Thursday, August 06, 2009


We slept in a little and got on the road around 11:00am. That was planned… not me futzing around! The drive was uneventful. We got to Eau Claire in about an hour and then had interstate the rest of the way. That was a nice change. Tori did well last night. Lorrie slept on the floor with her while I had Emma Blue in a bed with me and her leash in my hand so I knew when she moved. I know she’s curious about Tori and definitely wants to sniff her out. But we are understandably nervous about them being together. Tori is still eating and drinking well. It’s amazing the comeback she has made. The vet was even a little surprised how well she was bouncing back, especially for her advanced age! The tragedy of this whole situation is that Tori is scheduled to have surgery on her cataracts on Tuesday so that she could see again! And then she loses an eyeball! Figure that one out!

One lesson learned… have a first aid kit readily available while traveling. We have a great first aid kit. But it was packed away in our camping gear. ‘Cause camping is where any kind of emergency might happen, right? Wrong!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


We called around 9:30am and were told that we could pick Tori up to take her home between 11:30am-12:00pm. Wow! We had made it clear that we wanted them to keep her overnight if traveling would be too hard for her right away! But they seemed to think she would be okay and the only thing they would be doing if she stayed is giving her medications. So they felt comfortable with letting her go. So we took her! Gladly! She had a lot more energy! When she smelled us, she got really excited! That was good to see. (= We set her up on Lorrie’s lap… sans cone. We blocked the back so Emma couldn’t come up front to smell. And off we went. We had to cross the border again in Sioux Ste Marie. Emma, again, did very well at the border with her muzzle on. They didn’t even ask for their papers that time. Although he did tell me that my passport is not valid because it’s not signed. Oops! He let me through anyway!

Back in the USA, our main goal was just getting home. Of course, there’s no interstate heading our direction. So we took a very scenic drive along Lake Michigan. Construction and all. Of course. Tori was doing great. Sleeping most of the time. She ate well and drank a lot! Which the vet told us to expect.

We drove all day and much of the night until we stopped at Wausau, WI for the night. It took awhile to find a room as the Wisconsin State Fair was in full swing! We ended up in the Days Inn near Hwy 29. It was great actually! They took pets with a $15 deposit that we would get back in the morning if there was no damage. We’d never gotten that deal before! They also had free wireless and very clean rooms. I gave them 5 stars on my phone navigation!

We left the eyeball in the garbage at Macinac Straight Rest Area. And just to be clear, it was in a garbage bag with other garbage. I’m too squeamish to just be carrying around an eyeball.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Tori – August 4, 2009

We were able to visit Tori today late morning. She looked SO good! Her eye is sewn shut and she was a little out of it. But she seemed to recognize us. She had a cone, aka Elizabethan Collar, on her head to keep from running into things. But they took that off for our visit. We were only there for about 15-20 minutes. But it was so good to see her awake… and alive!

The rest of the day was spent in the motel. In shock. Crying. Distracting ourselves. Lorrie cleaned out the car a little as there was blood in various places. However, I went out later to get something from the car. And I found the eyeball. Yeah, I know, that’s gross. But it’s real. I couldn’t do anything about it. So I just ran back to the room and told Lorrie. So we stood there trying to figure out who should take care of it. I’d already seen it so it should be me. I didn’t want to do it alone. Lorrie didn’t want us both to have to do it. But she didn’t want to do it. If it hadn’t been so horrible, it would have been a hysterical conversation. We both ended up going out there, but Lorrie did the dirty work. We decided to hold on to it temporarily in case the vet wanted to see it or something.

We are staying at Satelite Motel in The Soo. I don’t know if that’s Canadian spelling or if they just spelled it wrong. But it was spelled with only 1 L. (= It was relatively cheap, very clean, and offered free wireless. And they take pets. I would recommend it.

