Will and Christine’s Monster Road Trip: October

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 Ile-des-Chênes (Winnipeg) to Moose Jaw, Sask.

 

Local radio is so interesting to listen to – out of Thunder Bay we heard the “road construction completion” report as well as a provincial government ad promoting “hunting as a cultural activity”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moose Jaw to Calgary

 

 

 

Lots of cows for Beta to look at and one coyote high-tails it across the highway, right in front of us, causing all kinds of noise from our 4-legger!

 

 

Tumbleweed: 0  Truck: 1

I manage to drive over a tumbleweed tumbling across the highway!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween morning – a light skiff of snow greets me as I leave the RV to walk Beta!!!

 

It was supposed to be a dog….cat is okay!!

 

Calgary to Vancouver Island

 

For all those folks giving us a hard time about doing this trip without a GPS…more proof that BC is GPS death-zone.                                                 1) At the Kicking Horse Rest Stop, a small red car pulls over to ask us if they are still on the #1 – their GPS is going nuts, saying they are on the wrong road and they need to turn around (there have been NO turn-offs, just signs of very recent construction)                                               2) coming through the 40 km-long construction zone that is the #1 in the Lower Mainland, a sign warns motorists that their GPS units will be wrong!!!

I am sitting on the Vancouver/Nanaimo ferry grumbling about no WiFi access (only on the Victoria route) and realizing that it has been QUITE a while since I was able to go on-line and update this blog!  So, here is a trip back in time……

 

It’s official, I can’t smell “cow” anymore!!!  We had 2 very nice days at a campground outside of Winnipeg – fast internet (I’m almost caught up on Grey’s Anatomy), clean hot showers, book exchange and friendly people.   Beta has learned to be careful of ice being flipped off the RV awning in the mornings, too! 

 

Through the internet, we got in touch with a WVO enthusiast in Winnipeg named Rudy; who put us in touch with Simon Liew, who is a Plantdrive installer/diesel mechanic, who is very busy with his shop and has unprocessed veg oil stockpiled at his place.  This has saved us lots of time as we just went  to his place to pick up the cubes of dirty oil and took them back to the campground – the cubes have been sitting outside for so long that they have already “gravity filtered” themselves.  The longest part of the process was passing the cold oil through our 100 micron screens, into our barrel to warm it up to pass it through our +/- 1 micron screen.  (and it took about 4 hours to warm the barrel, compared to under 2 hours in the summer!)

 

We headed out of Winnipeg under clear, blue skies with a small headwind.  (and cold – we always pull on our long underwear, now, and extra socks with toque and mittens!)  The never-ending sky is very interesting with cloud formations – we can see little stormy cells waayyyy off in the distance. (Will is still hoping for a funnel cloud!)  It seems that Manitoba, also, gates off the rest stops in the off-season, as the places we pulled out in on the way out are all locked up.  Apparently, if you are going to off-season road trip a pair of bolt cutters and a supply of locks would be in order.   We wonder if part of the reason is that the highways dept. don’t want to plow these areas when it snows/look for stranded motorists?!

 

On the way out, we crossed the Manitoba/Sask border in the dark, following an enormous thunder/lightning storm.  This time, the sun was just heading down the western sky, illuminating all the wind turbines on the horizon.  Lots and lots and lots of them!  Most of the crops are all in and the fields are brown, but occasionally we see equipment out, finishing up and/or purposefully lit grass fires. (supervised by kids on ATV’s)  We push onto Moose Jaw, where my Aunt Charlotte lives and park in a church parking lot close to where she lives.  We’re going to go visit in the morning.

 

 

A pleasant surprise this morning – I put on all my gear (long johns, 2 pairs of socks, mitts, toque & scarf) and head out to walk Beta and it is …warm!  Positively balmy.  The crystal-clear, star studded sky of last night has been replaced by low-level cloud and I think that it might be above zero this morning!  (First time since leaving Sudbury)  We get some lingering looks from people walking by with their dogs this Saturday morning – combination of kayaks, RV, BC plates and church parking lot, I am sure!  Then we go to visit my Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Frank – I am not sure the last time I saw them and I’m pretty sure that Will has never met them!  Their large cat aptly named “Tiger” develops a love for Will and spends most of our visit rubbing on his feet as my Aunt regales us with stories of their camping adventures across western Canada.  A look in our RV and we are headed off west.

 

The “warmer” weather has been brought in by a VERY strong southwest wind that our truck really struggled to drive into.   It swung around to northwest, but about all we can do is 80 km/hr while the RV is buffeted around.  Definitely the strongest wind we’ve been in so far – gas mileage SUCKS on this round – and when we make a quick stop to pee we find that the cover on our propane tanks is being sucked up and off the tanks due to the wind pressure!  Inside the RV, it feels like a never-ending row of semi-trucks is passing us – but there is no traffic in sight!!!  We make an extended stop at an open rest stop west of Swift Current (yah – open!) and thankfully when we get back on the road the wind has eased off and we are able to maintain highway speed (110 km/hr)  Truck and passengers are much happier!!!

 

This trip across the prairies is more like I expected – the view is a monochromatic palette of harvested-crop yellow with tumbleweeds rolling across the highway (and stuck in the barbed wire fences) and lots and lots of cows!  (no cowboys  L )

 

We pull into Calgary around 9 pm and meet Joe in a Home Depot parking lot – then follow him to his house.  I was thinking “oh, this isn’t so bad to find”, then we scoot through a major construction zone and a mall parking lot (can’t make a left onto their road) before pulling up in front of their house.  Beta is SO excited to see Carol, Joe and Sam – she runs around the house “killing” Sam’s toys for a couple of hours, and then is still zooming around the RV when it is bedtime!

 

 

The next morning is clear and warm, so warm in fact, that when we go to the local off-leash dog park, we are all down to our short sleeves and packing our assortment of sweaters/jackets.  Hard to say who had more fun – Beta off leash, Sam with Beta and Wizard (another Border collie) to herd, Wizard with Beta playing with his ball or Will and ALL the dogs to pet and meet!!!!   The cutest one we met was called Piper and she is a young Husky cross (still at the floppy ear stage)– who took off with Wizard’s water dish and ran all over the place with it before her mommies were able to get it back!!  LOL!  We have a delightful Sunday – Donna comes over (she hasn’t seen Beta for over a year) – Carol cooks us all kinds of yummy food (soup, quesadillas, roast chicken) and “5:00 somewhere” is  used as the excuse for several bottles of wine consumed before it is 5:00 in this time zone!!!

 

We will be here for a couple of days – we’re going to track down a good computer shop to get our sick laptop in and buy some tax-free goodies – then our next stop will be Revelstoke.  Perhaps we’ll go see “The Big Year” – a movie filmed in Tofino that several friends were extras in, too.

 

 

 

We had a wonderful visit with Joe and Carol (Sam, too!) in Calgary.  While our computer was “in the shop” for 3 days (but seems quite a bit happier for it) we had daily walks to the HUGE off-leash dog park, “field trips” to interesting grocery stores (Lina’s Italian Market and Sunterra my fav’s!!!) and catching up on the Tauca Lee/Ukee gossip . Halloween morning started with a little skiff of snow but that melted and the trick o treaters had a calm, clear night to collect their candy.  Carol swore there wouldn’t be many kids (only 5 last year) so we adults were really happy about the prospect of leftover candy…..my awesome jack o' lantern must have worked its charm because we had well over 20 kids (some not so small ones but they were in costume) and had to turn off the lights when we ran out before 9 pm.  Thankfully, we located some candy sales the next day to satisfy our sweet “teeth”!!!   Carol has also found another reality show that I can tolerate (WipeOut being the other one) CHOPPED!!  It is a cooking showdown with mystery ingredients and a very short time limit…poor Will almost lost it when he discovered Carol and I have the same viewing habits – one main show to watch (Chopped or Modern Family) and another for the commercials (re-run Big Bang Theory)

 

 But, all good things come to an end so we got back on the road with a vengeance as Will has been watching the swell forecast back at home and now has the “ichies” to get back to the island.  We left Calgary on a sunny morning and headed along the #1 towards the Rockies.  I was quite surprised how close the Rockies are to Calgary as the route we took east seemed to go quite far away from them.  We didn’t realize what a COLD headwind we were battling until we pulled over just at the entrance to the Rockies (bathroom break) and 1) we froze 2) we had to walk sideways.  The Bow River (and all the vegetation around it) was frozen solid so no water ripples or bending plants to give hint.  

 

Very quickly, the majestic mountains and their fascinating folds and contours are obscured by fog? low cloud? Oh – snow flurries!!!  We don’t get to see much of all the National parks in this area as the visibility was quite limited until out the other side at Revelstoke – but all that fluffy snow sure makes one’s thoughts turn to Christmas!!! 

 

It is quite amazing how BC has a geography all its own and you know that you are HOME just by the evergreen trees marching up mountain sides.  We did not see anywhere in Canada that had the same combinations, for sure!! Of course, this is the province with the narrowest sections of the Trans-Canada, too.  Other than parts of Ontario with only 2 lanes (which were freshly paved with 6 “ shoulders and numerous, long passing lanes) the BC section seems very treacherous – can’t imagine it in the summer OR winter!!!  There are signs proclaiming that by the summer of 2012, there will be 4 lanes from the border to Kamloops, but we think that is extremely optimistic!   Our route along the #1 is a bit of memory lane for me, as this is where my family spent the summers.  I was quite excited to see “The Enchanted Forest” and scan the shore line of Shuswap Lake for our old campgrounds – I do think I spotted one of them – and the farm we always got ice cream at.  In true “Farrant” tradition, we drove the Fraser Canyon in the dark – but I was awake (driving, actually) and just a hint of moon showed us the Fraser River rushing its way to the Pacific.  Thankfully no more snow!!!

 

We had about 4 hours of restless sleep at the ferry terminal before boarding.. I went up stairs to discover no WiFi on the Nanaimo routes and Will went back to bed…. Nice having your RV on board!!

 

So, we are “home” – actually we are camping in our own driveway as there is still a monthly tenant in our part of the house!  We are just here for a couple of days to surf with Sam and Aliye – paddler friends of Luke’s – and fill up with veg oil before heading off to the south island for camping and surfing!!!

 

SO – we have tallied up some of the numbers on our road trip home page and I will continue to post pictures from our south island adventures but our internet access is going to be very spotty so I am wrapping up the blog.     Thanks – it has been fun sharing our trip with you!!   J

 

French River Rest Stop to George River Boat Launch (Sault Ste. Marie)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George River Boat Launch to Central Time Zone/Fleming Historical plaque Rest Stop

 

 

The time zone plaque is sitting on an amethyst foundation – amethyst is Ontario’s “stone”.

 

I see my 3rd moose – also DEAD – in the back of a pickup truck towing a little Prowler travel trailer.  Obviously headed home from a hunting trip!

 

 

 

 

 

Central Time Zone Rest Stop to Ile-des-Chênes (Winnipeg)

 

So, Ontario is HUGE.  From Sudbury it is over 1000 km to get to Manitoba – that isn’t even half way across – and when we crossed the Manitoba border, the road signs tell us we have just over 400 km before we are in Saskatchewan!  Yeah for small provinces!

As we moved into Sudbury the rain lifted and we actually saw some BLUE SKY!!!  When we came through Sudbury the first time, we were struck by all the green space and lakes in the city.  We had expected a moonscape of mining – not one of the prettiest cites we’ve come through.  This time, we were in search of a laundromat and a RV place to find out why our batteries aren’t charging off the truck, and even as we drove through the city, there were parks in fall colours and little lakes all over the place. 

 

A new fuse and 4 loads of laundry later, we’re headed out of town to another veg oil enthusiast for a top-up.  Jules is getting rid of all his veg oil because he was in a major traffic accident and now is physically unable to continue with it.  He was a trucker, driving a B-train, when he was rear-ended by another trucker doing 110 km/hr.  Ruined both trucks, killed the other driver (police suspect he was texting) and Jules has an extensive recovery ahead of him – and he is not young.   In the course of our conversation I mention how surprised I am at how green the mining city of Sudbury is and I am informed that 20 or so years ago it WAS a barren moonscape but that the city has worked hard to make it so lovely.  Will and I both expected to see more heavily industrialized areas through-out Ontario and with the exception of a couple of spots along the 401/QEW on Lake Ontario, there has been nothing to rival the gross mess I saw coming through southern NY and  northern NJ.  I’m sure it is around, we just haven’t driven by it – our country is GREAT!

