5/14 – 5/25

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5/14 – 5/25   Well, things certainly didn’t get off to a roaring start; we were hoping to leave about 10:00 but our eldest dog, Tatamagouche, would not answer our calls. After about an hour we finally found him hiding under a fir tree happily chewing on a not too recently departed squirrel. But what the heck, we were off and better late than never; little did we know that over the next week or so I would come down with a roaring cold, Arlyne with some sort of malady that left her wanting sleep most of the time for 3 days and, Tat would develop severe digestive upset – no more squirrels for him. Let’s hope that the rest of the trip will be smooth sailing. Inspite of all this we did have nice visits with Arlyne’s brother, Victor, in Milton and our good friends Jerry and Eileen in Hamilton.

5/25 -5/26

5/25 – 5/26  Southwick Beach State Park, on the shores of Lake Ontario,is a small, but very nice park. Although it was completely full over the Memorial Day weekend, when we pulled in, Monday afternoon there were very few campers and it was quiet and delightful. We had a very nice lunch with our friend Steve Robinson who lives near Waterown.


5/27  Somewhat of a lost day. We pitzed around Syracuse looking for a kitchen faucet, mailing a dvd back to the library, getting maps from AAA, and similar mundane chores. The faucet needs to be replaced since the original one developed a leak and my temporary fix was awkward. The problem finding a replacement is that most faucets stick out way too far for the camper’s small sink – great for washing floors but not so for dishes. Finally found one at Home Depot which should do the job; although installing it will be a bear since there is almost no room to get under the sink. Eventually, we managed to get back on the road and reached Lake Erie State Park, a very pretty campground on a bluff overlooking Lake Erie, in Brocton, NY. Managed to set up and get comfortable before a very strong line squall dumped buckets of rain for about a half and hour. Later, after the rain cleared out, there was a really spectacular sunset.


5/28   An unremarkable day. We meandered along interstate 90 form NY into PA, OH and finally into MI. Camped on the shores of Lake Erie at Sterling State Park, Monroe, MI. A very nice park but buggy, buggy, buggy.


Ostego Lake - Sunset

Ostego Lake – Sunset

5/29   Another relatively ordinary day. Drove along Rt 75 towards the Upper Peninsula, didn’t quite make it through. It’s interesting that southern Michigan appears to be quite productive farmland but as one goes north it gradually changes from farms to forrest. Ran into another rain squall, at least these don’t last very long although it looks as though it will rain again tonight. Camped on the shores of the lake at Otsego Lake State Park, Gaylord, MI, along with hoards of blood thirsty mosquitoes.


5/30   Lots of rain until mid afternoon when the skies brightened, the wind picked up and the temperature plummeted to 40°. We decided not to enter Canada at Sault Ste. Marie since it is a long, and rather boring trip around Lake Superior; instead we’ll go along the Upper Peninsula into Wisconsin and Minnesota and go into Canada at Winnipeg. 

Surf's Up, Lake Superior

Surf’s Up, Lake Superior

The Upper Peninsula, along the south shore, is rather stark giving the impression that the winters are a tempest of windblown frigidity. The north shore along Rt 28 is quite pretty, mellow and the houses and towns appear more affluent. Stopped at Marquette to resupply. The city is an unexpectedly bustling area, having all the national chains found in any metropolitan area. I had forgotten how pleasant the vague Scandinavian accent in the region is; it added warmth to the frosty afternoon. Drove a little further along Rt 41 and camped at Van Riper State Park, Champion, MI.


5/31   Woke up this morning to a rousing 33°, at least it promises to get into the 50’s later. Drove along Rt. 2 and decided to branch off onto Rt.13 which was touted as being a National Scenic Highway with good views of Lake Superior. It was a great disappointment, pretty yes but not worth the detour or the additional hour of driving, and most of the time the lake was hidden by the trees.

St Louis River, Jay Cooke Sate Park

St Louis River, Jay Cooke Sate Park

Camped on the banks of the St Louis river at Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton, MN. What an incredibly wild river, the recent rains have made the rapids even more ferocious – probably too rough for rafting but what a raft ride it would be.


6/1   Spent most of the morning shopping, paying bills online, making photo copies of our living wills and health care proxies, going to the Post Office and similar menial but necessary tasks. Left Duluth around 1:00 and drove Rt 2 to Bemidji where we stayed at the KOA campground. Most of the time we avoid commercial campgrounds because we have found that State Parks, County Parks and National Forests offer nicer accommodations in generally prettier locations and are usually less expensive. However, every now and then laundry needs to be done and the facilities in commercial campgrounds are just more convenient.


6/2 Rain on and off all day, sometimes just sprinkles other times deluges. At least The farmers are happy since the spring was too dry for seeds to sprout, now they are re-seeding and the land is turning green.

Minnesota Farm Field

Minnesota Farm Field

I had forgotten how rich the soil is throughout Minnesota, it looks as though anything would grow without much effort. Farming is difficult and backbreaking even with this soil but the region is a basket of plush farms; unfortunately, mostly corporate farms of many thousand acres. Not too many family farms left.

Finally entered Canada, just in time for another rain squall. Stayed at the Winnipeg KOA because there were no Provincial parks within a reasonable distance of our route. From here on travelog updates will be spotty since internet access will be catch as catch can. We have been using a Verizon hotspot in the States but roaming charges are outrageous in Canada so we’ll have to make do with wifi hotspots at libraries and other public places.


6/3   Stopped into a Royal Canadian Bank, in Potage la Prairie, and Sherie said we could get an account so we signed up; now we’ll have to wait until Saskatoon, to find a Rogers store and hopefully get a Canadian hotspot.
Anyhow, This took all morning and we finally hit the road about 1 pm and headed towards Yorkton, Saskatchewan on the Yellowhead Hwy (Rt 16) [ the Yellowhead Hwy is named for the secret trail of its namesake, a blonde Iroquois Métis guide Pierre Bostonais who was know as “Téte Jaune” (translates as Yellow Head). The country along the way is basically flat, but picturesque, as it was in Manitoba and Minnesota, although it gets more like a billiard table as we go west and Saskatchewan makes Minnesota look like the Rocky mountains. Camped at the City of Yorkton Campground which has very nice secluded sites and beautifully landscaped, the only negative, the showers are the pits.


6/4   The Saskatchewan prairies are starkly beautiful, you see a rich euphony of cropland colors stretching out, in most directions, to the horizon – it’s pleasantly hypnotizing. Stopped into a Rogers store in Saskatoon and with the help of Chris who after innumerable failed attempts to sign us up called the corporate headquarters and waded through the supervisory structure until he found someone who knew exactly what to do. The upshot is that we should be able to get a Rogers hotspot tomorrow after a credit check is run, and thus have wifi throughout most of Canada; it turns out that we don’t even need a Canadian bank account. It just shows that unless you find someone like Chris, who is willing to go the extra mile, you simply get whatever quick and easy answer pops into their heads.

Camped at the Saskatoon 16 West RV Park. Nicely set up with spacious sites and a vast field to let the dogs run in. We’ll have to see about the showers.

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