Ontario; Aug 19 to Sept 10

With our summer in Eastern Canada behind us and autumn upon us we found ourselves back in Ontario. Our first few days were spent at our good friends (and cousin) Phil and Alex and their two kids Isabella and Hayden just outside of Picton in Prince Edward County.

It is always great to be parked in their yard, and for some reason it usually ends up with late night talks and lots of good food and wine, which also means heads that hurt in the morning! This area is so scenic and beautiful, and along with many artisan shops and wineries, it is a great place to cycle. We even enjoyed an afternoon ride with our motorcycle gang of Phil, June and Larry.

The other benefit of spending time in the County is that other good friends of ours live (for the summer) north of Belleville, by Madoc, in a campground. Bob, Ann and their two adorable “boys”, Bear and Wags were happy to meet us at a park. A wonderful afternoon was spent playing and chatting

Since this will be our last time in Ontario for awhile we tried to connect with as many friends as possible. After leaving the County we headed to Jordan in the Niagara Region, stopping on the way for an enjoyable lunch in Bowmanville to visit with Heather, a long time friend of ours.

Our stay in the Niagara region was very short this time. One night in Jordan to visit with Shelley, and then just 29 km up the road to Winona where we had dinner with Kate, Mike and Eva. Here we had parked at a Cidery and Orchard and cycled over to Mike and Kate’s. With bottles of wine in our water bottle carrier on our bicycles we were stopped by the police directing traffic for the Winona Peach Festival. They had an issue with the bottle of wine June had on her bicycle because it was a part bottle, thus making it illegal to carry on the bicycle on the road. They kindly suggested we put it in the bag behind her seat so it was out of sight! That was a first!! We did get one good cycle in for old time sake.

We then moved up to the New Hamburg/Tavistock area for a week to connect with friends and family. We split our time between parking our home at Leslie and Steve’s and Lynn and Julie’s. We had several dinner parties and took Mom out for some good Chinese food one last time in Tavistock. We also managed to get in a few bicycle rides, a motorcycle ride, and a campfire. The other main reason for coming here was to pack up and ship our small amount of “stuff” that we had been storing at the farm. It was a somewhat emotional afternoon spent at the farm, but it was the final break that we had to make. A shipping company had been arranged to pick up our boxes, ship them out west, and then store them for us until we arrived in Surrey at Bryan and Alexis’s place. It was time to continue heading West, but North first!

We headed north in Ontario to the French River and another cousin’s place. Roger and Rachelle have an absolutely beautiful house and spot, nestled on the river outside of Alban. June backed our home up their driveway to park it beside their house and then we enjoyed a nice dinner and campfire on their patio made of rock.

After breakfast it was time to drive west to Sault Ste. Marie and another visit with more good friends that we have met in our new life. Ron and Virginia are always welcoming and we have had the pleasure of stopping and visiting them three times at their home since we met them in Biloxi, Mississippi. We enjoyed a home cooked meal, explored St. Joseph Island and then ate at one of their favourite chicken wing places for dinner. It was a short visit, but as usual, a good one. We are not sure when we will see them again, but we hope to see them soon, somewhere!!!

Next stop, Thunder Bay! With it being an 8+ hour drive with the motorhome, we split it up over 2 days. The drive from the Sault to Thunder Bay is a beautiful drive around the northern shore of Lake Superior.

Stopping in Wawa to see the “big goose”, and then White River to see Winnie the Pooh, it was enough for one day and we spent the night at White Lake Provincial Park. We finished the drive the next day without any tourist stops and pulled into Thunder Bay by the middle of the afternoon.

This was going to be a great 4 days!!! A mini reunion of some friends we met in 2016 during a cycling trip in Cuba. We stopped here the last time we went through Thunder Bay and visited Dave. This time we also had the pleasure of Claire and Jenny who flew in from London, England! We met in front of Dave’s home and Claire and Jenny boarded our home and June got in Dave’s car, Dave’s friend Wendy was joining us up there. We then headed north of Thunder Bay to Dave’s sister’s gorgeous place on a lake where we had stayed before, so this time we knew what the road was like!! The festivities got started with Dave being brave and barbecuing steak in the pouring rain for dinner. A wonderful evening followed.

The next day we piled into two cars and drove over to Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park. The falls have a drop of 40 m, cascading into a gorge carved out of the Precambrian Shield by meltwater following the last glacial maximum. Because of its size and ease of access, it has been consequently nicknamed “the Niagara of the North”. The rock face of the falls and the escarpments along the gorge are composed primarily of unstable shale, and are eroding. These rocks host sensitive flora, and contain some of the oldest fossils in existence, some 1.6 billion years of age. It was pretty amazing!!

When we arrived back home, Chris put the motorboat into the water and we went for a nice, long, leisurely tour around the lake. Once back at the dock Karen and Larry got out of the boat and Chris and the girls went for a joy ride and did some donuts out in the middle of the lake. June just about threw up, and Jenny and Claire loved it!

The next day we were back on the lake, but this time in kayaks instead of a power boat, and it was a very nice relaxing couple hours looking for, and enjoying turtles and a really cool spider. Now it was happy hour, where we tried to replicate a pineapple rum drink that we had in Cuba, it was good, but not quite the same! Happy hour also included a Finnish sauna, which is a wood fired sauna and then you jump in the cold lake, then repeat, over and over. So much fun!! It was a great weekend with some great people. Who know where we will meet again!!

After saying goodbye the next morning it was time to continue the trek west. After driving for 5 hours we were ALMOST at the Ontario/Manitoba border so we stopped for one last night in Ontario and boondocked for the night outside Kenora.

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