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St. Augustine - 2011

Saturday, June 11th

Unlike 2010, we actually have a destination - Savannah. Whether we get there or not remains to be seen. Due to the horrific tornados and major flooding, we have had a bit of trouble firming up plans. We have moved our dates and destinations around a couple of times and Karen actually changed her flight.

Originally it was planned that Karen would fly to Ontario to visit her family. I would drive there to pick her up and continue on to the east coast. We are now planning to be in Ontario at the end of our trip and she will visit and fly home from there. Hopefully, the floods and tornados will let up by the time we are in the area.

We've been joking that in 2003 we had a destination of Nova Scotia and we ended up in Memphis, Tennessee. You never know with us. This year we might end up in Nova Scotia.

However, June 12th, 2011 is upon us and we are scheduled to hit the road around noon tomorrow.

2011 - St. Augustine Photo Album

Sunday, June 12th - Calgary to Helena, Montana

Karen was running behind. Between working long hours to organized her office for her vacation and then getting her hubby Steve prepared for a business trip to Houston, she was no where near ready to leave in the morning. It was 1:30 pm before we hit the road - well almost. After filling up at Timmies, we had one trip back to Karen's to pick up her hat, then.... on the road again.

We ran in and out of rain for most the day, the aftermath of which were incredible rainbows every time the sun came out. We figured that was a good omen. There is probably nothing prettier than Montana in the spring. Everything is so green especially with the moisture we have had this year. The flooded rivers were as brown and fast as at home but seemed to have receded.

After a short six hours on the road we stopped at Helena, Montana. Great motel - the Wingate. Wonderful beds, clean and spacious. Only one recommendation - more softener in the laundry. Lovely white towels that felt like drying with an emery board.

Monday, June 13th - Helena to Jackson Hole, Wyoming

When leaving Helena, We thought we would travel uncharted territory and start to work our way south east.

The streams and rivers were crashing down the mountain and we stopped along the way to survey them.

Yellowstone National Park

We headed east on hwy 12/287 to Three Forks, picked up I-90 for 20 miles, then south on hwy 191 to the west Yellowstone gates. Yellowstone was lovely in the rain!!

At the top there was so much snow it felt like driving in Banff in February. The Grand Tetons were totally snow covered and obscured by fog.

We had to make a decision to continue south east through all the predicted rain, snow and storms or cut our losses and head straight south to Arizona where it is 100°. It was a no brainer.

We spent the night in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. A great tourist town that hadn't seen the sun in weeks. Jackson Hole, is a valley located near the western border with Idaho. The name "hole" derives from language used by early trappers or mountain men, who primarily entered the valley from the north and east and had to descend along relatively steep slopes, giving the sensation of entering a hole. Jackson is a town located in the Jackson Hole valley of Teton County. The town is often referred to as "Jackson Hole", the named geographic feature in which the town is located.

Tuesday, June 14th - Jackson Hole to Grand Junction, Colorado

Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Tour

Five miles south of Jackson Hole the sun came out. The fog burnt off and the smiles came back to our faces. We drove down hwy 189 to connect with hwy 191 to Rock Springs. Just before Rock Springs we spotted a sign that said "Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Route". Thus began a 45 minute search for the Mustangs (along a rough shale road that didn't want to end). Finally, when we were just about ready to give up, we saw them off in the distance. We drove as close as the road allowed us and took pictures. The horse really didn't look or act any different that any other horses grazing in a field. They didn't even raise their heads when I honked my horn!!

The majority of wild horses in Wyoming are located in the southwestern part of the state. The management level for wild horses in Wyoming is approximately 2,490 to 3,725 horses. Approximately 1,100 to 1,600 wild horses can be found on the public lands managed by the BLM Rock Springs Field Office known as The Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop just north of Rock Springs and Green River, Wyoming. The 24 mile self-guided tour across the top of White Mountain can begin in either Green River or Rock Springs.

