Across Canada
  (August 13 to September 23, 2008)

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This travelog documents our trip back to the east and then up around Lake Superior. Overnight stops are shown because these travelogs also serve as a journal for us to look back on in later years.

August 13 to August 14: Edmonton, British Columbia (172 miles)

Route:  PH 16 (Yellowhead Highway)

Campground:  Glowing Embers RV Park  We stopped here in 2006. The park bills itself as an "ultra-modern" RV park, but it really isn't. An ultra-modern RV park would have both 30 and 50 amp service at the sites. It would have cable or satellite TV at each site. The sewer hookups would be mid site not at the rear of the site. However, it was a nice park with about 270 sites. There were many sites that were very wide and deep enough for big rigs. The campground had a restaurant on sight. The best thing about the campground was the free WiFi that worked very good.

We used this stop to visit the West Edmonton Mall and catch up on a couple of movies.

August 15: North Battleford, Saskatchewan (255 miles)

Route: Yellowhead Highway

Campground:  Walmart parking lot

Fuel:  $1.155 per liter, which came to $4.372 per gallon ($4.222 with exchange rate) at Flying J in Sherwood Park

Just an overnight stop, but we were treated to some fireworks that were part of the town's Territorial Days Celebration. The Walmart parking lot filled up with locals who came to watch the fireworks.

August 16: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (88 miles)

Route:  Yellowhead Highway

Campground:  Walmart parking lot

Fuel:  $1.229 per liter, which came to $4.652 per gallon ($4.485 with exchange rate) at Flying J in Saskatoon

Just an overnight stop.

August 17: Yorkton, Saskatchewan (202 miles)

Route: Yellowhead Highway

Campground:  Walmart parking lot

Just an overnight stop.

August 18: Portage la Prairie (233 miles)

Route: Yellowhead Highway

Campground:  Walmart parking lot

Just an overnight stop.

August 19 to August 20: Winnipeg, Manitoba (65 miles)

Route:  Yellowhead Highway; TransCanada 1

Campground: Travellers RV Resort  We stopped here in 2006. This was a nice family oriented campground. The sites were a good size and were either surrounded by small trees or in an open section. It was also a Coast to Coast park, so the $10 per night rate for us was welcomed. On the downside, I was very disappointed that the park still did not offer WiFi. However, they did have a dial up connection. The season was pretty much over so there was no competition for the modem connection.

Norm and Linda had never been to Winnipeg, so this was a short stop to visit the Canadian Mint and the provincial capitol building. It also gave us an opportunity to again visit with Carol Rogers who was a colleague of mine. We all went over to her house and had a nice barbecue along with some wine and chats. It was nice to see her again. I told her it was feast or famine for visiting. We hadn't seen her in six years and now we visit again only two years later.

August 21: Bemidji, Minnesota (227 miles)

Route:  MT 59; US 59; US 2

Campground:  Walmart parking lot

Fuel:  $4.039 per gallon at Bernstrom oil in Lancaster, Minnesota

Just an overnight stop.

August 22 to August 24: Duluth, Minnesota (155 miles)

Route:  US 2

Campground:  Lakehead Boat Basin  This is really a boat basin with a couple of parking lots that had been striped for parking RVs. They did have some full hookup sites, but we could only get a site with water and electric.

The Aerial Lift Bridge is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Minnesota. It was first constructed as the Aerial Ferry Bridge in 1904-1905. The original bridge did not have the lift span that it has today. Instead, it had a gondola that ferried people across the canal. It took about one minute to cross the canal and the gondola could carry about 350 people. As traffic increased, the lift span was added in 1929-1930. The bridge lifts an average of 5,500 times a year, and about 40 times each day during the summer months.

Norm and Linda had been to Duluth for a short visit one time and remembered a place north of the city that served good meals and great pies. The name of the place was Betty's Pies. We drove up there one day to eat and then took the scenic route back along the lake to Duluth.

August 25 to August 27: Thunder Bay, Ontario (202 miles)

Route:  MN 61; ON 61; ON 11/17

Campground:  Thunder Bay KOA

One of the things on our list of things to do this summer was to drive around Lake Superior. We had already done the section along the Upper Peninsula during our tour of Michigan in 2002. This time we would start in Duluth and drive around the lake to Saulte Ste. Marie.

