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0822 Chelsea Arrival

Another driving day. Get up and go for a 15 minute walk on the same trail. We drive south for Chelsea. Should arrive around noon. A stop for gas and a walk about half way there. We arrive at 11:30.

fullsizeoutput_1e87My sister said the last time she took my mom to sit out here she said, “That man sure likes that ball.”

My dad comes out to meet us. He says we should go have lunch with my mom. So he moves his car out of his covered spot and I drive in. The shade keeps the car cool, so Sherman can nap in the van while we lunch.

As we walk in, I see her from the side in the dining room. From the back she has a braid in the middle of her head from the forehead to the neck. It looks good. And, not like her, if she were making the decisions.

We have institution lunch. It’s better than a few years ago, but still not great food. A minestrone type soup that is good. Then a ham and cheese melt sandwich, on a brownish whitebread with potato chips.

Mom is the same but a bit more gone since I was here 18 months ago. She has about a 2 sentence memory when she’s present. She’s mostly not present to the whole life around her. She doesn’t know who I am. Sometimes she remembers she has a son when it’s mentioned, but she doesn’t know that I am he!

After lunch I take in what we need to stay for a few days. I think we’ll leave on Friday. My sister’s coming down Wednesday and Thursday.

We talk. I start doing my research for an order from Amazon in order to finish my food needs to ship my resupply boxes for the Long Trail hike. We go to dinner and talk. Then it’s Monday evening Shuffleboard time. I think the last time I played Shuffleboard was when we were in Florida when I was 12. There are 2 guys there when we arrive. We play 3 games. The shuffleboard pucks are a variety of speeds, so the game is quite a hoot. One puck goes completely off the target end of the board with a gentle shove. Another stops before the second line with a harder shove. And they’re not labeled as to their glide quotient. It makes a fun, silly game.

0821 Rest Area near Grayling, MI

Today is a driving day. We take a short walk in morning. The rain has stopped.

I drive out of town and need a bathroom and gas. Only public bathroom I can find at 7:30am is in the A&W. There are lots of A&Ws in Canada. Lots of Dairy Queens too. Get gas and head east around Lake Superior. It’s still raining off and on.


I’m looking for a lake where we may be able to run. I find one. Whitefish Bay. We get out and get a good run.



Just a little north of Sault Saint Marie I see a sign for a potter out on an island. We go there. He’s not home. At the end of the road is a hike. We go.


fullsizeoutput_1e6d This reminds me of Dan in Winnipeg. He said you can tell the voltage of a high voltage line by the number of resisters.

fullsizeoutput_1f44 Tiniest stop sign I’ve ever seen.

fullsizeoutput_1e74 I asked a guy on an ATV about the sign. He said there indeed was a 30 mile dirt road here that lead to Sault Saint Marie. We’re not taking it…


We head for Sault Saint Marie where the bridge is that crosses to Michigan. The drive to the bridge through the city is very convoluted. I expect a pretty straight shot to an international bridge. But not in here. The signs lead us through a twisting drive through ethnic neighborhoods and small business sections. Very little traffic. Many, many turns.

The border crossing is not as easy as coming into Canada. Don’t know if it’s a country issue or a border guard issue. Easy guy in Canada and a grumpy guy in the US. He asks question over and over. Seeing if I’ll give the same answer. It takes 15 minutes to get the go ahead.

I’m surprised by the terrain in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I expect it to be rougher. It’s just gentle hills. I think about stopping after about an hour, but can’t find a park or anything that feels interesting, so we continue south, crossing the Machinac Bridge to Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. My sister lives in Gaylord, but is out of town. She’s going to visit later in the week at my dad’s. I stop in a rest area and see that they are really nice here in northern Michigan. Lots of trees, big parking areas, lots of picnic tables. I decide to go for the next one, about 50 miles ahead. This’ll put us about 3 hours from my dad’s tomorrow.

We stop just north of Greyling. Another beautiful rest area. I see a sign near where I parked pointing to a trail out of the rest area to an overlook. We go up to see. It’s about a quarter mile to the top of a hill overlooking the freeway and the hills across the way.

I get food ready for our dinners at a nearby picnic table. It’s dark by the time we’re done. Cleanup, get the van ready and we’re asleep about 30 minutes after dark.

0820 Pebble Beach

We walk around Current River Park Lake in morning in a few off and on sprinkles. An hour after we finish it starts raining pretty hard for hours.






We drive along the coast in the rain.

And we stop to look at amazing views of the lakes. Take some pics and take short pee walks when the rain either stops or drizzles. I get off at Red Rock Harbor. Turns out it’s a tiny town with a small harbor on the lake. Driving out I see a trailhead. We take a splendid 8 mile hike.





fullsizeoutput_1e3d This was amazing. See that little sailboat? Sherman sat and watched it cross the lake for 15-20 minutes the same way he watches an animal moving. When the sailboat moved out of sight, a motor boat left the harbor and he watched it cross the visible lake. So cute!


The provincial parks are crowded and more than I wanted to pay. We stopped in a rest area to eat dinner then drive on.

I looked on my free camping app and there is a comment that it was possible to stay in the Pebble Beach city park on the lake for one night. That was all I wanted! There are a series of nice signs on the highway about Pebble Beach, so we drive in and go to the water. The city park is nice. Lots of parking, a few picnic tables, and a couple trails leading from the parking areas into the woods along the lake. It’s raining. So, I back up in between the trails and turned off the van. We get ready to sleep and forgot about it all. A good sleep in the steady gentle rain.




0819 Thunder Bay, Walmart 2

We get up, walk around the area a bit and have breakfast.

We head to get the oil changed about 10. Two of the three oil lines are being run by women. Nice! Haven’t seen that in the CA. As she is checking the fluids she says the transmission fluid is brown and smells a little burnt. I should change it. I wonder if I’m getting scammed… I know it should be red. Waffle. Waffle. Waffle. OK. Change it.

When that is done I look at my phone for a local park where we can go for a walk. There’s a big one, Current River Park, around a small lake just to the east of town. We go there. The park and trails surround a lake and the river flowing in from the north. Very nice. We discover beautiful parts of the park and artwork scattered along the paths. Sweet! We spent the afternoon there and ate dinner along the lake.



0818 Thunder Bay, Walmart 1

0818 Thunder Bay, Walmart 1

It rained overnight. Pretty hard with thunder in the distance. We get up and head south from Berry Creek toward Fort Frances, the Canadian city that is across the Rainy River from International Falls, Minnesota. This was the first city in Canada west of the Great Lakes. Trapper and hide business again.

We stop at a boat launch on Crow Lake. You can see the van down near the lake. The bay here expands into a large lake that swings around west and connects to the huge Rainy Lake at Fort Frances. We take a walk down a deserted road and headed south again.



The road turns east here and heads toward Thunder Bay. Our destination. You can see from this screenshot that this is the land of lakes. OMG. So much water. The road is like a ribbon threading it’s way between these large and small water basins.