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A Roseau to Winnipeg and Back Workcation: Oh, Canada

Since we were up this way why wouldn't we venture into Canada? Scott and I have enhanced drivers licenses.

That means we can cross the border without a passport.

We were allowed to bring birth certificates for the kids.


We crossed into Canada and everything suddenly looked Canadian.

Doing the touristy things.

Scott wanted to camp and I wanted to go to Winnipeg. We decided on both, by staying our first night in Winnipeg.

This was a good decision. We settled on Thida's Thai Restaurant near our hotel.

Theo loved the food.

Meadow loved the Thai egg rolls.

Romenesko offspring love to accidentally flip you off.

We had an hour before we could check into our hotel so we walked around downtown.

Modernism is more varied from city to city and region to region than you think.

Theo has to copy his sister.

I got our car and then we dropped everything off at the hotel.

 We searched for hours on air bnb looking for a place that wasn't too outrageous. In the end we went with Hotel Tonight and found this historic hotel.

The Hotel Fort Garry. I highly recommend Hotel Tonight for last minute bookings. Always have gotten great deals.

One of these is not like the others. Since I had the bikes I drove the car over the river and then biked back to the hotel. Thrifty traveler 4 life.

 Meadow couldn't believe we were staying in a castle.


Cute wife and cuter kids.

Without any freeways in the city there was some crazy traffic on some of the stroads.

When Scott came back we went back on our bikes to explore.

Luckily we were in a bike friendly city.

The cars and the bikers both seemed pretty aggressive, but there were trails everywhere.

We went over by the Forks and quickly got lost.  The trail that's normally down here was flooded.


We followed the actual trail to see where it would go.

Then we decided to get ice cream which was the opposite way.

Meadow was a good sport (actually pretty whiny) and was happy when we made it to the shop.



Chaeban Ice Cream was started by Syrian refugees and features unique flavors that come from the Middle East like Abir Al Sham: rose and orange blossom water, pistachios and cashews. Yum.

Meadow complained about biking so we promised her another playground.




Sunny skies turned to dark clouds and a brief downpour.

We were hungry for dinner and decided the Forks food hall would be the best. The owner of the AmericInn back in Roseau had suggested we go here and we were not disappointed.

We settled on pizza and beer.


Along the river you can sit and drink your beer. Minneapolis needs a place like this.

The Midtown Global Market is sort like this, but imagine if it was right next to the Mississippi or the Chain of Lakes.

While biking away we saw a street performer.

A fire juggler. Meadow was enthralled.

Beautiful.



It was cool to see the hotel hasn't changed much.

And why would it?


I found this switch in our closet. After showing it to Chelsea she figured out that it was for the light to go on when you open the door.

I'm pretty sure I told you that, but you didn't listen to me.

We had a small room, but we made due.





This next morning we packed up the car while the children slept.

Back across the river I went.




I found a curb protected bike lane on the way back! This would come in handy later.


We explored the hotel before leaving.



Meadow did not want to leave the castle.

After our first choice for breakfast didn't serve panckes we headed back to The Forks.


The kids got "loon cakes" while Scott and I got big breakfasts.

This was not your American corned beef hash.


Before heading out we went to the top of the lookout tower.

We then biked back to our car.

While driving to the Lake of the Woods we saw lots of bikers with "Bike to the Lake" shirts.

Well there it was. The Lake. 

The Lake of the Woods looked completely different on this side. It seems that Canada hogged the 15,000 islands. It felt more like a developed Boundary Waters on this side.


I so want to own a cottage (yes they call them cottages over on this side of the border) on one of those islands.

We followed them our whole route.


Then we made it to the town of Kenora.

We were just about to go to the Canadian Lake of the Woods Brewing Co. when the bike race ended right at the brewery.

We walked through downtown Kenora and found what seemed like a mini Chinatown.


We chose this one. We're Yankees after all.


We may have ordered way too much food.

It hit the spot.

After eating we checked out the waterfront.




On the American side all of the cities are tiny. A few thousand people. The Canadian side is full of cities like Kenora with upwards of 15,000 residents.


This old hotel has seen better times. Hopefully someone renovates it someday.


Sadly the brewery was still packed.

Theo has gotten really good a walking these past few weeks.

Then we headed down the lake to Rush River Provincial Park to camp for the night.

We got a really nice walk-in site.

The forest and landscape looked straight out of the BWCA.



We explored the site while Brooke setup camp. She's really good at that.

Lucky for him I like doing it.


We had to stop at the playground by the beach.

I do exist.


The kids played on the shore while the parents swam.



This kid.

We were surprised that there were no bear lockers. Maybe with all the traffic on the Trans-Canadian Highway, bears stay clear. IDK.


Too bad we couldn't stay another night.

Theo was ready to return to nature. We sadly had to be back home. I had a job to shoot.


On the way out we got cinnamon rolls from the park shop.

There's the rushing river.




I had to stop and take some pics at the Sioux Narrows.

Dang. Isn't Lake of the Woods beautiful. After the trip, you know I looked into buying Canadian real estate. Ha.





Islands for days.



So many homes were on the islands.

Meadow drew about our camping trip which then turned into our camping trip with Anna and the kids. I love the drawing of sleeping Theo.

I still think this was us camping at Rushing River no matter what she says.

A few more pit stops.


Eventually we crossed back over and into International Falls in Minnesota this time.

Of course we couldn't think of something more American than a good Mexican restaurant. Barajas it was.

Ms. Super Taster thought is was too spicy. Tough audience.

We picked up some really expensive roadside berries from a Russian emigre. It was worth it.

Scott parked our car under a super sappy tree in Winnipeg. Our whole car was super sticky.

This was also when we thought we were going to run out of gas. We luckily did not.

Did you know theres a town called Meadowbrook in Minnesota? Probably not because this is literally it.

We finished our adventure by stopping at the Hull–Rust–Mahoning Open Pit Iron Mine just outside of Hibbing. Yes, the birthplace of one Bob Dylan and the home to the "Grand Canyon of the North."

I had no idea it was this large.

535 feet deep and they aren't done mining the taconite. The taconite iron ore built the cities you probably call home. 

Some of these buckets came from Bucyrus-Erie, which is just south of my hometown.





Meadow loved these. She's never seen a digger so big.





Meadow just liked climbing the fence.



This is the place little boys dreams are made of.



Until next time Hibbing.

We were hungry and happened to pazz Daniel'z favorite reztaruant, Zorbaz.


They've hadz a Bent Paddlz on tapz. How can you complainz?

Daniel hates this place because every letter s is replaced with a z on their menus.



I know Daniel hates it, but I love that you can get pizza or Mexican.

And they're all over the state's lake cities. It's a good option. Kind of like Culver'z.

Until next time Zorbaz.

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