 

Leaving Sudbury, we are now officially retracing our steps.  (Even if we took a big detour to Timmins, there is only one route to Manitoba from Ontario)  We seem to have planned it so that the parts we drove at night on the way out, we are driving through the daylight.  Of course, the days are so short now, with sunset around 6:30; there will be a lot of “night” driving from here on in.  This section along Lake Superior is fairly flat, some rolling hills and the deciduous trees have lost all their leaves but the Tamarack trees are all a brilliant yellow – quite a contrast with the green evergreens around them.  This is the one spot where our combination of BCAA Trip Tik and official Ontario map can’t agree where the rest stops are, so we end up sleeping at a public boat launch (far enough from the highway to not hear trucks) as the 3 other spots either don’t exist or are little pullouts right on the side of the road.  Even with a 7 am “early morning fisherman” wake-up, it is preferred to sleeping in the Sault Ste. Marie Wal-Mart parking lot – which is where we stop to make breakfast.  It is a little strange heading into a city, kind of knowing where everything is!!!  (We were here for 2 nights in August.)

 

Coming out of “the Soo”, we travel the steepest sections along Lake Superior.  On our way out, we had a monster tail-wind for this section so we’re VERY happy that there is little to no wind today and lovely blue sky.  It is almost like driving a completely new section of the highway as the trees have all lost their leaves so we have many more views of the lake and the islands (and the waves!) along this shore.  There is also a section of this we drove in the dark, through the Lake Superior/Agawa Provincial Park area.  The one thing that strikes us is that there is no constancy in which rest stops/parks are gated off at the entrance and which are open (but the washrooms are locked).  Seeing as we are “road-siding it” ourselves, this is of keen interest to us, for sure! 

 

Numerous pretty stops go by, all gated off, before there is a wide spot next to a lake suitable for lunch and dog swimming.  Beta has definitely spent too much time in the truck/RV as she has been bounding around as we’re trying to go to sleep – and there is NOT a lot of room for bounding in the RV!   Our lunch spot is “Bogle Lake” and it is here that Beta finally clues into the changing seasons – she swims and jumps and chases around the lake but is shaking so fiercely from the cold that Will brings her in before lunch is ready.  It takes all of lunch before some pink returns to the insides of her ears!

 

We push onto Thunder Bay – it has been more than a couple of days since our last shower and we’re hoping to get into the swimming pool before they close for the evening.  This section had a lot of construction when we came out and it doesn’t seem that they have progressed all that far with the work on the eastern side of the city!  (Happily, it is all finished on the western side, which we drove in the dark until the first un-gated rest stop)   The pool was lovely (no hot tub, though  L  ) and I love the way flannel sheets feel on a clean body!!!

 

It is furnace time at night now - Beta tried to sleep on the dining table couch but got too cold and jumped up with us – she was actually shivering!  I’m so glad we’ve solved our electrical issue as the furnace runs on propane but the fan is electric! (I’m also glad I packed an extra quilt and the flannel sheets so we are snug as bugs in bed at night – it is the getting up and turning up the furnace in the morning that is less fun!)

 

We have another fairly full day of driving before we cross into Manitoba.  The day starts in brilliant sunshine but very chilly!!!  We stop in Ignace to fuel up our veg tank and there are suspicious white flecks coming out of the sky – we take turns outside supervising as the other one warms up in the RV.  (Beta has to stay inside as she keeps finding gross stuff at the road side to investigate.)  Then as we leave Dryden (home of NHLer Chris Pronger) there are storm cells dotting the horizon.  We get treated to the full smorgasbord of fall weather – sun, hail, rain, SNOW all mixed up in whatever order. (I am the only driver to slow down for the snow on the road – Will keeps hoping to spot a funnel cloud!!)  Fortunately it eases off as we get closer to Lake of the Woods and there are also more leaves on the deciduous trees, in brilliant yellow and orange that shine in the sunshine.  When we came through here the first time, we wanted more time to paddle – now we just want to stay in the warm truck!!!

