Friday, August 10

Drama Galore...

Just a quick, off the cuff, note today.

If I wrote out the details of yesterday, the above title would be most fitting. All is well now but Thursday had more drama/adventure than I really needed, including running out of gas on a remote road that warned of “Night Dangers,” when Moose and bear roam the area. One gas station that was on the “fill” list was abandoned, which threw me and many people off. I wrote lengthy notes about it but have no time to share it all. Instead, here are two amusing communication glitches with Canadians.

Permit me to first say this: the roads are absolutely magnificent! Majestic is the only word to describe the 200 plus miles of Highway 17 I rode yesterday. Rolling hills characterize this long journey. The weather was in the upper 70s, perhaps low 80s. The sky was blue, sprinkled with puffy white clouds. Some of the hills were so high that I imagined Queenie flipping over backwards during the ascents. Lots of deep and angled curves, (blind curves too). The way is lined with amazing vistas, rock formations, and scenic lookouts and not surprisingly, Highway 17 is relatively isolated. For the most part, I’ll take Highway 17 all the way to Thunder Bay, some 675 miles from the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie. Signs abound warning travelers of wildlife and night dangers. NO GAS stations for many miles (e.g., 50 plus) If one is closed, perhaps no gas station for more than 100 miles.

Communication glitch #1Two motorcyclists enter a scenic lookout. We do the requisite wave. I never ask people to take pictures of me. Never. However, this time I wanted one of me and the bike in front of the typical rock formation that lines Highway 17. I walk up to the woman and ask as I’m extending my digital camera. She nodded affirmatively, took the camera and snapped the pic of Queenie and me in front of the rocks.

Afterwards, I thanked her and her male companion came over to join us. We chatted and I immediately recognized their accent as French. Their English was definitely better than my nonexistent French was. She told me they were from Montreal and circling Lake Superior. It sounded like she said they either had gone around it ten times or were planning to.

“How any times you go around?”
I respond, “Just once.”
“No, how many times you go around?” She repeats herself only this time she emphasizes each word.
I emphasize my response, “One time. I’m going around one time.” That’s when she tells me they are going around about 10 times. I am confused as she presses me for a different response. She looks to her male companion. He says, using his finger to make the universal sign for circle, “How many..? We go about ten to twelve.”

It then dawns on me that they are asking me how LONG it will take me to go around the lake or how much time was I allowing myself to circle the lake.
“Oh, you mean how many days will I take to circle the lake?”

Their faces brighten, they smile and nod affirmatively.
“I’m taking 7 to 10 days.” We all laugh, chat some more and finally wish each other safe travels and leave.

Communication glitch #2

I call a hotel in Wawa, Ontario. Only two in a magazine state, “Hi Speed Internet Access,” making the choices slim. At the first number, the man tells me he as two rooms left. One room is slightly higher prices because it has been newly renovated. My stay is one night; I go for the undecorated room. I think he says this: “It is nice too but not clean. The renovated room is very nice, clean has one bed…”

I respond, “Isn’t the other room clean?”
“No, but it’s nice too—but no clean.”
“Well I want the room to be clean.”
“It’s okay for you—but it’s real nice.”

The conversation continues like that for what seemed like a long time but was actually only a minute or so. Finally, I asked about the room again and this time I spell the word “clean.”
He quickly states, “Yes, it’s clean, very clean but there is no Queen bed.”
He said Queen and assumed I heard Queen. What I heard was a guy overtly telling me the room wasn’t clean.

The room is extremely clean. The host is an interesting person, who is a Polish immigrant. He gave me a special place to park Queenie.

All is well…until next time...