The only place we ate was Tim Hortons… double double! We had sandwich combos, which there means coffee and a donut! lol

Monday, August 03, 2009

Superior Circle Tour - Day 2

Across the street from Nays Provincial Park was Nye’s Diner and Camping. We stopped there to get some ice then decided that we were actually very hungry. The pups were OUT! I’m not sure they slept very well last night. It was a little cold. But we’ve been in colder. Lorrie had eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and toast while I had a burger with fries. The place was very clean! The owner was cooking and did a great job! He also loaned me a couple wrenches to try and tighten my bike rack. They weren’t terribly busy but he said they have a lot of business in the winter with snowmobiling and snowshoeing in the park across the street. It was a small convenience and souvenir shop as well. I would definitely recommend stopping there.

As we were driving, we somehow missed Pukaswa National Park. Not sure how except that there was construction in the area and maybe the signs were down. Instead we stopped for a hike at White Water Provincial Park and were directed to Clear Water trail, which was an out and back to Clear Lake. As soon as we left the car, mosquitoes and gnats swarmed us. We’ve spent enough outdoor vacations being eaten alive by bugs and that was not in our plan for this trip. Besides, I couldn’t find the Deet. So we left to find Lake Superior again where it’s chilly and windy enough to keep the bugs away. We stopped at Agate (?) Provincial Park but they didn’t have any sites along the water. So we pressed on toward Superior Provincial Park.

Once there, our trip was over. And this becomes more of a personal than “outdoor” blog. We parked and went in to get information about sites. About 10 seconds after I left the car, I heard something. Can’t say exactly what that something was but I knew to run back. Which I did. Emma Blue had bitten Tori. She’d been excited when we stopped but I’m not sure what happened after that. I can speculate. I went to the other side of the car and moved her to her own window. Then started working on separating them better for the small drive to the site. Lorrie came to Tori’s side and saw that she was bleeding. I hadn’t seen that from my angle. Well, she was bleeding very badly. And it was around her eye. Lorrie ran in to get help from a ranger. They were quite ill-prepared for as out in the boondocks as they are! They didn’t know first aid. But at least they had a kit. Some campers were walking by and asked if we needed help. Lorrie told them what was happening and someone said something about some kind of vet training. Who knows? Anyway, this woman checked out Tori and put gauze on her eye and wrapped her head to hold it in place. It was not enough. She bled so much! Lorrie also called 411 to get the number for a vet in Sioux Ste Marie. They had an emergency system where there is a vet on-call all the time. We were a 90-minute drive away. With nothing in between. NOTHING! I drove like a crazy woman while Lorrie held Tori and told her it would be okay and to hold on. At one point, Tori moved around a little much and blood got everywhere. It was horrendous! We were crying, Lorrie screamed once, and we were trying to keep in touch with the vet who we kept losing because of the mountainous roads. To add to all the stress, the gas tank was nearly on Empty! Meanwhile, Tori. Was. Asleep! Snoring! Perhaps she was in shock. But I know her mellow nature saved her life! An anxious dog, like Emma, would have been flipping out and probably would not have made it. We finally got a good enough connection to the vet so we could get directions. Of course, his street was completely under construction. So we had to go a round-a-bout way. Gas light went on just before we got there. Lorrie ran in with Tori and then came back out to the waiting area. Her front was completely covered in blood so she got out of those clothes immediately and we left them there for the vet to discard. Tori weighs in at about 25 lbs. She had to have lost half her blood. We waited awhile, filled out the paperwork, and waited some more. They cleaned her up some but needed to do surgery to see the state of her eye… and likely to remove what was left. Lorrie asked me to leave so she could talk with the vet about something she had seen and didn’t want me to hear about it.

We went in to say goodbye to Tori and she was all wrapped up and on an IV. But she recognized our smells and gave us licks goodbye. The vet called us around 11pm, after surgery, and said she is doing well and the surgery went well. He said they did have to remove her eye as it was too damaged to save. We are to call after 10am tomorrow to see what the plan is at that time.

