As usual, we were still packing until late last night and threw the final “last minute” stuff in this morning. We
make an effort to not take more than we really need but always seem to wind up with no place to put
“necessities.” As we use supplies, there will be more room.
Surprisingly, we pulled out about 7:15 and didn’t have to immediately turn around for something we forgot!
The traffic up I15 was not bad but the outside temp started to climb pretty quickly. We both were pretty tired so
we stopped after lunch at a rest stop somewhere between Barstow and Las Vegas. It was in the mid 90’s so we
turned the generator and air on and laid down for a 15 minute nap. We woke up an hour later. We finished the
414-mile day by about 4:00.
We normally would spend the first night going north in Mesquite, but the pressure the administration put on
business to not have conventions and meetings in places like Las Vegas, forced 2 of the 3 casinos in Mesquite
and their campgrounds to close. Our plan was to try the new Super Wal Mart (most allow overnight stays in
their parking lots). When we got there, we found overnight camping was not allowed. Then we learned that
one of the campgrounds had been taken over by the remaining casino and had reopened. So we’re at the Oasis
where the outside temperature was 111 when we pulled in. At 9:00, it’s still 95.
Looks like we’re going to have to work a little at getting back to tolerating 400+ mile days. We crashed after
dinner last night and slept from about 8:30 until 6:00 this morning.
The trip today was 417 miles to Monument RV in Fruita, CO. There was almost no traffic on the leg up I15 and
east on I70. The scenery through the cattle ranches and canyon lands of Utah was spectacular. For the most
part, the sky was deep blue speckled with billowing white clouds. There were a few large dark cells which
brought us a little cooling rain. We made a stop to see a view of Devils Canyon.
We expected a little cooler weather in Colorado but it was over 100 when we got to Fruita. We still have the air
on at 9:00. There are dark cells all around and heavy, gusty winds so we might have some substantial rain
We have 4 more days of just covering ground before we start sight-seeing in new territory.
A little shorter uneventful 377-mile run today to the Wal Mart in Sterling, CO. No problem staying here except
that the evening temperatures are still in the 90’s. We did some grocery shopping then Malcolm went to the
adjoining Home Depot to get parts to fix broken guides on a drawer.
Happy birthday, Beth!
This morning, Malcolm noticed a greater-than-usual leak from the transfer case of the Suzuki. We had to drive
another 50 miles or so to get the correct gear oil and a pump to fill the case. After filling it, tightening the
fittings and checking it 20 miles later, he discovered that the case was too hot to touch for which there was no
immediate explanation. We continued to tow it the remaining 275 miles at a little slower speed and did not lose
a significant amount of oil but it still was running hot. We managed to park for the night in the Wal Mart lot in
Omaha, NB, close to a Wendy’s with wifi so he sent an email to the Suzuki guru he has been getting advice
from. Hopefully, he’ll answer before we leave in the morning.
There was lots of farmland to see on the way to Omaha. Many acres of corn and dilapidated barns and out
Malcolm worked on getting the link to the trip log working tonight but there’s still a problem.
There was a good fireworks show just across the street from us tonight.
It’s still very warm.
We had some rain in the middle of the night and needed a blanket before morning for the first time.
The drive to the Super Wal Mart in Minneapolis, MN was just 400 miles but we started out with a conflict
between the gps and the signs pointing back to I80. We chose to ignore the gps which continued to squawk at
us for 4 or 5 miles. In the end, we entered I80 but at a point 4 miles farther from our destination and 15 minutes
later than if we had listened to the gps.
Driving about 5 mph slower than usual seemed to have solved the transfer case leakage problem in the tow car
(maybe that’s why the book sets a towing speed limit.) Still don’t know if the heating is normal or not.
Flat farmland all day with more trees once we entered Wisconsin. The drive through the Minneapolis freeway
system to our destination was not a good experience. It was an hour of anticipating lane changes, exit
directions, merges and cryptic signage. It would have been impossible without the gps.
Had a few drops of rain after we arrived. Will be in Canada tomorrow.
Had a good night by ourselves. There was one other rv on the other end of the lot and a semi around the corner
when we got up. Malcolm adjusted to tire pressures and we were off shortly after 7:00.
We had a similar conflict between the gps and the road signs as we did yesterday so we let the gps prevail. That
got us back on the highway through an unbelievable construction mess that went on for 15 miles. It looks as if
the entire state of Wisconsin is under construction.
Once we got out of town, there were many miles of Amish farms.
The 345 miles to Thunder Bay, Ontario, on the western edge of Lake Superior, seemed like an easy day but the
speed limit ran from 30 to 55mph most of the way. We stopped at the visitor’s center on the hill above Duluth
where we had a great view of the harbor. Going through Duluth, we recognized places we had visited in the
About 30 miles from the border and 75 from Thunder Bay, the gps froze which left us with no directions to the
campground and no backup for the rest of the trip.
At least we had no problems crossing the border, more than partially because we have done so with some
regularity. The Canadian Border Guard had our profile on his computer and let us go on as soon as we gave
correct answers to a few questions about last year’s trip into NWT.
The Chippewa park is a very nice brand new multi-use facility with a campground, mini-amusement park,
picnic grounds and beach on the Kaministiquia River (we can’t pronounce it either.) It’s nearly empty.
We’ll spend tomorrow taking in the sights around Thunder Bay.
We planned to get up early and find breakfast downtown but with missing a time change and an overcast
morning, it was nearly 10:00 before we headed for town.
We found a great place to eat and had a wonderful breakfast of 2 eggs, 4 slices of bacon, hash browns and 3
pancakes, all perfectly cooked. Then we stopped at Canadian Tire and bought a new Garmin gps. The “old”
one was a 6-month-old Magellan which replaced a 6-month-old Magellan which was a replacement for a 6-
month-old Magellan. We’ll deal with the warranty on the dead Magellan when we get back and will not be
inclined to deal with them again.
From there we went to the Visitors Center at the Terry Fox memorial (Fox, who had lost a leg to cancer ran
over 3300 miles across Canada to raise money for cancer research before succumbing to lung cancer. The run
ended near Thunder Bay.) There was a good view of the north end of the bay and the “Sleeping Giant”, the
peninsula which forms the bay, the skyline of which resembles a reclining man. We saw the harbor, the
Centennial Park and got a good view of the entire city from atop Mt. McKay.