A Mustang is a free-roaming feral horse that first descended from horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish. Mustangs are often referred to as wild horses, but the more correct term is feral horses. Today, free-roaming horses are protected under United States law, but have disappeared from several states where there were once established populations. A few hundred free-roaming horses survive in Alberta and British Columbia. The BLM considers roughly 26,000 individuals a manageable number, but the feral Mustang population in February 2010 was 33,700 horses. More than half of all Mustangs in North America are found in Nevada with other significant populations in Montana, Wyoming and Oregon. Another 34,000 horses are in holding facilities.

The Mustangs are protected under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 an Act of Congress, signed into law President Richard M. Nixon on December 18, 1971. The Act made it a crime for anyone to harass or kill feral horses or feral burros on federal land, required the departments of the Interior and Agriculture to protect the animals, required studies of the animals' habits and habitats, and permitted public land to be set aside for their use. In addition, the act required that Mustangs be protected as "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West".

This horse adventure took us to Green River instead of Rock Springs, so instead of going on the I-80 we dove under it and picked up a lovely site-seeing trail along the Flaming Gorge Recreation Area to the Utah border where it became hwy 44. We caught up to an escorted wide load that we couldn't pass so we pulled into the first point of interest area and it turned out to be a 20 mile - 20 mph Geological Trail. Well worth the time spent.

Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area

This spectacular drive in the Ashley National Forest is located adjacent to the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area and connects to the Uinta National Scenic Byway. Named after the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep that inhabit the area, this site is dominated by the Uinta Crest Fault, a section of folded and twisted rock that reveals millions of years of geological history. It offers an impressive array of goelogical phenomenon packed into a relatively small amount of space.

The loop passes through the Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, nearly 3,600 acres of land set aside by the U.S. Forest Service in the 1960's. More than a billion years of geologic history are showcased within the geological area, from rocks deposited in an ancient rift system that uplifted the Uinta Mountains about 70 to 40 million years ago.

Once back on the hwy 44 we went east under the southern tip of the Flaming Gorge and connected to the 191 south. At Vernal we headed east into Colorado and south on hwy 139 to Grand Junction.

All along the route today, the creeks, rivers and lakes were flooded. In a lot of instances, there were no banks. It was like the trees were in the middle of the water. The flow was extremely fast and very muddy.

The whole day was new roads, new experiences and fabulous scenery - and - no rain!

Wednesday, June 15th - Grand Junction to Bluff, Utah
We left Grand Junction about 8:30 am and headed south down hwy 141 to Naturita then hwy 145 to Cortez. This whole route was spectacular - up and down high cliffs and low meadows. Slow going but more than worth it.

Driggs Mansion

Along one of the meadow lands, we came upon the ruins of "Driggs Mansion". Between vandals and weather not much remains. There is currently much effort to preserve the Driggs Mansion. The site does qualify for State and National historical site registries.

The Driggs Mansion was constructed in the early 1900's by Lawrence LaTourette Driggs. Driggs acquired the 320 acres of land through the Desert Entry Act, approved by Congress on March 3, 1877.

The exact date that the Driggs Mansion was constructed is unknown. An outside reference believes that the mansion took four years to build, 1914 to 1918.

In the final construction, the mansion has six rooms that included two bedrooms, one large commons area, kitchen and a small utility room.

Hwy 145 Dolores River Charcoal Oven

We were getting into a lot of red rock areas. It was beginning to feel like we were home. We found a Charcoal Oven. This one didn't seem to be as old as others we've discovered in Nevada. One thing different was the rocks used. This one was made from the red rocks. Perhaps this is why it looked different or perhaps this is only a replica?

Hanging Flume

High on a crest along the Dolores River, we stopped at the remnants of a Hanging Flume. The Hanging Flume was an open water chute (known as a flume) built over the Dolores River Canyon in Colorado. The Montrose Placer Mining Company built the flume in the 1880s to facilitate gold mining.

Some sections of the flume remain attached to the canyon wall, although much of the wood has vanished. The Montrose Placer Mining Company was formed to mine gold from placer deposits along the Dolores River. Hydraulic mining, a popular method of exploiting placer deposits, required water to be efficiently transported, often using wooden flumes to maintain the necessary volume and pressure. Cliffside flumes were developed using trestles and brackets (called bents) at regular intervals to support the flume box.

The Hanging Flume is in poor condition. It has been vandalized in places. Some of its wood has been removed, and what remains has deteriorated, particularly where directly exposed to weather. The pine wood is vulnerable to decay and fungi.

In 1980, the Hanging Flume was listed as a historic site on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1999, Colorado Preservation Inc. placed the Flume on its annual list of the most endangered historic places in Colorado. In 2004, through a grant from the State Historical Fund, a team of archaeologists, engineers, and local researchers conducted an assessment of the site.

In 2006, the Hanging Flume was placed on the World Monuments Fund's "100 Most Endangered Sites" list. This listing affords international recognition and support in seeking grants and technical assistance.

The area around Telluride was similar to Glacier National Park. Well maintained and easy driving. Shortly after leaving the area we pretty well had the road to ourselves. It's great to be able to pull over to take pictures or turn around whenever we want.

Our intention to continue with the south/east/south trend lasted until we reached Cortez. There we had to make a decision - continue with the south/east route or hightail it to our favourite road - hwy 261. A quick stop at McDonalds, a hamburger and smoothie later, the decision was made. Let's take the 80 mile trip to Bluff and hwy 261.

Four Corners

We stopped at 4 Corners to do some shopping and we were pleasantly surprised to see some significant changes to the Monument. There are three new vendor's booths and the entire compound has been redone. It was very impressive and certainly added to it. We will probably stop there again on our way back tomorrow.

Painted Desert

Once we reached Bluff, we checked in at the Desert Rose Inn and went to Twin Rocks Cafe for supper and of course, shopping, then went to play on hwy 261 until dark. We stopped to catch a picture of the painted desert. Just as Karen snapped the photo a group of bikers whizzed by. It turned out to be a great picture.

Highway 261

We were on the road well over 1/2 hour before seeing any other vehicles. We stopped several times to take pictures. We hung on to Willie though with a death grip. Going over the cliff is not an option for him any more.

Catching the moon on the way back to Bluff seemed like a fitting end to a great day.

Thursday, June 16th - Bluff to Socorro, New Mexico
Despite our good intentions to get up early and put major miles on today - we forgot to get out of bed. It was after eleven before we got on the road. After gassing up we had to go back to Twin Rocks Cafe for breakfast. We had the greatest quesadilla we have ever had. There. we made the decision to go straight south down hwy 191 (or 180) to I-10.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Canyon de Chelly National Monument was established on April 1, 1931 as a unit of the National Park Service. It is located in northeastern Arizona within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation. It preserves ruins of the early indigenous tribes that lived in the area, including the Ancient Pueblo Peoples (also called Anasazi) and Navajo. The monument covers 131 square miles (339 km2) and encompasses the floors and rims of the three major canyons: de Chelly, del Muerto, and Monument. These canyons were cut by streams with headwaters in the Chuska mountains just to the east of the monument. The National Monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 25, 1970.

Four hours later, at Eagar, we were turned away. The fires had flared up again and the highways were closed about an hour before we got there. Change of plans - hwy 60 to Socorro, New Mexico.

Socorro, New Mexico

Just before Socorro, there were some very interesting disks. Apparently they are Very Large Array (VLA) Telescopes.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center of the United States National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc for the purpose of radio astronomy. NRAO designs, builds, and operates its own high sensitivity radio telescopes for use by scientists around the world.

The NRAO's facility in Socorro is the Array Operations Center (AOC). Located on the New Mexico Tech campus, the AOC serves as the headquarters for the Very Large Array (VLA), which was the setting for the movie Contact, and the control center for the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA).

VLBA telescopes are located in Hawaii, the United States Virgin Islands, Charlottesville, Virginia, Green Bank, West Virginia, Socorro, New Mexico, Tucson, Arizona, and Santiago, Chile.

