Northern Ontario trip - August/September 2008

August 13 to 15, 2008

We are on the road after spending most of the summer at home doing renovations and painting. It actually wasn't a bad summer to do indoor work, as new records were set for summer rainfall in Ontario (and summer's not over yet!).

We left Erin on Wednesday and did the 500 or so km. to Massey and Chutes Provincial Park, we drove through some very heavy rain and spent a lot of "inside trailer time" during the short stay. No pictures were taken.

On Thursday we made it to Rabbit Blanket Lake campground in Lake Superior Provincial Park and had our first campfire:

Kasey has adjusted to the trip already and is really enjoying the new outdoor smells!

Some more pictures of the campsite and area:

Today (Friday) it's off to Obatanga for a day or two, we may launch the boat and do some relaxing!

Friday August 15, 2008

Obatanga Provincial Park near White River Ontario

We arrived here just before noon, it was a short run from Rabbit Blanket. On the way an accident had occurred overnight, a tractor-trailer went off the road on a curve and overturned. The tractor portion was flattened, just like as is done at the presses in a scrapyard. I'm sure that the driver didn't make it.

The weather is good for a change, we are enjoying sun and low 20's temperatures, we have a sight near the water.

Tomorrow we head towards Pukaskwa and Marathon.

Saturday August 16, 2007

Pukaskwa National Park - Marathon Ontario

We arrived here about 1:00 pm after stopping in Whiter River for an A&W burger and water for the RV. In Obatanga they have a boil water advisory so we dumped there and filled at the visitor center in White River. We also watched a parade (celebrating Winnie's Hometown Festival weekend) going down the main street.

Pukaskwa is quite busy this time of year, we had a choice of only 3 sites and settled on a narrow one; we shoe-horned the trailer in (pictures later), the good news is that we have a clear shot to the satellite with good TV reception as well.

We will stay here at least two days (somewhat expensive at $41 per night!).

Some pictures of the campsite, note the tree! Fortunately, the slide retracts to get by it on the way out.

The roadside does not have a lot of clearance either!

One thing that's nice about this park is the fact that although it's pretty full, each site is in the trees and private.

Tuesday and Wednesday August 19/20, 2008

Neys Provincial Park, west of Marathon Ontario

A long drive today, almost 35 km.! We left Pukaskwa late morning and got here around 11:30 am.

The weather is a lot better than when we stayed here last time, it was raining and cold then. Today is an absolutely sunny day and it's in the low 20's with a bit of a breeze coming across the lake that keeps any bugs at bay.

The waterfront sites here are open and grassy, it's a great stop. We still have firewood left from Pukaskwa, another campfire tonight!

Some pictures:

We stayed for 2 nights then headed for Thunder Bay.

Thursday through Sunday August 21/24, 2008

Thunder Bay KOA

This is our normal stop on the way through Thunder Bay, it's close (but still outside town on the east side) and has full services so we can do laundry and run full electrics.

There was a reminder for us that we are in the north, we were cautioned about not putting out garbage overnight when we arrived because a bear was roaming through the campground after dark. In spite of the fact that the park crew emptied the garbage bins before dark, a bear overturned two garbage cans (which were enclosed by wooden 2x4's) overnight!

We noted a number of improvements to the park since last season (including a new fenced-in dog area for Kasey!!) and we took the opportunity to purchase a value card. We don't stay at a lot of KOA's but the the card will more than pay for itself on the way to Mexico this winter as you get a 10% discount on camping fees.

This was our first opportunity to test out the new washer/dryer combo in the trailer, we didn't have a lot of clothes to do, but it worked great on the the three loads that we did try out.

Some pictures of the dog run:

Kasey and Suzette fighting for the ball!

An action shot of Kasey at full tilt:

They even have shallow pools for the dogs, the one in the foreground is for the large run, the one in the background is for the small run:

Another shot of the pools:

Our plans are to leave Sunday morning for Sandbar Lake Provincial Park.

Sunday to Wednesday August 24 to 27/2008

Sandbar Lake Provincial Park near Ignace Ontario

We arrived here on Sunday, early because of the time shift from Eastern to Central time. We had to wait until the campers vacated our spot (site 66). The park staff here are very friendly and helpful, they insisted on cleaning up the site as we got in although by other parks standards it wasn't dirty at all.

This time we are a couple of rows back but the site is big enough to get into relatively easily, it's also private because of the trees on each side. I found a hole through the trees wide enough to find the internet satellite, but a tree is blocking our Star Choice TV signal.

A coupe of initial pictures:

Today (Monday) it's off to do some hiking as we adjust to Central time. This morning we were up at 6 AM!

On Monday we took a couple of small hikes near the campground:

Suzette and Kasey posing for a picture:

This time, Suzette is hiding behind a tree!

Tuesday August 26

Another morning hike, this time around the beach area.

After looking at the calm lake, we were sorry that we didn't assemble and launch the boat, Oh well maybe on the way back!

Kasey loved the water, he found that he could actually drink it (not like the Pacific Ocean!)

Tomorrow, it's off to Red Lake!

Wednesday August 27, 2008

Red Lake Ontario

We got to Red Lake and our daughter and son-in-law's house on Wednesday and we are parked in the front yard.

We have been busy working on renovations and just enjoying the place and we haven't taken any photos yet. I promise to update with some more information and pictures later!!

Tuesday September 2, 2008

We have settled in and the renovations continue. The baby's room is almost complete, the walls have been painted, a new laminate floor installed and the trim has been purchased and is ready for installation. The work has been satisfying and it's great just being around here.

