Chanukah began yesterday at sundown. That’s how we do it – our holidays start and end at sundown. Very solar efficient. 🙂 Over the years I’ve used a variety of chanukiot (that’s the name for the menorah that is used for Chanukah). I have my very first one – silver in tone, a long low rectangle, the shamash had a Jewish star. It was identical to the one we used at home when I was growing up. When I went off to college I bought the same one to give me a little at-home-comfort while I was away. Over the years I found other chanukiot at craft shows, Judaica shops, and, of course, the ones my son made for me at school. *grin* Those are the most precious naturally. I have 3 of them. One is a block of wood with nuts (as in bolts & nuts) as the candle holders (2 nuts for the shamash) and the other 2 are white tiles with nuts. All 3 were decorated most elegantly (um, well, not really, but mother’s love and all that). I have chanukiot that hold candles, that burn oil, that use electric light bulbs (oh wait – I just gave that one to my sister). I even have strings of dreidels and Jewish stars that light up (ah, yes, assimilation. The irony of it all – Chanukah commemorates the fundamentalists beating up the assimilationists). But until this year I have never had a moose chanukiah.
The learned among you may notice that the moose is missing a shamash. According to the literature (little poorly written book) that came with the moose, WE are the shamash. For each mitzvah we do, an antler on the moose will glow. And in case we do not do a mitzvah at the correct time and place, we can squeeze his left hind hoof and that will light up an antler. It’s an amazing world.
Neither of us slept well at the Super 8. Not really sure why (maybe hunger pangs???) but we also had to wake early to get on the road early because we knew we had 10 hours of driving without stops to make to Wawa (where my Travel Agent in the Sky had booked us into Catfish Lakefront Cabins). We went down for the free breakfast but it didn’t really work for either of us. We’ve been living on breakfasts with lots of protein and not much carbohydrate or sugar. The coffee was fine but we needed to go elsewhere. The nice young woman at the desk directed us to the Yesterday’s, the restaurant next to the Travel Lodge on the other side of the lake. As we were at the narrow end of the lake, it was only a few minutes to get there. We did inded have an excellent omelet breakfast. I had a raging headache, however, and left Honour and Gypsy2 on their own as I closed my eyes and napped for about 2 hours. I suspect I didn’t miss a lot. One thing we have noticed since we reached northern Ontario is that they have only one tree that they replicated many times. Since both Honour and I have created textures for Second Life, we feel that perhaps they need to contact someone and get a few more textures to put on these prims.
We swapped over the driving and ultimately arrived at Lake Superior. There was the most stunning mountain cliff as we approached the beginning of the lake. I was driving and could not take pictures. Honour had made it quite clear in the Rockies how she felt about me suggesting gently “take a picture of that”. You will have to take my word for it that it was indeed a stupendous mountain cliff with beautiful rock striations of different colors. But, alas, there is no picture.
We stopped at Pays Plat F.N. (which I have learned means Flat Country First Nation) for our rest break and swapped drivers. There was a shop in the convenience store selling lovely First Nation goods. Honour bought TWO tee shirts and a blanket, discovering in the process that the blanket was made in – wait for it – British Columbia. You remember British Columbia. That’s the place Honour couldn’t get out of fast enough. I could now take zillions of pictures of water-lake-tree. It’s really a darn shame about that tree. Just think what the view would have been with a few other varieties.
On the other hand, Ontario DID give us the most exciting fauna sighting yet – we saw a young bear as we were driving. It was on cliff above the road. It had come out of the forested area and was looking towards the road as we came into view. We saw it and started squealing in delight. It saw us and turned around and went straight back into the woods. But it was a bear. And we saw it. Still no moose, although, as you will learn, they have great publicity.
We were spending 10+ hours driving through unvaried scenery. We needed to do something to amuse ourselves. Thankfully we had road signs and the GPS. The trans Canada highway in northern Ontario runs around and through mountains (or at least through what folks from the East consider mountains). This means that the road goes up and down and around and about. There are signs to tell us that the road is curving. And curving again. And again. And again. Gypsy2 felt it was incumbent upon her to make sure we truly understood the road curved. She would flash an orange band at the top of her screen, informing us that the road was curving in 200 m. In 140 m. in 150 m. We were a bit concerned she might exhaust herself, but we comforted ourselves with the thought that compared to the trip across the prairies, Gypsy2 now felt extremely needed and useful. She had true purpose. (I did say we needed to amuse ourselves. )
Not only did the road curve, but there seem to be many dangerous angry moose in Northern Ontario. We HAD seen moose warning signs earlier in our trip. Those moose were standing still, observing the road from their signs. It was quite clear that they could show up but they seemed well-adjusted. In Northern Ontario, the moose appear to want to charge your vehicle. The signs show them looking like raging bulls in the arena. It must be because there is more traffic on the road in Northern Ontario (as compared to the prairies where there was no one else on the road). I guess the moose don’t like the traffic. We have named these moose “Road Rage Moose”. Should you ever see a twitter/facebook/other social media handle of “RoadRageMoose” you might be able to guess who is behind that. It’s not me, to give you a hint.
We reached the Wawa area (again, alarmed by all the traffic fleeing west) and again Gypsy2 failed. To be fair, my phone failed as well. They both insisted our campground was about 21 km ahead of us. I was playing with the phone, trying to get a map, when Molly swerved violently with Honour yelling “Catfish Cabins!!!!” Indeed, there was Catfish Lake and the cabins. Kudos to Honour for spotting our destination despite the dusky gloom and the lack of technical competence.
The folk at Catfish Lakefront Cabins are incredibly nice and helpful. After my sister had booked the cabin for us online, she suggested we call them directly because there were a few things about the booking that left her uncomfortable. I did indeed call and Bev said she did not see our reservation but that it might not have come through. She called me back a little later and confirmed our reservation. I told her we might be arriving very late and she had asked me to give her a call once we left Thunder Bay so we could all get an ETA. We pulled in around 9:30 and asked after laundry facilities. We’d taken care of the animals but poor Honour had sent on most of her clothes with the moving van and had not had a chance to do her own laundry. Bev set it all up for us and gave us directions to a restaurant in town. We pulled up to our cabin and got out, including Jamie. The 2 young children sitting outside the adjacent cabin came running up to meet and adore Jamie. They also told us there would be a bonfire down by the lake later that night.
We headed out for dinner, enjoying our usual banter about the traffic (which has been nonexistent). We had a very nice dinner in Wawa and headed back. Again with the nonexistent traffic. We pulled up to the cabin and did indeed see the bonfire down by the lake. I went it to use the computer and Honour was feeding the cats. I heard her calling me to come out now. I did and there was a fire burning across the lake, across the road and up the hill in the woods. As we watched other folk came out of their cabins. The smoke was red from the flames and the smell was unmistakenly burning wood. We heard that it was the Halfway Lodge burning, a building we’d passed on the way to the cabins. The fear of course was of the surrounding woods catching fire and having another wildfire raging in drought-stricken Canada. We could see the fire engines heading down the road to the fire and shortly the smoke disappeared. It was a bit unnerving to be standing there, watching the fire spread (as evidenced by the red clouds), having come through all of the wildfires in BC.
Honour and Jamie came in and went to sleep while I made hotel arrangements for the next evening, when we planned to reach Ottawa.