Archive for the ‘Journey’ Category

Our Ottawa Visit

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Milly and I left Eastman at 9:30 am on Monday May 11, 2009. The journey to Ottawa area was uneventful. We went north of Burlington VT through New York to Cornwall, Ontario and on to Ottawa. The mountain views across northern Lake Champlain were magnificent. We spent two nights at Ottawa Municipal Campground located in a forest about 10 miles west of downtown Ottawa.

On Tuesday May 12th, we spent the day in Ottawa. After briefly visiting the Canadian Parliament area, we headed to Dow Lake and Commisioners Park to attend the Tulip Festival. We saw many, many Tulips in all different colors and hues.

We saw no boats on the canal when we drove the length of it down to Dow Lake from the Parliment area. We knew the locks were closed and thought that maybe the canal was closed to all but the excursion boats. All the signs indicated that you couldn’t access to launch a kayak. We persisted and asked an attendant at the Dow Lake Pavillion. He told us we could put our kayaks in on the boat ramp that was locked.

We had an outstanding kayak paddle on the Rideau Canal in downtown Ottawa. It was strange but very neat to be paddling while so many others were biking, rollerblading or walking almost right beside us. We essestially had the canal itself to ourselves. We saw two canoes and one excusion boat in our 2 hour paddle on the canal.

Unfortunately, we have discovered the campgrounds in North Bay, Ontario area at which we planned on staying tonight are not open until after May 15th. This means that we may experience our first Walmart RV overnight. Our plan for next several days is to stop on way to hike and kayak any “attractions” we pass and then stop later in day at a Walmart. We have found that there are many WIFI locatioons in moderate size towns ahead.

Ottawa to North Dakota

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

It is Saturday May 16, 2009 at 8 am. We are now sitting in Jamestown, North Dakota, which is about halfway between Fargo and Bismark.

The last several days have been spent in transit.

On Wednesday morning as we were leaving our Ottawa campground, we went to the camp dump station to unload our grey water. Milly noticed we hadn’t put down our TV Antenna. We raised half the trailer so Fred could lower the antenna. In the process, we raised the trailer tongue onto its “stand”. We started to drive off without lowering the trailer off the tongue “stand”. The crunch, crunch told us we were dragging the “stand”.

We drove to Sault Ste Marie, Ontario where we pulled into a Walmart at about 7 pm for our first overnight boondoggle . There were 4 other campers packed there. We noticed a municipal sign “ No RV Overnight Parking, Etc”. We dutifully went into to Customer Service desk to seek permission to park. We were told by the clerks “No problems” but they did mention something about laws. We went back and knocked on a couple of RV’s and woke up the “residents”. It seems that none of them had sought permission and they hadn’t seen the signs. By this time, Fred had walked the parking lot and had seen at least one other similar “No Overnight – municipal law, etc.” sign. One of other campers was all set to use bolt cutters to remove the sign. Instead, we moved our camper into middle of other campers away from sign. “There is safety in a group”, we thought as we had supper and turn in for an uneventful nights sleep.

We decided to travel to another Walmart superstore in Ashland, Wisconsin near Apostles Islands about an hour from Duluth, Minnesota.

When we crossed the border, we experienced a few questions from the agents. After we were cleared to enter the USA, there were tolls to be paid for the bridge. We got to “Pass Holders” lane booth by mistake. Attendant in next booth told us we had to back up. Milly was driving. She had never backed up with camper in tow. Sure enough as people behind us backed away, we started to go off course. Fred jumped out and took over and actually was able to backup the rig and get over to the correct booth.

We were the first camper to arrive at the Walmart, how lonely it felt. There were many, many “No Overnight Camping signs. Having experienced this the prior night, Milly checked with the store attendants, “People park overnight all the time and no one has had problems” was the response. We decided to park in back near truck unloading docks, out of sight. Shortly thereafter, an RV with Australians pulled in. All of us proceeded to shop in the Walmart. We swapped some travel stories before cooking supper of freshly purchased steaks on our new portable grill.

We discovered on internet that all attractions on Apostles Island were not open as yet. We headed for Fargo and picked a campground to make reservations at in Jamestown, North Dakota about 1.5 hours west of Fargo. We experienced heavy winds on our journey to Jamestown as well as some heavy rain at times. The gas mileage was horrendously bad dropping to 9.5 miles per gallon from the 12-14 range we were getting.

When we arrived here in Jamestown, we discovered that one of the weight distribution arms on hitch was almost off due to now missing ridge on hitch that holds the bar in place. We need to replace hitch holder since it’s all one piece of steel. We have locations to go to this morning to see about repairs. We also discovered that water had infiltrated the lower cabinet area above right wheel well. We packed contents into water protective “baggies” and put the problem on our issues list.
  I guess we are still in the break in phase as little mishaps are still part of our days, oh the joys of travel!

We are hopefully headed to Theodore Roosevelt Park for several days of relaxed camping, trouble free we hope. We’ll probably be out of touch.

Badlands – Theodore Roosevelt National Park 5/16-20

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

We arrived in the Cottonwood Campground on 5/16/2009. It was located 5 miles into the park. We toured the campground to select our site for the next 3 days. We found Bison seeming to occupy one site.

Cottonwood Campground

The campground was still in winter season. Only half of campground was open and not all facilities were fully available. The winter rates were half price. Fred got the National Parks Senior Pass for $10 which gets us lifetime free admissions to all National Parks and half price on camping.