The weather has been warm up until today, it's starting to cool off a bit which will help when renovating, and there has been a bit of rain.

We went into town today to buy a few groceries and the wood trim and we took the opportunity to take a couple of pictures:

Red lake is the start point for a number of fly-in fishing and hunting camps, the docks shown below have a number of float planes parked ready to go.

Red Lake is also home to the annual Norseman festival, celebrating the construction and use of this great float plane. This one is put on display in the park in town on the shore of Red Lake.

For some more information on this plane, click here

For information on the Norseman Festival, click here

This is a view of the main street:

While we were in town, we couldn't resist stopping for some poutine at a chip stand, we needed to top up on our cholesterol! That's Suzette at the chip stand and a dog waiting for a potential treat.

Thursday September 11, 2008

We are still awaiting the birth of our grandchild, Chantal is now officially one day overdue! Renovations and preparations for the arrival continue, and we have enjoyed some great steaks on the BBQ.

We dropped into Red Lake and Balmertown yesterday for provisions and this time we took the camera.

This is a distant view of one of the Goldcorp gold mines in Balmertown:

A better view. There are at least 2 mines located in the town area. there is talk of buying all homes here and converting the mines to an open pit operation, it's apparently much cheaper to extract gold in an open pit operation:

As part of the study to go open-pit (and probably to determine the extent of the gold veins) a number of drill rigs are working in town, one is actually in a school yard. The picture below shows a rig surrounded by plywood, the top of the rig can be seen:

This is a typical street scene showing the house construction in town. The town is very well maintained and the prosperity in the area can be seen, there are lots of "toys" in the driveways (new vehicles, ATV's and great looking boats):

There is a historic plaque detailing the history of the Red Lake area.
Looking at the number of drill rigs working in the area and the fact that the Madsen mine is being reopened by Claude Resources, it looks like there is still a lot of the precious metal areound:

When writing this entry, I was thinking about our friends Jim and Mary in California. Jim is a mining Engineer and I'm sure he knows the Red Lake area. Jim, I hope that you can get back to the keyboard and back RVing again soon!

Red Lake history:

An interesting web site detailing some of Red Lake's history and pioneers:  Click here

This is what Wikipedia has to say about Red Lake: Click here

Tuesday September 16, 2008

Touring around the area

Today we took the opportunity to have Chantal tour us around the area to see some of the sights that are not normally seen from the main roads.

These are a couple of shots of Kinsmen Beach in Red Lake, there are a lot of homes on the lake and they are only a short distance from town:

Outside Balmertown and the main Goldcorp Red Lake mining complex is the hamlet of Cochenour. It is the site of a closed gold mine, now being re-explored for activation similar to what's happening in Madsen.

Some additional information can be found by clicking here.

A few pictures:

Mining also occurred on McKenzie island, now the island is the site of a small community, accessible by a ferry in the summer and an ice road in the winter. In the picture below, the dock on the mainland is shown with McKenzie Island in the background:

Outside Cochenour there is a nice beach on Red Lake that is also used for picnics and events such as Canada Day:

I couldn't resist taking a picture or two of Suzette and Chantal, Chantal is now officially 5 days overdue!

Following are a couple of pictures of the main Goldcorp complex in Balmertown. The water in the foreground is the tailings pond for the processing complex:

Sunday September 21, 2008

We are Grandparents again!!

Yesterday, our daughter Chantal gave birth to Rachelle Erin Brown at the Margaret Cochenour Memorial Hospital in Red Lake Ontario,

Rachelle came into the world at 7:25 pm. central standard time and weighed 8 lb. 3oz. and 20 inches long.

Mother and baby are doing fine and have returned home. Cam and Chantal's two dogs have already adjusted to the baby in the house, they are attentive to the baby's cries.

The Margaret Cochenour Memorial hospital is a small hospital that handles patients not requiring specialized care, the staff of doctors and nurses do a great job and the facility is modern. The level of attention to patients is greater than would be experienced in a larger  center.

For patients requiring specialized care and surgery, an airlift service to Kenora, Thunder Bay or Winnipeg is provided, a helicopter pad is located on the hospital grounds.

Thursday September 25, 2008

On our way back home

We left Red Lake on Tuesday and spent the night at a small private campground in Dryden, Yesterday and today were spent in the Thunder Bay KOA where we did laundry and provisioned. It's a lot quieter here this time of year compared to the summer peak time, the owner here indicates that it has been a good year, although the volume is down a bit due to the high gas prices.

Before we left we tokk a few last pictures of Rachelle, she has already changed since birth, she is much more alert and lookiing around compared to earlier:

Tomorrow, it's off to Marathon for a day, hopefully Pukaskwa National Park is still open.

Saturday September 27, 2008

Lake Superior Provincial Park

We are in Rabbit Blanket Lake campground in LSPP. Last night we stayed at Pukaskwa National Park (in the trees, so we couldn't get on-line).

In both parks we are one of only 3 or 4 campers who are using the parks. It's been raining almost all the time, although we had a campfire for a time this afternoon. It's nice to have the RV, otherwise we would be cold and wet.

We head for Massey tomorrow, the weather is supposed to improve which will allow a longer campfire.

Sunday September 28, 2008

Chutes Provincial Park, Massey Ontario.

We actually had a completely sunny day for a change!!

Suzette took a couple of pictures on teh way here showing the sunny weather and some fall colours:

Tomorrow, the trailer is back in the driveway for a while, next destination is Mexico!!

September 29, 2008

We returned home to enjoy the fall leaves and we look forward to our local fall fair on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend!