Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Day 49, August 14, 2007

Day 49, Tuesday, August 14, 2007.
The day started off with heavy clouds and we had rain in the night, not a lot of rain. The sky was cloudy all day (reminds me of a song something about “give me a land where the buffalo roam) and we did hit a little rain but nothing too serious. The roads were real good except for a few sections. I had let out air in the tires and that has made quite a difference, you don’t get the jolting we were before. We did hit some construction just before Nipigon, Ontario but it wasn’t too bad. We had been warned about it yesterday and mud but when we went through it was ok. We did get a little muddy but only the wheels and undercarriage. We saw a black bear on the side of the road but no area to stop. He sure looked healthy. In Geraldton, Ontario we had lunch, got groceries and topped up the gas tank. This was the highest we had paid for gas at $1.118 per litre. The past two days we were paying closer to $.95 per litre. We had a good drive today. To pass the time away, Willa proofed the blog and by the way we have redone the blog and all corrections Willa could find were made. Page 7 was a duplicate of page 6 and that also was redone. I was so embarassed with all the mistakes Willa had found that I was determined to redo the blog tonight before I went to bed and I did but it was midnight before computer was shut down. Before we leave this morning I hope to publish this page and then we are up to date. Tegan watched a movie or two in the afternoon but didn’t get up until almost 11:00. We do let her sleep at the back as we drive, which I know is not a good idea but it does pass the time for her. Yesterday we were driving through a small town with a traffic light and I didn’t see it until Willa casually said there is a red light. First time I locked up all six wheels. For the size of the motor home it can stop fairly quickly given enough space (ha! Ha!). Tegan didn’t come off the bed but the matress came as far forward as possible. Tegan didn’t even wake up. Must be more alert! We wanted to make Thunder Bay, Ontario today and we did. Found a nice campsite with wifi and so updated blog, checked emails and Tegan did her thing. The afternoon turned out warm but still made a pleasant drive. Just before Thunder Bay we stopped at an Information Centre which was also the memorial to Terry Fox. Very beautiful setting overlooking Lake Superior a fitting spot to a Canadian Hero. Didn’t realize how many awards he received from Canada as well as from USA. This is the spot where he had to end his trek. Well Winnipeg, Manitoba is the goal for tomorrow. See how we do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Day 48, August 13, 2007

Day 48, Monday, August 13, 2007.
We got an early start today and were on the road about 7:30 am. We drove out to Calander, Ontario which is where the Dionne Quints were born and had a look at the very large house that was built just for them. From there we stopped at Tim Horton’s for Willa’s coffee and gas for the motorhome and we are off and it is just after 9:00 am. The trip was fairly uneventful. We drove through until noon and stopped and had lunch. One thing that surprised me was just after or near Englehart, Ontario we came over this hill and spread out before us were open grain fields. You would have thought you were on the prairies or what I would have thought of as the Peace River area. Big farms and large fields. The country made me think that we were in high country but the GPS kept reading around 800 feet and the highest we got was 1200 feet. The trees got shorter more like the far north. The thing that really surprised us was when Willa looked at the map and we are below the 49th parallel and closer to the Oregon and Washington borders as far as latitude goes. Later in the day we even passed a road called the 49th Parallel Road. The other thing I thought is that I am sure glad this is summer and not winter. I have a feeling this could be a very cold area. We fought a head wind all day today and worse than yesterday. The wind just threw us around. Both sides of the road are lined with trees and when a break in the trees came it would toss us toward the shoulder of the road. We fought this until about 2:00 in the afternoon. We didn’t make as many miles as we had hoped for but put about 300 miles behind us. Hope to have better miles tomorrow. Roads were very good. A little construction but no slowups and some rough roads but they weren’t too bad either. I keep the pressure at the maximum and decided to let a little out of each of the tires and that seemed to make quite a difference on the rough roads. Not the jolts we were getting before. The motorhome for whatever reason is working real good today even with the headwind. Lots of power for the hills and doesn’t seem to be working as hard as yesterday. Yesterday it was a struggle to get it up some of the hills and they were nothing compared to what we will hit in the Rocky Mountains. Willa does crosswords while we drive and Tegan watched a movie on the portable DVD player, so the time passes. I watch the road, traffic, you get the picture. Lots of big trucks on the highway.

