Home News RVing Genealogy Links Isla Pix News Archive
www.bobog.org

©Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved  -  Last Updated November 7, 2019

August, 2019

Top of Page


August 1, 2019 Albert Bridge, NS 6,254 kms from home

Since we are now at the end of our eastward journey and so more or less half way, I did some comparing to our last trip here in 2005.










We have the next week or so planned out and today was a shopping and relaxing day. After stocking up on supplies and exploring the Sydney area, we returned home to rest and read. Our timing was good as it started to rain near dinnertime and we were safe and dry inside.

August 2, 2019 Albert Bridge, NS 6,254 kms from home

We woke up to another warm and sunny Cape Breton day. Our well travelled neighbour (everywhere north of the Panama Canal!) was flying a drone so I went out to talk to him. The drone was sending signals to the hand set which was connected to his tablet. Very steady HD picture, 4 mile range, auto return and landing, and a 20 minute battery life. He said he bought it at Staples, of all places, and it was just over $1,000. Cool toy.

At 10am we hit the road to the Cabot Trail. We drove it counter-clockwise this time to get a different perspective. This puts the ocean on Tess’ side of the car. There was some road construction but no serious delays. The road is generally in far better shape than other secondary highways in Nova Scotia. Unlike our first trip, Parks Canada now charges an entry fee. Perhaps this money is why the highway is in good condition.

The park itself it huge. There are lots of facilities like trails, picnic areas, viewpoints, beaches with paved parking lots, and even a golf course. It is patrolled regularly and of course, the scenery is amazing. No moose sighting but we did see a young bear foraging across the road while we were gawking at a viewpoint. We stopped at a couple of touristy places and bought a souvenir, and at a couple of seafood places and bought scallops and crab. You know, because the 100 lbs we already have in the freezer isn’t enough.

We got home about 6pm so it was a long travel day for us. We ate dinner and the neighbours invited us over for a waterfront fire at a vacant campsite. We joined them plus a friend of theirs with his daughter and had a good time. The night was warm and the stars were out. The International Space Station made a pass over our heads and we all waved hello to the astronauts. We headed in for a snack then bed around 10pm.

August 3, 2019 River Ryan, NS 6,503 kms travelled

The temperatures remain hot but the humidity is much lower making the days very pleasant. Today I went to see the Cape Breton Miners Museum in Glace Bay, including the 90 minute tour of the Ocean Deeps Colliery. This is a very interesting place that explains the history of coal mining in Cape Breton from the 1700s to the 1930s. Men and boys worked and died in slave-like conditions some 800 feet under the land and sea. Very worthwhile visit.

As today was Saturday, the casino had a whole lobster plus roast beef smorg for $10. The lineup wasn’t too bad and the food and service was excellent. Afterwards we continued our unlikely winning streak and left a few hours later up a couple of hundred.

Our? No, just Tess.

August 4, 2019 River Ryan, NS 6,503 kms travelled

Camper finally got his haircut at 9am this morning at the local Petsmart. He will be much cooler and active. While he was at the groomer, we went to Smittys for breakfast. I think it has been years since we were there and we really enjoyed the meal. The place is downtown near the waterfront so we headed there next.

Like Halifax, there is a boardwalk with a marina, restaurants, shops and a cruise ship terminal. There’s even a giant fiddle. It is on a much smaller scalethan Halifax, but a nice place to spend an afternoon. It turned out to be the 18th Annual Dragon Boat festival. There were dragon boats, of course, and free hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn, and more provided by the association of labour unions.

There was even a rock climbing tower and pony rides for the kids and a small car show and shine for me. Camper got lots of pats and met lots of new dogs.

August 5 , 2019 Moncton, NB 7,002 kms travelled

We said goodbye to our campground friends and got back on the road. We are now heading west towards home and it feels a little sad. We saw sun, overcast and rain on our travels today.

There was a constant headwind that no doubt will increase fuel consumption. We had to stop in Amherst, NS to put a $150 splash of fuel in or we wouldn’t have enough to run the generator to make coffee and toast tomorrow morning.

We drove along Hwy 4 along the south shore of Bras d’Or Lake to Port Hawkesbury then Hwy 104 to the New Brunswick border. From there, it is a short run into Moncton and the familiar casino parking lot. I registered for up to 7 days so we are set to pig out on the buffets again. Tess went in and played a bit but Camper and I stayed ‘home’ and did our thing in peace and quiet.

There are a couple of dozen RVs here as usual, ranging from older small bumper pull trailers to new 40’ + diesel pusher class A rigs. Many people have dogs too so Camper can meet some new friends. I was chatting with a couple who were walking through the parking lot to one of the neighbouring hotels. They paid $278 for two nights at the Quality Inn and after I gave them the details about parking here, they said they would bring their camper next time.

August 6, 2019 Moncton, NB 7,002 kms travelled

The first part of the day was spent running around town. We hit Costco for gas for Toad and saved 10 cents per litre compared to Nova Scotia prices, Home Depot to check prices on new blinds ($600 – yikes!), Princes Auto and finally, to see if I remembered where to dump tanks later this week. Yes.

After lunch Tess went to play and Camper and I stayed home and napped. It was hot today but the humidity is way down so it isn’t too uncomfortable. The slot whisperer came home at 8:30. We went for a walk around the parking lot which was nearly empty by late morning and is back up to 25 units by evening.

August 7, 2019 Moncton, NB 7,002 kms travelled

Another hot one today. While it is fine if you are out and about, it is too hot to sit at home. While Tess was busy, Camper and I went for a drive and to get an ice cream cone and to pick up beer. We got home at about 4pm and set up the lawn chair under the awning to read and visit with the neighbours walking by.

Tonight is cheap beer and chicken wing night so at 7pm I fired up the generator to power the A/C for Camper and I went to find Tess. We had a total of 5 beers and 60 wings for $50. That’s a bargain. Tess talked me into playing and while I was up for a short while, I soon lost my budgeted $40 and came home.

As usual, Tess made up for the meal and my modest loss so the budget remains in good shape. There is a third casino in New Brunswick which we will visit on our way to back to Quebec. It is near Edmunston in the north-west corner of the province. Hopefully they offer free overnighting too.

August 8, 2019 Moncton, NB 7,002 kms travelled

Today was another busy do-nothing day. As we usually do, Tess went to “work” and Camper and I stayed home and did important things like the dishes, go for walks, and visit with the neighbours. We met a nice retired couple from Vernon, BC who have rented out their house and are full timing for at least a year. Wow, I wish.

Since today is Thursday, it is filet and lobster tail buffet night. We ate like piggies and Tess even snuck a couple of tails and steaks into a Ziplock bag in her purse. You know, because I can always squeeze another lobster into the freezer someplace.

In the evening it started to rain. Light at first, it soon developed into a downpour. The parking lot had at least an inch of water on it and visibility was down to perhaps half a km.

Glad we were parked, level and dry. Except when Camper needed to go pee before bedtime. It took some coaxing but he eventually went under the awning so we didn’t get too wet.  

August 9, 2019 Moncton, NB 7,002 kms travelled

Another quiet day in the parking lot. The most exciting thing we did today was go to the laundromat to wash the sweat out of our clothes. Camper and I spent the afternoon and evening lazing around and going for walks. Tess went for the crab buffet but was disappointed in the food and the service tonight.

August 10, 2019 Edmunston, NB 7,479 kms travelled

We decided last night to hit the road today. Partly because Tess has had enough of this place and partly because of our next-door neighbour’s lack of consideration running their industrial generator and talking loudly outside. Security finally came around to tell them to turn off the genny and go to bed. The guy even parked his pickup diagonally across the parking space between us so another RV couldn’t park there. What a jerk.

So we went to the RV dealer to dump tanks and refill water, Costco to fuel up and hit the road, westbound. It rained on and off all day. Not a big deal as today was going to be a travel day and while we stopped once for lunch, there was nothing else we thought worth seeing in the rain. As always, there was the usual assortment of dead animals on the roadside but one of them today was unusual. I didn’t see the carcass but I did see the flock of Turkey Vultures gathering to feed. Big birds.

We arrived at the Grey Stone Casino near Edmundston around 4:30. There are signs showing us where to park so we were all set up and I was eating left over pizza by 5:00. To get level, I had to face downhill, put blocks under the jacks and lift the front tires off the ground. It looks funny but we will be comfortable.

A newer 42’ Entegra Anthem pulled in beside and a little behind us but even with his blocks on a more level section, he couldn’t get level and the alarms in his rig were going off. He had to move to get set up. I guess the motorhome designers figured it would never see uneven ground.

This Indian casino is part of a travel complex like Whitecourt but with more services. Staff are friendly, as always. I even won $250 which is so rare I had to put it in the journal! There are RVs scattered around the casino, shopping centre and gas station. There is construction going on and I noticed lots of vehicle plates from the USA so hopefully, the local band will be successful.

August 11, 2019 Trois Rivieres, QC 7,933 kms travelled

Since there is nothing in Edmunston to keep us here, we hit the road again today even though we are most definitely not in a hurry to go home. We are still on the TCH and after about a half hour’s drive northbound, we re-entered Quebec then turned west again at Riviere-du-Loup. This is mostly an excellent road with the occasional construction stretch. The wind was gusting at about 50kph hitting the front, right corner. It made steering difficult but didn’t seem to hurt the mileage too much as we got 8.1 mpg from Moncton well into Quebec.

There was a huge traffic delay south of Riviere-Du-Loup when a Jeep Grand Cherokee pulling a 30+ foot travel trailer decided to flip over and land in the ditch. There were police, fire/rescue, and a wrecker on scene and traffic was single lane alternating at the scene. The lineups were easily 5kms long on either side and it looked like it would take several more hours to clear the wreck as the trailer body had separated from the frame which was still attached to the Jeep. Much too big a trailer for that tow vehicle, I think.

We stopped for gas and decided to head for the next Walmart. That would be Trois Rivieres which is 30kms north of the TCH but we should be able to rejoin the highway on an angle and save some distance. The plan is to get into Ontario tomorrow, take a new route westbound and see the sights.

At first it didn’t look like a good Walmart for overnighting but then we found a spot with another rig behind the mattress store in the same strip mall.

August 12, 2019 Ottawa/Glocester, QC 8,250 kms travelled

We hit the 8,000km mark on this trip today while travelling along Hwy 40 on the north side of the St Lawrence River. The drive itself was nothing memorable; a few showers and light traffic once we got past the Montreal region. The roads were all first class except for one intersection where the lane tire troughs nearly had us airborne.

We crossed the Ottawa River into Ontario at Hawkesbury and stopped for lunch to review our plans, as we often do. We want to take a new route across Ontario and there are a couple of casinos that we have never visited so while sitting in a high school parking lot for lunch, we came up with a revised plan.

We continued north towards Ottawa, but now along Hwy 2. The Hard Rock Casino is just west of the city, and they allow overnighters, so here we are. They even gave us $20 each in free slot play! Their meal deals are nothing special, at least compared to the Maritimes, so we ate in the RV.

August 13, 2019 Ottawa, Ontario 8,736 kms travelled

We had a busy day today at the casino. No, not all day but for several hours. While Tess was inside in the early afternoon, Camper and I went for a walk and then I spent time on the computer getting the next instalment of our travelogue ready for uploading. There is no WiFi here so for now, it is just sitting on my computer waiting to be uploaded to the server.

I also worked out our route across Ontario over the next few days and programmed the GPS so we won’t get lost. In the casino, Tess heard her name called out on the PA system so she went to see what they wanted. She had been randomly selected as a participant in their “wind tunnel” machine. It is basically a big balloon filled with free play coupons in various denominations blown around by a big fan. She had 30 seconds to grab as many as she could. She wound up with $136 in free slot play. It isn’t exchangeable for cash – she had to play it. Tess is good at that and soon turned it into $180 in wins which she could, and did, cash.

Today was 2 for 1 dinner buffet and she also had enough comps earned to get a free meal so we both ate salmon, beef, ribs, and more until we couldn’t move. For free. The food was excellent; the best non-seafood buffet we have had on this trip. My improved luck continues. It took me almost 3 hours to lose my $40 budget. I actually had fun in a casino which is rare for me. Back on the road tomorrow.

August 14, 2019 Huntsville, Ontario 9,096 kms travelled

Last night was our 30th free night this trip. That’s about $1,200 saved which covers over a third of our total fuel cost to this point. While we really miss Provincial Parks, the woods, campfires and so on, that’s not what this trip is all about.

After gassing up in Ottawa, we headed north on Hwy 17 to Renfrew. There we turned west on Hwy 60 which took us through Algonquin Provincial Park. This is a big park with lots of lakes, trails, campgrounds, and things to see and do. Since Ontario Provincial Parks are so stupidly expensive at $50 per night for an unserviced site, on top of the park access fee, we drove along admiring the scenery.

There  are watch for moose signs every 10 kms so of course, we didn’t see one. I did see squashed raccoons and skunks but ‘deadlife’ doesn’t count. Hwy is an excellent road although the speed limit is only 80 kph. I had to speed a little to get the transmission into top gear and save some gas but 85-90 kph seemed to be the speed where everyone was happy so we didn’t hold up traffic for a change.

We found Walmart right where the GPS said it would be and we settled in. There are a half dozen semis and a couple of other RVs so we feel right at home overnighting here.

