Friday, June 28, 2024

Ignace to White River to P S Walmart to Home *END* of 2024 West trip

We arrived home about 1:30 pm Wednesday, after a good drive home. It was a good trip, lovely to see Donna and all her wildlife that came to visit. We saw some more of southern BC, some we'd seen before and wanted to see again, some was new to us. BC is a beautiful province.

If you were following us, thank you! We'd do some sort of blog just for us and our family anyway, but we really appreciate the interest others have shown in our modest travel blog. 

We took very few pictures on the way home, mostly just enjoyed the drive. Good weather and light winds helped with the long road home. I've attached maps of the last 3 days, with one little video.


Monday Jun 24

Temperature up to 22C today, but varied widely. Down to about 10C anywhere near Lake Superior.

We took hwy 17 right through Thunder Bay, which takes us right past Kakabeka Falls. Lots of water going through:

We ended up staying the night at the White River tourist centre. The building was closed, but parking is still allowed in their parking lot. Neither of us had good night's sleep though, partly due to a big rig with its trailer refrigeration unit starting up periodically all night,
parked at the nearby gas station.


Tuesday Jun 25

Steady driving (with breaks of course), wondering if we should try to get home tonight. Sanity prevailed though, when we stopped in to the Parry Sound Walmart for a break and discovered there were no "No RV Overnight" signs.

When I checked with the Customer Service manager we were pleasantly welcomed, and she even thanked us for coming in to check. We could likely have gotten home tonight, but it would have been a stretch. Not worth the risk.


Wednesday June 26

After a good night's sleep at Walmart and a few stops along the way for replenishing some home supplies, we made it home by 1:30 or so. This timing has been rare for us over the years, as we usually rolled into home much later in the day at the end of a trip.


The trip was just over 10,000 km (6,200 miles) in all. The van did well again, no problems and it averaged 8.7 L/100km (27.1 mpg US). We generally had good weather, and NO nearby forest fires or smoke. The lack of smoke was lovely, as we had expected some along the way.


Sunday, June 23, 2024

We said we weren't going to blog, but ...


Our site for tonight


I know we said we weren't going to blog, but we had a very nice day and wanted to share it, and to save it for our own memories too.

Our night at the Brandon Walmart was quiet and uneventful, just the way we like it. We both slept well, and were ready to go by 6:30 am. A nice sunny 12C when on our way.

Because of the early departure we got breakfast along the way, at a Denny's near the Winnipeg bypass. We haven't come across a Denny's for a while, and really enjoy breakfasts from their 55+ menu when we're hungry.  

Along the Trans Canada Highway today...

A crop duster was circling and dusting a field and gave us a chance for a picture:

We were kind of thinking we might get to the Dryden Walmart today, and we did. Too early to stay though, so after a break we continued. 

Near Ignace we noticed a rustic-looking campground and stopped in. $25 cash for a lovely lakeside site, with light-use electrical connection and showers.  Sold! Even a pretty good cell signal, which is what we use for internet data.

While sitting enjoying the view, a float plane buzzed by, not something we see every day:

There were a few bugs around, and also several dragonflies chasing them down. The dragonflies seemed to like resting on our legs, so we welcomed them after all their hard work:

Apparently bass are spawning in the pond in front of our site. We've only seen swirls yet, but our landlady said if we have good sunglasses we'll likely see some fish. We tried our polarized sunglasses but didn't see fish. I did take a couple of pictures though, with and without shooting through the polarized lenses:

Clear, no sunglasses


Through amber-coloured polarized lens

So we're ready if the fish arrive.

 Fyi in case anyone is interested in the campsite we had. It's the Agimak Lake Resort, right on the TCH just to the west outside of Ignace.

I said no maps either, but even though it's a straight drive I'd miss them. So:




Saturday, June 22, 2024

Heading for home a day earlier than expected


We turned right.


We decided to leave our lovely site this morning. It was a shame, but in the afternoon a large trailer pulled in next to us and started disgorging several adults and a few lively young children. 

It was noisy enough already, but looked like things were shaping up for a family reunion Saturday night, so we decided to move along.

Today we moved from Cyprus Hills to a Walmart in Brandon MB, just about the reverse of our drive out over the same roads. A long day, about 11 hours on the road, but we're positioned and ready to head home now.

I'm not adding a map tonight, as we are just trundling across the Trans Canada Highway #1. We've done and documented this trip a number of times before, so won't be blogging again until we get home, unless something exciting happens.

