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Saturday, August 26, 2023

Home Again From Our Canada to Maine To Canada Trip

 Home again, home again, jiggety jig... 

2,775 miles

We woke up the little Township Campground of Seney the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was already 7:30 and we were surprised that we had slept in. But then we remembered also we are still on Eastern Time zone. So really by the time we get back later today and switch back to Central, it really meant we only slept until 6:30. LOL

We got all packed up and ready to leave and headed out to a beautiful blue sky and a few wispy clouds here and there. But the winds were going to be coming down from the Northwest and we were going to possibly have big thunderstorms later on by evening in Wisconsin. The temperatures were crazy in Wisconsin and the heat index had been up over 100 the day before. We were hoping that this front blowing in would bring some cooler weather as we worked our way back down towards home.

As we got near Manistique on US 2, we pulled over at the little wayside park that we had also utilized last month. It's got a beautiful sandy beach and picnic tables right up near the parking area. We whipped up some lunch and Steve took Binney for a little walk in the dog exercise location. 

This really was quite a view for the View!

At this wayside there is a cute little bubbling spring well that they have worked the piping into a protected enclosure. We didn't drink any of the water, but it's nice to have a source if you really need it.

Here it is bubbling and blurping and flowing over the edges. From there it flows down and across underneath the parking lot out right out into Lake Michigan. 

We popped back in and put away our dishes and it was time to head on towards home. Once we hit Escanaba, it's just like home stomping grounds. The stretch on M35 between Escanaba and Menominee, Michigan hosts five of our most favorite campgrounds. Four of them are right along on the waters of the Green Bay and the fifth one is off in the state forest by Cedar River.

We did one little pit stop in Marinette, Wisconsin to pick up a few more fresh groceries from our favorite store. Now we could head on to Oconto!!! 

There's no place like home... 

While driving, were very careful not to mention the word "Home" or "Front Porch" or "Backyard" or any of those other keywords that would get Binney all hyped up and upset. 

The only time we said the word "Home" is when we actually pulled into the driveway! Her ears perked up and she looked around. I lifted her out and set her down in our own driveway. She sniffed and sniffed and then looked up at me with what I swear was a huge GRIN on her face!! 

She walked on the sidewalk over to the pergola and stopped and looked around like "I can't believe this! I didn't think I was ever coming back here!"

I got her into the house, turned on our water (because we always turn it off when we leave for long periods of time in case of any broken pipes) and filled her doggie dish. She was soooooo happy!

We quickly unloaded what was left in our motorhome refrigerator and freezer. There wasn't too much left, as I had planned really well strategically with meals and meats from the freezer at home.

We also carried in the dirty laundry and Steve emptied the last of the fresh water out onto the driveway and into the grass. Out came the last few things from the cabinets and drawers that needed to be carried in.

Everything at home was just perfect. We turned all of our inside and outside security cameras from vacation mode and put them back to our normal settings. 

We harvested a bunch of the tomatoes out of the backyard. We had the neighbors picking them, as well as the grandkids, to keep up with the production all month. For lunch today we are having BLT sandwiches!

Our neighbor Adam had been taking care of our lawn for us while we were gone. Here he was finishing up one more time of cutting, even though we were already home. We told him not to worry, we would take care of it now. But he wanted to finish like he had agreed. What a nice guy! Felt kind of funny to have a "gardener" out there taking care of our yard when we were carrying things into the house. 

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. We reflect on the fact that it is not so much the destinations that we look forward to, it is the entire journey.

Our highlights were:

  • Meeting up with my sister and brother-in-law en route across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as they were heading home from doc appts in the Lower Peninsula.
  • Crossing the Mackinac Bridge
  • Finding our most favorite campsite in the Ossineke State Forest
  • Meeting up with fellow RV bloggers Al and Kelly of the Bayfield Bunch at Pinery Provincial Park in Ontario Canada
  • Seeing Niagara Falls from the Canadian side
  • Meeting with Hilary of the Crazy as a Loom weaving studio in Eastern New York State
  • Having lobster in Maine
  • Staying on a couple islands in the middle of the St Lawrence Seaway
  • Crossing over the border between the United States and Canada four times with absolutely no complications!! 



