The Best-Laid Plans…

As Scottish poet Robert Burns noted: “The best-laid plans of mice and men, often go awry”.  That was our experience last week.

Chi-Cheemaun Ferry Crossing

Betty and I had an enjoyable stay camping at the picturesque Pancake Bay Provincial Park, on the north shore of Lake Superior. When we were preparing to leave, I hit the button to retract our living room slide out, and nothing happened. Oh, oh! We had experienced this same issue during the first leg of our overlandish odyssey, when we were in Dallas, Texas. A mobile rv tech was called, and he wiggled some wires and got us back in business. But when we joined the South Texas

A tree hugger, holding up a southern Ontario tree

Renegades FMCA group north of Houston, the same problem occurred. As noted in a post from that time, a commercial airline pilot and certified airplane mechanic, Rick, troubleshot our system and identified the likely cause of the failure to retract.  He got our slide out in, but advised us to have an rv tech work on it when we arrived at our next destination.

When we got to South Padre Island, we called a mobile rv tech who came to our site to fix the problem. The problem, at that time, was that the slide out failed to NOT work. Yes, that’s a double negative. And it failed to not work every day from then until Pancake Bay, when it didn’t fail to not work. Wow, is that a triple negative, or just a convoluted way of saying it’s

High water at Lake Erie beach

busted? LOL! This time we calledGood Sam Roadside Assistance, being many miles from any populated area, and Darcy, the kind owner of Goulais River Truck & Tractor, got us on the road again. We now have an appointment this week at Hitch House, near Orillia, to have a new slide motor installed.

Just dealing with that issue would have been enough, but NO, there was more! My bbq hose also stopped working, which is a major concern when you love to grill. In this case, Peter and I did the troubleshooting, confirming that both the Weber and the tank were in working order. While checking on-line to see where I could purchase a replacement hose, I found a

Our Weber bbq sans hose

review page on the Weber site, which noted that 95% of customers loved their Weber hose. In reply to anyone posting a low rating, Weber listed a 1-800 number to rectify the problem. So I called the 1-800 number, and sure enough, a new, free replacement hose is in the mail to me. (Which is great, except I now have to figure out how to get it from our son’s home, which is our mailing address when we are on the road.)

Also last week, as we were slowly exiting Neys Provincial Park, we discovered

Relaxing in our new room

that we had failed to close the upper cupboard where our plates and bowls are kept. The way we found this out was by the horrendous crash behind us, as the Corelle dishes shattered into thousands of pieces on our floor. The sight was most picture-worthy, but in our excitement to clean up the mess before Charlie got into it, we failed to snap any shots. Maybe we could re-create the scene now? Betty says NO!

At brother Bill & Heather’s

As previously noted, we began this new leg of our adventure on fresh Michelins, manufactured in March 2018. While we had noticed a slight bounce in our front end between 50 & 60 mph, we put it down to Manitoba’s notoriously bad roads. But when we finally got onto smooth pavement in Ontario, the bounce was still there. I called our

Brother Jack makes the game-winning shot

tire store back in Winnipeg, and Rick suggested that one of the wheel weights, used to balance the tires, may have fallen off on the rough roads. So into a Hanover tire shop went our Cruisemaster last week, and it turns out the front tires were mismounted, causing a warped ride.  The tires were turned 180 degrees and remounted, and we are back to smoother sailing.

Heather & Bill

After a wonderful visit with Bill and Heather – Betty’s brother and his wife – Betty and I are now set up in Rondeau Provincial Park on Lake Erie, visiting Betty’s other brother, Jack and his wife Christine, and friends Rick & Penny – a wonderful

Christine sports her new poncho, lovingly made by Betty

surprise addition. (Yes, that’s the 3rdRick this post, a new record! LOL) Our Buena Vista add-a-room is up and performed well for a get-together last night, and our fingers are all crossed that we will avoid further mishaps for the next while, but as Robert Burns reminded us:

“The best laid plans….”


Dinner with family & friends

Rondeau Provincial Park Campsite

Everlasting Friendships

crossing Manitoulin Island

There are times when you reconnect with friends you haven’t seen for a long time, and you pick up where you left off, as if you have never been apart. This week was one of those times, as we turned our motorhome south from Espanola, Ontario, and travelled across the magnificently scenic Manitoulin Island to the appropriately named community of Providence Bay, reconnecting with our old friends, Janet and Peter.

