‘Outhousing’ across the country

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/07/2021 (431 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

What do a three-legged black bear and an outhouse have in common?  The answer might surprise you.

A little over two weeks clear of my second vaccine, I packed up my car and was Montreal-bound to pick up my mom and her cat Rosie, who were moving here to Winnipeg.  

Admittedly, I was concerned about travelling in these strange times given that I was driving alone and unsure of what I would encounter in terms of facilities and accommodations. My concerns proved to be unfounded.

Photo by Debbie Ristimaki The roadside outhouses at rest stops throughout northern Ontario were a lifesaver during a pandemic road trip.

Enter the outhouse.  

I have always found the route through northern Ontario to be well-planned, with rest areas where you can grab a picnic table, relax a bit  – more often than not with a scenic view – and find an outhouse.

More than just another amenity, these outhouses are a necessity, especially today, in our pandemic world, when more modern facilities are not as accessible as they once were.  

In case you are wondering, they are well stocked with toilet paper and relatively clean – or at least as clean as one would expect of an outhouse. The flies were a given.

Being the mature and refined people that we are, mom and I opted to rate the outhouses on a scale of 1 to 10 based on location, cleanliness etc. We called it ‘outhousing across the country’. I know, it sounds odd but one does need to find something to pass the time.

As for the bear…

We met up with it just outside Sault Ste. Marie, when it ran across the highway. It was one of those moments that will remain etched in our heads for a long time. As with many a tall tale, the bear seems to be growing in stature each time one of us tells the story of it having crossed our path.

So what did the bear and the outhouses have in common?  

Absolutely nothing other than they are memories created during my six days and 4,755 kilometres on the road.

And now mom and Rosie have found their new home in Bridgwater Trails.

As you plan your summer getaway, remember that there is at least one thing that COVID-19 cannot take away from you – your experiences, what you make of them and the stories they spawn.

Have a wonderful summer and be safe.

Debbie Ristimaki

Debbie Ristimaki
Bridgwater Forest community correspondent

Debbie Ristimaki is a community correspondent for Bridgwater Forest.

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