My first six days as a Nomad were interesting, fun, and sometimes frustrating. In many ways it feels more like a vacation rather than a lifestyle change. It is relaxing and interesting, and sometimes not at all what is planned. If I can experience all this in six days, I can’t imagine what the future will bring.
On Monday we left Port Huron, Michigan and traveled to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. Our original plan was to stay only two nights, but after reviewing travel information about the surrounding area decided to extend our stay to a total of four days.
On Tuesday we visited the Bush Pilot Heritage Centre in Sault Ste. Marie. Paul was a bush pilot when he lived in Owen Sound, Ontario as a teen so this was on his “hit list.” The museum was interesting, with several planes on display inside the hanger where the museum is located. We viewed two movies, the first was an “on board” experience with a bush pilot, and of course took the rider through a series of mistakes and mishaps that can happen on a plane, including an unexpected storm, dozing off with the plan on autopilot, and more. The second movie was in 3D and took you into the heart of fighting forest fires. You experienced time in flight with the commander of the entire firefighting operation, in flight with a pilot doing water drops, and on land with a ground firefighting crew. Both movies are well worth the time it takes to view them.
A small town about four hours northwest of Sault Ste. Marie is the home of Winnie-the-Pooh, and houses a statue of Winnie, as well as a Winnie-the-Pooh and Railroad Museum. I wanted to go there so a day trip was planned. Part of the trip goes along the shore of Lake Superior, and we figured we would find photo ops along the way. A visitor guide worker had told us about an off-road trail on that stretch which Paul wanted to check out. We didn’t locate the trail she used, but did access a logging trail, which about 20 minutes in we decided was not offering any photo ops so turned around and continued on our journey.
We did find a couple spots to stop and take photographs of Lake Superior, and a small rapids and river we walked in and photographed. It was interesting that this entire route had very few towns, gas stations, or any other type of business or rest area to stop at. So scarce they were practically non-existent. We saw a rest area/visitor center which made a good stop for a few minutes. They had a small gift shop where Paul decided to pick up a couple energy bars to tie us over until lunch, which we planned to eat in White River. That purchase turned out to be a very good decision.
We munched on our energy bars, and decided to stop for gas as we rolled into White River, because we would need it to make the full journey back to Sault Ste. Marie. There were barriers up across the gas pumps and an attendant walked over and informed us that the pumps were not working because the entire town of White River had lost power and nothing was open. We drove through town and took pictures of the Winnie-the-Pooh statue. The attendant was correct, absolutely everything, including the museum we had just driven four hours to visit, was closed so we started our journey back.
Not too far south of White River was a small gas station with full-service pumps. The attendant there shared that the last time White River lost power they were out for a week. He also let us know that there was a restaurant on Hwy 17 just south of Wasmus where we could get lunch/dinner. By now it was after 2:00 pm and we were definitely getting hungry.
We drove the two hours south and located the restaurant. Our luck had not yet changed; on the front door hung a sign that they were closed until 5:00 pm. It was only 4:30 so we decided to drive on. We were not far from our campground when we found The Voyageur Lodge, which included a small restaurant. The menu was limited, but the food very good. Paul had an open face hamburger, which had gravy to which he added mushrooms and onions. It normally included fries and coleslaw, but he switched the fries for onion rings, which he said were very good. I opted for a fish sandwich which also came with fries. The sandwich was made with whitefish which was lightly breaded and very nicely done. We shared a butter tart for dessert, also very tasty.
Our final day in Sault Ste. Marie we drove into town and visited the historical canal sight. At the end of the island was a swing damn, one of only nine built and the last in existence. It is used in emergency situations if there is a problem with the lock. This is also where the lock is located for small boats, and we were lucky enough to see two of the Soo Locks Tour boats use the lock at the same time. The difference in elevation between Lake Superior and Lake Huron is 21 feet, so quite interesting to observe the lock in operation. A nice way to finish out our stay.
Friday morning we said goodbye to Sault Ste. Marie and drove east through Ontario, stopping at a small campground in Lavigne, Ontario. We are here only for two nights. One day of rest and computer work before continuing our journey to Ottawa, the capitol of Canada, where we plan to spend four days.
We did take some time from our paperwork to photograph some very decorative scarecrow displays around town. These have been prepared as part of a plowing competition in September. I finished out our last night in Lavigne with a walk around the park, taking a few photographs of Lake Nippising, which the campground is located on.
So far my life as a nomad has been interesting and relaxing, even if Winnie-the-Pooh’s hometown did leave me a bit frustrated. I guess in this lifestyle you simply have to go-with-the-flow when rocks appear in the river.