Thursday, 16 August 2012

So, last  night Anne and I walked across the CP tracks to the Shell convenience store so I could buy myself some gum for the next days drive. Anne says to me , I wonder how often these tracks get used. LOL the next morning she was able to tell me. Yes there are some advantages to being hearing impaired. She said, nice campground except for the trains in the night. I understand there were at least 4.
Anyway we got on the road again about 9:30a.m. It started out to be a tame day drive with a little wind behind us. We got to Chaplan Sask and stopped for lunch. They dredge salt from a lake here or something so it looks like big piles of snow around. We could have stayed in the local campground there aka baseball event parking for $10 a night no electrical or $15 with. They had a little metal box for cheques with a note on it saying "we appreciate your honesty", true small town thinking. So you see if you really wanted to save money and there were no Walmarts around you still have options.
As I was saying it started out to be a tame drive day. We no sooner pulled onto the highway and I said to Anne I think the wind has changed directions. Yes sir , turns out for the next 2 hours I am bucking a strong almost cross wind again. This combined with Saskatchewan`s rutted highways from the big semis is not a relaxing way to drive. We made it to Maple Creek around 5pm and my left shoulder was not feeling great. We get settled in and I  check the weather on my HTC to find out there is a severe thunder storm warning for Maple Creek. We take Cash for his evening stroll and he has his tail between his legs and is shaking. He can sense the storm and hear the distant rumble of thunder. Back to the Hippyhome and batten down the hatches. Turns out we got the edge. Just some rain but all the electrical and thunder passed us on the west heading towards the extreme southeastern border of Sask. Met some interesting people there. One couple in an old well kept Ford travel van that had been to the Regina folk festival. They should have had our Hippymotor decals on their van , they looked more the part. Another older couple from east of Winnipeg travelling to Cypress hills to meet up with their kids from Calgary to take in the star gaze this weekend in the park and another senior couple in their Diesel Pleasureway van( they said they get 26/28 mpg, ah but we got the space) just touring the Cypress Hills area.
That is one of the best parts of rv`ing or tenting, is the people you meet.
On the road again for the last day of travel. Around 10:30 a.m. we crossed back into Alberta.
We got to Medicine Hat and filled up for our final km`s. Sure was nice to see $1.14/litre on the pump. Before we left Calgary I thought that was a lot until we were paying $1.34 /litre in Ontario.
Back in the 80`s when I worked in sales for Nestle my territory included Calgary, Brooks and Medicine Hat and I got so used to that drive you don`t notice things anymore. Well I noticed this time that especially from Medicine Hat to Calgary you are constantly climbing. Also between Red Cliff( outskirts of Med Hat) to Brooks I would have to say it is more barren landscape than what most people joke about Saskatchewan.
As we got closer to Calgary we once again realized how big the city is and bigger all the time. Makes you appreciate small towns like Indian Head, where you go into the local bakery for coffee and goodies and the locals talk to you. Speaking of Indian Head , I think I failed to mention in my last post and I also did not know that it was the location set for Little Mosque on the Prairie.
Well we got to our house about 4:30pm and that brought that brought this first episode of our Hippyhome Adventures to an end. When I checked the mileage we had travelled 8577km since June 27.
Friends and family have already asked if it is good to be home. Well yes, but home is where the heart is and truth be known if money were no object I would still be behind the wheel discovering new places and meeting new faces. Next summer we plan to go west to BC.

Thanks again for travelling with us. I am planning to have a slide show of some of our pix at my next drum circle.

Stayed tuned for my newest blog, "The Wheels on the bus....."

