You can see my first attempt at a PowerPoint slide show covering our trip from Hamilton, Ontario to the Convention in Minot, ND by clicking on this link . Be patient, this Adobe Acrobat file is 7 meg. I hope to put up another slide show in a few days.
On the roll again. It is September 1. On our arrival at Cedarville CG at 6:40 PM we were greeted by Shelley and Norm and the owner. We were guided to a site next to the Topfs and after a few minutes to get set up we put together the first of our pot luck dinners together. They had been touring the area for the past two days and we had just put in a long day behind the windshield so for our first day we decided to do nothing. Nothing included a trip to the town library to make use of their WiFi, as a result of which you received the previous posting. It also included getting the boat out again. Carol was not up to boating so Norm and I went out for a long paddle during which we had to pull the boat up onto a dock to further inflate it. I had been inflating to carry Carol and me and Norm actually weighs a few pounds more than Carol and the boat needed more air for appropriate stiffness. Since I had the pump along, per instructions, this was a simple exercise. After clean up and dinner it was time for early turn in.
For day two we drove up to Sault Saint Marie (finally learned how to spell it) and watched a freighter go through the locks and had an acceptable lunch. We then stopped at a coffee house, where we should have gone for lunch, to use their WiFi. For a change only Carol was able to get connected. Usually she had a hard time and I didn’t have any problem. We went back to the campground and Norm and I took computers to the library for another round of connectivity. When we got back to camp, it was still a bit early for wine so Norm and I took the boat, which was still inflated, out for a quick paddle before cleaning it up and packing it away. I think that those are the forth and fifth uses we have made of the boat, but who’s counting. The women put together a wonderful dinner of eggplant on the grill, ask Carol for the recipe she made up on the spot. Shelley baked a cake and we ate in the Topfs coach because the flies had become totally miserable when the food came out. As the women cleaned up from dinner, Norm and I were busy outside putting away all the stuff we could in preparation for an early departure in the morning. Early in this instance was by 9.
We woke up at our usual time this morning and with out pressing too hard we were hooked up and rolling in caravan by 8:50. We plan to stop in Saginaw to fuel ourselves and the motor homes. 32 miles remain as I write this. We will go our separate ways from there.
Fuel stop: talk about pucker factor. We bought 48.75 gallons of gas at $3.40/gal. OUCH. I guess I had best readjust my thinking about operating costs. The reality is that the additional dollar a gallon still has not made fuel the most expensive part of operating the motorhome. I will just have to modify my expectations and drive slower and take more direct routes. As for the “drive slower” when you RV’s on the road running 10 mph below the limit, don’t get annoyed, take a lesson from us, fuel consumption improves by 15 to 20% and that makes a big difference.
After parting from the Topfs at Saginaw, we crossed into Canada at Port Huron and started looking for place for the night. The Wal-Marts were all too far off the road and I had no way to locate a Canadian Tire. From our books we determined that there was a campground in Woodstock and that is where we directed our course. My oh my! Woodstock was an eye opener on our drive through, large gracious homes on beautiful lawns with lovely gardens. Except for the size this could have been England. We later learned it was settled by British Admiralty retirees. It is also a short drive to Stratford (50 km). The campground certainly fit in, it had lovely grounds and gardens and a pleasant pool that I managed to take advantage of. In the morning we trundled on down the road to Niagara on the Lake for three plays and a visit with some family.
We saw Gypsy, Belle Moral and Happy End. All were well produced and acted. Happy End had the difficult attribute of lacking a play that was related to the music and lyrics. We enjoyed the music, but were mystified as to how it related to the meager plot that was offered.
Saturday night we had dinner with the Foreman and Arnie Zimmer and Peggy at Epicurean. The place was a delight and on advance order they had a nice veggie dish for Carol.
On Monday we set off for home at 10 AM. By 10:30 we had cleared customs on the Lewiston Bridge and were rolling for home with one more fuel stop to top off the tank for storage. As we pulled out of the Pembroke Flying J, I decided to drive along NY 5 rather than the Thruway. The good news was it was pretty and we could drive slowly without upsetting the rest of traffic. The bad news came as we approached Caledonia. I thought I saw something in the road, in the shadows, but was unable to see much other than that it was in the center of the lane. Too late it became clear that it was a stacking chair. The noise it made as I hit it was horrendous. It dragged under the front end. I pulled over at once and discovered a metal framed plastic chair wedged under the front bumper against the axle. Our FMCA Goose Egg is gone from the front and the license plate is bent. There is other minor damage to fiberglass that will not hinder our operations and will not be repaired immediately because it is not visible except on close inspection. People appeared from nowhere, drawn by the noise and we were glad to reassure them that the damage was limited to some broken plastic. The chair was in much worse shape when I hurled it into the adjacent field. When we stopped shaking we drove on home. We are grateful that this was the only untoward event of a 4061 mile trip.
Some other statistics: We put 616.81 gallons of gas in the tank. We average 6.84 miles per gallon, but that was improving steadily toward the end of trip. The worst tank; Driving in the Black hills and Badlands averaged 5.26 mpg; the best at 7.95 mpg was from Madison WI to Cedarville, MI (near Sault Saint Marie). We stayed in 14 different campgrounds and our longest stay (other than the rally) was three nights in three different places.