Thursday, September 27, 2012


It is only a short run from the Lake of the Woods area of Ontario near Kenora to the Manitoba border and Winnipeg.

After a night visiting friends in Winnipeg we checked out the map again and decided to take the more northerly route into and across Saskatchewan, instead of the south route used back in July.  This led us back into Riding Mountain National Park.  The throngs of summer visitors were now largely gone, leaving a much more peaceful atmosphere around the village of Wasagaming, and the main tourist areas.


But another season is just starting in the park, the rut.  We spotted these moose on the road as we headed northward.


They were not much concerned with our presence.P9166570P9166572P9166575

Even Hailey had a good look, from a safe vantage point.P9166589P9166588


While I was there, a gentleman got out of his vehicle and started to approach the larger bull for a photo.  He returned to his car with a bit more urgency with the bull hot on his heels!  Ah, reminds me of the ‘good ole days’ back in Jasper and Banff parks when I would deal with such individuals on a daily basis.


Of course, with all the Parks Canada cutbacks and ludicrous reorganization initiatives, there is practically no staff left in many areas to monitor, respond to incidents, or to do research on anything but their new focus on revenue generation.  In fact, three veteran former Park Wardens who were working here in Riding Mountain when I passed through in July, are all gone elsewhere now, at least partially as a result of the cutbacks.P9166600P9166601

Sunday, September 23, 2012


After a night on a back road near Kettle Lakes Provincial Park, we headed into Timmins.


Unfortunately, Shania Twain was not in town, so we settled for an oil change – not a fair trade at all!  From there it was cross country towards Wawa on a rough Ontario road at 80km/hr – in the rain.  The leaves were just starting to change in that area, and it appeared that some of them had just turned brown and gotten blown off.  We spent the night at the same lakeside camp spot  near Rossport we had used on the way east, but perhaps because of the lack of leaves it felt even closer to the highway and was somewhat noisier.

If the changing leaves were not indicator enough, there were other signs that fall was upon us.


In the ‘signs’ section there were a few suitable entries.  This sign advised campers to take their propane cylinders home with them, but provided a convenient orange container for them …!

Most of my sign photos are outdoors, but I thought this one warranted inclusion.  It was found over a urinal in a campground or visitor centre .


I thought this next sign was a bit discriminatory, though there are a lot of state parks that charge non-residents higher fees...  And, neither Canada nor US gas pumps seem to like credit cards from the other country.P9146554


In this part of Ontario I saw a lot of solar panel installations that did not seem to be related to a particular residence of business.  I assume they are hooked into the provincial power grid?


Next:  Manitoba moose!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Quebec, Ontario, Quebec, Ontario …

First, a few NL photos I found on the cutting room floor …

As it turns out, the caribou count was higher than our moose count while in Newfoundland.  These little guys were spotted along the edge of the road, I believe within Gros Morne National Park.  They were so small, that at first I thought they were antelope, though this is clearly not antelope country.  They are certainly a lot smaller than the woodland caribou I am familiar with in northern Alberta and Jasper National Park.  They were totally unconcerned about the few cars that were stopped to look or the ones that roared by at highway speed.P9036353P9036354P9036355

From Edmundston, NB, we headed into Quebec.  We had not heard back from a friend we had hoped to visit in Quebec City, so more or less blasted across this section Quebec, back into Ontario just outside of Ottawa.  Traffic was a bit thick in Montreal as we passed through the center this time, pretty close to rush hour, but there were no major tie-ups, and the gps led us out the far side.


We did meet up with a friend in Ottawa for a bite and a drink in the evening, then in the morning headed back into Quebec on a northern route through the Gatineau hills, Val D’Or, and eventually back into Ontario again near Kirkland lake. 

In one area in northern Quebec there were some unique roadside mailbox configurations.  For a few miles, almost every mailbox was mounted on a long horizontal pole or pipe with a counter weight at the other end, that lifted the box 6-8 feet in the air.  Hanging down below the mailbox was a piece or rope or cord used to pull the box down to where it could be checked.  Unfortunately, there were no more of them before I decided it needed a photo.

