Our Greyhound experience has so far been good, the coaches are comfy, have power outlets and plenty of leg room to take advantage of. For those reading this in Europe I’m sorry if you had the image of us sitting on the back of an actual greyhound, going cross country then would certainly take a lot longer than our Greyhound with wheels! It’s essentially the Megabus or National Express of North America.
The first stop of the day saw us arrive in Thunder Bay at around 10:00am, although being the most populous municipality in Northwestern Ontario with a population of around 109,000 it didn’t really seem to make a good first impression. The coach station being on the edge of what appeared to be a major city shopping centre and having an hour before we were due to leave again, we decided to head towards the centre in the hope of finding a hot drink and something for us to like about the city. On our short journey we managed to find a Starbucks for some much needed coffee, the staff were extremely friendly and asked us some questions about our travels and where we are from. Still not being impressed by our surroundings however we headed back to the coach which itself was waiting for us at our 80s styled coach stop, a small building dark and very wooden, not offering much else to please the eye. Even the weather couldn’t please us at this stage, overcast and considerably colder than what we had experienced the past week, we were more than happy to continue our journey westwards. Thunder Bay – or Downer Bay?
Travelling next through the lowly populated Upsala & Ignace we passed a number of beautiful looking lakes all lined with high forests, the odd fisherman dotted along the banks trying his luck in one of the many lakes he could have fished from. The weather at this stage was changeable almost by the minute, the sun would break and beam into the coach windows before the sound of crashing rain accompanied the whirling sound of the air conditioning almost right after, as if the weather was playing a game of cat and mouse. Arriving in Kenora it was clear the Cat was the winner, as we stopped for lunch the sun was blazing down on us, the warmth hitting our face as we stepped off the coach. Our lunch stop was at the local A&W burger chain, the trip so far has seen us take on much more fatty diet than we normally do, but this was something I was secretly enjoying.
After Lunch we shuffled our way back to the coach taking every last moment to enjoy the warmth against our skin, breathing in with it the fresh forest clean air. Kenora is the largest populated town on the banks of the ‘Lake of the Woods’, a huge lake occupying parts of the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba as well as the U.S. state of Minnesota. The lake is over 70 miles long and wide, and contains more than 14,552 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline, as you can imagine the huge scale of this lake creates some amazing views with many people seen doing water sports and taking boats out to one of the many islands, unfortunately for us we had to experience this all from our coach as we were already heading towards our next stop, Winnipeg.
Winnipeg saw us have what was meant to be a 3hour lay over but due to our coach becoming delayed along the way we only had 2 hours, this complicated things slightly as we had planned to ride into downtown to see a couple of buildings that were of architectural worth. However after checking the local transit times the distance our coach stopped and the time it would take for us to transit there it only left us about 10minutes in downtown. As you can imagine for any of you time sensitive folks out there this made me feel a little on edge, since I didn’t want to miss our coach and be stuck in Winnipeg, nevertheless we caught a local bus and headed into downtown, at this point it was around 9:45pm and the city had just started to come alive with artificial light, we took a few moments to take in our surroundings before we stopped and got the bus back towards the coach station only a few minutes after we had got off our arriving one. Annoyingly our coach out of Winnipeg was delayed boarding so after all we could of had a bit longer to experience and seen the destinations we had originally planned. Tomorrow sees us cross the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and then finally late evening in British Columbia.