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2017-09-28 Westbound; Ferry to the Olympic Peninsula…

A short travel day today.  We hitched up and headed out about 12:30. We had a leisurely drive from the fairgrounds to the ferry landing in Coupeville; obviously, the ferry wasn’t here yet:

2017-09-28 Washington 01 Ferry 01

So we waited…

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Finally the ferry arrived and we were directed to drive on-board.

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We are traveling from the Coupeville Ferry Landing, on Whidbey Island, across to the town of Port Townsend, on the Olympic Peninsula; we will stay in Port Townsend overnight, then explore the rain forest on the Olympic Peninsula.

Being first on-board the ferry, we were parked right up front:

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We passed by a small trailer park and spotted an Airstream, the 117th one we have seen  as we have been driving this trip…

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35 minutes later we arrived at Port Townsend:

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Our campground was right in town, in conjunction with the marina:

We walked along the shore:

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We walked through the town; it appeared to be a “real” town, with local businesses, bars, and restaurants, maritime industry, and tourist shops all cohabiting nicely.  Over the shops were offices and apartments/condos.  It felt much more real than previous small towns we have visited…

We opted to stay in the Villa for dinner tonight; we watched football and Happy Hours ensured; an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-26 Westbound; Whidbey Island;

We pulled out of Larrabee State Park this morning, having an interesting time threading our way between the trees.  I don’t think the designers of this campground was anticipating 35′ long trailers…

We had an uneventful drive south, over a few bridges, and onto Whidbey Island.  We parked in the town of Oak Harbor and took a quick shopping trip to the local Safeway.

We then met an old Airstream friend, and professional photographer, Bill Ferry:

2017-09-26 Washington 01 Oak Harbor

We enjoyed a tour of the town and then we shared lunch at Seabolt’s Smokehouse.  The Penn Cove mussels (a local favorite) were spectacular!

After lunch we proceeded down the island. We checked out the Coupeville ferry landing from which we will be leaving in a few days.  Then we arrived at the Island County Fairgrounds in Langley, WA.  They have a simple campground that is usually crammed with 50-60 RVs during the fair and other events, but today we shared it with only 7 other rigs…

2017-09-26 Washington 02 Langley 01

We have long time friends who recently moved to Washington from Laguna Beach about 1 1/2 years ago.  While they live in Seattle for now, they are building a new house here in Langley.  We walked the short one mile to see the progress of the house (slow), then we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Prima in Langley.  After dinner we walked along the shore and through the town.

2017-09-26 Washington 02 Langley 02

We returned to the Villa and an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-28 Westbound; The Ferry to Spragge

As we warned you, we were up and out of the RV park at 5:30, arriving at the ferry landing at 5:45.  We learned something:  We could have parked the Villa HERE last night (after 8:00 pm) and slept in the Villa; there were 5-6 RVs doing just that!  We would have had an extra 1 1/2 hour of sleep and we would have saved C$62.00 for the RV site…!

Anyway, we were all checked in and all we had to do now was wait. We look a few laps around the landing…

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Soon we were ready to board… It was a tight fit!

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2017-08-28 Tobermory 3 Ferry

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2017-08-28 Tobermory 5 Ferry

We had a lovely ride, enjoying breakfast in the cafeteria and walking around the various decks of the ferry.  We are crossing Lake Huron, heading to Manitoulin Island.  Lake Huron is filled with islands, but Manitoulin is the largest island in a fresh water lake in the world!  It fact, Manitoulin  it so large that it has a lake on it that is so large that there is an island in it that is so large that there is an lake in it!  With an island!

2017-08-28 Tobermory 6 Ferry

The crossing was uneventful; Manitoulin  Island is very remote and rural – farms and grazing land, and just a lot of empty land. Along the way we stopped to see the White Fish River and its falls:

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Apparently there used to be a mill here:

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Down stream, the river is quite calm:

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Soon we were at our camping spot for the night: Serpent River RV Park.

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There is a Serpent River:

2017-08-28 River

We prepared for Happy Hours and an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-27 Westbound; It’s a long way to Tobermory…

As I said last time, we left Amherstburg before dawn:

2017-08-27 Amherstburg

We had a quiet, smooth, easy drive in the dark.  We were back on the freeway, heading east for awhile; we exited the freeway at the junction with our north-bound route and spotted a coffee shop that was open. We stopped in, picked up some coffee, and headed north.

Lynda was able to take a few pictures of the sunrise out of the truck window:

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2017-08-27 Sunrise 2

Soon we were in the hamlet of Grand Bend.  We pulled into the parking lot at The Beer Store:

2017-08-27 Grand Bend

We figured they would be closed at 8:00 on a Sunday morning… We had a lovely breakfast in the historic Colonial Hotel.  It was the first real breakfast we have eaten on the road this entire trip!

Moving on, we pulled out of the beer store lot and headed north again, about 2 miles, and we stopped for fuel… I found that the credit card that I carry in the truck to use for fuel was nowhere to be found.  We paid using a different card, and beaded back to the The Beer Store.  Sure enough, there it was, on the ground. I think I drove over it twice, and probably a few other people did as well…

So we head north once again.

We like to stop every hour or so top stretch our legs, so when we saw a sign for a light house we turned left and drove to the end of the road. Sure enough, there was a light house and, better yet, a large lot for us to use to turn around. We walked on the beach (this is Lake Huron…), talked to the local folks (prices for beach-front houses have skyrocketed lately – houses on the beach go for as much as $400,000 – $500,000…!), and we had a restful stop.

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2017-08-27 Point Clark 2 Lighthouse

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2017-08-27 Point Clark 3 Lighthouse

Our final destination for today is Land’s End RV Park, located in Tobermory, which is a tiny town located on the northernmost tip of a 250 mile long peninsula sticking into the middle of Lake Huron, the second largest of all the great lakes… We are here to take a ferry tomorrow to continue our trip north. I’m sure Tobermory is a busy little town during the summer, but it must be very quiet in the winter when the ferries do not operate…

Across from the RV Park was a beach on a river; beautiful spot!

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We had a nice happy hour and turned in early; we have to be at the ferry landing before 6:00 am tomorrow…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-26 Westbound; Boblo Island Day 3

The kids were really tired after yesterday’s adventures; they slept until almost noon!  So we did some grocery shopping and readied ourselves for a long drive tomorrow…

We arrived at the house on Boblo about 1:00, just in time for a nice ride in the golf cart to the ice cream store:

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We played around as usual; we did a lot of coloring in the coloring books and chasing balls in the yard. At some point, I retreated to a quiet spot by the pond…

2017-08-26 McAnoy - Pond

After another lovely dinner, we relaxed as the kids got ready for bed.  After saying our goodbyes, we headed back to the Villa; we hitched up and got ready to travel – we will be leaving before dawn tomorrow!  We enjoyed our time in Boblo…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-25 Westbound; Boblo Island Day 2

We again traveled to Boblo Island to meet up with our grandchildren. Today, right after we arrived, we went for a long walk around the decrepit, dilapidated amusement park (what is left of it…).

The most prominent feature is the tower, which used to be a ride where visitors were taken to the top, then spun around… Now it’s just a tower… but it helps in your orientation as you walk around the wild country…

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We found the old lighthouse:

2017-08-25 Boblo - Park 02

This used to be the end of the island and this lighthouse was at the entrance to the Detroit River, just off Lake Erie.  But the land has been filled in, so this abandoned lighthouse sits useless in the middle of a field…

There is also a block house, used to house prisoners and defend the island in the 1830s:

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The rest of the south end of the island contains all types of abandoned buildings:

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This is the ferry terminal for the 5,000 passenger ferry from Detroit:

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The dance hall and concert venue:

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Lynda and Roisin had a chance to catch up after their long time (2 months!) apart:

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We had a lovely walk – we saw spooky black squirrels, snakes, lots of birds, and assorted other critters…

Upon our return to the hose we found that we have been joined by Kevin’s two brothers and his father… The more the merrier!

The kids played around as usual.  As dusk fell, they brought out the yard lights:

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After a lovely dinner, we said our goodbyes and we returned to the Villa; an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-24 Westbound; Boblo Island Day 1

After CanAm finished a few minor service items we headed out for a short drive to Amherstburg, ON, to Willowood RV Park.  We were greeted by a bizarre sight on this August 24:

2017-08-24 Willowood 02

This park is teaming with families and kids.  Lots and lots of kids… We found out that this place used to be a Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, but it was recently purchased by Sun Resorts, owner of several of our favorite RV resorts in Southern California.

Anyway, apparently Halloween is a big deal around here, but most RV parks close at the end of September.  So they have devised a way to capitalize on the holiday: they celebrate it in August.  Twice;  this weekend, and the next.  Anyway, we don’t care; we don’t much like Halloween, and we are here for another reason:

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Our daughter, Erin, and her husband, Kevin, and their three children (Roisin, 4 years; Ian, 3 years, and George X, 2 years in October) will be vacationing for a week on Boblo Island, just a few minutes from here.

Boblo Island (correct name: Bois Blanc) is an island in the Detroit River on the Canadian side of the border and is part of Amherstburg, Ontario. The island is about 2.5 miles long, 0.5 mile wide and 272 acres  in size.  The Detroit river is very short – it merely connects Lake Huron with Lake Erie.

The main northbound shipping channel of the Detroit River lies between Boblo Island and the Amherstburg mainland.  A stone lighthouse was built in 1836 on the southern tip of Boblo island which marks the historical beginning of the Detroit River navigation channel for ships traveling upriver from Lake Erie in more modern times.

Bois Blanc means “White Woods,” a name derived from the many birch and beech trees in the area. “Boblo” is an English corruption of the French pronunciation of the name. Several islands with the same name dot the Great Lakes, and nearly all are known as “Boblo” by the local populations.

The island had strategic importance when Fort Amherstburg (now Fort Malden) was built in 1796 to guard passage along the Detroit River after Detroit was turned over to the Americans. Guns from the fort could reach the island across the navigable waters and hence secured the river.

Boblo island has a very rich history.  In the early 1700s, 70 First Nation families peacefully farmed the fertile land.  It was the location of the headquarters for the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh (“Shooting Star”), the leader of a large tribal confederacy (known as Tecumseh’s Confederacy), during the War of 1812.  It was the location of the invasion point for 60 Canadian “Patriots” on January 8, 1838 during the Upper Canada Rebellion  There are buildings on the island dating from this time.; see below…  It also served as the stepping stone for numerous individuals on the Underground Railroad to Canada. One estimate puts 30,000 people as having had crossed over between 1834 and 1860.

Most famously, Boblo was the site of a large and very popular amusement park from 1898 until 1993.  Huge crowds would come to Boblo via the big ferry from Detroit, which had a capacity of over 5,000 people.  Big bands played in the dance hall, commissioned by Henry Ford, and other name-brand performers drew large crowds as well.  But as “old fashioned” amusement parks lost out to newer, flashier entertainment venues, Boblo’s popularity faded, and the amusement park closed in 1993.

But the owners had other ideas.  In 1994 the northern 1/4 of the island was subdivided into lots; streets and utilities were constructed, and houses were built.  Today there are many houses, mostly with full time residents, and a few houses used mostly on weekends or during the summer.  And this is where we come in.

Kevin’s sister and her husband own a lovely vacation home on the island, complete with pool, pond, and golf course.  And this is where Erin, Kevin, and their family vacation every August.  And they are arriving today!

So we set up the Villa in the RV park, and headed for the ferry to Boblo. It runs 3 times per hour, so if you catch it right it is a short ride to Boblo; but if you miss the ferry, it is a 20 minute wait for the next one.

