Saturday, August 31, 2013

Second Last Day

drive, drive, drive, drive, drive…


Too many long driving days – today we left at 8am, it is 3pm now and there is still over an hour to go. I feel sick of it. Carm is sick of it. I’m pretty sure the dogs are sick of it. They are all sitting or lying in the backseat with their eyes wide open, just blankly staring.




Is this misery ever going to end? Will we ever get there?


I can’t count the number of lakeview or lakeshore drive, hotel, resort, rv campground, restaurants that we’ve seen.

This morning we managed to book the last campsite at Samuel de Champlain provincial park. Lucky, cause the private park that I called was booked up. Unfortunately it is just a bit farther than we would have cared to drive. On the good side is that we’ll be able to check out another provincial park!


We’ve made a few stops today, but nowhere pretty. We stopped in some dinky little town at a little chip stand for lunch – pogos and chips – blah. And a coke for me. After months of little to no soft drink consumption I’ve taken to having a coke or root beer on the road. A coffee would do the trick too – I just need that mid-day boost.

Past North Bay we’ve been seeing signs for Ottawa.



We are here at the park. It isn’t surprising that this site was still unbooked – it is totally unlevel, impossible to get into, and about 100’ to the power outlet. As it turns out, with some advice from a neighbouring camper, we pulled into the non-camper part of the site. And we still needed 3 boards to get reasonably level…


We prefer “parkland” style parks, and this is not one of them. Nor is there any great lake to swim in!


But we are here and still, so that’s a good thing. It would be better still if the campers across the road from us didn’t have a dog that barks often, and all of them seem to have loud voices that carry easily into our camper.

It must be time to get home…



Swimming, Eating, and Fox Heads

Friday, our last full day at Pancake Bay dawned with rain, lots of rain. In fact it had rained all night, turning our site into a dirty mess. By 11 am the rain had stopped so that we could take the dogs out for a good walk.

On our way back the sun was starting to peek out from between the clouds. Time for bathing suits! By the time we got to the beach it was clear and the sun was shining brightly. The water seemed warmer than the day before – it was lovely. There wasn’t a soul on the beach. We played around in the water and searched for rocks. As we were getting ready to leave dark clouds were starting to crowd the sky. Perfect timing!

We spent the rest of the afternoon reading, and then it was time to get read for supper. We had reservations at a local Bavarian restaurant on Batchawana Bay for their Friday night fish fry. Apparently people come from far and wide. The restaurant and attached resort is owned by an Italian and Austrian. Together, with help from their family they have created this lovely resort, carved out from the lakeshore of Superior.





Salzburger Hof restaurant served up a great buffet with several salads, German potatoes, pasta with a great tomato sauce, chicken, sausages, and of course the star attraction – fish! Everything was freshly made and delicious. It was hard to choose.

We mentioned to the owner that we often ate at another German restaurant and would someday like to try his schnitzel and spatzel to compare notes. Before we knew it a big bowl of spatzel with thick mushroom gravy was on the table in front of us. Oh my it was good! I can’t believe that I ate another bite, but somehow I stuffed it all it in!

We’ve had good luck with eating out this trip – we haven’t done a ton of it, but each time the food was memorable (in a good way).

On our way back to camp we stopped at the little trading post just outside of the park. Aside from the bread and gas that we bought, I got a fox head pelt, thinking that I could make a jaunty hat for Spike. It turned out to be a bit too small, but he may still be forced to wear it at Halloween. I should have sprung for the coyote pelt, but Carm said no ;-)

Good times!

Life’s a Beach!

Pancake Bay Provincial Park on Lake Superior.

The sites here are heavily treed, but we managed to squeeze the villetta in just fine (getting out might be harder!). The problem with trees though are the huge amounts of mosquitos…



Wednesday night, just before the sun was about to set, I dragged Carm off to the beach. I wanted to have a swim and watch a bit of the sunset. The people beach is just a few steps away from where we are (the dog beach is much further), so it was an easy walk. And there I was – swimming in Lake Superior at sunset! How special is that :-)  I didn’t bring my camera, but since Carm was watching from shore I should have slung it over his shoulder. We didn’t stay until the sun was fully down, as frankly I couldn’t feel my legs anymore! (the water is a tad cold)


Thursday was one of those perfect summer days that you just want to go on forever. It was warm, hot even. The breeze off the lake was ever so slightly cool. The beach was fairly deserted. The sand was warm and the water was just the right amount of cold. Lovely.

