Our first night in Manitoba, we stopped at some ungodly hour way past my bedtime at a trailhead parking lot off the side of the highway. The best thing about Vannessa is that we are completely self-sufficient when we need to be. Well stocked with food and water, a bathroom, kitchen and comfy beds, she is making this a pretty luxurious trip and so convenient for when we want to stop and sleep yet we find ourselves in the middle of rural Manitoba.
Our first stop was Winnipeg, another city we are pretty familiar with because when Kirk and I were first together we frequently drove there to visit friends. Weirdly, most of those trips were in the dead of winter for New Years Eve parties, so seeing Winnipeg all thawed out and green was a nice surprise. Of course, we played “One Great City” by the Weakerthans on repeat and educated our kids on the political climate of early 2000’s and the influence of the Canadian EMO scene. Katie rolled her eyes and asked if we could switch it back to Taylor Swift. When we ignored her, she put her headphones back in and that was the end of her lesson on Winnipeg.
Our original unplanned ‘plan’ was to head to Grand Beach for the day, and end at the Forks for the evening. However, the pouring rain had us asking friends and the internet for good alternatives. Of course, it was a Monday, and the Human Rights Museum was closed, so that wasn’t an option either, and the Forks is best experienced on a nice day when you can enjoy walking around outside. We snapped a soggy picture of the Legislature grounds but weren’t feeling too inspired by much else in the city.
However, the Canadian Mint sounded pretty cool, so we checked out a tour there and learned all kinds of interesting stories like the time they minted a giant $1 million coin and then one of the security guards stole it with the help of his two thieving brothers and a wheelbarrow. They caught them, but never found the coin, and it is now worth over $8 million in gold value alone. So, everyone keep an eye out for someone trying to make change with an unusually large coin and promptly report them to authorities. Or give them their change and turn around to make $8 million.
I don’t judge.
While impatiently waiting for my kids to buy trinkets in the gift shop (I am not into trinkets), I flipped open Facebook to see that our friends Jeff and Deanna from Vegreville (Vannessa’s hometown!) were hanging out in Winnipeg too and had time to kill before their flight so we arranged to meet at the famous BDI (Bridge Drive In) for some decadent ice cream which in my opinion is a way better way to waste your money then on trinkets. Trinkets get thrown in the garbadge but that much ice cream lives with you in your arteries for the rest of your life, solidifying those memories until you die.
What is it about being in another city that makes seeing someone from close to home more fun and
makes ice cream taste so much better?
With the rain still coming down heavy and the forecast shifting in the wrong direction to make for a beach day, we decided to put a pin in Manitoba and catch all the sights on the way back through.
Heading east out of Winnipeg was the first time this trip that things started to feel a little more unfamiliar. Leaving the prairies is a bit like leaving home, and felt like there was a lot of unknowns ahead of us.
Oh Hello Ontario.