Posted tagged ‘Cochrane’

Junior Bears’ Big Weekend Road Trip

April 26, 2015

Weekend Road Trip

1.  Blind River

Frozen Lake Huron.

Bear Lake Huron

They have this stupid windmill located on the lake shore.  Of all the times we’ve been here, not once, have we ever seen it working.   Ever.

Bear Stupid Windmill

2.  Katherine Cove

Frozen Lake Superior.  Junior sees two Great Lakes in one day.

Bear Catherine Cove

A Mom with her kids was on the beach.   Her five year old son wanted a photo of his toy with Junior.  It was some kind of dragon that spat our a plastic flame, from a McDonalds Happy Meal.

I asked the kid what the toys’ name was.  He said it didn’t have one.

I suggested “Clem”, but the kid shook his head “No”.

Then I suggested THUN-DAR and he agreed.

So here is Junior with THUN-DAR.

Bear Thundar

3.  Old Woman Bay

This is last view of the lake you get from the highway, until you get to Marathon, another 200 km further down the road.

Bear Old Womans Bay

4.   Pebble Beach, Marathon

Of course there’s a sign telling you not take any rocks with you.

Bear Marathon Ontario


5.  Rossport

There is absolutely nothing here except some houses     Not even so much as a convenience store.

Bear Rossport

Bear Rossport alke

6   Thunder Bay

This was the furthest west we could reasonably go for the weekend, and still get back to work on time for Monday

Bear Thunder Bay

It was the first town with traffic lights since we left Sault St. Marie.

Bear Traffic Lghts

7. Terry Fox Memorial, Thunder Bay

He ran the equivalent of a Marathon every day, from St. Johns Newfoundland to here.

Bear Terry Fox

8  Beardmore

This is the only thing the town had going for it:  a giant snowman.

Junior was pleased that he was sitting in the “BEAR” letters”.

Bear Beadmore

9.  Geraldton

Sunday morning, at 11:00 AM.

This was one of the “bigger” towns in the area.  So we tried to find a single restaurant that was open.   With no success.

Where do people here go to eat?   There wasn’t even a truck stop.

Bear Geraldton

Bear Geraldton Downtown

10.  Hearst

Big Critters.  Junior made some friends.

Bear Hearst

Junior Moose

Since Thunder Bay, this was the longest stretch of paved road (500 km) we have ever seen without a single McDonalds or Tim Hortons.

500 km mcds

There was also the biggest log pile we have  ever seen.

Bear Log PileBear Log Pile 2

11.  Moonbeam

Everything is always better, when you got UFO’s.

Bear Moonbeam

12.  Giant Polar Bear 

In downtown Cochrane.

Please note:  DO NOT CLIMB.

Bear Cochrane

13.  49th  Parallel

This is just about the saddest road-side attraction I have ever seen.

Beaer 49th Parallel

Bear Plaque

14    Giant Bison

His name is apparently “Earl”.    Maybe being next to Earlton has something to do with it.

Bear Earl the Buffolo

All in all, we drove more ~ 2700 km.

If this had been the UK, we’d have driven a big chunk of the entire country.

Driving UK


A Quick Weekend Road Trip with the Bear

June 14, 2010

This weekend, the Bear and I decided to do a overnight road trip.     Our destination was as far North as far as I could reasonably get, leaving Saturday and coming back at a decent time Sunday evening.

One of the first stops I took photos was Cobalt.

The town peaked about 100 years ago, when there was a big silver boom.

I think it’s always great when a town is named after a metal.

That’s a sure sign that it’s a happenin’ place.   Woo hoo!

Further north,  between New Liskeard and Kirkland Lake,  the Bear and I found a giant critter by the road.  (Can you spot the him? …the Bear, I mean.)

Seems it’s a mandatory by-law in Northern Ontario to have a giant critter every X-number of kilometers.

Though I question the relevance of the bison.  As far as I know, these animals had nothing to do with the development and settlement of Ontario.  The nearest wild bison is about 1500 km away.

But at least its legs were wrapped up in Christmas lights, which I found to be a nice touch.

Next, was one of my favorite stops…the Arctic Watershed

This is the dividing line, north of which all water flows into Hudson’s Bay.

I love crossing the watershed.   It makes me feel I’m getting way up North (even though we’re still not even at 49 degrees latitude).      But there aren’t many places in the lower 48 States like this, except parts of Minnesota, the Dakotas and a tip of Montana.

What’s somewhat surprising, is that the further north I went, the busier and more populated it become.

Parts further Southwest  like the Sudbury or the Soo are all rock and lakes.   But this stretch of Highway 11 is well-farmed with fairly large towns peppered along the way.  In some places, it hardly feels north at all.

We finally reached our destination target, which was Cochrane.

As you can see, it’s VASTLY different from downtown Cobalt.

Cochrane is close to the furthest North Highway 11 gets, before it veers west towards Kapuskasing,  Hearst and eventually dips back down towards  Thunder Bay.

Cochrane is only 49 degrees latitude,  hardly what you’d call the sub-Arctic.    It’s no worse than North Dakota, Idaho or Minnesota.

Hell, even Calgary is further north.

But the difference here, is that in this part of Ontario, Cochrane is the last town.

There’s nothing above Cochrane except some access roads to hydro dams,  logging roads,  and the occasional mining camp.

Even those rustic roads eventually end…and then you’re as north you can get by car (in this part of the continent, at least).

I’ve been there.   It’s a pretty awesome feeling, to be at what I call the End of the World.

(But that was on another trip, and that’s for another story).

Anyway, these is one  way you can get further North.   Cochrane is the Southern Terminus of the Polar Bear Express.    It’s a train that will take you across hundreds of miles of muskeg/swamp, until you get to Moosonee on James Bay.

(I didnt’ have time this weekend to do that…that will be on my to-do list…for another trip.)

But I did get a picture of the Bear with another giant Critter.

Cochrane really enjoys milking it’s “Polar Bear” status.    Though I suspect the nearest wild polar bear isn’t found within 500 miles of this place.


On the way home, I decided to take 60-mile detour at Matheson and  take Highway 101 east toward the Quebec side.

One thing you’ll find on Northern Ontario back is lots of evidence of logging.     They manage to hide it quite well on the major routes where all the tourists drive,  but on the back-roads, sometimes they dont’ bother to try.

Next, was Rouyn-Noranda,  a town 500 km Northeast of Montreal.    It’s claim to fame is its big copper smelter.


It was kind of a shock, to drive through 100 km of forest and lakes, to suddenly come across this dirty mill town that looks like it would better belong in the Rust-Belt down south.

I mean, how’d you like to have THIS in your back yard?

And judging from the Quebec flags flying around, I suspected this wasn’t exactly the type of town you’d want to go waving a Canadian flag around on July 1st.

In this case, I decided it would be best to NOT put the Bear in the middle of the street, and NOT to take a photo.

The drive home after that was rather uneventful, driving through several hours of boring farmland.    This part of Northwestern Quebec was just as boring as the Ontario side.    I felt I this could have been anywhere.

Ironically, it was within the last 90 minutes of my drive, that the forests and scenery began to look nice again, like the Canadian-Shield wilderness that I’m used to.

1300 km in two days.   Not bad.

Wonder what I’ll do NEXT weekend?