 

Manitoba welcomes us with one last hail storm, then a vivid sunset as we head into Winnipeg.  To our delight, there is a campground open just south of the city, with wireless internet!!!  It will be good to fully charge our batteries, dump our septic and refill our water before heading on (not to mention satisfying the internet withdrawal symptoms we BOTH have!)  We have a contact for dirty veg oil here, and we’re hoping to brew 2 batches before moving on as that should easily get us to Calgary and beyond.  (We know there is a KOA open year-round in Revelstoke).  The downside is that after 2 days here, I’m sure we won’t be able to smell “cow” anymore and the campground manager told us not to hook up our water as it was supposed to drop to -6oC overnight.  Yikes!!

Binbrook to French River Rest Stop

 

 

Will C became interested in WVO cars while living in Victoria and has done several trips, like ours, with his wife.  One 10 day trip to PEI and another down to Vermont.  He doesn’t do as many now, but did run a business installing systems on vehicles from all over southern Ontario.  He was not surprised over the problems we had with our first (Plantdrive) system – he won’t do Plantdrive installations on Dodge Rams of our year because of the same problems we had.

Oh,  enjoying the journey can be a trail sometimes!

 

We headed out of Binbrook late in the morning and headed off to Toronto.  Thank goodness we’ve had some experience with all the lanes and exits as the traffic was the heaviest we’d seen and little cars don’t understand that RV’s need stopping distance!!!  Finally we’re heading away from Toronto on the 400 (only 10 lanes of traffic, not 14!) and as it gets dark we go down to only 4 lanes of traffic!  We have made contact with another veggie oil enthusiast – Will C from Orillia -  that has some veg oil to spare and at $0.35/litre we think it is a good deal to get us on the road.  Our plan is to sleep in the Walmart and then meet him Sunday morning.  We get to Orillia in time to go see a movie (Reel Steel – Hugh Jackman for me, boxing robots for Will – good show, if predicable). 

 

We head out of the Walmart on a frosty, sunny morning intending to drop our trailer at a park close to Will’s, then head over with just the truck.  This should be a good plan except that when Will goes to start the truck to move it away from the hitch (at the park, not the Walmart) ….the truck doesn’t start.  ARGH!  And it is Sunday morning!!!!  This all ends well as we walk over to Will C’s place – turns out he’s an installer for Plant Drive and his best buddy, Justin, is a diesel mechanic without any plans for the day.  After RV pancake breakfast for all, Justin starts investigating the problem and it is our starter motor.  The part is in Barrie – which was one of Will C’s chores for the day - so that evening they bring it up and pop it in the truck.  We spend the day In lovely sunshine, in a pretty park on the shores of Lake Simco with Canadian Geese for Beta to chase.  The kindness of people along our way has been amazing!!!!

 

Truck mostly full of veg oil (90 gallons for the price of 90 litres of diesel) we decide to get a move on and head up towards Sudbury in the evening.    It is a clear night without a lot of traffic, so we make good time and pull in at the French River Provincial Park/Rest stop.  It is so nice to be back to forest camping, rather than Walmart parking lots!  I can’t believe how many folks have pulled in to use the washrooms this (very rainy) morning as I’ve been typing!  Don’t know when I’ll get to update this…but at least it is ready for when I can try!

 

 

Niagara Falls

 

Facts to blow the small-town mind:

1)      The capacity of one Maid of the Mist boat is 300.

2)      In the off season, 2 boats run; each for 15 trips moving approx. 7000 people though with a max capacity of 9000.

3)      In the summer with longer hours and more boats, approx. 20,000 people travel with MOTM tours in ONE day!

 

Yes, we did it!  We made a day trip down to Niagara Falls on a gloomy, rainy day.  The falls are VERY cool – so much water, moving so fast!  The town – well, once again we were very glad to not be there in the height of tourist season.  We walked into the attractions without a line up but you could see from the empty queue stands that thousands of people are here, usually. 

