A Travellerspoint blog

June 2017

Ottawa to Algonquin Park

Flat tire, setting up camp for the first time, something is missing on the R-pod, rain, and more rain

rain 12 °C

June 3: Getting ready to camp.

We finished our visit to Starbucks and headed over to the Loblaw store to stiock up for 4 planned days of camping at Lake of Two Rivers campground in Algonquin Park. The drive there was about 3 hours and check in time was 2:00pm, so we figured we would mosey along and arrive right on time. We left the Walmart parking lot, stocked with food for 4 days and headed in the direction of Algonquin. Our GPS tends to focus on expressway travel and wanted us to head up to the 417, so we changed the route and headed along smaller county roads.

All went well until we were an hour in. We ran over something on the road, never did see it but we heard it as it ripped out of the passenger side rear tire and we had our first flat of this trip. We were on a good stretch of road to pull off and either wait for CAA to come change it, or do it ourselves.

We decided on option 2, and removed everything from the back the Honda to get at the jack and the spare tire. As you are aware from previous posts, we travel with a full sized spare so we don't have to tow with the donut tire that Honda provides as a spare. The tire change went relatively well, and a passer-by stopped to see if we needed help and directed us to a gas station in the next town that could fix the tire.

Jenny took a picture of the process and the end result. This is the first tire I have changed at the side of the road in 50 years:

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We stopped in the next town, Pakeham, Ontario where we had the tire repaired and put back on the Honda. We lost almost two hours on first changing the tire along the road as well as getting the tire fixed right away, but felt good about getting by this with just a short delay and no damage to either the Honda or the R-pod (TaJ).

We arrived at the campground at 4:30pm, a couple of hours later than planned. We set up camp.

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We set about filling our on-board water tank. We were really looking forward to testing our the pump and water heater TaJ. We poured in the first 2 gallons and it promptly poured right back out the bottom of the tank. Somewhere along the road, the cover for the water tank drain had fallen off, and of course we did not have a replacement.

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The campground looks nice, the showers are decent and there is laundry facilities as well. Our first night was dry but the forecast is for rain, and a pretty good amount of it. We'll do a review of it when we leave on Wednesday, June 7

June 4:

We drove 80 kilometers into Huntsville, in the hopes of finding a stopper for our water tank. Of course, with it being Sunday the only R/V place in town was closed and we had no luck finding what we needed at Home Depot or Canadian Tire. We did see two moose on the way back to the campground in the afternoon.

We returned to steady rain so we settled in to get some chores done. Jenny spent a couple of hours organizing where things will ride in Taj for this long journey of ours. We sometimes wonder if we have way more stuff than we need. I got our laundry up to date.

We had wine, cheese, crackers and pate for supper while we watched the 1983 classic "The Big Chill" on DVD. Great movie and we drifted off to sleep quite early to the sound of the rain on the roof.

June 5:

As this blog entry is written, it continues to rain, although there is a promise for tomorrow. The only internet in the entire park is a the Visitor Centre, so we have wiled away a couple of hours here, going through their extensive exhibits on the history of Algonquin and caught up with family on e-mail.

This afternoon we shall go looking for moose. There are many here and they like to hang out along the gravel roads leading to more remote sites in the park. Perhaps there will be pictures of them for the next blog entry.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 07:51 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

The escape from Nova Scotia

Rough Patch of Road, Gas Mileage, Walmart Parking Lots. Good times ahead

sunny 7 °C

Location: Walmart, Kanata, Ontario

Total Distance traveled: 1,545 kilometers

Day One: Home to Edmundston, NB 729 kilometers

We left at our planned departure time of 8:00am for day one of a two day drive to Ottawa, Ontario. The first part was to take us to Moncton, NB, about 325 k from home. We planned to stop at a Cabela's Outdoor Store there to look for hiking pants for me. That part of the trip went really well. We arrived right at Noon and took a two hour break to have a walk and buy some clothes.

New Brunswick has the neatest Moose warning signs:

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Part two of the drive was something else. Instead of taking the Trans-Canada onward to Edmundston, we went north towards Miramichi, with the plan to take Highway 108 east to Plaster Rock and then on to our final destination for the day. Well, two things happened: first, it began to rain, in some cases Noah get your Ark rain, and highway 108 turned out to the be the worst paved stretch of highway we have been on since we went to Labrador a few years ago. Potholes, tire killing potholes, hidden in the downpour that accompanied most of our 90 minutes on this highway.

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In a few spots we were down to 40 kph and slaloming all over the place to find solid pavement. Luckily we did not damage the R-pod's tires, and made it through safely to Plaster Rock, where we got the first picture of TaJ and a roadside attraction, the giant fiddlehead:

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There we 12 R/V's in the Walmart parking lot in Edmundston, which gives a good indication of how many people pass through here on a daily basis. A good stop, the Walmart closes at 9:00pm, and other than a bit of noise from the Trans Canada Highway it was a good night's rest.

Day two: Edmunston to Ottawa, Ontario

Distance traveled: 816 k

We got out early for the long drive to Ottawa. The first 150 k is very hilly and the Honda Pilot tow vehicle (Sully) did fight this portion pretty hard. Our gas mileage plummeted, from 16/100 k (14 miles per US gal) to 21l/100 k (11 mpg). Yikes, what was going on here. We went through a full tank of gas in just over 300 kilometers. As Jenny drove a leg I read the owner's manual and decided at that point to upgrade to mid-level gas at the next fill-up.

That sure worked. Gas mileage immediately improved, up to about 15l/100 k (15.6 mpg) and the car stopped working as hard as it had been when the road rose a bit in front of us. I guess towing might require a little more octane. Lesson learned and we will now run on mid-grade gas, and probably premium when we hit the mountains in the west.

Given that we live in lightly populated Nova Scotia, we saw more cars in that one day drive through Montreal and on to Ottawa than we have seen in most of the last year. Both Jenny and I lived in big cities back in our working days and navigating them is not an issue for us. We arrived in Ottawa at 6:00pm and settled in to the Walmart Parking lot in Kanata, a suburb just to the west of the main city. The shopping complex in large and just about anything you might want within walking distance.

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As this blog entry is written I am sitting in a Starbucks. When I worked in downtown Vancouver I never made coffee at home, I simply walked to a Starbucks. I walked past 5 of them on the 1 kilometer walk to my office. In Nova Scotia, unless you live in Halifax, there are no Starbucks.

So, this is luxury for me. Jenny is out in TaJ, reading and cleaning up. She'll join me soon and we'll have one more cup before we get ready for our first camping experience, at Algonquin Park, about 250 k west of here. We will shop for food supplies here and then head on to arrive mid afternoon at Lake of Two Rivers Campground.

We'll be there for 4 nights, and will have electricity and water, but no sewer hookup. So, we will test all the systems, including emptying the black and grey water tanks for the first time. So far, the R-pod has lived up to our expectations, it works well on battery and propane on our overnight stops, and tows well. It took everything that shitty Highway 108 in New Brunswick could dish out, and that is all we can ask for.

Onward!!

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 04:24 Archived in Canada Tagged walmart mileage Comments (1)

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