Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘August 8th, 2016’

“Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This”

DSC_9242

Parks in Quebec

Parks in Quebec

DSC_9249 DSCN1747 DSCN1750 IMG_0446 IMG_0447 IMG_0448 JGW_2735 JGW_2738 JGW_2740 JGW_2743 JGW_2750 JGW_2751 JGW_2758 JGW_2759 JGW_2768 JGW_2769 JGW_2770

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Waking up with no power and no water after last night’s storm, we had just enough water for two cups of coffee. The storm brought a cool front in and it was a delightful morning, but first to find a bathroom. With no power, the campground locked all the bathrooms. Well this was interesting as there are a lot of campers! After some driving around and a visit to the office, we remembered the remote campsites which have “rustic” bathrooms. Now on to the rest of the day:} First we visited the Nature Center, but it wasn’t much. They do have WIFI though, so I will return tomorrow morning. Hopefully I can pick it up outside before it opens. Then we took an easy hike to Lac de Femmes. We returned for lunch and both had a good nap. 

A nice group with kayaks had told us of an easy float on the Riviere de la Diable. The name had been throwing me off, but it did look quite beautiful. The guys assured Martha that it was an easy 50 minute float, and she might see some wildlife. I put her on the river with a two-way radio at 2:00 and headed to the office to see about fishing licenses. People were line up out the door, so I decided to see what I could do online…..if I could ever get online. There was a path to the river behind the office, so I wandered down it, passing a group of adventurers headed for the cliff walk. They sell a lot of different adventures, kayaking, hiking and climbing, but this rock face climb is pretty popular. As I walked and explored along this beautiful, black water river, I got a pretty good view of the rock face. Geez, are those little colored dots people? Sure enough I got some pictures of people with their toes on narrow ledges! 

Martha had a great trip down the river. There were lots of others doing the same thing, so she felt very safe and could enjoy the ride. It took her a little over an hour on this beautiful 76 degree day. She said it was a beautiful float, with good current to carry you along, but no rapids. We came back to camp, showered and had a glass of wine before dinner, having to put a sweater on by dinner time. After a little difficulty at the start, Martha said it didn’t get any better than this.

Crossing the Border

Some of you know the story from our last trip about crossing the border, so I was nervous. How many pocket knives do I have? You can only carry two bottles of wine. I had been using a tarp to cover the bikes in the truck and to also cover the cook box, but I figured this is an invitation to get searched, so I removed the tarp. Thankfully it wasn’t raining. We had a four and a half hour drive to Mont Tremblant, but then you have to add time for driving with a trailer, or getting lost, or being old and having to stop more than once. Then I allowed for one to two hours at the border, so we were off about 8:15. 

There was a short line at the border. I was worried about looking nervous, so I turned the air conditioner up a bit. Were my pupils dilated? Then it was our turn. “Bonjour” she said. “Where are you going? How long are you staying? Can you roll the back windows down? So I see you are camping, fishing, kayaking and biking. What else are you doing” All said with a pleasant smile. When I told here we were staying four months, she said, “Ah, four months in Canada. Good! Do you have fresh fruits or vegetables? How much wine?” When I told her two bottles, she asked why only two with a smile. Now I am smiling. She said you can bring two bottles per person, or it could be four bottles of vodka. A bit more friendly conversation and she wished us a great time and let us go. What a pleasant and nice lady! At 8:45 we were in Canada and on the road to Montreal. 

As we approached Montreal, traffic got busier. Then I felt like I was in DC with people driving crazy, zipping in and out of lanes, cutting in front with feet to spare. I thought when we picked up 15N it would be better, but it got worse and people were driving more madly. When we stopped to get some lunch and gas up, there were lines at the pump and the parking area was overflowing. I suspected a holiday and it’s Friday. It was still nuts as we got into the mountains and the parking lot was filled at the campground office. By the time we checked in, I asked what holiday is this? She said it is construction holiday, the busiest of the year, when all construction workers get time off. 

We found our campsite and I set up while Martha fixed some sandwiches. We were both tired and hungry, but it is a very nice campsite with electric and water. Our fresh water still tasted a bit funny from sanitizing it, so we decided to drain it. Martha said there was a path right across from us leading to the beach, so we walked down to the beach. Looking across Lac Chat you could see what I assume is Mont Tremblant. There is a stream flowing out of the lake where it looks like a perfect fishing spot. Across the lake I could see canoes in an obvious rental location. I would later learn it is $47/day to rent one and similar for a kayak. I should have bought the bike rack and put the canoe on top! Could have run a little business!

We came back to camp and I had a glass of wine and Martha promptly fell asleep in the camp chair. Still sweating from setting up camp and the short hike, I decided to go for a swim. there were probably 25 people on the beach and all of them happy. The water was cold at first, but once all the way in, it was great! I swam out a bit enjoying the beautiful scenery all around and felt refreshed. Back at camp we enjoyed watching four young men setting up a large tarp and tent, then chopping firewood. They had gear, but not exactly top of the line stuff, and a couple of them looked like they were totally new to camping. Then a middle-aged couple came in next to the boys. We couldn’t believe the amount of gear they had in the back of a tiny car, but they certainly knew what they were doing and set up a good looking camp with a tent and big tarp. Then it started to rain. Soon it was raining very hard, so we came inside and even had to close the door as it was coming down sideways. We had to close most of the windows. It is then you realize the importance of two more awnings. One, they keep the sun out and two, they keep the rain out. We felt for the boys, sitting under their tarp at the picnic table, now starting to put on more clothes. We felt very cozy in our Airstream. Then the power went out. At first I assumed it was our site, and our plug was bad, so I checked all that out, turning the breakers on and off. The fellow who sold us the trailer had a voltmeter plugged in by the door. I thought that was a great idea, so I bought one. Now as I tried different thing to restore power, Martha kept watching the voltmeter, but there was nothing. I walked to the campsite behind me and knocked on the door, scaring the poor lady to death, I asked if they had power. All their lights were on, and the nice young man at first said, “yes”, but then said, “let me check”. Then he said no, he was running on batteries and thanked me for alerting him. As I walked back, a young lady from another site asked me if we had water. She couldn’t get water pressure. Now I could tell her it was a bigger power outage from the storm. 