 

We enjoyed our drenching on the Maid of the Mist tours – also glad there were only about 75 people on our boat rather than the 300 capacity – and then headed under the Falls for “Journey Under the Falls”.  Up at the top, I can’t understand why anyone would want to climb up the heavy fencing – the water is moving soooo swiftly underneath that getting a closer look is scary!!!!

 

We spent a couple hours there, the price of parking being the same as one entry fee to an attraction, so we took our soggy wet selves away to find food somewhere else (and free parking).  My rain pants seem to have vanished – probably in the IC boat on top of the truck, at the bottom of the pile – so I was very happy that Ed had lent me some yellow rubber pants, which meant that only my arms were really wet.  Of course, Will was in his sandals and the wet socks had wicked up his pant legs so we were quite the sight!  

 

Back to Ed & Mariola’s – another lovely dinner and watching all the pictures Ed took at the Worlds – if I can get my computer to cooperate I’ll have a bunch more to add to the photo album.  We here as Ed fixes the nose on my new-to-me Evo surf kayak and Will gets new tires put on the truck (back ones are worn right through, which we expected to happen).  Our laptop isn’t  a happy camper these days, either, too much intermittent internet access so the updates and security aren’t all up to date, so we’ll have to find somewhere for that to be checked out.  Then we’ll be off to get some veg oil from “Will” in Orillia and we’ll be headed out of Ontario.

 

 

Mallorytown to Binbrook

 

 

 

 

14 lanes of traffic, in the dark and rain…we’re okay but MAN we are glad we don’t live anywhere near Toronto!!!!

 

 

It’s a small world – we were having lunch at “The Bin” a pub in Binbrook, ONT and they were showing the Campbell River Salmon Festival Logger Sports – and the Mooney’s from Ucluelet were shown participating as well as a guy from Port McNeill (didn’t recognize him…).  We were also wondering if the straw-headed tyke chopping away at a piece of wood was a Vandervaulk…LOL!

 

Wind, wind and more wind.  The folks we met here say that it isn’t usual…but we’re starting to wonder!!!

 

We left Mallorytown, heading to Toronto, taking the scenic Thousand Islands Parkway route.  Very lovely with all sizes of islands dotting the river, every one with the largest cabin that it could handle.  The marinas were full of very large boats, all pulled up and shrink-wrapped for the winter – I guess the owners of the really BIG cabins and BIG boats live in fancy penthouses in the city with no storage space – and there are all kinds of cities around here!  The fall colours hadn’t been completely blown off the trees so that continues to be quite the treat.

 

Due to construction, we got to “enjoy” an unexpected detour around Kingston – which managed to take us through the university section of town but thankfully we found the water again and looped onto the Loyalist Parkway – an extension of the 1000 Islands highway that now follows Lake Ontario rather than the St. Lawrence.   There were lots of plaques marking some battle or historic house along the way – then we headed down to some potential surf spots on Lake Ontario - which meant another cable-ferry trip across a short section of very blustery water…..

 

Unfortunately, all the provincial campgrounds and day-use areas are closed up but we found a spot to pull all 45 ft of us off the road to watch the windsurfers/kiteboarders play.  Some lunch, a dog swim and we headed off to Toronto to meet up with Dave and get Kye’s boat.  We do have to get on the 401 and while the sky is light, the traffic is fine.  Of course, as dusk falls and it starts to rain , we enter the “busy section” of the highway and from 6 lanes divided we go to 14 lanes divided – 3 “express” lanes and 4 “collector” lanes going our way (a moment of panic – express/collector!?!?  What’s that mean?  Are we going on the toll highway by mistake?!!?”)  Thankfully it was pretty straightforward to contact Dave and get to his place on the edge of Markham (city outside of TO – it all seems the same to us!)  We had a nice visit and then we pulled around the corner and parked outside the local public school playground to get a very peaceful sleep.  In the morning, I walked Beta for about an hour, exploring this very brand-new subdivision that is right on the edge of rural Ontario – so maybe not such an urban camping experience.

 

 Dave had warned us that trying to head through Toronto to Ed & Mariola’s place in Binbrook was better tried after 9 am – avoid insane TO rush hour – which suited us just fine!!!  I was quite surprised by how much green space the major expressways travelled though as they wound around  the Toronto area on our way down towards Binbrook – a small rural community on our way down to Niagara Falls. 