Emma Blue kept a pretty quiet and low profile the entire time.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Superior Circle Tour - Day 1

Relaxing breakfast with Karen, Gary, and Yvette. Karen and Gary were heading off to Duluth so they left before us. Lorrie is a morning person and could easily be on the road before sunrise. I am not naturally that kind of person. But I would like to be. Any tips would be appreciated! I’ve tried lots of different things. But somehow I am always about an hour late in leaving. This is dicey when I have planes to catch… and a penchant for making early flight reservations. Okay, I digress! We got on the road around 11:00am EST and our tour formally begins! Canada Highway 1 going southeast to Eagle Canyon Adventures. On the way, we saw five women on touring bikes. But they had SO much stuff hanging off their bikes. Anyway, Eagle Canyon Adventures has 2 suspension bridges, one of which they claim is the longest in Canada. They also have a zip line, which they also claim is the longest in Canada. As soon as we got there… my sunglasses broke. Damn! They were cheapy $12 glasses that had lasted about 3 years with almost daily use. Bummer! After walking across the bridges, we stopped and watched people on the zipline. I decided that should be a bucket list item for me so I went back down to pay for it. Then we had to walk back up to the deck again. The real challenge was dodging the 4-wheelers with crazy drivers behind them. That was a sport in an of itself! Honestly, they are going to hurt someone. At the top, more people had lined up to use the zipline. So the wait was a lot longer. Slightly more than an hour. Enough time to get my stomach all riled up. Watching person after person go didn’t really help. It seemed like they would be silent at first, which I interpreted as “stomach drop,” and then would scream, which scared me too. There were a couple kids in front of me, one was too light so they had to add weight to his gear. I figured if he could do that without being scared, that I could do it too. Then there was a woman who looked the way I felt. And she did it. So I thought I could too. Lorrie was there trying to figure out the best angle to shoot my experience. She decided to stay up there at the deck to get it. [insert video] It ended up being amazing! It was pretty windy up there so the wire was swaying. Yikes! The operator said, “3… 2… 1… launch” and opened the gate. And I stood there an extra 2 or 3 seconds before lifting my feet and flying away. I screamed out my fear… and then it was awesome. There was no stomach drop at all. It was just a consistent downhill through the valley and over the river. At the end, I had been told to spread my legs so “something” could hit the seat and not me. As I was getting closer to the dock, the operator down there spread his arms wide to indicate I should spread my legs, which I did. What I didn’t expect was the major CLANG that happened when the mechanism on the wire hit the stopping mechanism. That was shocking. Then I heard someone say, “How was it?” “Awesome!” I said. And then, after looking around, “Where are you?” He said, “Down here.” lol He was below me pulling on a rope that had been attached to the stopping mechanism so that I could be pulled back over the dock to stand up. I didn’t realize how far above the ground I still was… at least 10 feet. And that was that. It was over! I’m so glad I did it but I wish I could do it again to enjoy the scenery just a little more! On our way out of the park, we saw those cyclists I mentioned before and they were just getting into the park. Some of them were walking their bikes up the last painful steep hill. Really, just too much stuff! Not that I could do any better! (= I’m sure the wind didn’t do them any favors either! Since we’d been at Eagle Canyon for four hours, we decided that we should skip Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park. But we can go back there another time.

Kept driving along Highway 1. It’s amazing how little there is along that road! And a lot of what was there in terms of motels and restaurants are now abandoned. That becomes a problem when you’re hungry! We started seeing signs for “Gus’ Restaurant” in Nipigon, which we thought might be a possibility. When we got there, it was very rundown… and it said “John’s.” We were going to skip it. Until I saw 6 motorcycles out front. Just a hint… cops and bikers know where to eat! If it had been a motorcycle cop, we’d have hit pay dirt! (= So we went in. It was run by a Greek woman who was very friendly with everyone! Lorrie and I each ordered chicken souvlaki sandwiches… she with fries and me with a Greek salad. Wow! They could not have been better! And the servings were huge! 5 stars for sure on the food! The d├ęcor is grungy… so close your eyes.

