Sunday, August 3, 2014

North of Lake Superior

The trip around the north side of Lake Superior was another two day affair.

We left the KOA campground (recommended - the only challenge is traffic noise from the Trans-Canada) on a rainy, unpleasant morning:
And the first day of our trip was relatively uneventful. We enjoyed sightings of the lake, sometimes spectacular, as we drove along. Basically we seemed to chase the sun all day. We could see it in the distance but never caught it.
Our overnight stop was at Marathon - we stayed at Ley's Lunch Campground and do not recommend it. They cater to fishermen and bear hunters who are obviously not too particular about pleasant surroundings.

We had difficulty finding nice RV camping in Northern Ontario. I  believe most people stay at the provincial parks but we were so appalled by the cost ($40 to $50 per night for a site with electricity PLUS a daily entrance fee of $10.75) we were avoiding them. There is also an excellent National Park in this area that would be a good choice if you have a Parks Canada Discovery Pass. We did not stay there because we were just passing through.

As we were passing Marathon the next morning we saw this wonder high on a hill overlooking the highway:
What on earth!! Has a UFO invaded Northern Ontario?!?
 Called the UFO on the Hill it is actually a VOR. What is that you ask? Well., according to the tourism information folks in Marathon:
"The VOR provides directional information to aircraft equipped with VOR receivers. The Pilots tune in the frequency of the selected VOR, and identify them using Morse Code. For example, the Marathon VOR transmits on 115.9 Mhz and emits the Morse Code for Marathon. Once the station is identified the pilot can tune the receiver to determine the exact bearing of the aircraft to or from the beacon. The Distance Measuring Equipment will tell the pilot how far, in nautical miles, the station is from the aircraft. For example, if the aircraft is 50 miles south of the beacon, the VOR receiver will show the bearing to the station’s 360º to or bearing from the beacon as 180º from depending on whether the pilot requested information to or from the beacon. In either case, the Distance Measuring Equipment will display 50 nautical miles. The beacon here in Marathon is part of a continent wide airways network operated by NAV Canada and the Federal Aviation Authority in the USA. 

This beacon, due to its proximity to the Marathon Airport can also be used to allow aircraft landings in instrument flight conditions such as reduced visibility, low cloud cover etc."


Next we paid a visit to the Wawa goose:
Wawa means “Wild Goose or Land of the Big Goose” in Ojibway
Wawa is a lovely little town just of the Trans-Canada highway about halfway between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste Marie and well worth a visit. The Visitor Information Centre is the spot to start your visit. It has a wealth of information about the area and many plaques telling the story of the town's history through its people. I loved these lawn chairs - called Muskoka chairs in Ontario.
They are painted as a tribute to Glen Gould. When visitor season is in full swing they reside at Magpie Falls - a waterfall that he loved so much he built a cottage in the area. Or so the story goes.
There is a fun general store in Wawa with the mandatory moose as a mascot:
And a lovely park with a small fishing pier and a beach. We are now in the area of Northern Ontario where beaches proliferate and there are many inviting ones along the road.

Just before arriving in Sault Ste. Marie we stopped to visit this shop:
The moose again
It is extensively advertised along the highway and surprisingly enough was worth the stop. They featured hand-carved items from across Canada. Most of which were very well done.

And then we arrived at the KOA in Sault Ste. Marie (Canada):
This was by far the nicest CAMPSITE we stayed in on this 9 month trip around North America. Very well run. Great services, including a dog agility area and a RV wash. Everything was spotlessly clean and the sites were very well maintained. 5 stars to them. Incidentally our favourite RV Resort was the Bensen Palms Village RV Resort in Mission Texas.

It would have been nice to spend more than one night there but we were getting close to our old stomping grounds (We lived in Southwestern Ontario for 40 years) and had commitments to keep.

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