There and back


I remember as a child my parents introduced us to the outdoors teaching us to appreciate nature. Mum would slap together some sandwiches, maybe a boiled egg or two, some baked tarts, a bottle of orange squash and a packets of crisps. Dad would hurry us into the back of our Hillman Husky car and throw in a blanket and cushions. We would slowly amble along quaint English countryside roads, taking in the warm dusty air through open windows, stopping at the odd thicket of brambles to pick wild blackberries, peaking into a nest of song thrush eggs and picking a posy of wildflowers. “Where are we going?” we’d ask. “There and back”, was dad’s reply. Soon enough we’d end up in a farmer’s meadow or a glade of trees and enjoy the day’s bounty with a picnic in nature.

Sunset in Muskoka

Note: We have taken our Wonder RTB on many long Canadian road trips over the years – to the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and along most of the Great Lakes, through old growth forests to the top of mountains. We decided to dedicate 2022 to much smaller excursions with less time on the road. The following is a chronological brief of our journey within Ontario.

May 2 – Our latest pre-camping season began as usual, taking our Wonder for servicing. It’s always a head turner when I pull into the local Ford dealership. Driving home, the courtesy shuttle bus driver noted that he didn’t realize Ford sold motorhomes. I don’t think he was prepared for my long winded reply about where and how they are actually made. LTV owners are passionate about their rigs!

As we live in a high-rise building we don’t have facilities available for us to de-winterize our motorhome and prepare it for upcoming camps. Luckily we have some great friends willing to offer the use of their driveway and water supply. Leisure Travel Vans make this process very simple to do, and with a trip to our local Flying J services station, our grey and black water tanks and the whole plumbing system were flushed and ready for our next adventures. Where? There and back.

Rural Rootz Nature Reserve

May 4 – We hit the road north. Destination Wiarton, Ontario and our favourite Harvest Hosts, Rural Rootz Nature Reserve. It’s a great time to be there. The Trilliums and Snow Drops are in bloom and the colours of spring show their palettes in the floral gardens. It’s always a welcoming destination and owners, Tom and Dee have a gift of providing their time and energy to guests that surpasses all other destinations to make our travels memorable. While there we also like to help out around the premises to prepare the nature reserve for opening time. Chakra dragons have to be hung. The store’s summer tarp roof has to be put in place and the tea room needs furniture brought in from winter storage. Robyn helped out tidying the area, broom in hand. It’s the least we can do for this magnificent location. We love the natural beauty and the whimsical touches that Dee and Tom have created and share.

Rural Rootz Nature Reserve

May 24 – Our first “park” camp of the year was also our introduction to Leisure Travel Vans Owners Club rallies. After mooch-docking and visiting our relatives in Toronto for the night, we continued on our way east along the busy Highway 401. The spring Ontario Sunrisers rally took place at Rideau Acres Campground, outside Kingston, Ontario. The grounds are clean and spacious, very suitable for a rally, with full service sites. It was quite surreal to see over thirty Leisure Travel vans of all ages and models. A benefit for us was to meet several social media followers of ours in the flesh like @Carterthewonder and Lynn and Dave from @Retiredreinspired, as well as other owners of LTVs. There was an interesting meet and greet scavenger game and group bonfire. This was an opportunity to hear different camping experiences. A memorable activity for us was a paddle to the Rideau Canal in a 14-seat Voyageur canoe. It was fun to be with about twelve other uncoordinated paddlers aiming for the canal locks at the Kingston Mills lock station. As an interpretive excursion, we learned a lot about the hard working voyageur way of life, traveling with their loads of furs across brutal waterways, belted with red sashes that offered slight support from hernias, with very few toilet breaks. The saving grace was a meagre shot of rum now and then. We have it so good! Our interpretive crew were dressed in period clothing and kept us smiling during our paddling with historic references. It was actually a fun time. Luckily the weather held out for us.

Ontario Sunrisers Rally


Voyageur Canoe

May 27 – We left the rally and began wending our way westward towards home with blackened clouds opening up to a full on downpour. As it was going to be an extra long drive, we pre-planned to stop in the Kawartha Lakes region of Ontario and camped at Emily Provincial Park. With all the sudden rain the campsite we had reserved resembled a swamp – muddy puddles everywhere. We like nature, but not like this! We spent the day and night in the rig through the pelting rain and decided in the morning to drive around the campground and scope other prospective sites. Cross-referencing them with the availabilities on the online reservation system, we settled on a few that were confirmed to be available at the front office. Choosing the best site that was dry, and on high ground, we switched our paperwork and settled in to our new site. The weather changed to bright and sunny. We had planned to have an outdoor-cooked meal and looked forward to a visit with friends who lived nearby. It was to be a great time reminiscing, enjoying laughter and good food. And then, for some reason I didn’t feel so good. I excused myself and decided to go inside the motorhome to figure out what my next steps would be. Lying down on my bed was the only comfortable position. I knew then that the aching pain I was feeling in my side was familiar. I had a kidney stone. Of course, the mind goes into overdrive. What to do? We are camping – several hours from home. Robyn doesn’t drive. I knew the pain would only get worse. Our friends, Kitty and Glen, offered to take us to the nearest hospital. Glen, a retired first responder knew what I was going through and drove with haste. The wait in the Emergency Room wasn’t too bad and not long after, a CT scan confirmed my diagnosis. Painkillers were ordered. It definitely was a kidney stone but it was slow moving. We were released around 11 pm and our friends graciously picked us up and returned us to the park. After a good night’s sleep we decided to cancel our next day and leave early. Luckily there were no hiccups on the drive home. The kidney stone passed a few days later.

Emily Provincial Park

June 20 – We’ve met some really nice people through our travels, and every time we camp, people make positive comments about our Wonder. The sleek design and non-obtrusive colour is appealing. One day while puttering about outside the rig in our storage facility, a fellow was doing the same on his Winnebago. He complimented the good looks of our van and we struck up a conversation. It turned out that Rod and his wife Sherry lived a few blocks from us. In fact, they were retired and moved from the same area as us and bought a motorhome like we did. I gave him our Wonderwheels business card and asked him to check out our blog. A few weeks passed and we received an email from him asking to get together for a drink. Turns out we had a lot in common and struck up a friendship. After a few get togethers we suggested a camp out together. We chose Pinery Provincial Park along the shore of Lake Huron. Pinery is not too far from home and is one of our favourite destinations. Pinery has a combination of old Carolinian forests and trails to sandy duned beaches, and a beautiful lily pad lined river, with camping available in tents, yurts, cabins or rvs. We reserved two sites next to each other in the Riverside campground and chose to each host a dinner. We did some trail walking. They went biking and we all enjoyed paddling the Old Ausable River in double kayaks, one of our favourite activities at the park. We shared two delicious dinners together, and Robyn and I decided to finish up the trip sitting on the near-deserted beautiful sandy beach watching the waves roll in on Lake Huron. It was a pleasant camp and Pinery didn’t disappoint.

Rod and Sherry enjoying their kayak

July 4 – Our next trip was to a small campground on the shores of Georgian Bay. We had travelled to this area for family visits for several years and had passed by this campground hundreds of times, but never once camped. This is Craigleith Provincial Park at the base of Blue Mountain outside Collingwood, Ontario. Driving through the nearby towns we realized how much had changed in the decade since we were here last. The campground was loud. Mainly due to the traffic noise from the adjacent highway. Our site had water and electricity. Water being unusual for a Provincial Park. For travellers to the region it is the perfect location to camp and enjoy nearby attractions. Craigleith was once a shale mining facility. The waterfront is mostly rocky with a small beach area. Though not on our favourite list.

Craigleith Provincial Park

July 7 – We left Craigleith and detoured to Wiarton, staying at Rural Rootz, a welcome change after a so-so camp. There was another Harvest Hosts couple camped in their shiny Airstream. We all enjoyed great conversation and laughter together around the propane fire bowl. Such a relaxing visit with good people and a beautiful environment.

