Wednesday 9 October 2019


Sadly our trip has essentially come to an end and even sadder has sunk to this...
Northern Ontario is very pretty this time of year, especially in the sunshine (it figures - it's our last day) and early in the morning (not early enough). The reflections in the many lakes along the highway are gorgeous. The wind was starting to pick up by now so I was a little late on this. Worth the effort anyway.
A fond farewell indeed. Once you pass North Bay heading south on Highway 11 the scenery just folds into the rocks and the road, more and more trucks appear and the traffic builds - all in preparation for the insanity that is the waiting Toronto.
It has been a wonderful trip and I will most certainly chronicle it in yet another book. Thanks for tagging along - I hope you all enjoyed the ride.

Tuesday 8 October 2019


At 14 degrees and sunny it was finally a gorgeous day! The Devils Rock Trail south of Cobalt is a very rough three and a half kilometres over huge rocks, roots, mud and fallen leaves and trees - very slippery but somehow we made it unscathed.
They do warn you with a sign when you are approaching the cliffs of Devils Rock.
The cliffs are one of those spots that you see and wonder how they let people go there - no fences or barriers of any kind. Nothing at all between you and disaster. Gavin and Adam, remember Delicate Arch in Utah? Very pretty sight though. The lighting was not great late in the morning but very nice indeed.
Cobalt is an old silver mining town. Not much mining happening these days but there is certainly plenty of evidence of years gone by. We spent some time in the museum then wandered around the town in the afternoon.

Monday 7 October 2019


We've been on the go for 34 days now and I'm pretty sure we've had rain for 30 of them. As terrible as that sounds - it's not. We have seen and done everything we wanted to and had a great time. We are now in New Liskeard and it is supposed to be a sunny day tomorrow. If that prophecy comes true we will stay here tomorrow as well. It is very close to Cobalt, an old silver mining town, once again brought to the limelight by Jonny Harris on his Still Standing show a couple of years ago. When all is said and done it was a very pretty drive today - even in the rain.

Sunday 6 October 2019


You may recall I have mentioned on occasion it felt like we passed through a time warp into another dimension. In the town of Moonbeam, ON...well you be the judge.
The road into Cochrane was beautiful - again some sun would have helped.
Cochrane is sort of the gateway to Canada's north. Polar bears are a big deal here - there are none here. Never have been but they supposedly COULD live here - as long as they only chose winter.
There is a polar bear habitat here but if you want to actually see them or take photos of them it is far less than ideal. Two levels of chain link fencing make photography impossible. I can think of several alternative suggestions that maintain protection for the bears - but they didn't ask me.

Saturday 5 October 2019


Another driving day - we are definitely on our way home. We are taking the northern route to get there. Hwy 17 through Sault Ste Marie is the route we took out. Hwy 11 runs north of the lake through Hearst and Cochrane. At the point where the highway splits (at Nipigon) is this wonderful Jesuit Mission established in 1852.
North of Nipigon the highway winds through a spectacular canyon resplendent with fall colour. Just imagine how beautiful this would have been in the sunshine. Unfortunately the heavy overcast and rain has returned. I'm afraid this will go down as one of our worst weather trips ever.
We will continue to make the best of things as we head further east tomorrow.

Friday 4 October 2019


We woke up this morning to clear blue skies and SUN! It was only three degrees but after three weeks of rain and snow we were ecstatic. So much so that we stayed an extra day in Thunder Bay. The Mills Block Forest looked interesting for a hike so we headed there. The trail passes through some serious wetlands which looked pretty nice in the morning sunshine.
It didn't take long until I was up to my knee in the swamp. Those logs they placed over the water that flooded the path are damned slippery. Look ma - a soaker.
There was a loop trail branching off the main path. It meandered through the woods. Just because today was nice and sunny that did not undo the damage inflicted by three weeks of rain and snow. Nothing like wet leaves on a boggy mess of mud covered with huge rocks and numerous roots.
By noon it was seven degrees so we decided to have a picnic in the park. I'm sure our sons have mixed emotions and memories of road trip lunches. None of this McDonald's stuff - a dry as sand sandwich and a stolen apple from breakfast makes for a perfect mid-day repast. One of many beautiful city parks has a fountain originally found in England in 1790. Hard not to enjoy this after the weather we've been having.
Adjacent to the park was a building I found quite captivating. It is the Law School of Lakehead University. The kids coming out of there are going to save the world. We can hope can't we?
A quick visit to Centennial Park concluded our day. Hope this weather carries over to tomorrow. We're on the road again.

Thursday 3 October 2019


It was another miserable driving day. Rained all day - actually it snowed more than it rained. But that doesn't stand in our way. We left Kenora as fast as we could (not the best town in northern Ontario) and found a delightful coffee house in Vermillion Bay. It would rival anything in downtown Toronto for atmosphere and awesome coffee.
Luckily I enjoy driving in the snow. The roads were in good shape but we are obviously back in Ontario. Lots of trucks (when there was any traffic). Take a lesson from Saskatchewan - use the trains.
By the time we got to Thunder Bay the snow and rain had let up a little and the sun actually came out. At least we are somewhere nice (Hampton Inn) after two dodgy nights in a Super 8 and a Days Inn (both original vintages). Happy to relax again!

Wednesday 2 October 2019


It was a driving day today - just as well because it was cloudy and rainy again. It's interesting to see how the provinces differ. There's far more trees in Manitoba than Saskatchewan.
We are now back in Ontario, Kenora to be precise. I found the welcome sign with nothing to say far better than the offering of "Open for Business" presented by our imbecile Premier. Neither hold a candle to the previous "Yours to Discover".
Just before we crossed the border we attempted a hike at the ranch we stayed at a few weeks ago. It was too wet then so we wanted to give it a try now. Unfortunately, shortly after this photo was taken the trail and everything around it was totally submerged. That's what 3 weeks of straight rain will do.