The city of Thunder Bay is located in the center of Canada and is home for approximately 123,000 people. Until 11,000 years ago glaciers covered the area. It gets its name from the 17th century when the first Europeans arrived and the local Indians called the area "animikie", which translates as "thunder." French speaking explorers transformed the name into "Baie de Tonnerre" or Thunder Bay. Today, it is a major transportation hub, featuring one of Canada's largest port facilities, two major railways, and is the junction of the Trans-Canada Highway with the principal north-south routes for the Upper Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico.

We met Bob and Julie Revell in the Lake Louise Campground and told them we were planning to go around Lake Superior with a stop in Thunder Bay. We called them when we got there and met for a nice dinner at a place called Gargoyle's in downtown Thunder Bay. It was nice to see them again. After dinner, Julie suggested going to a coffee shop for an after dinner coffee and pastry where we continued our pleasant evening.

The coffee shop was next door to the Finlandia Club. When we learned that the club served Finnish pancakes for breakfast it became a no-brainer to go there for breakfast the next morning. The club was busy when we arrived for a late breakfast. The wait wasn't very long and the pancakes were delicious. The dinner menu had some very inviting choices so we decided to go back for dinner before we left the area.

We asked Bob and Julie about something we could do during the following day and we took their advice to drive up to take in the view from Mt. McKay. It looks down on the city and out to the lake. The day was sunny and warm which provided us with a pleasant drive and walk around the viewing area on top of the mountain.

We went back to the Finlandia Club for dinner where Bob and Julie met us for one last visit  before we continued our journey around Lake Superior. It was nice to see them again and we all hoped that our paths will cross again.

August 28: White River, Ontario (225 miles)

Route:  ON 17

Campground:  Visitor Center parking lot

Just an overnight stop.

On a morning when the weather isn't very nice, we would normally have just stayed another day since we usually do not have reservations for a specific campground. However, since we knew that we would be in the area around Labor Day Weekend, we put a stake in the ground and decided we would spend the weekend in Saulte Ste. Marie, Michigan. That meant we now had a schedule for this part of the trip, so we packed up and headed out on a foggy, overcast, and drizzly morning. As a result, we knew we were missing more of the stunning views of Lake Superior. Just the luck of the draw.

A bear cub caught by a trapper in White River in 1914 was sold to a young Canadian military officer, who named the cub "Winnipeg," for his hometown. The cub wound up at the London Zoo when the officer was sent to the front lines and became the inspiration for A.A. Milne's "Winnie the Pooh" stories.

August 29 to August 31: Saulte Ste. Marie, Michigan (198 miles)

Route:  ON 17; I-75; local roads

Campground:  Soo Locks Campground

We had all been to Saulte Ste. Marie and the Soo Locks before, but it is always interesting and a bit fascinating to see huge freighters rising and descending in the locks. The locks are on the St. Marys River and connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan with Lake Superior. The locks consist of two canals and four locks that allow vessels of many types and sizes to traverse the 21-foot drop in elevation between Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan and Huron.

Norm and I spent some time at the locks watching the operation while Linda and Diane walked around the town and through the shops. Other than that, we just kind of relaxed through the weekend.

We had no problem going through customs. The guy was much easier than when we came into the USA from Winnipeg where they confiscated two apples and some lemons because the "country of origin" sticker for the fruit was not shown. This time Diane kept the stickers on some apples and the guy never asked us if we had fruit. Go figure.

September 1: St. Ignace, Michigan (50 miles)

Route:  I-75

Campground:  Kewadin Casino parking lot

Fuel:  $4.359 per gallon at a BP station in St. Ignace

Just an overnight stop.

September 2: Mt. Pleasant, Michigan (171 miles)

Route:  I-75; US 127; local roads

Campground:  Soaring Eagle Casino parking lot

Fuel:  $4.159 per gallon at a BP station in St. Ignace

Just an overnight stop.

September 3 to September 7: Charlotte, Michigan (95 miles)

Route:  US 127; I-69; local roads

Campground:  Spartan Motors parking lot

We have always liked coming to the Spartan factory for service if they were in our path. We trust the folks there to do a good job and to tell it like it is. On a diesel pusher there is always annual maintenance required for changing the oil and lubricating joints. Every two years additional maintenance is required for the transmission and coolant and other items. For us, the "every two year maintenance" is in the even numbered years, which meant this would be a big maintenance year. It turned out to also be the first time in the eight years we have owned the Dutch Star that we had to spend money on repairs as it turned out the rig needed ball joints. I'm glad we were able to have it done at the Spartan factory because I would trust them to do it right.