Relaxing at Rural Rootz

August 8 – Robyn and I met in college in the seventies studying Graphic Design. College days were full of new experiences for me. I was a fresh immigrant from the UK. One of my closest friends whom I met in college is my pal John. He introduced me to canoeing, fishing and camping in the woodland lakes of Ontario. Coming from England and enjoying camping as a youth, I was in awe of the enormous size and beauty of the Canadian lakes, rivers and forest systems. We camped several times each summer for many years along with a few other friends. We still camp together annually at least once, and though living on the opposite ends of Ontario, always have a lot to say to each other, washing down our memories with a shot or two of whiskey, reminiscing of days gone by, whilst eating fantastic food. We reserved a campsite at Darlington Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Ontario. John still camps in his tent, while I camp in the luxury of my Wonder. We always have a fun time – we share meals and chores, and there’s always loads of laughter. We even hand fed some friendly Chickadees who dropped in to join us. The campground is perched high on the clifftops overlooking the lake, covered with seeding grasses that migrating birds feed off. A typical Provincial park with comfort stations and good walking trails. There’s also a dump station and water fill. Also available is a sandy beach and picnic area.

Old pals at Darlington Provincial Park

August 17 – One park Robyn had discussed visiting many times is the Elora Gorge Conservation Area. Formed by glacial meltwaters, the steep-sided limestone cliffs provide a stunning backdrop to the rushing river below. This is not a Provincial park, but is similarly maintained. Campsites have ample room and are fairly private with the usual fire pit and picnic table. Our campsite was located near the top rim of the gorge. Trails running along the fenced in edge of the gorge afford hikers with excellent views of tubers and kayakers battling the rapids below. There is a rental office for tubes, but be warned, it is a hike to the launch area and an even longer one at the end, carrying your tubes both ways. The park was well maintained when we were there. Nearby is the quaint town of Elora, Ontario. Parking is minimal because it is a tourist destination, however we were lucky to find a spot that fit our Wonder.

Watching tubers on the Elora Gorge

August 23 – We have always encouraged our children to enjoy nature and enjoy camping. When they were young we would tent camp, sometimes in unfortunate weather. As adults they still crave the outdoors and have a deep respect for nature. We always enjoy hiking on local trails with them, and so invited our daughter and her partner to join us for a short camp at Pinery Provincial Park. The two tent camped on our site and took in the outdoor beauty, a restful getaway from their hectic jobs at home. They enjoyed hiking the Carolinian forest trail, and we even did a short nighttime trail along the river. The Blackstone grill came in handy at mealtimes with tacos and steaks. It was great to camp with family again.

End of the day at Pinery


Busy bee at Rural Rootz

September 12 – We returned to Wiarton to catch the beautiful colours and to see our friends again for a few days. Rural Rootz was a happening place with many visitors coming to see the gardens and hiking the trails. We like to help out when we can, and on this trip Robyn helped Dee with crafts for sale in the store, while I helped Tom out bushwhacking a seldom used trail. Armed with a chainsaw and a lopper, we took no time to clear the saplings and brush blocking the trail ahead. It’s amazing how fast nature can take over.

September 15 – Good friends and old neighbours had talked to us about their previous camping trips. They had recently acquired an unusual Combi-camp tent trailer and suggested we camp together. Due to the glitchy Provincial park online reservation system we couldn’t narrow down our preferred park, and so decided to camp at a park neither of us had visited before. Robyn and I left Rural Rootz for the Muskoka region of Ontario. The last time we were up this way was in the fall of 2020. We reserved two sites on the lakefront at Oastler Provincial Park with our friends Dave and MJ and their cute dog, Finleigh. Oastler isn’t a bad park. Some of the tenting sites have stunning views of the lake. We took a stroll around the park to view these and forested sites, and came out impressed with what we saw. Robyn rested up while we three and Finleigh canoed around the park’s lake perimeter. Robyn came out for a beach walk and even dunked herself in the frigid lake’s waters. Why, I don’t know! Again, we shared meals together and the scotch and bourbons made for great conversation and laughter beside the fire pit.

Happy hour at Oastler Provincial Park

October 5 – I decided to have one more Provincial park camp. The weather was still looking good and I wasn’t done yet for the season. We opted for something dependable and returned to Pinery. It was so quiet. Family camping had ended as schools were in progress, though amenities were limited. There were many open sites – just the perfect time of year. It seemed like the campers who were arriving were there for the peacefulness and the autumn colours.

Pinery Provincial Park

October 7 – We left Pinery and headed north on Lake Huron, stopping in another favourite Harvest Hosts, Bad Apple Brewery. However, we weren’t here to stay the night, it was too early in the day, plus, we were here to stock up on beer. Instead, we forged northwards in rainy weather to the town of Goderich, Ontario. We were too early for the next Harvest Host and so opted for a late Sushi lunch, then headed to Square Brew. After tasting their beer and adding a few more to take home, we called it a night, parking in a private space behind the brewery.

Square Brew Brewery

October 8 – As we had done previously, we decided to end our camping season back at Rural Rootz. Parked at one of the pads was a delightful couple, Nicolle and Collette from New Brunswick in their Unity. They had wanted to stay after hearing we were arriving soon, as they had read about our adventures through our blogs. And what a fun time we had together. Tom and Dee hosted a tasty luncheon and we shared great conversations together. In the few days stay we were also able to winterize our Wonder, and say goodbye to the gardens, signalling the end of our camping season.

Sharing a laugh with these LTV owners

It was a year consisting of short trips, but trips full of great memories, of the places we visited and the people we were with. We’ve been there and now we are back.

North Shore of Superior

Lake Superior

It started like this…

In 1973, my father was a Royal Air Force serviceman stationed in Hong Kong. I was placed in the British forces dependent’s high school on the mainland with part of my curriculum studying geography and ironically the main subject we were to take on was the country of Canada and specifically the Great Lakes region. The irony was that after retiring from the R.A.F., my parents decided we emigrate to Canada and we relocated to Toronto off the shore of Lake Ontario.

Studying the Great Lakes in geography class allowed me drift off to the days of the voyageurs and the hardships of life as a nomad in a harsh environment. Canoeing and portaging across inhospitable lands and waters must have been an eye opening experience. I know that now because I’ve endured long paddles in various small lakes, camping in the bush with nothing but what I could fit in my backpack, with a heavy canoe atop my shoulders hiking through black fly and mosquito infested forest trails to get from one lake to another. Why the heck would anyone do that you ask? Well, I was in my early twenties and had the energy and wits to at least try to get the feeling of adventure like those before me, plus I love camping. The Great Lakes have always projected a sense of frontierism to me, and in my forty years of living in Canada, I had been to all but one of them. Lake Superior.

Fast forward to the present.

As we all know, the year 2020 will be one to remember for everyone living on this earth. Though I’m sure most would like it forgotten! We have all been affected by the global pandemic of Covid-19. One of the major drawbacks (despite it being a health hazard) is the limitations that we all have with travelling. Not just city to city, but province to province. The Maritime provinces had their own travel bubble, and travel through western provinces was almost impossible. Our big trip plans for the 2020 season was to head to the west coast, which included a stop with the LTV Rally. Everything was canceled due to Provincial closures. It wasn’t until May that we were actually “allowed” to venture out in our motor home. In our Wonder, we felt safe and managed small trips to visit friends, even taking in a few Harvest Hosts overnighters at breweries, wineries and an awesome alpaca farm, the thought being that we were aptly isolated in our Leisure Travel Van brought back our adventurous feelings. We also managed a few days at Emily Provincial Park and I had a ‘guys’ weekend at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Just to reiterate, we were adamant to continue personal hygiene restrictions such as mask wearing in public spaces, hand sanitization and small group gatherings. We still abide by that to this day, and we only travelled when our government said it was safe to do so. All these small trips were great and helped to pass the summer days by, but my heart wanted to get out of Dodge and explore.

My hope as our Province was continuing to do well, would be to drive our LTV Wonder to Lake Superior, but when, was the question. We were dragging our heels trying to decide, then one day our friends messaged us with an invitation to caravan and camp with them at MacGregor Point Provincial Park on September 7. They’d already reserved a campsite with other friends for a weeklong trip, but when I tried the Ontario Parks online reservation system I was only able to book two nights. Still, this was my opening to begin with plans for our trip around Lake Superior. Luckily, our friends booked a Harvest Host for the night before camping at MacGregor Point so that we could have extra time together. As it turned out the Harvest Host was closed, so I re-booked another, Bad Apple Brewing, which we had previously visited.