Now I checked our batteries and we were at 12.5, which is about half power, so I plugged the trailer into the truck and started the engine for a while. No solar, no generator!

Frederick Remington Art Museum

We drove 35 miles to Ogdensburg so Martha could get online and pay bills and we wanted to go to the Remington Art Museum. My bike brakes needed help also. All drives along the St. Lawrence River seem to be scenic byways, and this was certainly a pretty drive, although this area is very dry, and I AM SO TIRED OF HOT!!! Although very pleasant early, it got up to 93 degrees. I can’t imagine what it is back home. Still don’t have WIFI and I have used up most of my phone data for the next seven days, so I can’t really do emails or surf the net. 

We found the public library so I left Martha there and went to Crow Bike Rental and Repair where I met Betsy. Her repair guy was at the warehouse, but she suggested leaving the bike while we go to the museum. then she suggested “The Busy Corner” for lunch and to take the River Walk. What a nice lady! By the time I got back to the library, Martha was ready for lunch. “The Busy Corner” is a great little place where you can’t pay with credit card because that 3% charge is probably a big part of their profit margin. 

The Remington Museum is great. A small museum in a beautiful house, which was donated. Our guide, Frank, gave us a good history about the house as well as Remington and his wife. I love western art and horses, so this is right up my alley. I also love dental laboratory work, so I was fascinated by the technique for casting bronze. The paintings were very cool, and interesting to see that he struggled with colors and mixing colors. His paint kit looked like something you could buy at the Dollar Store. I couldn’t believe they let me take pictures, as most museums don’t allow it. I almost felt guilty about it, so I was just snapping pictures knowing I didn’t have a lot of time. I would love to go back.

Tomorrow being a travel day, we gassed the truck up on the way back to camp and I loaded up while Martha fixed dinner. You can’t carry fruits, fresh vegetables or firewood across the border, so Martha built a fire – despite being about 90 degrees – and cooked potatoes, onions, carrots and pork chops on the fire. 

We ran the air conditioner all night – Sheez!

Wellesley Island State Park

IMG_0429 IMG_0407 JGW_2538 JGW_2539 JGW_2540 JGW_2544 JGW_2552 JGW_2553 JGW_2553 JGW_2557 JGW_2562 JGW_2568 JGW_2570 JGW_2575 JGW_2581 JGW_2584 JGW_2588 JGW_2593 JGW_2597 JGW_2598 JGW_2602 JGW_2606 JGW_2610 JGW_2611 JGW_2622 JGW_2624 JGW_2630 JGW_2634 JGW_2697 JGW_2641 JGW_2650 JGW_2653 JGW_2654 JGW_2688 JGW_2690 JGW_2646 JGW_2643 JGW_2641 JGW_2634 JGW_2630

Martha wants this one!

Martha wants this one!

JGW_2610 JGW_2611 JGW_2622 JGW_2602 JGW_2598 JGW_2597 JGW_2593 JGW_2588

osprey

osprey

JGW_2568 JGW_2575 JGW_2581

A little statue with a sign that says, "Welcome to serenity"

A little statue with a sign that says, “Welcome to serenity”

JGW_2566 JGW_2562 JGW_2557 JGW_2553 JGW_2552 JGW_2538 JGW_2539 JGW_2540 JGW_2544 JGW_2707 JGW_2709 JGW_2710 JGW_2711 JGW_2712 JGW_2723 JGW_2721 JGW_2717 JGW_2716 JGW_2714

It’s nice to have bikes to explore a campground and that’s what we did this morning. It is a nice park with everything you can think of – marina, boat launch, great playgrounds, beach, store and a nature center. While Martha fixed a nice salad for lunch, I inflated the tires with a pump I bought for the trip. Tires were such an issue on our previous trip, I am trying to cover all the bases and do the right things. I still need to alter the hitch now that we have it fully loaded. We are putting too much pressure on the back tires of the truck. After lunch I worked on the blog while Martha read a book. 

At 4:00 we went into Clayton, having to cross that bridge again, but this time Martha drove and was totally unconcerned. Clayton is a cute little town on the St. Lawrence. We were scheduled for a sunset cruise on the Clayton Islands Cruise at 6:30, but Martha wanted to go to the library to get WIFI and pay bills. Unfortunately the library was closed so we went to a little restaurant, sat at the bar and had a beer and appetizers. Matt was sitting next to us and we struck up a conversation. After much discussion, it turns out he lived in Ft. Mill, South Carolina where our friends Karen and Nathan live! 

The cruise was nice, although it doesn’t threaten the top 10. There are very cool houses on islands and along the shoreline that are very cool. It always amazes me when you travel any shoreline, how many people have such boats and vacation houses. You would have to ice skate to these most of the year! I liked the one shaped like a steamboat the best while Martha liked the one that looked like an Italian villa – not doubt a nice one! We saw an osprey, an eagle, a loon, lots of cormorants and a blue heron. The sunset was gorgeous, so all-in-all a good trip.

Tomorrow we must get some groceries, do some laundry and pay bills because Friday we cross the border and go to Mont-Tremblant National Park for a week.