Monday, August 14, 2017

Minden

We woke up to a gentle rain but within the hour the sun was out and the rain had stopped. Michael went fishing while I got breakfast ready and then we took the dogs for a walk in the park. The park is surrounded by water on three sides and we can see a golf course across the river ahead of us. It's really nice here but for some reason the playground area has been fenced off with orange snow fence. We had the chance to find out why when a couple of township workers arrived but we forgot to ask. Michael did help them though. They were fixing an outhouse but needed nails to install a new toilet paper dispenser. Michael had exactly what they needed and soon they were on to better jobs. We headed towards the museum which was set up more like an old village with a windmill, a bank, an old homestead complete with barn, a post office. It was really cool! There was a nature building there that had been added that was a straw bale building that had been build by students from Fleming College. The gentleman managing that building was helpful and showed me an app that identified bird calls. He told us about the art centre which was part of the museum. As we entered an older lady asked if we wanted to learn how to use a loom. Michael volunteered and was soon weaving strips of fabric between the strings. The exhibit at the art centre was all about tents. I think the artist was trying to show us our limited perception of how we use tents in North America compared to how tents are used around the world. Several displays showed refugees and tent towns. It was interesting but weird at the same time. We started to do the tour of the old town and got separated in the old homestead. I lost all track of time talking to a lady from Switzerland and by the time I left the house Michael had seen everything else and was back on the bus with the dogs. There was a boardwalk right near where we had parked so we took the dogs for a walk over the marsh next and then decided to look for an abandoned town that we knew was nearby. Gelert is a place we walked through a few years ago with Keith and Dina. We had read about it but only found a few abandoned places, today we didn't fair any better. We found a building that even had a ghost town sign on it but it appears that someone has recently moved in. Next we looked for the two churches we had read about but couldn't find them but we did find Snowden Park. It's a secluded park with several trails through the woods and along a marsh. We were there for most of the day. The trails had a little cabin and tiny shelters, look out points overlooking the marsh and had we have walked far enough we could have found an old car from the 70's. The dogs were happy, they got all muddy and now smell like a swamp. We decided to move to Panorama Park for the night and managed to make it just in time to see the sunset. Good night World!


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Living the Dream

Imagine waking up in a beautiful place where you can hear the water rushing and see the pines looming over your head through the window next to your pillow. Sounds amazing, doesn't it? It is pretty amazing the only problem is that when I look out the window I can also see thousands of deer flies waiting for me to go outside. It's like I am trapped in my own bus! I really wanted to go for a swim in the river especially after reading a sign that said "risky activities are prohibited" and a picture of a swimmer with an x through it. My name is Trouble after all! But I was scared of all the dear flies and instead we went on a bus adventure deeper into the wilderness on a dirt road that was probably intended for ATV's. It was fun and where the road ended there was just enough room for us to turn around. We stopped in a more open area on the way back to let the dogs out before heading to our next destination. Cooper's Falls didn't look too far away on the map but when we got to where the Falls were supposed to be we couldn't find them. Michael pulled up to a house and suggested I go ask the guy mowing the lawn if he knew how to get to them. We definitely stopped and asked the right person! The gentleman said that there is no public access to the Falls and that all the land around it is privately owned. Then he asked me if I was a special person and of course I said yes and then he told me to follow him with the bus. He drove the lawn mower up to the next driveway and pulled up to a gorgeous log home with the perfect view of the Falls. I couldn't believe it! He had built a short walkway to a little lookout that faced the centre of the falls. We took a few pictures, thanked him and then headed towards Minden. We parked behind a giant ice cream cone in Minden and took the dogs for a walk through town or I should say Michael took Cooper for a walk and I had to turn and go back to the bus because Melkie was afraid of the thunder. Next we drove up to Panorama Park and hung out up there with a view of the town for awhile. There were lightning storms predicted so we were hoping to have the best view and we did but we decided not to stay and ended up down at the Rotary Park along the water just as the storm broke. The lightning show is amazing! We should have stayed up at Panorama Park but we are definitely here for the night. Good night World!


Friday, August 11, 2017

Ontario's Secret Place!

For years Michael has talked about this place he wants to take me called Victoria Falls. He was there in the early 80's and described the place as beautiful but really remote and hard to get to. He has always mentioned having to park and hike in. Well today we decided to check it out! He couldn't quite remember exactly where it was so we took out the map and noticed that Queen Elizabeth 2 Wildlands Provincial Park looked like it was in the area. We headed towards the park and when we drove into Sebright Michael stopped and asked at a corner store. Turns out he remembered correctly and soon we were on our way to the falls. The road we were told to take went from pavement to gravel to dirt and then at some points we were driving on giant rocks. It seemed to get more narrow as we drove deeper into the woods. For awhile we followed alongside a red looking river and passed several swampy looking lakes. It was a beautiful drive and reminded me of hiking the hundred mile wilderness in Maine. We drove in and out of the Provincial Park several times as the road skirted the park boundaries. At one point I thought we were going to have to give up and turn around because the road just kept getting worse. Actually there wasn't even room to turn around we would have had to back up carefully for quite a while if we needed to go back! We made it with no problems and parked the bus on the road in front of a bridge that had a 3 tonne weight limit. We made it to Victoria Falls! All the way with the bus, no hiking required. On our way here we had noticed the swarms of deer flies and slathered ourselves in horrible bad for the environment bug spray before venturing out with the dogs. We went for a short walk before retreating from the biting beasts back on the bus. We quickly put the screens in the windows and killed anything that had flown in. The bugs were so bad that Michael was having second thoughts about the place but I love it! No matter where we stay we would be spending the rest of the evening on the bus anyway so why not stay here where we can hear the water rushing over the rocks and smell the pines! We found a perfect spot to park for the night on the other side of the bridge and decided to drive our 5 tonne bus over the 3 tonne bridge. The bridge and the bus both survived and we have the perfect spot for the night! Good night World!


