Traveling the Trans-Canada Highway: Road Trip Days 16-18

Traveling the Trans-Canada Highway: Road Trip Days 16-18

We left Winnipeg and our comfortable bedroom suite with our family to continue our drive east along the Trans Canada Highway to Toronto. Would you believe it’s a full 24 hours of driving between these two major cities in neighboring provinces? Canada is big! We chose to break it into three days in order to best see the countryside.

For the previous destinations on our journey that started in Vegas, go here.

This is my Vegan MOFO #9. It’s Road Trip Thursday!
16. Winnipeg grocery shopping for the road
Getting some reinforcements for the road before leaving Winnipeg.

Our hosts unloaded their fridge on us and gave us a cooler full of veggies – we have the best family! Among various other produce, we scored a package of 8 romaine hearts, 6 bell peppers, kiwis, pears, and a container of homemade bean salad.

We stopped at a basic grocery store to stock up on our basic fruit calories – apples and bananas. We wanted food for the next three days because we knew we would be in pretty remote areas with few if any really good grocery stores. We also still had our “pantry” bag of canned beans and soups that we’ve been traveling with as just-in-case staples.

16. Ontario TransCanada Hwy Kenora Canadian flag
Driving east along the TransCanada Highway north of Lake Superior. This photo was taken near Kenora, Ontario.

We traveled east along the north side of the Great Lakes. In addition to the giant Lake Superior, there were tons of smaller lakes along the drive and it was very outdoorsy with lots of docks for canoeing and kayaking. In fact, many cars we passed had some type of boat tied to their roof.

18. Ontario salad 3
Lunch salad on the road!

As Jay drove, I quickly threw together a lunch salad for myself of shredded romaine, cut up pears and kiwi, and some blackberries. Totally gourmet.

16. Ontario TransCanada Hwy
The view on each side of the road has changed considerably in the 4,000 miles since Arizona, hasn’t it?

We could just tell we are heading east because both sides of the road were now a tunnel of thick forest. I’m partial to the open view you get in the desert where you can see all the exposed rock surfaces. However, my opinion on this seems to often be different from the norm. 🙂

16. Salad tearing romaine into bowl
Step 1 – Ripping lettuce for an in-car salad

Here’s my process for “making” a salad as a car passenger without pulling over and wasting precious time. First, I rip up the lettuce with my hands into a big salad bowl.

16. Salad cutting pepper
Step 2 – Cutting up some bell pepper

Then I cut up some veggies (bell pepper shown here) with my small bamboo knife. If the car is stopped, I’ll use my full-sized metal chef’s knife (a paring knife would be better), but I feel I play it safe by not cutting with a real knife while driving…

16. Salad romaine pepper, bean mix
Step 3 – Add pre-made beans and sauce

I added a cup of that bean salad from our Winnipeg hosts, and voila, delicious dinner salad without leaving the car!

16. Ontario TransCanada road trip signage
A little travel humor for our road trip
16. Thunder Bay International hostel welcome board
Arriving at our hostel for the night

Our stop for the first night on the drive between Winnipeg and Toronto was the Thunder Bay International Hostel. Fun fact: Thunder Bay has the largest Finnish population outside of Helsinki. This hostel was on the outskirts of town and suited our needs perfectly as a night stopover. I don’t know if I would want to spend an enormous amount of time there… I will say it’s exterior was charming, though.

16. Thunder Bay International hostel outside night
We arrived as the sun was setting to “check in” to get our room.

We pulled in to the hostel at 9pm. We were worried that would be too late, but it wasn’t a problem. In fact, our hostel mates and the owner were night owls and stayed up until midnight talking in the kitchen down the hall. “Booking” a room was very informal and consisted of handing the owner a couple of twenties and being shown a bedroom down the hall.

16. Thunder Bay International hostel room
Hostel room – fine for a night’s sleep

Once again, bare bones room, but fine for just crashing for the night. And the price is right at $40 CAD.

16. Thunder Bay International hostel kitchen
The hostel’s kitchen

The kitchen was a little cluttered, but decently clean and workable. We ate dinner on the road in the car before arriving, but I prepared our breakfasts here the next morning.

16. Thunder Bay J's oatmeal breakfast
Jay’s cooked breakfast of oatmeal

Made Jay some oatmeal with water from the kettle. When it cooled somewhat, I added some Vega smoothie powder. Jay ate this while I drove. I cut up a honeydew for myself, but saved it until later. It was cold out so I sipped tea while driving.

16. Thunder Bay International hostel outside morning
The Thunderbay International Hostel in the morning light.

We snuck away in the morning before anyone woke up. Not a person in sight (or sound). I never thought that 7am was early before, but I’m now convinced the hippy hostel crowd are not morning people!

17. Ontario TransCanada roadtrip honeydew
My late-morning breakfast

When we switched drivers, I got to eat my breakfast of honeydew. It was worth the wait. Love eating large fruit or salad portions while chilling as a passenger in the car. Then I can take my time and really chew.

18. Ontario TransCanada Hwy salad kiwi, pepper, blueberry, pear
Another gourmet lunch “salad” – we were out of greens so I used bell peppers.

We decided to pull in to our next destination earlier in the afternoon so we could enjoy ourselves a little. We chose to stop over in Pancake Bay so we could play at the beach! We found cheap lodging by camping.

The campground is massive – there are 328 total campsites, the majority of which were filled. We got a cool spot on top of a hill where it was much quieter. Unfortunately, though there were less people, the mosquitoes could still find us!

Pancake Bay camping
Our campsite at Pancake Bay

We never did use the picnic table at our campsite because of all the mosquitoes! The middle of a wooded area north of the Great Lakes is not the place to hang around outdoors. Luckily, we had a much better picnic table to use…

iphone and a beach
Look at me – working at my table at the beach. Life is sweet.

There was a special force field around the beach which kept the mosquitoes away. No, not really, but it sure seemed that way… This is by far the coolest picnic table I’ve ever sat at! You see me posing, pretending to work on my iPhone and be location-independent like an internet advertisement?

Pancake Bay dinner beach picnic
Dinner al fresco. Big salad with a side of lentil soup.

Dinner was simple but satisfying, no need to leave the beach to make a campfire. I made another nice big salad and opened up a box of lentil soup. It was delicious, and the lack of prep time gave us more time to play.

We needed to stretch our muscles after two days in the car. So…

Pancake Bay beach running
A beach run – please excuse my camping hair!

We got moving on the beach – not too many people in our way, either. It was actually getting a little chilly. I love running on the beach because it challenges my muscles.

Pancake Bay beach walking
A lovely walk along the beach before bed.

And the day ended with a long walk with my honey in the sand. We went as far as we could go along the water’s edge then headed back. I soaked up the nature and peacefulness because I knew our next stop would be…

Toronto! I know I already posted about the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival and then What I Ate during a day attending it, but despite those spoilers, I’m only now getting this road trip series caught up to the city I’ve been living in for the past month. Right when I’m about to take off to Montreal this weekend!

Now your turn. Where’s your favorite place to camp? Do you have a great hostel story or a go-to favorite place? Leave it in the comments.

This is another What I Ate Wednesday.

Hi! I’M ADRIA SOPHIA, Message Clarity Guide, TEDx Speaker, and host of the Quiet Messenger Podcast. I lead cozy Messenger Masterminds where I help introverted women leaders & sensitive souls tap into the message that moves them then clearly & courageously share it so they can call in their people…and their next level of impact.