One of the reasons Diane and I have always liked stopping there is that we get to go up to Lansing to catch up on some movies. We always schedule a Monday appointment, but arrive on Friday so we can spend the weekend in the area. This time was no exception and we did catch up on movies and went out to eat a few times. Norm needed some maintenance done on his Dutch Star so we continued traveling together.

September 8 to September 21: Nappanee, Indiana area (136 miles)

Route:  I-69; US 20; local roads

Campground:  Newmar parking lot and Precision Painting parking lot

The Nappanee area is also a place we have always liked to stop. It has always been pleasurable to spend a few days around the Newmar factory to see if anyone we knew was there, and to meet new folks, and to talk about our Newmar rigs. This stop was to have our slide looked at and adjusted. We had been having a bit of a problem with it and it was making a horrible noise when extending and retracting. Newmar was now doing non-warranty work other than the January to March time frame. I would never have any plans to be in upper Indiana during the winter months. I sent a note in to the scheduler about our problem and he responded that they were very busy but to come on in and they would try to fit us in. We also had made plans to stop at Precision Painting to have some touch up work done on the paint job we had done last year.

We figured we may be in the area for up to two weeks, so we settled in at the Newmar factory in the overflow parking area (water and electric, but no sewer). Newmar did manage to fit us into their schedule and adjusted the slide. They also fixed an edge on the corian sink in the kitchen that broke off from the time Diane took a spill in the motorhome when she was walking back from the bathroom at the same time I had to make a fast stop. She went down and grabbed the splash guard on the sink and it broke off. Newmar was nice enough to also fix that (at a cost, of course). I was glad they did that as they had the necessary tools and glues that were required.

After Newmar finished their repairs, we drove a few miles to Bremen and parked in the Precision Painting parking lot while they did the necessary touch up work, plus the complementary wash and polish promised to us when we had it painted last year. They are still a great company to deal with. The folks are very conscientious and they want you to go away satisfied. They treated us great.

Naturally, we were able to keep up with new movies that opened during our stay in the area. We favor a movie theater in South Bend with large screens and stadium seating. I think we saw eight movies over the two weeks and left the area all caught up.

Don and Gloria Martin drove their Winnebago up from Kokomo to Elkhart for maintenance and stopped at the Newmar factory. We hadn't seen them since the Escapade in Gillette, Wyoming back in June, so it was nice to see them again. Norm and Linda were still with us so we all went out to eat to catch up on our summer travels. After Don and Gloria left for home, it was time to finally say our good-byes to Norm and Linda,
but we knew we would see them again shortly for a couple of days when we stopped in the Louisville area on our way south to Atlanta.

Our friends, Stan and Betty Bober used to live in Mishawaka and were snowbirds who went to Florida in the winter. They were now fulltimer RVers and were at a rally in Michigan with plans to spend some time in Mishawaka to visit family. We were able to make contact and enjoyed a very nice lunch together in Elkhart.

During the three years of our warranty back in 2000 to 2003 we always had Newmar in our path for warranty work in September, and almost always had it scheduled to coincide with the Nappanee Apple Festival. We were there this year at festival time and went into town a couple of times to check out the booths and get some great food, like apple dumplings a la mode.  YUMMY!!

September 22 to September 23: Clarksville, Indiana (241 miles)

Route:  I-65

Campground:  Tom Stinnett RV parking lot

Fuel:  $4.029 per gallon at a Flying J in Whiteland

We always stop in Clarksville on the way south to Atlanta if Norm and Linda are in town.

I had seen something on the Internet about the Ali Center in downtown Louisville and asked Norm if he had ever been there. He hadn't, but was also interested. So one day while the ladies went shopping, Norm and I went to the center. We were both Mohammed Ali fans and followed his rise in the boxing world from his days as Cassius Clay in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome to his professional career. The center was well done and we spent about four hours watching videos and looking at the displays. The videos were fantastic and held our attention. I did not get to see many of his fights, especially the championship fights. He truly was "The Greatest."

This was our last visit with Norm and Linda with no idea as to when we would see them again. We planned to winter in Port St. Lucie and they will winter in Summerdale, Alabama where they purchased a lot. This was the third time we have traveled for an extended time with Norm and Linda. We traveled together in 2003 to tour the Atlantic Provinces and again in 2006 to tour the southwest and Puerto Penasco, Mexico. We continue to be very compatible travelers. It's always a bit sad to part company, but it makes seeing them again all the more enjoyable.

Until next time, safe travels.....

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