11/6/17 - 22/6/17 25 °C
This Blog entry is too LONG, but the Trip is Worth It! We left Timmins on Sunday, June 11 and drove south on Hwy11 through Matheson, Kirkland Lake and New Liskeard then onto a secondary Hwy that skirted the eastern shoreline of Lake Temiskaming in Quebec. Lots of hard rock mining (silver and gold) and clay-belt farming in these areas. Quaint small towns with prominent Catholic churches dotted our way until we crossed the Ottawa River and re-entered Ontario north and east of North Bay. Hot day so we shut things down early and found a nice KOA in Sturgeon Falls. Much better bang for the buck than the local Ont. PP for sure. Had a TV in the social room so we watched Game 6 of the Cup Final.
Couldn’t find the Dionne Quints' Home in Callander south of North Bay so we drove west along the Magnetawan River (Voyageur's route), to Parry Sound and one of Hockey’s Holiest Shrines, the Bobby Orr Museum. Larry took shots on a fake Tony Esposito (106km/hr by the way), and bought a #4 fridge sticker. Larry recalled seeing Bobby play his first game against the Leafs in The Gardens. "Fourever #4!"
Skirted around Georgian Bay through Stayner, Collingwood, Thornbury to Owen Sound. Stopped in Southampton to view the very blue waters of LakeHuron (think sediment refraction) and South's famous beach. Drove the back road to Port Elgin then south on the Bluewater Highway to Point Farms PP just north of Goodrich. It's the site of one of the last century's glorious beach resorts. (think Chateau Lake Louise without the Rockies)
The next day we wandered the shops in downtown Goderich (nailed by a monster tornado a couple of years ago) and quaint Bayfield (Inns, Pubs and HUGE Maples). Goodrich boasts a SIFTO salt mine and port. Salt is mined from beneath this second largest, freshwater Great Lake. Plenty of grain, corn, beef and dairy cattle, sheep and pig farms in these parts. Century barns dating from before Confederation too. Backroads in SW Ontario (County Roads), are better than most other provinces’ highways and connect quaint towns and villages (e.g. Brussels, Palmerston, Blythe, etc) that all boast at least one functioning church and often, a converted, one-room, brick school house still wearing its bell. Some 'Old Order' Mennonite families bustling about in their horse-drawn buggies too. We watched the sun drown in the Lake while sipping Pelee Island red wine.
Early start to the day took us SE to Stratford to walk the parks, see swans, and star gaze (for Christopher Plummer; Kathy bumped into him on Ontario St. there once, CBC's Pete Mansbridge or The Beeb) and enjoy HMS Pinafore at the Avon Theatre (pronounced with short a). Wonderful production and cheap seats in the second balcony. Larry thought they were ‘worth every penny.’ Dins in town then back-roaded through Listowel (where Larry was born), to Palmerston (another bit of Larry history), then home. Capped the night talking ‘wetlands and owls' with Gary and Anita from Chepstow near Walkerton. Gary is a Ducks Unlimited birder who regularly gumboots through one of the largest bogs in Ontario (out his back door) with his binocs and camera. Found lots in common with these two adventurers.
Headed south through London to Port Burwell on Lake Erie's north shore where we met up with our Woodstock/Rocky Mountain-Mosquito Creek friends Jules and Suzette. We were greeted by a male Cardinal dressed in his red suit. Before slurping on ice cream cones from the local Parlour (still warm waffle cones), we walked out onto the breakwater to watch fishermen motor up with their catch. Burwell boasts a submarine; a decommissioned 1968 HMS sub that spied on Cold War ships; it now traps tourists in its hold. We resisted!
The next day, Jules and Suzette drove us to Port Stanley to watch fishing tugs unload their white perch (on ice). Fishing on Erie is a multi-million $ industry; it's the most profilic fishery on the Great Lakes due to its fishing basins (or holes) and proximity to the hungry, fish-loving, Toronto market. Drove to Rush Creek Vineyard to sip on fruit wines and watch the sky for forecasted tornadoes.
Stinky socks forced us to the laundry then to Long Point PP to see snakes, turtles, geese and big sand dunes. There really are turtle crossings! Like bear jams in the Rockies, we got stopped by a turtle jam. On our way way back to Port Burwell, we discovered a United Empire Loyalist cemetery dating back to the early 1800s. Eight soldiers killed during the War of 1812 rest there. More ice Cream treats at the Port Burwell Parlour capped off the day. Kathy dripped maple walnut on her clean Tee.
Early on June 19, we waved so-long to our friends then scooted along Erie’s Waterfront Trail to Port Colborne, Crystal Beach, Selkirk, Dunnville and eventually to Rock Point PP. NICE SPOT! Lots of fossils in the semi exposed ancient coral reef. After parking the Yellow Trailer, we headed to Fort Erie (the back way) across the Welland Canal (saw a huge ship scraping the canal walls as it slowly moved through under a raised bridge), then along the Niagara Parkway following the frothy Niagara River to The Falls (way too many tourists), to Laura Secord’s homestead. No Secord chocolates though; guess she forgot to bring the Holstein cow home after warning the Brits. Popped into Greaves Jams and Marmalades in Niagara-on-the-Lake before heading back another rural route to Rock Point. Thank you GPS lady. The crowds made the day feel a little Banff-like on a May long weekend. NASTY!
Somehow we safely navigated the craziness of the Golden Horseshoe Highways around St. Catharines, Hamilton, Burlington, TORONTO and Oshawa. The Yellow Trailer never travelled so fast! Drove past 31 Beaufield in Leaside where Larry played ball hockey, shot hoops, played Lone Ranger and Superman, and learned to lift the toilet seat. How come the Maple tree in the front yard looks so much bigger? Jockeying our way down the twelve lanes of Hwy 401, we eventually reached the Kawartha Highlands and Emily PP (home of Spike the Snapping Turtle), near Peterborough. We found our chosen site flooded; too much rain the past month, so we chose something higher and drier. The Park is named after Governor Simcoe’s daughter (not our Emily but we choose to think so!)
The Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough is Spectacular! Bill Mason and former PM P.E.T. would be proud. In fact, their canoes and buckskin jackets are on display along with canoes, kayaks, skiffs, paddles etc. of all ages, sizes and makes. Took scads of pics and Kath had to 'pry and paddle' Larry away, and that’s no 'yoke'. Saw Peterborough’s highest and oldest hydraulic lift lock. Only four of these were built in the world and this is the highest of them all. The Yellow found its resting spot amongst 'The Sugar Bush' of Silver Lake PP not far from Perth. Beer and DEET for supper!
Lovely June 22 sunshine welcomed us to Perth, Ont., one of Canada's prettiest towns, about an hour’s drive east of Ottawa. Kath and her family lived in Perth for six years when she was an elementary schooler. The town boasts century-plus, old stone buildings, towering maples, chestnuts and oaks, and water flowing along the Tay River Canal, part of the famed Rideau Canal system. Took some pics of her old (but stunning) stone house and popped into St. Paul’s UC where Kath’s Dad served as Minister. Spotted a mid-60s pic of him in the church office. Young and Forceful are words that describe him in the Church's Chronicles. After cruising the downtown core, we set our bearings for Ottawa to set Kathy and her four sisters up in their 5-star Hilton in Gatineau in prep for their Thursday date at Rideau Hall with the Governor General to proudly accept the Meritorious Service Medal on behalf of their Dad, Dr. Bruce Vanstone who co-founded the Calgary Urban Project Society, a health and service facility for at-risk and disadvantaged people. Larry retreated to Wesley Clover Campground about 30 minutes SW of The Hill to swat gnats, eat beans and preview the new, great photos that he just posted in our public gallery.