After I took my second trip to Thunder Bay, my buddy JP and I decided to visit Bob in Duluth. Originally, we had planned to go to Mall of America and then take I35 up to Duluth. Bob was with me when I hopped the border without a passport, but unlike me, he didn't get his passport. JP and I decided to, instead of going to Mall of America, go up to Thunder Bay and then call Bob from there to rub it in.
Bob had called us to ask how far we were away, and we told him around 30 miles from the border. He asked, "The border of what?" We were actually only about 30 miles from the Canadian border at the time. We then went through the checkpoint, and of course, got pulled into secondary questioning after telling them we were only coming up there to basically grab something to eat and come back. The weather was pretty bad overall and the snow was drifting a lot.
Once they let us in, we called Bob. He was none too happy and basically told us to stay up there. I guess this then gave us an ample opportunity to experience Thunder Bay's nightlife. We were planning on getting a hotel right away but needed to find somewhere with WiFi to get a data connection and our bearings.
We had parked downtown and were walking up to this one bar that you could hear really loud music coming from. We figured there was at least something going on there. All of a sudden when we were outside, 3 chicks came walking by. We asked them where a good place that had WiFi since we were visiting from Wisconsin and data doesn't work well up there. They told us about this one coffeehouse\bar down the road and said they were headed there and if we'd like to join them we could.
We decided to go with them so we could get some more information on the best places to hit up. Since I still had to drive to the hotel, I opted for a soda (pop according to the Canadians). JP decided he was going to try some Canadian beers. We talked with the chicks and discussed different things about the US and Canada. One asked us what it was like growing up in America. I was kind of dumbfounded from that question since I never really thought of it and didn't have much to compare on. Now that I travel more, I might eventually be able to answer this but at the time I just said it was cool and probably not a whole lot different than Thunder Bay since realistically we're only about 300 miles away by the crow flies.
JP was really getting into the Canadian beer. He didn't realize that their beer was 6% or higher by volume. Before you know it, he was outside throwing up in a snowbank. The chicks had to get going anyway, and I needed to attend to JP. The bouncer told me he couldn't come back inside, and I said I'll get him the heck out of here since he's not living up to the Wisconsin legacy.
Well, I started walking JP to the car and every 5 feet he'd puke again. Eventually, he was dry heaving so I figured my car would remain clean. By the time we got to the car, he seemed fine. I drove to the Shoreline Motor Inn. We went to the front desk to check in. In the middle of checking in 2 people started fighting in the lobby, and the desk clerk jumped over the counter and then kicked them out. He then proceeded to finish out check-in. We went up to the room, and the hall lights weren't even really on. There was some garbage sitting in the hall. It was definitely very sketchy.
JP said he wasn't going to drink anymore, and it seemed like he was sobering up a bit so we walked down to the hotel lobby. We walked outside and the same people who had been fighting in the lobby were outside yelling at some other people that were upstairs on the balcony. We walked past them and saw a bar kitty-corner across the road called On Deck. We planned to go in there for a drink or two and then walk up and check out a few more bars. We started talking with some of the locals and I guess we stayed parked there all night. They all thought we were crazy as Americans coming up in the middle of winter, and I swear they kept buying us drinks. Another thing is they were insanely friendly, and even though we had met these people just shortly before, it was like we were their best friends. We BS'd about guns, hunting, and differences between the US and Canada (mainly in regards to guns and hunting). Thunder Bay definitely seemed similar to Central Wisconsin.
We stayed until close and then our walk back to the hotel was fast as we just had to cross the road. We got a good's night sleep and then checked out in the morning. The hotel wasn't as sketchy as it seemed when we first arrived. When we got into the car, it was cold. The GPS was all frosted up and it took a while to warm up. We drove around a bit to explore before we headed back to the border. That's when I got an experience using the Canadian 911 system.
After the whole experience was done and the guy who was having a seizure on the sidewalk was hauled away to the hospital, we headed back for the border. I then stopped at the Metro to spend some of the Canadian currency I had left. After that, we drove back to Marshfield and realized, even though things seemed super sketchy some of the trip, it was a fun and unexpected trip that was completely different than we had planned.
The only picture I took the whole time was these Ketchup-flavored Doritos (which are really good) when I was at the Metro: