A Travellerspoint blog

Wawa and the Agawa Rock Pictographs

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It was raining heavily at night and we had a very poor sleep. I was a bit tense to do the whole attaching-leaving process in rain as we needed to dump the tanks (black and grey) and I also wanted to check the air pressure of 8 wheels. But by the time we finished everything inside the trailer the rain stopped so the roughly 1 hour outside process was much easier.

After leaving the KOA Camp with all the facilities we went to a nearby Walmart to fill up with food for the next three days without electricity. We left Sault St Marie about 11:30 and we had about 210 kms for today. One stop was planned at the Agawa Rock Pictographs which is west of the Agawa River along the east bank of Lake Superior. They were created between 150 and 400 years ago, most of the paintings date back to the 17th or 18th centuries. The rockface is 15 storeys high, composed of white crystalline granite. From the parking there is a slippery and steep, rocky path which is almost a small creek (i.e. water is flowing between the rocks).


After our slow but steady descent we arrived to the shore which is also rocky and offers a very beautiful view of Lake Superior.


The last 50-100 meters is already on the edge of the water and the cliffs with a rope to help you stay on the course. We did not risk falling into the lake with the smallest kid attached to me so we have seen the first few drawings. It was still worth the short walk and it is highly recommended to visit this sacred site.


Afterwards we continued to Wawa and stopped at a wild blueberry farm for the night. About 3,5 kms from our overnight parking there was a great waterfall called the Scenic High Fall. There were some informative boards about how wood was first stored on iced lakes and then at spring how it was transported on the river to Sault St Marie in the early 1900. A nice little side-tour for us before dinner.


Posted by divatmotoros 06:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Sault Ste Marie

sunny 24 °C
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We spent one relaxing day at a KOA campsite in Sault Ste. Marie which was very much needed after long driving days. The town is between Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, its river St Marys River is connecting Lake Superior and Lake Huron. It is also a border city to the USA.

In the morning I went for a run with Echo, then we tested the pool woth the kids. After our last night stop at a golf club they were very much interested in minigolf so we played at the campsite before lunch. It was also good to talk to my wife's mother using the wifi of the camp. After lunch we went to see a lock which is still working for recreational boats, big commercial ships use the newer lock called Soo Lock (which is in the USA).


After seeing the lock we walked to the riverbank. The walking path ended and some balancing was needed on the last 15 meters which the kids
enjoyed a lot.


In the evening I used the well equipped campsite for an RV Wash which took about 40 minutes to complete.
And less than 4 hours larer it started to rain, so the old magic works.

Posted by divatmotoros 03:18 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

From the Horseshoe lake to Sault Ste. Marie

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After a nice stop at the Horseshoe lake (where we had a chance to rent a double kayak and I took the kids for a nice round with it) we had a lazy morning. After a short run with Echo and a nice breakfast we packed everything and left around 11:00 as we planned only 196 kms for the day. First we were heading NW to Sudbury. We stopped for lunch at a fuel station and then arrived around 16:00 to our overnight stop, the Timberwolf Golf Club.


After parking and detaching the trailer we did a 12 minutes drive to the Big Nickel, which is next to a nice museum, the Dynamic Earth.


After the attraction we stopped to fill the car and at a playground to let the kids run and climb a bit. Tomorrow will be a lomger day of 330 kms so we plan to leave early, stop for lunch somewhere on the road (I roasted some chicken in the evening) and then press on to arrive to the KOA of Sault Ste. Marie.

Posted by divatmotoros 04:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Technical details and maintenance

If you wonder what are the technical specs of our trailer and what kind of maintenance work is necessary during our trip then this post is for you!

We travel in a white Ford Expedition (20l6) and a Salem DBK27 by Forest River (2018). Why I chose this rig? I was thinking a lot about 5th wheelers which are much stable at higher speeds but there is no trunk space for the dog. We also wanted the possibility to easily do excursions or daytrips with the car so a motorhome was excluded for this reason. So we took the car + trailer option. Then I chose the trailer with a big enough size for a bunkbed for the two larger kids, a large enough living room for the baby cot (hence the slideout) and a separate bedroom for us. So I found this layout which is big enough even on a rainy day to survive inside with 3 kids and a dog. The gas grill at the back and the outside kitchen sink comes handy too.

Then I was looking for a towing vehicle with the right specs and the Ford Expedition was shining in this respect with the factory tow package as an extra. 1 out of 10 cars had that feature which includes a larger cooler for the engine, an extra oil cooler for the transmission and the right wiring and controls for the electronic brakes of the trailer.

Buying the car as an European was more difficult than I thought. Many US dealers did not want to do business remotely, some of them did not accept wire transfers so I kept searching and talking to several dealers before finally I found a car in Virginia with the factory tow package and the right internal layout. The buying process was simple, getting the tag was more complicated. If you are in Delaware then it can be easily arranged in person at a DMV but the dealership left us stranded in the process, despite their promise to arrange it.

The detailed technical specifications for the trailer (Sally as the kids call her) is available here.
The detailed technical specifications for the car (Fordy as the kids call her) is available here.

Driving the rig is easier than expected. I guess the weight distribution bars help to keep the trailer stable. The car is very powerful, it accelerates like hell even at higher speeds if needed. Well, it has a 3.5L V6 EcoBoost twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve engine with 365 HP so power is not an issue. It feels safe up until 50-55 miles per hour, above that speed some slow swaying occurs. The big trucks passing us create some movements and stronger wind is also impacting us. Most trailers (especially 5th wheels) are passing us doing 65 or 70 miles but I prefer doing less to be on the safer side.

Fuel consumption is normally 18-19 liters per 100 kms on flat roads at 45 miles an hour. Doing 50 miles per hour means 21-22 liters so it is not worth it. Our daily average distance depends more on how much time we stand still. Some days we are passed 3-4 times by the same vehicles and then they stop more often or longer than we do. Hills bring up fuel consumption to 23-25 liters. My guess is that in the Rocky mountains we will see figures near the 30ies.

The list of the maintenance items and work (updated after 6500 kms)
New set of tires for Sally
New batteries for Sally
The main slide's mechanics lubrication
Rubber seals lubrication
Locks lubrication
Right taillights not working, replaced the bulb, then fixed the socket. Now I plan to replace the whole lamp (both taillights) to LED lamps
The main fuse of the inverter gone off (100A), most likely at the bridge breaking the AC
New AC (driver error)
City Water connector ripped off (driver error). The water piping was leaking after this episode but fixing a connector under the bathtub solved the problem
The kitchen hood's fan stopped working, replaced the motor. A painful 58 dollar price for a small 12V motor.
The electric cable of the lighter of the outside grill broke, soldered it in 5 minutes.
The lower side of the awning was very dirty so I washed it. Without a ladder we put the camping table underneeth and in six different positions it worked for the whole awning. Some pain in my shoulders and neck the next day.
The latch fixing the main door in an open position was missing so first we used a rubber band with a hook. In strong winds that was not strong enough so later I bought a metal latch and replaced the broken one.
Flat tire of the trailer, replaced the wheel then bought a new tire

Posted by divatmotoros 04:00 Archived in Canada Tagged maintenance technical specifications Comments (0)

Niagara Falls

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We left Buffalo in the morning to head to the Niagara falls. It was an easy 40 minutes drive and we arrived to the US side of the great attraction. The parking lot in front of the visitor centre was full and we drove past it when about 500 meters further we noticed a huge empty lot on the corner of 1st Street and Niagara Street with 3-4 cars parking on it. There were about a hundred empty parking spaces there so we pulled over and stopped. There was a small wooden building with a huge "Pay here" sign but it was closed and noone was around. So we saved 20 dollars, had a nice pasta for lunch in our trailer and prepared for our afternoon walk to the falls.

We crossed Niagara State Park and walked across the bridges to Green Island and Goat Island. There we first checked Bridal Veil Falls and American Falls, then walked further to the main attraction of the Horseshoe Falls. The US side is the higher part of the falls so the views are less scenic than from the Canadian side, you can't really feel the vertical size of it. The amount of water running trough and the noise of it is still mindblowing.


On our way back to the car we grabbed a well deserved icecream on the hot day. After leaving the parking lot we entered the Rainbow International Bridge, our gateway to Canada and the next big leg of our trip. Previously we completed the ArriveCan registration and after abour 30 minutes in a slow moving line of cars we stopped at the building for buses and RVs. Echo was fiercly barking to the officer who was quite reserved and not smiley at all. She went back to the building with our passports and asked us to wait. After about 5 minutes she came back, handed over the passports and said goodbye opening the gate. They did not inspect the trailer nor the car, it was a very quick and easy procedure.

We had a further 40 minutes of driving to our stop on the Canadian side, we went to a winery called Atlantis Niagara. The owners name was Kocsis so we thought there is a Hungarian connection and we were right. His parents left Hungary in 1956 as many other Hungarians and he was already raised in Canada. We went through a nice tasting of icewines and special fruit "wines" or rather ciders from pear, plum, peach and apple. They were not sparkling and some of them were mixed with crushed ice making them a long dring between a coctail and a "fröccs" (international readers: fröccs is wine with mineral water, very popular in the summertime in Hungary).

It worked after the long day and we both smiled wide with my wife after the tasting. Then we parked our trailer at the lakeside spot the owner led us to and it was amazing. When at elementary school I learned about the Great Lakes I was really impressed with their sheer size. Lake Superior, the biggest of the five is almost as big as our home country, Hungary! Now we stopped at the smallest of the five, Lake Ontario and I was staring into the sunset happily. What a fantastic place to be and it was great to park our trailer right at the waterfront.


The next morning we went back to Niagara Falls, now checking the other side, which is even more breathtaking. First we stopped by the Skylon Tower to have a high-side view. The kids enjoyed a lot the elevator ride and the view from the 775 feet (or 236 meters) height. One side of the tower had extremely strong wind, it was almost knocking us down and I was holding tight the kids, Akos, the one year old being strapped onto me.


Then we got back to ground level and walked past Falls View Casino Resort and had a heavily overpriced hot dog and pretzel to survive until dinner. Should have spent it in the Casino but neither the kids nor I are bearable when we are hungry. And it happens every 2 hours so we better prepare or pay the price, no mercy.

Then we admired the Horseshoe Falls again, now in a full frontal view from the Canadian side. It was really jaw-dropping for all of us, even the kids were speachless for a few seconds, which is a big thing knowing them!


When we were full with the view we walked back towards the car. The evening shower was completed in the next 15 minutes as there was another storm and pouring rain. Without any cover or raincoats we were literally wet from toe to heads. Anyway, when on the road without water and sewer connection we need to save on using the bathroom so one evening shower was ticked off the list.

Posted by divatmotoros 04:07 Archived in Canada Tagged falls niagara Comments (0)

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