Lonnie and Sue - Traveling North America

Touring Ontario in 2004

You can read it through or select specific locations below.

07-10-04SatDay 22Out at: 11:30 AMTrip meter: 108

Headed for Canada.

There is a toll bridge at the border. Crossed into Ontario. It took 30 minutes to get to and through the immigration booths on the highway. We got selected for a vehicle search. Six immigration officials swarmed the coach and jeep. They didn’t find anything but we still had to go through an immigration check before they would let us go – search and immigrations took 45 minutes. We were the only ones selected for search during the time we waited in line to clear the highway booth. I believe the reason we were selected was because we did not have a campground reservation, did not have an itinerary, and was not sure when we would be leaving Canada. The extremely young lady that was working the booth just could not understand how we could be traveling that way and she was also concerned because our last names were different.  Sue kept her last name when we married. 

We exchanged our money before leaving the checkpoint - $258 Canadian for $200 US. Stopped at the visitor’s center, about ½ mile from the checkpoint, and picked up 2 bags of brochures for Ontario. Departed the visitor’s center at 2:10. Headed for London.

Bridge into Canada at Port Huron, MI.  Iat was stop and go traffic.
There are a number of different highways in Canada i.e. Kings Highway, Regional Highway, County Highway, etc., but found out that they call all of the highways “the” so hereafter I will refer to all highways as ”the”.  Taking the 402 east.  The 402 is a real good highway.  It is 102 km long and ends where it is merged into the 401 east.  It enters the 401 east at exit 186 and we got off at exit 189 for London.  Drove through town about 15 km to the campground 

We are staying in the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority park of Fanshawe Conservation Area, London, ON.  We stayed 5 nights.  We picked up a map of the Conservation Area parks and there appear to more of them than there are Provincial parks.  There are 650 sites in the park.  They have areas for seasonal parking here that look pretty trashy because of the old trailers that are parked close together with junk stacked around them.  It looks like a small trailer park in the low rent area.  I estimate that about 250 to 300 of the 650 sites are for seasonal parking.  However, the area along the lake is seasonal but that area does not look bad because the trailers are strung out along the shoreline and not stacked in sardine style. 

The transit portion of the park is really nice with big rolling green grass, a lot of big tall trees, and plenty of space at each site.  There is a table and fire hole at each site.  We are in site #469 and have 30 amp electric and water, is about 100 feet long, 40 feet wide, level, and all grass.  Everything here is grass.   

From this point on all funds listed will be in Canadian.  When we arrived we got $129.00 for $100.00 at the money exchange.  In the visitors center they were giving $132.00 for $100.00.  We have decided that for ease of conversion we will use $130 to $100.  That is a multiplier of .77.   

Can not get satellite here.  Got a signal strength of 59 but could not get a picture.  We have DirecTv with an 18" dish.

07-11-04SunDay 23 - Left camp at 11:30 going sightseeing.  Stopped at the Fanshawe Pioneer Village located in the conservation area where the campground is located.  It is suppose to represent a village in the mid 1800’s.  There were about 25 buildings – several were closed for renovation – five had interpreters.  At 12:25 PM all of the interpreters closed down for lunch and we could not get into two of the buildings.  It was a nice exhibit – we saw several things we had not seen before.  See photos 

We drove downtown looking for the visitor’s center.  It was closed – will go back tomorrow.  There was some kind of festival going on in Victoria Park – a large city park about 2 blocks long.  We parked and walked to it.  It was the “Sun Festival”, a multi-cultural festival held annually.  There were at least 200 booths of which about 50% were clothes, very bright colors – about 30% were of African artifacts i.e. wooden carvings – about 10% had jewelry – about 10% assorted merchandise.  In addition to the merchandise booths there were 30 to 40 booths with food.  The cuisine covered many cultures such as Hungarian, Afghanistan, Vietnamese, and Greek just to name a few.  There were also 4 stages with continuous entertainment.  As we were leaving 3 of the stages were featuring African music and 1 had Greek.  Sue said she thought she had heard jazz on one of them during our stay there.  Next week they are having a bluegrass and country festival.  See photos

Went to the Meadow Lane Winery in St Thomas, 18 km south of London.  They make mostly fruit wines – all of the grape wines are dry.  They rated the sweetness of the wines at 0 thru 5.  The grape wines were all 0.  We purchased one bottle of Kiwi and two bottles of Cranberry, both rated at 3.  Cost was $10.95 per bottle with a 25-cent deposit per bottle.  Had a long visit with the lady working there – she and her husband own the winery.  Picked up a list of other wineries in the area – there are 4 more.  However 3 of them are to far away to go to and the other one, located in London, required an appointment.   

Stopped at the grocery store and purchased wienies.  Going to have a wienie roast tonight.  Went to the camp store and purchased 2 bags of firewood.  When I got it back to camp found out it was not logs, just cut up 2 by material.  Had a fire anyway and roasted wienies. 

07-12-04MonDay 24 - Left camp at 12:30 PM and went to the visitor’s center.  Got a brochure listing attractions in London and a city map.  We asked about the double decker bus tour – it only runs once a day at 10 AM.  We will be there tomorrow morning.   

Went to the Covent Garden Market, located about 4 blocks from the visitor’s center.  The building and outside area covers ½ of a city block.  There were quite a number of ethnic eating places inside – probably covering at least 20 cultures.  There were also what we would consider the old style meat markets and vegetable markets.  It was quite an experience.  We ate lunch there.  I had something called a Sirloin Pie and Sue had a Chicken Wrap – both good.  However, after we had eaten we did find an oriental place, one of several, which had some very interesting dishes.  We probably would have eaten there if we had found it first.  It was located in a back corner – we had just missed it as we toured the market prior to selecting a place to eat.   

Drove out to Springbank Park.  Storybook Garden is located there and was one of the attractions listed in the brochure.  We went there because most of the other attractions were all closed on Monday’s.  We did not go in because Storybook Garden is a children’s amusement park.  We did drive around the park - it is just over 2 miles long and ¼ mile wide.  The inner park road went along the Thames River.  We saw a lot of ducks and Canada geese – in fact had to stop and let a group of geese cross the road.  They apparently have no fear of humans because people were walking among them.   

Stopped at the Civic Garden Complex and toured the Elmo Curtis Garden and the Rayner Gardens.  Took the walking trail, about ¼ mile, and viewed some really large trees. Tried to get into the conservatory but it closed at 3 PM.  Only open from 12 to 3 each day.   

07-13-04TueDay 25  - We are going to make the 10 AM double decker bus tour so departed camp at 9:10 AM .  The tour took 2 hours.  We toured the downtown area and the guide pointed out historical buildings.  We went out to Springbank Park and were allowed to go into Storybook Garden for 15 minutes.  We were correct – it is a children’s amusement park.  The return trip was through the University of Western Ontario campus.  See photos 

Driving around town we had noticed a lot of city parks.  The guide gave us some insight on the parks.  She said there were 2,500 acres of parks in London with 1,000 acres of that being along the Thames river.  Springbank is about 350 acres of the 1,000 – I had noted yesterday that the park was over 2 miles long and about ¼ mile wide.  Springbank is the oldest park in London.  Victoria Park, where we were Sunday, covers only 35 acres.  It is the oldest park in downtown. 

There are a lot of bicycles in the downtown area.  Since it is reasonably close to the university campus we suspect they are primarily students.  We have also seen a lot of men going without their shirts in the downtown area.  They are not students – just middle-aged men. 

I had parked in the Galleria parking garage so we went through the Galleria.  There were quite a few empty stores.  However, one of the stores was the most unusual we have ever seen.  It was called “Bulk Barrel”.  There were approximately 500 containers with bulk products of pastas, fruit drink mixes, dried fruit, candies, cake mixes, cereal, spices, nuts, vegetables, jelly, peanut better, just to name a few.  They had a container of jawbreakers – the jawbreakers were the size of a tennis ball – also had regular sized jawbreakers.  We purchased some chocolate-coated banana slices.  They were real good.  See photos 

At this point I need to make a comment about the city blocks and street numbering system.  There does not appear to be any standard size.  All of the downtown blocks are sizeable and the further from downtown the more erratic they become.  Some are rather short, and others are ½ mile long.  The street numbers start at 1 and run until the street changes names.  Example – when the number reaches 99 the next number is 101 and when it reaches 199 the next number is 201.  The numbers run consecutively with complete disregard to cross streets.    