We had a tense moment late in the evening when the dogs went out though the dog door to their fenced yard
and a huge German Shepherd came by. There was a ruckus, Ricky retreated back up the steps and, we think,
Trump got knocked off the steps and landed outside the fence. We couldn’t see Trump or the other dog in the
dark but could hear Trump barking. Then we saw the 100# dog run away and 7# Trump on his heels until he
cleared the motor home. Trump did his characteristic “look at me” prance back into the motor home.
It was cold last night and Malcolm got tired of fighting with the dogs over the blanket on his side so he finally
got up and put on a sweat suit. As a result, the dogs got a better night’s sleep.
Our goal today was Hearst, Ontario. We took Hwy 11 which arcs to the east across the northwestern end of
Ontario through the logging areas about 100 miles north of Lake Superior. There were many, many
picturesque lakes, rock cliffs, river gorges and forests along the way. The 90 km/hr (55 mph) speed limit made
the 340 miles last all day but going 50 – 55 helped keep the tow car transfer case cooler. A modification
Malcolm made last night (a strategically-placed 1/8” vent hole in the top of the case) helped cut down on fluid
loss. It may not be anything to worry about from here on.
Although it was 80 degrees when we got here, there is supposed to be frost tonight (and it’s still August!)
We don’t know how cold it was last night but it was under 45 in the bedroom when Malcolm got up to turn the
furnace on. There was also a sheet of ice on the car and the hood of the motor home. By then, the outside
temperature read 44.
After breakfast, we drove back into Hearst to find an ATM and a post office. Then we continued east on Hwy
11 for another 147 miles to Kettle Lakes Provincial Park. It’s a large forested area containing two dozen or
more lakes, campgrounds and hiking trails.
Many of the little towns along the way were part of the area’s rail history. In one, the remains of a major rail
accident were left intact as a memorial. About half way here we passed a McDonalds on the highway and
couldn’t resist making a U-turn to go back for lunch.
We did laundry this afternoon and Malcolm tried his luck metal detecting at the closest beach. Other than about
5 pounds of sinkers and $.26, there wasn’t much. At least the water was cool and refreshing.
We had some nice, gentle rain early this morning. It’s always soothing to hear the rain on the roof of the motor
home and makes it hard to want to get out of bed.
We finally got moving and drove the car to Timmins, about 24 miles to the west. Timmins is the center of the
area’s mining industry which has a long history of precious metal mining with several mines -- mostly gold –
It is also the home of country music star Shania Twain who has an impressive personal museum outside of
town. We spent a couple of hours there, then got gas, had lunch at KFC, found an ATM, did some grocery
shopping and drove through the older areas of town. It was an interesting place.
With no tv here in the woods, being too far north for satellite reception, and no ringing phones, Marion has
crocheted a dozen of her famous scrubbers and embellished a few kitchen towels. Malcolm is taking advantage
of the time to catch up on reading magic books and practicing the mandolin.
He went back to the lake this evening and found little more than fishing tackle. Later, he went to look for a
place to fill the water tank in the morning and discovered that the swimming beach was in another cove! No
wonder there was never anyone swimming where he was hunting.
It was about 215 miles east then south to North Bay on Lake Nipissing, one of the largest lakes in Ontario. As
we got farther east, the terrain changed from flat to rolling hills with heavier forestation and more lakes. We
had light rain for a few miles but the temperature was in the 80’s with high humidity.
The campground is o.k. The sites are small and there were no pull-throughs available. It’s only 2 blocks from
the City Park and Beach. Malcolm spent a little time in the water after dinner but found only one junk target.
There is supposed to be a more popular beach closer to town which he may try tomorrow.
There are a lot of families here for the Labor Day weekend and our dog door and stairs are a hit with the kids.
The weather changed last night and the temperature and humidity went up to where it was very uncomfortable.
Running the air conditioning with other campers so close wasn’t a good option so we listened to panting dogs
until early this morning.
We did some house cleaning then went to the Municipal dock where we boarded the Chief Commanda II for an
hour and a half lunch cruise on, Lake Nipissing to the Manitou Islands. The ship is a 100’, 300-passenger
aluminum diesel-powered catamaran built in the 70’s. Made specifically for lake cruising in the north, it has
many amenities including heated decks. The lake is 55 by 25 miles. The Manitou Islands are a circular group
of large islands which are the rim of an ancient volcano.
It sprinkled rain about mid way through the trip, then we had a good downpour as we were leaving the ship.
On the way home we stopped at the Dionne Quintuplets’ museum. We saw the house where they were born
and many artifacts and photos. We also heard facts about their childhood which were contrary to how
Hollywood portrayed it. They were taken from their family by the Canadian government when only 3 months
old because they were being exploited by their father.
When we got home we discovered that there is a leak in the bathroom skylight. Fortunately, it drips into the
This morning we headed for Russ Haven Resort on Lake Pickering, our last stop in the “back country” before
getting back to civilization closer to the US border.
It was only a 60 mile trip but we didn’t have specific directions so we relied on the gps getting us close. Big
mistake! It took us off the highway onto a maze of unpaved, muddy roads that finally ended in a dead end on a
barely single lane.
Before we could do anything else, we had to un-hook the car and get the motor home turned around which was
no simple feat. We still weren’t “out of the woods” because we didn’t have a clue where we were except that
the highway was to the west. After a short distance, we passed a cottage where some people were packing their
car so we stopped and Malcolm walked back and got directions. I turned out that the campground was just a few
miles away but the gps track went straight across the lake!
The campground is mostly a summer resort where families keep a trailer to vacation in. There is a large lake,
playgrounds, boat docks, etc, and an open meadow with facilities for transient rv’s.
Malcolm headed for the beach and lake and found a variety of things including a Bentley lighter from the early
50’s. It had been in the water for a long time and the chrome plating was mostly gone, but was still a nice find.
He went back after dinner and found a few coins and fishing gear.
Although we’re still about 300 miles north of the border, we were able to get our satellite tv to work so we got
caught up on the news and some of Marion’s favorite programs.
