Nice to have 2 showers in 2 days. When we will have the next one is not clear. We had a slow start and made our first stop at a waterfall just 20 km up the road, Kakabeka Falls. In the days of the fur trade the canoe’s had to be carried around and over the falls. This was called Portage. There are many towns along the way which have this name in it, indicating that also there you had to carry your canoe and load from one water to another. That is also why the Canadian canoe, which is made out of bark of the birch tree, is so handy. It is very light and durable. Going West, the number of lakes along the way is increasing. And we already had so many. At one of them along the highway, we camped for the night. It is a popular spot as 4 other campers stayed here overnight and some fishermen launched their boat from here too.
The next day we visited the Lake of the Woods museum in Kenora. It is a small museum showing how the town developed from a fur trading town at the beginning of the 19th century to its current state. Somewhere along the line, silver was found in the neighbourhood which expanded the town rapidly. Now the mines are closed. It is an attractive tourist town on a large lake with many small and bigger islands. Holiday homes and houseboats are spread out over the islands. In the harbour you see small boats ferrying people with all their supplies to these cottages.
A bit further up Hwy 17 you come out of the hills onto the flats of Manitoba. Here we gained 1 hour time difference and the road number changes as well to Hwy 1 (Trans Canada Highway). The highway also becomes 4 lanes and the speed limit increases to 100 and even 110 Km/hr. That is not for us. Above 90 km the camper starts vibrating. We first though it was due to one of the wheel covers which we had to fix with 4 tie-wraps. That did not make a difference so after a week we put it back on and just drive slower. That saves also gas. We now manage 9,4 l/100 km while before it was more than 10,1 l/100 km. At a petrol price of Euro 1,74/l it makes a big difference if you plan to drive 34,000 km. Yes. Even here the petrol price are increasing and getting expensive.
Before Winnipeg we passed the halfway point of Canada at 96 deg. 48 min. 35 sec. A good place to stop for a photo op. There was a group of retired Canadian teachers who are cycling the country from West to East (Victoria-St. John) and celebrating their halfway point after 3 month. Still a long way to go for them. The few high-rise buildings from Winnipeg raise up out of the wide planes of corn and soya (?). Planting has only recently been done so it is not clear what is in the fields. The city is well laid out and on this long holiday weekend (Canada day was on July 1st) the traffic was not too busy. We parked next door to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. This museum is housed in a stunning contemporary building designed by American architect Antoine Predock. After taking the elevator to the narrow top of the museum on the 8th floor, you wander down over long marble enclosed bridges/walkways. Each of the floors has a different theme on Human rights and also explores the development of these rights since the first charter was written in 1948. A fantastic building and a sobering museum. The building is situated in a park like surrounding. Many people were walking or cycling in the park. At one point we saw old railroad carriages which are being used for renting out bicycles. Nearby we had lunch/diner in the very modern upmarket Forks Market. Food from many different countries is available and served in small nouveau cuisine fashion. The people around us also came from all parts of the world. It is a real human melting pot. Since it was late in the afternoon, we decided to spend the night at a nearby gas station/truck stop (our first truck stop) just outside of town. We try not to do any driving later than 7pm even though it doesn’t get dark before 9pm.