Driving along the coast of Lake Superior reminds me of home, going up to my family trailer as a child in Miller Lake, Ontario. The Grey Bruce rocks and cold lake water give me that nostalgic feeling as we drive around. We needed to do some RV work, still setting up along the journey so, we decided to venture out later in the afternoon for a hike near our campsite and save on the driving.
Our family celebrated Canada Day here in Wisconsin too and had some fun putting up a few of our Canada Day decorations!
Where we stayed
We stayed at Southshore Campground in Cornucopia Wisconsin. I think this may be the smallest campground we have stayed at so far, only 8 pull thru-sites and a few camping sites. It is self serviced with a dumping station on the way out. It was a quiet campground with spacious sites and trees for a bit of privacy, no Wi-Fi though but we had good service through our AT&T lines.
What we did
We ventured out to the Lakeshore trail to see the sea caves in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The trail itself it 5 miles long one way, we went out about 2 miles to see the sea caves before turning around. It is a challenging and fun hike, starts with a boardwalk and then transitions into more rugged terrain. It has spectacular views of the sea caves and the turquoise waters of Lake Superior. When we finished, we gave ourselves high fives for getting back into longer hikes!
What we missed
We would have loved to have gone to Madeline Island and see Big Bay State Park. There is a ferry that will transport cars as well over to the island, so you can explore. The reviews looked fantastic!
In Cornucopia they have a few small shops, we stopped at Halverson Fisheries for some smoked Whitefish caught locally, so good!
Our first stop to start our journey was a bit of an aggressive drive from Ontario. It was an 8 ½ hour drive not accounting for traffic or boarding crossing time. We tried to stay closer at a few other destinations in Michigan but found that most were booked, it was the Canada Day long weekend as well as upcoming 4th of July. Found Pictured Rocks and we were happy with making some distance for our first travel day 😊
Still decompressing from wrapping up the sale of the house, putting our belongings in storage and organizing the RV, we did not plan to do too much at this location to allow ourselves to get some rest and start to slow down in life. It will be interesting to see how long it takes both Jason and I to stop thinking we need to check our work emails or feel like we are in a constant race, taking this time to go a different pace and enjoy the gift of travel we are giving ourselves.
Where we stayed
We stayed at the KOA Munising, Pictured Rocks in Wetmore, Michigan. You know that special moment when you see someone with the same trailer as you? Well we had it! They had the 2016 Montana High Country BH340, ours is the 2017. What are the odds? Beautiful campground and we managed to get a pull-thru site in the back of the campground surrounded by lots of trees but also mosquitoes! We stayed at site 91 which had water and 30 amp, no sewer. This KOA had incredibly fast Wi-Fi allowing us to upload all of our pictures as well as upload 20GB and download 20GB. I have a feeling we were spoiled so we took advantage of it!
What we did
First let me tell you that we arrived here in a heat wave, and I mean heat wave! The full day we were there temperatures went up to 33 degrees Celsius with 13 degrees of humidity …. So feels like 44 degrees Celsius or 111 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot! So no hiking today as well as leaving Kenya behind in the trailer as we are still trying to figure out how to manage our outputs on 30 amps. The trails all through Pictured Rocks do not allow dogs on the trails, they are however allowed at some of the beaches and look out areas so, that’s what we did. Munising Falls was our first stop and the ranger at this location gave us great advice at some of the lookouts as well as an activity booklet that Annalise loved.
We ventured to Grand Marais first and went out to the water and felt the temperature just drop. From hot and humid to cold and extremely windy, we witnessed a storm sweep through Lake Superior and literally move a wall of water in it’s path. Quite a sight to see, Annalise said this was the highlight of her day!
Stopped at a few other lookouts along the way including Munising Beach as Kenya was allowed to wander on this one….she didn’t like the waves though! The stable flies were horrible there and we were told that no bug spray would keep them away. Annalise swells up from any bug bite, so our visit was short and we were hot and sweaty ready to return to camp anyway. Beautiful sights along this drive especially our stop at Log Slide Overlook, breathtaking views of pictured rocks and Lake Superior.
What we missed
Originally our hope was to go to Bear Dunes Michigan to see the sand dunes, but due to no availability we found this location. With the weather and Kenya’s restrictions to the trails, we did not get the opportunity to see the sand dunes to the extent that we would have liked here.
Pasties, a baked pastry filled with meat and vegetables is quite popular in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This was Jason’s miss as I am gluten and dairy free so sadly, no pasties for me.
Trying to get a few east coast provinces in before our journey out west, we wanted to show PEI to Annalise so we added on 2 nights here before heading to Quebec. I love seeing that red dirt so unique to this island.
Where we stayed
We stayed at Jellystone Campground, site 29 right across the Confederation bridge. Usually we like to stay within the Parks if possible but, they did not open the park until the following weekend. Instead of staying somewhere else, we decided to stay closer to the bridge to have less of a drive on our way to Quebec City. What they lacked in trees they made up for in their superior WiFi! Wow we were super impressed and enjoyed it for our 2 days stay there. They also had a great games room and pool for Annalise and our niece although it was too cold to swim while we were there at 15 degrees Celsius … burr!