In Kirkland Lake we met fellow RV bloggers Wilf & Elizabeth, and Hailey got to meet Morris, a good looking young cat.  Hisses were exchanged, of course, rigs were compared, then it was off to Timmins to meet Shania Twain!



She was apparently not in town ;-(, so we had to settle for an oil change for the big diesel.  I didn’t think that was a fair trade at all.


Not sure what was going on, or if it was just a coincidence, but in one short span of about an hour, we spotted 3 different helicopters being transported on trailers.  This one pulled off the highway, so we were able to photograph it.P9136523

Another strange encounter happened on the road  north of Wa Wa, Ontario.  We met two cars in a row with cameras mounted on a post about 4 feet above the roof.  They were almost identical to the Google Earth streetview camera cars I had seen passing through Lake Louise a few years back.

 (If you go to 51.425157  -116.179444 on streetview, you can see me walking across the street in front of the car, then trying to take a photo as it drove away.  Some of our ‘work’ trucks are also in the image)

 But these cars had Tom Tom logos (a GPS company) on them, so I don’t know what they were up to?  A bit of online research showed that there had been similar sightings of these cars in Europe, but this was the first indication I saw that they were also in north America, but no one seems to know ‘what’ they are doing exactly, or why?

The leaves were just starting to turn colour in eastern Ontario, but the colour picked up a bit as we moved west.


For a change of route we decided on a southerly pass taking us past Rainy Lake and Fort Frances, before having to move back up to the Trans-Canada highway at Kenora.

There is a large pulp mill in Ft Frances, and it seems that all the wood is transported in 8’ lengths stacked crossways on the trucks, unlike most logging trucks in the west that carry much longer logs lengthwise down the truck.

P9146551 P9146527

Perhaps because of this, there are regular ‘pulp truck’ check stations and these strange arrangements of large round devices.  It looks like a truck drives between the two barrels to align the load and push any protruding logs back into place?


And finally, for this post, one more sign shot.P9146530

Friday, September 14, 2012

Heading West

After getting off the boat from Newfoundland, the weather had improved somewhat and it was 27C for a bit, and I considered getting back into shorts, but it was not to last.

Got into the middle of a huge (cancer charity?) motorcycle ride in Baddeck, NS, but still managed to meet up with my brother and his wife, who were just headed towards NL on their own exploratory trip, and just in time for the hurricane to arrive!

In a Sobey’s grocery store in Pictou, my ‘Sobeys’ card once again drew blank stares …

As evening approached, Google earth suggested a couple of quiet looking spots on the northern coast of NB near the NS line.  One turned out to be Gaspareaux National Historic site, where the French had built a fort in the 1750’s.  It was only used for a few years before being overrun by the British, who then burned it to the ground.

We had planned a short visit at least to Kouchibouguac National Park further along the coast, but somehow the road we were on did not seem to have any proper signs leading to it, and before we knew it, it was way too far back to go back.

From Miramichi, the route was across the province on a secondary highway, coming out at Plaster Rock.  The first half was typically rough, even at the 80km speed limit.  The second part had been re-paved and was not so bad.

The fuel pumps there were no problem to start with my chipped MC, but the pump quits at $100. !  With the price of diesel  close to $1.40, that is not enough to fill even my small tank.  So I had to start over again for another $19.  Ouch.  I think it is time to lower the price, or raise the limit Petro Canada?

A stop was in order by the time we reached Edmunston, NB, and I was surprised to find the local Walmart closed shortly after 6PM – even on a Sunday.  I’m kind of used to the US stores, most of which are open 24 hrs.  But this one was also on the edge of town, so it made a surprisingly quiet spot to spend the night – and it was the first Walmart ‘camp’ of this trip – if my memory serves me correctly.

We went for a stroll and Hailey wanted to see inside the store, as she has never been to WM.CIMG8227

In the morning, with our bilingual hat firmly in place, we crossed into Quebec, where a major highway construction project was underway. (Must be the riding of a Conservative MP?)  It looks like a long section of the road is being twinned through some pretty solid looking rock.  It was nice day, so decided it was a good time for a closer look.


It looked like a row of rock drills were advancing up the outcrop preparing the next blast, while another row of excavators below loaded trucks to remove the rubble.



In the sign category, there is only one entry this time, and I think it is self-explanatory.  Or not!