Day 61: Sept 1 British Columbia

From the journal: “Woke up to another beautiful day. Last day! I don’t want to go home, but I want to. I have enjoyed the time travelling in our little motor home. I haven’t enjoyed the feeling of always being on the go.

This country of ours is beautiful, friendly, welcoming, thoughtful and BIG! There is so much more to see that we didn’t get a chance to see. So much more to do and experience!

There is no better place than home. I left a little piece of my heart in NFLD, PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. One thing that surprised me was how flat the rest of Canada is compared to BC, other than a few specific areas such as the Cape Breton Trail NS and Gros Morne NFLD. We had phenomenal weather. Couldn’t have asked for better, other than a few nights of rain at the beginning and end of our trip and a couple of foggy days.

As we climb this mountain and reach 1775m Stagleap Provincial Park the contrast is startling. No wonder when someone comes from another province they are tentative drivers. And we still have at least two more passes to go through before home. There was even one province that had a warning sign of 6% grade for 300m. For us in BC that’s every highway!

I was very impressed with our 1988 motor home. She took us 19,000km up to altitudes to 3000m and kept on ticking. 1 light, 1 heater core, 1 hub cap, 1 vent pin, 1 radiator cap – not bad for 19,000km and over some of the roughest roads.  Thanks “Cali (short for Calico)” (finally found a name for her).  As Marcel and I do fist bumps to conclude our journey, we long to be on the road again.”

Day 60: Aug 31 Alberta

From the journal: “Woke up to sunshine and quite warm weather. Usual routine. Lethbridge and Fort Macleod are over 900m. Great highway. Can see the Rockies from Fort Macleod and they are over 100 kms away. Sky was covered with huge clouds. Huge wind farm in Fort Macleod. Crossed the BC border and kept going till Creston. The scenery is so startlingly beautiful in our province – around every bend, every mountain that we climb, every river we cross. Didn’t realize how much I missed home. Beautiful weather doesn’t hurt either. Walked downtown. They have a fantastic game/toy store. Had to have a Kokanee Beer as they make it here. We sit under the glacier that once was.”

Since 1969 Kokanee beer has been brewed here in Creston, by the Columbia Brewery.

Day 59: Aug 30 Saskatchewan

Medicine Hat is located on the South Saskatchewan River. Known as “The Gas City” for it’s huge natural gas reserves.

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From the journal: “Woke up an hour earlier as we had turned our clocks back. It was probably 5-6 degrees. No frost. We were on the road by 7:30am. Lots of clouds in the sky. It threatened to rain but held off. Passed the salt mine outside of Moose Jaw. Got up to 800 meters. Didn’t realize how high the prairies were. Highest spot since we left the Rockies. 

Made it to Medicine Hat. We didn’t realize until we stepped out of the motor home that it was really warm. We got our summer back. Walked around. Found another mall and walked through it. Had a drink at Tim Hortons. Thought we might go to the movies, but not really anything we wanted to see. Came back to the motor home. Read for a bit. Had a sponge bath. Went for dinner at Tony Roma’s. Shorts weather again. Nice evening.”

Day 58: Aug 29 Saskatchewan

Regina is the capital of Saskatchewan, and the commercial center of southern Saskatchewan. Known as the “Queen City”.

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From the journal: “Woke up to sunshine again. It makes everything seem better. Our ritual for morning – go pee; brush teeth (sometimes hair), wash face sometimes and have peanut butter sandwiches. On the road again. Crossed over the Saskatchewan border. “Saskatchewan Naturally”. There is a nip in the air. The skies are clear with a few clouds. At one point we climbed from 350m (Brandon) to 600m near Regina. Wide open spaces. A couple of dead raccoons on the road – other than that,no wildlife. A lot of fields have been cut. Got to the Walmart in Regina. Lots of stores to explore. Got our 10,000 steps in. Worked on the ship model. A nice day, but cold wind. Went to the Canadian Brewhouse for dinner. Nice shrimp and perogies. Marcel had shepherds pie and Stanley Park beer to wash it all down. No rain today.”

Day 57: Aug 28 Manitoba

Brandon sits on the banks of the Assiniboine River, and is known as “Wheat City”.