Stopped at one of the police stations.  I have observed the majority of the cars running with lights on.  I wanted to know if there was a law requiring it.  The answer is NO.   

Went to the Guy Lombardo museum but it was closed until tomorrow.  We had gone there yesterday and it was closed – Monday is the normal closing day for all London museums.  It was suppose to be open today but there was a handwritten notice stating it was closed today.  Will try again tomorrow.  

Stopped at the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum.  This was the first regiment in Canada and was established in 1883 under Queen Victoria.  The regiment uses the symbol “VRI” which stands for “Victoria Regina Imperatrix” which means Her Majesty Queen Victoria.  They were authorized to use it on May 24, 1894.  We did not get through all of it before we had to leave – it was closing.  This is a most interesting museum so will return tomorrow and complete the tour.    

Gas went up 7 cents a liter last night. 

As Sue and I were taking our walk around the campground a man called us over – said he thought he knew me – he didn’t.  He and his wife were having a beer on their patio – they have a permanent spot – have had it for the last 5 years.  His name was Thomas and hers was Sylvia.  They emigrated from Ireland in mid 1960 – he retired in 1994 after 26 years with Ford and she retired shortly after as a legal secretary.  They live 12 minutes from the park.  We had a beer with them and a very interesting conservation.  

07-14-04WedDay 26 - Yesterday was a beautiful day in the high 80’s – last night we had lightning, rain, and wind.  I had to get up and retract the awning.  The weather report last night was rain for the next three days.  As I sat at the table and look out at the campsite across the street the campers are cutting up their last two pallets.  When we got here they had a 5-foot stack and have been using them for firewood.  They are real outdoors people – they are using a circular saw to cut up the pallets – there is a popup camper and two tents on the site.  The son was using the circular saw but the mother did not think he was doing it right.  She made the father take over the sawing.  Makes me wonder how many ways you can miscut a pallet you are using for firewood.  

Left camp at 10:45 AM going to town.  Arrived at the RCR Museum at 11:15 AM and got out at 1:30 PM.  I asked about the difference between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the RCR since they were both in the Yukon during the 1896 gold rush.  The RCMP is the national police force and the RCR is the army.  The RCR was sent to the Yukon to supplement and assist the RCMP to enforce national law.    

Stopped at the Guy Lombardo Museum – it was open today.  Just a small building with one room.  Saw a 20 minute tape and looked at some memorabilia.  Very interesting.  

Stopped for lunch.  They had a salmon steak special so I had it.  All I have had to date are salmon filets.  This was not a filet.  They took the fish, laid it out flat, then sliced it up like a salami.  It still had the skin on it and all the bones in it.  Tasted good but was certainly different from anything I have had before.   

Returned to camp.  It is still raining – not hard, just a steady sprinkle.  Our touring here was 208 miles.   


07-15-04 ThurDay 27Out at: 11:30 AMTrip meter: 101
      Touring Port Rowan from here

Broke camp in a light rain - the wind is blowing.
We stopped for groceries. There is a vast difference in the price of groceries. For instance beef is extremely high – rib eye is about $15.00 per pound – the Ruby Red grapefruit is $3.50 a bottle. However, some items are extremely cheap compared to US prices – Minute Maid frozen orange juice was 97 cents – a pecan pie for $3.95 cents – nectarines were 94 cents a pound. A lot of the baked goods and fruits are a lot higher or a lot cheaper than US prices. I’m sure there is a reason for it but the reason is not apparent. Maybe it is just the taste of the population. 

Going to the shores of Lake Erie – will decide where to camp when we get there. Took the 401 west to exit 177. Took the 4 south to Port Stanley. Suppose to take the 24 east out of Port Stanley but we drove straight through town without seeing it. Ended up on the beach – stopped for lunch. Took a walk on the beach and then down a road that bordered the lake. I talked to an older man that was fishing – wanted to know what he was fishing for. He fishes for yellow perch. He caught one yesterday that was 15 inches long and weighed about 3 pounds. Apparently this type perch is not like the perch I am familiar with. We had “all you can eat” fish for dinner tonight that was only $7.99. They had yellow perch on the menu that was $12.99. I believe the yellow perch may be similar to our trout or bass.

Went back into town but did not find the 24 but did find the 23 going east so we took it. The 23 is not even on the map. Found the 24 east about a ½ mile from the center of town – took it to Port Bruce. At Port Bruce took the 73 a couple of km to Copenhagen then east on the 42. Copenhagen is not on the map.

During the drive we have seen fields of wheat, corn, beans, fields that may be carrots (found out later that it was not carrots but was asparagus), and fields that may be tobacco. We stopped and asked about the fields that we suspect is tobacco and it is. It is a shorter plant than that grown in Kentucky. The farmer told me the name of this type but I’m not sure how to spell it so will spell it the way it sounds – “flu cured”. The crop is planted and harvested by machines. It has to be dried but is not hung up to dry. It is stored in small buildings called kilns and dried with forced air heat.

Stayed on the 42 to the junction of the 59 just west of Port Rowan. Took the 59 north to the Long Point Provincial Park west of the town of Long Point, ON. Staying 2 nights. Got parked and setup at 4:45 PM. Setup in the rain. This site is about 40 feet deep and 80 feet wide – just opposite of how it should be. This is a marginal campground that could have been made much better by slanting the sites instead of having them perpendicular to the narrow roads that separate the sites. Have electric only.

Drove into Port Rowan and looked around. Located the post office – it was closed – will return tomorrow and get the address of a town for Karen [Karen is our daughter] to send our mail. This is a real neat town. The majority of the town appears to be quite old – probably early 1900’s. The population is about 1,000. The houses on the outer perimeter are newer – probably 50’s to 80’s. There is one new addition of about 50 houses that are late 80’s – built 4 feet apart, and so close to the street that the cars touch the garage door and the street. There is no way a suburban could be parked in the driveway unless the garage door was open. One thing we noticed was that all of the houses we looked at, with the exception of one that was vacant, had flowers in the front yard. There are even hanging baskets from the city light poles on main street. Nighttime and its still raining.  See Photos.

07-16-04FriDay 28 - Went to the post office in Port Rowan and got the general delivery address for Port Hope, a small town east of Toronto. Will get Karen to forward our mail there. Went to the library but it is closed until 2 PM. Walked the business part of town, one block, and had an ice cream cone. Bought groceries and returned to camp. I took a chair to the beach and read – Sue stayed in the coach.

Returned to Port Rowan and went to the library. Checked email. Had five Canadian purchases posted. I checked the conversion and they ran between .763 and .765. The conversion rate we have been using of .77 is really close.

Purchased some pork ribs for less than $1 per pound.  Cooked them over the fire and they were the toughest meat we have ever tried to eat.  Now we know why they were less than $1 per pound.  Touring this stop was 72 miles.

07-17-04SatDay 29Out at:  12:25 PMTrip meter:  53

Departed camp and went back to the 42 east.  Took it into Port Rowan then took a road without a highway number – a sign said Talbot Trail – the street sign calls it Front Road.  After about 10 miles of beautiful scenery we ran into the 10.  Took it south about 1 mile and ran into the town of Turkey Point.  Turkey Point ends at the coast so we circled around town then went back out the 10.  Turned back east on Front Road.  Followed Front Road another 5 miles then headed north to intersect a regional highway.  Front Road runs along the coastline of Lake Erie but is limited in vehicle weight to 5 ton per axle.  Our rear axle is about 8 ton.  Even though this is a beautiful drive believed we should get back on a road that is for our vehicle weight. 

Intersected the 24 and went east – intersected with the 6 and took it to Port Dover.  They were having a Fishfest in Port Dover but the town was so crowded we could not find a parking space so did not stop for the festivities.  However, did talked to one of the natives and found out that on every Friday the 13th there is a major gathering of motorcycles in town.  The last gathering was about 5,000 bikes and the town has a population of less than 2,000 people.  During that weekend cars, except the ones owned by the townsfolk, are not allowed in town.   