We met several locals who love to come to the park for the peaceful setting and to see the Bison, wild horses, prairie dogs, white tail deer, elk and big horn sheep that populate the park. We were glad to be here before the summer season got going. We had the scenic drives to ourselves and met no one while hiking the trails.

The town of Medora is close to the entrance to the park. The main Park Visitor Center is here as well as several museums to visit. During the summer, many shops and arcades keep the tourists busy. A daily musical extravaganza is played out in an outdoor amphitheater on a bluff above the town.

There is a 34 miles scenic loop drive though the park. Our pictures do not capture the unique beauty of this land. We went on this scenic drive the first day here. When we went on subsequent hikes in park, we took the scenic tour road the other direction. It gives a different perspective the other way around.

Scenic Drives and Hikes


We wanted to take a kayak trip on the little Missouri River which flows through the park to see the land from the river. We decided to put in at Medora and paddle/ride the river flow down to the campground about 5 miles a way. Then, Fred was going to hitch a ride back to get the car. Our trip down the river took about an hour. A local by the name of Moby Dick from Dickson, ND met us when we got to the campground and volunteered to drive Fred to get the car.

Kayaking on Little Missouri River

We found the local people we met all over North Dakota to be very warm, friendly and accommodating. We stayed our 4thnight here in the Red Trail Campground, a private place withfull services – including great showers. With the high winds and cold weather here in winter, these people have to be very hardy indeed. While in Medora, the trains rumbling through town were a slight disturbance when you were trying to get to sleep. We recommend staying in the park but also felt that getting a camping spot in season may be a problem since there are no reservations in the park.

We are now off to Glacier National Park in Montanna with a few stops along the way.

Arrival at Glacier National Park, Montana 5/22/2009

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

We left Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota and drove across Montana to Great Falls where we stayed at the Walmart – once again filling their coffers with food and misc. purchases. In the morning, we proceeded north to Glacier arriving about 1 PM. KOA Campground hosts generously installed our new hitched that arrived via UPS. They also worked on electrical problem for us.  Great people!

Journey across Montana provided varying scenes as shown in pictures.


We took an afternoon ride up the fameous Going-to-the-Sun-Road. We stopped to take a couple of hikes. One was to the St. Mary’s Falls. The pictures do not do this justice.

On our way back to campground, we stopped for a paddle of St Mary’s Lake. This lake can be quite windy and difficult to paddle. The early evening was perfect with glassy surface to guide across the lake.

We will be spending next two days in other parts of the park.

Glacier National Park 5/23-5/25/2009

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

It was wonderful visiting this park before the tourist season. We could stop anywhere without worrying about blocking others. We met people at major stopping points but rarely saw anyone on the roads. We were the only boats on the lakes.

On our first full day here, we spent morning traveling to Many Glaciers area and kayaking Swift Current Lake. In the afternoon, we went across the border to the Canadian side of the park to Waterton Lakes area. We paddled Upper Waterton Lake and took a scenic drive to Cameron Lake.

MANY GLACIER AREA – Hike to Falls and Kayak canyon lake

Waterton Lakes Area – paddle lake and scenic drive

At the end of the day, we decided to limit future Kayak Trips to one per day, if possible.

The kayak has added to our enjoyment immensely. We went to roads end in canyons and slipped into the kayak and went where you couldn’t easily get to by foot. We passed one mountain peak after another in the water. We got close to moose, ducks and saw Big Horn Sheep high in the cliffs over looking the water.

The glacial water was very, very cold. It probably will be no colder in Alaska. It didn’t bother us once we were in the kayak.

On the last full day here in Glacier, we drove to Two Medicine Lakes area. We planned to kayak down Two Medicine Lake (length of 2-3 miles) and hike about a mile to Twin Falls. We had to break thru ice that covered parts of the middle of the lake. That was a fun, When we got to the trail head, we had difficulty finding the trail and realized that there was snow up to our knees the whole way. We turned back. A storm arrived just as we got back.

On Monday 5/26, we spent the morning putting a new electrical connection on the car for the trailer. We are so greatful to the work campers at Glacier KOA who spent their time off helping us through our hitch issues. They were like angels sent from heaven to help us in our distress.

We drove to Calagry after lunch. We are staying at a Walmart for the night before proceeding on to Banff and Jasper.

Start Camping at Banff, Alberta 05/26

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

It took about 2 hours to drive from Calgary to Banff. We are staying at the Mountain Tunnel Campground. After we set up our camper, we had lunch and went to the Banff Information Center. We discussed various possible kayaking and hiking locations as well as other activities at Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper with the park rangers. We found out that Lake Louise was still frozen as were the lakes north of there.

We decided to stay in Banff an extra day and limit our stay in Jasper to one night. Since the weather looked a bit threatening, we decided to take in the museums that were suggested by walking the village. The most intersting by far was the “Cave and Basin Historical Site”. This was the place where the sulfer hot springs were found that caused the creation of the first Canadian National Park here.

The pictures we are posting below show the views from the campsite that we were assigned. This was an unbeleiveably beautiful location from all sides. We are also showing views of the inside accomodations of our camper. Its small but sufficient for our needs. We feel blessed to be on this trip!

The weather did turn stormy by the time we got back to camp. We waited about 45 minutes and it was sunny. After we had dinner, the wind and rain came. We were told the weather was suppose to be good tomorrow. We’ll see.