Minnkota and Sherpa Badwater 2012
We awake to a beautiful sunny day. We both go outside to have a smoke and plan the day. I started to feel a little rumbling in my stomach. I quickly dropped my smoke and made a bee line for the toilet. I almost made it! There goes the first pair of underwear of the day! Damn Anchor Bar. Jody figured out what was going on and laughed his butt off. He quickly loaded the truck while I took care of personal matters. We said goodbye to “Mom and Norman” and headed out. The North shore was beautiful, the big lake was pretty calm, and the traffic was sparse. What a great day to travel. We arrived in Grand Marais where Jody wanted to eat breakfast. I don’t know if it was a good idea for me but we stopped at a restaurant overlooking the lake. I was surprised at the lack of activity this morning-- I thought the town would be hopping. We sat down at our table and were greeted by a young lad that was our waiter. We asked if they have been busy, he said they have been. Looking around the only thing busy was his shirt….bad. We both had the Yuppie special-- best 30 dollar breakfast we’ve ever had. My stomach was feeling a little better--maybe good food was what I needed. We made a quick stop at Stone Harbor Outdoor Store, another of my favorites and then off to the Canadian border. Jody had been nervous about crossing customs since we started talking about this trip last winter. I couldn’t figure out why. He has a clean record, he does not look scary, and he’s a pretty nice guy. We got about five miles from the border and I looked over and Jody was sweating profusely, chain smoking, and looking pale. He was worried. Awesome... I loved it. I tried to stir the pot by telling him things that were not true. I made it sound like we were crossing into Syria or Pakistan. He told me he hated me. I’m surprised. I thought I would have heard that 4 or 5 times by now. He lit another cigarette. As we approached the border, we were met by 3 daunting looking characters about 100 yards from the main crossing. I rolled my window down. They asked me where we were going, and what we were doing. I told them we are headed to Atikokan. They got a puzzled look on their faces and asked why we did not cross at Fort Francis. Jody was really sweating now. I simply stated that I liked the North Shore drive because of the scenery. They agreed with me, and told us to have a nice trip. Jody looked relieved… he thought the ordeal was over. I then proceeded to tell him that those men were U.S. custom agents, and Canadian customs were up ahead. He again said he hated me and was never going with me again. Oh how I love to cause him grief!!! We slowly pulled up to the line of 6 cars that were ahead of us. Jody was turning a few different colors, kind of like a chameleon, first white, then red, then green. Pretty strange to see… but very funny. He lit up another cigarette, his 25th in the last 10 miles. I told him to let me do all the talking; he readily agreed. We made it up to the booth. The somber looking man took our paperwork and punched a few buttons on his computer. By now he had both our life stories in front of him. He asked the usual questions that they always do. He just does not seem like a very happy man today. He asked Jody what he did for a living and he said “ground maintenance” and the agent looked like he had no idea what that was. Jody nervously explained his duties. He also asked how long we knew each other. Jody became a little flustered, he tried to think of when we first met, I blurted out, “a hell of a long time!” That seemed to satisfy his curiosity. He returned our papers and off we went. I looked over at Jody as we were pulling away, sweat still rolling, heart pounding, and a fresh cigarette in his mouth. He again says he hated me, and will never go to Canada again. I silently chuckled. We were now on our way to the great town of Thunder Bay. Jody wanted to see it…why, I don’t know. But after all the razzing I dished out, it was the least I could do. We did a quick tour of Thunder Bay; stopped at a couple more outdoor stores and head to Atikokan. The drive to Atikokan was pretty much uneventful. Not much traffic and good weather. We arrived at Atikokan at around 2:30 pm. I needed to pick up my new canoe before the Souris River Canoe Shop closes. We pulled into the parking lot and were met by Wayne Docking who is the head of sales for Souris River. A hell of a nice guy, and a Quetico area and canoe expert. We chit chated for a few minutes; he can tell we are pretty die hards and seemed to enjoy our company. We walked into his massive warehouse and there in front of me was my brand new cherry red woven Kevlar canoe. It looked better than I could have imagined. I fell in love instantly. I could see the envy in Jody’s eyes. We quickly loaded her up and headed out to rental cabin that will be our home for the next 3 nights. We were staying about 20 minutes from Atikokan, and about half way there, my stomach started to rumble again, and I quickly slammed on the brakes, jumped out of the truck and made a dash for the woods. I almost made it…..lost my second pair of underwear of the day. Also lost the pants I was going to wear into Quetico. Crap...no pun intended. We made it to our destination. Our cabin was in a resort that also had a large campground next to it. It was not exactly 5 star. Lots of trash around…mostly white. I had never seen more beer bellies, more tattoos, and more pregnant teenagers in my life. We sat in the cabin and people watched the next few hours. We were both pretty tired so we called it a night.