Richard & Anne

Monday, 13 August 2012

Here we are , down the the second last night of our amazing road trip. Hard to believe.
Since I last wrote in Thunder Bay we have travelled quite a few more clicks. Let me share with you some of the days.
We got up and headed out of Thunder Bay about 9:30a.m. and pointed the windshield towards Fort Frances. We arrived there about noon and had our lunch by Rainy River at the Fort Frances Marina Park. They have done a really nice job of this area with benches, flower gardens and what a nice view of the river. The land on the other side is of course was Minnesota USA. As we sat and had lunch we watched small float planes take off , a favourite pass time of mine as when I was 18 I had my pilots licence.
A friend of mine from Foothills Academy, Joyce was in the area visiting her brother and sister in law and via email had invited us over if we were passing through. She left me her phone number which I wrote down and phoned to get directions. For some reason I thought she was visiting her mom( not possible as she passed 5 yrs ago) so when the elderly person on the other end answered I thought it was her mom. As we chatted I got to thinking how older people in NW Ontario sound alike . This lady sounded just like my Aunt Vera in Thunder Bay, same expressions even. When she remarked how we had had a great visit the day before I realised that I had misdialed and was talking to my Aunt.
Anyway hooked up with Joyce and went to the cottage to visit with them for a few hours. Cash got to swim in Rainy Lake and had a blast.
From there we headed north to Caliper Lake Provincial Park. A small park but we had a very scenic site up on a hillside with towering pine trees all around. Not a place I would recommend to anyone with a big rig as the roads are very narrow. The day after we got there some one managed to get their big trailer stuck coming out. Apparently happens often and it is usually their awing that gets got on a tree as they are driving.
Oh on the way to the park we had a bear cross the road in front of us on the highway.
On that note Anne and I were walking to the gate house to pick up paddles and life vests for the canoe we rented. We thought we might as well drop off the garbage and recycling on the way. Anne heard a loud crash and then said b-e-a-r. Here about 20 feet to our left was a very scared adult black bear making his way up a tree. Chatted with him as we went by and told him to please kindly stay in the tree.
We took out a canoe and paddled our way up the shoreline and back for about 45 -50minutes. On route we saw and heard a few loons, tailed a beaver until he gave us the warning slap of his tail and also saw I believe an Osprey. Nature at its finest.
So two nights at Caliper then we were on the road again. Just missed our daughter Kelly and family who were visiting her mom 20 minutes up the road the day before at Sioux Narrows. We drove out of Ontario and were happy to see that even though the visitor centre at the border was stilled closed they had cleaned up the disgusting garbage on the site.
I think we drove about 424 km and stayed the night just east of Portage La Prairie at a private campground called Creekside. They don`t do any advertising so it was just one of those gems we found by accident. We headed out about 10a.m. this morning and did another 400 and some odd km and here we are at Indian Head Good Sam campground, formerly at KOA.Very well kept and friendly people. Tomorrow we will head out for the Maple Creek area or Cypress Hills for what will likely be our last  night on the road as we plan to be in Calgary by Wednesday evening.
I will add one last post but thanks to all who have been following this great hippyhome adventure of ours.

Richard & Anne

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Ok so last night August 8th I had done a complete update was doing spell check when I hit a wrong button and lost it all. Hopefully that won`t happen tonight.
We are on our second night camped at an rv site at the historic Old Fort William in Thunder Bay. I am outside at the picnic table for now but if the bugs persist I will head in.
So before TBay we did a long drive (for me 424km) from Sault Ste Marie to Neys Provincial Park which is just west of Marathon Ontario on the north shore of Lake Superior. Beautiful park. We had stopped there on our way to S Ontario and decided we would stay two nights there on the way back.
Part of the park during WWII was a German POW prison camp. After that it became a camp for misplaced Japanese who had been interred during the war and all their land taken from them. It was a place where families could get together to start over.
It has a beautiful beach about 3km long. You can go out about 300metres and it is sandy bottom and only up to your hips.
We did a hike up what they call the look out trail where you can see Pic Island. For all you artists out there this is one of the famous paintings done by Lauren Harris of the Group of Seven. On the way down we were just about out when Cash started to pull and bark and I saw a baby black bear scurry up a tree beside the path. I was going to get my camera back out but we felt momma bear may be close so just grabbed a quick shot with my HTC. When we got back to the campgrounds one of the campers told us another hiker had just come out and reported seeing a momma bear and two cubs.
We went down to the interpretive centre and they had a model of the former POW camp. Before the Great Escape of movie fame in Germany there was an attempt here near this camp. A camp called Angler and 26 made it out. Most were caught right away but one pair was picked up in Medicine Hat Alberta. One guy made skates out of his bed boards with the intention of skating across Superior to the states. Unfortunately he did not realise that Superior does not freeze totalling so had to return and turn himself in.
From Neys we drove to Thunder Bay with a stop in Nipigon for gas and to eat lunch. I had last filled up in Sault Ste Marie and was down to just under a 1/4 tank. I may have made it to TBay but it would have been on fumes. Not worth the risk. On the way into Thunder Bay we stopped at the lookout and monument for Terry Fox. Very nicely done. I had been there before but is always a nice stop and they had a info centre with two very helpful young ladies who phoned ahead to the rv campground at the fort to make sure there was room for us. Turns out there is about 6 of us here that could hold probably a couple of hundred.It gets well used apparently when they have a big event on.
It poured rain in the night and when I stepped outside this morning it was like a lake. Cash and I went for a walk in the pouring rain and got to make use of the rain gear I brought with me. Currently on the other side of the field are about 70 Canada Geese all honking away. Six more just arrived. They must be having a convention. 7 more just did a low level over our site to join the crowd. Here come 5  more.
Today we did some grocery shopping and other things. Went to visit my aunt Vera and my cousin Kathy. Could to see them. Anne and I took Vera to Boston Pizza with us tonight. She is quite the card. She, my mom and dad used to sit in my parents kitchen and get into fits of laughter over who knows what until I had to caution them that someone would soon need a sponge between their legs. Another 6 geese just landed so now close to 90.
Today on the laptop we booked a really nice site at Caliper Lake which is where we will head tomorrow. We opted for a non service site so that we could be right on the lake. Should be nice.
Well I will attempt spell check again for my teacher friends. We have two teachers beside us tonight from Quebec. They have travelled out to Calgary, Banff , Jasper and are now on their way home as well.
Until I am back in Internet range, ciao

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Time flies , it is now August 5th and we are making our way back home. Since I last wrote we picked up Anne`s dad in London and took him for a spin up the Bruce Peninsula to Anne`s sister Cathie`s cottage. We spent a couple of days there then headed up to Tobermory and took the ferry from there to Manitoulin Island where we stayed at the Providence Bay Tent and Trailer park. We had a nice site and the weather was good. There was a huge sand beach across the road and they had built this 1-2km boardwalk along it so as not to disturb the dunes. You of course could also walk the beach which we also did. Found a spot at one end where Cash could go for a splash now that he knows he can swim.
Did some bike riding in the area and also went to a bake sale at the Providence Bay United Church. On our way off the island we did a hike called the Cup and Saucer. The trail took us up to part of the Niagara Escarpment with some very open and high up cliffs. There were a couple of spots where if you did not look in front with eyes down you could drop about 300-400 metres to the trees below.
Friday we headed off the island and spent two nights at Chutes Provincial Park which is in the town of Massey. It was a small but very nicely kept park and we had a really nice site there as well. Unfortunately there were no serviced sites available so we ran off our batteries and water tank which is fine except yesterday it got up to 34C and with the humidex around 38C so we were all three bagged out pretty easily. We did about a 5km hike in the morning but even then it was hot. Took Cash down to the river that afternoon for a dip to cool him off. Sleeping last night was not good. There was a major weather change in the night with a thunder storm and strong winds which dropped the temperature.
We battled about 50-60km head and cross winds coming from there to the Sault today. Very tiring and hard on the concentration in that kind of weather. When we got to Sault Ste Marie and stepped outside it was about 17C  and windy. I am sitting outside right now with my jeans and warm hoody on , what a difference a day makes.
Well we will head out early tomorrow and do about 400km and try for Neys Provincial Park which is just west of Marathon , spend a few days there if the weather is good then on to Thunder Bay. Thats if for this update