It’s pretty boring post. I just wanted to record the trip back east.
Sunday Aug 26 – To Medicine Hat, Alberta
When we woke up in Fort Steele, I think the smell of smoke was the strongest yet. It was definitely as encouragement to get moving.
Today’s drive to Medicine Hat took about 6 hours and was very easy. Fort Steele is at about 450 m in elevation. We did a long gentle climb up to about 1300 m at Crowsnest Pass. Then another gentle descent to about 700 m to western Alberta. From there is was essentially flat all the way to the Walmart in Medicine Hat. Cruise control all the way and we even had a tail wind so we got great gas mileage.
The smoke was pretty thick all day. It would have been nice to see some of the scenery around the pass. Once we were in Alberta everything was just a hazy ghost off in the distance.
We also went through a few spot where we were just pelted with bugs.
The view with the bugs photoshopped out.
We had a nice quiet night in the parking lot with about 6 other RVs.
Monday Aug 27 – To Regina, Saskatchewan
Today was opposite day. It was a much tougher drive to Regina, especially in the morning.
For the first time in a very long time we had some rain and lots of it. It just poured down all morning. And the wind was from the northeast so it hit the RV on the left front corner. It slowed us down and bounced us around a bit. At least it was not gusty.
I forgot how rolling western Saskatchewan. There was just enough up and down that cruise control was not very useful, specially since on any uphill grade the RV with downshift like crazy trying to keep up the speed.
During the hardest rain our windshield wipers started acting up. The driver’s side blade started going too far out the side of the RV and made a huge racket. It also got stuck out there once and I had to stop to free it up. It made me hesitant to use them but thankfully the rain was light for the rest of the day.
Tonight I looked under the hood and three screws had come off on the bracket that holds the wiper motor to the chassis. It worked much better after I replaced them. I think its time for some new blades as well. I think the last time I bought some was in Alaska in 2012.
After we had lunch in Swift Current, the rain stopped for a while and we were into wide open flat country. We still couldn't see very far away but this time I think it was because of the rain and not smoke anymore. We went through a few more period of rain.
To me the grain terminals, off on the horizon, always look like giant cathedrals.
The long flat sections were even more boring with the mist and no long distance views.
Tonight we at are the Regina South Walmart.
Tuesday Aug 28 – To Portage La Prairie, Manitoba
An easy driving day. Straight, flat and mainly smooth pavement with cruise control most of the way. It was just very boring.
There was s steady light rain all morning.
Some very long trains went by.
In the afternoon we actually got a few minutes of sun before it clouded over again.
Wednesday Aug 29 – To Dryden, Ontario
Today we woke up to our very first clear blue sky in what seem like a very long time.
I use a website that lists all the Walmarts in North America and says whether you can stay overnight in the parking lot. People post comments about their stays. The comments for the one in Portage La Prairie said that the lot was very quiet except for the trains that went by.
I didn’t realize how close the tracks were.
Unfortunately there was a level crossing near by which meant the trains had to blow their whistles. A lot of them went by in the evening but we only got woken up once during the night.
The morning’s drive to the Ontario border was much the same as yesterday, straight, flat and 4 lane. As soon as you cross the border you can tell you are in Northern Ontario. Two lane rough highway that twists and turns around and through all the rock cuts and lakes.
The other times we have come this way we stayed at the Walmart in Dryden. On reading newer comments on the website, they said that the lot is not owned by Walmart and is now signed as”No overnight parking”. People still do but the owner has been know to call the cops to get everyone evicted.
I decided not to risk it and just get a full hookup site about 20 km farther east at Lake Wabigoon RV Resort.
It is a small place with easy access from the highway but that means we are right next to the highway. This evening the truck noise has been pretty bad. I hope it calms down. I think it will be an earplug night.
Thursday Aug 30 – To Rainbow Falls Provincial Park, Ontario
Another blue sky day but most of the scenery up to Thunder Bay was just the trees beside the road.
After that we got some nice views of Lake Superior. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because the road had enough twists and hills that I really had to pay attention but also because the windshield was just covered in bugs. I cleaned it at lunch but it was soon covered again.
I cleaned this one up.
An interesting new bridge around Nipigon. Is this the one to replace the one that failed several years ago?
We are at the Rossport campground of Rainbow Falls Provincial park, about 180 km east of Thunder Bay. Its a relatively small campground on a point between the highway and the lake.
A big site.
With a nice view of the lake.
But not very level. Normally I would put blocks under the wheels if I had to lift them this high but it was only for one night. It did let the RV sway a lot when we walked around though.
We checked out the rocky beach. Not great for swimming but OK to explore.
Friday Aug 31 – To the Cottage
I picked the wrong section of the trip to make an extra long day. We did about 650 km in around 9 hours. The section until Sault Ste Marie had a lot of steep hills and curves. The RV could only creep up the hills. Then I would have to try and limit the speed on the steep downhills only to come around a corner to face the next hill. It made the day seem even longer. If we do this again I will extend one of the prairie days.
The wind was also extremely strong. It was from the south so for the first part of the trip it hit from the side and was especially bad when we got hit extra hard when passing an opening in the trees. Heading down to the Soo it was a head wind and just generally slowed us down and bounced us around.
The weather was also all over the place. In the early morning whenever we climbed a hill we would hit some fog.
It was a mainly cloudy day with some rain but we did have the occasional bit of blue sky.
Once again I didn’t take a lot of pictures, although there were some nice views of Lake Superior and smaller inland lakes. First, I had to concentrate pretty hard on driving and I just wanted to get the day over and stop for a while. Second, the windshield was either rainy or buggy. Third, a lot of the viewpoint stops said “Cars Only”.
So I think the trip is over for this year. The plan is to stay at the cottage for the month and then head home. If we get bored we might take a side trip on the way home first.
A highlights post is coming soon.