 

We are enjoying the amazing hospitality of Ed & Mariola (and fall thunderstorms/rainfall warnings)  for a few days while 1) nose repair is done on one of my new-to-me boats 2) truck tires and maintenance work is done 3) locate a Go-Pro helmet cam 4) go to Niagara Falls 5) meet up with Barry and get Luke’s other new boat…. then we’ve got a source for clean veggie oil here in southern Ontario and we’ll be off to Winnipeg where we have a dirty oil source lined up already…

 

The temperatures across the prairies have us thinking that BC is GOOD but we’re not ready to go back to Ukee – we’ve got all these new surf boats and no time/place to surf them, yet.  Southern Vancouver Island is sounding pretty good right now….

 

 

CN Tower, Toronto

 

Cavendish PEI to Mallorytown, ONT

 

 

 

Ever wonder what happened to our jar of Pacific Ocean?  Well, we left it at PEI as now our roads take us “west” and “home” and we have some red Atlantic to take its place.

 

 

We might be in Ontario for a week or more – truck, trailer & laptop all need some work/maintenance and after Niagara Falls it may be Calgary (Carol & Joe) before we have a place to stop off the roadside. (We hope, haven’t asked, yet!)

 

We also hope to do some kayaking – either sea kayak in the 1000 Islands OR if the wind doesn’t stop blowing some surfing on Lake Ontario!!!

I did get over to the Green Gables National site, all by myself, while Will stayed at the campground.  It is quite nice, very much a “girl” thing and probably much more exciting in the summer season when there are dressed-up folk and “period” displays going on.  However, it seemed much more of an “Anne” thing in the fall, with the ability to imagine all the folk from Montgomery’s books there and without hordes of tourists.

 

We left PEI later in the afternoon, under gloomy skies, headed towards Southern Ontario.  We have criss-crossed New Brunswick so much that I really had to search for a route we haven’t done already…but it was manageable.  The fall colours were amazing…and the immaculate summer lawns have given way to Halloween decorations.  (Mowing is an extreme art here in Arcadia!)   In my search for an unused route we ended up on the side of a dark road (#108) , in the rain, having to change a truck filter.  The road would not have been out of place on the island – used mostly to access logging regions – but the 4 vehicles that did pass us did stop to see if we’re okay.  Obviously bag-filtering our oil has been an important step and we’re going to have to change our plans for the current load in order to not go through a filter a day.

 

The campgrounds are all closing so we spent one night in a MacDonald’s parking lot (noisy!) and another in a road side rest stop in Quebec.  (noisy in the morning with hunting going on)  The truck is struggling to keep up the pace with a monster headwind blowing – I remember this wind pushing us up to New Brunswick with ease – it is not so much fun to try to go into it.  Fuel economy is suffering!!!

 

I had gotten a new CAA Trip Tik in Fredericton and it had a different route for us to take around Montreal – for which we are VERY glad.  We crossed the St. Lawrence at Quebec City and went down the northern side (we came up the southern side) which allowed us to pretty much by-pass Montreal – which after our traumatic experience the first time (we ended up in a tunnel, not a bridge) made this one pretty simple – especially with all my USA interstate practice.   The leaves that are left (the wind is STILL blowing) are all kinds of shades of yellow, orange, red and purple.  This route meant we zig-zagged down towards the 401 to get to southern Ontario but instead of the 401 we hopped down to the #2 which borders the St. Lawrence River and a lot of pretty tourist/camping/golfing/great BIG houses areas.  I had hoped that the numerous Provincial Parks would be open for day use but after Thanksgiving pretty much everything is behind a locked gate -  the owner/operator of the KOA we are at tonight can’t get over how busy she is BUT they are the only open campground for 100+km or so…. hopefully parks in Manitoba/Sask and Alberta aren’t all locked up tight, too.

 

 

 

 

Red PEI sand coming back to BC!

Moncton to Cavendish, PEI

 

 

Harvest season is full-on here on PEI.  Agriculture is everywhere and we’ve met all kinds of large farm equipment out on the highways….

 

 

Will has taught Beta to bark at cows & horses in my absence.  Grrr!