Day 47, August 12, 2007

Day 47, Sunday, August 12, 2007.
We were on the road at 8:05 am with coffee in hand and rolling down the road. This will be a short writeup on the day because there isn’t much to tell. We drove for about 464 miles miles today. We arrived in the campsite about 8:30 pm. Now for the in between. The motorhome was acting up for some reason and just didn’t seem to have the power it should have had and we fought a terrible head wind all day. The wind bounced us around but the roads were good. Before we left I laid out the roads we would need to get us though Montreal and Ottawa. It is unbelievable the underpasses, overpasses, side passes that you have to negotiate to get out of the campsite (just seeing if you are alert), out of Montreal. Ottawa is better. We made it through without a hitch, wrong road or wrong direction. Once we were through those two the rest was easy driving, point it down the road and hang on. We pushed pretty hard today and only stopped for lunch and gas. Makes for a long day but the motorhome is very comfortable to drive and you don’t seem to get tired. Our goal was North Bay Ontario and we made it. We found out where the campsite was and then we went out for supper because it was too late to set up camp then have to cook supper and besides I was too tired to drive, set up camp and cook supper too. I thought you might enjoy that, Willa didn’t find it funny proof reading this. Calendar Ontario is where the Dionne Quints were born. The museum for them is in North Bay and we went through it. They are shirt tale relative of mine on my mother’s side. She was a Dionne. The relationship is from a brother of her great or g/g grandfather. We are also related to Madonna, Celine Dion and Rene’ Levecque. There was a picture of a set of Quints that were born in 1990 visiting the museum. They live in Thunder Bay, not too far away. Fairly warm day driving but not unbearable. Well not much else to say and again I am doing this a day or so behind. Another long day tomorrow.

Day 46, August 11, 2007

Day 46, Saturday, August 11, 2007
We were up early again today to catch the early shuttle into Quebec City the old town. Today was to be spent shopping. We arrived at the Hotel Frontenac at about 9:30 am. We found a coffee shop then proceeded to hit all the shops Willa and Tegan could find. Up near the Citadel there are all kinds of little shops, then you go down into Old Town and there are several more streets of shops and very little duplication if any at all. There is very little you can’t buy. Some of the merchandise is made locally and most is brought in. Some of the shops carry very expensive items but most are what I thought was reasonably priced. The girls had a good time but even they got shopped out. We could have taken the late shuttle home but they wanted to go home on the early shuttle at 3:30 pm. You walk into these buildings and you are in awe of the age and history that is all around you. The oldest house in the Old Town was built in the 1600’s. and one of the streets was the oldest street in Canada or North America, I can’t remember which. There are street entertainers, people that will paint your portrait for you while you wait or in full colour if you have an extra hour to spare to come back and pick it up. These people are very good at what they do. I bought a cd of two guys playing a guitar and harp with a canned back ground melody, all popular songs but almost haunting to listen to. The guitarist picked the tune as apposed to playing cord to the background music. Every corner had an entertainer of some sort and all licensed by the city. Jugglers, one man bands, fire eaters. They floated around the city and you could see them in different locations at different times of the day. Very impressive. I was going to do something else besides look in stores but ended up following the girls around and did a little people watching and talking to other people. I noticed this one chap doing the same as I was. Although I couldn’t understand what he was saying in French, I caught the jest of it. “What another shop, its just like the last one you were in.” I saw him and motioned him to come over and sit on the window sill where I was. He came over and I gestured he had three girls shopping and I had two, sit and enjoy your wait and we did. Thousands of people the streets were literally wall to wall. Some of the shops are quite small and others are a good size. The last thing before we left town we did a tour of the town in a horse drawn carriage. The girl was good and told us about some of the history of the city. Her and Tegan got to talking about the horse, which was a Canadian. On the way back the shuttle was too full and several of us had to stand. I had a seat but a young lady came in and would have had to stand so I gave up my seat. Now this sounds like the gentleman thing to do but I was looking after my own interests, what if she fell on me in a corner. I could have had some tall explaining to do to Willa. When we got back to the site it was a long walk to the motor home. From the office to our campsite must have been 1000-1500 feet and you are already tired from shopping and walking all day. The family next door we had met the day before and visited a bit and then met them in town also. They invited us back to their campsite to enjoy the campfire with them. We did and we did. The weather was warm and sunny all day but the motorhome cooled down once the air conditioner went on and after the windows open kept a breeze coming through. Again all I can say is the history that Quebec City holds is fascinating. Well it is up early tomorrow and we are off. Want to make Winnipeg in 3 days but we think it will take 4 days with some pretty long days.

