It was early morning as we surged through Ontario and the mist over the lakes looked absolutely mythical. The wilderness looked so serene and I couldn’t help but wonder whether anyone ever really walked through the places we were whizzing by. Places without people are almost an abstract concept to a city dweller like myself. I don’t believe I’d ever seen anything like the view out the window before, and if I’d forgotten, I’m glad I remembered.
Breakfast that day wasn’t bad. I had French toast partly to invisibly make my sister happy (she doth love the French Toast) and partly to try something a little different. We dined with Craig and his mother, whose name I can’t recall at the moment. My dad had scrambled eggs, re-heated hash browns, and that oily-and-melty breakfast sausage.
As we broke our fast, Craig’s mother noticed the blur of White Birch trees and noted that those kinds of trees simply didn’t grow around her home. Frankly, I’m still in awe of people who can recognize trees without name tags.
There were huge swathes of colour across the top of the treeline. Yellow, green, brown. Like riding right through nature’s palette.
The Dome car, which is ideal for landscape views and sunlit reading sessions, can get crowded fast. There’s a strange cold up there where you feel fine up top, but chilly around the legs. When I first saw the windows I thought they were remarkably clear, but as I started to review pictures later on in the trip, I was a little disappointed by how much dirt was actually captured in my shots.
Some travellers had brought their books with them to relax, others some had e-readers, and some had actual friends (wistful sigh). I was glad for the iPad and not just the iPhone, as the larger screen helped me get a lot more reading done.
Lunch consisted of Angus burger, brownies and vanilla ice cream. De-freaking-licious.
Marilyn and Rory from Australia were our lunch buddies, retired teachers both. Marilyn was very nice, but I think Rory was partially deaf and seemed more content to simply munch on his own.
When I checked in on my room in the early afternoon I noticed that Old Man Anger, who had emitted all the colors of the swearing rainbow the night before, was gone. Not even an Angry Bag was left in his suite. As I walked back towards the dome car I tried to remember if spontaneous combustion had anything to do with being old and angry.
Later in the afternoon we heard over the PA that the last dome car on the train had been jettisoned due to a case of overheating (and a case of generally working not so good). The way the announcer put it sounded like “well, it’s somebody else’s problem now”, but I also thought that it could just as easily be someone else’s party. Free domecar in the middle of nowhere? Score!
We made our first quick stop in Hornepayne, the largest supplier of unicorn morphine. The town doesn’t seem to receive many visitors, as was evidenced by the broken down school building right by the train track. Its shattered windows and boarded up doorways made it look like a Halloween display that people had forgotten to take down (year after year). The stop was just 15 minutes, but it was good to stretch.
I ended up sleeping until 8:30 PM and I awoke to an orange sunset in the distance and what seemed to be oil pumps in the fore.
Dinner was medium rare prime rib with wine, potatoes, seafood chowder, and chocolate torte for dessert. Every part of the prime rib was juicy, fatty, and delicious. We dined with Marilyn and Rory again, and Rory suggested, between bites, that the bumps we heard in the night could be moose that we were simply bowling over.
We were told to set our watches back an hour during dinner, but it simply didn’t seem to matter. Time mattered less on the train.
I spent the rest of the evening in the dome car alone reading iBooks as the last bits of western Ontario whisked by.