Stayed on the 6 until it intersected with the 3.  Took the 3 to Selkirk – stopped at the Selkirk Provincial Park, Selkirk, ON – stayed  2 nights.  Got setup at 3 PM.  This is another beautiful park.  Our site is about 60 feet deep and 125 feet wide with a gravel parking slab.  However, the way they have the slab angled I could just barely able to clear the road with the front of the coach.  The electric and water connections were over 50 feet away.  After we got setup I noticed that other vehicles had been parking on the grass closer to the hookups. 

Set outside, read, and napped.  Took a long walk around the campground and down to the beach.

07-18-04SunDay 30 - It rained again last night.  I got up at 2:08 AM and put our chairs under the slideout.   

Talked to a young couple that was packing up to leave.  They had been to Newfoundland and said the weather had been “RDF”.  That means rain, drizzle, and fog.  They also said this has been an unusually rainy year.   

Departed camp at 12:30 PM and went to a marina restaurant and had fish and chips for lunch.  Went to Cayuga to go to the Ruthven Park National Historical Site.  It is a 1,500 acre estate that was built in 1845 on the Grand River.  The Thompson family lived there until 1993 – the house is still furnished with the family’s furniture and personal possessions.  We got there at 2:15 PM and the next tour was not until 3:00 PM.  They would not let us in the house without an escort so we had to leave without touring the house.   

Went to see the Canadian Drilling Rig Museum at Rainham Centre.  The rig has been reconstructed – it is a gas-drilling rig.  An old gentleman who worked in the gas fields escorted us through.  He was also one of the people who reconstructed the rig.  Very interesting.   

Stopped and bought two rib eye steaks - $12.50 per lb.  Returned to camp – started a fire – cooked the steaks over the coals. 

Talked to the couple across the street.  They had 2 children with them – had a 25’ travel trailer - they live 30 minutes away on the Grand River.  We discussed the weather and they said this is the coldest wettest season they could ever remember.  Said they could not get the tractors in the field.  (We have noticed the wheat in the fields that should already have been harvested but has not).  Touring this stop was 54 miles. 

07-19-04MonDay 31Out at:  10:30 AMTrip meter:  58      Touring Niagara Falls from here

Heading for Ridgeway.  Headed east on the 3 – went through the town of Byng.  Not often you see a word without a vowel.  The 3 intersected the 116 and we took the 116 into Ridgeway.  Rained on us again.  

Arrived at the Windmill Point Park, Ridgeway, ON – have electric and water; stayed 5 nights.   We will tour Niagara Falls from this campground.  See Photos.

We drove into the town of Fort Erie.  Want to go see the “Fort Erie” fort but not in the rain.  Drove around town.  Stopped and looked at the Niagara River.  The water is real clear.  All of the lake and river water we have seen up to now has been really dirty.  

Stopped at the Dolls House Gallery.  There were over 100 dollhouses fully furnished with over half being from the 1800’s.  A lot of the furnishings were hand carved.  One in particular was about 100% hand carved from old cigar boxes and the detail work was fantastic.  Very interesting tour.  We took a lot of pictures but the quality was very poor so am not going to post any.  

We drove around Ridgeway then returned to camp.  The park is located at an old quarry – the quarry is stocked with fish.  Since it is a private pond no fishing license is required.  I talked to a man that was fishing and he said the pond was stocked with trout, perch, and bass.  The trout are biting on worms and the bass on crawfish and minnows.  He is not catching any perch

I went fishing.  Cast using artificial minnows and spinners.  After about 45 minutes the man I had talked to earlier came over and said there were not any fish in the area I was fishing.  He invited me to fish with him – there is a hole where he is fishing.  When I got there with my rig he chuckled and said I would not catch any fish here with what I had.  He gave me a fly – I cut my line and put it on – put a worm on the fly – went fishing.  The only thing I caught was a perch – he said it was worth about $8.00 – I gave him the perch.  He caught 6 trout while I was fishing with him.  About the time we discovered I was casting outside the hole he was fishing in the fish stopped biting. 

07-20-04TueDay 32Left camp at 10:50 AM – going to tour the old Fort Erie in the town of Fort Erie.  We’re camped just off Dominion Road – it runs into Fort Erie.  When we got to the fort the tour had just left – they run on the hour.  We decided to go on to Niagara Falls and do the fort another day.  Drove to Niagara Falls via the Niagara Parkway.  It is a scenic road that runs from Fort Erie to Niagara On The Lake – a drive of about 35 miles.  Just this drive would make the trip worthwhile.  It is 16 miles from Fort Erie to the Falls.  

Continued on to “Niagara On The Lake” to toured wineries.  When we got within a couple of miles of town we started seeing roadside fruit stands.  We stopped and purchased a small box of cherries.  There is a wine trail with 16 wineries indicated so we took it.  Stopped at the following wineries:

Riverview Cellars Winery – bought 2 bottles – one red and one white.

Inniskillin – saw several hundred acres of grapes – had a large tasting room – a self guided tour with 27 different stations to stop at and read about the process of wine making – and a huge processing plant.  All of their wine, except for two were, extremely dry.  They charge a $1.00 per taste but there was a tour bus in and the tour was getting free taste – we had one on the tour but did not buy anything.  All of their dry wines were over $20.00 per bottle.  This is by far the best looking winery we have seen in any of our wine stops ever.  To bad we didn't care for any of btheir wine,

Reif Estate Winery – there was a tour bus in and it was really crowded.  It appeared their wine was mostly dry and they also charged for tasting.  We left without tasting or purchasing.

Caroline Cellers – purchased one bottle.

Pillitteri Estates Winery – they made about 25 different wines and 21 of those were dry, dry, dry.  We did purchase two bottles of a red @ $8.00 per a bottle – the cheapest wine we have ever purchased at a winery. 

Joseph’s Estate Wine – tasting cost $1.00 to taste 3 wines.  We purchased three bottles.  This winery was established in 1811.

We picked up additional material about wineries that indicate there are about 50 wineries in this part of Canada.  At least 20 of those are within a 15-minute drive from our last stop.  However, we plan on stopping at wineries in other parts of Canada and we will have to drink up the wine we purchased today before returning home.  We can only take 4 bottles of wine back into the US duty free.  

Went downtown for lunch and then walked around main street. Sue purchased a Christmas tree ornament from the Christmas Shop. Drove down to the lakeshore and saw a lot of sailboats. The marina is at the mouth of the Niagara River where it opens into Lake Ontario. The Niagara Falls jet boat tours depart from this marina. Headed back to camp. Stopped at the floral clock just north of Niagara Falls. Stopped and looked at the whirlpool and the Aero Car. The part of the Niagara Parkway that goes through the town of Niagara Falls is called River Road. See Photos.


07-21-04
WedDay 33 
- Departed camp at 9:10 AM.  Stopped at old Fort Erie to purchase tickets for the Niagara Falls tour but they don’t open until 10:00.  Took the Queen Elizabeth Way highway (QEW) to the Falls.    

There are a number of different tours available but we decided to buy the one offered by the Niagara Falls Park Service.  Parked at an all day lot .  It was about 4 blocks above the Falls.  The downhill walk was like the worst streets in San Francisco.   

Discovered there are several ticket stands scattered along River Road.  Tickets are also available at any of the attractions.  We purchased the $34.95 plan.  You are not stuck in a tour bus working on a tour schedule.  This tour uses a bus system called “People Movers”.  It is just a citi bus system that travels alone the road and stops at all of the attractions.  Tickets are also available for the system for $7.50 if a person chooses not to purchase the attractions.  We saw the following attractions:


The Floral Clock at Niagara Falls.
Journey Behind the Falls” at Table Rock Point – there is a large observation deck that allows you to see both Falls.  The American Falls fall between 70 and 110 feet and lands on a table of huge boulders at the bottom.  The water then cascades down to the river.  The boulders are the results of the Falls breaking off.  The Canadian Falls fall 176 feet into the “Maid of the Mist” pool.  There is mist coming up from both Falls but the mist on the Canadian side is so dense it obstructs the view of the Falls.  The mist covers River Road for about ½ mile – I had to run the wipers when we drove through that section.  

The “Journey” begins at Table Rock.  Table Rock was a formation that projected out over the river.  It collapsed in 1855 but still retains the name.  It’s a 125-foot elevator ride to the tunnel.  At the bottom you receive a yellow rain coat.  There are 650 feet of tunnel that was constructed in 1903.  One section goes out to the side of the Falls.  There is an observation deck and you can see behind the Falls and across to the American Falls.  You get wet here.  Then there is a side tunnel that goes behind the falls with two portals that allow you to get within about 20 feet of the falling water.  Nothing to see but very loud.  The tunnel is just 25 feet above the river.  There are 2 elevators.

A couple of points of interest.  August 7, 1918 a barge got marooned in the river - it’s still there.  In the winter the river would freeze and it was the main artery between Canada and the US.  On February 12, 1912 the falls froze solid.  From 1895 to 1935 the Great Gorge Railroad operated along the river shore down in the gorge – they carried over 13 million passengers.  On September 17, 1935 a section of the wall collapsed and dumped 5,000 ton of rock on it.  I overheard a tour guide say that the Falls are eroding at the rate of 2 miters per year.

Maid of the Mist” – there is a lot of walking involved down a ramp to the elevators.  Then there is a 120 feet elevator ride – there are 4 elevators.  When you get off you receive a blue raincoat and then walk down another long ramp to the dock.  This was a real exciting ride.  There were about 500 people on the boat.  We got on early and got to the front of the boat.  It went up into the falls and held position about 10 minutes – got really wet.  It was like being in a blowing rain but the water was coming up, not down.  This was the mist that is generated when the falling water hit bottom.  To determine how far we went towards the falls draw a line from each side of the outer limits of the falls and we were inside that.  Up more ramps and an elevator ride to get out.

White Water Walk” – went down about 140 feet in the elevator.  A note about this elevator.  It is the only one they had – it is the old style that were popular in the 20’s – double door – elevator operator with the big handle that makes it go up and down – about 10 people per trip.  We came out on an observation platform about 30 feet above the river.  The river is 35 feet deep and running at 22 miles per hour.  The river drops 52 feet within the next mile.  The river is extremely turbulent here.  A lot of white caps that appear to be about 10 feet high.  It looks like water flowing over rock but its not – just the turbulence of the water washing back on itself because of the volume and narrow passage.  There is ¼ mile of boardwalk that goes alongside the river.  At the end there are concrete steps that allows you to get within 4 feet of the river.  At this point the water is boiling up just like water boils in a pot.  Sue got some video with her camera.


Butterfly Conservatory” – Sue took so many pictures and videos at the Falls that the camera ran out of memory.  We watched a 7-minute video on the conservatory.  Sue erased several of the videos she had taken so that she could take some butterfly pictures.  They advertised a collection of over 2,000 butterflies.  We didn’t count but they had a lot and they were gorgeous.  Did a tour of the grounds.  They had a huge rose garden, vegetable garden, herb garden, rock garden, and much more.  The Conservatory is located at the “Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture”.  This has been a school of horticulture since 1935 and the students maintain the gardens and grounds as a part of the course work.  Used all of the camera memory on the butterflies so didn’t get any rose pictures.  

Returned to town.  Road the incline railway that took us up 3 blocks – only had to walk uphill one block to the parking lot.  We were parked next to the IMAX.  Went in to see when the next showing was – 53-minute wait so we left.  Will see it Friday.  Left the parking lot at 6:15 PM and returned to camp via the parkway.  There was a large rainbow coming out of the mist as we left town. 

Comments about the Falls – there is a wonderful view of the Falls from anywhere in town.  There is a walkway that starts before the Falls and runs along the gorge edge for miles.  You can get a perfect view of the Falls and surrounding area without spending any money.  If we return again, we’ll park at the Butterfly Conservatory, purchase our ticket there, and use the people mover.  That will be much less walking for parking and also cheaper. 

 
The 12 miles of parkway back to Fort Erie contains about 75 picnic tables.  About half of those were in use and it appears they were being used by the locals, not travelers.  It is a beautiful setting for an outdoor dinner. 

07-22-04ThurDay 34 - Went fishing this morning.  Landed 2 trout and 2 got away.  I used the net to land the first one.  The second broke the line about 5 feet out.  The third shook the hook while I was trying to get the net on it.  I used the line to pull the fourth one in.  Sue filleted them – neither one of us really know how.  At 2:05 PM we went to the library.  Checked email, got bank statement, and I did a search on how to filet a trout and for receipts.  

Going to Wal-Mart and get a filet knife.  While looking for the 3 off of the QEW we ended up back at immigration at the Peace Bridge.  I did a U-turn where one was not authorized and got stopped by immigration.  They told me I should have gone back through the booths.  I pointed out that there was not any way for me to get in line since the lines were backed up on the bridge.  (I personally don’t see why I should have to go back through immigrations since I had not left Canada.  They should have a U-turn for misdirected motorist).  They let us go.

07-23-04FriDay 35 - Departed camp at 1:45 PM for “Fort Erie” in the town of Fort Erie.  The fort was established in the late 1780’s on the shore of Lake Erie but it had to be rebuilt in 1803.  The ice from the lake washed up on shore and destroyed the wooden fort.  They moved it back off the shore about 300 yards and rebuild it out of stone.  The fort was of importance to us because during the War of 1812 it was captured and held for 6 months by the Americans.  They repelled several attempts by the British to recapture it.  In November 1814 the Americans vacated the fort because of the winter weather.  They set charges and blew it up when they left.  A treaty was signed in December 1814.  The fort was reconstructed in 1937.  It was an interesting tour with a very entertaining tour guide.    See Photos.

Went to the Sir Adam Beck Generating Plant (SABGP) on the Niagara River just north of Niagara Falls.  Went down in the elevator 245 feet then through a 400-foot tunnel that went under the highway.  The power plant office is on one side of the highway and the generating plant on the other.  There are two plants – SABGP #1 was constructed in 1937 and #2 in 1950.  We were in plant #2.  The plants draw water from Lake Erie via a canal and two 45 feet tunnels to power the plants.  They are in the process of upgrading #2 to generate more electricity.  Since they will need more water a third tunnel is in the planing stage.  There is another power plant on the American side.  Water is supplied to it via tunnels.  Canada and the US share water on a 50/50 basis.  Since a huge amount of water is needed to keep the Falls looking good in the daytime, only a portion of the water needed to run the power plants is diverted to them during the day.  At 10 PM each night the amount of water to the Falls is reduced and pumped into reservoirs at the plants on each side.  Then when the flow of water is reduced again at 7 AM, the water in the reservoirs are used to supplement the amount that is released from Lake Erie during the day to supply the full amount needed to operate the plants.  They had one of the generators dissembled – it was quite interesting.  


Stopped at “Feathers In The Glen”, a road side park located next to whirlpool bend. It was about a 250-foot drop to the river. There were nature trails to the river. The trails started at the base of 60 feet of steel steps. I took the walk down to the river – Sue stayed on top. I would have liked to do it in about 4 hours and explore all of the trails but did a round trip in about 30 minutes. Only rested about 2 minutes during the entire climb.  Went to IMAX and saw a movie called “Niagara – The Myth And The Magic”. W
ent to the Casino for dinner and had the buffet . I had a 10-oz prime rib, about 1-lb of large shrimp, and a 6-oz salmon filet. Sue had soup, about ½-lb of large shrimp, and a plate full of Italian cuisine. We both pigged out on desert.

Went to the walkway along the Falls and watched the lights and fireworks. They kept changing the colors on the Canadian Falls but not much on the American Falls. On the Canadian side they are only lighting up the water on each side of the Fall – not in the middle where the mist is – made it look like two Falls. The fireworks were as good as the one we saw at the rally. Overall it was quite a show. There are several thousand people on the walkway.
Our touring this stop was 317 miles. 

The Canadian Falls, lighted at night.  Notice the mist rising like steam from the foot of the falls.
07-24-04  – SatDay 36Out at: 10:45 AMTrip meter:  64            Touring Hamilton &Toronto from here

Taking the 3 west. At Chambers Corners picked up the 24 to the QEW. Entered the QEW at Vineland. Looks like it may be a town of about 4,000 people. There are roadside fruit stands and orchards all through town. It looks like the town grew up around the orchards. We passed a lot of vineyards and orchards on the way into town on the 24. We got on the QEW at exit 57. Both sides of the QEW are covered with vineyards and orchards all the way to exit 64. We saw highway signs for 6 wineries at exit 64 and 5 more wineries at exit 68. Looks like a lot of wine makers in this part of the country. The speed limit is 100 km/h – I have my cruise set at 100 and everything on the highway is passing me. Got off at exit 88 – arrived at Confederation Park, Hamilton, ON – got set up at 1:55 PM. Staying 4 nights . This is a conservation park. Our site is a pull-thru, is about 125’ x 50’, and has electric and water. Our site is level and it looks like all of the sites are also - another beautiful park.
See photos.

