In many ways, I tried to take my advice of not being able to see it all in one trip. Last July, I took the whole month off and I came to Thunder Bay and hit it hard. This year, I figured I'd take a more relaxed approach and hit up Thunder Bay Blues Festival and a few other things.
I had also planned on going to Rock Fest in Cadott, Wisconsin right after Bluesfest. From Bluesfest I'd start my early camping on Monday. I thought I'd have plenty of time over the two days to catch up on my blog before the festival itself started.
To my surprise the border crossing into Canada was insanely easy. The border guard who grilled me a ton last time was working the window. He luckily remembered me and asked a few of the basic questions I get every border crossing. I told him I was going to Bluesfest. He asked if I was just there to work on this blog and I said yes. That was good enough and it was a very painless border crossing.
The first place I stopped in Thunder Bay was Prince Arthur's Landing. It was a nice day out.
I then went to the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium to pick up my tickets for Bluesfest. I was surprised to see an American flag flying at equal height of the Canadian flag. In many ways it felt like a symbol of equality between the countries and seemed very welcoming.
I then headed to Man vs. Meat. The food was pretty amazing there. The pulled chicken was perfectly juicy and it hit the spot.
For dessert, I went to the Persian Man. This is a Thunder Bay delicacy and something that goes great after a good meal!
Bay Meats was the next place on the list. Their pepperettes don't require refrigeration, so I bought a case.
I had some more time to kill before my AirBnB would be ready so I headed to Marina Park and walked around.
I quickly peaked into Tim's Meats for some groceries.
By then, my AirBnB was ready. This is the first time I had ever stayed at one. Technically it wasn't through AirBnB itself, but through Dan from Wolfhead Coffee. He bought a house close to his on Peter Street and was remodeling it. I got to be the first guest there.
The house was very much a work in progress, but great for what I needed. I had a place to sleep within walking distance of downtown. It was in a quiet and peaceful neighborhood so it was nice to get some rest. I know I'll be staying there again in the future.
I ate a little supper and washed it down with a beer. After that, I took my walk to downtown. I saw a lot of people with their old classic cars.
I walked past Shoreline. I was happy that "adventure" was over.
I made it to Waterhouse, where I had one of their famous Caesars.
I switched over to beer and then my buddies Ryan and Neal dropped by. Ryan was staying sober for the night and acted as the designated driver.
We then headed to Fastlane to talk with another friend, Kal. He was bartending.
After a while, we headed to The Royalton. It was definitely starting to get cold.
Our last stop for the night was On Deck. We had another drink or two there and then Ryan dropped me off where I was staying.
The next morning I was a bit hungover. Dan told me to drop by to get some coffee in the morning, so I did. It was still a bit chilly.
I decided to buy a bunch of coffee to bring back to Austin. Wolfhead Coffee is some of the best I've had!
After coffee, I met up with one of my readers, Ken. I had a great tasting Pickerel burger at K&A Variety Restaurant & Gas Bar. We then we headed to see the amazing sights from Mount McKay.
I then went to Bluesfest for the first day and hit up the town afterwards.
On my way home, I stopped at a street vendor selling sausages. They really hit the spot.
When I was walking down Cumberland Street, there was a lot of flashing lights. It appears there was a bad motorcycle accident.
The next morning Dan left some smoked fish. It made a good breakfast!
I headed over to Westfort to meet another one of my readers, Daniel. He and his mother Sue joined me for lunch at The Sal. This was a place highly acclaimed by Daniel. I got a mesh of Austin and Thunder Bay. I got a fish taco with some fries with gravy.
After lunch, we headed to Bizarre & Novelty. This is a family business owned and run by Sue and Daniel.
After seeing Bizarre & Novelty, it was time to go to Bluesfest. I went there a while and then met my friends at The Foundry. It was definitely a warm day for Canadian standards! Later that night we hit up Apollo and saw Bill Durst. Then we went to Pier 61 Bar.
Rain was in the forecast the next morning. I fought the rain and went to Hodder Greeks.
It was another walk to Bluefest, this time trying to beat out the rain.
It did rain during Bluesfest, but I was able to stay dry for the most part. I hung out at the Pier a little bit and said goodbye to my friends. The next morning I would be heading to Cadott, Wisconsin for Rock Fest. I know I briefly mentioned Bluesfest in this blog entry, but I go more in detail about it in the following blog entry.
When I leave Canada, it's always bitter-sweet. I have such a great time up there that it would be nice to hang around another day or two. On the other end, my Wisconsin friends would be meeting me at Rock Fest later in the week. I made an early start to my day and stopped by Marina Park for a glance at the sunrise.
I stopped by Metro and stocked up on a few groceries.
I then made it to the border and got a lot more questions coming back into the US than I did in Canada. After telling my life story from the time I moved to Texas four years ago to now, I was welcomed back to my home country. I then headed to Silver Bay to see if I could find some potica at Zup's.
There wasn't any potica, but I did get a few other snacks. I then made my way to Henson's to load up on groceries for my upcoming week campout. Right before that, I made a detour at the Richard I. Bong Veterans' Historical Center.
After getting supplies, I put my car pass and wristbands on. I was now headed to Rock Fest! You can read more details about my Rock Fest experience here. I camped out for the next 5 days until Saturday when I went home to my parents' house.
The next few days would be recovering at my parents' house. The trip that I took, along with being off in the grid in a tent in the elements, will take a lot out of you. I spent Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday cleaning my tent, doing laundry, and just trying to get caught up with everything.
In between this, I rode with my mom, dad, and brother to Wausau so my dad and brother could be fitted for tuxes for my wedding.
The next day was my final day in Marshfield. I got my car washed at the Lava Wash. I then got something to eat at Taco John's and visited with both of my grandmas. After that, there was a mass being said for my grandpa. As soon as that mass ended, I hit the road for Austin.
It was hot for Wisconsin standards, but I was about to go to hot for Texas standards. In the course of my drive, I saw the hottest temperatures I've ever seen with it peaking at 111F (44C).
By the time I got to Austin, it cooled to 100F (38C) I did feel sorry for the UPS guy. My car even seemed to bog down a bit in the extreme heat, so I can't imagine carrying all those packages.
On that Thursday, I just slept. I needed to catch up on sleep. On Friday, I woke up really early to beat the heat and change oil.
On Saturday, Victoria and I went to the dealership and she got a new Escape.
We then celebrated at the Texican.
On Sunday we ran some errands in the hot weather and then enjoyed some Wing Stop. After the errands, we stayed in the AC.
That brings us to this week. I can tell you it's hot. Monday set a record for hottest day ever in July at 110F (43C). It seems like things are going to cool at bit to around 100F (38C), but that's still hot for a native Northerner like me.
The next couple weeks should hopefully be a much calmer in terms of travel. I know I want to rest up a bit and it's just nice to avoid the heat.