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Monday, July 1, 2013


      Imagine driving through the Trans-Canadian Highway wilderness terrified, that any moment, a rodent could run up your leg. We found that kind of excitement, way north, in our attempt to find France in North America. 
      We began by preparing to pass through customs in Sault St. Marie.  Besides our passports, we had spent a lot of time and money having our dog documented and vaccinated for everything but polio.  As is it turned out, the customs officer just glanced at her and quipped, "Cute dog". 

   We were excited to be driving into another country but  After a block, horror,our GPS stopped working.  The tourist information folks said that often happens to people like us.  
     To find our way, they gave us a large folded paper with a large picture of Canada on it. They said, "The lines on it represent roads.  Follow them to the places that you want to go."  Weird.

      We loved last year's trip to France.  Our hope was that we'd zoom 500 miles until we reached Quebec. There we'd settle back into lazy days sampling wine and sipping exotic coffee with hot-buttered baguettes.  Boy, were we in for a few surprises.
       We spent the day driving past ten million trees, 2000 lakes, and two dozen Amish people in their horse-drawn wagons.
At the end of the day a woman let us camp next to her trailer park. 

In the morning, Pi began chased a curious chipmunk under the van. We thought it was cute. A half-hour later, when we were speeding west on highway 17, Pi went into  "crazy dog hunting mode".  We suspected  that the chipmunk was hiding in our camper.
      It is no easier to locate a rodent in our van than a rat in an attic.  There is plenty of "stuff" and places to hide.  We 

stopped the van to let Pi burrow beneath the bed. No luck.  If the munk was there we had to go deeper.  

    We decided to continue driving in hopes that our dog was wrong, and, if she wasn't, the lil' hitch-hiker would not scurry up our legs.  It wasn't easy to drive with that thought in mind.

    After reaching a camp site on the Ottawa River, we began emptying the van.  I had barely started digging out the back basement when a chipmunk -who looked a lot like "Alvin" without his shirt and hat- popped up and jumped out.  He looked around,  discovered he was 400 miles from home, and ran into the underbrush. 
      I made a fire and my wife prepared dinner.  As we were toasting our good fortune, the chipmunk emerged from the bushes and made another run for the van.  Pi gave chase

until her chain yanked her to a stop.  It was enough to turn the rodent around and give us time to batten the hatches.
    We woke up to rain the next morning but thankfully, the  dog who can smell any animal, was calm.
    Francesca, Pi, and I resumed our Quebec quest knowing our pants were safe.        

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