Hamilton is on the south side of Toronto. We will be staying here for 4 nights then moving to a campground north of Toronto for another 2 nights. Will tour Toronto out of both locations.

There is a large water park next to the campground. On the other side of the water park is a beach area with parking for about 400 cars. It has a beach bar and grill – they sell beer at this park. We walked down to the beach. The beach is only about 10 feet deep and is gravel and rock. There was driftwood, beer and soda cans, aluminum plates, and other assorted junk on the beach. It’s not a place I would go to relax and have fun. However, one lady was having fun. She was smoking something. It had a wooden tube about 1 foot long attached to a hose that was attached to a container that was setting on a little stove. Dope of some variety???.

We drove around Hamilton. Downtown is full of quaint old style buildings. Outside Hamilton, the part we drove around, is industrial and slum. We will look at more of Hamilton another day. Located the tourist office and will go there tomorrow inroute to Toronto.

07-25-04SunDay 37 - Departed camp at 10:00 AM. Drove into Hamilton but the tourist office was closed. Drove to Toronto by way of the bridge that went over the ship canal northwest of Hamilton and tied in with the QEW.

Beach at Confederation Park in Hamilton. just south of Toronto.
Went to Dr Flea’s, an indoor flea market. There is a large fresh fruit and vegetable market in the parking lot in front of the flea market – it is a part of the market. The food court inside is so diversified it could be in the UN. This market contained meat markets, barber shops, beauty shops, coin booths, drink booths, food booths, soda fountains, tailor shop, baby furniture, bedroom and living room furniture, jewelry, perfume, shoes, candies, nuts, clothes, trading cards, luggage, electronics, house ware, purses, wigs, lamps, overhead lighting, aquariums, flowers, draperies, cookware, clocks, watches, movies, tools, toys, just to name a few. All of these were new items. There was no system of order in the booths.  In one roll there was a drink booth, a barbershop, a pastry booth, a pet booth, and a meat market – all in a row of about 50 feet.  In the rear of the building was a refrigerated case about 40 feet long that contained whole raw chickens and chicken parts.  Chicken costs around $5.00 a pound.  Saw a number of items in the fresh food market that we were not familiar with.  

When we stopped at the beach yesterday we noticed the majority of the people in attendance were Indian – noticed the same at the flea market.

After we left the flea market we took the 27 to Bloor Street, a main drag street through Toronto.  It was a nice looking neighborhood, all businesses.  There were the standard type stores you would expect to see in a downtown area plus intermixed in with them were meat markets, fruit stands, and sidewalk cafes.  Many of these businesses had permanent structures built out into the sidewalk.  A block off each side of the main drag is all residential.  

We drove through the Korean district on Bloor Street – about 10 blocks – in bumper to bumper traffic.  All kinds of sidewalk sales going and the sidewalks are extremely crowded – if you died you wouldn’t have been able to fall.  Don’t know if this is some kind of special event or just a regular Sunday.  

Went to the Royal Ontario Museum – I had a jumbo all beef hot dog before going in. Bought it from a vendor with a hot dog cart that was out front. The museum had a great collection of British furnishings from the 1400’s through the mid 1900’s - a wonderful collection of old armors, swords, and firearms (saw some old guns we had never seen before) - a colorful collection of stuffed birds – a large dinosaur collection that had been reproduced from actual skeletons. About ½ the museum was closed for a $200 million dollar revocation and expansion. 

Returned to camp on Lakeshore Drive – it turned into Beach Blvd at Hamilton. Traveled about 40 miles on the street with an average speed of 30 MPH. All of the street, except for one mile, was lined with businesses and residential – numerous stop signs and red lights. The drive took about 2 hours but was quite enjoyable. Arrived back at camp at 8:40 PM. 

07-26-04 MonDay 38 - Called and made reservation for the tall ship “Kajama”. Will board at 11:30 AM on the 29th.

Departed camp at 9:55 AM. Went into Hamilton to the tourist center and got some brochures. The shopping mall covers the ground floor for an entire block. Above it on one side is office space and on the other side is the Sheridan Hotel.

Went to the Canada Marine Discovery Centre. It is a new building that was opened either last year or this year. The landscaping is not complete and the grass was not all in. I did not care for the way the information was presented. There were a lot of exhibits but the images were all on computer screens with writing posted on the wall. I found it difficult to follow. Admission was free.

Having lunch in front of the Royal Ontario Museum.
It is overcast and the wind is getting up. There are white caps in the bay. The news just reported strong possibility of winds and rain tonight.

Went and toured the ship “HMCS Haida”. The Haida is a Tribal Class destroyer commissioned in August 1943. There were 27 of them built – 13 were sunk during WW II – 13 were scrapped – the Haida is the last one remaining. She was decommissioned after WW II but was recommissioned during the Korean War and fought for another 2 years. I did not get a total number of ships she had sunk but she sunk 11 during the spring and summer of 1944. During all the action she saw there were only 2 crew members lost. She was designated a National Historical Site in 1984. Admission was free.

Went to the Royal Botanical Gardens. There are 4 locations that make up the gardens – the RBG Centre, which includes the “Rose Garden/Hendrie Park” – “Laking Garden” – “Rock Garden” – and the “Arboretum”. The parks are connected by shuttle bus and the price of the ride is included in admission. However, we chose to drive to each.   See photos.

The RBG Centre had gardens inside the facility that we toured. The Rose Garden is in Hendrie Park that is located across the street and accessed by a tunnel. The garden and park covers about 2 city blocks. There were not many roses but the area was full of flowers and very nicely displayed. We saw quite a few flowers we were not familiar with. The garden/park is just gorgeous. If we lived here we would have membership and spend a lot of time here.

The Laking Garden is located adjacent to the RBG Centre and there was a nature trail that connected them. (The trails are in an area called Hendrie Valley and cover about 300 acres). We decided to walk over to Laking Garden instead of driving. Took off on the trail – it split into several other loops around the area. The trails rise and fall as much as 50 feet and are through a dense wooded area. Apparently we took a wrong turn for after about ½ mile we arrived back out on the street 1 block from the Centre. We decided to take the car.

It was a left turn into Laking Garden and we could not get across the street so we went on to the Rock Garden. It was also a left turn but was at an intersection. The Rock Garden is built into the side of a horseshoe shaped hill. I estimate the drop to the bottom to be about 40 to 50 feet. There is a trail going around the top of the park and 2 more rolls of walkway around the hill wall going down. Then there are 12 to 15 rolls of steps going down the wall from the top. There are 3 waterfalls coming down the hill that feeds several ponds on the bottom. The largest pond was about 125 feet long by 15 feet wide with a bridge across it. There were no fish – the water was moving at about 5 gallon per minute. There were flowers all over the hillside and around the bottom. There were three artists seated in the bottom area. This park is absolutely beautiful and extremely peaceful.

Went to Laking Garden. It is a replica of an old English garden – all perennial plants. There were about 2 acres of Iris’s but only one plant was in bloom. Then we drove over to the Arboretum. We stopped and got out at the trailhead but did not do any walking. We were both walked out. Returned to camp.

07-27-04TueDay 39 - The wind blew hard and it rained all night. We had planned to go to the “African Lion Safari” today but decided to stay in today because of the lousy weather. It rained all day long. We stayed in, read, and watched TV. Our touring this stop was 210 miles.

07-28-04WedDay 40Out at:  11:05 AMTrip meter:  64 

Hamilton is south of Toronto.  We are moving to a park on the north side of Toronto today.  It stopped raining during the night.  We started breaking camp about 10:30 AM and it was clear but overcast.  About 5 minutes later it started to rain again – finished in the rain.  As we were leaving the campground there was still a heavy sprinkle.  There were people in the water park and people going to the beach.  The fog is so heavy on the bay we can’t see Toronto.  

Got on the QEW – it’s about 1-mile from the campground.  Don’t look like it’s rained here for hours.  Got on at exit 89 – will get off at exit 139 and take the 427 north.  After about 4 miles exited at the 401 east – got off for the Campground at exit 390.  

