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Along Lake Superior Shore

Neys Provincial Park, Pukaskwa National Park, Sault Ste. Marie, Walmart, Tires!

semi-overcast 15 °C
View TaJ 2019 & TaJ 2019 - The Journey Home on Rooseboom-Scott's travel map.

Sep 1

As we prepped to depart Trowbridge Falls Campground in Thunder Bay, we noticed that the tread on the left side tire on TaJ, our 2017 R-pod trailer, was getting dangerously thin. We would need to replace the tire very soon. In Nipigon, about 125 k into our planned trip to Neys Provincial Park we found a repair shop that did the job for us, putting our spare tire on the permanent rim and using the worn tire as our new spare. Pretty quick job, just ½ hour and we were back on the road. But, the worry about the trailer will continue.

In 2018 we had to replace the axle on TaJ when it failed on a trip to Ontario. The new axle was ordered from a manufacturer in Indiana and took about 10 days to get delivered and installed in Southern Ontario.

The new axle is lightweight, rated for about 3,200 pounds. The TaJ-ma-Haul weighs 2,800 pounds empty, so this axle severely restricts what we can load. This spring we cut back our travel gear and loaded the trailer accordingly. When we left Nova Scotia, we used a highway scale and determined our loaded weight was 3,100 pounds.

A tank of fresh water weighs almost 300 pounds, and the combined weight of full black and gray tanks is another 600 pounds. Due to our load restrictions we always empty our grey and black water tanks at each move and never carry fresh water. We wonder if our weight while we are stationery might be the cause of the axle getting weaker. While sitting in a campground, there is as much as 1000 pounds of extra weight on the axle.

We have towed TaJ for about 16,000 kilometers. We plan to replace this axle with a much stronger one, before we travel in 2020 and we hope our current axle will hold together through the remaining 4,000 kilometers of towing to get us home in October. Stay tuned to see how this turns out!

The first moose sighting of the trip today. A young male alongside the road. He was nervous about the traffic and headed back into the woods before we could capture his image with our camera. At least we saw one!

We arrived at Neys in the early afternoon and settled into our site.


The Visitor Centre here closes today and we got in with just 45 minutes to spare. We were the last patrons to sign the guest book for 2019! The visitor centre outlines the history of the area. Neys was a German Prisoner of War camp during WW2 and was in use from 1943-45. The prisoners housed here were classed as ‘black’ in that they firmly believed that what Hitler was doing was right and just. Other prisoners were labeled either ‘gray’ or ‘white’ indicating a lesser (or no) belief that Hitler was in the right. The security here was tighter than that for those with a lesser belief in Hitler.

As we settled in for the night, the temperature dropped and the rain began to fall. Another night tucked away in the cozy confines of TaJ, reading and watching videos.

Sep 2

The rain blew away overnight and we had a clear but cold morning. After a breakfast of oatmeal, we did an hour long walk along the beach and through the tenting section of the campground. Only 7 of the 50 sites in this section were filled overnight and all but one of them were departing today.

In our section of the campground things quickly emptied. By afternoon there was just a handful of sites occupied. This section of the campground has 93 sites and 30 are seasonal. Of the seasonal sites, while the trailers were there, the occupants were not. We expect by tomorrow there will be less than 6 sites occupied. Neys PP closes for the season on September 15.

Neys is famous as being a site used by the group of seven painters. In particular, Lawren Harris used a lookout here to paint pictures of Pic Island in various seasons. Here is a photo of the island, plus an internet copy of one of the paintings by Mr. Harris.


After our campground walk, Jenny settled in to work on her journal and I went blueberry picking. This place has an amazing amount of blueberry: in just a half-hour I picked enough to get through a couple of days breakfasts.

In the afternoon, as the day heated up to its high of 15 degrees, Jenny and I did a 6-7-kilometre round-trip hike, from our campsite along the shores of the lake to the Point, which sits across the bay from the campground.

Here are some photos of the park:


By 4:00pm we had both clocked 14000 steps on our GPS watches. Supper this evening will be a camper’s stew: chopped steak, carrots and potatoes, with onions and garlic in a beefy broth. Yummy!

Sep 3

We woke to a clear morning, but the forecast was for cold and rain this afternoon. We decided to get exercise out of the way before the weather turned and we did a 45-minute power walk in the campground, about 4 kilometers in total. Exercise fuels our travel endeavours and we are determined to up the pace, on this our last month on the road for 2019.

Marathon, a town of 3300, is the closest community to Neys PP. We headed there in the late morning to stock up and get some internet time at the local library. We are planning the last 27 days of this trip as we go and searching for RV parks, campgrounds, etc. requires some work on our part.

We stocked up for the next two nights at the local grocery store and used the library. The weather slowly deteriorated and by the time we got back to TaJ in the mid-afternoon the temperature had dropped to 10 degrees and the rain and wind started in earnest. Tucked away for the afternoon and evening, we read, updated our journals and had clam chowder for supper. Tomorrow promises to be a better day and we hope to get to Pukaskwa National Park for a day-trip.

Travel Tip:
Jenny is a great organizer and here is one of her best. We carry a lot of charging cords and she made up these neat tubes to hold the various cords. We keep them all in one place and can easily find the cord we need.


Sep 3/4

Pukaskwa National Park is one of the few national parks we had not been to, at least until we arrived! In 2017 we came here, but both of us failed to remember that, yes, we did come here and hike and this is the place where I slipped on wet section of the Canadian Shield and bruised my hip! Huh, perhaps we have been on the road too long!

Our National Park Discovery Pass expired at the end of August, and it was time to renew. For $137.60 we, and up to 6 people in our vehicle, get access to every National Park or National Historic Site in Canada until the end of September, 2020. We plan some more extensive travel in 2020 and this is one item we always have with us.

We spent the rest of the morning hiking along the shore of Lake Superior and checking out the campground at the National Park in case we come this way again. The campsites are nice, have electricity and the campground has showers, so, who knows, maybe we will come here again in 2021, when we head west once again. Perhaps next time we will remember that we have been here before, twice!


Back at Neys the weather was too delightful to just sit around. We got on the hiking boots and took off on another of the hikes at Neys. We worked through another 5 kilometres of beautiful scenery through the woods and along the shores of Lake Superior. At the end of the day we paused and took a shadow selfie on the beach.

It has been cool, bordering on cold, at night and the heater in TaJ keeps us toasty warm.

Sep 5

The tire situation on TaJ is coming to a head. We pack up and get ready to head off on our next leg, with a plan to stop for a two-night stay at Agawa Bay Provincial Park, along the eastern shore of the lake, about 60 kilometers from Sault Ste. Marie.

Here is a photo of the tire wear and the lean on of the tire on our axle:


While on the 350 kilometre drive, we decide to forgo Agawa Bay and head on in to the Soo to get new tires on TaJ. In Wawa we stop at a Fountain Tire store to check if they have our Goodyear Endurance Trailer Tires in stock. They don’t, but their store in the Soo does and can install them if we can get there by 4:00pm.

By 5:00pm, TaJ has a new set of booties and we are about $300 lighter, but we can now get home on the existing axle on our trailer. After discussing with the tire tech, we decide to inflate the Goodyears to the maximum, about 65 pounds of pressure. Our old set was inflated to 58 pounds and the extra air seems to help the trailer sit better on the axle.

Since we are in the Soo, we decide to Walmart it for the night. Walmart parking lots all over North America are used for overnight stops and the company encourages this in most places. It helps with sales. At this lot, by 10:00pm, when the store closes, there were 7 RV’s parked for the night.

The night was quiet, but we had a significant amount of rain overnight. We woke to a grey and cloudy morning. Since scragging the two-day stay at Agawa Bay, we now have an additional day to spend at our next planned stop, Chutes Provincial Park, in Massey, Ontario.

Chutes is a lovely park, named after the 200-foot-long log chute that was built here in the early 1900’s to divert logs past the falls on the River Aux Sables. The trees were cut in the winter and piled on the river. Once the thaw came the logs traveled down the river and chute carried them on to the railhead below. There is a 5-6-kilometre hiking trail here, which we will get to on Sunday when it will be a little bit drier.

After arriving, filling our water tank, and finding a site we use the rest of the day to get our laundry done. I head in to the Massey Library for wi-fi to get into a bit more planning of the road ahead. By 5:00pm we have a plan in place to get us through to September 28, after which we will head for home.

As this blog is published there is a storm ahead. Not here, but in Nova Scotia, Hurricane Dorian is about to hit hard, with winds of up to 120 kph and as much as 20 centimeters of rain. The eye will pass near Halifax, about 100 k from our house on Saturday, September 7. We are curious to see how this will affect our home. Our property has 50+ maple trees, all still in leaf. The leaves make things worse in the wind. We hope none of the trees will fall, and if they do, we hope they don’t fall on the house, garage, woodshed, or deck.

A theme of our recent travels has been rain. Every second day for the past week or so it has rained, followed by a day of cold and sunshine. It is only one week into September and already the maple trees in this part of Ontario have started to turn colour. Fall comes early here in the north.

On Tuesday, we catch the Chi-Cheemaun, the ferry from South Baymouth, on Manitoulin Island, to Tobermory, on the Bruce Peninsula, to begin the last leg of our journey through Southern Ontario.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 08:13 Archived in Canada Tagged neys_provincial_park group_of_seven pukaskwa_national_park goodyear_endurance_tires

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Lake Superior has so many amazing places to take photos. And not surprising that the Group of Seven painters worked there too!

by Mary Klimek

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