After taking the dogs for a good walk we dropped them off at the trailer and loaded ourselves up with chairs, umbrella (again!), drinks, snacks and books. It wasn’t much of a walk to the beach, just a minute or two, so we were set up and ready to swim in no time.



We were in and out of the water a few times, I thought for sure we would burn, but I guess I  slathered enough sun screen on to keep me mostly safe. Plus I wore that great shirt I got at Big Bass Pro Shop in Calgary. I’ve worn it a few times to keep the sun off (spf of 50).



After we were back from the beach (not till 4pm!), we walked the dogs again and then went for a drive – can’t get enough of that driving you know. We found a spot that has wi-fi, but not very good bandwidth so I couldn’t post my blogs.


I guess it was good to get a hair cut on my face… are we going to stay here a while so I can go to the beach again?

Wed - Long Travelling Days

I wrote some of this in the truck as we drove from Nipigon, and some of it at Pancake Bay, but we have no internet so it will post when we are connected again! Probably as we pass through Sault Ste Marie in a few days. (update – posting at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park)

I made a mistake planning the last few days of travel – the days are much too long. We are travelling between 300 and 350 miles each day, which has us starting at 8am – yesterday we didn’t arrive until after 5pm, which after we accounted for the time change was 6pm. Carm said he felt tired, but I was exhausted and cranky.


DSCN3467are we going to be living like this forever?




Driving a car is one thing, driving a truck pulling 13,000 lbs up and down hills and around curves is another thing. But it is nice having our home with us! (Carm may disagree with this at the end of the day!)

Yesterday’s drive (Tuesday) had some interesting bits, but mostly it was a tad boring with just rocks and trees, and worse yet, just trees and flat.Today we are covering new territory on highway 17 along Lake Superior.


So far (on the road for 1 hour Wed out of Nipigon) it is pretty with glimpses of the mighty lake. It is NOT flat, nor is it straight, in fact the words just out of Carm’s mouth was “My God Laura, can you believe that hill” (as the engine is reving to its max trying to slow us down and his foot is on the brake to keep us from flying off the curve at the bottom of the hill). A combined weight of 22,000lbs makes for a lot of momentum…


Next time we do this stretch we will take a few more days and stay at some provincial parks – there are several to chose from.

Just after lunch… I’m glad to say that not long after I wrote about the windy, steep roads, they smoothed out somewhat and the driving is a bit easier. We’ve hit some construction, but I suppose it could be much worse (in fact we are sitting still waiting for vehicles to clear right now.)

We stopped at an A&W in White River for lunch – I had a craving for a Tim Hortons Iced cap, but no such luck – root beer had to do.


Later in the afternoon – hills and curves again. See those hills in the background of the photo – we’ll be going UP and then DOWN ever single one of them. Youzers!



are we ever going to get there?


Early evening… we have been here for 4 hours. We checked in and switched sites so we could stay an extra day – we will have 2 full days here! Then changed into our bathing suits and walked down to the dog beach. It was there that I first dipped my toes into Lake Superior. And in fact I did better than that – I dunked my whole self in! The water is cold but refreshing. It is so clear it is easy to see my toes, even when I’m up to my chin. Spike had a little swim, Bella got in up to her chest, but Kabira didn’t want to go in past her elbows.

The park is pretty, but not as beautiful as Rushing River. There is however, a beach that goes on forever in each direction. We plan to do some lazing around in the sand over the next few days.

Oh, the drive… the last bit was pretty hair raising as well. I think Carm was pretty beat. I’ve never heard him say it before, but as we were getting close to arriving here he said “I’m going to need a stiff drink!” (he didn’t have one).

We are here, and we’ll be still for a couple of days before the last two, not quite as long, driving days. And then we’ll be home.

Tue - Rushing River–mostly photos

We had a lovely stay at Rushing River, although it was way too short. Losing that day in Steinbach was a drag, especially since it meant not spending it at RR.

These photos were taken early in the morning when the sun wasn’t fully up. The air was still and all was quiet as most people were still asleep. We had a nice walk before getting on the road for a long day of driving.












Someday we’ll return and spend a few days soaking up the sun and swimming in the warm waters!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Still un-connected

We are still at Pancake Bay, but we leave tomorrow morning. We don't know where we are staying at yet, the first place we called was booked. We may end up at a Walmart somewhere.

