Monday, September 4 – Day 7
A morning of clouds and sun and cool at 13 degrees C, about 40F as we pull out of Tomahawk RV Resort. Our destination today is Thunder Bay Walmart considered northern Ontario.
A scenic drive past many lakes, rolling hills of changing forest colors hinting fall will soon be with us. Our route took us south to Fort Francis and east to Thunder Bay.
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Intermittent showers followed us along our drive through lakes and forested rolling hills. The afternoon temperature improved to a pleasant 18 degrees Celcius.
We arrived mid-afternoon to a closed Walmart in a seedy part of town, closed for the labor day holiday Monday I guess. If we weren’t traveling with a group staying in this Walmart would be out of the question or at least not in the back lot, closer to the street may be acceptable.
The girls went for a walk to check out the area as the three guys set the rigs up for the night.
Clouds took over the sky and showers began soon after we set up. The downpour ended before dark allowing us some outside time after dinner.
Semi-trailers moved in and out of the parking lot as we sat watching the setting sun. Just before dark several RVs and a couple of semis arrived taking up positions near us. Saftey in numbers I thought as I watched the last RV pull into the lot and park.
Free overnight camping
Tuesday, September 5 – Day 8
We woke to clouds and sun and very cool 10 degrees, it was necessary to switch on the propane furnace, the trailer was soon toasty.
Yesterday before entering Thunder Bay, Ontario we crossed into Eastern Time losing another hour. I don’t think the sun has been informed it should be up earlier, definitely darker than yesterday morning.
It should be more than two weeks before another hour is lost once we leave Quebec and enter New Brunswick and Atlantic Time.
We pulled out of the Walmart parking lot by 8 am. The drive from Thunder Bay along the shores of Lake Superior provided glimpses of the spectacular rugged coastline not unlike our own BC coast back home.
After driving the less than scenic flatlands the Lake Superior coast scenery is sight for sore eyes, something I’ve looked forward to since we left the mountains of BC.
Our day’s drive along the Lake Superior coast took us through clouds, sun, the odd shower and miles of road construction.
Our destination today is Rabbit Blanket Campground in Lake Superior Provincial Park. Yes a weird name, I’ve never seen a Rabbit with a blanket.
We pulled in about 4 pm. The park didn’t take reservations but there was plenty of vacant spots. Lucky, because it took us a while to find campsites long enough for our rigs.
Ralph and Lois lucked out, the first site they came to was long enough for their rig and next to the water, a perk of leading the group.
The campsites were spacious and private with dense forest between each site and far enough off the highway noise should not be a problem. Expensive though at $41.25 each, no discounted rates for seniors.
The forest ranger happened by with a small bag of damp firewood $6, enough for a small fire, in the end, it was all we needed as the showers returned.
After dinner a small celebration was in order, this stop marks the halfway point across Canada. I knew our country was big, but we’ve been driving for 9 days and we are only half way across.
Wednesday, September 6 – Day 9
We woke to a beautiful sunny morning and cold at plus 6, another furnace morning.
Our drive continued along the scenic shores of Lake Superior, the largest of the great lakes. It’s more like an ocean than a lake no chance of seeing the other side.
We stopped at one pull out and read a plaque describing the sinking of the Edmond Fitzgerald a famous catastrophe immortalized by the song written and performed by a famous Canadian Gordon Lightfoot.
Our route takes us along the Great Lakes Circle Route and the Trans Canada Highway through Sault St. Marie to our destination the Sudbury Walmart for the night.
After Sault St. Marie the wilderness began to disappear along with the rolling hills giving way to more towns, farmlands and of course more traffic.
Lake Superior ended at Sault St. Marie, soon we were on the shores of Lake Huron number two in size. Equally as beautiful as the big lake’s rugged coastline with wind-swept evergreens.
Torrential rain greeted us as we neared Sudbury. The rain came down in buckets forcing timid drivers to stop on the shoulder, but not us, we were not that scared, and we did not need to change our underwear later.
We arrived at our favorite campground Walmart about 3 pm, the rain dwindled to showers as we found our spot behind the store. You gotta love Walmart, each store has the same layout and now free wi-fi for RVers. (at participating outlets).
Fortunately, we arrived early before the semi-trailers, the back parking lot filled quickly with these long noise makers stopping for the night.
As we sat under the awning out of the showers a semi driver with a thick Jamaican accent wandered over to chat. He talked about his job and family and bummed a cigarette and a glass of wine from Allyson in returned he promised some chocolate.
What a great gesture, we thought, until he stopped by on his way out with several containers of chocolate milk. Disappointing but we made the best of it heating the chocolate milk and adding baileys for a nice bedtime drink.
Thursday, September 7 – Day 10
A quiet night in the Walmart back lot, strange considering the dozen or so semis parked around us. The trucks began leaving at day-break, waking us a couple hours before our planned 8 am departure time.
We pulled out of Walmart under partly cloudy skies and 10 degrees, continuing along the Trans Canada Highway. Our destination today is Dorchester, Ontario near London and Allyson’s cousin’s13-acre hobby farm.
Today is the last day of our 2000-mile leg. I’m sure the group will be glad to set down roots for a few days for some well-earned rest and relaxation.
Most of our route till now has been through wilderness, rolling hills and farmland. Now the fun starts, Barrie, Ontario and the junction of highway 11 and the Trans-Canada highway.
It resembled driving onto a race track dominated by large rumbling semis and small city cars darting in and out of the bumper to bumper 100 kph traffic.
The rest of the day’s drive was no different, we figured we were in for some hectic traffic once we reached Toronto, the self-appointed center of the universe. Unfortunately, we were correct, the fun begins!!
It seemed to take forever to travel from Barrie to Dorchester even though it is only a hundred kilometers. Such a relief when we turned off the freeway.
Allyson’s cousin Mike, Cathy, and family graciously invited us to park for a couple of nights in a field on their 13-acre hobby farm.
Their farm is beautiful with an indoor pool, many barns, paddocks and a pond with a picturesque arched bridge like something from wedding photos.
They raise kids, eight to be exact and miniature horses.
Since we left Kenora the daytime temperatures have remained pleasant, mid to high teens and virtually no bugs, probably because of the time of year to travel through an area of so many lakes. Water usually equals bugs.
Now that our cross Canada marathon is over we look forward to mostly short drives and seeing the sights.
I forgot to mention, I finally got the tire I bought mounted in Wawa, Ontario. At a fuel stop, I noticed a small tire shop, the friendly gentleman mounted and balanced it free of charge.
I now have 3 brands on my new truck, what a joke. I’ve been in touch with GM, hopefully, they do something?
We have traveled over 5000 kilometers to date and spent around $1000.00 on diesel fuel and near zero on camping. Our expenses other than fuel have been not much different than at home.
Friday, September 8 – Day 11
The group took advantage of Mike and Kathy’s hospitality, catching up on laundry, enjoying a swim in their pool, taking long showers, and bedtime TV.
A quiet walk around the amazingly beautiful property, a bike ride to town and evening campfires. What a terrific way to wind down and shed the stress of the previous day’s drive.
Thank you, Mike, Kathy, and family, for your great hospitality and your many interesting stories a much-needed respite for all of us.
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