Ontario, my it is big!

When we hit the border of Ontario the prairies had already given way to the Canadian Shield. It was exciting to be back but we still had a few days of driving Mike said. Most of Texas can fit into Ontario with its one million square kilometers, 415,000 square miles. Looking for spots on the weekends can be tough and sadly West Hawk Lake, formed by a meteor just off the Trans-Canada 1 that we were interested in seeing was totally booked up so we headed deeper into Ontario to Clearwater Bay. We found a spot at a RV park called Pye’s Landing. We nearly drove past, a flag flapping in the wind off the side of the road was the only indication of the RV park, it said open and I’d called ahead to say we would be late and they told us what spot to take. Looking at the pictures you would have thought it was on a lake, but not so, across the highway in a field more or less but it was far enough off the road to be quiet and looked like a nice enough spot to spend the night, or two as it turned out. This is Lake of the Woods the shores are covered in cottages and this park is mostly seasonal. Not sure if I got the draw sitting in a field in your mobile home all summer but Groot and Gamora liked chasing the dragonflies and we loved watching the Killdeers protecting their nest, limping and flying away whenever we got too close:)

We left for Upsala after a trip into Kenora to resupply, it was a bigger jump, almost 400 kilometers but we were on a mission to get back to Perth;) I should have taken pictures of the trees, it was like driving through an eerily huge plantation of pines. Different sizes and shapes but planted in endless rows with no diversity at different times, all lined up in picture perfect rows. I found it slightly depressing and googled old growth forest looking for somewhere where it had not all been chopped down at one time or another. I came up with two areas in the entire province and I felt a bit ill….

Upsala is the make a buck tree planters domain. The small RV park we stopped at, CAN-OP/G&G Service Upsala Campground is base to a host of young, ambitious, willing to go into the bush and plant trees for small sums that can lead to large paychecks if they are good and fast. It is grueling work at 6.5 to 9 cents a tree! The campground sits right on a small lake and was quite lovely. Sadly the sites are set up so your windows face away from the lake but it was a nice stop, the tree planters were too tired by the time they were bused back to party, just eat, swim in the lake and go to sleep:) The campground management was jolly but too many loose dogs running here and there, 12 at one count. Mike had to smack one on the head that was headed for Gamora, not cool at all.

Next stop turned into a wee bit of a disaster. I’d made a reservation at Ney’s Provincial Park-famous for its rock outcroppings and beach scenery, it looked amazing, but…the spot they said we could fit into, in fact the entire three loops were all too small, absolutely no room to back up or turn from the extremely narrow road! The Park website said RV’s 32′ and up were good for the spots….JEEZUS! NOT! Maybe a 22′ could find room to back in. Mike kept looking at me as we maneuvered around the loop  exclaiming he hoped it did not get any narrower, wiped out water spouts off the side of Myrtle and our air ventilator, luckily landed on the roof. The park supervisor was kind enough to drive me back around a 2nd time to pick up the pieces. He refunded our two nights, which was thoughtful, showed me several other sites but too narrow to turn to back in, or too many overhanging branches. We suggested a website update for the park. We could have gotten into their electrical site area, but it was fully booked for Canada Day but nowhere else had enough clearance and we didn’t want to wipe anything else off the top, across the road was something that called itself an RV park but that was a stretch, uneven sites and at the most maybe 15 amp service for a hefty price…not getting a good review;)…but it was late and we were not ready to keep moving. Flipped the breaker more than once and each time had to call the owner at the house in the front to get it back on, left early the next day hoping our next provincial park did not have the same web designer;) I did call, they told me they we would fit;) There were some beautiful flowers after the morning rain but we were happy to get the hell out!

Pancake Bay Provincial Park, what a great name! And yes we could have fit into more than one site. They were busy though, you were parked along the road and only a few feet off of it. The cats enjoyed the people and dog watching out the side windows. We wrote down a few choice spots when we come back this way that look out onto the lake and not right beside the Trans Canada-it was extremely noisy to say the least, not exactly a great park experience but now we know:)

We hiked all around the park, the beach was busy, fought off the mosquitos on a hike through the woods and a swamp boardwalk…what was I thinking;) The 3.5 kilometer trail leads through the forest and a fen, past the beach then inland. There is a boardwalk that crosses a marsh area with fabulous flowers, carnivorous plants as well as the carnivorous mosquitos…we kept up a brisk sweaty pace! Huge conglomerate rocks as well, a billion years old, one feels quite small next to these wonders Mother Nature has made.

We documented a few spots next to the lake we would come back to but were ready to move on, we were pining for the lake. We headed East again to a small RV park near Whitefish that had one vacancy left and it was broiling. A heat wave had descended upon Ontario! We’d planned to stop in Sudbury but they were full, summertime is upon us! Lot’s of “No Vacancy” signs! Centennial Park was off the Trans Canada-quiet as can be and right near the Vermillion River. The train did run to the North but we only heard it a few times. A lovely waterfall cascaded down under the railroad bridges and it was a quick hop into a small town to restock.

If it had not been 95 degrees I would have wandered about and looked for a path to the bridges and tracks but it was sweltering, even the cats were panting on their walks. We packed up early and headed East again to the Ottawa River, a shorter jump to Stonecliffe and Pine Valley Campground.

A nice shaded site under the pine trees and a view to the wide Ottawa River. Thunderstorms and lightning strikes on the other side of the river in Quebec dominated our afternoon. We did some laundry and prepared to head home, yes, home to Perth the next day!

Perth was only two and a half hours away. We were delighted to be driving back through this wonderful heritage town on our way out to Otty Lake. Waving at familiar faces, something about a small town:) We wondered if Groot would remember where he was…

Mike backed the monster back down Slack Way for 400 feet with me gesticulating wildly left and right, well, maybe not wildly;) it is quite narrow with a lot of trees…big trees…large if you hit them crunching trees, and right pretty much where it was last year…sigh…I have no idea how he does it, years of backing up tractors and hay wagons, he is amazing! Groot knew exactly where he was-and knew exactly what he wanted to do! Go fishing! I have never seen such a happy cat:) Gamora took one look at the water and scooted away quickly. She sat in the wonderful old cottage window watching…water is evil…cats melt;) Groot disagreed and was down on the dock in an instant:)

And this is our happy spot. After over 7500 km of traveling from Baja to here we were ready to not go ANYWHERE for a bit:) Time to rest, socialize, kill a few liver cells and catch up with friends and our 4 legged horse family. It’s good to be back. Stay tuned for more Perth Adventures;)…if you can get me to move;)

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