Stopped at Glen Rouge Campground, Toronto, ON - a City Park for 2 nights.  It is a drive thru with electric and water and is fairly level.  Nice campground with a lot of trees – could not get satellite.  Got setup at 1:30 PM.  When we got setup the sky was clear and the sun was out – we put out the awning.  By 1:45 it was raining like hell.  

Went to Home Depot and got some parts to rig up a grill.  There was a hamburger joint called “Harvey’s” and a coffee shop called “Second Cup” in the covered exit area of Home Depot.  Returned to camp and read.  Build a fire – tried to cook some sausages but the wood did not make much in the way of coals.  Had to finish the sausages on the stove.  

07-29-04ThurDay 41 - Departed camp at 9:45 AM.  This is a beautiful day but when we got to the harbor at 10:20 AM there was a heavy fog.  The fog burned off by 11:00 AM.  We are at the dock for tour boats.  I count 10 tour boats out on the water and 6 tied up at the docks.  I had a hotdog purchased from a street vendor’s cart.  We are going out on the “Tall Ship Kajama” (pronounced “Ki am a”}.  This is a 3 mast ship, 165 feet long, launched in 1930 as a merchant ship, is constructed of metal, and sailed in European waters until it was relocated to Canada in 2000.  As we were waiting we noticed a lady getting ready to board wearing high heel shoes and an evening dress.  This trip there were 65 to 70 passengers and a crew of 8 (a captain, a first officer, 4 deck hands, and 2 bartenders).  The crew, with the assistance of several of the passengers, raised 2 of the sails and the jib.  The engine continued to run the entire trip at an idle except when there was a turn.  On a turn the engine was revved up.  The jib was used to catch wind but the 2 main sails raised were never let out to catch wind – just for appearance.  However, it was a wonderful ride and we highly recommend it.  The ride was 1½ hour long.    See Photos.

A lot of new buildings going up in Toronto.  From the harbor we saw 6 of the Texas State birds (construction cranes) – three of them were hoisting concrete.  When we parked the price was $8.00 for all day.  When we returned to get the car the price to park had been raised to $12.00 – they appear to charge more as the lot starts to fill.

After the boat ride we drove to the Greek section of town for lunch.  Drove through the Chinese section getting there.  They are all in the same vicinity of the Korean section we drove through several days ago.  Stopped at a Greek bakery after lunch and Sue purchased some pastry.  While driving around the various cities we have seen quite a few cafes that were advertised as internet cafes.  

As stated above, this is a nice campground, however, the interior roads in this park are the worst of any place we have ever been.  Drove the jeep 73 miles.

07-30-04FriDay 42Out at:  10:40 AMTrip meter:  130 

Heading to Kingston .  Will stop in Port Hope to pick up mail.   Did a lot of circling trying to get to the 401 east.  The road signs in Ontario are few and far between.  There will be a “Y” intersection with no indication of which way to go.  We have run into this a lot.  If you’re on the highway and have a road map it is not very difficult to figure out which way to go but in town, without a map, it is just a crap shoot on which way to go.  Also the street names change quite frequently.

Finally got on the 401.  Ran into a traffic jam at 11:36 AM.  We went 4.4 miles in 3 hrs 26 min.  There were signs out indicating it was a construction area.  The traffic was moving so slow that people were getting out of their cars and socializing, walking up and down the highway, and going to the bush to relieve themselves.  It started to rain about 2:30.  Cleared the jam at 3:02 PM.  Traffic had to be backed up at least 20 miles behind us.  

We had planned to get off at exit 461 but there were signs that indicated it was closed.  When we got to the exit it was open but we were in the wrong lane.  There was an escort vehicle that took us through the next mile.  I did not see any construction equipment except for a parked loader and a wheelbarrow.  However, there were a few men working on an overpass – don’t see how it could effect traffic.  We got off at exit 464.  

Stopped at the A&P in Port Hope and got some groceries and directions to the post office.  Got our mail.  Had trouble getting out of town because the traffic from the 401 was detouring through town.  About 10 minutes into the traffic jam there was an exit off the 401 to the 2 and the 2 goes through Port Hope.  We nearly followed a truck that way but am glad we didn’t because we could see the traffic from the 401 and we were going faster than they were.  It is bumper to bumper traffic in town.  A trucker stopped me and gave me directions to bypass a lot of the traffic – it really worked and saved us a lot of time.  

Detoured through town and picked up the 2 east.  Intersected with the 64.  At the 33 took it east.  The rain has been light to moderate ever since it started.  At the 1 took it to the 10.  At the 12 took it to Sandbanks Provincial Park, ON.  Have electricity but no water – wanted 3 nights but could only get it for one – tall trees on all sides – just had enough room to back in and open the slides – had to level – no satellite.  Set up in the rain.  Got soaked while registering because I had to stand outside.  

A note about the “u pick em” farms.  We have seen a lot of roadside signs for this type farm.  In Toronto they even had them listed in the tour books and on the Kings Highway signs.  In relation to this, there are a lot of roadside fruit stands operated by these farm owners.

Found out on the news that the traffic jam had been caused by an auto accident that killed one and injured two.  Traffic was backed-up for 6 hours.  Only drove the jeep 3 miles this stop. 

07-31-04SatDay 43Out at:  10:50 AMTrip meter:  49

It rained real hard last night but had stopped by the time we had to break camp.  Drove into Picton and picked up the 33.  Picton is packed with people.  We have been told that this is the biggest weekend of the year – Aug 1st is Civic Day.  Took the 33 six miles to the ferry.  It is a free ferry.  There are 2 ferries and they each make a trip every 15 minutes.  We took the 33 all the way to Kingston then Bayridge street to Lake Ontario Park Campground, Kingston, ON, a city park.  About 5 minutes from the park it started raining real hard.  Have electric and water – staying 3 nights – got a senior discount – setup in a downpour. It was too overcast to get a satellite signal.  Got setup at 1:15 PM.  We both put our clothes in the washer and spun them out and dried them.  It stopped raining about 5:00 PM and we were able to get a satellite signal.  

There are a lot of motorcycles in camp.  Appears to be about 200.  They are all camping in tents.

A note about the highway designations.  The map distributed by the government indicates the 4-lane Kings highways with the Kings highway symbol but the 2-lane Kings highway with another symbol.  All 2-lane and single lane highways are listed with the symbol that represents the following: Regional, District, Country, and Municipal roads.  The road sign indicates the type road.  

At 8:00 PM we went out for dinner.  It was quite crowded downtown – referring to the old part of town that is in the harbor area.  After dinner we walked around the dock area and set and looked at the water.  Later we drove around some of the newer part of town.  We saw a gathering of motorcycles in a parking lot at the college.  Appears to be several hundred.  

08-01-04SunDay 44 - At 9:00 AM the motorcycles started revving up.  I looked out the window and they are having a rally competition.  The competition area was about 150 feet behind our site.  After my shower I went over and watched – Sue showed up just before they finished.  This is a “HOG” rally – meaning everyone had a Harley.  According to the announcer they had a really good rally on Friday when the weather was nice – it rained all day Saturday – they were having a good rally today and tomorrow was projected with good weather.  He seemed to be indicating they would still be here tomorrow but all of the camper but about a dozen have already struck their tents.  

Went into town and went to the “Farmer’s Market”.  It was a flea market with several fruit stands – it all covered less than ½ block.  
When we entered town we had to do some detouring because there was a 4k and 12k run going on.  All of Front Street was blocked off.  There were about 500 bicycles parked in a holding area – no sure if they were waiting to go out or if they had already completed their event.  

Bought tickets for a boat cruise for 10:30 AM tomorrow morning.  It is for a 3-hour cruise of 1,000 Islands.

Went to the MacLachlan Woodworking Museum located 10 miles east of town on the 2.  It was not much of a museum – the only redeeming feature was a fantastic exhibit of wooden planes, both profile and flat.  I counted 140 wooden planes and didn’t get all of them.  There was an excellent treadle lathe that was driven with a leather belt.

Fort Henry has been designated a National Historic Site.  Last year it was Canada’s number one tourist attraction.  We drove around the fort but did not go in – we are just forted out.

Kingston is the oldest settlement in Ontario.  The town was settled by loyalist that immigrated from the US.  They originally named the town “Kings Town” but the name was later changed to “Kingston”.  At one time Kingston was the capital of Canada before it was moved to Ottawa.  Kingston is the 27th largest city in Canada and is a major tourist town.  It draws over 2 million tourists a year.   

Stopped at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes.  Admission included this museum, the icebreaker Alexander Henry, and the Pump House Steam Museum.  We just had time to do the Marine Museum today – will do the other 2 after we return from the cruise tomorrow.  Real nice day today.  The sun was out – it was a bit humid.

08-02-04MonDay 45 - Departed camp at 8:40 AM – going on a boat ride.  Boarding is at 10:15 AM but we want to eat breakfast first.

We have noticed in most campgrounds that many of the trailers and coaches are parked and not leveled.  They just pull them in and park them.  There is a coach parked across from us that is at least 4 to 5 inches lower in the rear than the front.  There were several coaches in the campground that did not have the rams down.  Just an observation.   

We stopped for breakfast at the “Sleepless Goat” but they did not have any wait service and no directions on how to order.  The menu was printed on the wall with chalk.  There were a number of others trying to get an order in, without much luck, so we left.  

We ended up at the “Magazine & Internet Cafe”.  It was a long narrow building with a second floor.  One of the walls was covered with magazines – I counted over 600 different titles.  There were also 25 different newspapers.  The menu was written on a roll of butcher paper.  There were 2 entries for breakfast – 1) eggs, bacon, and toast and 2) croissant with eggs.  There were 12 sandwiches listed for lunch and dinner.  There were many selections for coffee – it was primarily a coffee and magazine shop.  The internet connections were located on the upper floor.  We both had the eggs, bacon, and toast.

Walked down to the docks.  The boat we are taking is the “Island Queen III”.  It is constructed like an old rear paddle wheeler.  There is a small paddle wheel attached to rear but it is extremely small and does not even touch the water.  This cruise is a tour of the 1,000 Islands.  Departed the dock at 10:35 AM. 

Wolfe Island, the largest island of the chain, is located at the point where Lake Ontario empties into the St Lawrence River.  A portion of the island projects into the lake and causes the discharge to split around it.  The St Lawrence runs on both sides of the island.  The island is 7 miles wide and 22 miles long.  I estimate that about 5 miles of the island is in the lake and 17 miles divides the river.  The St Lawrence Seaway runs on the south side of the island.  

About 45 minutes into the cruise a speedboat started playing in our wake.  They followed us for about 20 minutes and seemed to have a real good time trying to tear up their boat in the rough water.  

In the 1,000 Islands there are 1,864 islands.  To be classified an island there must be a plot of matter projecting out of the water that measure at least 6 square feet.

About 1½ hour into the cruise we ran into a lot of small islands.  Some of them were just spots coming up out of the water and some were large enough for houses.  There were several just large enough for one house – several had two or more houses.  

Even with all of these islands an American came up here and built his own island. It was large enough for a good size house, a large yard, and a plot for trees. It appears to be perfectly level, not hilly like the other islands.

We saw another one where the owner wanted to enlarge his house but didn’t have enough land – so he added 20 feet to his island. The water around these islands is really clear – a good place for scuba diving.

We got a really good view of Fort Henry both going out and returning. Returned to the dock at 1:45 PM – the cruise lasted 3 hrs 10 min. It was a very interesting cruise. We highly recommend it. See photos.

After returning from the cruise we decided to go tour Wolfe Island instead of doing the ship and museum we had tickets for. We took the ferry to Wolfe Island. It runs to the island on the hour and returns on the ½ hour. We tried to make the 2 PM ferry but was 4th in line when it filled. Went to lunch then went and got in line. The ferry is called the “Wolfe Islander III”. The first ferry was started in 1803. It just ran part-time because the lake froze during the winter. In 1970 the ferry started running full-time. That was made possible by the installation of a set of perforated pipes on the lakebed under the ferry route. Air is pumped through the pipe and the agitated water keeps it from freezing.

This is an island some weathy American built to put his home on.  There are plenty of islands around but guess he wanted a flat one.
We got on at 3 PM – it is a free ferry. There is only one ferry. For our trip there were 42 cars/pickups and one pickup pulling a 26’ travel trailer. There was still room for an additional 6 cars. The ferry has 5 lanes with room for 10 vehicles (an average mixture of cars/pickups) or 12 compact cars.

When we went out on the cruise the water was fairly calm – now it is rather choppy. With the front of the ferry up it is about 8’ to the water. I rode on the upper deck and it was set back about 20 feet from the front of the ferry and was an additional 6 feet higher. Our jeep was the first in line. The waves were coming over the front of the ferry, drenching the jeep, and spraying me on the upper deck. Got unloaded at 3:25 PM.

Wolfe Island is primarily a farming community. There are approximately 600 full-time residents and 600 summer residents. The town on the island is Marysville.

Drove through the city streets then headed out the 96 east. Took 7 of the side roads that were along the highway. They all went to houses on the water and dead-ended. The 96 dead-ended and we backtracked to town. Total mileage for this part of the trip was 40 miles. Then took the 96 west. It ended at a T-type intersection. We turned around and went back to town – total of 7½ miles. This was a much prettier trip than east. All of the houses were along side the highway and the lake was only 150 to 200 feet from the highway.

Took the 95 south across the island. There is a ferry to the US on the south side. At the ferry landing was a Customs and Immigration office. There was a charge for this ferry – the ferry is seasonal. The drive was not anything of interest – it was just farmland. We saw fields with large round bales of hay waiting to be retrieved, fields of a root crop we think may be potatoes, and corn. There was a cemetery at each end of the 95. The round trip was 14½ miles.

We got back at the ferry landing in time for the 5:30 PM trip but there are a lot of cars waiting to load. When the ferry completed loading we were left on the dock, 6th in line. We locked the car and went to a restaurant for a beer with chips and salsa.

At 6:30 PM 27 cars got off and 54 cars were loaded for this trip – as noted above we were number 6. They loaded 55 but had to back the last one off because it couldn’t clear the gate when it was closed. Left 6 on the docks. The water was real calm on the trip back. Drove the jeep 135 miles this stop .

08-03-04TueDay 46Out at:  9:15 AMTrip meter:  115 

Rained last night but was not raining when we broke camp.  Hooked up the jeep and headed for Ottawa by way of Athens and Smith Falls.  Took the Sir John A. MacDonald Blvd out to the 401 east. Exited at 623 and took the 15 north.  At the 33 took it east.  At the 42 took it east.  

Stopped in Athens and walked around town viewing the murals.  There are 12 of them painted on the sides of the downtown buildings.  Athens is a small town of 1,000.  It sprinkled light to moderate all the time we were there so only got to see 8 of the murals.  And we think we are taxed a lot.  Sue took pictures of the murals.  Athens is a very picturesque town.  We really enjoyed our tour but wish it had not rained.  See photos.

Left Athens on the 42 but about one mile out of town turned on the 30 east.  Went three miles and turned on the 29 north to Smith Falls.  At Smith Falls we toured “Hershey Chocolate-Canada”.  Bought about 4 lbs of bulk chocolate, that is the rejects.  Got chocolate peanuts, Old Henrys, and Hershey with Almonds.  They were making Mr. Goodbars and Reese Peanut Butter Cups while we were there.  

Took the 15 out of Smith Falls.  At the 7 took it east.  When we reached the 417 we got on at exit 145 east.  Now I can kick it up to 100 km/h and blow some of the soot out.  Got off at exit 138 and went into Ottawa Municipal Campground, Ottawa, ON – Have electric and water and staying 6 nights.  Had to level slightly side to side.  The site is cut back into a stand of trees with just enough opening to back in.  Then there is a clearing that creates a small patio with a fire ring.  Real private.  Put out the awning.  There are a lot of mosquitoes so I put out the bug light.  Got setup at 3:45 PM.  We had a fire and I grilled pork chops.  

08-04-04WedDay 47 - At 5:55 AM the sky opened up and it poured for 5 minutes.  Departed camp at 11:30 AM - going sightseeing.  Went to the information centre and saw a short film on Ottawa.  The information centre is located directly north of Parliament Hill.  We did a self-guided walking tour of the Parliament Hill grounds.  

There are three buildings on Parliament Hill – called East Block, Centre Block, and West Block.  A tour guide provides tours of the East Block and Centre Block – the West Block is closed to visitors.  The tours are free. 