CAMPGROUND FEES $631.31 (most campground fees were at Canadian rate, but our credit card adjusts them to US rates, so about 30% less than that total)


PROPANE $31.52



FOOD I'm not going to really count food because most of it we brought with us. We strategically planned our freezer and packed things as tight as possible. We came home with three meals worth of meat from what we started with after 24 days. We did stop to purchase some fresh vegetables and milk and bread along the way. But we would have done that if we were staying at home too. 

And the memories.... PRICELESS!!

Friday, August 25, 2023

Heading Home Thru The Soo

This post is about Thursday, August 24th.

Well... this day looks like we're going to make our push out of Canada and back into the United States. 

We are waking up in our pretty little campsite in the Driftwood Provincial Park. Now we're not really looking forward to going back over that patchwork blacktop road all the way back out to the main Trans Canada highway route 17. Batten down the hatches and drive slow. 

We were keeping our eye out for a moose, but we really didn't see any. It was a little later in the morning, if we had gotten up a little earlier I guess we could have made more of an effort?

Now the terrain is beginning to look more familiar to us. These type of forests are more common across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northern Wisconsin where we live. We are seeing a lot of the same terrain and trees, and it feels like "home". 

As we get closer to Sault Ste Marie of Ontario, there are a lot of rock formations left by the glaciers or cut away by the road crews. Lol!

They are really pretty as we fly by. I can't imagine the work it took to chisel away at all of these just to get a road through. And these go on for miles and miles... 

I'm not sure what kind of stone this is, I think it's limestone. 

As we travel along, we are reflecting back on this vacation trip. It's not so much all of the destinations that we reached, it's more about the traveling, the terrain, the journey, and having all of our comforts with us as we go.

We spent much of our time talking, and observing things as we drove by, and never turned on the radio. There's so much to see and so much to enjoy that we don't want to waste it lost in the reverie of music and advertising.

We remarked on the changes as well as the similarities. We remarked on previous trips where we have seen this terrain in other years as we get closer and closer to Sault Ste Marie. We have been in this area, so we really didn't need to stop anywhere or see anything. 

Since this is all familiar country now, I have time to catch up on the blogs. 

We kind of prepped ourselves to get ready to go over the bridge into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  We have used up the last of our fresh vegetables and any raw meat. And we did not have any produce or citrus on board. We had our passports ready along with our doggie's vaccination papers.

Up up up over the tall bridge that is spanning over the Soo Locks. All of the huge ships that maneuver the Great Lakes go through these channels. The water raises or lowers them to the right level in the lock so they can continue their journey. We imagine some of the large ships that we saw pass through the lock at the Robert Moses State Park also have passed through here and may be on their way all the way up to Duluth Minnesota at the far western end of Lake Superior? 

As we crossed the bridge, I could see the rushing water down below around the piers of the train trestle next to the main bridge. 

It clouded up again and they forecast some more rain. By looking at the map, it seems like we are going to scoop right around underneath it. 

As we got closer to the highest part of the bridge I got out some money for the toll. We are never quite sure of the charge, being an RV. Sometimes they have an RV rate, sometimes they just charge us as a truck. I think sometimes they make it up as they go. I try to keep in array of bills and coins so I have the proper amount when we are at the booth. 

It looks like they are erecting a whole other island for a new slip or another lock channel. 

Some areas appear to be harbors or loading docks or even spots for ships to be repaired?

Now we are on the tallest part of the bridge. Soon we will be coming up to the US customs area. I learned long ago down in Mexico to never take a photo of a customs area! You would have to look back in my blog in 2012 to find out what happened there!!!

The only 2 questions we were asked were where we were going, and what did we purchase that we had to declare? We remarked one t-shirt. She smiled and handed us back our passports. 

Now up to the toll booth. Our toll was only $6.50. We handed over the cash, the worker said I was a "Keeper" to Steve because I had the toll money ready!!! LOL!   Then we were told to have a good day. 

We were done and heading on out into Sault Ste Marie Michigan. 

Now we are in very familiar territory. Actually we were just up this way last month when we were camping near Lake Superior.