Happy Tails!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

We are in Pancake Bay

No real internet connection. We leave on Saturday so should be connected again as we pass through Sault St Marie

Happy Tails!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Nipigon or is that Nippigon?

I'm too tired to check the spelling. It is just past 8pm here - we got in about 1 1/2 hours ago, and are now chilled out after supper. It was another long day. (note to self - keep drives to less than 5 hours!). We left Rushing River a little later than usual - 9:30, but we made time for a nice walk before we left. It is such a beautiful place (I'll do a post with photos tomorrow).

Anyway, I'll do a proper post about today later too. Time now for some quiet time before bed!

Happy Tails!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Wet Suits

By 9:10 we were all packed up in the truck and rolling out of Kal Tire on 4 new wheels.

DSCN3363ho hum… driving again. I’ll just dream of a nice place and maybe we’ll get there.



It was an uneventful drive that started in the wide open plains - this was perhaps the flattest part of our trip. As we drove east, towards home, more trees appeared, gradually thickening until it was mixed forest on each side of us. We could smell the pine and spruce - it smelt so fresh.

Once we passed into Ontario, we started seeing the odd rock, and soon there were towering cliffs of granite at the sides of the road - sometimes even blocking out the XM Radio satellite signal.


It was obvious that we aren't in the prairies any more. We are in Ontario, headed east towards home.

By noon we were pulling into Rushing River Provincial Park (RR), just outside of Kenora. It was hot, close to 30C, and humid. We checked in and then drove to our site. It was very uneven but we set up anyway. Once we had the front legs down, and I put down the stairs it was clear that this site just wouldn't do. The steps were over 2’ in the air, and it seemed the trailer was about to topple over.


Carm went back to the registration hut where they gave us a choice of other sites - we chose the best of them, moved the trailer and re-setup. Much better. There are even some trees to shade us this afternoon.


We didn't even take the time to check the time but quickly got into our bathing suits and took a walk to the boat launch where we could let the dogs have a swim, and have a little dip ourselves. Ahhhhhh. Nice :-) Perhaps even nicer with the contrast of last night!


Later we went swimming again - this time without the dogs! I knew that somewhere there was a "rushing river" for tubing down – we may have found it, but it is awfully fast water for tubing. What we did find was beautiful view after beautiful view. I’ll be walking around with my camera later and write up a post just about the park.

After our swim I got online and had my finger on the trigger to increase our stay here another day, and switch around our reservations at Pancake Bay, coming home just one (or 2!) days later, but I changed my mind at the last minute. Maybe home has a little pull on me now that we are in Ontario. Although the thought of another day here, and an extra day at Pancake Bay is mighty tempting!


DSCN3381This is way better than yesterday!

“Roads go ever ever on

Under cloud and under star,

Yet feet that wandering have gone

Turn at last to home afar”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit


They are working on our trailer already - one doing the tires, and another working on the brake lines. Good service! Oh, there might be a 3rd guy now as well. So far we've been very happy with the people from Kal Tire, both in Brandon and Steinbach, MB. They have been helpful (like Jason yesterday getting us all set up in our "campsite". And with any luck today as well.

All is good! Carm and I were talking last night about how in our lives so far we haven't had to deal with much going wrong (forgetting of course the big bipolar thing). We have had a few things go wrong this trip, one of which has impacted how we use the trailer every day. But we have taken everything in stride and not gotten ourselves too much into knots. So really, it has been a growth experience ;-) How's that for a Pollyanna outlook!

-- 1/2 hour later, just one tire to go and the brakes are fixed. It was almost like we were in a Nascar pit with workers everywhere. At this rate, and with any luck, we'll be at Rushing River in no time! (well, 2 1/2 hours from now). Wait! The last tire is done so we just have to pay the bill and we'll be on our way. 4 new better quality tires & brake work - ouch.

Oh, yes; the game was to just find something about everything to be glad about—no matter what 'twas” ― Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Friendly Manitoba

Noonish or is it already past 1pm? We are sitting at the side of the road, waiting for roadside assistance... thankfully I brought a shade umbrella - and stowed it in the side compartment. Thankfully too we have the cooler bandanas, as it is 32C - hot, hot, hot and hardly a breeze.

DSCN3340Are we really going to drive all day again?

Later in the day - sitting beside the camper at the Kal Tire shop in Steinbeck, Manitoba. This was not one of our scheduled stops, but after a blow-out on the Trans Canada about 10km east of St. Anne (where we stopped for gas and the prairie ended), we have to re-evaluate all of our tires. It seems that the abrupt stop the other day did some major damage on at least two of the tires. Time to replace the rest.


As we were driving down the highway, Carm caught sight of something in his side-mirror. He quickly pulled over so we could take a look. One of the driver side tires was totally shredded, and in the process it took out the hydraulic brake line. Ouch.

The ERS service was good again, but it did take a while to get a tow-truck to us on a Sunday afternoon. The guy (Jason) that did come was totally awesome - he changed the tire in no time flat (thank goodness Carm got that new spare yesterday), and then directed us to the Kal Tire where we are parked now. He got there ahead of us and ran an electrical cord outside for us, cleared a few truck tires from a breezeway, helped Carm put a bit more water in the tank, and helped us back into a covered breezeway. He really could not have been more helpful - and way cheerful to boot.


And speaking of Friendly Manitoban's, almost as soon as the blow-out happened a person from a neighbouring home was out to offer assistance. We chatted for a while and once he was sure the ERS was coming he headed back on his way. Not long after another neighbour dropped by with offers to help. He even left us with his phone number and offers to take us to his house.

DSCN3346what are we doing now?

No one on the Trans Canada stopped though. Perhaps we looked like we had stopped for a picnic with our umbrella and picnic blanket. I suppose we could have had one while we waited, but both of us had lost our appetite.... (for the moment!).


So now we are sitting outside, we've got the carpet out so the dogs don't lay on the dusty cement (good luck with that, Bella and Spike are on the cooler cement), we've got our folding chairs out, and we've had a little snack and a cold beer. There is a nice breeze blowing, making it much cooler to be outside than in. In fact the inside of the trailer is at 92F. It might be a rough sleep with no air conditioning tonight. We have power, but only 15amps, just enough to run some fans and hopefully the coffee maker.




So much for Rushing River - for tonight. Hopefully we'll be good to go by noon tomorrow and we'll get there at last.



Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.

Rabindranath Tagore

Saturday, August 24, 2013


I mentioned earlier that it was a "taking easy" kind of day, and it was... for me. Carm was busy throughout the day taking care of tires.

The ERS (emergency roadside service) tow truck came by this morning around 10:30. It took about an hour to remove the damaged tire and put the spare on. Luckily our spare was a brand new tire of the same make as the rest of our tires.

After the ERS guy left, Carm took the old tire with him to look for a replacement. He couldn't find an exact match, but what he did find should do the trick as a spare if we need it.


By the time he got home and we got everything sorted it was time to walk the dogs and get ready to go out for supper. I had gone onto Trip Advisor to look for restaurant suggestions. In the top 3 was a restaurant called "Hansel & Gretel's schnitzel House". The reviews were good although there were remarks about the decor and music.


The last time we used Trip Advisor for restaurant suggestions it pointed us to the wing & milkshake place in Moose Jaw, and we all know how that turned out (burp), so we felt confident putting our trust in it again.

We weren't disappointed. The building wasn't much to look at, and the decor was kitschy German decor (cute). The music was typical German polkas and beer drinking songs, including some great yodelling numbers. I don't know about you, but I LOVE kitschy decors and crazy music.



We ordered the schnitzel patter for 2... 2 armies I think. Everything was delicious, including the pork & chicken schnitzel. The spetzels were great, the veggies were nice, the gravy was tasty. We are FULL, FULL, FULL - and we have enough leftovers in the fridge for a light supper. If we were to pass through again we'd eat there again.

Now we'll just have a quiet evening (we may join our neighbours for a campfire later), and then tomorrow morning we are off to Rushing River Provincial Park just outside of Kenora, about a 4 1/2 hour drive.

I don't know if you remember all the way back to before we left, but we purchased some "cooler bandanas" at the flea market - they have been a god-send in the hot, humid weather we've been having the last few days.

There has been a distinct change in my mood as we’ve traversed the last few hundred miles. The down of having the vacation come to an end has already started… I have to remind myself that we still have a week of vacation/travel time left – don’t waste it in a bad mood...

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

Melody Beattie

Lazing around and Testing

Today has turned out to be a bit of a rest day- and that's a good thing. I'll post more later, but I wanted to test my blog writing software on my tablet. It has been refusing to post anything with photos. I think I've fixed it, but won't know for sure until this posts