The smoke from the fires helped create a very spooky sunset.

Friday, June 17th - Socorro to Ft. Stockton, Texas

So much for our "get moving in the morning" program - we slept in and did not get on the road until 10:30.

The cactus are getting bigger and bigger and the weather is getting hotter and hotter - from the snow in Yellowstone National Park a few days ago to 100° in Socorro. Nice!!

Trinity Site

We drove south on I-25 to hwy 380. We followed signs to the Trinity Site where the first atomic bomb was detonated expecting that it would be open to the public. Instead found it heavily guarded and most unwelcoming. Why they even tell you it's up the road if they don't want you to visit is beyond us. 18 miles later we were back on hwy 380.

Trinity was the code name of the first nuclear weapons test of an atomic bomb. This test was conducted by the United States Army on July 16, 1945, in the Jornada del Muerto desert about 35 miles southeast of Socorro, New Mexico, at the White Sands Proving Ground, now the White Sands Missile Range. The date of the test is usually considered to be the beginning of the Atomic Age.

Valley of Fires Recreation Area

Just before Carrizozo we pulled into the Valley of Fires Recreation Area which is really just a glorified campground on a lava bed.

The lava making up the flow came from Little Black Peak, about 10 miles north-northwest of Carrizozo, and went about 40 miles south-southwest down the bottom of Tularosa Basin in a series of recent (the last 1,000-1,500 years ago) active flows. At their southern end, the lava flows are about 12 miles north of the dune fields of White Sands National Monument.


We stopped at Carrizozo and bought some fruit. About 10 miles up hwy 349 is a living ghost town of White Oaks. We drove around it but did not stop. Then back to Carrizozo, we stopped at the fruit stand again to buy some healing balm and beads. They seemed surprised to see us again - but it seemed perfectly logical to us.

White Oaks Ghost Town

White Oaks is a ghost town in Lincoln County, New Mexico, United States. Located on the outskirts of the Lincoln National Forest, it became a boomtown in 1879 following the discovery of gold and coal in the nearby Jicarilla Mountains.

It was frequented by notable Old West personalities, including Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and Shotgun John Collins. Jonathan H. Wise established the town's first newspaper in 1880, called the White Oaks Golden Era.

In November, 1880, a posse originating in White Oaks pursued Billy the Kid a distance of over forty miles, culminating in a standoff, during which the posse accidentally shot and killed Deputy Sheriff Jim Carlysle, as the latter was attempting to negotiate with the outlaw.

The town, at its peak, had a population of 2,000 people, reached by 1890. In 1882, with a population of 500, construction was completed on Starr's Opera House, and the town sported several saloons, several general stores, a school, and a town hall. In 1884 Lyman Hood held the first church services in an actual church building. During this period, there were brothels with many prostitutes, and the town was frequently a haven for cattle rustlers and other outlaws.

In 1970, White Oaks was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district. By that time, very little remained of the original community. Although the district covered over 1,800 acres, only 6 buildings had enough historical integrity to qualify as contributing properties.

Lincoln State Monument

Through the Capitan Mountains is the Lincoln State Monument. Over 50 buildings in the Town have been preserved and maintain by the Statement. The was the location of the last escape of Billy the Kid.

Lincoln State Monument was established in 1937 as a New Mexico State Monument, and is a part of a historic district in the tiny hamlet of Lincoln, New Mexico. Seventeen of the forty-eight structures in town are protected as part of the monument. Properties comprising the monument include Wright House, Dr. Wood's Office, Watson House, Curry Saloon, Wortley Hotel, Penfield Shop and Home, Tunstall Store, Old Mill, Ellis Store, Old Courthouse, Montano Store.

The entire town (including the remaining privately-owned structures) is part of the Lincoln National Historic District that extends along U.S. Route 380 for 10 miles. The district was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

Roswell UFO Incident

We stopped for a couple hours at Roswell UFO Museum indulging our fantasies about what might be out there. Once going through the Museum, it would hard not to believe in UFO's.

The Roswell UFO Incident was the recovery of an object that crashed in the general vicinity of Roswell, New Mexico, in July 1947, allegedly an extra-terrestrial spacecraft and its alien occupants. Since the late 1970s the incident has been the subject of intense controversy and of conspiracy theories as to the true nature of the object that crashed.

The United States military maintains that what was actually recovered was debris from an experimental high-altitude surveillance balloon belonging to a classified program named "Mogul". However, many UFO proponents maintain that in fact an alien craft and its occupants were captured, and that the military then engaged in a cover up. The incident has turned into a widely known pop culture phenomenon, making the name Roswell synonymous with UFOs. It ranks as the most publicized and controversial of alleged UFO incidents.

In April 2011, the FBI posted a document from 1950 on their website written by agent Guy Hottel which discussed a report forwarded by an investigator from the Air Force of three alien craft and their occupants having been recovered in New Mexico. The memo stated that "three so-called flying saucers" were recovered, each circular in shape with raised centers, each about 50 feet in diameter. Three occupants of "human shape," each about three feet tall, were found in each craft, and all were dressed "in metallic cloth of a very fine texture." The memo said that reports were "high-powered radar" had affected the alien crafts' control systems, causing them to crash. No date was mentioned, though the memo was date-stamped March 22, 1950, and no location more specific than "New Mexico" was mentioned. The memo stated that "no further evaluation was attempted" by the person who supplied the information.

Numerous sources connected the memo to the Roswell UFO incident of 1947.

Other sources said the memo had been in the public domain for years and was revealed as a hoax as far back as 1952 in an article in True magazine. They said the hoax was perpetrated by several men who were peddling a device purported to be able to locate gold, oil, gas or anything their victims sought, based on supposed alien technology. The two men, Silas Newton and Leo A. Gebauer, were convicted of fraud in 1953.

Pecos, Texas

We turned south on hwy 285 and stopped again at Pecos, Texas and toured around the town. Pecos is the largest city in and the county seat of Reeves County, Texas, United States. It is situated in the river valley on the west bank of the Pecos River at the eastern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert and the Trans-Pecos region of west Texas and near the southern border of New Mexico. Pecos claims to be the site of the world's first rodeo on July 4, 1883.

Pecos is one of the numerous towns in West Texas organized around a train depot during the construction of the Texas and Pacific Railway. These towns were subsequently linked by the construction of U.S. Highway 80 and Interstate 20. Prior to the arrival of the railroad, a permanent camp existed nearby where cattle drives crossed the Pecos River.

Judge Roy Bean

Phantly Roy Bean, Jr. (c. 1825 – March 16, 1903) was an eccentric U.S. saloon-keeper and Justice of the Peace in Val Verde County, Texas, who called himself "The Law West of the Pecos".

According to legend, Judge Roy Bean held court in his saloon along the Rio Grande in a desolate stretch of the Chihuahuan Desert of southwest Texas. After his death, Western films and books cast him as a hanging judge, though he is known to have sentenced only two men to hang, one of whom escaped.
With little time to spare we hit to trail for Fort Stockton. It's nice to be alone on the road - stopping for the sunset is simple.

Saturday, June 18th - Ft. Stockton to Giddings, Texas

Today we managed to get out of bed and on the road by 9 am. We really made good time heading east on I-10 at 80 mph. We even stopped for a picnic. Our original idea was that we would be able to see the lift off of the space shuttle "Atlantis" while we were in the Florida area, but launch date was postponed. Along I-10 we came across something that looked like a "NASA" escape pod so we just had to snap a picture. We figured this would be as close as we could get.

Fredericksburg and Luckenbach

We were at the Fredericksburg turn off on to hwy 290 by noon. We barely got into town when Tea Rose Quilts jumped into the middle of the road and stopped our car. Two quilts, four shams and an hour later, we busted out of Fredericksburg and drove down road 1376 into Luckenbach. Unfortunately, there was an antique car show of some sort and so many people we didn't bother staying.

