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The famous saying of “Go West, Young Man,” applies to a different generation from Genie and me. Thus, we decided to “Go East” and Go East we did.

Early Monday morning, May 11, we set the GPS for Burlington, Vermont, by way of Canada — crossing at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

The first night we stayed at the Bad River Casino and Motel in Odanah, Wisconsin on Highway 2. We visited with my old Navy veteran friend, Norm, who is an Elder of the reservation. Once again, I tried to get a seat on the tribal board (I would be a Norwegian minority representative). Once again, I was turned down. 

The second day was a long straight drive with part of it a little over 100 miles on Michigan Highway 8. We watched to see how many miles it would be before we saw a can or bottle along the Michigan Highway 28. The first one was 32 miles. Minnesota would have been less than a mile. The difference is mainly due to the 10 cents per can or bottle deposit refund law. (Minnesota most certainly would be cleaner if we had a 10 cents deposit law.)

We stayed at Sault Ste. Marie on the USA side crossing into Sault Ste. Marie, Canada the next day.

The third night was stayed in Matawa, Ontario, Canada. Just beautiful, right on the Ottawa River.

The native walleye fishermen were catching a walleye just about every cast. The Ottawa River is very heavily polluted with mercury – thus the fishermen were mainly catch and release. Some of the walleye were deformed with a bent body. The suggested recommendation is, don’t eat more than one or two of the smaller walleye (10 to 12 inchers) per month.

The mercury level doesn’t bother the loons as they were really noisy at dusk. (Our room had a balcony looking out over the river — fantastic).

In the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and Canada there is a yellow line in the water to tell Minnesota and Canada apart. In the Ottawa River there are a lot of rocks on the bottom painted yellow to tell the border between English speaking Ontario, Canada and French-speaking Quebec, Canada.

The fourth night we stayed at the Quality Inn of Colchester, Vermont.

The next day we moved into the top of the Green Mountain home of Dan and Laurie to babysit their three cats, two birds and one dog while they were on vacation to Kelley’s Island in Ohio on Lake Erie.

The reason we go through Canada and then drop down to their home (1,407 miles) is because the drive is prettier, one toll in of $3 and one toll out of $3.50, compared to the U.S. tolls on the freeway of $40 to $75. It is also a little shorter by way of Canada.

The next two columns will be about our 10 days at their mountaintop home, our seven days at the Quality Inn, Colchester, Vermont, plus our trip back to Albert Lea.


Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.

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