Make a note if you’re traveling in this area… there is very little gas on the North side of Lake Superior. So fill up when you can! Even if it’s expensive! Because it is all expensive!

We had planned to stop for the night at Pukaswa (sp) Provincial Park but stumbled upon Nays Provincial Park, which Karen had mentioned. She said the white sand beaches were incredible! We checked out the few free sites and settled on a corner site, which was the last one that backed to the beach. It was also right next to a major trail so that is probably why it hadn’t been taken yet. But it was awesome! We got the pups fed and got the tent up before taking Emma Blue for a little walk on the beach. It was full of drift wood… huge, like still trees, and small. Seemed a little dangerous actually. Lots of sticks poking up out of the ground. A child could fall on them… hell, an adult could fall on them. I was worried about Emma running into one so we kept her walking. Just something to consider if you’re traveling there. Once we were back at the campsite, I tried to build a fire and was relatively unsuccessful. It took forever to get anything really going. And once we did, it was pretty late and time for bed. lol So I just thought of it as ash for a fire tomorrow morning.

Something we both noticed about Canadian campers was their creative use of tarps! MONSTROUS tarps! I know it’s been rainy in the area for awhile so if they’ve been camping for awhile, I can understand using so many. They had these huge tarps spread out above their entire tent sites. They wrapped tarps around the ends of their pop up campers. And they’re very good at getting them up. Some are like origami… with lights and everything. Maybe you saw the photo of my first attempt at tarp hanging! LOL

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Superior Circle Tour - Day 0

(no real outdoor content, just driving)

Bad start in the morning… about 3 hours late. There were some things we weren’t able to do last night so they waited until morning. Then… the biggest thing was that I could not find Jeero. I try very hard not to travel without Jeero! So we “wasted” about 30 minutes looking for Jeero. Never found himher so we had to leave without. We then had a detour from the interstate before stopping at Lorrie’s job so she could turn something in quickly. Then… on the road… for real. Both a little grumpy. Not a usual occurrence for us. I don’t think so anyway. Guess I can check back to old blogs!

We stopped a little later in Pine City, MN to get some lunch. They were preparing for a parade that coincides with their free fair. So there were chairs lining many of the streets. Apparently it’s a huge deal and people want the best seats possible! We found a great little co-op or natural foods deli/market. I love that it is becoming so easy to find organic foods in small towns now. Back on the road. Though we were tempted to stay for the parade! (= It rained off and on much of the drive. We passed through the border at Pigeon Creek around 7pm CST with no issues. We stopped at Rydens to exchange money and put Emma’s muzzle on her. She seems to know how important it is that she behave at the border. So she does. She fussed with the muzzle for a few seconds then seemed to understand that it wouldn’t last very long. All ICE asked was if we had the dogs’ papers but didn’t make us show them. We did have the papers, of course. Across the border and off came the muzzle. She’s a good girl that Emma! Off again… in Canada. Lorrie expressed her usual request to see a moose. Instead, we saw huge black lab…. which was actually a bear cub! In the middle of the road. It hustled back into the woods as soon as we got up close to it. VERY cute!! I’ve never seen a bear so now I can mark that off my list! I really wish I’d gotten a photo of it though. But why would I take a photo of a big black lab!? lol Once in Thunder Bay, we spent a few hours with Lorrie’s older sister. She lives on a tropical island but is staying with her two sons for about a month while getting some business taken care of in Canada. It’s cute that she’s staying in a little apartment with two of her sons. (= Then to Lorrie’s best friend from high school’s house where we stayed up way to late chatting. A jag nightcap… if you can call about ½ oz a nightcap! We also got to hear about Yvette’s, Karen’s sister’s, 2 gold medals in the Special Olympics earlier in the summer! Pretty amazing!