Throw Back Thursday: The Canadian Edition

Gimli Dragonfly 2. Image taken at Gimli, Manitoba, near Lake Winnipeg, Canada. Brandi Malarkey, artist.


Once upon a time a friend and I drove up to Thunder Bay, Canada. As we crossed the border we saw a strange animal neither of us could identify. We determined that it couldn’t be a moose, as it didn’t have antlers, yet it seemed entirely too “ugly” to be a horse, donkey, or deer. Confused speculation about this animal was the entirety of our conversation for the remaining time until we reached our destination. Once we did, we related this strange siting, to have our friend look at us in silence for a long moment before quietly asking us if it was possible that it was a female moose.

We were gobsmacked. That had never ONCE occurred to us!

Clearly, we are city dwellers.

This story has nothing to do with anything, really, other than to demonstrate that I am clearly not nearly as smart as I think I am. However, this past weekend we took our annual pilgrimage to Gimli, Canada (nowhere close to Thunder Bay) to camp with friends, and as both the friend who drove up with me and the friend we went to see were in attendance it brought back the memory, and I thought I would share.

I did gamely bring my camera with me, as it is a perfect place to get amazing photos. However, I chose instead to imitate a slug and didn’t much move from my shady spot in the grass for two days. I did remember that I had taken these two dragonfly photos there last year and forgotten to share them! Oops?

Gimli Dragonfly 1. Image taken at Gimli, Manitoba, near Lake Winnipeg, Canada. Brandi Malarkey, artist.
Image taken at Gimli, Manitoba, near Lake Winnipeg, Canada.
Gimli Dragonfly 2. Image taken at Gimli, Manitoba, near Lake Winnipeg, Canada. Brandi Malarkey, artist.
Image taken at Gimli, Manitoba, near Lake Winnipeg, Canada.

If I was a very conscientious sort of person, I would now sort through all of this year’s photos and share additional dragonflies (don’t you just love their little faces?), but I won’t. I am absorbed in trying to keep up with my homework from my current class, so you will have to wait. To make up for it, I dug out another Canadian adventure from about five years ago, where once again I demonstrated that while I occasionally have moments of absolute brilliance, I also occasionally have the complete opposite. Shared for your reading amusement.

Idiot American lost in Canada

  • Leaving at 6am prior to a 9 hour drive seems quite sensible, and ideal for getting home at a reasonable time.
  • Leaving at 6am in the middle of a fog when not having slept well may be slightly less sensible.
  • In deference to fog and Moose crossing signs, it is important to concentrate on the road at such a time, regardless of how sensible one’s departure time is.
  • A bit over an hour later, when the fog lifts enough to allow for other thought, it might occur to a person that it did not take her an hour to drive from the Canadian border to the house, so perhaps, having left the house, the Canadian border should have been reached by now.
  • “Trans Canada” does indicate going across Canada, rather than south, to the border. As does the compass on the mirror boasting a large “W”. Huh.
  • Note: My cell phone does not work in Canada. At all. Good to know.
  • When deciding it doesn’t matter which car to take on a long drive, and therefore taking a different one than normal, means that the car Atlas may not actually be in the car.
  • Poking at the Nav system is of limited assistance, since it only shows you a bit of the area around you.
  • Further poking at the nav system to return to “home” asks you if you want to avoid toll roads. Answering “yes” to this question will result in a reply to turn around, go back to where you were, and changes the arrival time to 11 hours further. Trying again and answering “no” returns it to a more normal arrival time stretching ahead across Canada. Charge boldly forward, right? It will be fine.
  • This might have been less of an issue if one knew one was going to go across Canada, and had filled the gas tank prior to departure.
  • Trans Canada is a very long road–you guessed it–across Canada. Tiny, little gas stations are conveniently located every hour or so.
  • Leaving at 6am means that it is still very early in the morning when you pass the tiny, little gas stations, and that none of them will be open.
  • The Trans Canada is also BEAUTIFUL. Trees, lakes, rocks, and moose. Beautiful.
  • Beauty can only distract a person from the desperate need to use the restroom for so long.
  • Moose are big. Bigger than my car, I’m pretty sure. They are also in no hurry whatever to get off the road. I did not hit the moose with my car. We are proud of this accomplishment.
  • Distracting oneself with a snack seems reasonable. Blueberries also seem like a reasonable alternative to chips or the like. This, in fact, is not an advised snacking choice. When some blueberries are yuck, mixed with the entire container, and you can’t look in the container without risking life and limb, it makes for a rather stupid mess, and attempts to fling yucky blueberries out the window only reinforce the giving up on the snack concept.
  • Big signs with maps are happy!
  • Stopping quickly to see them lends itself to flying objects.
  • It is possible that objects flying from the rear window to the front seat would not land with such force if some not entirely bright person wasn’t going 50 km over the posted speed limit.
  • Maps on the side of the road may not show a person where they are currently located. It is possible that it will instead depict a map of a small town with no indication of where the small town may be located, nor any evidence of how to get there.
  • I might be inclined to doubt the sincerity of tiny buildings located by such signs boldly pronouncing “Visitors Welcome” that are closed, except for the wonderfully situated portapotty which removed one of the three pressing concerns on this surprising adventure.
  • This allows a person to concentrate more fully on the other two issues at hand: Fuel and tolls.
  • I may not know anything of any toll roads and how they work in Canada, but I know enough to worry when left alone in a vehicle for several hours.
  • Only having ten dollars on hand, and that in American money, could be a problem. Maybe they take credit cards? It is the technological age.
  • Wait, wait! You can get cash with a credit or debit card. People do it all the time.
  • I have never done this. I have on purpose never done this to prevent my doing it. I have deliberately not learned any of my pin numbers to any of my cards, to prevent doing this. Text the husband for a pin number? Oh, wait. The phone doesn’t work.
  • As nothing can be done without further information, tuck worry of being trapped in Canada for lack of a toll to back of brain, and proceed to concentrate on fuel issues.
  • Trying to convert miles and kilometers and figuring out how far the car can go without gas would be more helpful if one knew how far it was to the next (open) gas station.
  • Look! A convenience store with gas station! And it is OPEN! Yay!
  • I have never purchased gas in Canada. Huh.
  • Look! a cute little 15ish year old is coming to pump the gas.
  • Poor little 15 year old is first person to come in contact with amused/mentally disturbed individual “lost in the Canadian Wilds” (on the highway) in three hours.
  • Little 15 year old is well trained. Don’t think he understood more than one word in three of the resulting litany, but did fill tank and invite inside to see map. This was necessary when he asked if I was “crossing at the falls” and my response was “what falls?”
  • The map indicates going to Scott Street and turning on Center Avenue, and one is at the border. Simple! Yay!
  • Being told that the toll is only coming in to Canada, not in going out was very relieving. Not relieving enough to hug the cute little 15 year old, but judging by the little backing up gestures on his behalf, I must have shown some sign of doing some kind of inappropriate behavior.
  • Yes, I know that could cover a lot of ground.
  • $90 for a tank of gas? Eep!!
  • At this point in the proceedings it seems that chocolate of some kind would be quite called for. The convenience store does not sell any chocolate. However, fish and fireworks are to be had in plenty. Also, you can purchase a commemorative t-shirt, but none of them say “Idiot American lost in Canada”, so what is the point?
  • Oh, look! Lake with boats! Explains the bait AND allows a person to see boats with skis on them in person for the first time. NOT in a movie. Small pleasures, ya know?
  • Oh, look. The Nav system is not going from Scott Street to Center Avenue. Do we ignore the Nav system, or continue following it? Ah, well. The Nav system got me into this mess, it can pony up and get me out!
  • “Somewhere” near the border the Nav system spontaneously turns off for no reason whatever! That’s helpful. Little traitor!
  • Oh, look. There is a pharmacy. Since I don’t drink, maybe I should stop and get something to take the edge off?
  • Oh, right. It’s early and nothing is open.
  • Oh, look! A bridge! This must be the border!
  • Babbling at the border guard in relief does not appear to inspire confidence in the border guard.
  • After several hours of “Ontario welcomes you!” signs, one might look at the “Minnesota welcomes you” sign with an unwarranted amount of suspicion.
  • But, see? It all worked out just fine.
  • Instead of being thrilled at how early the wife managed to arrive home, when being regaled of the wife’s adventures, the husband may have put his head in his hands and asked how it was possible his wife was so completely stupid.
  • It is a mark to my generosity of character, patient nature, and understanding that the husband was at the end of an unrelieved three day stint with a puddily 6 year old, that my husband is still among the living.
  • I am pretty sure I am the best wife EVER.

6 Responses

  1. Thanks for the morning entertainment! After my last few days, it was a relief to know that I’m not alone in the stupidity catagory and that I have a niece-in-law who is right there with me. Thanks for the boost, Brandi!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.





Purchase Original

Interested in buying an original piece of art? My work is on display and available for purchase at  Gallery 4 located at 115 Roberts Street, Fargo, ND.

If you’d like to commission an original piece, please use the following form to contact me.

Looking forward to hearing from you!