July 6: 52 MPG Winnipeg to Thunder Bay

After driving to Winnipeg and doing a little exploring, it was time to head to Thunder Bay. Now my new Focus has been impressive in the past while driving through the mountains of Colorado, but I was even more impressed by the fuel efficiency I got while driving Trans-Canada Highway. The Trans-Canada highway is a 90kmh\55mph road. It’s still fast enough for 6th gear, but about the slowest you want to go before downshifting.

On another drive with my old Focus, I drove similar roads in Door County, Wisconsin and got around 42mpg. I have been finding my new Focus gets about 10mpg better in similar driving conditions and speeds. This time I got 52.4mpg average and only took a single tank of gas to get between Winnipeg and Thunder Bay.

After getting some sleep, I left the Comfort Inn and proceeded to drive. A little bit outside of Winnipeg, I stopped to get some gas. Gas was cheaper in Manitoba and only 87.9 cents a liter. Many Americans will forget that you fill up in metric and think they’re getting a deal, but you really need to multiply this by 3.78 to get the per gallon price of $3.32. After seeing that, it’s obviously not so much of a deal (and actually much more expensive in Ontario).

I filled up and got a maple syrup flavored candy bar that I haven’t seen in the United States.

Canada does have a decent amount of rest areas, but they are a lot more rustic compared to the United States. I know I’ve found some rest stops in Northern Wisconsin or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to have the old school outhouse pit toilets, but beyond that it’s pretty rare. In Canada it’s the opposite. There’s some visitors information centers that have flush toilets, but the rest are the the pit toilets and there isn’t even any electricity there.

The one thing Canada does well with their rest stops is they have put them in very scenic areas, especially by the water. It’s amazing how clean their lakes are. It’s nice to take a quick driving break and then take in the natural beauty. They also have a decent amount of them, unlike many states I’ve been to where you might only see one every 150 miles.

In many cases, towns are few and far between. I know a lot of travel bloggers fret at people going to American chains when out of country, but this was the most convenient for me when I came upon another small town. KFC will hit the spot.

A while after eating, I made it to Ignace, Ontario. This is how far I got last time while driving through the blizzard. I stopped at the Northwoods Motor Inn, where we stayed, to take a few pictures.

I stopped at another rest stop and found a sign denoting that I was crossing over into the Eastern Time Zone. I always found it kind of weird that Thunder Bay is directly north of Wisconsin and they’re in different time zones. I guess having light until 10PM or later can be nice in the summer.

On the other side of the sign, it mentioned Central Time Zone.

My first destination in Thunder Bay was Wolfhead Coffee. When I parked outside, I checked my gas mileage. 52.4mpg! I was definitely amazed at the efficiency of this car. It’s kind of funny because most people will laugh that I drive a little 3 banger, but then they pretty much shut up when I tell them the gas mileage I get. With all the miles I drive, this is everything I need.

After touring Wolfhead Coffee, I got a few snacks and then headed to Night’s Inn, where I had a reservation to stay the next night. I figured I’d be able to extend my reservation another night since I was actually a day earlier than I expected. The rooms were all taken, but mine would be available the next day. I knew the Prince Arthur was booked for the weekend, but they might have a room for just the night.

I was in luck! They had a room for the night so I checked in there. This time, I got a city view room, but got to see a great sunset.

After relaxing a little bit, I was hungry. I decided I’d go to On Deck for some food. I started my walk there.

I got a chicken finger basket. It was amazing! The chicken was done perfectly and so were the fries. Living in Texas for a while, I’m used to chicken being served with cream\white gravy (like when I get it at Wally’s), but this was served with brown gravy. It didn’t matter the difference, the brown gravy was amazing with the chicken!

I finished my meal and beer and decided to walk to another favorite stop of mine, Sovereign Room.

It was pretty dead there, but I had a local beer, Northern Logger by the Sleeping Giant Brewing Company out of Thunder Bay.

Since Sovereign Room was pretty dead, I finished my beer and headed to The Apollo. This place is another quirky bar and they had some good live entertainment. After the live entertainment was done, I was tired so I walked back to the hotel. That’s one thing I love about staying at the Prince Arthur is it’s such a short walk from a lot of good places to hang out. You can have a few beers and not have to worry about the logistics of calling a cab, getting a ride, or having to walk an extended amount of distance (which in the winter is not fun and can lead to broken legs).

Overall, it was a long day, but I was happy to get the gas mileage I did, tour Wolfhead Coffee, and also have a few beers downtown and relax.

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