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Lake Huron

2017-08-29 Westbound; Lunch in the Soo, Lake Superior, Marathon, Katherines’s Cove, and Wawa…

This morning, before we left the campground, we once again walked to the Serpent River:

2017-08-29 Spragge 03

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Amazing how quiet it is in the early morning…

But we must press on; we pull out of the RV park and continue traveling west, along the northern shore of Lake Huron…

After checking our maps we see that we might stop in Sault Ste. Marie for lunch.  Sault Ste. Marie is at the junction of Lakes Huron and Superior, and the locks between the two lakes are here. There are actually two cities named Sault Ste. Marie – one in Michegan and one in Ontario…

The bridge and one of the locks:

2017-08-29 Sault Ste Marie 04 Locks

We had parked in the lot at a shopping mall right in downtown Sault Ste. Marie:

2017-08-29 Sault Ste Marie 03

We walked along the waterfront and enjoyed the sights.  Eventually we found ourselves at Solo Trattoria, a nice Italian restaurant; it appears to be a favorite of “Ladies who Lunch”…

And, like the ladies, we lunched:

2017-08-29 Sault Ste Marie 02 Lunch

 

2017-08-29 Sault Ste Marie 01 Lunch

The mussels were delicious!

Back on the road we came to Katherine’s Cove – recommended by our waitress at Solo. We pulled off the highway, then realized there was no turn-around; however, being adept at 3-5-7-9 point turns with the Villa, I soon had us parked neatly in a “No Parking” zone, and we headed for the beach.  This is Lake Superior, or Lake Gitche Gumee, according to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Hiawatha; Gordon Lightfoot also sang about it… the Edmund Fitzgerald sank not far from here in 1975….

(An aside here:  a few years ago TCA (my former architecture firm) did an apartment project for the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company; they were the owners of the Edmund Fitzgerald; in fact, it was named after the president of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company… It was their flagship freighter, and it was a huge hit to company morale for many years, so I’ve been told…)

Anyway, Katherine’s Cove is a lovely beach…

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2017-08-29 Katherines Cove 07

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After enjoying Katherine’s Cove as long as we could we headed to our final stop of the day: Wawa RV Park:

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It has a river, too:

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

2017-08-29 Wawa 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

2017-08-28 Tobermory 2 Ferry

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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.

2017-08-28 Spragge 1

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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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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-24 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:

2017-08-24 Boblo - McAnoy 02

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:

2017-08-24 Boblo - McAnoy 04

Ian Philip, named after his grandfathers:

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And Roisin:

2017-08-25 McAnoy 14

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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