From the journal: “Woke up to the sunshine and no clouds. What a difference from yesterday. Gas is pretty cheap – $1.03-$1.11. Bought some luncheon meat and headed on the road from Brandon. A short trip today. It’s a bit windy but not like yesterday. It’s so flat. Farm after farm. There’s corn for sale on the side of the road. A lot of hay has been bundled. Got to the Brandon Walmart. Was still quite nice. Went for a short walk to EB Games. Finished the Star Trek metal art puzzle. Went for dinner at Montana’s. A much better experience than the last Montana’s. Started to sprinkle. Then it started to rain. Stopped by the time we went to bed. Beautiful sunset despite the clouds.”

Day 56: Aug 27 Manitoba

Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba. It is named after nearby Lake Winnipeg. 

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From the journal: “Rain! Rain! The worst day for rain as we headed for Winnipeg. Then the winds picked up to about 50-60kms. Or least it felt like that. Stopped at the Walmart at St. Vital Centre. Huge mall is attached to it. Went for a late lunch. Walked around the mall. Very cold. Bought some Metal-Earth puzzles. Hmm, we will see. Pretty finicky. Went for dinner and had a piece of pizza. Found that a cinema was attached to the mall through an arcade. Saw “Angel has Fallen”. When we came out the rain had stopped and it wasn’t as windy. And the fridge worked, what a surprise!”

Day 55: Aug 26 Ontario

From Cheryl’s journal: “The sun is trying to peek out. Warm day. Had to buy more panties as we don’t want to do laundry again before we get home. By the time we were ready to go we started getting showers. We both saw a moose standing in the water on the side of the road around 10 am. As of the Quetico Provincial Park all waters now flow into the Arctic Ocean. Between Wawa and Thunder Bay all rivers flow into the Atlantic. Got gas in Atikokan and they said they were expecting 3 inches of rain. And yes it rained! Got to Fort Frances at about 2 and the rains kept going till 7 pm. Tried to play Rummy-O with Marcel but he found it hard to process. Stayed at the Walmart.”

Fort Frances is located on the international border with the US, where Rainy Lake becomes Rainy River. It is a popular fishing destination.

Day 54: Aug 25 Ontario

From the journal: “A very early cold morning. Pumped out and left our campground. For the first part of the morning we would go through patches of fog and then the sun would come out. Got gas in Marathon. Looked familiar as we had done the same on our way out. As we got around Rossport, Lake Superior took on a very pretty teal blue. Surprised me as I thought it would be a dark blue. Turned out to be a very nice day. A lot of construction on this road, especially the bridges, but the road is smooth for the most part. Arrived in Thunder Bay and pulled into one Walmart and decided to find another. The one on Memorial is the largest we’ve seen. Lots of things around Walmart. Went to Kelsey’s for dinner. Walked for an hour. A large mall. The wind picked up and was chilly when we went to bed but it felt like it warmed up during the night. Had to open a window. Had a rain shower around 6 am but it stopped after 15-20 minutes.”

This place billed itself as the “Smallest Canadian Tire in Canada”. We drove by it twice on our trip but cannot remember it’s location. Googling it up doesn’t help either. Perhaps an astute reader can help us with this one.

Day 53: Aug 24 Ontario

From the journal: “Beautiful morning but cold. Looked like it might have been close to frost. Timmins reminded me very much of Fort St. John – one road with a lot of industrial services. The terrain on the 101 between Timmins and Wawa reminded me of the Prince George area, small trees, lakes and cattails. Great place for moose, but didn’t see any. There were a few places where the ferns were starting to change colour. If only we could wait another couple of weeks to see the fall colours.”

“Camped at Wawa RV Resort and Campground. A “Good Sam” campground. Asked if we were a member or a BCAA member. Assuming the price was the same. Nice campground, with a pool that was cold and sauna that was hot. A river ran at the end of the campground. Not much else to do as it was out of town.”

Day 52: Aug 23 Ontario

Timmins is in northeastern Ontario, and serves as a regional service and distribution center for the mining industry. Shania Twain was born in Timmins.

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From Cheryl’s journal: “Something was banging all night from the wind. Couldn’t figure it out. Marcel checked the vent and said it’s still secure. It was pretty cold last night. Will need to start using our duvet again. Windy, cloudy with some sun, but cold like winter in the air.

Crossing over the Ontario border we noticed right away the roads were much smoother. Our poor motor home must feel pretty beat up with all the rough roads it has endured. Still chilly. Got into Timmins, Ontario and stayed at the Walmart. The wind was cold – had a chill to it. Walked over to the mall and had dinner. By the time we came out it was nice. It had warmed up. Bought a jacket and two workout shirts at the Sport Chek.”