August 15, 2019 Sudbury, Ontario 9,324 kms travelled

We continued our slow westward trek today. Hwy 3 brought us to Hwy 400, a typical divided highway; that is, no significant corners, excellent pavement and paved shoulders. I can maintain my “economy” speed of 90 kph and not hold up traffic. The amount of water here in northern Ontario continues to impress. Every corner seems to show us a new lake or river. There are few beaches as this is the Canadian Shield and there is bedrock everywhere.

The volume of rock blasted out and removed to make way for the highways is incredible. The granite rocks are different colours with veins of other colours running through them. Very pretty, especially in the blast areas that have only been exposed to the weather for a relatively few years.

In 2005 we stayed at Carol Campground in Sudbury so we pulled in there again. No reservations as always, and they put us in a level pull through site on the waterfront. The access road, a small playground, and the beach is all there is between us and the lake. Nice! Especially with power, water, sewer, and WiFi for $40. Oh, and it is sunny and warm. Ahhh!

The day before yesterday the return spring on the toilet broke and when we arrived here I called the RV place recommended by the office and he said he can have the part there tomorrow afternoon. That’s good service and at $60 to fix the toilet, a bargain. I will repair the broken throne room ceiling vent too since I am going to be in fix-it mode.

We made a quick trip to the bank to deposit the coins we have been accumulating since we left home. I rolled them up yesterday and the total came to $435! That’s nearly 2 tanks of gas. Since Our sewer hose isn’t long enough to reach the pipe in the ground, I stopped at Canadian Tire to buy an extension. Because the gas we bought at Can Tire give us 5 cents per litre in points, I got the $35 hose for free and still have $15 left to spend. Excellent.

August 16, 2019 Sudbury, Ontario 9,324 kms travelled

Water in and around Seven has been my nemesis for years: leaks in the roof openings, water supply hoses and lines (reminder to never forget to install the pressure regulator) and now the throne room. I fixed the leaky toilet sprayer fresh water supply and since the toilet valve return spring broke, the toilet will not hold water. And the hinge on the throne room ceiling vent failed and since the forecast called for rain showers overnight and tomorrow, I had to repair it or risk water coming in through the broken vent.

On the way to pick up the toilet part, we stopped at Walmart for supplies. In the parking lot was a police motorcycle skills competition. Motorcycle Cops from all over Canada and the USA were there. There were hundreds of cones set up in several courses. Wow! These guys have some serious skills. They rode mostly Harleys and had those big bikes scraping the ground on their way through the courses steering from lock to lock at a walking pace. The guys on BMWs could do the course much quicker because of the shorter wheelbase and easier to control throttle. Very cool.

The place where I ordered the toilet spring didn’t get it in. No phone call, just “sorry, it didn’t come in” when I got to the counter. I sat in their parking lot and googled other RV parts places and found one near the casino where I had dropped Tess off earlier in the day. They had nearly the right part on the shelf but when dealing with a toilet, nearly won’t cut it. Since our toilet will no longer hold water (there’s that word again) and the spring and seal kits run over $100, I thought it better to just replace the entire thing. They come in short and tall versions. We need the short version and they only had the tall version. Not my day.

I picked Tess up and we returned home so I could get the vent repaired before the rain. The plan was to re-attach the broken hinge using pop-rivets. Of course, my rivet gun broke. I wound up drilling holes and using sheet metal screws and sealant. In between climbing up and down from the roof, drilling and hammering the bent hinge straight, lots of neighbours came by to chat about our maps and to visit. I finally got finished about 8:30 just as it was getting dark.

Tess made me my favourite dinner of ground beef and rice with fresh corn on the cob as a reward for all my hard work. A little TV then bed.

August 17, 2019 Sudbury, Ontario 9,324 kms travelled

I am still a little annoyed about my tool breaking yesterday so I went to Can Tire to get a replacement. They only had name brand, better-than-I-need riveters so the next stop was Princess Auto. I found what I needed there for under $20. I even managed to get out of there without buying anything else which is rare. Some running around to the dollar store and a grocery store and we were home by mid afternoon.

It was the perfect temperature for a nap, so Camper and I snoozed outside. We went for a couple of walks and visited with the neighbours. About 75% of the sites are seasonal and since it is the weekend, most RVs are occupied so there are always people to talk to.

After dinner we had a nice campfire. There were kids in the playground across the road and lots of people walking their dogs. As always, the map of our travels on the door draws people in to talk. The mosquitos came out in force when it got dark about 9 PM so we went in although we left the door open. One cute little almost 2 year old was still running around with her mom in tow; she was fascinated with our ladybug whirligig and even tried to pat it. I let her meet Camper, but she was leery of me and more interested in the colourful ladybug.

Tonight was supposed to be the peak of the Perseid meteor shower but as usual, I didn’t see any when I took Camper out for his evening walk. I did see several campfires and someone playing a guitar with a group of friends. Nice evening.

August 18, 2019 Sudbury, Ontario 9,324 kms travelled

Tess qualified for a special draw today of $500 or dinner or whatever at the casino by winning a jackpot the other day so I dropped her off there while I went to the movies. I thoroughly enjoyed the latest in the “Fast ‘n’ Furious” series. Lots of cars, explosions and so on; great fun. I picked Tess up but her name wasn’t called so no prize. She still came out even so that’s a good day.

Since we are leaving tomorrow and will likely Walmart it for a day or two as we cross northern Ontario (it is 1,002 kms to Thunder Bay) I had a fire with Camper as Tess stayed smoke-free after her shower inside watching TV. The campground is pretty quiet again as all the seasonal weekenders have gone back home to prepare for work tomorrow. There was only one other campfire going, everyone else was inside by 9pm.

We’ll fuel up here in Sudbury before we head west to higher gas prices. I’ll top up in the Soo (Sault Ste. Marie) but I don’t think we can make it to Manitoba on one tank from there. We’ll see.

August 19, 2019 Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario 9,647 kms travelled

We woke to sunny skies and another warm day. We gassed up in Sudbury then hit Hwy 17W on our journey home. We passed through lots of small towns and as we travelled west, the vegetation changed from leafy trees such as maple and birch to pine as we neared the north shore of Lake Superior.

We settled into a shaded spot in the SSM Casino lot. It was pasta night at the casino eatery so we ate at home. I played and lost the $10 they gave me for signing up to be a club member and I went home. Tess stayed and played and whispered to the machines. She came out ahead.

This is just an overnight stop; we saw all the sights last time we were here. The nights are getting chilly and in northern BC, it snowed yesterday just in case we needed a reminder that summer doesn’t last long in Canada. Sigh. Back on the road tomorrow, the plan is to get to Marathon, Ontario.

August 20, 2019 Marathon, Ontario 10,061 kms travelled

We know that gas is only going to get more expensive and propane harder to find as we go west so we filled up the tank but couldn’t find any place that sold propane. We still have a few days’ supply before the lobster starts to thaw. And I face a firing squad!

We stayed on Hwy 17 TCH because it is the only road that goes west from here. As is usual in Ontario, the major highways are in excellent condition although narrow. There is literally less than a foot between the edge of the fog line and the perhaps 3 foot wide gravel shoulder. There are long distance bicyclists with all their bags and so on trying to stay upright in that narrow strip. If there is large semi or RV traffic in both directions when they pass the cyclist, it is a recipe for a fatality. We were delayed for several hours on our 2005 trip because a cyclist was killed by a semi along this highway. How many deaths will it take to make Ontario pave the shoulders?

We had a half hour delay due to construction. They were busy blasting the granite that is everywhere. The construction crews are experienced as all the small boulders created by the blast are about the same size so they can be scooped up by the track hoes and carted away by dump trucks. The flaggers were excellent at coordinating traffic flow and keeping delays to a minimum.

As the day progressed, the price of gas continued to climb, and propane remained elusive. A fellow at a big propane bottle refilling operation in Wawa told me the go to the White Lake Lodge, “about 6 miles past White Lake”. White Lake was 90 kms west and so right on our way. There was no lodge, only lakes and trees. Oh well, perhaps in Marathon where I had planned to stop for the night.

About 40 kms past the town of White Lake is the actual lake named White Lake. A couple of kms later we found the White Lake Lodge. It isn’t a lodge but a country store and campground. They sell everything including alcohol, lotto, fireworks, and auto propane. The tank holds 60 litres and he put in 54 litres so we only had a couple of days supply left. Since he had the cheapest gas we had seen in a couple of hours and it is only going to cost more later, I topped off the gas tank as well.

We arrived at May’s Gift Shop just west of Marathon, ON around 5:00 and settled in. The woman who owns it isn’t May, she is Rolly. MAY are the initials of her children. She and her husband still provide free overnight RV parking whether you buy anything or not.

We settled in with one other occupied RV and a couple of units being stored there.