Don't Mess With Texas

We kept seeing this "Don't Mess With Texas" sign. Texas seems to be quite serious about littering and it does show. We were commenting about how clean Texas was. Some parts were not so good but in general there is very little littering.

The phrase Don’t Mess with Texas is a trademark of the Texas Department of Transportation, which began as part of a statewide advertising campaign started in 1986. The intention behind the Don't Mess with Texas campaign was to reduce littering on Texas roadways and has garnered national attention.

The phrase "Don't Mess with Texas" was prominently shown on road signs on major highways, television, radio and in print advertisements. The campaign is credited with reducing litter on Texas highways roughly 72% between 1986 and 1990. The campaign's target market was 18-35 year old males, which was statistically shown to be the most likely to litter. While the slogan was originally not intended to become a cultural icon, it did.

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park

Back on the 290 a few miles later we came upon the LBJ Ranch. It has been donated as a State Park and free to the public for touring. We travelled through the self guided route with the CD that the park provides for directions and commentary.

The Park was very beautiful and quite relaxing. It is still a working ranch and we saw a dozen or more wild deer - including little Bambis.

It was nearly 5:00 pm before we were back on the road. We continued on hwy 290 then south on hwy 46 and across hwy 21 to New Braunfels and north on hwy 35 to San Marcos. Karen had heard about these two quaint towns with arts and crafts shopping so we included them in our route. The only thing we found was an outlet mall and an IHOP!! The IHOP won out. Fully satisfied, we headed north on hwy 21 back to hwy 290 and stopped for the night at Giddings.

Our hotel in Giddings was a brand new Best Western - much nicer than the last few nights. The beds were heavenly.

Sunday morning we will be heading for The Woodlands, a beautiful subdivision north of Houston to visit my sister, her husband and the "kids" - three lovable dogs and a cat that they've rescued and who have taken over the house.

Sunday, June 19th - Giddings to LaFayette, Louisiana

Well - another slow start but we knew we didn't have too far to go today. A quick stop at McDonalds for breakfast and we were on our way.

We haven't seen too many flowers this year but the trees in this area are in full bloom with an array of colours. We caught this picture coming out of McDonalds. We think this is called the "Myrtle Tree".

The Woodlands

We took the backroad across hwy 290 to 1488 and picked up the 45 into the Woodlands area. From there we needed directions and had to make a phone call. Bruce ably directed us to their house. After a brief introduction to the animals (Thomas was noticeably absent) and a tour of the newly tiled home, we were whisked off for a Mexican lunch and a tour of Lois' office.

We found our way back to Hwy 45 north to hwy 105 east through Beaumont then dropped down to the I-10. Just before the Louisiana border, traffic came to a sudden dead stop. We cut off and drove through the town of Orange and came up on the far east side of town to sneak back on the I-10 and we had clear sailing. Whatever was going on was far behind us now.

A few miles into Louisiana at Lake Charles we got off the interstate and followed hwy 14 southeast through a rural farming area and bayous, finally connecting back to the I-10 at Jennings. We stayed just outside of LaFayette at Rayne, Louisiana.

Once again a great sunset. This was taken along hwy 14 just before Hayes.

Monday, June 20th - LaFayette to Hammond, Louisianna

We left LaFayette about 10:00 am and drove I-10 to just outside Baton Rouge. We are now into the permanent roads over water. Definitely don't want to swim with the alligators.

We turned south on Hwy 1 to connect to the River Road 18.

Plaquemine, Louisiana

We passed through the historic section of a small town called Placquemine. We toured the town for about 1/2 hour before heading out again down Hwy 1.

Plaquemine is a city in and the parish seat of Iberville Parish, Louisiana with a population of about 7000. Plaquemine was noted to be settled as early as 1775. Due to its location at the juncture of Bayou Plaquemine with the Mississippi River, the village soon began to prosper and grow. By 1838, the town was incorporated, electing Zenon LaBauve, for whom the Garden District's main street is named, as its first mayor.

