Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ingredients of a ROADTRIP

We have a little "downtime" now, the 6 week summer classes I teach at Trent are over, no conferences to speak at in August and many of my consulting clients are away.  I have tons of work to do on my book and materials for next season's conferences.. also, as I've never had children of my own, but, married into granddaughters, we needed a granddaughters fix, so.,, all the ingredients of a ROADTRIP!

Our granddaughters live in St. Albert Alberta, we live in Peterborough Ontario, so just a 7,000km round trip trip!  Jerry drives and I work.   He's got my travelling office wired for electricity and as well as  he has me set up so I can access highspeed in the US through Verizon and in Canada through Bell.  I posted a photo of my Hotspot on Facebook, it certainly got some interested comments. 

Our first stop was at the Serpent River Campground, in Spragge, Ontario.  It was eight hours from our home, but, more importantly, a VW (our other vehicle of pleasure travel), owns campground up that way.  It's on 21 acres,  half are seasonal spots and half over nighters.  He is on a little River which seems to have some good fishing, kayaking and canoeing   My passion are trails & hiking, as you might have guested, with my personal Twitter Handle being @Live4Trails, there weren't any trails for me, so we enjoyed our visit with our friend!  We had a wonderful meal (as any road warrior knows, food is important, we had Steak & Shrimp the first night), catch up time around a fire and tried roasting some Marshmallows and Strawberries. 

We got on our way around 8am the next morning, and crossed into the States at Sault SteMarie Ontario, into Michigan.  We were aiming toward the Ottawa National Forest to camp in, when we realized our nephew's new bride's mom & brother live on the edge of the Ottawa National Forest, in Ironwood Michigan.  So, we called, they said come for dinner.  We brought wine and cake.  We parked on their driveway over night, and had a wonderful evening.  The wedding between our two families was just two weeks ago, so, we had lots to talk about. It was the FUNNEST wedding anyone's ever attended, but, that's another story.

After our time with the new family in Ironwood, we aimed headed toward Turtle River State Park. I needed a trail fix by this point, too many marshmallows, wine, cake & sitting.  Turtle River State Park is in North Dakota.  We took Hwy 2 from Ironwood Michigan, all the way across Minnesota and right to Turtle River State Park in North Dakota.  Hwy 2 is a nice route, as we don't like big highways as you miss too much of life, but, I need a smooth surface to work on. 

So, in Minnesota, around a small town called Bagely, our brakes and steering started singing or screeching (depending on your point of view).  We've learnt to stop at AutoPart stores and share with them what's going on and ask them to recommend a mechanic in the area.   They said to go three streets off the hwy2, turn right at the pile of dirt, then stay on that road till it turns into a gravel road, then look left till you see what looks like a garage.  
 The Sheriff of the town was there too, so, he offered to escort us so we won't get lost.   They all stopped what they were working on, huddled under the Balloo (that's our RV's name), and came out with a piece of pipe which fell off when they touched it.. it was the nut/bolt part, a pipe full of rust holes. Outcome would have been we'd have lost our steering and brakes in a short while longer. We where VERY lucky to be that close to Braaten Repair garage in Bagley, MN. THANK YOU BOYS! The part which was rusted away was a custom pipe buid, so, they went into their garage and jimmied and welded some pieces together.  Within an hour we were on route again.  80 dollars in total, labor, parts and supplies.  We where happy and alive.

 We got into Turtle River State Park a couple hours before mosquitoes would be arriving, so as Jerry likes to unwind around the camp, Duke (our dog) and I like to explore right away. So, we hopped on a bike and made for the trails.  Turtle River is 800 ish acres, much of it a trail system. The Trail system is 3km from the campgrounds.  They have hiking and mountain bike trails.   We explored just for the two hours of daylight we had, then returned for a wonderful BBQ salmon-kibos Jerry had made for us. 


The next morning, we got up early, Duke & I that is, and explored the trails a little more.  Came back, we packed up, and hit the road for day four of heading toward our granddaughters.  We started heading north, we were aiming just north to Regina, but, as we got closer, we noticed Buffalo Pound River looking interesting.  

So, after eight hours of driving we went to Buffalo Pound River Provincial Park to find they were sold out! It was after all a Saturday. But, there's a App for that!  Jerry's got a camping App on his Android Phone, so, we found a Campground called Buffalo River View just 6km away.  We called, they had ONE spot left.  We got there, felt very welcome and lucky! This wasn't a over night campground, it was a seasonal campground, lots of families with real cool campsites.  They had ONE site for overnighters (i guess if one of the seasonals brings a guest in with an RV).   Well, we were happy, as it wasn't a cement slab of camp site, we HATE those.  So, Jerry set up camp, Duke and I took off. There was a hill right behind us, we climbed it and found the most wonderful views.  Who knew Saskatchewan was so beautiful!   Many had told me, now I know! 

 (If you look closely, Duke's got a remains of a animal in his mouth, he was VERY proud of himself, came bounding back to show it to me, then took it back to the RV to give it to Jerry as a gift! Duke's very thoughtful!)

Lovely - on Buffalo Pound Lake.
  So, again, it was almost sundown, but, we had time to explore, we went back to get Jerry, needed to share this with him.  We went for a walk in the meadows along side the River. 

 Talking a walk through the meadows next to Buffalo Pound Lake.
(This photos is Duke and I lost in the morning, we could see the hill about three hills over we're suppose to be at, but, could get there from here there where all these steep parts.. )

In the morning, we wanted to just hit the road, as we're very excite to get with the kids, so, Duke & I just went for what was suppose to be a 5min walk, I somehow got lost, as I started wondering around the campsite, then climbed a random hill, went from hill top to hill top and couldn't figure out how to get down again.. we could see where we needed to be, but couldn't get there.  So, Duke just went down one spot where wasn't very steep, I followed him, into someone's campback yard, the lady had a blue fuzzy bathrobe with pink fuzzy slippers and a coffee and smoke going.   Thank goodness she was ok with us appearing through her bushes and into her yard.  We found the dirt road we were suppose to be on again, and made it back to our campsite. Jerry mentioning "what happened to our early start".. I answering ".. it was Duke's fault not mine!"  Jerry is very use to my taking walks and getting caught up in the wonders around us. 

I have also gotten lots of good work finished in the very flat straight roads between here and there, I've completed updating my book, reformatted it, split it into two smaller books (one for a leader of a company and one for the Social Media Gurur of a company).  I'm now converting each chapter into ebooks..   HAPPY!

So, we're on our last day of driving to our Granddaughters! We can't wait! I'm not planning anywork while with them, just lots of playing and adventures.  We'll be heading back in a few days, Taking a different route, stopping in to see good friends and Jerry's "other" daughter and her two sons in Saskatoon on the first night, then through Manitoba and toward home.  There are some provincial parks with Trails we'll stop at on the way back!
Talk to you in a few days!

PS.. here are some strange and cool things we saw along the way..
Does this look safe to anyone!?? Fun maybe.. but, in a wind.. I'm thinking NOT!
 The most center point of North America! In Rugby, North Dakota!

Someone lives here!
 In the middle of no where... use to be somewhere.

You know you're in Saskatchewan when you see giant wheat!

 OK! Navigating to our next destination! See you then. :)


  1. Enjoy your visit YiaYia and Grandpa! Safe travels.
    Linda & Paul

  2. Robert & SharronAugust 19, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Love the adventure...keep the stories coming...DUKE shame on you for getting Sofie lost!!