August 21, 2019 Thunder Bay, Ontario 10,346 kms travelled

It was cool, quiet, and very dark and we all had a great sleep. In the morning the sun was shining between fluffy clouds and we turned west on Hwy 17 once again. This route goes along the north shore of Lake Superior and is very pretty, rivalling the Cabot Trail in many places. There is a lot of construction underway to rehab bridge decks and to add passing lanes. One of the crews knocked down a live power line so we sat on the highway for 90 minutes while that was repaired. The OPP kept everyone informed while we waited.

We stopped for lunch at a picnic area and walked along the beach. The water is very clear and, at least near shore, fairly warm. A sign said 10% of the world’s fresh water is in Lake Superior. We passed by the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and countless other ships that have sunk in this lake over the centuries. We didn’t see any critters again today. It is blueberry season and they grow everywhere so I hoped to see a bear or two, but I guess the berries grow up in the hills too which keeps the bears away from the highway.

We found our way back to Trowbridge Municipal Campground and settled in for three nights. We got power and water only in a site that was barely big enough but is very nicely treed and on a quiet loop. There are no firepits, the girl said I could take one from another campsite, build a ring of rocks or just use the ground but please don’t burn the place down!

The campsites are not clearly numbered, and the map is little help. The campground is poorly maintained with dirty laundry room, garbage around the sites and low hanging tree branches over the roadways. Clearly, the manager is not a camper. On the positive side, the interior roads are paved, water tastes good, there are lots of trees, it is peaceful and quiet, and we are only 5 minutes from the city. There are even 3 local over-the-air television stations, so we watched the 11pm news. Same old crap as last month – Canadian Liberal government scandals, Britain’s exit from the European Union, and US President Donald Trump being delusional. Sigh.

August 22, 2019 Thunder Bay, Ontario 10,346 kms travelled

Tess counted her medications and will run out on September 3rd so we have to be back home by then. That’s Labour Day Monday so we’ll need to find a place to stop for the busy long weekend. Disappointing to be sure, but we still will have been on the road for 100 days or so by the time we get back. And camping season isn’t over that long weekend for us, so we will have the opportunity to stock up on trout and walleye. It will give me some time to replace the toilet, install new blinds, and service the generator so it starts on the first try.

Today was a better day for critters. When Camper and I were walking on the campground trails we saw a good sized and very pretty garter snake (camper almost peed on it) and a pileated woodpecker standing in the trail just ahead of us. Pretty bird. We also had a couple of chipmunks visit and a big raven walked through the campsite when he thought nobody was near enough to threaten him.

After dropping Tess off at the casino, Camper and I went for lunch and an ice cream cone at McDonalds. Then we hit the local RV parts places looking for the return spring for the toilet or perhaps even a replacement toilet if the price is right. I did find a toilet, but it was too tall. The clearance bin at that same place had a slinky plug that I needed and a skirt for under the back of the motorhome which will reduce the crud and road debris damage on the car. Total for both items was only $22. I love a good bargain.

We went to pick Tess up around 7pm and she says she has had enough of casinos for a while as she isn’t having fun. We will revise our route home to include less casinos and more fishing. I think straight through to Alberta then stay where we might catch some fish before getting home on September 2nd. Of course, we are still a long way from Alberta – it will take us 2 days to get to Manitoba from here – so we’ll see.

August 23, 2019 Thunder Bay, Ontario 10,346 kms travelled

For our last day in Thunder Bay we did mostly nothing. A trip to town for dollar store supplies, some groceries, and a fast food lunch. We got home in the late afternoon and settled in for a quiet evening. We ate dinner, had a fire, and watched a little TV.

We are literally 5 minutes from Thunder Bay and I expected the place to fill up for the weekend but it didn’t happen. There are perhaps a dozen sites occupied and it is peaceful and quiet. The city is losing money on this place.

August 24, 2019 Whiteshell Prov Park, Manitoba 10,963 kms travelled

It got down to 6C overnight so the furnace came on regularly even though it was set at 62F/16C. I expect we will see more trees turning to fall colours as we leave Ontario. We packed up, dumped tanks, filled up the gas and turned west on Hwy 17 towards the Manitoba border. Or I thought we did. Turns out we were on Hwy 61 South heading to Minnesota but I figured it out before we had gone too far and we got sorted out.

On the way back to Hwy 17 we stopped at Kakabeka Falls, mostly because it is an interesting name. There isn’t much of a falls there and since it is an Ontario Park, they charge to go in - $5.50 plus tax to park for 2 hours. Nope.