RVParky app route map

For the next week or so I got right in to research and planning. First thing to do was logging in to my RVParky app and begin loosely planning a route around the north shore of Lake Superior. Next was to check out some YouTube videos of other RVers’ experiences on the north shore. What I saw was some beautiful scenery. Not just the majestic Lake, but the forests, the waterfalls and rapids and the stunning views. Some of the drone footage was spectacular! Based on this research and talking to friends who had taken similar travels, I decided that we should make our way to Thunder Bay, stopping at Provincial Parks along the Group of Seven trail. We were to travel along Trans Canada Highway 17 which wrapped around the north shore. Then for a change of scenery, take Highway 11 back. I pre-booked several campsites based on the availability indicated on the Provincial Park online reservation system. In hindsight this wasn’t really necessary due to the time of year and the Covid situation and in the end limited our stays. As it happened the booking system wasn’t accurate because we saw a lot of empty sites. According to a park ranger at MacGregor Point, there were empty sites because of Covid. I thought this was odd because some campsites had adjacent sites that were occupied yet their reason was to alternate campsites. It wasn’t making any sense. We were outdoors, and the campsites were separated by at least 10 feet or more of dense bushes and trees. For our second night we asked to be moved closer to our friends. Still, we were at least four sites apart with no one in between. I really didn’t like that reasoning. At all future campgrounds on our trip we were placed in adjacent sites as usual.

MacGregor Point Provincial Park

Because we would be at the north end of Lake Huron when at MacGregor Point, it made sense to cut down on an unnecessary drive around Georgian Bay by taking the Chi-Cheemaun ferry to Manitoulin Island and taking the land bridge towards Highway 17. Social media posts recommended booking the ferry tickets early because of Covid limitations. I did this right away and took the first ferry of the day 8:30 am. We had to be in the ferry parking lot one hour prior to boarding. This meant we had to find a spot to camp for the night. The ferry terminal is located in Tobermory a small town on the Bruce Peninsula.

Before heading up the Bruce Peninsula we stopped in Wiarton to say hi to our friends at Rural Rootz Nature Reserve, then we continued to Tobermory.

Lands End Campground, Tobermory


Chi-Cheemaun Ferry


Onboard the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry

There are several private campgrounds near Tobermory and all state how close they are to town on their websites. I ended up choosing Lands End Campground because of it’s great reviews and that it was the closest to Tobermory. This park has amazingly well groomed private sites with full hookups. Our Wonder fit perfectly. Turns out it was too far to walk to town, but the Wonder didn’t pose a problem when we drove in and parked for dinner by the harbour. We saw a LTV Unity and talked to the owners who were camping nearby. We had visited Tobermory, a small harbour town, with the kids some twenty years ago, taking a glass-bottomed boat to the nearby Flowerpot Island. There are many sunken shipwrecks outside the harbour, great for tourists and diving enthusiasts. We’ll have to plan a return trip some other time. Another reason for going to Manitoulin Island was that we had never been there before. I heard that there was a good brewpub on the island that used to be a Harvest Host. This is Split Rail Brewing. Great beer, though to get food we had to order from a nearby pizzeria. Whilst sitting on the patio with our lunch and drinks another Wonder drove up. Same colour as ours. We exchanged greetings and they continued on their way. Apparently there are several private campgrounds on the island, some were closed during the pandemic.

Split Rail Brewing, Manitoulin Island

From the video research Chutes Provincial Park was a must see, especially for it’s hiking trails and the river rapids. I booked two nights there seeing that we’d be driving around Manitoulin. One aspect of the online reservation system for Ontario Provincial Parks that I really like is that they post a lot of information about the prospective site you are thinking about. Like the size of the site, where the fire pit is located, and also how far away the electricity post is, including photos. They indicate if there’s a gradient, what the ground surface consists of and how private the site is. Chutes, I found out is typically a one-night transient campground, but we were glad we chose two. It had rained for a few days and the campsites took a soaking, but maintenance staff gravelled each site’s entrance. Our site was huge! The main river trail was easy to do and led us along a variety of rapids. The water flow was so powerful it was hard to imagine loggers boarding up the river banks to make chutes for the felled trees to travel down stream.

Chutes Provincial Park


Chutes rapids

On this trip we wanted to keep the driving time down to two hours or so in order to stay longer and avoid being road weary as I am the sole driver. By choosing Provincial Parks, we know that check in time is after 2 pm and check out is before 2 pm. This helps with planning the day at the campsite and on the road. As our next campground to book would be at Lake Superior Provincial Park’s Agawa Bay, I knew how far it was from Chutes. It was doable but after being on the road for six days I figured we would need to get supplies. The simple solution was to Wallydock. So one night was to be spent in Sault Ste. Marie’s Walmart parking lot. We had Wallydocked last year on our east coast trip and found it safe and useful. We would stock up on food and drinks, water and even clothing, or whatever else we needed. The washrooms were always spotlessly clean and there was usually a few more RVers staying as well. Not to mention that because of the chilly mornings we could both use some warmer outerwear which was readily available in the store. As always, we asked Customer Service for permission to stay overnight.

Agawa Bay

After Sault Ste. Marie I wanted to stay at Agawa Bay. Unfortunately we were only able to book one night as the reservation system showed the park as being almost full. Agawa Bay has many hiking trails, one of which leads to ancient petroglyphs which I really wanted to see. We had a great site about three rows in from the beach, which was just as well because it was very windy and wet while we were there. Some of the trails were closed due to the coronavirus, and the trail to the petroglyphs too wet to hike to. A month later it was closed due to high water and winds.

Vegan burgers at Agawa Bay
Sunset at Agawa Bay

Following Agawa we gassed up in Wawa, home of the giant goose statue (we saw three) and boasts the smallest Canadian Tire store. The whole town is small and some of the buildings look like they had been standing a long, long time. We ate lunch in a quaint little diner run by a fun French Canadian lady. Their poutine is fantastic!

I put a question up about boondocking possibilities along the north shore of Lake Superior. One fellow LTV owner suggested Batchawana Bay. I didn’t want to commit to a stay, but made a point to check it out. The beach was beautiful, and if we were caravaning l would have considered it.

Neys Provincial Park watching the sun set


The beach at Neys

The next park on our route was Neys Provincial Park and I was able to score two nights at a beachfront campsite. This was another gem of a campground that I’d seen on YouTube with a long beach, incredible rock formations and you get the best view of the sunset and sunrise. This place was also part of the Lake Superior night sky preserve. Being secluded, away from any communities like towns, cities or villages, there is no light pollution at night time. This was a feature we had longed for. In 2008 we visited Peru and a segment of the trip consisted of the most strenuous activity we had ever endured. We hiked the Inca Trail, a gruelling but rewarding 4-day hike and camp to the ruins of Machu Picchu, at an average altitude of 4000 metres above sea level, the night sky in the Andes mountains afforded the most spectacular view of the stars. We had never seen so many stars in our lives. It was absolutely magical. Of course, Neys and Lake Superior are in the northern hemisphere so we’d be looking at different star systems than the Incan people, but it would be a greater opportunity to see the Milky Way than at our city home in southwest Ontario. Highly recommend this place.

Rainbow Falls Rossport Provincial Park

Following Neys was another Provincial Park that had an intriguing name, Rainbow Falls. Again the reservation system allowed us only one night, and as it happened we were directed to the Rossport Campground part of the Park. This was another park I’d seen on YouTube that offered great views and trails, however it didn’t show a beach. Fortunately Rossport is located on the Lake Superior shore. The beach was great and the sunset spectacular! The site was small but fit our rig. Unfortunately we were located close to the gatehouse which is by the park entrance. And wouldn’t you know it, there was highway widening construction right outside the gate. Ugh! However we celebrated Robyn’s birthday with a vegan curry dinner, a bottle of wine I’d been saving from Burning Kiln Winery. We didn’t have candles so I used a flashlight. Hey, we’re on the road!

Vegan curry birthday dinner

There are several great stop off lookout points that offer stunning views of the Lake and the surrounding forests and escarpments. One such place I highly recommend is the Aguasabon Falls and Gorge. It’s between the Neys and Rossport parks. If you travel on this route take advantage of the lookout points but be aware that some are for cars only because of limited space. They are well signposted.

Aguasabon Falls and Gorge
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

The next campground I booked was two nights at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, one of my bucket list destinations. I’d heard of this campground many many years ago in my tent camping days, but never had the chance to visit. This campground is located on a peninsula not too far from the U.S. side of Lake Superior. There’s a Flying J gas station at the intersection of Highway 17 and Highway 587 (the cut off to Sleeping Giant). Apparently the reviews on staying at the Flying J weren’t very positive, not that we were planning to. We saw a LTV Serenity in the parking lot and I spoke to the driver who told us she and her husband were on their way to Winkler, Manitoba for some warranty work on their rig. The campsites at Sleeping Giant are a decent size but the electrical posts are positioned too far. We actually witnessed a camper van being damaged as the driver skimmed a tree while trying to reach the post. Thankfully for us, I have an extension having camped at Provincial parks before. This park came with a few firsts. We saw a bear box for food safety. In all my camping years I had never seen one in Canada. Robyn was visited by a female duck looking for handouts. We’ve been used to chipmunks and squirrels, but not a duck. Funny thing is that the next morning, it came by again only this time it brought two more ducks with it. Another first was seeing an amethyst rock outside the visitor centre. This is a large campground and very well kept.

Campsite duck feeding

Before our next destination we stopped in Nipigon. Not quite the town I thought it would be. It was one of those names mentioned on the news channels and printed on maps in large letters, though unassuming in actual stature.

Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park


Kakabeka Falls Gorge

Our next stop and final pre-booked campground would be two nights at Kakabeka Falls, outside Thunder Bay. This was as previously mentioned, on recommendations by friends, and online videos showcase the waterfalls as the highest falls in Lake Superior watershed. Definitely worth the trip, even just to visit the falls which by all means are spectacular. Flowing water through the river above with a multitude of cascades making their way through the gorge to a hydro power station. There are trails that take you around the river and falls with breathtaking views at all lookout points. We had a great campsite, again having to extend our electric cable.

The end of our first leg across the north shore of Lake Superior

We could have ventured further west to Quetico Provincial Park, but decided to finish our north shore of Lake Superior trip at Kakabeka. Now the choice to return east would be to take Highway 17 back the way we came or Highway 11 which is further north and wing it. I say wing it because there are no parks on that route, only boondocking possibilities, which could be sketchy at best and only one gas station for a long while.

We decided to return on the familiar route. The weather was changing. We had a few frost warnings for the mornings and opted to stay south instead of travelling north. While on the highway outside Thunder Bay another stopping point I recommend is the Terry Fox Memorial. The grounds are beautiful kept and the statue of Terry Fox though very somber offers an amazing view of the Sleeping Giant in Lake Superior.

Return to Rainbow Falls Rossport

While at Kakabeka Falls, I logged on to the reservation system and was able to book a one night stay at Rainbow Falls Rossport campground again where we met fellow LTVers, Leah and Terence Gunnell, who were parked behind us. Terence is an electrical engineer who created an amazing gizmo that makes the water pump in most RVs more efficient and silent. I hope Leisure Travel Van’s designers take note as other LTV owners have. Contact Terence via the Leisure Travel Van Enthusiasts Facebook group for more information.

Pukaskwa National Park

One of our local acquaintances was in touch with Robyn and recommended Pukaskwa National Park. Unfortunately the park doesn’t offer an online reservation system, but simple verbal cues from the park office to drive through the park, pick a site that doesn’t have a reservation tag, and return to the park office notifying them of your choice. Other than that the park had great reviews. I booked two nights. There’s a boardwalk trail that leads to a beautiful beach. Robyn decided to go for a dip in the frigid Lake Superior waters (it was 4 degrees Celsius). Not me! We camped in a very private site and were visited by an assortment of creatures including, chipmunks, red squirrels, a grey jay, a forest hare and about six squawking ravens. Our very own camping menagerie. One of the the best features of our site was a rotating fire pit. Amazingly it pivoted allowing it to be turned into the wind. I have never seen one before. Definitely would like to return after the Covid passes to canoe it’s still waters.

Beach trail boardwalk at Pukaskwa


Robyn venturing out into 4°C Lake Superior

Another Provincial Park on our route is Pancake Bay. It has wide open beaches, and pull through sites. The campground is very narrow in shape and runs parallel to the Trans Canada Highway. I booked two nights, but after one we decided to move on. Unfortunately this campground has very loud traffic noise from the highway. There was also a local fishing derby running and we were definitely the smallest rig in the park. We gave greetings to another LTV couple at the registration office and saw their Unity at the dump station the following day.

We were filling up, they were unloading at Pancake Bay Provincial Park

This was an appropriate time to stop once again for supplies and return to Sault Ste. Marie’s Walmart and take a break. There’s a good brewpub in the Soo called Outspoken Brewing. We also needed to figure out where to go next. I didn’t want to end our trip by taking the ferry back to Tobermory and head home. So we decided to go to Sudbury. Here we could run some errands like refilling our propane tank and visiting a laundromat. Yay clean clothes! Robyn had always wanted to see the Big Nickel. The Science North exhibit was closed for the season, but the Big Nickel made for great photo ops. Not able to find any camping, we stayed at the Walmart parking lot. Definitely get permission because no overnight parking signs are everywhere, however a review on RVParky suggested otherwise, which was true. By the morning we were surrounded by at least ten rigs.

At the Big Nickel in Sudbury

While at the Sudbury Walmart I was able to book two nights at another bucket list campground, Killbear Provincial Park. The campsites are huge drive-throughs and the beach and trails within walking distance. I wish we could have stayed longer, but as with the previous bookings we were limited based on the information on the reservation system. This was by far the best campground. Just for the natural beauty and the quintessential wind swept trees reminiscent of Group of Seven paintings. We met some nice people who annually group camped at Killbear for years. We could see why. I can’t believe it took us so long to get there. Definitely worth a return trip in the future.

The classic wind swept ‘Tree’ at Killbear Provincial Park

After Killbear we had another choice, go east across to Algonquin Provincial Park and on towards the Ottawa region, or wend our way home. My concern was the weather. We needed to keep going south to avoid having to winterize our motor home. We headed to the town of Parry Sound and had lunch at the Trestle Brewing Company. Great beer and the food was good too. They are also a Harvest Host location, though we didn’t stay this time as we were en route. Perhaps on a future trek.

Lunch break at Trestle Brewing in Parry Sound

While at Parry Sound I booked us one night at Arrowhead Provincial Park. This was a familiar park to us as we had tent camped there several times. There are many great trails in this campground. We had a large site, easy for our Wonder to get in and out, not so easy for some larger rigs. I watched as a fifth wheel rig took at least half an hour trying to manoeuvre into the site across from us.

Arrowhead Provincial Park

Our next destination was at our favourite Harvest Hosts friends in Wiarton, the highly photogenic Rural Rootz Nature Reserve. Here we stayed for several nights decompressing from our long drive. We hiked a trail or two and helped in the garden property. One of the owners, Tom, fixed our sliding pantry which had completely derailed and even mouse-proofed it. He tried to fix our steps which stopped working near Thunder Bay, but was unable to. We were joined by a shiny Airstream whose owners live but a block away from us in London. It’s such a small world.

Just a macro shot of moss in the forest at Rural Rootz


The canoe launch at Pinery Provincial Park

After Wiarton, we still weren’t done yet with our travelling, and so headed south along the shore of Lake Huron to Grand Bend where I had booked us for two nights at Pinery Provincial Park. This has been one of our favourite destinations, camping here many times before. There are great trails and one of our favourite beaches where we parked ourselves and savoured the lake air, and the lack of crowds. It was too bad that the canoe rentals were closed due to Covid as the Ausable River looked peaceful and inviting.

Ready for fish and chips at Purdy’s in Sarnia

Robyn had read a review of a restaurant she thought I might enjoy, being an ex-Brit. Leaving Grand Bend we continued south towards Sarnia, where we stopped for a fish and chips lunch at Purdy’s Fish Market in Point Edward by the blue waters of the St. Clair River, then we made our way to the Bluewater Bridge to find memorial bricks embedded in the riverside pathway. It was interesting to see how few vehicles were crossing to and from the U.S. I could only see transport trucks coming over the border into Canada.

This was the final stage of our epic trip around the north shore of Lake Superior which included other bodies of water including Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. We drove back home to London. A week or two later we winterized and stored our Wonderwheels until our next trip.

One experience we took home with us was seeing the awesome beauty of the fall leaves turning their colours throughout our journey. We realized the changes on our return eastbound with the foliage stretching across the north shore of Superior. It was absolutely spectacular!

Another was the camaraderie we felt with each LTV owner we met in person or passed by with a wave. As was the rubbernecking and positive greetings we received by other campers and drivers. There was many a thumbs up! We have a special vehicle that protected us and handled correctly for us on our travels and we belong to a group of fellow RVers who chose a Leisure Travel Van to call home. It’s an amazing feeling.

And finally, we respect the actions of the people of Ontario who persisted with mask wearing and sanitizing along our travels this year. We are fortunate to have the ability to travel in isolation to places we have not been before, and we hope that someday soon this pandemic will end.

Stay safe on the road wherever you are going. If you cross paths or drive by, give us a smile or a wave.