Go West, Day 27 – Marathon, ON

Author: Larry St Aubin

We have a long drive today – 4 hours from Dryden to Thunder Bay, then 4 hours from Thunder Bay to Marathon. This is factoring in rest stops. When I was planning this I had to think of the end of the trip. The car was due back July 3rd. Had to catch the ferry from Manitoulin on June 30th. There weren’t many pet friendly hotels for this next leg. But, found the Airport Inn, Marathon so that became the end point for this day.

I went to bed at 7:30 pm and woke at 3:30 am for the long drive. I was on the road by 4. This gave me the opportunity to take several Ontario North sunrise photos. For each one I stopped to take (there was no one on the highway) it provided a rest stop.


Sun almost at the horizon

Sun peaking above the horizon

Did not have time to stop for lunch but did have time to visit the Terry Fox Monument. When I get back home, I have to start radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Visiting the monument was a special, personal moment for me. I like to think that the money he has raised through the foundation has contributed to the research and enhancement of radiation therapy.

“The Terry Fox Monument. In 1977 Terry Fox lost his leg to bone cancer at the age of 18. During his time at the hospital he was overwhelmed by the other cancer patients suffering and vowed to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He started the Marathon of Hope in 1980 in St. John’s Newfoundland. He ran about 26 miles (42 kms) every day until reaching just outside Thunder Bay, after 143 days, when cancer had reappeared in his lungs. Sadly he succumb to the disease on June 28, 1981 at the young age of 22. This Canadian hero’s legacy lives on with an annual Terry Fox Run held in over 60 countries that has raised over $750 million for cancer research.”

The lookout overlooks The Sleeping Giant

I was leaving it up to time and my lower back and neck to let me know when and where to stop for exploration. I decided on Nipigon. Although officially incorporated in 1909, a fur trading post had been in this location over 300 years ago.

We first went down to the Nipigon Marina on the Nipigon River. There is a museum which covers the past but I didn’t have the time to visit

Nipigon was once famous for its brook trout. A rehabilitation program was started to introduce the species back into the river.

As I was leaving I saw the lookout. Now do I want to climb it? And, do I want to take Greta? Eve wouldn’t climb steel stairs.

Decided to go on my own. Overlooking the Lagoon and Nipigon River

Overlooking Lake Helen

Leaving Nipigon, there was a lookout at Nipigon Bay and you can see Lake Superior between the two islands. This was the first glimpse of it while driving east.

After another couple of hours I decided on Terrace Bay. Well I had intended on visiting the beach but didn’t know how my time would go. I came to the beach in 2019 with Eve and Raisin but did not take pics. Make a video to show. It is a great beach.

Terrace Bay is an hour from Marathon. We made good time as we reached Pebble Beach in Marathon around 1 pm. Now, this is a big tourist attraction. So why would you close it down for the summer?

Yes, there were construction machines but no one was around. Go figure.

Of course we went ahead anyway. Drove all this way. Their signs really make a point of how proud they are of it. Their city motto is “Built With Paper * Laced With Gold”.

Another sign gives a history of the beach. I decided not to “lumber down”. I gather that the construction. which will be finished in September, will make the walk way more user friendly.

Airport Inn. I had checked several hotels in Marathon and this was the only one that was pet friendly. It is on the highway, near the airport obviously. But it was only a 5 minute drive into town. Our room wasn’t ready so I told her I would wait – that I had driven from Dryden and was tired. She called the cleaning staff to do our room next. She has two senior dogs.

Biloxy’s Restaurant. I was going to go to Jack’s Family Restaurant but when I drove up it was closed permanently. My other choice was a Portuguese/Mediterranean one. When I called he told me he was only doing catering now. It seems the epidemic/economy had affected the Marathon restaurent biz. The other choices were A&W, Tim Hortons, Chinese and a food truck

Then there was Biloxy’s. It looked like a Quonset Hut from the road when I passed it earlier. It is trying to be a roadhouse but doesn’t quite make it. It is big. Country music playing

The bartender explained the process. I order from her. Go to a table. She brings the order to me. I’m already here, I didn’t have lunch so I decide to order. No craft beer here. Canadian and Coors Light on draft. I ordered a Land Shark and nachos because that is just the place it is.

I carry the beer to a booth. I noticed the chain link fencing. There is a “cash bar after 9 pm” sign indicating flight risks at night?

She brings me my nachos. No cutlery. I realize nachos are considered hand-helds. I use the chips to scoop. When they are gone, I use the lid from the salsa container. You have to be inventive in places like this. She doesn’t come over to ask how everything is. Good thing.

I’m half way through my meal when the manager comes up to me. Oh oh. “Do you own the blue car parked on that side of the building?” Me: Yes. “I’m sorry to disturb you dinner but can you move it. The beer truck needs to make a delivery. Apparently I’m supposed to park on the other side of the building. There was no “No Parking” sign. No painted marks designating car spaces. Just a big paved lot.

I get out of there quickly and pass the food truck on my way to the hotel. Maybe should have gone there instead. The hotel’s pet friendly rooms are at the end. There is a big grassy area just outside the exit door. After the girls have finished, we head back inside. A guy comes out with a Golden Retriever. He laughs, they all sniff and we head back inside.

I’m beat after the early morning checkout and long drive. Go to bed early but wake up after a couple of hours. I finish off this blog and read Moby Dick. Tomorrow is an easy drive to Pancake Bay Provincial Park.


  1. Oh, Larry, what an adventure! Not! Just curious…when we went to Marathon in the late ’70s, you could hardly breathe due to the smell from the paper mill. You didn’t mention the air quality, so I wondered if you noticed it? Wishing you all the best on the journey home!

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