an excerpt from Running with the Horses

We were more than 300 miles north of Niagara Falls, Canada, leaving Sudbury.  I suggested that we continued driving north just to see what was there.  For five and a half hours, the road took us far north then southwest. We saw no one and no sign of anyone except for several mail boxes lined along the road. It was miles and miles and miles before we saw the next line of mailboxes. Forests were all around with occasional peeks of sun-sparkled water glistening through the trees.

            The first sign of people was the town of Chapleau. We were starving and spotted the only café on the block-long main street. The sign said Sportsman Hotel and Dining Room. Nothing fancy.

            People on the street stopped and stared at us when we got out of the car and watched us walk inside. It was a little unnerving. Again, inside each person stopped what they were doing and looked at us. We both ignored it, smiled, and sat at a formica top table with chrome legs. The sparse interior reminded me of an old 1920s kitchen; well-worn but serviceable. It match-ed the exterior façade. No one smiled in greeting including our waitress. She was an older woman who looked like her feet hurt. The food offered was plain meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and string beans. When truly hungry basic is more than enough. It was delicious.

Everyone continued to stare at us as we were leaving. They seemed to want to ask what we were doing there!  No one said a word. We thought they were Native Canadians. No one spoke. No one was friendly. There were no open smiling faces. No one was rude either. It was a weird experience I didn’t expect as a seasoned traveler.

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