Its funny to think we made a reservation at a Walmart! We didn't really, just called ahead to see if we could stay overnight. We would have done this anyway, as we wouldn't want to get turned away at the end of a long day, but we saw on CBC news that the store had a major fire on June 7 which destroyed their front entrance and required major stock cleaning before the store could reopen. They still let us stay. 

Here's what their front entrance looks like tonight:

The two young arsonists have been found and charged with lighting the fire.

Ttyl, Gord.

Friday, June 21, 2024

Camped in Cyprus Hills AB for 2 nights

Really interesting skies this morning

A couple of deer visited our campsite again this morning. This one seemed really curious:

Interested in us

But really too nosy about inside our neighbor's trailer

We took a few pictures on our way out of the campground this morning, kind of an overview of yesterday's pictures:

First, one of the frequent reminders that snakes are on the move

Apparently the park has 4 kinds of snakes migrating right now, including rattlers. We didn't see any, though we did try to stay snake-aware on our hikes.

This is the area we hiked through yesterday

Buildings are reconstructions of an RCMP outpost here years ago

Prairie Crocus. The flowers are about the size of a quarter.

Along the way, more active irrigation:


2 shots of a field of Canola show a real difference in unretouched pictures from 2 cameras:

Pocket-sized Nikon S9100 travel camera

Pixel 6 cell phone

We're still learning about the Nikon camera we were recently given. It has a longer optical zoom lens than the Pixel phones we have, which is really nice sometimes, but generally we like the Pixel pictures better. They are not always as different than the 2 above, but usually are somewhat different. We think in this case the Nikon picture was more the natural colours.


A neat line of trees along a ranch driveway

Once we got into ranch country we started to see antelope. They don't like fences, so more likely to see them in wide-open country: 

Some family groups

They were pretty unafraid, but would run away eventually

Trying to catch up with his family

3 bucks, all watching a different direction for danger

Some single bucks too

Likely safer in a group with more eyes watching out

South of Medicine Hat we saw a road sign to "Red Rock Coulee Natural Area", so had to investigate that. 

Here's a link <Red Rock Coulee> if you'd like more pictures and information.

It's an area with more really strange rocks:

See the rabbit here?

I'd likely have taken more pictures than I did, as it was a nice sunny day. However I felt a drop of rain and could hear rain coming, so walked quickly, then ran, for the van. The temperature dropped suddenly, and it wasn't rain, it was hail:

Sure glad I wasn't further from the van

Remember those interesting clouds earlier? They kept on being interesting throughout the day.

And here we are at our campsite for the next 2 nights, in Elkwater Lake's Firerock loop:

No hail in sight, at least not yet, but there is a "severe thunderstorm watch" out for the area. Looks like they should stay south or east of us though.







Thursday, June 20, 2024

A rest day hike at Writing On Stone park (resting from driving)

Morning at the campground beach

It was a beautiful sunny day here, down to 9C overnight (forecast was for 3 and chance of frost), and going up to 20C in the afternoon, with a light breeze. 

We weren't in a hurry to get started this morning, but did get sorted by mid morning and went for a hike on the main trail along the Milk river. The whole Matapiiksi (Hoodoo) Trail is about 5 km return. We hiked the main part, about 3.5 km return. It's not just a straight trail hike.

This is an area with a long history with Indigenous people. This weekend the campground is hosting activities as part of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. It's fully booked, so we'll be leaving tomorrow morning.

I don't have much description to add to the pictures, but hopefully they will give you a sense of the terrain. 

The trail winds its way around and through many of the rocks

Rock art images are faintly visible across the central flat rock

See the face profile looking over the Milk River here?

Similar to City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico, your imagination can be inspired by the many different shapes in the rocks.

Apparently the valley was carved by glacier activity, and the smallish river came through afterwards.


More faint rock art in the image above. Best guess is that the images were made 1000-2000 years ago.


After the hike we were quite happy to sit in the shade this afternoon, listening to the "singing" of this robin. It's a territorial thing I guess, since our robin was trading insults and threats with another robin not too far away, for hours on end. He seemed to want to be close to us while he did it, maybe for moral support:

One of the many deer in the area wandered through our site this afternoon too:


When driving over the past few days, we've had to be very alert for deer. They popped out a number of times with little warning. This was the middle of the day too, not evening or early morning when you'd expect more deer traffic. Nice to see in the campground though, or along the trail like we saw today too.