Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oh! Canada

After a quick side trip to the Grand Portage National Monument it was time to enter Canada. I pulled up to the border processing station and produced my passport. The first question I was asked was if I was an American citizen. As far as I know only US citizens are issued US passports, so I thought this question was a little silly. Then, after being asked THREE times by the border guard if I had any firearms (I am an American, and a Texan to boot!) I was finally allowed to enter Canada. I rode from the Pigeon River border crossing and into Thunder Bay.

I was to stay in Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park. Kakabeka Falls is known as the Niagara of the North and after the abundant rainfall the previous two weeks, it lived up to its name. I left Thunder Bay and headed north to Nipigon and then began a southeastern descent on TC 17.

I spent the next night at Rabbit Blanket Campground in Lake Superior Provincial Park. This is where I learned about the famous Canadian mosquitoes. Mosquitoes were in clouds and it was even difficult to breathe without inhaling the little suckers. I had run out of insect repellent and it was moved up to first on my next day's shopping list. The scenery at the lake was beautiful and I really would like to revisit this park again with my wife. The chipmunks were very social. While dining on my can of spaghetti and meatballs they would hop on the table and beg for handouts!

The next day I hit the road for Spragge. The road was beautiful. Running along the shore of Lake Superior with fantastic weather. In Spragge I stayed at a KOA. I was going to use this chance to do some laundry and just relax for a couple of days. This is where I learned an important lesson. Spending the day on a campground "relaxing" was not a good thing to do. It game me too much time to think and I began contemplating all kinds of "what ifs". I decided that I would ride the whole next day past Ottawa and on to Montreal.
I stopped in Sault Ste. Marie to make a quick cell phone call to my wife. I was close enough to the border that I could reach an American cell tower. This was my first contact with her in a few days and it was reassuring.

What a shock Quebec was! Literally inches over the border with Ontario only French was spoken. This include the numerous detours around all of the construction that was going on in Montreal. I could not read the signs, but I decided the car in front of me with Quebec plates could so I just followed him. I arrived at the KOA in Montreal and discovered that the whole staff spoke English. What a relief. While much of Canada was not too different than the US, Quebec is like visiting another country altogether. The next day I would head back to the good ol' USA into Vermont.

Check back soon to read the final leg of the trip!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Long Way Round Begins

In the photo to the right I am packed and ready to leave for my Canadian Trip. I was to attend the the BMWMOA International Rally in West Bend, Wisconsin and then continue around the Great Lakes and return home. My wife and I had seen a British television program earlier in the year called Long Way Round with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. We started calling this trip the Long Way Round 2007. I had planned the trip for months and really looked forward to it.

The rally was fantastic! Much better than I thought it would be. The weather was perfect and I fell in love with Wisconsin. The people there have the cutest accent. This son of the south loved it! The North Woods were absolutely beautiful. After the rally I rode to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Instead of taking Route 2 straight across the peninsula I decided to take Route 13 in Wisconsin and visit the Apostle Islands National Seashore.

From there it was on to Minnesota. Minnesota was quite nice. I must say I was a little disappointed in the Scenic Route 62 along Lake Superior. It seems a lot of the land is private property and the lake can't be seen. There were, however, some places with a view. The state parks in Minnesota are quite popular and I managed to get the last camp site at Tettegouche State Park. The next day I would ride into Canada!

Please check back next week for the Canadian portion of this trip!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Welcome to my Blog

Welcome to my new blog! I have finally been convinced to move from print media to the web. This being my first entry don't expect much. Let's just say I have been touring Europe and the North American continent for years and plan on doing much more in the future. I spend most weekends riding in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I am a teacher, so I have my summers free. Last year I toured Ontario and Quebec as well as several states in the U. S. I will post a report on that trip soon and try to keep you up to date on the plans for my Alaska trip planned for June and July of this year. Stay tuned (even if this entry bored you to tears!).