Canada in a VW Bug

Larry drove me up to his home town Cobleskill NY from Shreveport in Louisiana. His sister Ginny was there and we camped our way northwards in a grey VW bug with a big U-Haul box on the roofrack.

Then Sherry Porter, twins Dottie and Dale Moffett and Aussie Jonathan Kneebone arrived In Cobleskill and I hopped into Sherry’s red VW bug (also with a big roofrack).

Canada1973 (2)
Dottie and Sherry, Dale on right.

We roared off to Montreal, Ottawa (where we spotted Indira Ghandi on a state visit).

The Indian Prime Minister, Shrimati Indira Gandhi with His Excellency Mr. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, when he called on her in Ottawa June 18, 1973.

On to Kitchener/Waterloo, Sault St Marie and the Lake of the Woods, Quetico National Park.

We hired canoes and camping kit and paddled off for a planned two nights on the lake. We rushed back the next day with our tails between our legs after being attacked by clouds of  no-see-ems on the water by day and a zillion mozzies in our tent by night! Beautiful, though.

We spent one night in a converted railroad station. The track had been ripped up and the route was now a hiking/biking trail.

Dottie, Sherry & Dale (plus me and Jonathan Kneebone) in Sherry's Bug: Canada here we come! (Damage to car was me reversing)

One night we stayed with friends. It was Friday and we were off to the pub. “I’ll Drive!” I shouted excitedly and foolishly (we were expressly banned from driving as exchange students). Reverse – BANG – oops! Thank goodness for huge metal fenders on Ford F250 pickup trucks! Damn! Embarrassing! Poor Sherry’s dubdub! Whatanidiot! Not like I could pay to fix it! Sherry was an absolute star about it – she was a star about everything. She was a genuine superstar was Sherry Porter Steele.

Once we stayed in an old railway station where the track had been pulled up and turned into a walking and bike trail. Sometimes we simply pulled over and made ourselves comfortable in a quiet clearing off-road.

Me, Dottie, Dale & Jonathan Kneebone (can you guess where from?) in Canada

Me, Dottie, Dale & Kneebone acting Aussie.

On to Manitoba, then south back to the USA into Minnesota – drove over the small Mississippi near its source, and on to Dubuque, Iowa.

Over the years I would occasionally think ‘Must look up Dottie one day.’ Eventually I found – in the newspaper of her hometown Ardmore, Oklahoma – her obituary! Died suddenly at age fifty. Damn!


Indira Ghandi’s visit to Canada was surely more dignified than Mahatma Ghandi’s to England in 1931. Listen to this little pompous Pom acting arrogant and condescending:

See here:


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