TEXT SIZE: Decrease text size Reset text size Increase text size Print Page

MuskokaONline.com News - #GOTLOCAL



Posted: 2022-05-30 17:23:45 By: thebay

Yesterday, Shauna and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary, the same way we had for the previous 27 years, in each other’s company. From 1994 to 2005, each year shortly before our anniversaries, we drove out to the Canadian Rockies to hike the mountains. It became a tradition, which we followed for 12 years in a row, after having spent the first part of our honeymoon in Banff, Alberta and falling in love with the area.

One of the many things I liked about those trips out west was the drive to and from there. We usually took our time and made the trip in 5 days. The first night was always spent outside Sault St. Marie at the Carolyn Beach Inn & Restaurant in Thessalon, Ontario (https://www.carolynbeachinn.com/). The next night, we always stayed in Thunder Bay, and the 3rd night was spent either in Kenora or sometimes Winnipeg. In Kenora, Ontario, there is an unusual, cylindrical-shaped hotel, the Best Western Lakeside Inn & Conference Centre, that looked like a fat smokestack. The rooms smelled funky, but the view was great. In Kenora, we’d always eat at Boston Pizza and every year, the same drunk was outside to greet us as we walked in. We were practically on a first name basis. If we felt ambitious, we’d spend night 3 in Winnipeg, but I never liked Winnipeg all that much. That is another story, all in itself.

My friend Bob from Buffalo, NY used to gripe about driving through the plains of Nebraska and how boring it was. He’d joke that the road was so flat and straight that he could put a brick on the accelerator ("redneck cruise control") and take a nap. Personally, Shauna and I loved driving through the plains, and many of my original songs were inspired by those flat, open spaces. Once we had crossed the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border, we were in the home stretch, and somewhere just over the border, we always stopped in Moosomin, Saskatchewan to eat at The Red Barn Family Restaurant (https://www.theredbarn.ca/). It has been 17 years since we last made the trip, but we know that The Red Barn is still in existence as an oasis in the wastelands. That restaurant served the best broasted chicken and french fries we've ever tasted, and the milkshakes were excellent too. Many times, travelling east or west, Shauna and I would come into that restaurant, in the middle of nowhere, road worn and tired, and the meals were consistently fantastic. We found it amusing that directly across the road, stood a KFC restaurant which was always empty, due to the fact that the food was nowhere near as good as The Red Barn.

On our final night of travel, we frequented another unlikely oasis, in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan. On top of the must-see giant moose statue, which looks like it was built by a preschooler and was nowhere nearly as anatomically correct as the giant moose statue in Brandon, Manitoba, Moosejaw featured the world-renowned Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa (https://www.templegardens.sk.ca/). While we rarely took full advantage of the many spa amenities, we always had a great stay at the Temple Gardens.

Finally, on day 5, we would reach our destination in Banff, Alberta, and sometime during our first week out there, we would celebrate our anniversaries. It was not uncommon to be hit with a late season snowstorm on May 29th, but that didn’t faze us. We knew we would soon be hiking some of our favourite trails up in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

While we have not travelled out west for longer than we had hoped, for 28 years, we have always spent our anniversaries together. It doesn’t really matter where we are. These days, we are more inclined to spend our free time at home with our miniature schnauzer, DOGtor Sydney Taylor, overlooking beautiful Doe Lake and its surrounding hillsides. Last night, we enjoyed a delicious homemade dinner, while listening to Mom ET's Martini Music radio show on Hunters Bay Radio, after spending a wonderful day together, hearing from many of our cherished friends and family.

Written by Jamie Oppenheimer ©2022 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED