Tuesday, September 28, 2010 (Parry Sound, ON to Orangeville, ON)

Since we hadn’t unpacked anything other than clearing off the bed to sleep, I was going to have to wait for my coffee this morning. We were up, washed, dressed and walking over to Timmy’s for coffee and breakfast by 8:00. Right next door to Tim Horton’s was another coffee place called Richards Coffee that we thought we would try instead. It was really identical to Tim Horton’s...very odd. Anyway, we had our breakfast bagels and coffee and then I headed over to Sobey’s to pick up a few groceries while Steve went to Home Depot to see if he could find a wing nut for the Satellite arm...he would drive over and meet me when he was finished.

We were back on the road just after 9:30 this morning heading to an RV park just outside of Orangeville to meet Garth and Donna. It was just after 11:30 as we were approaching the park when it started to just pour out....great! We ended up going to the wrong entrance to the park so after a phone call to Garth, he came and met us in his truck and he led the way to our spot. It was still pouring out and we were just soaked as we took refuge in their 5th wheel....we would set up later. After hellos and hugs, Garth suggest we all go into town for lunch—not much else to do on a day like today. But before leaving, we sat down for a quick visit and were distracted many times by the rain coming down...it was absolutely just teeming out!!!

We were just going to pop next door into our 5th wheel and turn the fridge on before we headed into town. But as Steve opened the door to leave Garth and Donna`s trailer, he was greeted by a huge puddle...we were surrounded by water! Garth went out in his sandals to grab his boots from the storage but next thing we knew, he was in his truck...he had decided to drive around and back in to the trailer door! So with tailgate down, Steve and I stepped from the door of his trailer onto his tailgate and he drove us through the pooling water to the road. Too funny!! I just wish I had had my camera with me!!

We drove into Orangeville and had a great lunch at Montana`s and after a few more stops...LCBO and Sobey`s (Donna needed to pick up some groceries—they had invited us for dinner that night) we were back home just after 4:00. The rain had tapered off by this time and the pools of water had dissipated so that we were able to get into the 5th wheel. It was time to get set up.

About an hour later we were back in Donna and Garth`s 5th wheel enjoying a drink with them as Donna prepared dinner. We had such a lovely evening getting caught up with them. We both shared our adventures since we last saw each other. They had left Oceanside RV Park in Saanichton at the beginning of June, so they had been on the road for 4 months.

We said our goodnights around 9:30 and headed home. We were looking forward to more visiting with Garth & Donna tomorrow. They were going to show us around the area.

Monday, September 27, 2010 (Elliot Lake, ON to Parry Sound, ON)

We were on the road this morning just after 11:00...and...guess what...it was raining! So much for the 2 hours Steve spent yesterday afternoon washing the truck! Rain wasn’t in the forecast...so I guess it is Steve’s fault...he shouldn’t have washed the truck! LOL!

The rain didn’t really last long as we continued east but it was still cloudy and gloomy out...oh, how I long for blue sky and sunshine! As we approached Sudbury, we turned onto highway 69 heading south. There had been some major highway construction recently with some overpasses put in and poor Serena (GPS) figured we had gone astray a couple of times and were driving where there were no roads....”recalculating...recalculating``...too funny!

We stopped at a Shell station just outside of Parry Sound and fuelled up (diesel was 98.9) then continued to the Walmart parking lot where we thought we would spend the night. Another glitch with Serena...she had us turn left into the Canadian Tire parking lot...when it should have been right to Walmart...poor girl must be tired! As we entered the Walmart parking lot, there was a big level gravel lot where truckers park and at the edge of it, a fellow had a small RV sales and service business set up. So rather than the Walmart parking lot, we thought we would see if it would be okay if we cozied up beside the used RV`s. The fellow (Mark) who ran the small business had no problem with it, so we backed in. We were perfectly level...bonus! We pulled out our chairs and sat outside with a drink chatting to Mark, learning all about the area. Too bad we don`t have more time to explore the area...perhaps another time.

Our fridge started chirping indicating that we had just run out of propane. We had been trying to find a place to refill on our way down but hadn’t any luck. Mark said I don’t normally do this but you can use my truck. We didn’t even know his name at this point! You meet the greatest people as an RVer.

The area was absolutely littered with fast-food places...the best we could do for an actual restaurant was a Pizza Hut, which actually worked out well because we had one final gift card left and it was for Pizza Hut, KFC or Taco Bell...we`ll take Pizza Hut! We had a good dinner with one annoyance...tiny flies that kept buzzing around us. The waitress said that it was the beer we were drinking that was attracting them....hmmmm....I think they just have a problem there.

After dinner we wandered over and checked out Walmart and the Dollarama store (big night for the Baba’s!!) and then headed back to the trailer. We thought we would lie in bed and watch a movie...another one of the many that Dennis had loaded onto our memory stick. We were about half an hour into the movie when we heard a knock at the door. Steve got up and slid open the side window overlooking the doorway. A young fellow introduced himself as being from Parry Sound RV and said that our interior light in our truck was on. We had purchased floor mats at Walmart and forgot to turn the light off as we haven’t had it on all summer. That most likely saved us from a dead battery in the morning!

Sunday, September 26, 2010 (Elliot Lake, ON)

We woke up to clear skies this morning...YAY! Some clouds did roll in as the morning progressed but it was still a beautiful day.
Today was a “work” day...while Steve was outside washing his ATV, I was inside vacuuming the trailer from top to bottom. Then it was my turn to wash my quad...it’s not as easy as it sounds! There are so many nooks and crannies to clean the mud out of! And when its wet, it looks nice and clean but as soon as it dries, you can see all the spots that you missed...sheesh!!! I must have gone over it 3 times! But soon we had 2 clean quads stowed safely back in the truck and ready to continue to their next adventure.

There...she's nice and clean...and look at those colours on that hillside!

After that, Steve decided to wash the truck...now that is another huge undertaking...it was 5:30 by the he had finished. Okay...now can we sit down and enjoy our last night at Elliott Lake by the campfire??? We did just that...it was a lovely evening. One of very few with no wind. We made our Sunday evening (evening for us, afternoon for them) phone call to the boys, had a great barbequed steak dinner and continued to sit outside by the fire until bedtime.

Although Steve said he could easily spend another week here because he hasn’t had a chance to go fishing yet (darned wind and/or rain!), I’m looking forward to moving on tomorrow.

Saturday, September 25, 2010 (Elliot Lake, ON)

It was forecast to be a chilly day today with a high of only 10 degrees, so we bundled up...long-johns, heavy wool socks...the works! I had 7 layers on with the final layer being my Helly Hansen raingear—it acted not only as a defence against the rain but also was a great windbreak while riding. Steve unloaded the quads from the truck while I gathered everything we would need for the ride today.

After packing the cargo boxes—lunch, snacks, water, camera, extra gas...etc.—we left at 8:30 for the clubhouse. Of course, it had started to mist out...good thing we had our raingear on, I think we are going to need it today!

It was a poor turnout for an annual event. The previous day’s storm and the uncertainty of today’s weather has probably kept many away. I think when you have such a fantastic riding area that you can access directly from your home you can afford to pick and choose your rides according to the weather. Eight of us headed out on the trails today with Bill leading the way. Unfortunately, that number was soon down to seven as Bob got stuck in the first big muddy puddle we went through and once freed, he decided to head back as is smaller sized ATV wasn`t running properly.

Bill commented that he has never seen so much water on the trails as they never get that much rain. Steve said he has never ridden in so much mud and water! The puddles weren’t as deep as one we did on our previous ride but sure were fun.

Now, I have likely said this on previous posts this past week...but the colour of the leaves is changing daily...become more and more brilliant as each day goes by! The colours today were just beautiful!

What another awesome day! We had been lucky having had perfect, blue skies and sunshine on our previous 2 rides but today`s cloud didn`t hamper the ride at all...it was still incredible and we had a great day! The pictures don’t do the colours justice!
Oh dear...and no chainsaw...we had to turn around at this point...

And this is Elliot Lake Falls...
We arrived back home just before 4:00 p.m. We had been lucky...a bit of heavy mist at times but no major downpour! Our ride today was about 76 kms...so over the 3 full day rides we have had, we have ridden about 266 kms...of the approximately 300 km mapped trail system in the area. And it is so nice riding with people from the area...great trail guides! A lot nicer than riding an unfamiliar area on our own.

We spent the evening inside again...trying to warm up! We are hoping for a nicer day tomorrow so we can get the ATV’s all washed up...and so we can sit outside with a nice campfire on our last night in Elliot Lake! After nine nights here, we will be continuing our journey east...and then into southern Ontario. We are looking forward to meeting up with Garth and Donna, the wonderful couple we met back home when we lived at Oceanside RV Resort. They left Victoria at the beginning of June and after going north, they are now visiting family just outside of Orangeville, Ontario. We will connect with them on Tuesday.

Friday, September 24, 2010 (Elliot Lake, ON)

There was a rain warning issued for the area again today...with wind as well. Tonight we heard on the news that the area had a record 91.8 mm of rain and winds 72 kph...with even stronger gusts.

Our main objective for today was laundry so it was noon when we loaded the bags into the truck and headed to the “coin wash” as indicated on the visitor’s map. What a dive! Half the machines didn’t work and those that did only took quarters...$3.50...that’s 14 quarters! And there was no change machine so I had to canvass the neighbouring businesses for change. That is when one lady commented that that Laundromat is not maintained...there’s a new one up the hill, you know... Sheesh! But at that point it was too late because we already had one load on...I was just hunting down enough quarters to put the other 3 on!! Believe me, had I known we had options, we would have moved on to the next Laundromat!

A couple of hours later, we were finished and off to do our next errand...pick up milk, bread, etc at the grocery store. Then onto Rona—Steve had noticed a bolt missing from the boat loader and wanted to pick up a replacement. Obviously the last fellows working on the truck had not secured the bolt after the service on the engine.  Once that was all taken care of, we headed home.

By this time it was really, really windy and the wind gusts were actually moving the staked-down tripod that the satellite dish is on...and of course, disrupting our satellite signal! So Steve had to grab some rope and more stakes and try to secure it before the wind knocked it right over. That accomplished, and with a little tweaking, we had our signal back.

Needless to say, we spend the rest of the afternoon and evening inside...in front of the fireplace, watching TV. We are going on the Fall Colours Ride with the Elliot Lake ATV Club tomorrow...sure hope the weather improves!

Thursday, September 23, 2010 (Elliot Lake, ON)

Rain...rain...and more rain...was the order of the day today. There was a rainfall warning issued for Elliot Lake and area today...and it just poured all day! Consequently we had a very quiet “inside” day.
I caught up on some email responses and worked on the blog. After getting so completely frustrated trying to upload pictures, I finally tried something that Chris had suggested awhile ago. By exporting out of Picasa and resizing them (smaller), they seem to upload much faster. That pleased me immensely and I was able to get the blog all up-to-date!

Steve fixed the clamps that hold the radios onto our helmets...and other than that, we both just hunkered down enjoying a quiet day cozy’d up in front of the fireplace (thank goodness we have electrical hook-up here)!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 (Elliot Lake, ON)

We were ready to go by 8:30 this morning...it was chilly so we had our long-johns on and I had 6 layers of clothing! But it was clear out and it was looking very promising weather-wise. Upon arriving at the ELATV Clubhouse, we began to unload the quads from the truck as members of the club started to arrive. There would be 5 members (John, Alex, Roy, Bill and Fred) taking us with them on their Wednesday ride. They have approximately 85 members in their club. Their website is http://www.elatv.com/.  More about ATV'ing in Ontario can be found at http://www.atvontario.com/

We started out at 9:00 a.m....I was behind John, the ride leader...and Steve was behind me. Barely a minute or two into the ride, I tried a radio-check with Steve—we have 2-way radios attached to our helmets—but there was no response, so I took a look behind me. He wasn’t there, so I stopped...eventually, John noticing no one was behind him, turned around and came back to check out what was going on. Just as I also turned around to follow John back, along they all came...so after turning back around again, off we went. I continued trying to talk to Steve over the radio but there was no response...I figured he had forgotten to turn his on. It wasn’t until we stopped for a minute at a road that I learned the reason for the hold-up...his radio had fallen off his helmet. No wonder I couldn’t reach him...well, I’m glad that was all it was...I was afraid the hold-up had been an issue with his quad.
We started our ride by going up to the top of Beaver Mountain to a spectacular lookout (after riding past our campsite.) The view was even better than from the Fire Tower Lookout...and the colours...incredible! You can almost see them changing daily.

We had one hellava day! The weather was fabulous...I had to start removing some of the layers as the day wore on. John led us on a ride with awesome views...of the countryside and many lakes. The pictures likely won’t do the colours justice. We stopped numerous times...to rest, take pictures, have snacks/lunch and to chat with the club members. All, with the exception of John who has lived here for over 30 years, have retired and moved to Elliot Lake.

We rode through hundreds of puddles...some larger than others...through streams...some so deep that we had to hold our feet up...and through mud bogs! Just put ‘er in 4x4 low...and go!

We arrived back at the clubhouse at 5:00...now that had been an excellent 8 hour, 90 km ride! After saying our thank-yous and goodbyes to John (the others had parted earlier, riding to their homes...you can do that here in Elliot Lake) we gassed-up the quads and loaded them back into the truck. Saturday is their annual fall colours ride so we will just ride from the campground.

Arriving home, we quickly got changed so we could sit outside with a bevie and take advantage of the lovely evening...but the clouds were quickly coming in...there was rain heading our way for tomorrow.

Peter, our neighbour, came over for a chat. They had been given a tour of the area by ‘Retirement Living’ a non-profit organization that is promoting Elliot Lake as a retirement community. He is very impressed with the area and all of the activities it has to offer but it sounds like they really didn’t find any housing (apartment or small house) that they really wanted to purchase.  Apparently you can buy a 2 bedroom bungelow for $74,000.

By 7:00, the clouds had come in, the wind had picked up and it was getting pretty chilly so we headed inside. It was time to prepare dinner anyway. We spent the rest of the evening watching TV before heading to bed...we were both pooped! We had had a great day!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 (Elliot Lake, ON)

A big thunderstorm with a major downpour woke us up at 5:00 a.m. this morning. You can tell there’s major lightning happening out there when you can “see” the light through closed eyes as you try to sleep.

I finally got out of bed just after 7:00 a.m. for the start of my usual morning. It ended up really being the ultimate in lazy mornings today! We watched a couple of season openers that we had downloaded on our new HDPVR. By the time we had finished our exercises, showered, had breakfast and cleaned up, it was just after noon by the time we headed out.

We had decided to stay until Sunday so we needed to pay for the additional nights, plus we wanted to pick up day passes for the trails to go on the ATV ride with the Elliot Lake ATV Club tomorrow. So we went back to the Visitor’s Centre to take care of that. While there, we also took in the Mining Museum. Unfortunately a few of the lakes in the area are dead as they are used to cover the Uranium tailings. This is apparently the best way to reduce the radiation. They also have a very well documented history of Elliot Lake and the surrounding area.

Once finished there, we went to the local mall and picked up a few things at Shoppers and Foodland and then headed home. As we were pulling in I noticed another Montana 5th wheel in the park. It is smaller than ours but at first glance, I thought it was ours and that someone was prowling around it. But no, we had new neighbours...Peter came right over to introduce himself as soon as we got out of the truck. He and his wife are from Nova Scotia and have been travelling up north. They are here for a few days to look into the retirement housing that is advertised here.

We were contemplating going for a walk but decided against it...those clouds weren’t looking very friendly! Sure enough, just a few minutes later, it started to pour out! Steve played “Mr. Fixit” to a switch on the wall that had come loose while I attempted to upload more pictures to the travel blog. I have the last few days ready with the exception of the pictures...which is a very slow process, if I’m able to get them on at all. This is due to the weak internet connection I am getting using the Rogers Rocket Stick. I am managing to get a picture uploaded occasionally, but it is very slow going...

There was a break in the weather about an hour later, so we decided to chance it...and armed with our umbrellas we headed out for a walk across the street to the lake. It’s a lovely park with a trail that follows the water to a beach and playground area.  Of course, I forgot my camera...and so did Steve...sheesh! We had a good 35 minute walk, arriving home just prior to another huge deluge of rain!

Steve was a guinea pig for a beef stir fry concoction I made for dinner...it wasn’t too bad but the sauce was a little too thick (I didn’t have any cornstarch so had to use flour). We watch the season openers of NCIS and NCIS:Los Angeles and then headed to bed.

We are looking forward to our ride tomorrow... Jeanne from the ATV club had called...the ride was on. We have to be at the clubhouse at 8:45 tomorrow morning.

Monday, September 20, 2010 (Elliot Lake, ON)

We woke up to clear skies this morning...YAY! As usual, I worked on the journal while having my morning coffee...until it was time to get my butt in gear and get ready for our ride today. After a quick breakfast, Steve unloaded the ATV`s, checked the tire pressure and generally got them ready while I cleaned up the kitchen and made sandwiches for today`s outing.

Dave was over watching as Steve unloaded our toys and Carol came over with a couple of Tim Horton T-shirts and an apron for us. We also exchanged contact information...they have a place in Florida and we are to call them if we are ever in the area. Very nice people...it was a pleasure meeting them and we will definitely contact them should we be in their area.

We finished getting the ATV’s packed up—rain gear...check; camera...check; helmets...check; lunch...check; water...check. Roly (our tour guide) arrived promptly at 11:00 and after saying our goodbyes to Dave and Carol, we were on our way.

What an absolutely perfect day for our ride! The colours are incredible...and they’ve just started to change. We’re going for a 100 km ride today...to an old abandoned copper mine beside a lake. We stopped a few times along the way for rest breaks, pictures, lunch and lots of chatting with our new friend and tour guide.

Our first stop at a small lake along the way...

Another lake on the way....

The colours are spectacular...

The Mine...basically a cave...

Steve and Roly at the lake where the mine is...
More beautiful scenic views...

We had one anxious moment on our way back where we lost Roly. I had missed the turn he took at the ‘Y’ in the road and continued on what ended up going to the same place but it was the long way around meaning he was waaaay ahead of us. There was also another road to left that we figured was the wrong direction. We couldn’t see his dust and had a good view of the road ahead but no Roly, so we returned to where we lost him which gave us an even better view of the road ahead. We turned off the quads to see if we could hear anything and we eventually heard a machine briefly so Steve and I determined we must be going in the right direction and we soon caught up to Roly who had stopped to wait for us. Our club has a rule that if you come to a junction in the road you stop and wait for the rider behind you before proceeding. Whew...I must admit it was a little disconcerting to be at a cross-road trying to determine which way we should be going...and it was getting late. But all ended up well and we arrived back home just before 7:00 p.m.
Roly joined us for a beer that we enjoyed sitting outside watching the sun set. It had been such a spectacular day...clear, warm and no wind!!

It was just getting dark as Roly left. Steve loaded the quads back into the truck and we called it a day. We hope to have many more perfect days!


Sunday, September 19, 2010 (Elliot Lake, ON)

It was late in the morning by the time we headed out to explore the area...we wanted to take a look around and get the “lay of the land”. We checked out the boat launch area on Elliot Lake and then drove up to the Fire Tower lookout. Fabulous views....

There is a mining museum at the Visitor’s Centre so we thought we would stop by there and check it out...unfortunately, it was closed on Sundays. Oh well...perhaps another time. We wanted to get some firewood to have a campfire and were directed by the girl at the Visitor`s Centre to a place down the road called The Trading Post. They didn`t sell firewood but it was a very interesting store...jammed full of clothing (for the hunting season) and fishing gear...and just a whole bunch of stuff. After getting directions to a place where we could possibly find some firewood for sale, we left and did a bit of a tour around the downtown area. Then we headed down the highway to find this firewood place...we obviously missed it because we were a ways out of town but we did see Dunlop Lake before turning around and heading back.

We finally found the place for firewood but there was no one around...great... After calling a phone number and not getting an answer and walking around trying to find someone, we decided we might as well leave. Just as we fired up the truck to leave, a truck pulled in...the owner...whew...good timing. So we paid him $10 for a pre-measured `square` of chopped firewood but as Steve started to load it into the truck, he realized the length of each piece was about 6’’...what`s up with that? He put it back and after expressing his displeasure (politely) to the owner, the fellow took him to another pile that was more appropriate for a campfire. We ended up with 2 wheelbarrows full of firewood...that was a better deal!

Once back home, we pondered what to do...it was really windy out again (story of our lives!) and I really wanted to get the blog updated as well as some emails answered. So I went inside to work on that while Steve chopped and stacked the firewood.

It was 4:00 when Steve said he was going to light the campfire...so I finished up the email I was working on and joined him outside. It was still really windy out so it was nice having the fire going. We waved at numerous ATV`s that drove through the campground as we sat enjoying our bevies by the fire.

It was around 6:00 p.m. when our neighbours returned from their day of golfing. After standing and chatting with them for a few minutes, we invited them to join us by the fire. Dave and Carol were originally from Elliot Lake and return every year for the annual golf tournament. A very interesting couple, they have had quite the life...Dave worked in one of the many uranium mines in the area; then became a cop here until a back injury forced him off the police force; then went back to mining; then farmed for 4 years; and now in their retirement, they own 6 out of the 10 Tim Horton`s in North Bay, Ontario. Carol was a realtor.

We thought they would join us for a drink before dinner...but it was another...and another...and next thing we knew it was after 10:00. We said our goodnights and headed inside where we had soup and sandwiches for dinner. After having a chat with the kids, we headed to bed...tomorrow we were going riding!

Saturday, September 18, 2010 (Sault Ste. Marie to Elliot Lake, ON)

It rained through the night and was still raining when I got up this morning...but the weather forecast said that it was going to clear up for the afternoon. And sure enough, it stopped raining and the clouds started to break up by 10:00 or so and the sun started to come out.

It was lovely out by the time we hit the road at 11:00. We made our way out of Sault (Soo!!) Ste. Marie heading east on highway 17. It was an uneventful drive...stopping only once at a picnic site just on the outskirts of Iron Bridge where we ate the sandwiches I had packed. There was also a little farm market set up with the local ladies selling their jams, jellies, fresh made bread, cookies, pies...etc...along with some fresh produce as well. We bought a small (single serving) cherry pie and a date square...both of which served as dessert for us later that evening.

We arrived at Elliot Lake just after 2:00 p.m....that had been a nice easy drive. After stopping at the Visitor’s Centre, where we registered for a site, we drove further down the road to Westview Park (their municipal campground). It turned out to be road paralleling the highway with sites on one side overlooking the highway. Oh well, at least it’s not a main highway...it’s more like the main street that runs through town. The site (#12) we were given was the largest they had...and apparently was the tenting site so it had no sewer hook-up—only water and electrical. In order to fit, we would have to park the 5th wheel sideways. The people in site #11 would be leaving Monday so we could use the sewer hook-up which is right on the edge of the site once they left. Well, as it turns out, there would be no way, no matter how we situated the trailer in the site that we would have hose long enough to be able to make the sewer...no big deal...the washrooms and shower (which is free) was right across from us. We would just use them as much as possible to prevent our holding tanks from getting too full...particularly since we did not know how long we would be staying here.

The city promotes itself as a centre for major outdoor activities...including the ideal location for your retirement. There are over 300 kms of ATV/snowmobile trails, tons of hiking trails and boasts 4000 lakes in the area for fishing. There are even ATV trails that allow you to drive right into a gas station to fuel up! We will be able to offload our quads right here in the campsite and ride the trails. We were also given a map that details all of the well-marked trails in the area.

As Steve was getting the satellite dish set up, a fellow on an ATV stopped as he was driving through the campground. Roly lives here in Elliot Lake and is retired. We had quite a long conversation with him about ATV’ing in the area. He tentatively offered to take us out on a ride Monday...he thinks he’s free that day...oh, these retired folks!! We enthusiastically took him up on his offer...it would be great going out with someone who knows the area. In addition to this, Steve also spoke to someone from the Elliot Lake ATV Club...they typically go for established rides every Saturday and Wednesday, so we will likely go for a ride with them on Wednesday. They have also been advertising a Fall Colours Ride next Saturday (September 25th)...that would be very cool! With the ATV rides, all the hiking trails and fishing opportunities, I think we will have no problem spending a good week or so here!

Friday, September 17, 2010 (Sault Ste. Marie, ON)

We were up and out pretty early this morning...well...it was 10:00 by the time we stopped, paid for another night and were on our way into town. We parked the truck at Station Mall which is close to the riverfront...St. Mary’s River runs between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. There is a walkway along the riverfront so we headed off, camera in hand...looking like typical tourists.

There is a 21’ difference between the lakes so the freighters must go through locks.

We made our way along the waterfront until we reached the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre (http://www.bushplane.com/visitors-canadian-bushplane-heritage/) ...Steve was in his glory! It is a very cool place...very impressive! There is a bush plane that you can sit in and it simulates flights around the area...so we took a tour over Sault Ste. Marie; a flight through the Agawa Canyon to a remote fishing camp; and we even joined the crew of a water-bomber to fight some forest fires. It was all very realistic...no need to take those tours now...we’ve already seen it all!

After almost 2 hours at the Bushplane museum, we continued our sight-seeing tour by going across the street to the Ermatinger-Clerque National Historic Site (http://www.city.sault-ste-marie.on.ca/Article_Page.aspx?ID=276&deptid=1). The Ermatinger•Clergue National Historic Site consists of two of the oldest stone buildings northwest of Toronto surrounded by period gardens. The first building, the Ermatinger Old Stone House, is restored to depict the domestic and professional life of Charles Oakes Ermatinger and other prominent residents and visitors of the House between 1808 and 1870 reflecting the nationally recognized historic aspects of the House. The second building, the Clergue Blockhouse, was relocated to the Site in 1996, and was the home of Francis Hector Clergue from 1894 – 1908.

As we entered the Ermatinger House, my cell rang...it was Dave Mason confirming plans for dinner that night. They would pick us up between 5:30 and 6:00...we were going to The Docks...a restaurant on the riverfront that we had passed on our walk that morning.

By the time we had finished our tour of the heritage buildings, it was almost 3:00, so after a quick stop at Timmy’s for something to eat, we walked back to the truck. We still had to pick up our coats at the drycleaners and hit the LCBO (liquor store). I swear that Serena wanted to take us on a sight-seeing tour of areas that we had not yet seen because the route she took us to the LCBO was a great big circle...in other words, a very long roundabout way when a simple left turn would have been a much more direct route...too funny!

Dave and his wife, Lisa, picked us up at 5:45 and we headed to the restaurant where we met Lisa’s sister, Leonie (she goes by Cookie) and her husband, Armand. The restaurant had big picture windows looking out onto the river, locks and across to the other Sault Ste. Marie which is in Michigan. There is a huge, long bridge that crosses the river and connects the two countries.

After an excellent dinner, we went back to Dave and Lisa's log house for coffee and dessert. Cookie and Armand moved from Kapuskasing, Ontario recently and share the house with Dave and Lisa. What a beautiful log house! It`s in the wrong setting, though...it needs to be on a remote lake somewhere! 

We had coffee (with Baileys....mmmm), dessert and continued our visit until it was time to head home. We were leaving in the morning and I still had a few things to take care of that required the internet...and I wasn`t sure if we`d have connection at Elliot Lake. So after hugs and handshakes, Dave drove us home. We had such a great evening...thanks Dave, Lisa, Cookie and Armand for your hospitality!

Thursday, September 16, 2010 (Sault Ste. Marie, ON)

We had the ultimate in lazy mornings...it was almost noon by the time we headed out to do some grocery shopping and laundry. Serena took us on a very strange route to Station Mall where there was supposed to be a Laundromat. It was very busy in the parking lot so we nixed that idea and headed to Walmart for some shopping. While paying a rather expensive bill there, I asked the cashier if there was a Laundromat nearby. She gave us directions to where she thought there was one but when we arrived, it turned out just to be a drycleaners...but that was okay, we had a couple of jackets that needed to be drycleaned.

After getting directions from the cute little old Italian man in the drycleaners, we drove across the street and parked in the arena parking lot...next door to the ‘coin washers’. We lugged our 2 big laundry bags into the laundry facilities only to be very disappointed. Although the woman that was running the place was very friendly, the facility was run-down with half the washer displaying hand-written ‘’out of order’’ signs on them...and the ones that were working were very expensive. Basically the place was, in my opinion, rather seedy with old ill-maintained equipment. So we lugged our laundry bags back to the truck...I will do the laundry back at the campground...where it should have been done in the first place. I just thought it rather expensive...I was wrong!

It was just after 2:30 when Steve dropped me and the laundry bags off at the office as we entered the campground. I headed in to get started on the laundry while Steve continued onto our site and unloaded all the groceries from the truck. By the time I had the laundry finished, the sun was making brief appearances so we thought we would try to catch a ray or two and have happy hour outside. Besides, it’s a great way to meet new neighbours that were arriving all around us.

We spent considerable time talking with the neighbour who had pulled in right beside us. He and his wife are from Edmonton and had just rented out their house and were going to full-time RV. They had a big Class A motorhome and towed an SUV...I loved the license plate on his motorhome...’’FILL R UP’’.

It started to get a bit too chilly so we decided to head inside...where I turned on the laptop and continued working on postings to the blog. I am very disappointed with the reception we get with our Rogers Rocket Stick. It was taking forever to upload pictures to the blog so I thought I would try the free Wi-Fi offered here at the KOA...wow...what a difference! I think it’s time to think more seriously about satellite internet...speaking of which, the fellow next door gave us the name of a brand in the States to look into...Star Band.