Day 45, August 10, 2007

Day 45, Friday, August 10, 2007
The alarm went off at 6:00 am and we are up and at ‘em. We have decided to stay for another day so today we are off to The Citadel and the Shuttle service leaves at 8:00 am at the office in the campsite. We can’t be late or we are left behind. Met some nice people on the bus and waiting for the bus. The bus dropped us off right in front of the Hotel Frontenac and from there it is only a 5 minute walk to The Citadel. We did the tour of the Citadel and were disappointed a bit. Understand we did two other Forts on this trip and they were pretty nice. The Citadel is an active military base and as such they don’t allow you to wander around without a guide. So if you are not on the tour the only place for you is the gift shop. We did do a tour of the Governer General of Canada’s Residence when she is in Quebec City. It was a very impressive tour. The one thing that stood out was the menu that is served to all the dignitaries that are entertained at the Residence. On the menu were wines and other items from different parts of Canada, the most interesting item on the menu was the Salmon that is served, it is from the Chilliwack River. I got talking to the tour guide and we did a trade, she will email me a copy of the Menu and I will email her pictures of the Chilliwack River. We had lunch in one of the restaurants on the street just up from the Hotel Frontenac. Very nice restaurant and the prices weren’t too bad. We did a tour of the Basilica Cathedral of Notre Dame. These churches are amazing, the finish the architecture and the statues. This Basilica is so big and limited view, because of the large columns, they have about 10 flat screen TVs on the columns for people to watch during the service. On the TV is the church service not the hockey game. We watched some street entertainment which was very interesting. On our way to Notre Dame there is a narrow little street and the whole street has painting or sketches you can buy. Some originals and other copies. From there we caught the shuttle home, had supper and we are reserved for tomorrow morning to catch the 8:00 am shuttle again. Tomorrow the girls want to shop. I will go with them but not sure I want to spend all day shopping. The weather was warm and sunny and no wind. Hope the no wind holds when we leave here. Well I will keep you posted.

Day 44, August 9, 2007

Day 44, Thursday, August 9, 2007
We wanted to cover a little road so we hit the road at 9:00 am and pushed through to about 6:30 pm only stopping for some groceries and a second stop at Mont Carmel where my great grand father Dionne was born. We were hoping to pick up some souveniers but there was not one souvenir shop in town. Not a very big town. I asked someone that was around the church if we could take a look inside. He indicated it would be no problem, no one spoke English, but everyone is friendly, anyway I collected Willa and we did the tour. They were just holding mass in another room and one old gentleman was determined that we would stay for mass, Well the priest saw right through us not being Catholic and directed us to the Church and they carried on with mass. Beautiful old building. We think my great grandfather was baptized in this church. From our little detour we were off again to the KOA Quebec Campsite. Along the way we had this big truck pass us and on a slight incline. I have cruise plugged in and I am watching him pull out to pass. But the incline was enough that he didn’t have the power to pass me, and there are no cars behind him. Next thing I see his turn signal comes on and he is coming into my lane. Luckily enough I was watching and hit the brake and moved over as he came over. The back end of the trailer missed me by only a couple of feet. Well I was going to change undershorts anyway so a little sooner was no problem. I don’t think he did it deliberately hopefully just wasn’t paying attention. We had good weather for the drive today not hot but a real bad head wind and as we turned corners the wind would catch us from different angles and sometimes threw us around quite a bit. We had a good chuckle today. Tegan made the comment that the next trip we make I would probably be researching where all the Auto Parts Shops are located. We had to laugh what with all the different things we had go wrong with the motorhome. We phoned ahead to make a reservation at the KOA Quebec Campsite. It is located just south of Quebec City and has a shuttle bus that runs to The Citadel or within a five minute walk of the Citadel and other little shops. The drive was generally good and the roads were good for the most part.

Day 43, August 8, 2007

Day 43, Wednesday, August 8, 2007.
At about 8:30 I started making calls to get an appointment to take the motorhome in to have the oxygen sensor fixed. Everyone is so busy but the owner of the campsite, Ponderosa near Hopewell Cape, gave me the name of a chap at J and J, Jeff. Went to see him but couldn’t help me and sent me to CarQuest in Riverview. They took me in and had a devil of a time to fix it. Not only were the threads on the oxygen sensor stripped but also on the threads in the exhaust pipe. But they finally got it done. The young chap that started it just persevered until he had it. We were in the shop for about 4 hours. New sensor and the bill was $132. Which I thought was real reasonable. I left them an extra $20.00 for donuts the next morning for coffee. We are off! We decided to hit the road rather than go back to the Hopewell Rocks. The motorhome seems to be running a lot better. So the oxygen sensor may have been acting up for awhile. Some of the longer hills had me crawling up but now seems to pull right up. There is still a flat spot but I can live with this for the time being. We headed for # 2 Highway and on our way to Fredericton, NB. When we left the garage it was warm and a little muggy but as we progressed to Fredericton it started to rain and rain fairly hard until Gagetown, NB. Took the wrong turn off the first time but managed to get back on after about 10 k of back tracking. We are in Gagetown Campsite a bit of a rustic site but all the services are here and the site is level. We are all set up and tired from the stress of not knowing if or when they were going to be able to fix the motorhome. Must have called 10 different places and all either weren’t equipped or booked up. Pretty hard to take a tourist in when your regular customers are waiting for their cars. But the people at CarQuest bent over back wards to help and in the end the young chap was able to fix the problem. Charlie was in the parts and Brian I think was either the owner or manager and I didn’t get the young fellows name that fixed the motorhome. If you are ever in Riverview or near and need mechanical help they did a good job and reasonable. Well we have a very long day tomorrow. The goal is to be in a campsite in Quebec City by 5-6:00 pm and tour the City the next day. Will hopefully be on the road about 7:00 am if possible. Be talking to you tomorrow……………………. I didn’t know that. I’d better be off to bed too. This is Willa talking as I’m proofing this page!

Day 42, August 7, 2007

Day 42, Tuesday, August 7, 2007
We were off fairly early in the morning, I think, doing this day’s diary 2 days from today so not sure, amazing how soon we forget. The goal was to make it to Hopewell rocks today and we did. We went straight into Moncton and the Visitor Information Centre. The VIC backs on to a mud flats and river and if you are there at the right time you can see the Tidal Bore come in. Which is the tide pushing the river water ahead of it as the tide comes in. We were too early, the next high tide was going to be at 4:52 pm. So we thought of going to Hopewell Rocks but that is about an hour away from Moncton. Oh! What to do. Tegan wanted to go to the Zoo which was about 15 minutes away and so we decided to do that. It is now about 12:30 so we will only have till 3:30 or 4:30 and then we have to be back at the TIC for the Tidal Bore. I made a mistake, had to accept it, but I did and I thought the tide was in at 4:52 pm and so I rushed the girls to get them back on time. This Title Bore, I am told is something to watch at 8-18 inches of wave coming up the river. Well we get back and I find out high tide isn’t until 5:52 pm so we had as it turns out a 90 minute wait. So that cost me dinner out. There was a nice restaurant right next door to the TIC and we had dinner there. None of us were too hungry. Willa had the fish and chips, which they batter themselves. Tegan had the creamy seafood chowder. I had the Acadian sea food chowder. The restaurant was a high end restaurant and the prices a little high but it was close by. I debated about the Acadian seafood chowder, because it was something new, but the gal that served us said it was good and never had a complaint. So lets go for it. It was the best chowder I’ve had so far and I know I have said this before. It is done in a spicy thin broth with a lots of sea food, whole lobster claw, large shrimp, scallops, steamed mussels, and I think some other fish. It was absolutely delicious. Tegan’s was good also but only ranked second best on her list. A very thick white chowder with lots of cream and maybe just a little too thick. We waited for and watched the Tidal Bore come in but must say it was interesting but somewhat of a let down. 8 to 18 inches sounds like a lot but not when you spread it over a 200-300 foot mud river and the bore was only about 8 inches or so. But it was interesting. Met a chap there and we got talking about where we are from. He was from eastern Ontario and we got talking about family trees. His last name is MacIntosh and his 6 or so great grandfather back was quietly famous. Do you recognize the name “John MacIntosh”. I thought not, he started the MacIntosh apple. Amazing what you find out when you talk to people. Well from the TIC we headed for the Hopewell Rocks. This area has the highest tidal changes in the world 25-35 feet, I am told. Well we are there for High Tide and the place closes at 8:00 pm and it is now 7:15 pm but the ticket is good for the next day also. So we walk down to the rocks which is about a 15-30 minute walk. Interesting but not much to see unless you see both ends of the tide which is what we will do. We’ll come back tomorrow and see it at low tide so you can walk all around the rocks. Driving into the Hopewell Rocks the motorhome started to make a loud noise like the muffler has a hole in it. So when we pull up and park I crawl under to see what the problem is. The Oxygen Sensor which screws into the exhaust pipe from the manifold, can you believe, fell out. Luckily the wire connecting it to the motorhome held it so I didn’t loose it. I tried as best as I could to put it back but I think the threads are stripped. Sure enough 5 minutes down the road sounds like a big hole in the muffler. We get to the campsite and I crawl under with wrenches to see if I can fix it, but the threads are shot and will need a garage to look at it. This is a problem for tomorrow. The campsite we are in is nice and has wifi but only at the office and guess where Tegan is with my laptop and why this is being written a day late. Willa decided to take advantage of the laundry right behind us and that is where she spent her evening. On that note I will say good night.