I'm a changed man since my last post - I've now seen a moose.
In fact, I've seen four - and one of them was ambling in the middle of the road, right in front of our van, without a care in the world.
I'll admit, I was a little dismissive about the size of a moose - my words were "Yeah OK, I've seen a horse before, I get it". What an idiot! Moose are massive. I could comfortably walk underneath one - although that's not a recommended activity apparently.
When I got the itinerary for this tour and noticed some of the travel times, I thought we were possibly erring on the side of caution - adding a few hours on to account for burger stops and Craig's bladder. But no, sure enough, it does genuinely take 18 hours to even leave Ontario. You could lap the UK twice over in that time.
Canada, you big.
The mammoth trip we did was from Highgate, ON to Winnipeg, broken up over two days. We stopped at The Big Nickel in Sudbury, the Big Goose in Wawa (who names these places?), a big Winnie the Pooh statue in White River, Husky the Muskie (a big fish, a reel big fish you could say) in Kenora, and the Terry Fox statue in Thunder Bay. These guys are giving me the full Canadian experience, apparently navigated by sculptures.
Between the assorted giant statues and the plethora of moose (there's a good band name), I am feeling pretty well inducted into Canadian life. I'm one Tim Horton's loyalty card swipe away from a 'free treat' (which I believe is a fight); I've eaten a Cherry Blossom; I've sipped on a Molson Canadian Beer (and I won't be doing that again); I'm brushing my teeth with maple syrup each morning.
Now that we're out west, it's my mission to see a bear. Moose are old news. Let me know what else I should look out for - we stop in Saskatoon, Calgary, Lake Country, Victoria and Vancouver. If there's a statue to be seen, we're there.
Speaking of Vancouver, our 6-hour van game of Slint (name a band starting with the final letter of the previous band - so Port Cities to Semisonic to Cream, etc) was pretty epic - and brimming with obscure BC punk bands, courtesy of Tour Manager and Vancouver resident Paul. Some sounded pretty suspicious to me. Next game I'm going to shout things like "CUTLERY THIEVES" or "PLETHORA OF MOOSE" and see if I'm questioned. They're British metalcore bands, I swear...
We had a fun show in Winnipeg on Tuesday. It was mostly a standing crowd which I always enjoy, as it's what I'm used to from GA shows back home and it adds a certain energy.
Cher was also in town (with Chic and Nile Rodgers, no less) but her show was cancelled through illness. The upshot was that a few folks came across to the Pyramid Cabaret to catch Steven's set instead. Now we're in Saskatoon, we've found out that Cher is also in town tonight.
I think we're being followed by Cher.