Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Friday, May 29, 2009

ME to VT to NY to MI on the way to Glacier

Wednesday, May 27 - first day on our trip "To the Sun". Cold, rainy but glad to be on the road. Truck and camper are doing great and the new tires make the ride a lot smoother and tighter.

Headed across Maine and passed through lots of tiny Maine towns. We felt like we were the only people on earth as there was no traffic. New Hampshire was even more deserted but greener if possible. The low mountains of NH just sort of roll along with lots of lakes. The White Mountains aren't white currently thank heaven.

VT was even greener and same roads - where are all the people? Not that we want crowded roads but it was just odd. We took all back roads of course but even the farms were deserted. Stopped at Cabot Cheese Creamery and enjoyed the tour, samples, and bought some small blocks for gifts.

We're currently in Massena, NY ready to go over the border into Canada. Cold, gray, rainy but hopefully we'll hit some sun soon. Plan on staying in several of the Canadian Provincial Parks on lakes as we cross over to Sault Sainte Marie. Be a few days before we check in as there isn't a lot of cell/air card service up here. Looking forward to seeing some of rural Canada again.

May 28, 2009 -Joe did a masterful job today dodging a very large cow moose who hopped over a guard rail in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, right in front of us. She must have gotten a running start up a hill from a bog and was low down so we didn't see her coming. Suddenly, there in front of us was a moose!!!! A vehicle on the other side of the road where she first appeared, managed to stop. Moose was literally between our two vehicles. I don't know how Joe missed her or
she decided to go back to the bog and turned at the last second. Pretty shaky moment to be eye to eye with a 1,000 pound or more creature whose back was as high as the hood of the F350. If Joe hadn't have swung right and the moose hadn't swung left, we'd have hit her broadside. It was one of those moments that's still bringing sweat to my forehead and an "attaboy" to Joe. This is a moose bog for those of you who live in cities.

We left NY early AM and came across to Ontario at Massena on the Seaway International Bridge. I was driving at the time and could not decide which customs entry lane to go in. None were marked RVs, only passenger vehicles and trucks. Being a truck, I swung into the truck lanes and was immediately told by a trucker that RVs go through as passenger cars. Well why not say so on an entry! Joe walked over to customs to see what to do and came back with TWO custom agents. Training day for a new guy - groan. They were polite and very thorough, going through all the compartments in the TC but curiously not even opening the F350. Mostly the same questions about where have you been, where are you going, do you have firearms, mace or pepper spray, are you married? Like Canada doesn't let unmarried couples through? The new fellow was following his paper script pretty closely and kept losing his place so asked the same questions over. Only took about 20 minutes and we sailed on. They almost forgot to give us a token to put in the gate barrier slot so we could get out of the truck yard. My mistake for going in as a truck. Nothing was found or confiscated because there wasn't anything there to take. They oddly didn't even ask questions about potatoes or beef this time.

Other than the border crossing and the moose, today has been another rain day and at times a mix of small hail and rain drops the size of marbles. Deluges in an instant and then nothing for miles and then torrential downpours again. The TC (fingers and toes crossed) has not leaked at all and is still working great. Joe's been calling this trip "Going to the Rain" not "Going to the Sun" road.

From the border we took Rte 2, the Heritage Trail down to the "1000 Island Parkway". Looks like this area has an abundance of natural stone for building as there were many beautiful stone houses, more like mansions. Off shore there are tiny islands whose land area is almost completely covered by house. No problem getting a water view there. Everywhere you looked there are Canada geese with goslings, thousands of them just grazing along.

Canada is immaculate, no road litter, no junk along the sides of the road. Most houses appear in excellent repair, with flower gardens, cross mown lawns, long neatly stacked rows of firewood. The roads are better maintained than most of the small roads in the US. It's obvious people take pride in their homes.

My only problem with the route we took today was it was 80km speed limit. For those of you (like me) who are metric challenged, that is about 50mph. It takes a long time to get anywhere especially since today was sort of a travel day and we were in woods. We went from Belleville on the shores of Lake Ontario on Route 60 up to Algonquin Park and then over to Parry Sound to a provincial park for the night. 320km (roughly 200 miles) at 80km (50mph) is not a four hour drive but more like six. Great woods views but looked just like New England - moose included.

In the morning we'll explore Killbear Provincial Park a bit more. We both need a long walk to loosen up. We'll then head to St. Saulte Marie and cross back into the US. Plan on staying at one of the many Michigan state parks right after you cross the border.

May 29 - Back in the USA

We've crossed through Ontario and are back into the USA. Customs was way backed up at the International Bridge at Sault Sainte Marie. Took about 45 minutes to get to the customs booth and about 1 minute go through. US only wanted to know about firewood and fruit. no entry into either the camper or the truck, just a wave and move along.

We're camped in Straits State Park in St.Ignace, Michigan, right on Lake Huron. The mosquitos are FIERCE and almost impossible to stay outside the camper. We've taken a good long walk along the shoreline but at times they were so thick they were getting in your eyes and nose. Shades of Maine!

The drive out of Ontario was much easier than yesterday. The stretch we came through Parry Sound up to Whitefish and then a nice lunch by the water in Blind River. This land has obviously been sculpted by glaciers. the land is covered by small ponds, rock ledges, innumerable beaver dams and lodges and scrub pine by the rocks. The sun came out for a few minutes but we had cold rain again most of the day. Route 69 and 17 were larger roads in excellent condition and still not crowded. We saw four Truck Camperss in a row all hauling boats. Looks like they were off for a weekend of fishing.

Tomorrow we will head for another Michigan state park further west and see if the mosquitos are as bad there. No moose today though we were on hyper alert watching all the small ponds we went by.

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