Saturday, September 9 – Day 12
We left Dorchester, Ontario and Allyson’s cousins Mike and Kathy about 9:30 under light winds and sunny skies.
Our journey today is only 140 km to the next destination so we decided to try the secondary roads and stay off the freeways.
The freeways are crazy around Toronto six to eight lanes of vehicles traveling bumper to bumper at speeds over the posted limit, making our home city of Vancouver’s rush hour seem like a donkey race.
A side jaunt to a cold war era submarine turned museum on the shores of Lake Ontario seemed like a nice side trip and a chance to see another of the Great Lakes.
We refueled and dumped our tanks at a Flying J station. A pleasant morning surprise Good Sam Members, which we are, receive discounts on fuel and the RV dump. If the great weather doesn’t put us in a good mood maybe saving money will.
The HMCS Ojibwa is a hulking mass of black steel sitting on the shore of the lake. The tour through the sub and the tiny quarters the crew of 70 shared pointing out the sacrifices submariners endured.
Situations such as no talking, use of the toilet or any other noise for many hours while silent running must have been difficult. No shower for several weeks must have turned the vessel into a rank-smelling armpit.
Hot bunks were a common practice the occupant was woken and obliged to leave so another crew member could get some shut-eye.
After the sub tour and a walk to the lake shore, we continued our drive east along country roads through rolling fields of corn, potatoes, and soybeans punctuated by groves of trees and quaint villages a refreshing break from the busy freeways.
We arrived late afternoon at our next stop and boondocking host Twinholm Farms in Oakville, Ontario.
Oakville is halfway between Toronto and Hamilton 40 minutes southwest of Toronto and an hour west of Niagara Falls. A perfect spot to set up camp for a few days.
Our host Ross, owner of the farm his family has occupied since 1806 welcomed us with open arms directing us to a large grassy area flanked by two barns and a horse pasture.
Water, power, and Wi-Fi were available but not convenient we have full water tanks and solar panels to keep our batteries up so power and water were not necessary for the time being.
That evening, after dinner we joined Ross and his friend Sylvia around the raised campfire pit. We asked Ross his recommendations for traveling into Toronto, not by car, the Go Train is the best choice was his comments. Driving to Niagara Falls was fine as long as we left after rushhour.
What a great place to camp at a farm just outside city limits, in fact, Ross fears he may soon be forced to sell the family farm to make way for urban sprawl.
Ross, our ‘Boondocker Welcome’ host as well as our group, belong to Boondockers Welcome, a community of RVers offering free camping. Click the link below to check it out.
Sunday, September 10 – Day 13
Another sunny morning and a trip to Toronto is the plan. Henry and Allyson have been to Toronto many times, they decided to skip this excursion and visit nearby family in Kitchener.
Ralph drove Lois, Lynda and I to the Oakville train station the parking was free. The train is such a great idea an inexpensive and easy way to Toronto, $9 each way for adults, ½ price for seniors, Lynda and I scored. Unfortunately, Ralph will not be 65 until November and Lois has several years to go yet,………. jailbait!!!
We enjoyed our day in Toronto, lunch on a sunny lakeside patio, walking the streets of the old brewery district, checking out flea markets and enjoying a local beer in a sidewalk cafe.
Fortunately, most North American cities set aside a unique area, historic, artsy or cultural otherwise one city is not much different from another. Toronto is no different the old brewery district with its old buildings, cobblestone streets and boutique hotels make for an interesting tour.
We boarded the train for the return trip to Oakville along with hundreds of Blue Jay fans.
The sun dipped below the horizon as we pulled into Twinholm. After a day of sightseeing and the hustle and bustle, I welcomed the relaxing calmness of Twinholm farm.
After dinner another evening around the campfire recapping our day with the group and our hosts.
Monday, September 11 – Day 14
9-11…….. a day of remembrance.
Today is the much-anticipated trip to Niagara Falls. On the way, a side trip to Niagara on the Lake and Fort George, an 18th-century fort built by the British at the mouth of the Niagara River to protect shipping lanes and the border between the United States and Canada.
By the time we worked our way through the late morning rush hour and a tour through Fort George, lunchtime was upon us.
On our way to Niagara on the Lake, we passed Peller Estates winery as we passed it on the way back someone suggested lunch, a great idea, I’ve never had lunch at a winery.
A pizza lunch and sampling of wine on the outdoor patio in the warm sunshine, what a wonderful experience.
Our next stop, Niagara Falls, an amazing experience, a breathtaking spectacle words cannot describe. A trip to the falls is not complete without a boat ride on the Niagara River for a closer look on the Horn Blower, Canada’s answer to the US Maid of the Mist.
We walked up the hill to a casino for a buffet dinner while waiting for darkness to arrive to see the falls at night. The changing colored lights didn’t add much to the spectacle but worth a look.
A great day visiting Niagara Falls will last in our memories for the rest of our lives. Waiting to see Niagara Falls at night worked well light traffic drive back to Oakville.
Back at Twinholm a glass of wine with our hosts as we thanked them and bid goodbye to new friends.
Tuesday, September 12 – Day 15
Another sunny day as we left Twinholm for our next destination, Boondocker hosts John and Jan in Pakenham, Ontario an hour from our next highlight, Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.
Roughly a 4 1/2 hour drive on the Trans Canada highway. After leaving the traffic of Toronto we enjoyed a pleasant drive through rolling forested hills. Traces of fall colors are beginning to touch the trees.
As we made our way closer to Ottawa the landscape changed from forests to lush farms.
The half-day drive to our next destination took much longer because of a GPS glitch, apparently a problem with the rural address. There is a north and a south orientation of the same address.
We arrived at John and Jan’s at 5:30 and a warm greeting from John. The property is large with John and Jan’s house in the center surrounded by natural forests providing a park-like setting for our latest boondocking experience.
John helped us park and once settled he gave us an overview of Ottawa along with maps and brochures of the attractions, which included the parliament buildings, Rideau Canal and the Chateau Laurier.
Another advantage of staying with ‘Boondocker Welcome’ hosts.
We spent the evening with our hosts inside a screened in gazebo enjoying wine, and a potluck dinner. John and Jan shared stories of their recent trip to our home province of BC traveling in their 5th wheel trailer.
Click the link above for free camping.
My next article we visit, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.
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