Road Trip to Cochrane

Vacation - Cochrane


Our long awaited vacation to Cochrane was finally here. We had saved for it for a few months so we could enjoy it. We got a package deal which was great. Outlined below:Accommodation (three nights); At the Great Adventure Inn. It was quite an adventure, we could hear everything the people above us were doing. Even using the facility. Ewwww.Rail travel in the historic Polar Bear Express

;Guided tour of Cochrane; Visit the Ehkwateh Art Gallery, the largest native art gallery in Northern Ontario;

Observe polar bears in a special rescue and rehabilitation facility or for a closer look you can choose to swim alongside the polar bears in a separate wading pool adjacent to the bear pool;

Walk through the Heritage Village, a re-creation of Cochrane in the early 1900’’s;

Delicious three-course dinner in the Polar Bear Express dining car (beverages are extra);

Relish an Authentic Aboriginal lunch;

Breakfast (three mornings);

and Live entertainment in the Polar Bear Express entertainment car (beverage is extra).

We traveled up in my husbands little Madza Miata. Drove with the top down for the first little bit, but the closer we got to North Bay, Ontario, the clouds just opened up and down came the rain. We had to pull over real quick to get that top up. And it stayed up for the next three days. It rained all the rest of that day, and when we got up Tuesday morning, it was raining. A real dull and dreary day. It got real wet the further north we went, and downpoured really bad at times.

And this was in July. In seemed more like November.

We were thinking of stopping in Kirkland Lake for lunch, but Ron went right by both entrances. We stopped at a little road side resturant and got lunch.

Was only an hour or so to Cochrane, and got in around 2:30 pm, and was given the keys to our room. Two double beds, table chair, fridge. We were whipped so lay down for a few hours. And decided to explore Cochrane. Not much to speak of. But took a few pictures of the big white polar bear in front to the information center.

Went thru a heritage train of by gone years.

Had something to eat at a really expensive place, got some pepsi’s, bought my granddaughter a polar bear and then went back to the motel room to watch some T.V.

At eleven, settled down to sleep, however with no sound proofing we heard everything that was being said up in the room over us.

But, with the day we had, we were tired and soon sleep overcame us and we were out.

Second Day

Train ride to Moosonee. Thrills for all.

We boarded at 9 am, and started out, I got the window seat.

But it soon got a little much. 6 hours of trees, trees and more trees and just when you couldn’t stand anymore trees, along came some more.

Just don’t come crying to me to "Save the Trees" Up here, there is no danger of them becoming extinct. I was not impressed with this train ride. It was not worth the money or time to come all this way.

My husband decided to read a magazine we had brought with us and told said I was to let him know when something interesting came into view.

Something interesting? Like what? another tree?

Moosonee: A long way to go for a personal pan pizza and a Pepsi.

It was wet, cold and miserable. More like November and the train people just kicked us off to fend for ourselves.

We came prepared for mosquitoes and black flies. Well, no self respecting mosquito would be caught dead in this weather. What we did need was a fur lined parka, hats, scarves, boots and mitts. Some got off with just sandals amidst the muck and guck.

Saw a dog just roaming around free, without a leash or master, free to roam and poop at well. No pooper scooper’s up here at the gateway to the arctic.

Is this supposed to be God’s country? Well, he really forsook this place. And my husband wanted to spend the night up here and go home the next day. Ohhhhh, I don’t think so. Nay Nay! Are you out of your mind?

A tour group from Texas was on the train as well. I think they went from the train to the station and this was where they stayed. This was so far from their comfort zone they wanted nothing to do with it. Neither did any of us. There was nothing in Moosonee for a tourist. Like, if you want to become a memorable town, well I am not sure what this place was, you got to open some little touristy shops for us to spend our money in. We are tourists, that is what we do.

I just wanted to get into someplace warm. The restaurant bar my husband just took a peek in was judge unworthy of us to go in and get warm. We went to the shopping store, and as I went in I saw a pizza Hut sign. But my husband came without deodorant and I told him to get some. And I went to the little murky Pizza Hut place and ordered a personal pan pizza and a Pepsi. I had to clean off the table before I sat down.

Ron came in with a bag that was too big for what I told him to get. Instead of a deodorant he got Butter tarts, did he brain leave him?

We decided to walk to the train station, seeking solace from the freezing weather. All the Texans were there.

I asked, "How do you like Canada now?"

We were supposed to board the train at 5:30 pm, but we were allowed to go on at 4:30. Please take pity on us!

Now we have to go back over the same mind numbing territory. Oh, I forgot to mention the scary bridge we crept over on the way up. Moose River was really wide.

I was thinking maybe this was the day we went into the drink. This is when I introduced my husband to the window seat. A dubious distinction at best when all you see are trees.

I am so tired of "God’s Country" I just want to get out of it and never, ever return.

