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Friday, July 6, 2012

Day 9 to Day 16: Off the Grid in Northern Ontario

...Luckily, though, we made the discovery (electric brakes not working) just as we were passing Pinecrest trailer park just west of Thessalon...Lucky because Jake and Jake and Jess were on hand to help us out, repairing the cable which had severed, and lifting our hitch so as to avoid further problems of this kind. We spent a much relieved evening on Lake Huron, paddling about on the beautiful beach and discovering how RV communities create a home away from home for themselves...All good!

Wednesday morning we were on our way once again to Sault Ste Marie...As we approached the city a big black bear sauntered across the transcanada highway just in front of us...So surreal that we still keep asking ourselves if it was a mirage or if it was real. We had great service from Johnsons RV centre in the Soo, fixing the fuses on our electric brakes and giving us advice on the hitch. Then we spent time wandering along the Boardwalk, which is beautiful, and navigating the city with Carmella in tow.

We headed north on the 17 mid-afternoon, crossing the halfway mark of the transcanada highway at chippewa river and stopping in for the night at Pancake Bay Provincial Park. It was so great, we stayed another night...Swimming in the surf of Lake Superior, writing "wine women and philosophy" in huge letters across the sandy beach, drinking the two bottles of "pop" - that's Pommery champagne pop, not the other kind! - that Carolyn had given us before we departed...Toasting the repair of our electric brakes AND the beauty of Lake Superior AND Carolyn AND all the rest of our great wwp membership AND finally doing a laundry and having clean clothes...Lots to toast, in other words. Thank you Carolyn!

From Pancake Bay, we headed for Neys Provincial Park via the stunning Lake Superior Provincial Park and the equally stunning "very dilly" dill pickles in Wawa. Jake at Pinecrest trailer park had told us not to pass by the Wawa general store without buying some...We did, and they are delicious. We saw the famous Wawa canada goose which towers above the town, and we stocked up on supplies for the Ontario long weekend.

Neys Provincial Park just west of Marathon was our home for the next three days...we canoed on the little Pic river, we learnt about the POW camp that had housed German prisoners on the site of the campground during WWII, we listened to the lonely call of the train as it passed along the shores of Lake Superior day and night, we biked, we swam (yet another fabulous sandy beach, we are learning that Northern Ontario is home to incredible beaches that make you feel like you are in Bermuda...only maybe a little cooler water-wise than Bermuda...though not much, the weather is hot, hot, hot), Rona painted, Linnet strummed on her Ukelele, we imprinted wwp on yet another beach, all in all, a wonderful Canada Day weekend.

Two weeks into our roadtrip, and 2000 kms under Ruby's (fan)belt, we were on the road again by Monday, July 2, stopping in at the lovely Rainbow Falls for a quick constitutional, heading now towards the Sleeping Giant who slumbers just to the east of Thunder Bay. This is a beautiful provincial park with fantastic hiking and swimming on and around Marie Louise Lake and campground...Our gorgeous campsite was right on the lake, and we shared it with a family of bald eagles, a doe, two rivaling gangs of chipmunks and squirrels, numerous ducks and ducklings, and about 3 million mosquitos. To be fair, the Mosquitos only arrived en masse on day 2 of our stay...After an incredible thunderstorm that was quite an experience from the vantage point of a trailer. We had been amazed that we hadn't encountered more Mosquitos before this...So I guess we shouldn't be complaining. And having expected to die in the thunderstorm, we were living on borrowed time anyway. But still... packing up and hitching up on Wednesday morning was a harrowing experience...About 3 million bites each, I'd say, which are looking great on us, and feeling great too.

Two sticks of after-bite later we were pulling up in Thunder Bay, checking out that hitch and getting more advice from the TB hitch specialists who got us sorted...yet again! We stopped at the Terry Fox memorial park and got inspired (and stopped complaining about our mosquito bites...a little perspective can be a good thing). And after the usual stop for fuel for us and fuel for Ruby, we struck out on MOM's way (that's highway 11, the low road to Winnipeg)...Arriving at Quetico provincial park just as the rain came down and the thunder started to grumble and in the deep heat of a muggy Northern Ontario late afternoon, the mossies came out to get us...bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz