Thunder Bay: A Free Meal, New Shoes, Rest, and a Macabre Story

As I mentioned before, there are lengthy periods of time during this walk that are flat out boring; however, the addicting element to this walk has been waiting for those unexpected new experiences, and these last few days have been interesting and full of new experiences.

My walk into Thunder Bay was very realxed, since the rolling terrain is now behind me, and I was able to walk the length of Lakeshore Drive into Thunder Bay.  Lake Shore Drive is a quiet roadway sandwiched between the busy Trans Canada Highway on one side and the picturesque Lake Superior cottage country on the other.

I forgot to mention the following great happening just before entering Lake Shore Drive, which didn’t start out great, but good things happen to those who wait, I guess.  Ok, so lately, everytime there is a 10% chance of rain in the forecast it rains, and that day was exception, except that it opened up for the briefest period of time just as I was walking towards the Flying J Truck Stop to sit and figure out where to camp for the night.  

When I arrived outside the door to the Flying J, I took off my umbrella hat and sorted my harness, gloves, hat, and sunglasses; however, for some reason a number of people peppered me with some very thoughful observations and smart ass comments, such as it’s wet out there, eh; where you headed to; hey, can I borrow your umbrella.  As expected, I was at a loss of any great words to satisfy these individuals.  Anyways, water off a wet walker’s back!

Anyways, I entered the Flying J restaurant ordered a coffee, and began to look at my GPS and Google Earth on my cell phone for a suitable location to setup my tent for the night.  Luckily, I was familiar with the area, since I vacationed (cottage with Portia and parents) just 15 km from here off of Lake Shore Drive a month or so ago.  After a short time, the one waitress (Below, right) asked if I was hungry, since she heard me on the phone talking about the discharge of all my bug spray within my food bag and that I had to throw some of my food items out.  She then asked if I I was hungry, which I always am, and stated that if I tell her the story of why I am walking she would pickup the tab up for anything I wanted!  So I ordered away, which included fried chicken, strawberry milkshake, a fried Persian, and a few cups of coffee!  This was the first free meal at a restaurant that I have received during my walk, and the food and service was the best, naturally!  Thank you both for turning the end of the day around for me — if you are reading this.   

Above.  The two waitresses (I alway forget names!) that bought me a wonderful dinner at the Flying J Restaurant a few minutes east of Thunder Bay.  

Well, after 1700 km of walking some new shoes were desprately needed (Below).  A big thanks to my friend Kayla and Brady for kindly mailing these shoes to me!  These new shoes fit well. 

I am currently resting in Thunder Bay at the Sleeping Giant Guesthouse (Below), which is centrally located, quiet, comfortable, safe, and clean.  This place is a real gem, especially the welcoming nature of the owner and her family, which you don’t get when you stay at a motel or hotel; moreover, the price is right for a parsimonious individual like me.

Also, I now have a new appreciation for a shower and clean clothes, since it has been some time I have had clean clothes, especially clean underwear.

Now onto the explanation of the blood splattered bench and macabre incident while in Thunder Bay.  It all started after the owner of the hostel I am staying at came back after visiting her mother’s memorial bench at a nearby park, and the mention that her and her daughter saw some blood splatters on the bench and remnants of a large pool of blood on the concrete base of the bench.  She knew that police were investigating a body found near the bridge (Below), so she called the police and asked if they knew about it, and if it was ok for her to clean it up — she had family arriving in a few days and wanted to show them this memorial bench without the blood splatter and remnant blood pool stain on the concrete!

Anyways, I went over with her daughter and boyfriend in the morning after breakfast to take some pictures of this blood on the bench, since I obviously had nothing else to do!  When we arrived I saw a police vehicle under the bridge in the area where the deceased individual was found.  A few minutes later a very kind detective walked over and apoligized for the obvious mess, and mentioned that the blood on the bench was from another unrelated incident: an eye gouging incident, which is shocking to hear, and even more shocking to hear that this type of violence is almost common place at this beautiful park and within the City of Thunder Bay.

My impression of Thunder Bay after talking with a number of people and the detective reveals a preponderance of violent acts in this city, especially among individuals living a high risk lifestyle; moreover, these thoughts were further cemented after a short cycle to Walmart to pickup a few grocery items the day after.

Regardless of what I have witnessed, I still think Thunder Bay is a beautiful city located on the shore of the most magnificiant and rugged lake in the world; however, Thunder Bay is a small city facing big city problems of alcoholism, drug use, and the high risk lifestyle choices of community members within this city.      

The following is the The Chronicle Journal’s article of the above incident:

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