Tuesday 1 October 2019


With more than a little sadness we left Saskatchewan and entered Manitoba just before noon. Not that there is anything wrong with Manitoba it's just that we had a wonderful time in Saskatchewan. Weather has not been kind to us nor have freaky problems with the "new" SUV - but Manitoba awaits.
I've seen my name on streets and houses in my travels but never a whole municipality. Cool!
On our journey today we took a 50 kilometre detour to see the longest suspension bridge in Canada located in Souris, MB. Why? Because it was there and we were not too far away I suppose. Gavin and Adam will tell you we would never pass up such a thing. It was billed as a swinging bridge. It didn't swing so much as bounce - and yes, I did make it bounce as much as I could.
We are in Brandon, MB because we wanted to see the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum. Well worth a visit if you're ever in the area. Their hangar display is pretty amazing.
We're hoping for a decent day somewhere along our path to home. Today was snow, rain and about 5 degrees. Sounds bad but I prefer that to the 36 I hear southern Ontario is experiencing.

Monday 30 September 2019


I'm feeling much better so we're on the road again. Driving was pretty dicey between Assiniboia and Regina. There's not a lot of snow but the roads are icy. Looks nice but...just outside Regina we passed no less than a dozen vehicles off the road into the median. Some were still there, some had been removed but all left telltale tracks in the snow. As you can see I only clean what is absolutely necessary from the vehicle.
As the morning warmed up a couple of degrees I paid for that as huge amounts of snow blew against the windshield and cascaded down from the roof. Finally Karen had had enough and cleared it herself.
We're staying in Moosomin, a small town about 20 kilometres from the Manitoba border. That's one more thing I love about road trips - discovering places you never knew existed. As we approached the town, sure enough, a moose ran alongside the Subaru for about 5 minutes.
I'm always happy to arrive at our "home" for the night. It's a refreshing new adventure every day.

Sunday 29 September 2019


Just a short posting today. By the time we were set to leave I felt absolutely horrible. After trying all the things that should have worked we decided to go to the hospital because it's a small one and we knew we wouldn't have to wait around. We were the only ones there so were seen right away. Bottom line, they flushed me out and sent me on my way. It was close to 2PM so we decided to stay here an extra night.
It's just as well. This is the first day we haven't either driven or toured somewhere so I guess the rest is good for us. The weather was also very bad for driving. We are just on the edge of the horrific prairie storms. Today it went from this... this.
Better luck tomorrow.

Saturday 28 September 2019


It was punishing cold today. Temperature around 1 degree but a wind so cold it brought that down to minus 15. It's only been fall for a week!
Castle Butte is in the Saskatchewan Badlands. Many say it is difficult to find and if you didn't know what you were looking for that would be true. It's on a private ranch but you have to ignore all those warnings and forge onward.
What it is didn't concern me as much as the fact that it was here at all. I must say the Saskatchewan landscape has been the biggest surprise to me. It sure isn't all flat fields of wheat folks.
I felt like I was circling Canada's answer to Devils Tower as we made our way around to the back side. As I recall we darn near froze when we were at the Tower with the kids in the early nineties.
This side is riddled with little caves. We entered one as far as we could which was not far at all. We had no idea what to expect but nothing came charging out at us so we were good.
St. Victor has petroglyphs which we saw but were unable to take full advantage due to the weather. As if it wasn't cold enough the glyphs were high up on a butte ridge. The wind actually shook the car.
GPS is a marvelous invention and can be very useful. However, there are areas that are not mapped and they become quite useless evidenced by this view as we left the petroglyphs in St. Victor.
Well my beloved Subaru can no longer be referred to as new. We took a stone hit when we got off the gravel road onto a PAVED road. Not just a little stone chip - this is an eight inch crack with a bullet hole in the middle. Hope the windshield lasts until we get home. It will need to be replaced.

Friday 27 September 2019


We had a wonderful time in Grasslands National Park so it was with some sadness we left this morning. It was a relatively short drive north through rolling hills in the rain...
...being watched all the way.
We stopped to see the Plesiosaur in Ponteix. Will the Subaru be eaten or will it survive to see another day?
We are now in Assiniboia for two nights. A nice hotel in a small Saskatchewan town. Stay with us.

Thursday 26 September 2019


I have a real thing about signs and notices. I find they are totally inadequate if not entirely missing or provide useless information. Here's an example...this is on a flyer aid in our room, something that anyone over four years old would know - but funny.
I guess I can't take any rattlesnakes or bison home with me.
West and East Grasslands National Park are separated by 150 kilometres of land that is not part of either park. That made for a long day. It rained all day (until we returned of course) but was a good drive. One wrong turn took us past an access road. Enroute we came across a herd of pronghorn antelope. That's why I didn't make the turn - that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
The Badlands Parkway is a one lane road with two way traffic. Probably a nightmare in July and August - not a problem today. We didn't see anyone travelling in either direction.
The Badlands are unquestionably what distinguishes East Grasslands from West. Even in the pouring rain it was a bit of an awesome sight. This is Saskatchewan?
On our return journey something darted across the highway. I quickly backed up (no one on the road) because I never turn down the opportunity to see the local wildlife. Sure enough, there he was, as if he was waiting for me. Wyl ie sat watching us the roadrunner got away.