Bolts loose on the sidewinder
Well we made it this far and should have expected some RV repairs! As soon as we parked the RV in the campground, Jason noticed that the hitch did not look right. Once we opened the tail gate, we found the loose screws that connected to another panel to the hitch had completely came apart. When we detached the truck, the parts just dropped off. The bolts had lost all their threading and were initially too small for what was needed. Luckily, Jason’s dad was with us who is a Machinist, phew! It only cost us $40 to get the parts needed to fix it and it was done within 20 minutes. (We also now have two extra screws and the tool to fix it should this happen again!)
What we did
PEI National Park
Continuing to see the low season theme here, the National Park was not even officially open to charge an admission fee. We had already purchased our National Park pass but for those who have not, it seems to be free before June 8.
There are only a few hikes within the park and numerous biking paths that were well maintained. The dunes were lovely to see if you drive along the park. We hiked the Robinson Island trail which was about 4 km including veering off the path to the lookout points. It was a family friendly hike with several access points to the beach, no dogs were allowed at the beach due to concerns for the bird habitat within the area, poor Kenya!
Wednesday nights during the off season in Charlottetown is not a lively time. We did have dinner in the city which was busy but, after dinner we decided to take a walk around the city while Jason went on the hunt to find the parts for the hitch and nothing was open except for Cows ice cream …. So good! I recommend weekends or during the high season to come in the evening if you are looking for livelier atmosphere.
What we missed
We had hoped to walk the waterfront in Charlottetown but because of our RV repairs, we had limited time in the city.
Hopewell Rocks has been on my list of must sees for a VERY long time! We wanted to see Jason’s parents out east before our year long adventure heading west from Ontario. It worked out well to see 3 more provinces on the east coast while visiting family and New Brunswick was our first destination.
Where we stayed along the way …
We stayed at our first ever Walmart stopover for 2 nights on our way. Funny how nervous and yet excited we were haha. There are lots and lots of youtube videos and reviews of RVers who have stayed over at one, the pros and cons and what to expect. My biggest fear was that we would be up all night from semi trucks and their relentless generators all night but, was pleasantly surprised to find our first Walmart experience uneventful even with the humming of the generators. It was quiet, free and we even picked up a few groceries the next morning before heading out!
Fundy National Park
I was impressed by the large campsites especially for a drive thru site within the Headquarters loop which we stayed. We chose this campground to be closer to the town of Alma to be in walking distance for dinner and sightseeing. No fires are permitted on this particular loop but, you are however able to use your propane fire if you have one. We stayed at site 23.
The majestic flower pot rock formations were spectacular, you will not be disappointed! Found out that Robert Ripley actually nicknamed the formations and the name just stuck. We went during low tide and had the opportunity to walk out and see the rocks close up.
Scenic Route N.B. 915
This was a pleasant route to take back from Hopewell Rocks, we were in off season still so some of the stops were not open. It was still a scenic route back, make sure to stop by the Old Bank of NB and the Ha Ha Cemetery. We also stopped in the town of Alma to check out the lobsters to have for dinner tomorrow…Annalise was not too impressed with the smell in the store lol
Hike in the park, Caribou Plain trail
There are numerous trails for any hiking level within the park, a hikers dream for me! We decided to go on a family friendly trail which was 2.1 km long. Found some interesting facts that it once was an old carriage trail and several access points to see the bog located off the trail. It was a rainy day but we made the best of it, dressed for the rain and headed out! I think our dog Kenya enjoyed the hike the most!
Less than 5 months I think to myself … 5 months left after already spending a year planning our move from Canada to the USA, and embark on an adventure of a lifetime to travel for up to a year in our trailer with my husband and daughter. Is this crazy? I ask myself, but when I way the pros and cons, the pros always win.
We have managed to purge the majority of our 10 year life in our current house and are prepping it for sale. Everything seems chaotic and consuming at the moment with painting, cleaning, purging and prepping to list the house by the end of the month, but we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and remind ourselves of what is to come.
The house has seemed to be a relentless project to get ready to move but it has taught us a few lessons:
If you have not used or worn it within a year, sell or give it away
Labeling and organizing your items makes life so much simpler!
Try and go paperless as much as possible
Buying items out of boredom vs. necessity, really asking ourselves do we really need this?
Think about collecting memories, not things when on holidays
Moving to another country and traveling for up to a year beforehand has it’s own obstacles, we have started with:
Obtaining our necessary documents to enter and live in the country
Travel insurance while we are on the road
School plan for when we are homeschooling our daughter while on the road
Border crossing documents required when we move all of our belongings
Storage information for when we store our belongings until we settle into our new permanent home
CAA for when we are on the road … we do not want to be stuck with a broken down truck or trailer on the side of the road in Alaska!!!
I keep looking forward to the exciting plans ahead but, I need to bring myself back to today, this moment, and remind myself to not wish this time away. We are enjoying spending time with family and doing activities that are familiar and have always loved to do before we head out on the road. Trying not to get overwhelmed with our seemingly never ending task list but embracing the experience and being grateful for every check mark on it!