 

 

 

The National Park criteria  conspiracy continues; PEI National park has:

-ocean waves

-protected sand dunes

-twisted, stunted trees

-warning about wildlife (coyotes)

-windy and convoluted road to get there

So, it is our belief that the Moncton Tourism Board purposely posts the times for the Moncton Tidal Bore in such a way that it takes 2 times to see it.  We went very early (left an hour before scheduled time, got there 40 minutes early – much easier to drive in the city when the street lights are working!) and had a lovely walk along the river-side boardwalk.  Then, in the distance, we see a ripple on the surface of the slowly meandering river.  Here it comes!  Even though it is a full moon, the actual wave itself is only about a foot high – but like a tsunami it is not the height that is impressive – it is the way the water behind it keeps coming.  In a few short minutes, the river goes from barely-discernable-flow downstream, to faster-than-we-can-walk charging upstream.  We also make bets on which birds in the river will just pick up the wave and float upstream and which will choose to fly (about 50/50 split).  As we are walking back to our car, we meet quite a number of folks who ask us if the bore has already gone by – the situation we were in over a month ago.  Seems like a conspiracy to me!

 

Off to PEI.  We leave the major highway, hoping to stop at a Provincial Park that should have a good view of the bridge and after much rattling around (flashbacks of #44 in Manitoba) we discover that the whole park is gated closed – not just the camping but the day-use, too.  Murf!  We stop at a nearby gas station with a view – while Will takes Beta swimming I make lunch.  The bridge is very lovely and in our truck we have a great view.   At the Tourist Info center we find there is one campground left open on the island so off we head to the Green Gable Shores.  The map makes it look as big as Nova Scotia but it only takes us, using the very round-a-bout route, an hour to get to the other side.  When we get there, we are VERY glad that we are not here in the summer months – there is a whole row of go-karts, water slides, lazer tag, paintball and mini golf parks all with enormous amounts of parking available.  There are also 2 HUGE “tourist” grocery stores (closed, now).    Not our kind of place, at all.  Thankfully, the Cavendish Beaches in the National Park make us feel right at home.  Dogs aren’t supposed to be on the beach until after Oct 15th but we figure we’re close enough (and there is no one around) that we’re going ahead.

 

We’re here until the campground closes on Friday – Will made several batches of veggie oil while I was in the USA but they haven’t been bagged through our 1 micron filter.  This step makes a huge difference – we went from Drumheller to NFLD on one truck filter using this system, then our bag filter was clogged up and we stopped using it.  Will had to change the truck filter while I was in the states – but I did pick up more bag filters and truck filters from Greasecar while I was down.  This filtering step is much faster when the oil is hot, so back into the centrifuge barrel to warm it up, then through the bag filter.  I hope to sneak off to the Green Gables this afternoon while Will is babysitting the system. 

 

 

 

Onto the Confederation Bridge and to PEI

– the 10th province!

 

Fredericton to Moncton

 

I spotted my 2nd moose coming into Canada from the states…it too was dead (had caused a 4 car pile-up) so I would say Woodstock, NB is NOT a good place to be a moose!!!!

 

Sleep is almost all caught up so we’re back on the road.  A short day of driving as we left Fredericton quite late in the afternoon – we had a lot of stuff (ie: surf boats) to find new homes for.  I’m quite overdosed on major highways so we trundled off towards Moncton on some secondary roads that were very beautiful in their fall foliage.  (We love the irony of the speed limit being 90km/hr on these teeny, bumpy roads and soon we’ll be back in Ontario where the speed limit on the major roads, with divided highways and paved shoulders, is the same.)

 

Our plan is to try to see the Moncton tidal bore (2nd time lucky?!?!) as it is a full moon right now, then we’re off to see the Confederation Bridge and PEI.  We had talked of day-tripping and leaving the RV behind, but pretty much most of the Maritimes is under a “severe weather watch” for frost in most areas and my sun-soaked North Carolina constitution does NOT want to tent it.  This upcoming weekend is the last one most campgrounds are open, as well.  It is going to be quite the adventure coming home!

Count the boats (the Boogie is on the front, hidden),

you should get 7!