August, 2011

Along the way to New England...

We left our home on August 15th, & plan to arrive in New
 Hampshire on Labor Day.

First thing to do - make sure the hitch is ready to go...
Then, after putting up the step - we are ready to roll...

We plan to travel directly north from San Diego to Canada on I-15; then east within Canada
 'till our dip back down into the U.S. in upper Vermont.

Along the way....

First night out - an RV Park in north-east Las Vegas (No, for some reason, there were no slot machines at the RV Park.)
When we pull in, we let the automatic hydraulic leveling jacks do "their thing." In this case, the right front tire was off the ground.
Then we hook up the electrical and water - and we are set for the night, leaving the car attached.
Our second night was in Provo, UT.
Our "normal" practice, when traveling long distances, is on every third night, or so, we stay put for two nights.
This gives us a break.
So, for our third and fourth nights, we were in Dillon, MT. (above)

While in Dillon, we took some time to explore The local County historical museum.
Outsider the Chamber Office & Visitor's Center was this great bronze.
"Binding Contract"
Another one in town.
Commemorating Lewis (of Lewis & Clark) who passed thru' this way.
Back in the day, the Union Pacific RR Station was a hub of activity.
I know, only a "Bell (System) Head" would think this was special.

But "my company" made it.
Another sign and relic of the past.
This was the first jail in Montana.
An Edison Phonograph
An early pump organ - made in Brattleboro, VT
Right next door to Putney, VT, where Jean and I first met - Freshman in high school.

On 8/19 we were in Great Falls, Montana. As we approached from the south we
crossed over, several times, in the canyons, the Missouri River running clean. I guess the "Old Muddy" part will
be added later downstream. Great Falls is on the banks of the Missouri River as well.

On the 20th, we were in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, where we will turn east on Trans-Canada Hwy 1 toward New England.
Lethbridge is about an hour north of Montana and the US/Canada International border.

From there we moved on to Indian Head, Saskatchewan. Just about due north of where the Montana and North Dakota border
is in the US. a lot of wide open prairie with undulating soft rolling hills. A lot of cattle in evidence on the west in
Saskatchewan, but becoming very flat. Several small towns always with grain elevators the first thing you would see on the horizon.
Many grain storage bins, combines in action in the broad fields. We were interested as well, that they were
using the duel lane highway median and side right of ways to grow, cut and bail hay.

On the 9/22 we arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Winnipeg is just about due north of Omaha, NE)
We began to see English and French road signs just west of Winnipeg, and we suspect, we will see them from now on, as we travel east.

We have noticed all along that large advertising billboards have been absent for most of our Canadian travels.
 Made our views much more pleasant without them.

We spent two nights in the Winnipeg area. Had our first meal in a Montana's Cookhouse.
Great food, nice atmosphere. Only in Canada, none in Montana.

While in the Winnipeg area, we drove a few miles east to the village of Steinbach to visit the
Mennonite Heritage Village.
And, considering our Dutch heritage, I had to take a photo of their magnificent windmill (above)
and an early pump organ, just 'cause.

Shortly after leaving Winnipeg, the scenery changed from the plains, and prairies, to tall trees and lakes.
As we entered Ontario, the duel English/French roadside traffic warnings/instructions disappeared. Just English - nothing French.

Then we moved on to Thunder Bay, Ontario, also for two nights. (9/24 & 25). Thunder Bay is on the
shores of Lake Superior. Generally directly north of Eric & Diane's place in Illinois.

We have noticed now, as well, that the bi-lingual (English/French) road signs have returned.

While in Thunder Bay, we spent several hours visiting the Fort William Historical Park.
See below:


Imagine circa 1815 -  you are at Fort William on the shores of the Kaministiquia River just before it enters Lake Superior.
Here is where the Native people and the Traders came together - to barter (exchange), to sell, to package, and to ship the furs "outside"
all through the auspices of the North West Company (a competitor of the Hudson's Bay Company.) This was a very important link to Canada's fir trade.

In 1902 the Canadian Pacific Railroad demolished the last of the original Fort William to make way for their transshipping business
on the Kaministiquia River.

Historian's, in 1971 undertook extensive measurements of the original buildings, and the reconstruction began, recreating Fort William in Thunder Bay.
The various buildings house such facilities as: The Apothecary, canoe repair shop, ice house, kitchen & bakery, the powder magazine,
corn stores, and more. There were also various storehouses, gardens, and meeting rooms.

Follow thru' on our trip as we wander through the re-creation...

(Note this was not a "Fort" as we think of it, a protection from the Indians; but this was a settlement, a trading post/center for the exchange of goods.)