We arrived on the island, found the house, and we were reunited with our kids and grandchildren:

George X, or Jorge Diez:

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Ian Philip, named after his grandfathers:

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And Roisin:

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You might notice they all have band-aids or scabs on their foreheads; their mother is hoping for the Mother of the Year award… George crashed chasing a ball a few weeks ago, Ian got his earlier today, and Roisin  got whacked in the head with a golf club this afternoon…

We had a great time; swimming, “golfing”, and chasing balls…

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We brought them beach hats from Montreal:

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So we hung out for the afternoon; after dinner we made our way back to the Villa; this time the trip across the ferry took a little longer than usual; an ambulance had been called to the island. The ferry was held, and no other cars were allowed on; once the ambulance reached the island the ferry waited; 20 minutes later the ambulance came back, and the ferry took it to the mainland.  By this time there were lines of waiting cars over 1/4 of a mile long… We managed to squeeze onto the ferry as the last car on; the operator needed to go check to see if my truck’s rear wheels were actually on the ferry. He told me not to back up…!

2017-08-24 Willowood 01

So we returned to the Villa later than planned; when we arrived we saw that Halloween festivities were in full swing!  An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-11 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Airstreams on the Ferry!

Yes! You can take Airstreams onto a ferry:

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Our tin cans are packed into a bigger tin can like sardines!

We are traveling from Caribou, NS, to Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island.  This will be the final campground location on the caravan…

We left the campground in Baddeck, along the shores of Bras d’ Or Lake, at about 6:00 am, to catch the 8:30 am ferry.  We found a few other folks who had the same idea:

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Soon the ferry arrived:

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When the ferry arrived, and had discharged its load of cars and trucks, it started loading for the trip back to PEI. Cars first. Cars, cars, and more cars went into the ferry.  When all the cars were on board, they started loading trucks, and more trucks. Then trailers, including about 10 Airstreams.  The ferry seemed “bottomless” – it just kept loading in more vehicles. Once on board, it looked like this:

 

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Once on board we found that there is a lower deck where all the cars were parked; trailers and trucks filled the main level. Upstairs were lounges, a cafeteria, and outdoor areas to experience the fresh air.

It was a fun ferry ride. We had breakfast in the cafeteria, watched the opposite ferry pass by, and enjoyed time with friends.

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When the ferry landed at Wood Islands, PEI, we were one of the first off. We had researched the area before hand, and we knew there was a Visitors Center where we could gather information on the island.  Others had the same idea… (Maybe because there is a Provincial liquor store there as well…):

2017-08-11 Visitors Center

Our campground is on the northern end of PEI, just north of Charlottetown; Wood Islands in on the south end. However, we were too early to arrive at the campground, lest we annoy the parking crew.  So we just headed south, not knowing (and not caring) where we were going; it was beautiful!

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And when you wander around an unknown area, pulling your Airstream trailer, this is what you find:

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We found a winery!  Rossignol Winery… Of course, it was a beautiful place, right on the ocean:

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We parked the rig and went inside to taste what we could taste:

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We only tasted the wines made from grapes; it wasn’t bad.  We also tasted their Creme d’ Cassis, a black current wine (or liqueur) ; it was great!  We bought a few bottles to supplement our “cellar”.  We also admired the various sand sculptures on the property:

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Moving on, we continued around the southern end of the island.  We finally stopped for lunch in the town of Montague; Windows on the Water was a delightful spot to enjoy the early afternoon.

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The town of Montague is located on the water, and once was a lively port city…

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After killing enough time, we headed north towards Charlottetown, and to our campground a few miles north of there.  We settled in and readied ourselves for happy hours…

That evening, we joined two other California caravanners – Larry and Kathy plus Phil and Donna – in a bizarre game called Joker.  It is an Airstream tradition.  It is basically Parcheesi, but playing cards are used in lieu of a spinner or dice, making it even quirkier. Since I despise games of chance, I try to avoid Joker at all costs, but Larry and Kathy had done us many favors, so Lynda volunteered us to play with them…

Boys won. I pulled the winning card.  An enjoyable time was had by all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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