The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Chapter 28 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part V

20

Romantic Rhapsody About Canada

Lake Superior.JPG

National Park at Lake Superior – Photo Credit: camperuno.blogspot. com

Up with the lark we walked through the sleepy town of Wawa. At 9 o’clock we stepped into a Chinese restaurant to have breakfast. The owner, cook and waiter all under the same hat looked just as sleepy as the town. He took a long time to prepare and serve the usual bacon, eggs and toast for the only two customers. We were quite annoyed with the delay and decided to buy our own food for the remainder of the trip, such as ready-made meals in cans, butter, bread, milk, fruit juices, oranges and apples. At a service station I bought gasoline for the camp stove, on which I planned to heat up the chunky soup at any of the roadside rest areas. At a hardware store we picked up basic cooking and eating utensils. By the time we had eaten breakfast and finished our shopping, half the day had already slipped away on us.

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Early May on the Trans-Canada Highway – Adolf’s Car on the Left

Then we were on the road again at times traveling through dense forests often very close to Lake Superior. Unfortunately, fog and low clouds obstructed our view. They were so dense at times that Adolf had to turn on the headlights. At the entrance of a small village, whose name I have forgotten, was a large billboard, which claimed in large letters to hold the record at –72º F for being the coldest place in Canada. On we drove now along the seemingly endless shoreline. The impenetrable blanket of fog prevented us from viewing the lake. At a picnic area we stopped for lunch and unpacked our victuals in the frigid air. When the icy mist briefly lifted, we could hardly believe our eyes. A finger thick coat of ice still covered the Great Lake at a time, when on the same latitude on our planet flowers were already announcing the arrival of spring! We ate our frugal meal of homemade sandwiches not far from the city of Port Arthur, which a few years later amalgamated with Fort William to become today’s city of Thunder Bay. The only noteworthy thing about the drab scenery around these two towns were the huge grain elevator strategically placed near the railroad tracks. They stored the prairie wheat waiting to be shipped as far away as Vancouver and Montreal.

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Peter Taking in the Sights at Serpent River Ontario

Heading north into the Land of Thousand Lakes, we began to cheer up as the sun finally broke through the clouds. A look at the map of Northwestern Ontario will convince anyone that the description of this boreal region is not an exaggeration. On the contrary, I would call it the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes. What incredible mazes of lakes and rivers branching out in all directions, which the native canoeists, early explorers and the dauntless coureurs des bois had to navigate without the aid of any maps!

As if to underline the upbeat mood I was in, I took my harmonica out of my briefcase and played one merry tune after another. I was amazed how many different songs I could string together in a potpourri of folksongs, scout melodies and pop music. Adolf contributed to the sense of camaraderie by cheerfully whistling or singing along, while we were driving into the setting sun.

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At Vermillion Bay I would have liked to call it a day. A cozy motel located directly at a lake beckoned us to stay. But our goal was Kenora near the Manitoba border. Also we had just gained over the past three days another hour of daylight in our journey to the Western Provinces. So after a short break we decided to roll on. The sun was almost blinding us. Adolf lowered the visor to protect his eyes from the glare. A few minutes later the fireball nearing the horizon was shooting crimson rays through the forest, flickering and dancing in a kaleidoscopic display of color and motion. At dusk myriads of tiny lakes swept by our left window like precious pearls strung up on invisible threads. In the absolute stillness on their glassy surface black spruce trees mirrored themselves with such clarity that on a photo one would have had problems in telling which were the trees and which were their reflections. Looking at this beautiful monochromatic scenery, I thought, as I often did when I discovered another facet of nature’s beauty, ‘One day, I will take Biene on a road trip to experience all these wonderful places that we are now having to rush through.’

20 thoughts on “Chapter 28 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part V

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      The first thought in answer of your question is that going by car offers the most in experiencing the country. But for me it was more the opportunity to save money by getting a free ride with my brother. So this choice gave me the unexpected bonus to see Canada.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. taphian

    wonderful descriptions, dear Peter. I liked the description of the Chinese restaurant a lot and could really feel how it was waiting for the food with a tired Chinese waiter, hehe. And the descriptions of the Canadian nature were so good that I thought, Chechow had written them. Great job, Peter. Have a nice day, kind regards from windy Hamburg, Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Dear Mitza, your accolades for the descriptions of nature are almost overwhelming. My wife studied Chechow in one of her Russian literature courses, so I can appreciate the great compliment you are giving me with reference to this illustrious Russian writer. Thank you so much for your comment, Mitza!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. taphian

        I’m happy that I could make you happy, dear Peter. I’m a big fan of Russian literature and have about 500 books only from Russian authors. I must say 99,9 % are overwhelming and sublime and gave me a lot of wonderful moments in life. Kind regards from hot Hamburg, Mitza

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Peter Klopp Post author

        Thank you, MItza! I daresay that only 0.1% of all people in the world have 500 books of Russian authors in their personal library. Kind regards from cloudy Fauquier BC!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ann Coleman

    How anyone can live in a place that gets to 72 degrees below zero is beyond me! But I’m glad the sun finally came out so you could see the beautiful countryside. Did you ever get to take your wife on that road trip?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      The idea to live in an area with such cold temperatures still gives me the shivers. Thank you, Ann, for your kind words! Now that we are retired, I do wish to take make this journey through Canada again with my wife.

      Like

  3. Dieter

    An einem etwas trüben Tag in Pommern habe ich nun auch den 5.Teil von Deinem “Transkanada-Bericht” gelesen, lieber Peter. Da habt Ihr ganz schön Tageskilometer geschafft!
    Eine wilde Fahrt durch eine wilde Gegend, hätte ich auch gern mitgemacht!
    Schön, dass Du Deinen Bruder Adolf als Unterstützung bei Deinem Start in das Kanada-Unternehmen hattest. Mit Biene aber bitte etwas vorsichtiger und bei milderen Temperaturen 😉
    Euch Beiden liebe Grüße aus
    Ueckermünde von Edda und Dieter

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Vielen Dank ihr lieben Urlauber in Ueckermünde für euren lieben Kommentar! Ja, es ist seitdem immer mein Wunsch gewesen, mit Biene diese herrliche Reise zu wiederholen, aber natürlich bei gemütlichem Tempo und zu einer schöneren Jahreszeit. Habt noch weiterhin wunderbare Tage an eurem Ferienort an der Ostsee!

      Like

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      I agree -72 degrees feels pretty brutal. As to the cost of gasoline, it was very cheap in the mid 60’s. I recall in the oil town Calgary you could buy a gallon of gas for under 30 c, which translates to 7 c a litre ($ 1.20 today). No wonder you could afford to drive an eight cylinder gas guzzler in those days.

      Liked by 1 person

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