There's a nice little National Forest Campground on Soldier Lake that we wanted to go to. It is part of the Hiawatha National Forest. We were surprised to see the entrance gated off! We looked up on the website and it seems that about five or six of the campgrounds and hiking areas in this part of the state are closed until further notice. There had been some damage with downed trees during some recent storms and they have work crews in the area busy making it safe again.

On to plan B. 

About another 55 mi or so on the same road, we know of a small crossroads town called Seney. There's a little Township Park there that we stayed at last month. 

Here is my blog post from that visit:

We pulled into one of the best sites in the campground. If you pull in nose first, your door faces out over the river. 

We took a little walk along the river. Binney needed to get out stretch and sniff things. So did Steve. I got started right away working on supper.  

I had some frozen chili in the freezer, so I boiled up some extra pasta noodles and dug out some crackers. It felt damp and cool as the humidity is creeping up but the temperatures are dropping. Chili was the perfect thing and it just hit the spot. 

We were surprised to see about five or six other campers in there on a Thursday night. 

It is such a nice little Campground located about a half a mile just north of the little town of Seney. It's on a quiet back road and you don't hear any highway noise either. There is a convenience store down on the corner where you turn if you need anything before you get to the park.

Not a bad spot to park for the night, it's $20 with electric. Then there's a senior discount which lets you get it for $18 if you read the fine print on their sign. LOL

This was the day with the most driving ever so far of our entire trip. We put on 276 miles in one day! That is 76 miles over our limit. Usually try to keep it underneath 200. 

276 miles traveled today
2,608 miles so far

Fairbanks Provincial Park in Northern Algonquin Canada

This post is about Wednesday August 23rd.

Now it's time to arch up and over around Algonquin Provincial Park and head our way back towards Sault Ste Marie. We plan to cross into Michigan's Upper Peninsula sometime before the weekend. 

The horrible hot humid weather moving across the Midwest is now headed in this direction. We don't know if we're going to be up on the top of it and it's going to spread south of us, or if we're going to get hit smack dab right in the face!!??!!

As we headed further west, we had no choice but to travel the Trans Canada highway route 17. There really isn't any other way to get across this portion of Canada. It's not really like our Interstates, because it narrows down to two lanes in most places like a regular highway. It has stop signs and cross traffic and goes right through the middle of little towns.

Speaking of little towns, I spotted a sign on the highway for the next upcoming town of Sturgeon Falls. The sign was for a quilt store! I looked it up on the GPS and it was only a block off the main drag. Score!

I made my way into the store, and met the most delightful clerk. As I gandered a look around ... a look here and a look there, I spied some now-discontinued fabric from Stonehenge! This was a real treat because I want to recreate a wall hanging I did a few years ago. Our oldest daughter Erin stole it for their cabin. And I want to recreate it again and maybe make it into a quilt for the motorhome. 

So bear with me, this is for my quilt and fiber readers, here are some pics of the cute little quilt store as well as my bag full of wonderful fabric purchased at the Canadian exchange rate discount prices for me... Lol!

Not only did they have quilting stuff, they had a section of weaving. That is so unusual to find weaving supplies in retail stores nowadays. I hope to imagine that there are a lot of Weavers that live in there area. 

The store had a large supply of yarns and threads and other wonderful fabric pieces and kits.

Down the center aisle were a bunch of bins of sale priced yarn! I really really didn't need any yarn, but I was so tempted???  The prices were great and everything was beautiful.

I snapped a few pictures around here and there of this well appointed store. There was quite an array of different knitting needles and sewing supplies as well as books and patterns and rulers.

If I lived here, I would be a "regular"...
As it was, I filled a bag with nice large pieces of fabric to work on my next quilt. It's kind of funny, my patterns were in yardage and she had a little conversion table to convert each of my needed lengths into metric. Because of course, quilting fabric there is sold by the meter!

This is the same quilt
 I'm going to make
 from the new fabric:

Oh, as I was leaving the store, I spied this adorable little Singer treadle sewing machine in the front window. No, I didn't buy it. I really don't need another. But it sure was cute to be sitting there, as "Eye Candy" to draw in shoppers. 

Okay, fiber stuff over. Now back to the trip!!

As we cruised along, we saw a lot of signs warning about moose crossing. We looked and looked but did not see any mooses... 

But 25 years ago, when we were up this way, we did see one! It's usually best to find them early in the morning or late in the evening. We had left our campground that time and before we even got to the edge of the park we saw a moose! We really didn't want to drive out late or in the dark, that is very unwise when there are moose about. It's kind of like hitting a cow on stilts! I kid you not. Semi drivers have large steel cages welded to the front of their trucks if they have to drive at night in Canada. Most prefer not to.

We kept looking in many wonderful little spots where a moose might be standing and drinking some water. But nope, didn't see any. 

Isn't this a perfect spot for a moose?

There was even a sign nearby... 

As we drove further west, the rock formations grew taller and taller. This is starting to look more familiar to our eyes. Many areas in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan look the same way. A lot of this glacial rock formation is part of the Niagara Escarpment that makes a big arc from Niagara Falls up and around through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and down into Wisconsin. It actually ends just south of High Cliff State Park where Steve used to work. 

Finally we found our turn off to head up to a little Provincial Park tucked away in the woods. The road got narrower and narrower. Pretty soon it absolutely looked like a patchwork quilt!

We had to drive REALLY SLOW! We were thinking of the poor Provincial Park workers that had to drive this way every day to get to work. And then back home again!

It was quite a ways up in the woods, as you can see. We were the blue dot. And the yellow road way to the South part of this map was the main route. 

We found our way to the Provincial Park office. Right outside of the office was, believe it or not, a telephone booth!

Cell service can be quite spotty, so they did offer the services of a telephone booth in case of necessary contacts or emergencies. It is a somewhat newer telephone, with a slot for a credit card. I can't imagine plugging in coins to make a long distance call anymore. 

We went into the office and the very accommodating clerk said there were three sites left in the entire campground! He circled them for us, and let us drive through the park until we found the one that would work best for us

Although the red numbered site was an electrical site, we opted instead to go down near the water at site number 20. It was much more roomy, with a lot more shrubbery and trees around. We liked it and drove back up to the building and registered. It was $42 Canadian for a non-electric site. We also opted to purchase a bundle of firewood for $8.85. We were in the mood for s'mores!

They reminded us about keeping our food indoors and locked up. And all around the park there were these signs giving us another gentle reminder that we were in Bear Country. 

It was a nice little path in the back of our campsite that led right down to the shore of the lake. We weren't right on the shoreline, but we could hear the loons calling through the trees. 

This is the peaceful lake right before sundown, we didn't hear any boats or motors. Just loons. 

Our campsite was pretty large, and we backed up right to the trees and spread out our little tarp and our chairs. 

It's so easy to set up and tear down with the smaller motorhome. I remember back to the days when we hauled a 33 ft travel trailer behind a pickup truck. Lots of setup and tear down and muscle needed for traveling with that. We are really appreciating this small motorhome now as we age.

I gathered some birch bark and little branches in the woods and Steve tossed down our mesh bag of firewood. Yep, that's what we got for $8.85 Canadian. 

Before we started on supper, we decided to sit and have a beverage. Steve was trying to use up the last of his Johnny Walker Red Label whiskey and mixed it with limeade juice! I had my Two Buck Chuck wine from Trader Joe's. 

We have thawed some pork tenderloin tips in the refrigerator while we traveled. Once we were all set up, Steve got out his flat top griddle and proceeded to make up supper. 

Binney kept a close eye just in case a piece or two might fall off and land on the ground... 

While he was doing that, I made up some salads and also some mashed potatoes with these marvelous White Potatoes from Canada. We can't get these anymore in the United States. We've tried. I remember them back when I was a child. They have a distinctive flavor that is different from any russet or Idaho or anything else that I've ever had. I know you can't tell by the picture, but boy oh boy supper was good!

We are trying to use up all of our fresh vegetables as well as any citrus and fresh meat before we cross the border back into the United States. 

Well that's about it for Fairbanks Provincial Park. I will continue on the next blog where we went from there. 

202 miles traveled today

2,332 so far