The temperature dropped early in the evening yesterday and a strong, cold north wind came up. Our awing was
flapping and the wind was close to exceeding what it could handle so Malcolm finally got up around midnight
to take care of it. He didn’t stay out any longer than necessary with the wind and 40-something temperature but
some of the end-of-Labor Day revelers were still at it.
Marion packed a lunch after breakfast and we drove 20 miles to the village of Magnetawan. It was a hub for
steamer traffic starting in the 1890’s and the home of a lock to allow the ships to bypass rapids. The lock is still
hand operated with operators turning large wheels to open and close the gates and control the water flow.
We were fortunate to see it working.
We had our lunch in the car at the city park to stay out of the drizzle. Malcolm spent a short time hunting the
playground and beach and found a few coins.
On our way out of town to see abandoned cabins and other buildings along the “Ghost Trail”, we stopped at an
antique shop. The man there told us about an abandoned village from the early 1900’s so we decided to go that
direction. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find it and it got to be too late to look for the other area so we
stopped for an ice cream cone and headed home, making another stop at an antique shop.
With the temperature in the 30’s and the north wind blowing, it was definitely a 2-dog night. But the electric
mattress pad and space heater (plus 2 dogs) made for a pleasant night.
We took our time packing up and headed 120 miles south to Six-Mile Lake Provincial Park near Port Severns,
Ontario. We stopped for lunch in the parking lot of a closed Wal Mart. We think it’s the first closed Wal Mart
we’ve ever seen.
With the poor experience we had using the gps to find the previous campground, Malcolm relied on the route
plotted by MS Streets and Trips that he used to plan the route. Unfortunately, the instructions left out a
highway route split so we went about 13 miles out of our way before turning it back over to the gps which
Despite the delay, we finally arrived at the best campground we’ve yet been in. The sites are spread out and
heavily shaded. The fact that the temperature is in the 60’s with broken blue skies makes it even nicer.
We set up and relaxed until dinner, enjoying the surroundings. After dinner, Malcolm found the beach area and
detected for a couple of hours. He came up with about $5 in coins and a little junk. There are not many targets.
There was a beautiful sunset that seemed to last forever.
We were considering taking a 120 mile loop drive to see some attractions but decided against it. Instead, we
drove just a few miles to Big Chute to see what was called a “marine rail way.” We didn’t know exactly what
we’d find and it turned out to be the h ighlight of the trip so far.
This incredible piece of machinery, part of the extensive Trent Canal System, was originally built in 1917 and
up-dated in the 20’s with the current version built in ’78. It is a giant steel dry dock which rides on rails and is
propelled by a system of cables. It hauls boats up to 100’ long over a 70’–high escarpment between 2 lakes,
traveling about ¼ mile in the process. At each end, it submerges enough for the boat to enter or exit.
Within a few minutes after we got there, it began operating for the day and we were fortunate to see 3 large
pleasure craft hauled through.
A lock and canal system to replace it was nearly completed before WWII, postponed and later scrapped because
of the danger of allowing lampreys to contaminate lakes farther downstream. The marine rail system prevents
We drove a little distance father down the road then turned around and went back to the marina at Big Chute for
lunch. On the advice of the waitress at the restaurant, we stopped at a lodge where they had wifi and sent a few
emails. We were lucky to have found that since we are really “out in the sticks.”
A mile from there, we passed a wrecked car that apparently had missed a curve and hit a rock face head on. As
we went by, we couldn’t recall having seen it there on the way in. Malcolm noticed in his mirror that the brake
lights were on and there seemed to be a figure behind the car so we turned around and went back. When we got
there, we didn’t see a trace of any one. The car was totaled, the airbags were out and the windshield was
About then, a truck pulled up and it turned out that that person had been the one we saw. He had looked for
survivors then left to see if he could find anyone walking. He had called 911 so there was nothing we could do.
A little more time in the lake this evening just added to Malcolm’s collection of Canadian bottle caps.
With today being the 7th, Malcolm picked a “monthly anniversary” bouquet of wild flowers for Marion.
(Haven’t missed one in 32 years.)
We took a 25-mile drive to a cranberry farm near Bala. We had hoped to see the harvest in process but it was 2
to 3 weeks away. We were able to walk into the un-flooded fields, taste the nearly-ripe fruit and sample home-
made jams and wines from their winery. We bought some delicious cranberry/ jalapeño jam and cranberry
On the way home, we got gas, bought some vegetables from a roadside stand, tracked down an antique shop and
stopped at a marker explaining the billion-year-old bed rock which covers most of Ontario.
Later in the evening we went back to Bala to eat dinner at the Bala pub, a local hangout which had good food
and a wonderful local red beer. When we got back, Malcolm changed the oil in the motor home and resolved a
conflict between the mapping program and the guide book on the location of the next stop.
We had a 150-mile drive to Guelph Lake so we were in no hurry to get going. After a late breakfast, Malcolm
checked the transfer case in the car and adjusted the tire pressures in the motor home. We finally got on the
road about 10:15.
About half way here, we stopped at a travel plaza with a McDonalds and stopped to have lunch and use their
wifi. The wifi wasn’t working so we didn’t stay long. The plaza was in the middle of a freeway interchange
and, when we tried to leave, the parking lot and connecting roads were a chaotic mess of semi’s and cars going
in all directions including backing off and going the wrong way on the freeway ramps.
It turned out that there was a serious accident involving a police motorcycle on the freeway and it was in the
process of being closed down. Fortunately, it was on the other side and our side was soon re-opened. It still
cost us the better part of an hour
After 3 weeks of driving in the back country, it was a real shock to eventually be driving in Friday traffic on a
10-lane freeway as we approached London, Ontario. It was a relief when we swung north toward Guelph and
the campground at the lake. The 150 miles took nearly 5 hours.
This is also a nice camp in a large conservation area.
We started out the day with a 20-mile trip to St.Jacobs, a Mennonite community. The quaint city is surrounded
by large farms and roads covered with horse-drawn vehicle pollution . We drove past fields of corn, soy beans,
hay, alfalfa and potatoes. After a drive through downtown, we found a McDonalds with wifi and caught up on
email over lunch. Then we went to the farmers’ market/flea market. It was huge and reminded us of the vendor
areas at the San Diego fair. Everything imaginable was for sale. The vegetables in the market were outstanding
and we were tempted to get far more than we needed. There were thousands of people there. We used
Marion’s transport chair which made it easy for us to get around.
It was across the street from a large outlet center with many name brands.
From there, we went to Cambridge to see the butterfly conservatory. The walk-through tropical setting
contained thousands of butterflies and many varieties. There was also a variety of small finches. It was a nice
On the way home, we did some grocery shopping.
While Marion watched the 9/11 memorial proceedings, Malcolm went into town to do the laundry.
Later, we took a drive to see the Elora Gorge. The 70’-deep, tree-lined gorge was formed by the Grand River
and is a popular place for picnicking, swimming and rafting. It’s a beautiful spot. Malcolm hiked to the river
while Marion watched the activity from above.
We were looking for a large antique mall we had read about but weren’t sure which of the little towns it was
located near so we stopped at several “tourist information” centers, each of which told us something different.
Apparently there has been several in the area but all were now gone.
Our final search was for the last remaining covered bridge in Ontario. The “Kissing Bridge” is 198’ long and
spans the Grand River in West Montrose. It’s an impressive structure which has been in continuous use for 130
Today was about the shortest drive we’ll have -- just 50 miles to Indian Line Campground east of Toronto.
Except for the heavy freeway traffic, it was uneventful.
On the way up through Guelph to the previous stop, we were on a Toll Road for probably 15 miles but saw no
toll booths getting on or off. We drove on the same road for pat of the way here and, this time, paid attention to
the signs. It seems as though cars have their plates scanned as the pass a particular point and trucks have a
transponder. Drivers have the fees automatically taken out of their accounts.
Not sure what (if anything) to do, we finally saw a sign that said “non-Canadian plates will be billed with an
additional fee for “video scanning.” So, it looks like we’re going to have a note or two in the mail when we get
The campground is OK. At least we have a full hookup and a fairly level spot. It’s on a reservoir so there’s no
swimming (equals “no metal detecting.)
Plan: Have breakfast, drive into Toronto, take a 2-hour sightseeing bus tour, have lunch, drive to see a few
Reality: The 20 miles into downtown Toronto at morning rush hour was an hour long and, with the heavy traffic
– particularly trucks -- construction, constant lane changes and suicidal drivers, probably took a few precious
years off our lives.
There is zero “legal” street parking downtown but both curb lanes of a one-way street are often blocked by
busses, delivery truck, taxis, etc. The person at the bus company suggested that Malcolm leave Marion off at
Starbucks at a particular intersection where the bus would pick up, park in a structure and walk back to the bus.
Since “there are no Starbucks in Canada – just Tim Hortons” – Malcolm thought he had heard wrong and found
the TH where he dropped Marion off. When no tour busses came by, he called the bus company and found out
that we were supposed to be at the Starbucks across the street! (There are now at least as many SB’s in Toronto
Crossing a street? No problem. Except that this was a 5-way intersection where pedestrians had to cross in 3
island-hopping moves. It was a difficult trek for Marion with just her cane and Malcolm’s arm but we made it.
Downtown Toronto is unbelievable! Everybody lives there (5.3 million people and hundreds of high rise
condos and apartments), works there (many, many high rise office buildings), goes to school there (3
colleges/universities in town), goes to church there (100 churches in town).
The Provincial Legislature, Grand Central Station and the City Center Airport are downtown.
Every street is a potpourri of buildings. (A law prohibits the destruction of any building built before 1940!)
Glistening glass-faced skyscrapers are intermixed with 19th century brick structures. Streetcars crowd many
streets. Subway stations are in unassuming houses in residential areas. (Houses were removed, stations built &
gutted houses replaced.)
After the tour, we had a sandwich at Starbucks, then Malcolm got the car from the garage (3+ hrs = $28) and
had to spend 15 minutes cruising the one-way streets to get back to pick up Marion. At that point, we called it a
day and headed home.
The weather was perfect for the tour, then we had a short downpour after got home. Malcolm ny
We went back to downtown Toronto this morning. The first stop was at the CN Tower – a 1815’ structure with
observation decks and a revolving restaurant. Malcolm went to the observation deck and took photos of the
fantastic view while Marion watched the people on the streets. He also took some down through the glass floor
below the deck. It’s an interesting experience to have a clear view under your feet at that height.
After lunch at Boston Pizza, we went to the Ontario Legislative building in Queens Park. (Toronto is the
provincial capitol.) We pulled into the legislature parking lot to ask the guard where visitor parking was. He
said there wasn’t any but let us park there while Malcolm took a look at the inside. He didn’t take a full tour
because the next one wasn’t for another 45 minutes.
After supper, we found a Costco where Marion looked at crocheting supplies and Malcolm found ink for th on
thee printer. There was a Home Depot n ext door where Malcolm found parts to fix the tire-inflation hose and a
worn out cable in the satellite system.
It sure was cold last night, probably in the low 30’s. Malcolm had to take a couple of beaks to warm up while
he packed up outside.
We had a 90-mile drive to the Kawartha Lakes area NE of Toronto. About 30 miles of the trip was through the
maze around Toronto and we were relieved to finally get away from the city traffic. Their freeway system uses
a central highway of up to 6 lanes and “collectors” which are parallel 4-6 lane highways (on both sides) which
collect traffic from the side streets and feed it into the main highway or off onto other exits. There were times
when we counted at least 16 lanes, all packed.
From there on, we were driving through farm country with ripe crops and plenty of roadside stands. We’ll visit
some tomorrow. The area also has high enough hills to be a skiing center in winter.
The Kawartha Lakes region is where Malcolm spent some time between 50 and 60 years ago. So far, nothing
looks familiar but that should change as we do some sightseeing.
Last night was very cold but we weren’t that curious to get up in the middle of the night to find out just how
cold. There was ice melting on the car when Malcolm went out to get a map, but the sun was shining and it was
warming quickly. It turned out to be a very nice day.
