Sunday, 9 September 2018

SUNDAY 9TH - OTTAWA




 
Pretty quiet day today. We had a comfortable night in our not too flash motel and got the washing done at the local laundromat this morning. We then drove the 80 klms to Downtown Ottawa where we went on a cruise of the Rideau Canal, checked into the grand Chateau Fairmont Laurier and disposed of the car in that order.
 
 
Ottawa is very picturesque lots of lush vegetation, and very tidy.
 
 
Our day tomorrow starts with a wake call at 3:00am and the adventure will roll forward from there. Hopefully everything will continue to go as well as it has so far.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

SATURDAY 8TH - ALGONQUIN


Well that's it for phase 2. We are in Arnprior (in what is not the most luxurious accommodation we have enjoyed) about 80 klms from Ottawa. We return the hire car tomorrow and join the Quark group for phase 3 – the Arctic cruise. We fly to wherever we board the ship on Monday. I expect that wifi on the ship will be poor and expensive so there may be a delay in keeping the blog updated but we will see.

 
Today was an extremely virtuous day mainly spent in that part of the Algonquin Provincial Park accessible by road. Most of it isn't. We did the Ragged Falls walk, the Whiskey Rapids walk and the Beaver Pond walk. We saw the Oxtongue River in some of its many moods.


The Park is home to an extraordinary number of lakes several of which we visited. At Canoe Lake, we gained some understanding of what is a very popular pastime in the park, paddling canoes.


Perhaps the most interesting walk was the Beaver Pond walk. Thanks to very informative brochures which are available at every walk, we learnt a lot about how beavers dam what start out as small forest streams and create enormous lakes in which they build their mound like nests.

What looks like an untidy jumble of sticks in the middle of a shallow lake is actually a nest. It isn't possible to determine by observation which are actively being used and which have been abandoned.

 
When we were visiting Provincial Parks in British Columbia on the other side of the country some years ago, there was a lot of fuss made about the threat of bears in that you always had to walk in groups and make lots of noise The bears are present here too but obviously not regarded as a threat in that the only warnings given are that campers need to keep their food securely locked away. There were no warnings given about their threat to walkers using the numerous trails in the Park.  I don't have any bear photos to post.

Friday, 7 September 2018

FRIDAY 7TH - EN ROUTE TO OTTAWA


Pretty slow start this morning. We had not far to go and all day to get there. We are taking a circuitous route to Ottawa, partly because we can and partly because it has been recommended that the area known as Algonquin is very picturesque and well worth a visit. We will be driving through there tomorrow.

 
Tonight we are at what we thought would be a little town called Barrie but it is far from a little town. It is on Lake Simcoe, one of the many lakes in this area and, while the lakeside area is idyllic, the rest of it is very much developed and very busy, much like the Gold Coast. Hopefully the areas we explore tomorrow will be a little quieter.


While I am enjoying the ease of driving the car, particularly on the fast moving freeways, we are missing some of the benefits of the motorhome. We no longer carry our personal bathroom with us. If we want a cup of tea or coffee we have to buy it. When we stop for lunch, it has to be at a shop selling food that we like to eat. For dinner we have to eat out. Life's tough.




 

Thursday, 6 September 2018

THURSDAY 6TH - NIAGARA FALLS


After another frenetic but uneventful trip on the Los Angeles freeway system yesterday morning, we successfully returned the motor home having added no more damage to its slightly battered exterior. We departed Los Angeles at 11:00pm last night and landed in Toronto at 6:46 this morning after a four and a half hour flight. We have had a surprisingly productive day but I suspect that we will sleep very well tonight.

We collected our hire car this morning and were immediately introduced to the Toronto freeway system. More by good luck than good management, we found ourselves on the right freeway to Niagara so successfully arrived here at about 9:30 this morning. We no longer need the trusty little Garmin that served us so well in the U.S. The hire car has a GPS and is a dream to drive after the motor home.

 
For those interested in such things, the car is a seven seat AWD Ford Flex which we have never seen or heard of before.


Niagara is just magic and, if you ignore the garish tourist traps, the environment is brilliant. We have moved from a dry desert to a lushly vegetated region. The claim to fame that Niagara Falls makes is that it has the greatest volume of water flowing over it. I know that Iguasu and Victoria Falls also make claims. I think one claims to be the highest and the other claims to be the widest but they are all spectacular.



After a comprehensive walking tour this morning, we did the obligatory boat cruise to the base of the falls. We were issued with ponchos to keep us dry but they were only partly successful.


This afternoon we rode the 100 year old Whirlpool Aero Car over (as in 250 feet above them) a set of rapids not surprisingly called the whirlpool. The strength of water flow is such that the rapids are classified as an unnavigable class 6 rapid. I asked the operator how the cable car was powered 100 years ago but she didn't know. Apparently nobody had ever asked her that question Accordingly to Google, power was provided by a small Buick engine for the first 45 years.

 
This is a view from our hotel window. The falls are partially obscured by the USA Bridge, so called presumably because it links Canada and the USA. We carefully avoided getting on to it this afternoon when we went driving.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I haven't got to that yet but we do have a motel booking at Barrie a town north of here on a circuitous route to Ottawa where we have to be on Sunday.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

TUESDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER - DEJA VU



After a delightfully uneventful day, most of it spent on the Interstate 40, we are comfortably settled back at the Shady Lane R V Camp, two hours away (subject to traffic) from where we need to return the motorhome in the morning. We spent our first night here 12 nights ago. What fun we have had in the interim.
 
As we left the Grand Canyon this morning we saw some patches of light snow by the side of the road. We are now back to 30+ degree heat and have the air conditioning running.
 

Our project for this afternoon is to pack everything into our ports for the transition to the airport tomorrow evening for our flight to Toronto where we collect a hire car and head for the Niagara Falls. I am really looking forward to be driving a car again, rather than the lumbering motorhome. Having said that, it has served us very well. Everything has worked as it should and no damage done.
 
On to the next phase.


Monday, 3 September 2018

MONDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER - GRAND CANYON




Well what can one say? It is indeed grand. We spent today enjoying the convenience of the shuttle bus system with a little bit of walking but there is so much to see that there wasn't much time for walking if we were to get to all the view points worth visiting.

 
There are seats at the front of the buses for “seniors and disabled”. We had the delightful experience of getting on one of the buses which was reasonably crowded and having the driver tell some younger people to vacate two of those seats for us so we got to sit while many other people on the bus got to stand. From then on we didn't hesitate to use those seats.


Well that's it. The motorhome touring is over. The washing is on. The fridge is just about empty. We spend tomorrow on the road to get our van back to LA on Wednesday morning with full propane and empty waste tanks. What a fantastic experience we have had so far with more to follow.


Given that there is a certain sameness about photos of the Grand Canyon, I thought that I would promote a little game called “Find the River”. In most of the photos below, it is pretty obvious but you may find some a little obscure.











Sunday, 2 September 2018

SUNDAY 2ND - GRAND CANYON - THE GRAND FINALE



This morning was spent uneventfully driving the approximate 300 miles from Moab to Tusayan, being the commercial centre just outside the Grand Canyon National Park where we are staying in the grandly named Grand Canyon Camper Village. Along the way this morning, we once again experienced a variety of scenery, the highlight of which was Monument Valley near which the above photo was taken.


This is very much the tourism hotspot with helicopters operating non stop. We tried to stay in the National Park Campground but it was full.


We approached from the west which meant that we got to experience a number of scenic overlooks before getting to the village itself. We have worked out the shuttle bus system and will give the rim a more comprehensive going over tomorrow.


Unfortunately a storm was threatening when I was taking the photos so they are very hazy. Hopefully I will do better tomorrow.