Within the Visitor's Center - entrance hall are some very impressive carvings - depicting life in the fur trading business of the early 1800's.
A canoe packed with provisions hangs from the Great Hall.
More of the carvings within the entrance hall.
The Ojibwa Tribe with their birch bark wigwams (above) and cook tent (below)
Pelts drying in the Ojibwa settlement just outside the fort.
One of the hand made canoe's - which (tourist) visitors may use, with a guide, during their visit..
On the wharf, goods are ready for the next boat to come along.
The trading was done by taking the goods to Montreal for sale.
These snowshoes may be circa 1800, but they are about the same as my father used to use in the 30's.
A balance scale for weighing the pelts.
Indoor storage, drying the pelts before sorting them by category, quality...
At the screw press, they pressed into standard sized packs, marked with the NW logo, year, and then scaled ...
Compressed bundles/bales shown here.
Beaver pelts, complete with a beaver felt top hat.
The North West Company Fort Williams manager lived in some luxury - complete
with his private "Chamber Pot" (center rear, in corner.)
A women's work is never done - "sweep well you wench"
The Great Hall had a fine dining Table for the North West Company Partners, clerks, guides and interpreters.
Common voyagers were never permitted in this building.
Within the Cook House, the bread is seen here rising ,,,
With delicious result.
In rooms like this, the summer residents of Wintering Partners stayed when they traveled back here
from their posts in the remote interior.
Getting ready for a celebration ... the North West Company; as the Fort ...
... prepares the cannons to fire ...
... as inhabitants say farewell ...
... to a brigade departing ...
... for another year of trade in the interior ...
Loading up the bound pelts...
... child labor?
Our tourist visitor children rush in to help load up the canoe.
Getting everything ready.
A celebration, complete with bag pipes to send them off in style.
Now loaded, off they go on the Kaministiquia River.
Lighting the fuse ... wait for it ...
The FLASH, and ....
As the smoke clears we can see our brigade heading out.

The numerous Historical Park guides, docents, did a great job of getting the tourist visitors
into the mood of the 1800's, and were very helpful in explaining, showing how the operation functioned.

See above; originally bitter competitors, the North West Company and the Hudson Bay Company
joined into one in 1821 by Government insistence.
As we drove along the north shore of Lake Superior, we were often greeted by great views of the "Big Lake"
all 31,700 square miles of it.
It is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, it is the
world's third-largest freshwater lake by volume
We stopped at the visitor center for town of Marathon - Shown above on the shore of Lake Superior...
... And learned several interesting facts about the area.
We noticed at Thunder Bay, large collections of wood chips - shown here as they begin the process into
Pulp - Think "Pulp Lines", Mark & Eric. (Remember the bales of Kraft paper that were dumped into
the mixing tank?)
This is the type of ski boot and ski & harness, that Jean and I used to use at Putney School, in Vermont.
A "First Nation" hand crafted canoe.

Right next Visitors Center, was the top of a ski lift.

Well, they still make telephones with a "Bell" name. The instrument made by Northern Electric, once
a business partner with Western Electric.

(An interesting link)

Next we move into Wawa, and spend two nights there.

"Wawa" ? -  Is Wild Goose in the Ojibway native tongue. There were many in the area at one time.
Prior to Kings Highway # 17 being completed in the area, the only access to Wawa
was by rail, boat or by bush plane.

In 1960, to commemorate the completion of the highway, the last link in the Trans Canada Highway,
the town decided to celebrate the town's namesake goose,
and to encourage visitors by erecting the Wawa Goose Monument, the largest of its kind in Canada.

The Wawa Goose.
Additional information about the lack of highway into Wawa.
Water was a bit low, but still a scenic spot along the Michipicoten River.
Again, a reference to the North West Company, which we visited a few days ago in while in Thunder Bay.
Another scenic spot in the Wawa area along the the Michipicoten River
On Sunday, August 28th, we pulled into an RV Park in Thessalon, Ontario, where our space on a large bay of Lake Huron
gave us a nice view of all that water.
Along many of Canada's highway's and roadways we often see artistically placed piles of rocks.
They are called INUKSHUK's. "The Inukshuk is one of the most famous ancient stone symbols found across Northern Canada.
They symbolize the safe passages, natural shelter and good hunting. Also, with the image of a human
 and their strength of presence, Inukshuk provides secure and comfort feeling to the lonely traveler."


For Monday & Tues (9/29 & 30) we were in the Parry Sound area, near Georgian Bay, again, off Lake Huron.
Georgian Bay has, reportedly, 30,000 islands.
So we plan to take a 3 hour cruise on Tuesday to see some of them.

On the docks we see this Aux. Coast Guard Boat.
And this retired C. G. Tender - now privately owned.
While waiting for dinner at the Bay Street Cafe, we noticed, that like many places, flowers hang wherever possible.
Our cruise to see some of the 30,000 islands will be on this 550 passenger Island Queen.
The Georgian Bay tourist "Air Force"
The "Still (on?) Watch"
The Coast Guard Station - compete with an Ice Breaker.
One of the homes on one of the 30,000 islands
Several of the channels are very narrow. (above & below) "The Hole in The Wall"
The on board GPS Navigation Display - showing where we are.
Is this one of the 30,000 islands? No! To be counted, it must have a land area of at least one acre.
Fun on the water... (above & below)
As we pass by Killbear Point, a portion of Killbear Provincial Park
Two types of sailing - boat & board
The large Parry Bay, opens into the larger Georgian Bay, which in turn opens into Lake Huron thru this maze of islands.
Comfortable living on Georgian Bay.
Another narrow channel.
Must be nice... (above & below)
Several Inukshuk's wishing us safe passage.
One way to get to & from your island home - by air.
Twist & turn's...
As we wind our way thru' the narrows - See chart below.
Ahh - we remember when we had one of these...
Drinking beer, and watching the tourists cruise by.
Heading between the buoys - "Red Right Return"
One way to roll your boat into the water - several large logs...
We enter Two Mile Narrows - above & below
Another Inukshuk along the shore wishing us safe passage.
The Bridge opens for us (above & below)
We pass thru' the Swing Bridge.
Returning to the Parry Sound Town Docks.
  On 8/31 - we rest for the night in Brighton, Ontario - on the shores of Lake Ontario.
This is the lake that feeds Niagara Falls.
  On Sept. 1st we landed in Mallorytown (Landing), Ontario for a bit of R & R. (Will depart on 9/5).

We are on the shores of the St. Lawrence Seaway, so plan to take a "3-Hour Dinner Cruise" to see
 what Ontario & New York State look like from the water level.

As we drove along Mallorytown Landing we looked out into the St. Lawrence Seaway ...
which divides Ontario (& of course Canada) with the US, and New York State.
The homes built on some of these 1,000 Islands seems to be a bit close to the water.
Here are two homes linked, two islands - same family?
We will probably see more of this when we take our Dinner Cruise on Saturday.

Largest settlement area of the township is the Village of Mallorytown, founded by United Empire Loyalist Nathanial Mallory.
He came ashore at Mallorytown Landing in 1784, and later moved inland in search of better farmland.

He was given a large tract of land, which was later divided in to the "Front" and "Back" of Young. We are in the front portion.
The back portion was renamed years ago.

Just a hop & a skip from our campground, we found this bit of history.
This village is the site of Canada's first glassworks factory, which began in 1839, and closed in 1840.
Only a few pieces of Mallorytown glass still exist, the most famous being the ‘Mallorytown Pitcher'
which is on display at the Royal Ontario Museum. Above is a reproduction of this piece which was on display at the
1850 era Mallory Coach House.
We boarded this boat for our 3-hour dinner cruise on Sat., Sept. 3rd.
As we were waiting to push off, a US Tour Boat cruised by us to take a look at all those
(It had a fake stern wheel by the way.)
As we left the Rockport, Ontario harbor, we passed by the first of many shore-side homes that we would see.
Inside, the crew was preparing our dinner, (which was very good, by the way). Above the starboard side.
The Port side. Note, we are not overly crowded, so had plenty of room to move about.
Another island home.
The US/Canadian Toll Bridge just south of Rockport. To the left is Canada, to the right is also Canada - an island ...
The island of Georgina, on which the bridge passes over on the way to the US ...
 The isle Georgina on the left, the US (New York State) on the right.
The St. Lawrence Seaway is a busy place. Here, what appears to be an Ore cargo freighter, passes by.
An island lighthouse - very similar in design to San Diego's historic Point Loma lighthouse.
As dusk approaches we pass by the Singer Castle. One of two famous castle "homes" in the area.
For details and history, follow this link.
  We also passed by, unfortunately after dark, so no photos were possible, the Boldt Castle.
For details on this castle, another relic of the early 1900's - Click here

  And so, on Monday, Sept. 5th, we leave Canada and head to our New Hampshire destination,
where we will base our operations/visits from for the next several weeks
As we entered the Province of Quebec, we found that the signs were all in French
ONLY. Pouring rain, wipers on ultra-high, trying to find our way thru the suburbs of Montréal, such
fun. Luckily our GPS Navigation system, Suzie-Q could apparently understand French, and was able
to give us clear English instructions.
Unfortunately Hurricane Irene left much damage in her trail, so there were several route
modifications necessary in order to reach the Danforth Bay RV Park.
There was several obvious road damages that we passed by.
that were evident.