Many years ago (not saying how many…LOL)

Old friends (LOL)

Janet and Betty graduated from a Toronto area nursing college together. When Janet secured a position at Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Alberta, Betty visited her there and was immediately invited to join the nursing staff. We moved from Milton, Ontario to Calgary and began what has become an everlasting friendship with Peter and Janet.


Over the years, they moved a number of times, and so did we. They raised a beautiful family, and in my humble opinion, so did we. Being similar ages, our kids grew up together and sustained their own friendships. But Janet, Peter, Betty and I always enjoyed each other’s company, sharing the joys, trials, and tribulations of life on planet Earth.

to the boardwalk

Now Peter is retired from teaching, and Janet is semi-retired from nursing, and they are settled in an idyllic corner of planet Earth called Providence Bay. Their driveway was long enough for our motorhome, and they graciously allowed us to plug in and top up with water during our visit. Their home is situated a short walk from the beach, and a long beach-side boardwalk provided the perfect location for both daylight and moonlight strolls, as we caught up on the intervening years.

Peter & Janet

In addition to sharing a longstanding friendship, we also share a common love for food and fine spirits. Betty and Peter are both practiced in wine-making, so we had to sample their wares as we enjoyed Janet’s traditional roast beef, roast potato, Yorkshire pudding, and treacle pudding; and my prosciutto- wrapped asparagus and lamb chops with mint sauce. Food and friendship pair so nicely together, don’t they!

relaxing on the porch

Next week, we are on the road to the east to visit extended family and more friends, while Janet and Peter are flying west to Calgary, to be re-united with a dinner club we were all members of back in the day. (The day being the time when we were all young couples, with young children, in new jobs, and new homes in a new province.) Betty and I will greatly miss that bonding experience, but hope that we will all live long enough to enjoy another dinner club get-together in future.

Our hope and wish is that everyone has the opportunity to share the same kind of everlasting friendship with others. It adds such encouragement and joy to life!


Travel in good spirits

Unexpected Delights

Last night Betty and I were camped by the water’s edge near Marathon. No,

Campsite at Neys, not the Keys!

not Marathon in the Florida Keys, but northern Ontario’s Marathon. We were not by the Atlantic, but by Lake Superior in Neys Provincial Park.  While we scheduled this stop in our 4 year plan, interestingly, it’s not what we expected.

Driving north of Superior

We have taken the north shore of Superior from eastern Canada to western Canada, or vice versa, on a number of occasions, although the road south of Superior is much faster, straighter and flatter, and the price of gas is half of what we are currently paying. We are not taking the southern route now, because it would eat into our 182 day limit for annual time in the U.S., and we are planning the U.S. portion of this trip to follow a full drive across the eastern half of our fair nation. If you are in a rush, this northern route is not the way to go. If amazing, beautiful, iconic Canadian scenery is of interest, by all means take the twisty TransCanada!

Somehow, we visualized the stop between Kakabeka Falls and Pancake Bay

Neys campsite

Provincial Parks as Neys Provincial Park, near Marathon. But as we passed Rainbow Falls Provincial Park just west of Schreiber, Ontario, we recognized thatspot on the shore of Lake Superior as the campground where we had previously stayed. And as we pulled into Neys Provincial Park, nothing at all looked familiar to us. Turns out we have never been there before! LOL

Neys beach

In any event, we had a nice, large site overlooking the beach and the Great Lake beyond, and enjoyed the company of 2 Iowa couples making the circuit around the lake.

Since there was no cell service in Neys, this post is coming to you from our next stop – one of our favourite campgrounds north of

Pancake Bay campsite

Superior: Pancake Bay. Just northwest of Sault St. Marie, Pancake Bay Provincial Park has one of the nicest beaches along the lake, with campsites close enough that I am now sitting at our dining table hearing and watching the waves roll onto the sandy beach a few yards away.

motorhome view from campsite

So far, this is the leisurely cross-Canada tour we had hoped for, with many great provincial parks from which to choose, and scenic vistas around every turn. With some stops planned, and others spontaneous, spur of the moment opportunities, Betty and I are sure to experience the rich character of Canada’s

Pancake Bay beach

natural beauty on this great adventure, and are eagerly anticipating many more unexpected delights.


Day 1 Province #2

Adding Ontario to our sticker map

The sun streamed through our bedroom window at 5 a.m. on our first travel day. In winter I am not usually up before late morning, but as we approach the longest day of the year, the bright morning light coaxed me out of bed by 6 a.m., so Betty, Charlie, Gavin and I were on the road and entering province #2 – Ontario – by mid-morning.

Of course, no one from Ontario would call it anything but province #1, and if you are from Toronto, then anything outside the metropolitan area is subservient hinterland. LOL (Betty, having been born and raised in Toronto, finds that last line to be too edgy & offensive, and should be edited out. But we lived in Alberta when the National Energy Program was introduced, and the reactionary sentiment was “Let those eastern b…s freeze in the dark!”)  But enough of petty provincial politics. On to our journey of discovery!

some rock & trees

We had set the bar low for our first day of travel, and exceeded our expectations by blowing past our first scheduled stop – Kenora, Ontario – by 10:30 a.m. After passing rock, trees, and water, then trees, rock, and water, then water, trees, and rock, we arrived at the beautiful Kakabeka Falls Provincial

Definitely not like the desert!

Park, just outside Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Our large, quiet campsite is nestled nicely in more trees, and we can hear the water cascading over the rock in the background.

In the park is a dog beach, where Charlie

Who has the stick?


enjoyed his favourite game of chase the stick. I should make this paragraph longer, to accommodate all the pictures of his comings and goings, but oh well…

Charlie says “I have the stick!”






Memory lane


After the beach, we went to the mighty falls, bringing back memories of our visit here with our niece, Amy, when she was just 12 and Valerie was 2. Today Betty and Charlie are pictured on the boardwalk where Amy and Valerie were seen many years before.

Gavin visits Kakabeka Falls


Not to be left out of the action, Gavin insisted on having his picture taken at the falls, both upstream and downstream. As the water thundered over the edge, Betty & I also got in front of the lens at this most photogenic location.

Gaven says “me too!”









It’s another bright, sunny day, and we will soon be heading out on the twisty, turny TransCanada Highway that leads up and down and around the north shore of Lake Superior – one of the GREAT Lakes, on the southern border of a GREAT province: Yours (and ours) to discover and enjoy!


Northern Ontario’s mighty Kakabeka Falls
Yours to Discover

Here We Go Again!

Betty & I are preparing to embark on the next leg of our Overlandish Odyssey (or Oh, Oh, for short – the sound you make in anticipation of something about to happen, and you don’t know the result… LOL)

Our inaugural journey was a great learning experience, but we know we still have more to discover, as Ontario license plates suggest. When we packed for our first trip, we asked ourselves “What will we need for the next 5 years on the road?”. On return, we found we had packed much more than we needed, so our question now is “What will we need for this leg of our journey?”. Fortunately, our family members are gracious enough to store items we are not taking, but may need in future.

As Betty has indicated, reconnecting with family and friends has been the sweetest and best experience of the past month. It’s been great to have individual and group dinners – a couple of them are pictured here – and to attend other special events in our grandkids lives during this short stay.  We know those times are what we will miss most during our travels, and already look forward to seeing their continued growth in character and interests on return.

This month has also provided the time to ensure a safe foundation and good under standing for each of us. Charlie’s

our little tires

nails have been cut as he received a fresh grooming yesterday. The Smart car has tire pressure transmitters that can be monitored from inside our coach, along with a new set of all weather tires, replacing both the winter and summer tire sets previously alternated. (We’re not intending to need winter tires much in the next

our big tires – each costs as much as the 4 little tires combined.

few years. LOL). The CruiseMaster has a fresh set of Michelins – manufactured in March 2018. (We had been told by many over the past 3 years that our tires were past their best before date, so are finally glad to have a safe base on which to roll down the road.) And of course Betty & I have both experienced fresh pedicures yesterday, so we all exhibit that good under standing. LOL


In addition to taking the CruiseMaster in for an oil change, water pump upgrade, and general check-up, we took the time to organize our interior storage a little better. We re-organized our basement compartments, and added a closet and additional work and storage space to the back of our bedroom. Previously we had a


lazy-boy type recliner in the space pictured, but never used it for anything more than holding dirty clothes. Two of the attached pictures show the cupboard under construction and the finished product, with enough room in the closet for a full-sized set of golf clubs, if I find them in that Florida flea market next winter. LOL

after, showing map of trip to date

Finally, we can report that we more or less successfully attached the Carefree of Colorado add-a-room that we purchased in Oklahoma. I say more or less, because there is still maybe an hour’s work left to finish what is promoted as a 15 minute install. But that will be for another day. Today we have almost everything tucked away, and will soon be washing Charlie’s nose prints off the windshield so we can see where we are going tomorrow.

our new Buona Vista room

So oh, oh, here we go again!  Watch out for us on the road as we continue our overlandish odyssey.