Hello Again :-)

Have you wondered were we are? Well definitely not were we expected to be! Our journey has come full circle and we are back home in our daughter’s driveway.

Last we left you we had visited Niagara-on-the-Lake and where heading out to see Niagara Falls the next day. We were all set to do that, I was drying the last of the dishes and hubby was out talking to our neighbours, when I had the most intense stomach pain. Several hours later I couldn’t stand it anymore and hubby took to me Emergency. Two days later our daughter and my sister had flown out and the next day the three of us flew home. Our two sons flew out to Toronto that day and spent the next four, very long days, driving home with hubby.

The only real look I had of the falls. Hubby had the chance to visit them a few more times when he took our daughter and my sister and again the next night when he took our two sons. We will just have to visit them again so that I can have a chance to photograph them :-)

The only real look I had of the falls. Hubby had the chance to visit them a few more times when he took our daughter and my sister and again the next night when he took our two sons. We will just have to visit them again so that I can have a chance to photograph them 🙂

So now we are back home with family and friends and our life is taking a different turn, how different we really don’t know right now, but all that matters is we have people who love us and are here to support us. Our hopes are that Maxx Trails will continue and we are keeping our thoughts positive in that direction.

And in case you have ever wondered … We had absolutely no problem with getting care out of our home province of British Columbia. Hubby was informed by the hospital in Niagara Falls that the province of Ontario would bill the province of British Columbia for my medical treatment and all they needed was my BC Health Care Number 🙂

The Wawa Goose. Apparently it was a real faux-pas that the goose didn’t make the blog during our trip through Wawa so hubby made sure to get a picture when they drove through Wawa on their return trip :-)

The Wawa Goose. Apparently it was a real faux-pas that the goose didn’t make the blog during our trip through Wawa so hubby made sure to get a picture when they drove through Wawa on their return trip 🙂

Until next time …

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Niagara-on-the-Lake

Up until 4:30 yesterday afternoon my plan for today’s blog was to write about the Welland Canal, which connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. We spent most of yesterday wandering through the museum and visitor center at Lock 3 on the canal and watching the White Fish Bay traverse through the lock.

However after our time at the lock we drove into Niagara-on-the-Lake and I knew that I had to write about that beautiful city instead of another lock 🙂

Driving into the historic district.

Driving into the historic district.

The town looks and feels like a 19th century village and I would love to live there, or at the very least visit it in December with the snow falling and all the Christmas decorations out. I can picture carolers on the street and people doing their Christmas shopping or stopping on the corner for a little neighbourly conversation.

Niagara-on-the-Lake was the first capital of Upper Canada, now known as Ontario, from 1792 to 1796. During the War of 1812, the capitol was moved to York, which was later renamed Toronto, so that it would be farther from the areas of combat.

The town was destroyed in the War of 1812 but the townspeople rebuilt it mainly in British classical architecture. Starting in the 1950’s residents began restoring old structures and many of the buildings remain on their original lots, close to the street.

We enjoyed dinner at one of the many restaurants and then spent some time wandering the main street.

2016-08-31 -016- Niagara On The Lake 2016-08-31 -017- Niagara On The Lake

2016-08-31 -018- Niagara On The Lake

It just seems natural that there would be horse and buggies on the side of the street!

Most of the buildings are from the late 1800’s and have been beautifully restored and maintained.
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And of course, since it’s Niagara-on-the-Lake, I had to take some lake pictures 🙂

Lake Ontario, even though it looks like an ocean!

Lake Ontario, even though it looks like an ocean!

Toronto in the distance.

Toronto in the distance.

2016-08-31 -027- Niagara On The LakeUntil next time …

Navigating Around Toronto!!!

Hubby and I have no problem driving around Vancouver and the lower mainland of British Columbia, and Vancouver is Canada’s second largest city, so we expected Toronto to be a little more of a challenge but we weren’t to worried. Well Toronto and area are much more congested than Vancouver and area! It was a bit of a challenge getting around the city out towards Niagara Falls but other than one wrong turn right at the beginning, and that turned out to work in our favour as we bypassed the stalled traffic at the exit we should have turned onto, we made it through with no problems. Holly did her job but it took both of us to make it work, hubby watching the traffic and me watching Holly and calling out lanes to move into and exits to take. I have no idea how one person in a vehicle can drive and watch their nav system!

We arrived safely in Niagara Falls, got set up at the RV Park, had lunch, and then headed out to do our grocery shopping. Once that was done we headed back to get the laundry done but we did take a quick drive by the falls … because we were both just so excited to see the falls and we just couldn’t wait 🙂

Just a taste of what’s to come ☺

Just a taste of what’s to come ☺

A quick look at the falls on the US side, the ones on the Canadian side a far more impressive!

A quick look at the falls on the US side, the ones on the Canadian side a far more impressive!

 

Any thought we had of parking and taking a closer look was quickly tossed away when we saw that parking costs $22.00! We are here until Friday so as long as the weather holds today we will take the bus down to the falls and spend the day doing touristy things. Expect tomorrows blog to be full of pictures of the falls 🙂

Until next time …

We Are Beyond Superior :-)

Well maybe we, personally, are not but that’s what both hubby and I said to each other as we left Sault St. Marie yesterday, with Lake Superior in our rear view mirror, and followed the shores of Lake Huron.

2016-08-29 -003- Lake Huron

We passed many of these signs …

Sorry for the blurry pic, I took it fast as hubby was sailing down the road!

Sorry for the blurry pic, I took it fast as hubby was sailing down the road!

We did see a horse and buggy but I wasn’t able to get a picture.

There’s not much to tell you about yesterday’s drive. We did stop at a picnic area along the Serpent River and shortly after a vehicle, from British Columbia that we had passed earlier in the day, pulled in. We had a good chat and the topic of fuel costs came up. They are driving a small Volkswagen and have spent $190.00 in fuel so far, and they left from the west coast like us. We have spent $1,400 so far, although we all agreed that travelling with our own washroom is almost worth the extra cost 🙂

There was a sign in the picnic area recommending a visit to the waterfall on the Serpent River so we checked it out … hmm I wouldn’t call that a waterfall!

2016-08-29 -002- Serpentine River Waterfall

The highlight of our day though came in the form of a little justice. An idiot driver made a risky move to pass us and once past us we watch him make the same risky moves to pass other vehicles. Justice came when he was pulled over by the Ontario police … in a construction zone … big fine for him 🙂

Until next time …

Sault St. Marie, Michigan

In order to see how large ships complete their travels through the Great Lakes into Lake Superior we had to cross over into the United States and visit Sault St. Marie, Michigan. So armed with our passports we headed off for Sault St. Marie, Michigan … well one of us was armed with our passport 😦  It wasn’t until we were on the International Bridge, with no way to turn around, that we realized hubby’s passport wasn’t in the passport folder. We arrived at US customs and hubby handed over my passport and his driver’s license and explained that it turned out we didn’t have his passport with us. Now this could have been a very unpleasant experience but we were blessed with the funniest border agent we have ever come across! Here is how the conversation went:

Border Agent – Well I guess I’m going to have to ask you some questions. When did you last cross the border?

Hubby – Last July. I’m telling hubby it was June but he is not paying attention to me.

Border Agent – Did you cross at Orville?

Hubby – Yes and we crossed in June. Now he is listening to me 🙂

Border Agent – What day in June, bet you don’t know that? He says with a big smile.

Hubby – My wife will know. That’s a smart man!

Border Agent – Well I know the date but let’s see if you are right.

Me – June 22nd, after looking at the calendar in my phone.

Border Agent – What time of the day?

Me – shrugging my shoulders (seriously I don’t remember) … In the morning?

Border Agent – Nope, 4:22 in the afternoon. I always suspected they had this information in their computers but now I know for sure.

Then some conversation ensued about what we were doing in the morning, and that brought on a few laughs.

Border Agent – What hospital were you born in? Now he’s just having fun with hubby.

Hubby – St. Paul’s in Vancouver.

Border Agent – What room where you in?

Hubby – Uhmm … the maternity ward?

Border Agent – They had maternity wards way back then? Wait a minute, he wasn’t a whole lot younger that us! Now hubby and him are onto a conversation about the difference in medical systems.

After that it was just a bunch of laughs and then he finally asked were we where going. After telling him we were going to visit the Soo locks he proceeded to give us directions, tell us the best place to park and where the observation tower was. He also told us where to find the museum and a few other places. We were having a grand old time but I did feel sorry for all the people behind us! Finally the laughs were over and we were on our way, not a single one of the customary questions. Definitely a crossing for our memory book!

Just after clearing customs we went through another booth, this one was a tollbooth where they collected $3.50 USD for crossing the bridge. Then it was a quick drive down to the waterfront where we spent $1.50 to park on the street for three hours.

Across the street was the Soo Locks Visitor Information booth and an observation platform to view the locks.

2016-08-28 -001- Sault St. Marie, MI

We were fortunate to arrive just as the bulk carrier Federal Seto was approaching the locks from the St. Marys River.  (And just in case you are thinking St. Marys should have an apostrophe I double checked on the internet and no it doesn’t have one. :-))

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The Federal Seto was built in 2004 and flies under the flag of the Marshal Islands. She is 200m in length and has a gross tonnage of 20,661. She travelled through the Poe lock which was built in 1968, is 1200 feet in length, 110 feet wide, and 32 feet deep.

As we watched the Federal Seto enter the Poe lock a Coast Guard ship was in the MacArthur lock right in front of the viewing platform.

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The water level is going down.

It was interesting to watch the water go down for the Coast Guard vessel while the cargo ship was entering the other lock where the water was already down.

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The gates at the Lake Superior end of the MacArthur lock. This was taken while water was draining to allow the Coast Guard vessel to enter the St. Marys River.

The gates at the Lake Superior end of the MacArthur lock. This was taken while water was draining to allow the Coast Guard vessel to enter the St. Marys River.

People on the viewing platform had fun waving at the sailors on the ship, and they enthusiastically waved backed. I also had a laugh at one of the sailors taking a selfie 🙂

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It really didn’t take long for the lock to fill up.

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We didn’t realize there was a pleasure boat in front of the bulk carrier until the water level rose.

We didn’t realize there was a pleasure boat in front of the bulk carrier until the water level rose.

And then the Federal Seto was sailing off into Lake Superior.

2016-08-28 -012- Sault St. Marie, MIWe were pretty happy to have the opportunity to see a large ship go through the locks and even happier when we found out another ship was scheduled to go through the MacArthur lock a few hours later. Since the MacArthur lock is the lock right in front of the viewing platform we decided to have lunch and then return to watch the event. The MacArthur lock was constructed in 1943, is 800 feet in length, 80 feet wide, and 31 feet deep.

The Michipicoten was built in 1952 and flies under the Canadian flag. She is 208m in length and has a gross tonnage of 15,366. She is a self discharging bulk carrier and sat much lower in the lock upon entry than the Federal Seto.

Waiting for the locks to fill. If you look at the front of the ship you can see the lock doors.

Waiting for the locks to fill. If you look at the front of the ship you can see the lock doors.

Looking back toward the St. Marys River where the ship entered the lock.

Looking back toward the St. Marys River where the ship entered the lock.

2016-08-28 -015- Sault St. Marie, MI 2016-08-28 -016- Sault St. Marie, MI 2016-08-28 -018- Sault St. Marie, MISailing off into Lake Superior.

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As we entered the bridge to return to Canada we again had to pay $3.50 USD. I thought it was strange that only the American’s collect a toll when both countries maintain the bridge.

We have really enjoyed our time in both Sault St. Marie’s. And in case you are wondering, other than a question about why he didn’t have a passport, hubby had no problems at the Canadian border.

Until next time …

Sault St. Marie, Ontario

Recently I read a blog that I follow and they mentioned that they had stayed at an RV Park in Sault St. Marie that we had planned on staying at, further into the blog they made the comment that they didn’t go into Canada on that trip. I was very confused, how could they stay in Sault St. Marie if they didn’t go into Canada? When I looked at the address of the RV Park I had chosen I realized it was in Michigan, up until that point I had no idea there was a Sault St. Marie in both Canada and the US!

Until 1812 these two communities were one city. A treaty after the war established the border between Canada and the United States right down the middle of the St. Mary’s River. The International Bridge now joins the two cities and today we will drive over it to visit the shipping locks, which are located on the US side of the river.

2016-08-27 -002- St. Mary River - Canada US Bridge

Sault St. Marie, Michigan has a population of 14,000 while Sault St. Marie, Ontario has a population of 75,000.

Yesterday it was pouring rain but it didn’t dampen our desire to visit the waterfront and see the Canadian locks. Our adventures started off at a park along the St. Mary River were we could see a ship entering the locks on the US side.

2016-08-27 -001- St. Mary River

We then headed to the lock on the Canadian side. The Sault St. Marie Canal was completed in 1895 and provided the final link on the Canadian side from the St. Lawrence River to Lake Superior. The canal was designed and built by Canadians and was in use until 1987 when a lock wall failed. In 1998 a new modern lock was built within the old lock and it is now used for recreational boats. We were fortunate to see the lock in use when three sea-doo’s entered from the St. Mary River to pass through to Lake Superior.

Entering the lock

Entering the lock

It takes twelve minutes for the lock to fill up to the level of Lake Superior and I was surprised to find out there is no charge to use the lock. They will fill and lower the lock as many times as needed between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

The lock filling up. The sea-doo’s are attached, with ropes, to cables on the side of the lock. They moved their ropes up as the water level rises.

The lock filling up. The sea-doo’s are attached, with ropes, to cables on the side of the lock. They moved their ropes up as the water level rises.

Leaving the lock.

Leaving the lock.

After watching the lock fill up we took a walk, in the rain, around Whitefish Island.

2016-08-27 -009- Whitefish Island Sault St. Marie, ON

I think this is a picnic cabin but it was too wet to walk through the grass to check it out.

I think this is a picnic cabin but it was too wet to walk through the grass to check it out.

We could see the top of a ship moving through the locks on the US side.

We could see the top of a ship moving through the locks on the US side.  The locks were built to bypass the rapids in this picture.

The ducks were excited to see us and came swimming up as soon as we arrived. I think they were expecting food but they were disappointed since we had nothing to give them.

The ducks were excited to see us and came swimming up as soon as we arrived. I think they were expecting food but they were disappointed since we had nothing to give them.

We only walked 1.5 km because the rain just wouldn’t let up but there is also an additional 2.2 km walk you can do around the entire island. As we were leaving the park we passed by the old Engineers Residence, which sits, beside the locks.

2016-08-27 -015- Engineers Residence, Sault St. Marie, ON

Until next time …

Wow, Lake Superior Is Superior!

We had such an enjoyable drive today with most of it along the shores of Lake Superior. A good portion of Highway 17, which is also the Trans Canada Highway, reminded us of Highway 97 in the Caribou region of British Columbia.

2016-08-26 -003- Hwy 17 - Trans Canada, Ontario

There were several pullouts with views of Lake Superior.

2016-08-26 -001- Lake Superior, Ontario

I couldn’t decide which picture to use so I posted both of them :-)

I couldn’t decide which picture to use so I posted both of them 🙂

Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes and is shared by Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. It has a surface area of 82,103 km, 31,700 sq. miles and is considered the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. The lake has a maximum depth of 406 m, 1,333 ft., it is 563 km, 350 miles, in length and 257 km, 160 miles, in width. Lake Superior has over 400 islands with the largest being 207 square miles and it contains as much water as all the other Great Lakes combined! I could quote many more facts but I’m sure you get the idea about how impressive … or superior … it is 🙂

We stopped at Pebble Beach in Marathon, Ontario for lunch … how is this for lunch with a view!

2016-08-26 -004- Pebble Beach, Marathon, Ontario

For almost an hour we ate lunch and walked along the beach listening to the waves crash in. I really felt like we were at the ocean and I kept expecting a cruise ship to pass by!

2016-08-26 -005- Pebble Beach, Marathon, Ontario

I will leave you with this very creative positioning of solar panels!

First United Church in Wawa, Ontario

First United Church in Wawa, Ontario

Until next time …