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Six Mile Provincial Park

A friend of ours needs some help for the next few days so we are going to help during the day and find nice places to stay in the area each night. Today we headed to Six Mile Provincial Park for a picnic dinner, a walk around the campground and of course the amenities. We topped up our water, had showers and even did a load of laundry. The park stretches around a lake named not for its length but for its distance from Port Severn and is absolutely beautiful! As I walked around the campground section I couldn't help admiring the design. The tent sites were right along the waters edge and the parking was near the road with a path leading from the parking space through a wooded area to your campsite. The washrooms were pit toilets but they were raised and vented leading me to believe that waste was managed better here than at other Provincial parks. My other observation while walking through the campground had nothing to do with the park but more to do with the average camper. Campers have too much stuff! Way too much stuff! Most of the campers had more belongings with them than we have lived with through four seasons on the bus. I couldn't believe it! Maybe part of it has to do with the landscape here, it reminds me so much of when I was hiking and living out of a backpack. It's hard for me to imagine needing all of the stuff I saw today or even wanting to be responsible for it. Anyway we had a really enjoyable evening and we pulled out of the campground just as it was getting dark. Right now we are parked at Jaspen Park in Bala! Good night World! 


Arrowhead Provincial Park

We woke up minutes away from another Provincial Park and had to check it out. We spent most of the day at Arrowhead exploring the trails, the river and the beaches. The trail to Stubb's Falls was by far the most enjoyable. It followed the river through the pines and crossed over to the other side where there were lots of private places to sit along the water. We found a good spot and watched as kayaks approach only to turn around as the Falls were just ahead. We topped up our water and showered before heading to Port Severn to meet a friend. 


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Algonquin Park again!

We relaxed a little and took our time before moving on this morning. Even with moving slowly we still stopped again in the next town for another break. Soon we were in Algonquin where we made several stops and not all of them were due to the construction. We arrived at the art centre just as it closed and then stopped at Tea Lake Dam, Michael fished for a bit while I sat on the ground up against a pine tree (and got sap all over my backside) and let the dogs hang out in the woods. When we pulled away we really zed how dangerously low on gas we were and I was really surprised that we had made it when we pulled into a gas station. The owner loved our bus and said he was jealous. He is hoping to retire soon and do the same thing. It was getting near the end of the day and we were close to Huntsville. Michael had a few town chores to do so we stopped at Canadian Tire, Staples and the LCBO (I'm trying the vegan almond baileys right now) before heading to the trusty Walmart parking lot for the night. Good night World!


Mosaic Canada 150

I woke up to the sound of my alarm going off at 4am and knew I had to get up. We had paid to park in a parking lot just off of Bank St in Ottawa but our ticket was only good until 4am. I quickly moved the bus about 50ft out onto the the side street and reparked. It's Sunday and parking on the street is free! Soon I was sound asleep again and didn't get up until the sun was high in the sky. It's actually pretty unbelievable that we were able to sleep at all on a city street like this! Anyway, yesterday Michael had noticed a botanical garden back on the Quebec side of the bridge. We decided to pack up and go check it out. It turned out to be Mosaic Canada 150! The admission was free but dogs weren't allowed and it was far too hot to leave the dogs anywhere. We walked around the outside of the exhibit and still got to enjoy most of the artwork. We sat within view of the biggest display and had a snack before taking a trail that went along the water. We were tired by the time we got back to the bus and I'm pretty sure I slept for an hour before finding something to eat. An ice cream truck went by and Michael acting like a typical five year old ran out after the truck and bought himself an ice cream. We had planned to go to the Canadian War Museum to see La Machine one last time but on our way there Michael wasn't feeling well (probably the ice cream) so he went back to the bus and I stayed at a local park where we were to meet Becca. She arrived along with her girlfriend Karrel and we ended up just going to the parliament buildings to see the Northern Lights light show presentation. It was really good! It went through the basic history of Canada and highlighted our unique multicultural society. By the time I arrived back to the bus it was way past bed time but we really didn't want to have to get up at 4 am again to move the bus. We made the last minute decision to leave Ottawa and ended up parking in Arnprior for the night.