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Thursday, September 21, 2017

VACATION - Looping Around Lake Superior - Day 10 Agawa Bay Lake Superior Prov Park

After breakfast, we drove on over in the Tracker into the town of Marathon.  We stopped at the grocery store for a few small items.  We needed fresh lettuce and cucumbers, as well as some baking soda and a few snacks.  I wanted a celery for a pot of chili.  It was a cool kinda damp day.

We also wandered through a Canadian Tire Store, having never been to one before.  Like a Tractor Supply Company, TSC.  We saw a lot of cool stuff, but nothing we could not live without. Steve bought a couple packs of the "colored campfire" powder.  It makes colored campfires... toss in a packet and let it burn. (don't cook over it)   We bought some earlier this year at Menards, but they seem to be out of them now.  Fun to dazzle the grandkids with.

We drove on down to the Pebble Beach area again, to see if we just had a bad impression the afternoon before.  We wandered down the trail to the rocky shoreline. It sure is desolate and pretty!  I picked up about 20 little round stones of varying colors and patterns to sneak on home in my shoes in the closet. LOL

 We looked up to see two men in business suits standing by us??  Hmmmmm  They chatted with us for a while and had folders in their hands for a meeting on the beach. I think they were some local city aldermen or perhaps a business group chatting with the officials who were all starting to congregate in the parking lot above.

When we got back to the Tracker there were about 10 men gathering.   Now we are glad we weren't boondocking there and appearing to be "squatters" on their prime city location.  Instead, we patronized their city park, that was well maintained and worth the nightly fee.

Someone on the last blog asked if the prices I am quoting are in CN or US dollars.  The prices I have been posting are all in the CN currency.  If we use a credit card, then it does the US exchange automatically for us.  If we use CN cash, it is cash we already exchanged at the border at Thunder Bay and got the rate (21% that day) ... so we are paying with our CN cash that we got the for US rate, so we are good either way.

We came back to the campground and started to pack up to get road worthy.  I worked on the quick blog, caught up some faecbook posts and commented to a few friends. Having some wifi was nice and I was able to upload some Youtube videos and interject them into a few of the past blogs.  So in case you are bored, you can now click the "OLDER POST" link at the bottom of web version of my blog and it will take you back to the previous 4 or 5 posts to see if there are new videos added.

We asked the gal cleaning the campsites when we need to vacate the site. She smiled and shrugged her shoulders and said "Bout Lunch Time"   hahahaha  We left the park at 12:17 and headed out to the Trans Canadian Highway 17.

I am typing as we are heading east out of Marathon.  We saw a Safari heading into Marathon as we were leaving. We beeped and waved.  Soooo if you were one of my faithful Safari readers, Hello to you!

On the highway we headed into pretty windy conditions. There is a nice visitor center just east of Marathon that overnighting is allowed per other's advice too.  We see about 6 RVs and a semi truck parked in their ample lot as we passed by.

Today is the first day we have seen police officers.  On our whole trip, we have not seen a single one that we know of.  Today we saw one pass us... race up ahead... and then come back  the other way?

Bit windier travel day... some south and southwest winds are pushing us around a bit. Some of the gusts as we rounded rock outcroppings and dip into valleys were "two hands on the wheel" for Steveio. On top of that, it was an older bumpier road surface than the rest of the route so far.  This is how I remembered the single road around Superior we travelled 20 years ago, but Steve said he thinks they were even narrower back then too. He is having to do a bit of jockeying on the wheel to remain in our lane. We are getting jounced around quite a bit, and slowed to 45mph... approx 70kph.  I told Steve if it was too rough driving, we could pull off in White River in about 40 miles and call it a day.  I think we are heading towards Lake Superior Provincial Park, about 120 miles more.

I know we have been spending a bit more of our budget by staying at more provincial parks than we had planned.  We have had 3 boondocking nights and 6 campground nights so far.  I think if we had internet access we could research more places with Google Earth and scope out hideaway spots like we do in the US.   But in all honesty, most of the roads that we have been driving on doesn't have ANY data signals, even along the highway.  So even if I enacted our Verizon TravelPass plan, we would not be able to get on Google to search anyhow.   We are using my laptop and faithful Microsoft Streets and Trips 2011 with GPS dongle to navigate most of the way because it doesn't require any data signal to work.  I love it on the big screen of the laptop to naviagate and search and chart our route, as well as see where we are.

Our droid cell phone GPS works if you can have a data signal to set your course.  But it doesn't let you update or change locations as you travel unless you also have data while enroute.  I can see where we are, but not look up things around us as we go.

We also have the good old paper maps that we rely on as well.  We never totally trust the GPS after it led us up a back alley, through a deep dip, and behind a Walmart building in the middle of the night.  (instead of entering around the front parking area like everyone else does).  We almost didn't make it. The store manager said it's a problem to be notated that way on the GPS location services because some semi drivers get directed that way and can NOT get out.  They get wedged and need a tow truck to remove the trailer after unhoooking their rig from the hitch. We learned that we need to unhook the Tracker and go ahead to see the route and spot any "iffy" situations.

We just passed a nice little rest area that was on the DePew river between White River and Wawa that appears to allow boondocking overnight.  I made a note of it on our map for future reference, and here for any blog readers to mark it down on their maps.

