This is Part 3 of a series on our Great Northern Adventure 2002, in which we take a circuitous route to visit some polar bears in Canada.
November 5-6, 2002
After our exciting jaunt into North Dakota, we drove northeast to Steinbach, Manitoba. Frank’s ancestors were Mennonites, so Frank has always been interested in Mennonite history and settlements. There is a large Mennonite population in Manitoba, and most of it appears to be centered in Steinbach.
As we drove in, Frank noticed the car dealerships had the names like those of his ancestors, like Friesen and Penner, which thrilled him to no end. I guess that gave the place an air of familiarity to him, but I was unimpressed. I suppose I would have felt differently if they had names like “Choi” or “Kim."
We found our way to the Frantz Motor Inn, which Frank had reserved in honor of his late Grandmother Tena Franz. “Probably some distant relation,” he mused.
The place had a creepy, “Twin Peaks” sort of atmosphere, with blood red carpet, beat up walls and dim naked lightbulbs swinging overhead. There was something unsettling about the experience, like we might see a ghost wearing a polyester leisure suit or possibly see “Crime Scene” or "Biohazard" tape around one of the doors. It may be somewhat telling that I can only describe these places in terms of old television shows—they seemed to be stuck in time, and in this case it looked like the place had not been redecorated for about 30 years. Our room was actually much nicer than the hallway led us to believe it would be.
We ate dinner in the motel’s restaurant, The Brass Lantern. It was unremarkable except for the fact that the portions were huge and served on what might have been used as a turkey platter instead of a plate. It was just what we needed, more big bland food. Alexander’s chicken nuggets were about the size of his 95% percentile toddler head. We retired to our room and watched the results of the U.S. elections. The Republicans appeared to be making significant gains in both the House and Senate. We went to sleep depressed.