So, onward and westward. The trip to Dryden was uneventful. We stopped at a Pizza Hut and got a late lunch and decided to push on to Kenora since it was still early. There is an Entertainment Complex and Bingo Palace. A small casino perhaps? Nope. Just a big smoke-filled bingo hall with a stage at one end. On the bright side, we saw several deer wandering around town.

We thought we would stay at Walmart in Kenora as there were four or five rigs parked there. When I pulled into the lot we saw the no overnight parking sign. It is a town by-law. In the Pizza Hut parking lot another RVer told me they had been kicked out of a Walmart lot after midnight this morning but he didn’t remember the name of the town. I bet it was Kenora. Since the town is RV-unfriendly, we didn’t spend any money in Kenora and we left.

By this time the sun is low in the sky and I really want to stop for the night. There should be an RV park or truck stop or something just outside of town, right? Wrong! We had to cross into Manitoba where within a few kms we found a Provincial Park and campground a few kms north of the TCH. There was a sign on the office door with a list of sites we can use and we settled into one. By now it was fully dark and there are no lights in the park so it was really dark. We got within a half bubble of level and settled down. There was no moon and it is really dark here so the Milky Way was spread across the clear sky. Tess even saw a shooting star.

This is the longest distance by far in one day. The last hour was stressful heading straight into the setting sun with a dirty bug splattered windshield and very poor headlights.  

August 25, 2019 Whiteshell Prov Park, Manitoba 10,963 kms travelled

I registered at the office this morning and as it is Sunday, we pretty much have our pick or sites for tonight. They gave us a waterfront site near the scuba divers’ beach. It is large and level with 30 amp power. I bought a 3 day Manitoba park pass for $12 and we decided to use the third day at a park near the Sask-atchewan border. Campground fees are a bargain at only $16 unserviced and $20 for 30 amp power.

Once settled in we got busy with the usual activities of eating, enjoying a fire, visiting with neighbours and so on. This lake is a SCUBA hot spot and there was a class underway for much of the day. There is a small marina and very nice beach with cafes and stores along the access road. It is a very nice spot.

The lake itself was formed by a meteorite impact some bunch of millions of years ago. It is 111 metres deep, looks to be 3 or 4 kms across, and more or less round. The campground has almost 100 sites for tents up to full hookup pull-throughs. On our after dinner walk we covered the whole campground and we saw a doe grazing at a vacant campsite. She let Tess get within 5 metres or so before she walked away. This is the closest Tess has ever been to a deer in the wild.

Mid afternoon it started to rain so we went inside to take the chill off. We all fell asleep and when we woke up at 5:30 the whole campground had cleared out except for a few tent trailers in our loop. We’ll have a quiet, peaceful night.

August 26, 2019 Minnedosa, Manitoba 11,367 kms travelled

It rained buckets overnight, but the sun was out by the time we were ready to hit the road at 10:30 am. The first stop was Costco in Winnipeg for fuel. It was sure nice to see their ‘reasonable’ gas price of only 99.9 per litre.

Back on the TCH westbound the drive was uneventful. Some construction and rough sections but nothing noteworthy.

I thought we might make it to another Provincial Park not far from the Saskatchewan border, but it was just too far, especially at our slow pace. I didn’t want to fight the sun again, so we started looking for a spot about 5:00. Just west of Minnedosa where Hwy 16 kinks north then back west is a rest area where I have seen semis and RVs parked late at night so that’s where we settled in a short time later.

We’ll get back to Saskatchewan tomorrow.

August 27, 2019 Yorkton, Saskatchewan 11,605 kms travelled

I was up at 8:00 and Tess got up at her usual 10:30. I enjoyed the quiet time to myself; I read, watched the semis and other RVs pull out leaving us alone in the rest area. It had rained overnight and was still overcast but the wind was blowing out of the north-west at 60+ kph. Not just a headwind to increase our fuel consumption by (I’ll bet) 30% but also from the side trying to blow us into oncoming traffic. I kept our speed to 90 kph and managed well enough.

The wind made empty B-train semis look like snakes slithering down the road in an S shape. One truck and camper was going maybe 60 kph and was having a very difficult time. The fully loaded semis had little trouble nor did 5er or travel trailers attached to beefy enough pickup trucks. Still, 238 kms was enough for the day. We pulled into the Painted Hand Casino and I went to register. They welcomed us back and reminded me that power is available for us to use. Friendly and accommodating staff just as before. We decide to treat ourselves to a nice dinner of filet mignon with lobster for Tess and crab for me. Besides, there isn’t much other food left in the cupboard. Yum!

