North Bay
Derezo

Earlier today I arrived in North Bay, Ontario! :o

On Wednesday I finally got my G2 drivers license. We have a "graduated licensing system" in Ontario so you're required to hold a G1 before you can drive a 4 wheeled vehicle on government controlled paths alone.

So I booked a week off work (horrible timing, but whatevs) and just ... started.. driving. So far I've driven about 1200 kilometers in the car I've owned, and paid $230/month insanity premiums Ontario insurance on, for the past 5 months, but haven't been legally allowed to drive. Is that normal in other countries?

So now I'm in North Bay, Ontario, at a dive hotel that smells of delicious marijuana, disgusting cigarettes, and sewer runoff. Pretty sure the girl who checked into the room next to me is a hooker. Maybe not... but I'm pretty sure. Last night I slept in my car though, and paying $70 to keep my neck for another few years sounded like a bargain.

Anyone live up here? I gotta go back to work on Tuesday, probably leaving the area late tomorrow and heading back southish.

bamccaig

My finacée's great aunt lives there! That's about all that I know of. I have distant family to the North another 45 minutes or so. I admire your ambition. I've never done an overnight trip like that without planning it first. The closest I came was riding my bike down to Alpena, Michigan (which is only 150 miles each way) without a phone, GPS, or map. If you're driving long hours keep in mind how exhausted you really are. It's easy in a comfortably chair to ignore the signs of exhaustion, but the risks are real. And if you think your insurance sucks now, you don't want to see it with an accident on your record. :P I think Canada is somewhat exceptional when it comes to insurance... Americans pay way less, and from what I gather Europeans/Australians pay less too. Though I think even Western provinces pay less so it may just be Ontario that is so expensive. I blame the South. >:( Append: And congrats on finally getting your license. If you haven't done it yet, I highly recommend taking a driving school program. When I was 16 I did "Young Drivers of Canada". It's steep at $450 (15 years ago, who knows now...), but it's worth it. They really can teach you a lot more than just driving.

LennyLen
bamccaig said:

Americans pay way less, and from what I gather Europeans/Australians pay less too.

Regarding Australia - insurance there is so cheap, you have to be an idiot not to have it, but everything else is expensive.

Derezo
bamccaig said:

I admire your ambition. I've never done an overnight trip like that without planning it first.

Family back home are all worried sick about me... but this isn't the first time I've randomly wandered off without knowing what the next day will bring. I wandered through the US for about 18,000 km -- I squatted in a house in Huston with some cool homeless guys for 2 of the 37 days -- this is a cake walk ;D

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I think Canada is somewhat exceptional when it comes to insurance.

Insurance sure is pushed heavy here -- and Ontario is the safety first province of course. I'm pretty sure moving at a brisk pace while carrying scissors is a fine-able offence. ;)

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If you're driving long hours keep in mind how exhausted you really are.

I was pretty exhausted last night... wandered into a place named "Bummers' Roost" because it looked like a cool spot on the map. Nope -- shoulda googled it first.

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And congrats on finally getting your license. If you haven't done it yet, I highly recommend taking a driving school program.

Thanks, it's been a long time coming. I did take a driving school program which I finished up last week. It is actually up to $700 now (government regulated pricing now, too). Definitely worth it though.

LennyLen

All this talk about Canada made me nostalgic, so I tried locating the first house I lived in in Canada. It, and the rest of the farm buildings, have been demolished though, so here's a view of the street instead (that's our old driveway on the left).

I would say it's the middle of nowhere, but really it's the edge of nowhere, because all the land on the right hand side of the road is America. I probably crossed the border illegally hundreds of times as a kid, as my dog didn't really care about borders.

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edit:

This is the view in the other direction. The road on the American side of the border is the back road north from the closest American town (the main road north goes directly to a border crossing), so people would often drive the back road with contraband, which they'd often throw into the ditch next to where the road turns west (easy to find again from the Canadian side) which they'd pick up once they'd gone through the crossing.

The police knew this though, and had a lookout on a hill near our property. Watching people get busted used to be fun when we were kids.

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Derezo

That's still pretty common in rural areas, too. The countryside here is really beautiful.... except for the black flies. Those things are vicious >:(

I ended up wandering into the woods and pitching a tent on my journey... it was pretty insane and dangerous to do solo, but I'm alive! The bears didn't eat me! :D

I'll post a few photos tomorrow.

LennyLen
Derezo said:

I ended up wandering into the woods and pitching a tent on my journey... it was pretty insane and dangerous to do solo, but I'm alive! The bears didn't eat me!

I used to spend most of the summer hitchhiking and living out of a tent. The most dangerous predators in NZ are cats though, so it's pretty safe.

When the weather starts warming up again, I want to take a trip to Orari Gorge. It's about a one and a half our trip by car (which I now have) from here.

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except for the black flies.

We have sandflies over here. Every area of our island seems to have it's own slightly different variation of them. The ones in the East and North completely ignore me, and the ones in the West eat me alive unless I douse myself in repellent or eat lots of vitamin B. There aren't any in the south as it's too cold. The North Island has sandflies too, and they're probably different again, but I've never spent any time there.

Sandflies:

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Samuel Henderson
Derezo said:

Anyone live up here? I gotta go back to work on Tuesday, probably leaving the area late tomorrow and heading back southish.

About 4 hours west and you have stumbled across my corner of the world... We could have had a beer! Oh well. Maybe next time.

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