Just before we were going to have dinner, Dave, the fellow Steve had met at the RV park in Winnipeg, called...he would drop by at 8:00 for a visit. He had initially offered to show us around but our timing for that during the work week doesn’t work with his schedule. Dave is retired but his wife still works, so he has a part time job driving a handicap van for physically and mentally challenged kids. He also coaches a girl’s hockey team that keeps him busy evenings and weekends. We had a nice visit with him over coffee. He gave us lots of information about the area...he had lived here all his life. Just after 10:00, we said our good-byes and he was off...sounds like we may get together tomorrow evening for dinner.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 (Rabbit Blanket Campground, Lake Superior Provincial Park to Sault Ste. Marie, ON)

It was a beautiful morning as we packed up the 5th wheel in preparation for the road. The sky was blue...the sun was shining...and the wind was calm...a perfect day! We took our time this morning; no need to rush as we had a fairly short 2 ½ hour drive to Sault Ste. Marie.

We were on the road shortly after 10:30. Our perfectly clear skies clouded up somewhat as we headed south along the lakeshore but it was broken cloud allowing the sun to peer through here and there. The views are spectacular! The countryside is ablaze with colour as the leaves change and the colour of Lake Superior is gorgeous!

As we drove further through Lake Superior Provincial Park, we found many signs indicating there were lots of hiking trails and things to see in the park. We stopped at the Visitor’s Centre at Agawa Bay. This is also where the main campground is. The Centre is very impressive with lots of displays and interpretive exhibits...and the beach...WOW...beautiful!

It was around 2:00 when we pulled into the KOA campground which is just on the western outskirts of the city. We pulled in behind two huge Class A motorhomes from Quebec (we found out later that one of them owned some Canadian Tire stores). We registered...$50.50 plus tax per night for full hook-ups with 30 amp power. I’m surprised they don’t have “off-season” rates...especially when all of the facilities are not open (the pool had been closed for the season). It is a nice park with plenty of trees...the sites are a little narrow but the gravel pads are level and there is a grassy area with a picnic table and fire pit between each site. As we pulled into our assigned site--#25—a fellow was there to help direct us in. As it turned out, it was the owner/manager...a personal touch, I guess. Bill is a very nice fellow and was interested in our truck...he has a big Volvo tractor that carries a smart car and pulls a big Mobile Suites 5th wheel.

We got all set up and as Steve was working on the satellite dish, an older motorhome pulled in across the street. Darrell and Judy are from Thunder Bay and are doing the circle drive around Lake Superior. We had a number of chats with them over the course of the afternoon and evening. Steve also had a long chat with the fellow next door...Paul and his wife are from Alberta and are heading to PEI and then down south. That’s one thing about this type of park...you meet lots of fellow RVer’s.

Through the course of the late afternoon, two more huge Class A motorhomes pulled in just down from us and as we were eating dinner one pulled in right beside us. Bob and his wife, had just left Barrie, Ontario this morning and were heading to BC. They were meeting up with friends in Powell River and then were heading south to Arizona and Texas. He has quite the setup that he tows behind his 42’ motor home...it is a trailer with a box on it that matches his motorhome and carries his motorcycle and right behind that is his car. We didn’t ask what his total length is but I’d say his rig is longer than ours!  That's his rig beside ours...

After dinner we went for a walk around the campground...it’s pretty busy in our section...we’re surrounded by huge Class A motor homes... 
Back at our site, Steve prepared a campfire while I made some “special” hot chocolate...well, I thought he was preparing a fire...when I went out with the hot chocolate to sit in front of the fire, all that was there was a pit of crumpled newspaper! He had gotten interrupted by Bill (the campground owner) and a couple of other fellows wanting to see the truck and quads. Bill is planning on buying an ATV—in addition to using the quad around the campground, he owns 75 acres where he’d like to make trails. He even said that we were more than welcome to offload our quads and take them onto the property.

Steve finally got the fire going and we sat enjoying it and our hot chocolate until it started to rain. We were pretty well out of firewood anyway...so inside we went. I did a little work on posting to our blog while Steve made a couple of phone calls. The first one was to Jim and Nan...he wanted to wish Jim good luck on his moose hunting trip (I think he is a little sad that he will not be joining them this year). The second call was to his brother, Dave. We had had such a good visit with he and Kerry at Reed Lake...that seems like so long ago now!

It was getting pretty late by the time we headed to bed...and listened to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof...all night....