Plaquemine continued to grow in the antebellum era. Massive plantations were constructed in nearby regions, including Nottoway and Belle Grove. The town has been the seat of Iberville Parish government since its incorporation. The former Parish Courthouse (c.1906)on Railroad Avenue has been serving as City Hall since 1985

Academy of Saint Basil

Built in 1847 by Dr. Edward Scratchley. Occupied as a school by Marianite Sisters from 1859-1862 & 1865-1975. Occupied as military command by Union Army 1862-1865. Renovated by Lt. Governor and Mrs. Robert L. Feeman - 1990.

The lumber industry boomed in the mid-18th century and did not close until available supplies of massive virgin bald cypress trees were exhausted around 1930. Plaquemine produced over 1.5 million board feet (3500 m³) per year in her sawmills. The Plaquemine Lock, constructed from 1895–1909, was a vitally important link between the Mississippi River and the Intracoastal Canal, of which Bayou Plaquemine served as its northern terminus. It's design served as the proto-type for the upcoming Panama Canal locks. The locks were shut in 1961. Today, it is operated as a state park.

Old City Hall

Iberville Parish Courthouse, 1848-1906. Plaquemine City Hall, 1906-1985.

Built by George and Thomas Weldon of Mississippi. One of Louisiana's oldest public buildings. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Nottoway Plantation

The first plantation we visited was Nottoway. We registered for the next tour. While waiting for the tour to start, we visited the gift shop. Included in the tour was a sampling of jambalaya and rice and red beans. Tasty but not recommended for road travel. The after affects made for an early stop.

The tour was informative and very interesting. Our tour guide was super. We were allowed to take pictures and wander around the grounds at our leisure. The Nottoway which had 7000 acres is the largest of the plantations and certainly the most impressive.

Nottoway, the South's largest remaining antebellum mansion, is a stunning historic plantation that lies between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana. A dramatic, multi-million-dollar renovation has restored this historic plantation to her days of glory as well as adding luxury resort amenities and corporate and social event venues. After all the tests of war, economic adversity, ownership changes, and natural forces, Nottoway stands regal and strong ... still a great castle greeting the Mighty Mississippi River.

Nottoway was completed in 1859 for John Hampden Randolph and his wife, Emily Jane Liddell Randolph, and it was home to their eleven children. The mansion boasts 53,000 square feet, and originally sat on 400 acres of highland and 620 acres of swamp. It was designed by renowned architect Henry Howard of New Orleans in Greek Revival and Italianate style.

That Nottoway survived through the Civil War, a variety of owners, and disrepair to become one of the most visited plantations in the South is a testament to its original owner, John Hampden Randolph. John Hampden Randolph was born to a wealthy Virginia family in Nottoway County, Virginia on March 24, 1813. The son of Judge Peter Randolph, he lived in Virginia until his father was appointed a federal court judge in Woodville, Mississippi by President Andrew Jackson. The elder Randolph moved the family to Mississippi, and there the family continued to live a life of social and political stature at the Elmwood Plantation.

It was there that John Hampden Randolph met his future wife, Emily Jane Liddell. She lived in a plantation not far from the Randolph home. The couple married on December 14, 1837. Being from a family of wealth also, Emily entered into the marriage with a substantial dowry of $20,000 and 20 slaves.

They had eleven children, including Cornelia who would later become famous for writing her diary “The White Castle of Louisiana”. Women were not allowed to publish books during this time so Cornelia used M.R. Ailenroc (which is her first name spelled backwards and her maiden and married initials) as her publishing name. Nottoway Website

Oak Alley Plantation

The second plantation we visited was Oak Alley. It was breathtaking. We also took the guided tour, however, pictures were not allowed and the tour itself was not as enjoyable. We were not allowed to enter most of the rooms - only look in. The tour was informative but listening to the tour guide was like listening to a recording. She was very pleasant but clearly needed to stick to the memorized script

Many films and TV shows have been filmed at Oak Alley. The most recognizable titles are "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" and "Interview with a Vampire". Although not listed on the credits - Karen believes a trailer scene from "Skeleton Key" was also filmed at the main entry gate. She was researching this plantation on the computer when she looked up and saw the trailer on TV - matching the picture she had up on the computer screen. Total coincidence, but enough to draw us 3500 miles to find out.