After breakfast and letting the dogs “frolic” for a while, we drove into Peterborough and made stops at Wal
Mart, the Visitors’ Center, a bank, Tim Horton’s and the Post Office. Malcolm recognized a few landmarks but
not much of the city.
We ate the lunch Marion packed then took a 2-hr cruise across Little Lake and through a short stretch of the
Trent Canal. We went under two swing bridges and through two locks, one of which was the famous
Peterborough Lift Locks. Built in 1904, the lock consists of two huge bathtubs, each on top of a 100’ high
hydraulic piston. The tubs counter-balance each other with one going down while the other goes up. Boats
floated into the tubs are raised or lowered over 70’ in just a few minutes. The basic machinery has been in
operation for over 100 years.
It was warm last night – 39 degrees when we got up. The camp next to us partied until after 1:20am and kept
Marion awake until then. Malcolm snored through it (adding to Marion’s distress.)
It warmed up into the 50’s as we drove to Lindsay to the northwest. We were in time for the Farmer’s Market
where we found a wonderful display of fruits, vegetables and Marion’s favorite, kettle corn. The day was
mostly overcast but pleasant.
Malcolm checked a few antique shops for cameras, then we went back into Peterborough to see the lift lock
operation from the outside. Getting there, we drove through the narrow vehicle tunnel that was built through
the stone base of the lock to allow traffic (horse vehicles then) to continue when the bridge across the canal was
opened for boat traffic.
We were looking for a wifi spot in a mall and found a Chinese takeout which looked good so we bought our
After dinner, Malcolm fixed a broken cable on the TV antenna and adjusted the tire pressures on the motor
home and the car. He checked the camp site with a metal detector and came up with 3 pennies and some metal
Since we had everything out except a sewer hookup, this morning was a full breakdown (satellite dish,
electrical, water, leveling blocks and jacks, dog stairs and pen, awning) plus breakfast, dog feeding, packing up
inside, car hookup, trash and holding tank dump and water tank fill. We have a pretty good routine but it still is
an hour and a half process minimum.
Our goal today was Ivy Lea Provincial Park near the mouth of the St. Lawrence at Lake Ontario. On the way,
we pulled into the truck lot of a place called The Big Apple, a tourist attraction which is a bakery, cafeteria and
gift shop specializing in apple items. As we pulled in, about 100 motorcycles pulled in with us. It was quite a
While we were there, Malcolm filled the transfer case in the Suzuki and bought an apple pie to have with
dinner. It looked delicious but was disappointing.
The park is very nice but nearly deserted. We didn’t like the site we had reserved and had no problem finding
One problem we often have is that “nice” = lots of trees but “trees” = poor satellite reception. It took Malcolm
over an hour to finally find a spot 2 sites away where the dish could get a decent view.
We took a drive to Gananoque, an early resort town at the western end of the 1000 island area about 20 miles
from here. We stopped at the Visitors Center to get some directions and saw the old locks and their beautiful
lake-front park which had white swans plus migrating geese. As in so much of Southern Ontario, there are
planters full of blooming flowers everywhere – sitting along sidewalks, hanging from lamp posts and buildings
-- as well as beds in parks and other open areas.
We had lunch at a wifi spot where we got and sent email, then drove north to Jones Falls. We knew it was an
interesting place but didn’t know for sure what we’d find there. It turned out to be a canal and a
preserved/restored 5-level lock system built to bypass falls between 2 lakes. We didn’t get the exact figures, but
the total fall/lift must be close to 150’. The original lockmaster’s house and blacksmith’s shop are there and the
manual locks are in working order.
The drive there and back was through a mixture of wooded and farming land. Harvests are underway or already
done. The foliage is a pretty mixture of various shades of evergreens and leaves in various stages of turning
It rained steadily all night until about 8:00 this morning with the sun poking through by 10:00. We very much
wanted to take a boat tour of the 1000 Island area and the St. Lawrence shipping channel early afternoon so we
were apprehensive as it grew later. We finally called the tour company and were assured that it was a go so we
headed for Brockville at the eastern end of the island area where we had a great, informative cruise along the
shoreline, through the islands (a small portion of the 2800 or so) and into the main shipping channel. To qualify
as an island, the land mass has to be at least 3’ above the water (controlled to within 1’ by the dams and water
flows) and support at least 3 trees.
We were also told that a drop of water that enters the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes system at the western end
takes a decade to reach the Atlantic.
Throughout its history, the 19th century town has been the home of the wealthy – originally river and rail
transportation barons, then owners of manufacturing enterprises (boats, motors, cure-all pink pills for pale
people) and, eventually, movie stars, local officials and bootleggers. There are many waterfront stone mansions
with elaborate docks, boat houses, etc. Some properties have been divided into 2 or more still-impressive digs.
We were fortunate to intercept a 700’ freighter on its way in and get a close look at it. Our 70’ boat looked
pretty small against it. Our captain told us that the channel is narrow, full of shoals and averages 20’ in depth.
That doesn’t seem to be enough for large ships. Maybe he meant meters, although everything else was in feet.
When we were leaving, we saw the first under ground railroad tunnel in North America. Just ¼ mile long, it
was built to avoid disturbing a central part of the city when the rail line was put in in the 1800’s.
When we first got here, we considered seeing the observation tower which is in the middle of the international
Bridge across the St. Lawrence. We inquired about it when we were in Gananoque and decided not to do it
because you have to cross the border going and coming and it could take more time than we wanted to spend.
Last night, Malcolm went down to look at the campground beach and found that the access went under the
suspension anchoring of a huge suspension bridge. The enormous structure was pretty intimidating, particularly
with the sounds of traffic and “singing” of the many cables. On the way out this morning, he took Marion down
to see it and we wondered what it was. One the way back this afternoon, we realized that the approach to the
entrance of the International Bridge was a few hundred yards from the entrance to the campground and that one
of the support towers was visible from the road. Then it dawned on us that what we had been under was the .
We had a short 80 mile run to the outskirts of Ottawa this morning. We left early because the dogs had a 1pm
appointment to get groomed.
We wound up with plenty of time -- even with a pit stop – to get settled at the campground and have lunch
before taking them in. After we dropped them off, Malcolm found a place to get his hair cut. He suffered from
sticker-shock when he found out the price was $18.00; He’s used to paying $11.00. Then he saw the results of
the barber’s interpretation of a “rounded flat top” which was essentially a buzz cut. When he told Marion how
bad he thought it looked, she said, “Well, it follows the shape of your head!
We had what could have been a serious incident when we pulled into the campground. The dogs were on the
board on Marion’s lap and the window was down as Malcolm started to pull away from the office and Trump
either fell or jumped out of the window. Fortunately, he landed on grass and Malcolm stopped before he got
under a wheel. He was dazed and a little hazy for 15 minutes or so but seems to be OK.
The camp ground is very nice and well maintained. It is run by a couple at least our age who have owned it for
50 years and lived in the turn-of-the century house/office for 60 years. They maintain the park and do
improvements with only 1 additional hand.
What a rain we had last night! By the time we got up, all of the low spots were miniature lakes but the sun was
shining. It turned out to be a warm, beautiful day.
We took a drive into Ottawa to see some of the sights which included the Federal Parliament complex. That is a
huge complex of Gothic and more modern structures that stretches for many blocks. Tours were available but
there were hundreds (if not thousands) of tourists waiting so we just drove by and took a few photos. We also
drove by the war museum complex, cathedral, Park of the Provinces and others. Most everything was right in
the heart of downtown with no easy access by car. Parking was sparse, expensive and too far away in most
cases. Buses are the only practical transportation into the area. But we at least had a good look at the city.
In our quest to find a place to eat lunch far enough out of downtown to have its own parking, we stumbled into
the US embassy. It was in a lush, wooded suburban area along with others. Without seeing the sign, one would
think it was just a country estate. There will probably be an investigation as to why a car with CA plates turned
around in their driveway.
We drove by the National Science and Technology Center and looked at the outdoor exhibits. Malcolm was
surprised to find a Convair Atlas D-Series launch vehicle as the centerpiece. The same model that put
John Glen into orbit, it is on loan from the US Air Force Museum. A good portion of his aerospace career was
devoted to perfecting that vehicle.
Trump appears to have suffered a neck injury in his fall because he limits his head motion, but it looks as if
aspirin is helping to relieve it. At least he is improving.
Our goal today was the western area of Ottawa and the Diefenbunker Cold War Museum. Built in 1959-61 it is
a 4-story, 10,000 sq ft underground bunker intended to house 600 members of the government in the event of a
nuclear attack. It had a 30-day supply of provisions, hospital, war room, parliament chamber, communications
center, housing and a BBC broadcast center which could broadcast directly from all BBC stations in the
It was named after the Prime Minister, Diefenbaker, who authorized is secret construction and who refused to
even visit it, let alone move into it during the Cuban missile crises, when he found out that his wife would not
be allowed to join him.
It was later used as a classified communications center.
While we were there, we found out from locals that the reason downtown Ottawa -- and especially the
Parliament area – was so crowded yesterday was because the British Prime Minster was there.
There was a lot of fall foliage along the route there and back.
We left Ontario for Quebec this morning with a 150-mile run to Montreal. Most of the drive was pleasant with
lots of turned leaves. We stopped for a lunch break at the Quebec border and filled the propane tank.
As we approached Montreal on Autoroute 20, we encountered 60-65 mph traffic on a highway totally
devastated by construction for 30 miles or more. It looked as if they had broken it all up, pushed it aside, then
carved a lane or 2 or 3 at random out of the rubble. There were more barriers to dodge than in a rodeo barrel
race. At one point, the gps just quit trying to cope with our constant deviations from its route. It reverted to
trying to tell us where we were and gave up trying to figure out how to get to where we were going.
We finally got to our destination -- a nice camp with store, restaurant, pool, wifi and most everything else we
might need including a DIY car wash for RV’s. It’s warm and humid from the storms that are hitting the East
Coast but no rain here.
It was very quiet and pleasant last night as the temperature and humidity dropped.
Malcolm check with the restaurant before they closed and was assured they would be open for breakfast at 7:00
am so we walked over there just after 7:30 to find the owner just opening up. A few more customers wondered
in, followed by the cook about 20 minutes later. We didn’t get to see the menu, but ordered pancakes, bacon
and eggs. The “pancakes” turned out to be crepes which were pretty tasteless but the rest was good, including
the baked beans which came with it.
Plan for the rest of the day: Drive into Old Montreal, take a carriage tour, then do some sightseeing on our own.
Reality: As we were about to cross the river into town, in addition to the maze created by the construction, we
ran into barricades closing off most of the area including the major bridge leading to town due to a marathon.
We wove through detour routes and the construction for an hour, unable to find our way into town.
Finally, we found a policeman giving a motorcyclist a ticket and he gave us directions for an alternate route.
That eventually got us into town where we found most of Old Town barricaded off due to a cycling event!
Needing a rest stop by now, we let the gps lead us to the Casino where we had lunch and paid our due to the
Gods of the Slots before coming home to take a much-needed nap.
The weather is nice.
We woke up to the sun breaking through a light fog and the roar of Monday morning traffic on the nearby
After we had breakfast and the traffic calmed down, we headed back into Montreal, stopping at a close-by bank
ATM. Our biggest fear was that the many highway construction areas that were inactive over the weekend
would be bustling with traffic-blocking activity but that wasn’t the case – just the torn-up roads and barricades.
We drove to where we thought we would find a carriage to hire but didn’t find any so we left the car in a garage
near City Hall, Marion found a park bench in the shade and Malcolm went searching on foot. After a few
inquiries, he found one and had the driver swing by to pick up Marion. Then we two Americans had an hour
tour of Old Montreal by a Hungarian driver who spoke English in this French-speaking Canadian town.
Besides the variety of historic buildings, one of the most interesting things we saw was the practice of
converting old warehouses, bank buildings, etc, into apartments and condos, leaving the original exterior but
adding extra modern-construction stories on top to the legal height limit.
After the tour, we had fish and chips at a sidewalk café. Then Marion relaxed in a park on the waterfront while
Malcolm took off on foot to the Museum of Archeology -- which he found closed -- so he went on to the
Cathedral which was constructed in its present form from the 1820’s through the 1890’s. It is an impressive,
twin tower stone structure beautifully decorated inside. For more than a century, no buildings higher than the
cathedral were allowed so that it was the architectural focus of the city.
Malcolm ransomed the car, then successfully found where Marion was waiting with her cane drawn ready to
disable a weird man with his pants open who sat close to her. (It would not have been a pretty picture!)
We had an uneventful 90 miles to Nicolet, QC, this morning. It’s across the St. Lawrence from Trois Rivieres.
Founded in 1634, TR is at the mouth of the three branches of the St. Maurice River. It is the second oldest
French city in QC and was the starting point for many of the French explorers.
We’re set up in a fantastic campground which has amenities we’ve never seen before including an Olympic-size
pool, a mini-amusement park for kids, a tennis court and an outdoor chess game with 4’-high pieces. Malcolm
went into town for groceries and we took it easy the rest of the day. We spent a lot of time watching the
squirrels and a woodpecker gather and stash their winter supplies. One squirrel ran back and forth for a long
time before he came within a few feet of us, dug a hole in the grass, and buried what he had.
It feels good to be away from the big cities.
We drove across the St. Lawrence this morning to St. Maurice to see the site of the iron furnace and forge that
operated from 1730 until 1883. Its special significance is that it was the first industrial activity in Canada,
employing 500 people at its peak. Commissioned by the king of France, it survived the change to British rule.
The original company office and residence building, the blast furnace, and a forge have been restored. Ruins of
other facilities have been exposed.
The drive there and back took us across the 11,450’ Layiolette Bridge which spans the St. Lawrence. After the
horrendous driving habits we’ve encountered in Quebec (total disregard for speed limits and tailgating are two
of their favorites), we were inclined to give Quebec the honor of spawning the worst drivers in North America.
That was solidified when we were tailgated by an escort truck and the wide load following him going across the
bridge. Having pushed us up to 30 or 40 kph over the speed limit, he tried to lead the wide load around us but it
was many feet too wide to clear on the narrow lanes with the bridge rail on one side and a concrete barrier on
the other. Malcolm finally jumped off at the first exit without daring to slow down.
We ate the lunch we brought then drove into Trois Rivieres to see the old town section of the 1634 city and the
St. Lawrence waterfront. The Ursuline Monastery building -- now a museum – dates from1697.
After feeding the dogs, we had dinner at a Thai restaurant here in Nicolet. We had to get help from a cook who
spoke a little English understanding a Thai menu written in French.
Later, we did laundry and secured the place for the thunderstorms that are expected tonight.
There was steady rain for a while last night but no thunderstorms. It stayed overcast but not too cool most of
the day today.
Later in the morning, we did some more sightseeing in Trois Rivieres then some shopping at Wal Mart and a
few other places.
It drizzled a little off and on but after dinner it started to pour and hasn’t let up for several hours. We’ve never
seen it rain so hard for so long. We may have to get an outboard motor to get out of here in the morning!
It rained hard for over 6 hours last night but, fortunately, reduced to an occasional drizzle as we headed toward
Levis across the St. Laurence from Quebec City this morning.
We’re at the only available campground in the QC area this time of year. It’s very nice but we were faced with
a 50 – 60 mile round trip to QC which is just across the river. Then we discovered the ferry which makes the
15-minute run every 30 minutes.
The plan this morning was to drive into Old Town Quebec (via the ferry) and follow a self-guiding tour with
Marion riding in her chair. The weather was very cold (low 40’s) and windy when we stopped at the visitor’s
center outside the wall to get some maps. Then it started to rain, so we decided to just drive around the city,
making an occasional stop for pictures.
Besides the city proper which dates from the 18th century, we went to Battlefield Park -- where the view across
the river would have been great except for the rain and fog – and the Citadel which was built for defense against
the possibility of an American attack after the British took the area from the French in the early 1800’s. Despite
the weather, we enjoyed seeing the city and the history.
We caught the ferry back to Levis and did some grocery shopping before getting back home. We were going to
go to a Pizza Hut we found for dinner but we found a delicious-looking fresh 15” pizza at the store. We’re
anxious to cook it and will probably eat every bite since it’s the first we’ve had in a month.
Holy Mackerel! The North Wind blew with vengeance all night last night, rocking the motor home like a canoe
at sea. The official wind was 30 mph, gusting to 40, but Malcolm’s handi-dandi, self-anchoring, ground
mounted, folding satellite dish – which performed flawlessly during hurricane Irene in Florida – was upside
down this morning.
With the wind still blowing, we set out to tour a cookie manufacturing facility in a nearby town. Unfortunately,
the plant was closed for major renovations. From there, we drove east to Montmorency Falls Park. The 270’
falls are on the Montmorency River at its confluence with the St. Laurence. Although not nearly as wide, they
are 98’ higher than the Niagara Falls and once powered a generating plant.
Then we went back through Quebec City, had another look at Old Town, and caught the ferry back across the
river. Marion made a run through a dollar store, we got gas and went home to do laundry, feed the dogs, have
dinner and settle in for the night. It’s not particularly cold (47) but the wind is still blowing strong.
Our ultimate goal of this trip was the Gaspe Peninsula which separates the southeastern bank of the St.
Laurence from the Atlantic and which extends to 48.5N and 64.3E. Our first stop was Riviere du Loup, 110
miles up the Northwestern side of the peninsula.
Most of the trip was through farm land – mostly dairy – and wooded areas with increasing fall colors. We were
somewhat taken aback by the quality of the roads and the sizes of the villages. Malcolm had envisioned
winding, narrow roads and tiny farming and fishing villages. Instead, we found Hwy 20, a 4-lane which goes
all the way to R d L, a significant amount of car and truck traffic, and Riviere du Lupe with a permanent
population of over 20,000 plus many thousands more seasonal.
The campground turned out to be across the road from Noel au Chateau -- a castle modeled after the Magic
Kingdom Cinderella castle – which houses a history of Christmas traditions and decorations. It was closed until
the weekend but the Christmas Boutique next to it – the largest in the province – was open, and we had a good
time looking through the incredible selection of ornaments, decorated trees and other Christmas items.
Malcolm was fascinated by a tree that spewed out a stream of tiny foam pellets that fell back over the tree like
snow. The effect was very good.
We were hoping for better weather today, but it was in the 40’s with gusty wind and light rain most of the day
as we did some sightseeing.
After a stop at the Visitor Center, we went to Parc du Chutes (Waterfall Park) to see the series of falls on the
river that runs through the center of the town to the generating station. The highest fall is 100’. The area is
very picturesque with lots of photo ops.
Then we went to the park on a bluff above the city where there is a great view of the city. After a bite of lunch,
we decided to drive to Kamouraska, a fishing village about half an hour away to see something we’ve never run
into before – an eel fishing operation. We came back along the river, off the highway, driving through quaint
villages and farm land. It was well worth the drive. Here, still more than 100 miles from its mouth, the St
Laurence is about 12 miles wide.
We’re on the road tomorrow and not sure what the weather will be in the morning (it’s 41 now at 7pm), so
Malcolm got the car hooked up before dinner.
We had 180 miles to drive up the peninsula to Ste Anne des Monts so we got an early start. The weather was
calm, 42 degrees and a little blue sky as we headed out.
The 4-lane Hwy 20 soon turned into 2-lane Rt 132 which hugs the coast and goes through one village after
another – and a few larger towns – as it makes its way north. It was a pretty slow trip but the scenery was
spectacular. The St Laurence was whipped up by the strong on-shore winds creating heavy surf and the sun
broke through here and there. Each village was more interesting than the last.
We found our campground to be literally on the beach. The tiny back-in spaces are too small for us and we
didn’t want to un-hook the car for the one-night stay. No one else is here, so we parked across two spots,
parallel to the water, giving us a great view of the surf just 50 feet or so away. (See the attached photo).
The temperature is 42, the wind is around 35 mph directly off the water, and the sky is broken. Being across the
wind, the RV was really rocking until Malcolm put the jacks down which helped a lot. The electrical service is
only 15 amps so we ran power cords to 2 sites, giving us enough power to run the electric heater along with
everything else. That saves the propane we would use for the furnace. So far, we’ve used the furnace just to
heat the coach up the first thing in the morning. With the heater set at 55 and the electric mattress pad on, the
nights have been very comfortable.
We don’t know where the river ends and the Atlantic begins, but from here across the gulf is greater than 50
We really rocked last night! The wind blew harder than it had earlier giving us a wild ride.
Coming in yesterday, we saw a large wind farm at Cap-Chat. Judging from the wind we’ve experienced, it’s in
a good location. Its signature piece is a 360’-high vertical axis wind turbine – the world’s tallest. The 2 blades
look like those on a kitchen mixer beater.
Besides having to deal with the wind driving yesterday, there was a fair amount of traffic and the now infamous
tailgaters to deal with. Besides being the worst drivers we’ve ever encountered, Quebecians must not be happy
with where they are since they seem to be in such a hurry to get somewhere else!
Today’s drive around the tip of the peninsula was a different story. Even though it was still windy and the road
was 2-lane, the traffic was light and there were plenty of opportunities to let the occasional vehicle by. It was
probably the most scenic drive we’ve ever had. For most of the 170 miles, the road followed the coast line,
rising over the bluffs and dipping down to the beach, circling dozens of coves and wandering through village
after village. Although around 40 degrees, there was enough sun to highlight the surf. On several stretches, the
surf hit the sea wall, throwing spray 20 or 30 feet into the air and across the roadway.
We’re on the southeastern side of the peninsula tonight at Perce, QC, our last stop in Quebec. We’re even
closer to the water than last night, probably 15 feet from the edge of a low sea wall and the pebble beach below.
We’re also within a few hundred yards of Perce rock, an off-shore mile-long edifice which is a national
The forecast is for 75 degrees tomorrow (it’s 38 now at 8:15pm) and light wind. The wind has slowed down
considerably already and we can hear the surf. We’re looking forward to a nice day for sightseeing tomorrow.
It was pleasant last night with the wind down to a light breeze and being able to hear the surf. There was a
beautiful sunrise this morning. We wanted to wait for it to warm up a little before we went sightseeing but,
even with the sunshine, it never got above 41.
We got directions and maps from the Visitor’s center, then drove to the top of Mt. St. Anne, one of two 1000’
high mountains behind town. The upper half of the road was posted “4-wheel drive only” so we locked the
hubs on the Suzuki and had no trouble navigating the one gravel bar and 2 minor rock-climbs. The view from
the top was spectacular! We also stopped at the “grotto” which is a beautiful spot just before the 4 WD section.
It’s a cliff with a lacy waterfall that spills into a natural bowl.
It was lunch time so we went back toward town and found a little restaurant/bar out on the highway. We had a
very good lunch prepared by the cook, waiter, bartender, cashier. Malcolm had a Canadian “blonde” lager
(Tremblay) which he liked very much.
Then we took a scenic loop on the south side. At one stop, Malcolm hiked a short trail to see the view and pick
a bunch of wild flowers for Marion’s October 7th bouquet.
We continued south along the coast this morning, eventually heading inland towards New Brunswick. We had
planned to stay in St. Leonard, NB, but the campground closed early for the season. We wound up going about
40 miles farther to Perth-Andover. The camp ran a nice restaurant popular with the locals and we had a good
meal there. They were setting up for a birthday party for the owner’s wife after the restaurant closed.
The fall colors coming through NB were spectacular – it looks like our timing was perfect.
Because of the hassle of having to get under the Suzuki to check and fill the leaking transfer case and having to
limit speed to keep the case from overheating, Malcolm elected to disconnect the drive shaft from the rear
differential and strap it up out of the way for the rest of the trip. All we have to do is make sure we have pull-
through camping spots and don’t need to unhook and drive the car until we get home.
We continued through New Brunswick to the US border this morning where we had an orange confiscated. As
soon as we hit the first town in Maine, we stopped to stock up on groceries and gas at US prices and have lunch.
We’re in a nice campground on a lake in Portsmouth, ME tonight (with a pull-through spot). We did enough
laundry to get home and got caught up on email. The colors along I95 were as good as they were yesterday, if
not better. We’re 11days from home.