I heard from my brother Todd: our Mom is in the Kamloops hospital with dizziness and a possibly heart related issue. Todd isn’t too worried at this point and I trust his judgement. Since tomorrow is her 89th birthday (!), I will call her when we get settled in Saskatoon.

August 28, 2019 Whitecap, Saskatchewan 11,973 kms travelled

Tess actually got up before me this morning which is rare. Camper and I woke up at 8:00 and Tess was already making coffee. She has decided she wants to get home sooner rather than later so we now plan to overnight tonight (Wednesday) and maybe Thursday in Saskatoon, then on Thursday or Friday in Lloydminster and from there, arrive home on Friday or Saturday. That will be 99 or 100 days on the road for this big adventure.

We fought a nasty northwesterly headwind all day again today. It felt like 60-80 kph. We burned about 25% more fuel than usual. And I am exhausted – a stomach bug and fighting the steering wheel all day and I am done. We returned to the Dakota Dunes Casino south of Saskatoon because it is a very nice place. They have a huge parking lot with lots of space for RVs and even supply 15 amp power. Now if they only had WiFi we’d be all set.

Today is my Mom’s 89th birthday. Unfortunately, she is in the Kamloops hospital getting her heart rhythm sorted out. Atrial fibrillation Tess says which is very treatable. She should be home in a few days. Then she can get back to planning her Mexican winter getaway! My brother Todd and I will go visit her in September, including a few days where we are both there so we can catch up as it has been a while.

August 29, 2019 Whitecap, Saskatchewan 11,973 kms travelled

Today was half cleaning up the RV and half lazing around doing basically nothing. By 1:00 things were clean so Camper and I took a walk, read, watched a little TV and had a siesta. Tess and I went into the casino for dinner and I even played the slots a little because I am a glutton for punishment.

We called my Mom and she sounds chipper like always. They are still sorting out her drugs and dosages so she will be there in hospital for a few more days. She is a little concerned about her trip to Mexico as she has already paid for the flight. I guess it will depend on her health insurance company’s reaction to her current problem. I really hope she will still be able to go.

We got home just after dark and settled in to watch the news, then went to bed. Tomorrow is another travel day; we plan to get to Lloydminster.

August 30, 2019 Lloydminster, Saskatchewan 12,283 kms travelled

Our last stop on this journey and we are both sad to see it end and happy to go home, especially to see Mark and Isla. I’ll have the actual numbers once we get home but 100 days and 12,500 kms is pretty close. The motorhome performed well with no major breakages and only routine maintenance. Fuel prices were about what we had budgeted but campground costs per night were higher. Also higher was the number of free nights we had – 39 in all!

The drive today was routine.  Overcast skies and no wind combined with excellent roads made for a stress-free day. Despite a bunch more warning signs, we still haven’t seen a moose anywhere in the 8 provinces we travelled through. They could be extinct for all we know.

The casino had fish & chips on special, so I ate there. The east side of the parking lot is reserved for RVs but there was only one other unit, a small Class C. I played the electronic blackjack tables and a variety of slot machines and was lucky. I won $1.16 so I’m happy. Tess not so much, so she isn’t happy.

The young lady who drives the shuttle bus mentioned to me that a $20 bill had blown out of her car during the wind storm on the 28th and I should keep an eye out for it when I was walking Camper. I told her if I found it I would split it with her. Surprisingly, I found her $20 plus a $10 bill! I kept my promise and gave her $15 when she and her boyfriend dropped by the RV this evening.

This is a new casino and they are already expanding it. I’m not sure if they are going to add floor space, a hotel, or entertainment facilities, but it will be pretty big for a small city like Lloydminster.

August 31, 2019 Morinville, Alberta 12,572 kms travelled

We are home! We met great people from 5 countries, visited historic sites, saw wildlife and beautiful scenery. Our favourite province to visit is Quebec, the most expensive fuel is in Ontario, the best roads are here at home in Alberta, the worst roads are in Nova Scotia, our most distant leg. The motorhome performed very well needing only routine maintenance, although a few items shook loose on the very rough roads in the Maritimes.

We have mixed emotions about returning home. I want to just keep going, Tess wants to play in her garden until the snow flies. I want to go to Texas or California for the winter, Tess will be happy with a mid-winter cruise somewhere warm. Guess which one we will do. Oh well.

Can’t wait to go out again to stock up on trout for the winter!


2005

2019

Nights Until Turnaround

109

71

Kms Until Turnaround

9,000

6,500

Avg Kms / day

82

91

Fuel Cost to Turnaround

$3500

$2800

Avg gas price/litre

$1.10

$1.19