normally keeps a pressure gauge in all of our vehicles. I figured that like a bike, the recommended pressure would probably be on the rubber. I knew that Matt had an air compressor stowed in the roof box. I’d never used it before but luckily I was in cell service. I’m sure he could walk me through it. I could fix this.

But the pressure gauge wasn’t where Matt always keeps it.

I phoned him to ask him if he had any idea where he might have stowed it. I knew there had to be one in the van. He was sure there was one in the van too, but he wasn’t sure where. Maybe the tool box in the thule, or I could try the emergency bin deep in the back of the van.

Yeah right! That would require me to dismantle the bikes on the rack and pull every last thing out of the cargo space to get at it. Clearly, finding a tool that was the size of a pencil somewhere in the van, in the heavy pouring rain, was going to be a challenge.

I was deflated but not panicked by my situation. I knew there was a solution. I just didn’t like the idea of having to find the buried treasure. I was still chatting with Matt when an RV pulled in and parked in front of me. And you’ll never guess the license plate?!

Friendly Manitoba!!!

The first thing that came to my mind was, “What RV person doesn’t have a pressure gauge?”

I saw my chance but Matt kept talking. I had to cut him off before Friendly Manitoba was done shopping and gone. I walked into the shop, and since we were the only two vehicles in the lot, they were easy to find. So I asked him if there was any chance he might have a pressure gauge…and guess what? He did! Sweet! Not only did he have a pressure gauge, he also had an air compressor. And he checked all my tires for me. In the rain. Then he pumped up the one that was low.

Friendly Manitoba: Kevin and Joylyn

Friendly Manitoba: Kevin and Joylyn

Even in Ontario, I was ever so grateful for Friendly Manitoba!

We got back on the road again and I had a stern chat with Black Betty.

We continued to inch along toward Thunder Bay. I’d originally planned to get to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park that night but the rain was still coming down hard. It felt like we’d spent a whole lot of time in the van in the past few days and it smelled of wet camping gear, which is almost as bad as wet dog. When I saw a sign to Kakabeka Falls, I thought we could all use some time stretching. So we got out of the van and into the pouring rain to explore the falls.

Kakabeka falls, Ontario.

Kakabeka falls, Ontario.

The falls were impressive. Even in the rain.

We moseyed on the boardwalk and bridge that surrounded the falls. We dropped sticks and leaves from the bridge to see how fast they would float downstream and over the falls. And once the wet chill was well settled into us, we headed back for the van. We draped our wet stuff wherever we could and the floor of the van turned into an instant mud puddle. We got back in and I knew in my mind that we weren’t making it to Sleeping Giant that night.

I googled a hotel with a pool and that’s where we parked it for the night.

Ben the starfish.

Ben the starfish.

And although I felt like I was cheating on the camping, I was very happy with my decision because the rain fell even harder when we got there. 

And that night, Ellie didn’t miss the tent nearly as much.

Sleeping Beauty.

Sleeping Beauty.