Sunday, July 29, 2018

Our First International Travels

July 23-28, 2018
Neys - WaWa, Ontario, Canada

Even when you've taken every precaution to make sure your border crossing will be flawless, it's still nerve-raking! Just like in the Jeep, our crossing into Canada in the motorhome goes smoothly. Still, I breathe more easily once we're done.

Minnesota's Hwy 61 becomes Ontario's Hwy 17. MPH become KM/H. Road signs are different, but clear. Our GPS immediately knows we're in Canada and makes "following the rules" easy. The road is a pleasure to drive at 90 KM/H (just over 55 MPH) with more than enough passing lanes, but only one rest stop.

Our 200 mile drive is very pretty. Some of it we drove the day before in the Jeep, all of it is trees and glimpses of water on both sides. 

The entrance road into Neys Provincial Park is horrible - narrow, winding, potholes - it's a mess. We're in Area 2 (Area 1 is pull-throughs for larger rigs) that should have a warning for RVs but doesn't. While a long trailer would be fine, our taller RV hits numerous overhead branches on top and on the sides. Backing into #79 I have to "snug up" to a pine to get turned tight enough. Once straight, we do have plenty of room lengthwise, but if we didn't have a pair of lopers on board we wouldn't have been able to put out all the slides. 

We get "almost" level and plug in to 30 amp. No water or sewer hookups.

After all that we're amazed when our satellite connects quickly!!

I didn't set up temporary WiFi or cell for our few days in Canada so we're cut off while at this park. It's a very weird feeling.

Tuesday we head into the little (very) town of Marathon, Ontario, in search of Internet so I can download a couple books. The cute little Happy Cafe serves a decent breakfast, and let's us use their WiFi. We're able to check email and messages, but no love on the books :-(  

We drive around a bit and then drive all the way back to Terrace Bay looking for a grocery store. They have a small one but they can't take credit cards today so we'll make due with what we have. 

Fortunately we find water access and walk along the pretty beach for a bit before returning home. 

I was interested to see signs in Marathon for a curling club. Sadly, just the paint was curling at this closed building.

Our only wildlife in Canada - this mama and baby. Grouse? Guinea Fowl? Ruffed Grouse - thanks Diana B!

Following signs to the site of a historic trading post takes us here. I forgot the lesson about "ruins vs site". 

Lots of Fire Weed. Here it dresses up an abandoned house.

Yep, has to be a foreign country.

Tiny falls at Terrace Bay.

In certain places you really have to remind yourself it's a lake.

Has to be the most uniform surf I've ever seen!

A gaggle of locals has made it home.

So clear!
When we were in Grand Portage the mosquitos had their way with me. There are some here as well so I'm not loving being outside. There's not a lot to see or do here unless you hike (we don't), so Wednesday we stay home and clean house. Bill scrubs the windshield clean of bugs. Naps are taken.

Given our activities of the previous day it's not surprising that we wake to rain. It stays with us all the way to our next stop on Hwy 17 - WaWa, Ontario. The rain is only heavy in a few places, and with few other vehicles on the road, it's a nice 130 mile drive to WaWa RV Resort.

After our last stop, the handful of potholes on the entrance road are no big deal. The interior roads are in great shape. Dirt and grass level site with water and 30 amp, and the owner makes sure we have open sky for satellite. The park fills up each night, but by noon they've all moved on. Best of all, the park WiFi is consistently fast!

Nice trees without being "all" trees.

Rain on Lake WaWa

When in Canada.....
Friday is cold and cloudy - we love it - and we explore the area around the little town. After we pick up a few groceries (Campbell's soup cans labeled in French is interesting), we spend a rainy afternoon snuggled up at home.

Overlooking Hwy 17 is what TripAdvisor lists as the number one thing to do in WaWa. More than just a recognizable Canada Goose, this site marks the location of the completion of the TransCanada Highway in September, 1960. 

For the isolated citizens of WaWa, the highway marked a major change in their life style.

The visitors' center combines education and whimsy. 

Perfect mid-day temps.

I imagine someone keeping busy in the garage during rough winters.
There's so much water here.
I sleep late on Saturday, and it's noon when we head out. Good breakfast at the Embassy Restaurant where we learn that here, what we know as Canadian Bacon is Peameal bacon - sort of.

A road to the Michipicoten (mitchee-cotton) First Nation looks promising, and turns out to be our favorite place in our short Canada visit.

Falls along a creek running into Lake Superior.

One thing that makes Superior such a gorgeous body of water are all the small rock islands just off shore.

Lots of wildflowers along the road, this is a new one for me. Bladder Campion - more thanks to Diana B!
The dirt road becomes an overgrown two-track that eventually ends at one of the several closed mines in the area.

On our way back we stop for a pick-up to turn in front of us. The woman in the passenger side sticks her head out and asks if we've "ever been here before?". When we tell her we haven't, she suggests we follow them down closer to the water. Well alrighty!!

The family is from Sault St. Marie, Ontario, and come up to visit this area to dig for artifacts. The history they share with us includes photos on her phone that show the cabins and working mine. They foster four special needs kids who are with them. Two are not ambulatory, and they have fostered the oldest for fourteen years. These are really amazing people, and we enjoy our short time together. 

"Off-road" in Canada.

Four years ago a massive flood washed under this home, destroying 2/3's of it in minutes. The owners were sleeping, but got out with their two dogs and made it to the tribal center up the road. Of course we'd have never known without our chance encounter.

These deteriorating pylons once held the tracks for the mine cars that loaded onto ships.

Fire Weed where the mining company housing once stood.
The same area in 1943.
The other side of the bay on First Nation land.

Fluffy lake pup.

We wondered if you (not us) could walk to the island.

The kids answered the question. They were screaming but none of them quit in the very cold water.

How fun to have an island to play on!

A still life of blossoms, berries and boulders.

Silver Falls - below the upper.

Above the lower.

Always good to know where you are.
We agree that this part of Canada is very pretty, but not very diverse. Lots, and lots, and lots of trees. In addition to the ocean-looking lake to the south, there are dozens and dozens of small lakes along the highway. Many moose signs, no moose.

Sunday we'll complete Hwy 17 and cross back into the US to our 33rd state - Michigan! Looking forward to catching up with good friends and slowing down for a bit.


  1. Wow--your first international trip--I had to chuckle!! Glad your border crossing was easy--it usually is. It's always cool to meet a "local."

    1. I know - big jet-setters we are!!! Don't know why it's so uncomfortable, but glad we "got back".

  2. Adding another country to your RV travels, and having such a great time doing it. It's been fun enjoying your adventures as we consider our own northern states crossing next year.

    1. Good to have you along for the ride Jeff :-) Not a lot of Wow!s on this route but I'd do it again.

  3. We understand exactly what you mean about border crossings being a bit anxiety-producing. Even when I'm not guilty, I feel guilty!! LOL at your "wondering if you (not us) could walk to the island." And the number one attraction in WaWa, hahaha! Another item crossed off your bucket list, eh?

  4. Nice pics as usual. I like one of the painted chair. Hopefully you get to see a moose on your next outing.

    1. We were sure Hoping we’d see one by now! May have to head for Alaska.

  5. We are always a little nervous crossing which really is strange. We even feel funny when we cross on our bikes coming back in the US up near the Thousand Islands, and we have nothing but out little bike bags. Glad all went smoothly with your crossing. Tim Hortons is our go to for WiFi when traveling in "internationally." Isn't it interesting that most of the parks only have 30 amp! Lake Superior is so beautiful. Sounds like a neat meet up with locals. Hope the US lets you back in!! Haha!

    1. Just getting to the border crossing took us three tries so I’m sure I must have acted weird - but yes we made it back 😄 We only saw the one Tim Hortons. I was surprised!

  6. In my experience it isn’t a problem going into Canada, their officials are wonderful. It’s coming back into the US that’s difficult. LOL at the pay phones. Love the teeny waterfalls. Sorry to hear you don’t hike, you’re missing all the fun. If you are moving fast enough, the mosquitoes and gnats give up. A statue to a Canada Goose is well….
    57 at mid day sounds like winter to me. Love the chair! I agree the First Nations land looks beautiful. But then I love water however it comes – lakes, waterfalls, rivers. Tessa is quite the model.

    1. I was really surprised when we came into Michigan and had to pay a toll!!

      The locals here in the north laugh at us when we talk about our usual winter temps :-)

  7. To answer your bird and wildflower questions, Jodee...the bird is a Ruffed Grouse and Diana says the flower is a Bladder Campion. Love the Fluffy Lake Pup. 😊

    1. Cool thanks!! I was "close" on the bird, but that flower was definitely a new one for me.

  8. First stop seems kind of dull, except for all the beautiful fireweed everywhere. Hope you toasted Al at Tim Hortons. The rest of this journey looks quite inviting, especially with locals to fill in the blanks. Well, except for the mozies.

    1. Yeah, we were not feeling our first stop in Neys and were very glad to move on. WaWa was so much better.