We actually saved for months to come here. People were raving about how great the Polar Bear Express was. What is there to rave about, well maybe the mind numbing ride and then we had the pleasure of walking about in the cold, wet and wind. No sidewalks to speak of, mud up to our ankles, dreary miserable day. The cold was numbing the brain. The saying, "It seemed like a good idea at the time: comes to mind. A good idea it most certainly wasn’t.

This is not a good idea. Everyone, don’t even think about this trip. You will not like it. It’s way too long, if you are thinking of taking pictures, don’t. I think I took two pictures in Moosonee.

There is nothing up in Moosonee. Nothing. Save 200.00 return.

Move along folks! Nothing to see here. Literally.

I will spare you the agony of a mind-numbing train ride and save you some money. Trust me! You will thank me in the long run, and this is a long, long, long run.

At least on the way home, it got dark around 9:30 and it was too dark to see out the window. That was a blessing.

One older gentleman of 85 and his sister was on a memory lane trip. Aren’t those the most precious things? Memory being 64 years ago. That is as long as I have been alive, nearly. He had lived and worked up in Moosonee in 1944. He had a house, worked at a business. 64 years later.... hmmmmm... no house, no business, no memory lane to speak of.

"You can’t go home again" and expect it to be the same. Not after 64 years anyway. and not in Moosonee.

The only good thing about this train ride was that it finally ended. We got off at 12:30 A.M.

We never want to see the inside of a train ever again!

Thursday, July 10

Awake at 5 am, the sun has not made an appearance since we arrived here.

At 7:30 we went to get some breakfast. The waitress asked us if we had a bad trip? Bad Trip? What kind of acid were we on yesterday.

Acid = bad trip

My husband mentioned that it was a trip from Hell.

Excuse me! But hell is supposed to he hot. This trip had no heat whatsoever. It was more like, "Hell frozeth over."

We next boarded a school bus with 21 Texans. What a hoot and a holler that was!

First up was the Polar Bear habitat. They were no where near the water where we could take closeup’s. This trip was not shaping up the way I figured it would. But... the sun finally came out. And the Texans didn’t want anyone to mess with the sun. We walked thru a pioneer village. Whoopie!!

Then at 11:30 we watched them feed the bears. They were given romaine lettuce, carrots and 2 fish. And they said they loved watermelon.

Next stop was an Art Museum. The paintings were beautiful.

Before we had lunch we were told the story of the 13 old Indian women of the moon or something. She then went month to month describing each moon Indian.

We were hungry, didn’t care. Finish up woman and feed us!

We had a soup, sandwiches and desserts. Finally, food.

Next was a visit to the Tim Horton Museum. Wheeeee! Hockey stuff. NOT Interested.

Tim Horton died in 1974, he hit something hard enough while speeding on an interstate, that it killed him dead.

He was born in Cochrane and they made a hero of this person.

Hero! He was killed speeding in his high powered car. He had a wife and children. He was selfish and had no concern for his own life let alone what effect this would have on his family.

Then came the exciting tour of Cochrane. Oh, heart be still. This was not really that exciting. Finally the day was over for the touring, we were out of tickets. The mind-numbing tour was over. But we had such a good time with the Texans they wanted to take us back to Texas. It was tempting, but they were going to go to Niagara Falls first, and we had been there twice, so graciously declined.

Friday, July 11

Finally heading home, A long, long road ahead of us. We are never ever going north again. It’s cold up there.

The only good thing about this trip is that we are leaving Cochrane. And I have come to the conclusion that we are getting too old for these road trips.

Along the way, they had some cute and interesting little side roads along a stretch of highway. Such as: "Chipmunk Road", "Red Deer Road", "Lynx Road", "Wild Goose Creek & Road". "Bluejay Road", "Cardinal", "Starling" & "Owl Road"

Oh, we finally saw a fox, the first wild we have seen on this awful trip.

Back to the road names. "Mooseridge Cr", Silver Tire Raod."

We stopped just south of Timmons, and put the Roof down on the Miati, and discovered I left my cowboy hat in Cochrane, and I hope my camera is in the over bag that is in the trunk.

And without my hat my head is cold.

We met up with construction sites, not conducive for fast travel.

But my husband was able to get out of the car, get the other hat we brought with us and my camera.


I put a white lace scarf around the straw cowboy hat so it wouldn’t fly off, not the style statement but at this point just wanted my head to stay warm.

A few more road signs, "Jumping Cariboo Road", "Rattler Road", "Flying Squirrel Road", "Red Squirrel Road", "Mosquito Trail", I think that is one trail I will skip, thank you very much.

Also a poem I made up on trees:

O, that I would never see,

Another Green and bushy tree,

Tree and trees of every kind

Enough to numb your very mind.

Well that is our vacation. It took almost a week to get over it. Will not be going back there again. I agree with my husband in this, If we have been somewhere once, that is all we want to experience it. And this is one of those once in a life time trips.

The End

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