Centre Block. We took the tour. A view of the structure from the outside indicates 5 floors above ground – don’t know how many below ground. This is where the House of Commons and the Senate meet. There are 305 members of the House. They are elected and serve until the House is dissolved. There are 108 members of the Senate. They are appointed by the Prime Minister and must be at least 30 years of age, have a net worth of $4,000. Once appointed they serve until they chose to retire but there is a forced retirement at 75. Some of the members have offices in the building but a lot of them are located in the other two blocks and in downtown offices. The House of Commons chamber was being remodeled and all of the furnishings had been removed.

East Block.  We took the tour.  A view of the structure from the outside indicates 3 floors above ground – don’t know how many below ground.  This is the building the original offices of the Governor General, Prime Minister, their staff, and other government offices were located in.  It was used for that purpose from 1866 until 1976.  In 1976 the offices of the Governor General, Prime Minister, and their staff were relocated to other office buildings.  The following offices were decorated in period furnishings and opened to the public for viewing - offices of the Governor General, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Smoking Room, and Privy Counsel Chamber.  The Privy Counsel Chamber is where the advisors to the Prime Minister met.  The remaining offices in the building are still used for government offices. 

West Block is all used for government offices.  A view of the structure from the outside indicates 3 floors above ground – don’t know how many below ground.  The building is not open to the public.  The government has grown so large that office space is now located in other parts of the city and in Gatineau, Quebec.  Gatineau is located across the river from Parliament Hill.  The Governor General’s office is located in the residence and the Prime Ministers office is located across the street from Parliament Hill. 

This is really a magnificent set of buildings – they have copper roofs.  They are all discolored and are turning black, because they are constructed of limestone and it absorbs pollution. 

Ottawa was declared the capital in 1857.  Parliament Hill was completed in 1866.  There was a fire in 1916 that destroyed Centre Block but the library was saved.  At the time Canada was in the mist of World War I but reconstruction of the building was started immediately and completed in 1922.  The first Centre Block had a lot of wood in it but the new one has practically none.  The library is presently undergoing renovation and will be closed until 2005.   

The tall tower in front of Centre Block is a free standing tower – called the Peace Tower – and was completed in 1927.  The tower contains 53 bells – the smallest weighing 10 lbs and the heaviest over 22,000 lbs.  We heard a concert on the bells while we were there. 

Canadians did not get their own flag until 1965.  Canada was established as a commonwealth in 1865 and that was the 100-year anniversary.  That may explain why we see so many flags of all sizes flying everywhere.  That was just 39 years ago and there is still a lot of pride in the Canadians accomplishments. 

08-05-04ThurDay 48 - Departed camp at 9:30 AM.  Going in to see the changing of the guard at Parliament Hill.  I thought it was at 10:30 AM but it was at 10:00 AM.  We will have to go back and see it Saturday because we’re taking off tomorrow.  

Parliament Hill – Centre Block Building
Parliament Hill – East Block Building
Parliament Hill – West Block Building
We stopped at Rideau Falls.  It is a falls that measures 236 feet wide and appears to fall about 75 to 80 feet.  There is a small metal water control gate at the top to control the flow.  While we were watching a tour boat, the Sea Prince II, it pulled up and stopped with its nose about 20 feet from the falls.  There is a second falls about 600 feet to the west.  It is about the same size but there is a lot less water going over.  It has the same kind of control gate and there appears to be more water backed up.  There is a heating and cooling plant for the Canadian National Research Center (CNRC) located at this falls.  There is water boiling up at the base of the building as if water is being diverted from the dam, through the building, then discharged into the river.  The CNRC control both dams.   

Stopped at the Canadian Mint and took a tour. There are two mints in Canada, here and in Winnipeg.  This one processes gold and silver and mints gold and silver collector’s coins.  Proofs and collector sets of regular coins are stamped here.  Each coin blank has to be washed and hand dried to insure there are no imperfections.  All employees wear rubber gloves so no human’s hand ever touch any of the coins before they are sealed.  Each coin is processed by hand and has to be struck at least twice.  The maximum output is 10,000 coins per day.   

The mint at Winnipeg stamps out the circulation coins.  They are all processed by machine and are not washed.  Daily output is a maximum of 15 million coins per day.  The blanks for the coin sets that are minted in Ottawa are stamped out in Winnipeg.  Since the output of the mint exceeds Canada’s requirement they mint coins for about 50 other countries.   

After the tour we got to pick up a bar of gold.  It weighed 28 lbs and was worth $235,000.00.  The bar had a retaining wire attached to the bottom and there was a full time guard standing by.  Most gold that is minted into coins is what is called four nines, that is 99.99% pure.  Canada is currently the only country processing and minting five nines, that is 99.999% pure. 

Drove out to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police academy.  There are tours available but we got there at noon so just drove around the grounds.   

Stopped at Rideau Hall, the residence of the Governor General.  Walked around the grounds and took a tour of the house.  We toured all of the public rooms and since the Governor General was out of town we got the opportunity to tour the ground floor of the private part of the residence.  Saw the changing of the guards.  Quite an interesting tour. 

08-06-04FriDay 49 - Took the day off.  Sue went into town long enough to buy a new battery for her watch.   

08-07-04SatDay 50 - Departed camp at 9:05 AM.  Went to Parliament Hill to see the changing of the guards.  Since Canada is a bilingual country all public activities are broadcast in both English and French.  Sue took videos.  

We visited the Supreme Count of Canada.  In several places, chiseled into the stone walls, is the inscription “The corner stone of the building was laid by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in the presence of His Majesty King George VI on the twentieth day of May 1939.”   

When you enter the building the entry hall is quite spectacular but the Supreme Court chamber is small and plain.   

When the Supreme Court was created in 1875 it was the highest court in Canada but its judgements could be appealed to the Privy Council in Great Britain.  It was not until 1947 that the court became the final arbiter in Canada’s legal system.  The Prime Minister makes the final selected of the justices.  No additional approval is required.  However, by law at least three must be from Quebec.  By tradition three are from Ontario, two from the Western provinces and one from the Atlantic provinces.   

A note about the Chief Justice.  When the Governor General is out of the country for 30 days or more then the Chief Justice acts as the Governor General.   

The Supreme Court building was completed in 1941 but not occupied until 1946.  During the war it was used as government offices in support of the war.  There are two federal courts located in the building.   

Went to the Bayshore Mall.  They have really nice upholstered furniture to sit on in the common area.   

Drove across the river to Gatineau, Quebec and toured Gatineau Park.  It is a huge park – we drove in about 15 miles and didn’t even go half way – but it is just wooded area – there are very few areas for activities.   

Quebec is supposed to be bilingual like the rest of Canada but we saw a lot of road signs in Gatineau that was just in French.  May be a problem during our trip through Quebec.   

08-08-04SunDay 51 - We have done a lot of walking here so spent time doing routine maintenance on the coach.  We went to the movie and saw the “Bourne Supremacy”.  Drove the jeep 232 miles this stop.

08-09-04MonDay 52Out at:  8:05 AMTrip meter:  187 

Left town on the 417 east.  The 417 is a part of the Trans-Canadian Highway.  At the 34 went north.  Crossed into Quebec at the town of Hawkesbury.  Immediately after cross the river we took the 344 east.  It is a narrow winding road that follows the river.  The road is only 18’ wide, no shoulders, twists like a pretzel, bumpy like a rub board and the speed limit is 90 km/h.  The road is paralleling the river but the underbrush is so thick we get only a glimpse occasionally.  Entered a residential area and the speed limit was reduced to 80 km/h.  After about 10 miles we got out of the underbrush, the view is fantastic, the road is a bit smoother, and the ride is quite an experience.  After about 25 miles we hit about ½ mile of construction then got on some good highway.  There was a sign that said they were rebuilding the highway.  We are now on the part that has been completed.  

At the junction of the 640 went east.  Took exit 52E took the 40 east.  At exit 108 took the 343 south.  At the 138 took it east 3.2 miles to the campground.  Stopped at Camping Le Marquis, St Sulpice, QB – about 25 miles east of Montreal.  Pulled in so we are looking out on the St Lawrence River.  Have water, electric, and sewer – level site – staying 4 nights. Got setup at 1:15 PM.    

 

***** Use back arrow key to return to home page  *****
Website Builder