We are taking our time and biding our way, so much so  that we don't think we will make it down to the Lower Peninsula of Michigan (sorry Kathy and Mary!)  we can save that adventure for another time.   By the time we get to Sault Ste Marie, (the Soo) we will only have a few days left to meander.  Yes, Steve is retired... but he drives bus for the county ADRC handicapped and elderly people.  It's only supposed to be 15 hours a week. They have been shorthanded on drivers lately and it's been closer to 25-28 a week.  He told them he was taking off 2-3 weeks and should be back no later than Oct 1. That is only 10 days away!!!  We have been averaging 90 miles a day, sometimes more, sometimes less.  From where we are right now it is still 500 miles to home. I guess that now we are heading southward through Canada, my thoughts are turning to HOME.

We noticed a change in the terrain as we headed east... the hills are getting much more rockier and sharp drops and climbs.  The trees are getting more like the Upper Peninsula Michigan type trees, more hardwoods, (which means more color), and thicker taller white and red pines. These are not the thinner tamaracks and scrubby pines of the northwestern side of Lake Superior that we have been seeing since going north of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Here is a video of hou rough the roads are getting :

The grades are steeper in the 7% range and the rocky edges are more colorful, with iron ore reds, granite pinks, and greys of slate and shale.  We saw this front end loader driving right down the highway, repairing and moving big rocks that fall down onto the shoulders from above.

About 40 miles north of Wawa, the road got much better and smoother sailing. The winds have died down also, and we are more comfortable as we roll along. It's like sitting in two easy chairs, with a huge picture window of a movie flowing by. LOL

We stopped and did the "tourist thing" at the WaWa goose at their visitor center.  It reminds me of the Red Green Show on PBS about how they made a huge goose out of duct tape and entered it in an art contest.  While transporting it, the nephew Harold accidentally crawled inside the body of the goose and the faster they drove, of course the goose became airborn!  Such an adventure, eh?

We saw a helicopter taking off across the road too:

On display at the visitor center were these painted adirondack chairs, and I thought they were really cool.  This is an idea for our daughter Heather on her patio someday... especially the piano key and hands? 

Wawa was the location of the connecting link of roads that made the entire loop around Lake Superior in 1960.  How wonderful that must have been to be able to get around the entire lake instead of resorting to ships or a train to get across to the other towns.

This was one of our longest driving days this trip.  We drove past the entrance to Lake Superior Provincial Park... but it's a HUGE park!  The road through the park is over 50 miles long.  We stopped at the main office around 20 miles in.  The gal there registered us for site 103 in the far bottom campground called Agawa Bay but we still had 30+ miles to get there to it. She said someone might take our site as a walk-in registration before we get there, so be prepared to lose that spot and just take another one that is empty.  Oh well....  And... if all were suddenly full (which she said there were a lot of empty sites) It was either that or backtrack to Rabbit Blanket Lake campground 40+ miles to the north.

We made it to the wonderful long skinney strip of a campground along the Agawa Bay and turned down the VERY narrow lane to the row of campsites.  Of course, site 103 had been taken by a popup camper.  We made it down to the end of the lane and around a tight bend, and up the next lane to find another site along the water. Almost all sites were taken. We paused at 110 because it was empty, but kinda tilted and uneven.  We had to unhook the Tracker anyhow, so we did and I scooted back up and around to scope out the rest of that narrow lane... the problem was the hazard of the tall tall red pine trees with trunks within virtual inches of the mirrors as Steve maneuvered through them.

 I looked ahead and found site 114 was PERFECT~~~    Steve was able to drive to it and then back in VERY CAREFULLY between the tall lodge pole straight red pines.

Others watching him were impressed as he got it right in place the first time.  All I have to do is watch up high for anything he can't see in the mirrors and make sure dumb people are not walking behind him as he backs up. He is really great at manuvering this huge rig into some of the tightest spots!

It is much warmer here than when we left Marathon at 1pm. It was almost 6 and the temps were low 80s and very humid.  A nice breeze made it comfortable and we changed into shorts and t shirts for the evening.

I whipped up some chicken tacos for supper, and Steve made up a nice campfire to enjoy in the firepit from wood left behind by another camper.

I caught some great sunset shots, about 50 pics of it. Here is one to share....

Getting all settled into our campsite, we were eager to hop on over the road in front of us, right out into the sand dunes and the beach!  We took the dogs, and neither one is really fond of the water, can you tell?  Here is a fun video clip I shot of them:

This one is for my little brother, and he knows what it means... heh heh.

We relaxed in our chairs until well after dark with our beverages.  Some previous campers left their firewood, so we put it to good use!

  A nice flickering campfire and we were comfortable in our "outdoor livingroom".

We could hear thunder rumbles off to the south, and the winds were picking up. The clouds were scuttling by up high rather fast, and we knew a storm was coming.

By 11 pm while in bed, the rain started to splatter down.  Soon it was pounding on the roof. We shut the windows and actually had to turn on the air conditioning! AIR CONDITIONING IN LATE SEPTEMER IN ONTARIO CANADA?   LOL

We drove 168 miles today
1071 so far


  1. Thanks for another great travelogue! I am enjoying it with you and all the parks you visit. We have a lot of National Parks here but they don't usually allow pets and quite often no camping either, just day trips in and out. We have taken our caravan into some that allow camping and its always better than a caravan park where every van is lined up like soldiers! I look forward to your next post.

  2. The video and the last two pictures did not come through. I thought you'd want to know.

  3. Always a nice gift when someone leaves firewood behind.
    Hope you are getting to see some beautiful fall colors.


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