Oak Alley Plantation is a historic plantation located on the Mississippi River in the community of Vacherie, Louisiana. It is protected as a National Historic Landmark. It is named after its distinguishing feature, an alley or canopied path created by a double row of live oaks about 800 feet long, which was planted in the early 18th century, long before the present house was built. The alley leads towards the Mississippi River.

Oak Alley Plantation, which was originally named Bon Séjour, was sold at auction in 1866. After passing through the hands of a succession of owners, it had fallen into disrepair in the 1920s. In 1925, the property was acquired by Andrew and Josephine Stewart, who commissioned the architect Richard Koch to conduct extensive restoration work.

Oak Alley's adaptive restoration in 1925 by her new owners, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Stewart, was the first example of ante-bellum restoration along the River Road. Through the years, Oak Alley was the scene of many events affecting those who had given her a second chance at survival in the struggle against time and the elements. Josephine Stewart outlived her husband by 26 years and, shortly before her death on October 3, 1972, created a non-profit foundation, which would be known as the Oak Alley Foundation, in order that the home and 25 acres of ground would remain open for all to share. Oak Alley Website

Sugar Cane

Nottoway Plantation was the first plantation to bring sugar cane crops to the area. We found out that the climate here works better with sugar cane than cotton. It is too wet and the cotton rots.

This sunset was taken from hwy 55 south of Hammond.

Tuesday, June 21st - Hammond to Tallahassee, Florida
Not much happened today. Just driving between the Interstate and Gulf Coast roads to get to the Atlantic Ocean. We drove hwy 12 and connected back to I-10.

Just prior to the Mississippi border, we were hit with a torrential downpour. Visibility was so bad we had to slow down to about 25 mph. The thunder and lightning were right above us and shook the car. Fortunately it was short lived.

We turned south to connect with the Scenic Hwy 90. On route we kept seeing new houses all built on stilts. Stilt houses or pile dwellings or palafitte are houses raised on piles over the surface of the soil or a body of water. Stilt houses are built primarily as a protection against flooding, but also serve to keep out vermin. The shady space under the house can be used for work or storage.

Gulf of Mexico

Although the weather had cleared, another storm was brewing. Now that we were on hwy 90, we were able to dip our toes in the Gulf of Mexico.

The beach went on forever and the sand was drifting over the road. We ran into a crew "plowing" the sand, not unlike we would plow snow. A grader with piling it, a bobcat was scooping it up and the dump truck was hauling it back to the beach.

At Pascagoula (of Mississippi Squirrel Revival fame) we connected again with I-10 and followed for the short stint through Alabama and into Florida. At Pensacola we headed south on hwy 281 to connect with hwy 98 to follow another stretch of coast road.

Also beginning was the series of bridges over the oceans and bays and rivers which really impressed Karen!! Her heart manages the multi lane bridges a bit better than the single lane ones.

We stopped at the Olive Garden in Destin for supper. By then the skies had cleared and the hot sunshine was back.

This sunset was taken from hwy 331 along the Chattahoochee Bay as we turned north to again take the I-10 and make time.

We drove the last 100 miles to Tallahassee in the dark to make some time as we want to get Jacksonville tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 22nd - Tallahassee to St. Augustine, Florida

Our intention to reach Jacksonville tonight flew out the window along with $160.00 for tours of St. Augustine and a night at the Historic Best Western to accommodate the time needed. Our quick trip south a few miles turned into 2 days. Oops!! We now have a new destination "St. Augustine".

The decision to stay at St. Augustine was influenced too by the weather. From the weather reports it was probable that it would be raining in both Savannah and Charleston by the time we got there.

We made arrangements for the Trolley Tour and booked ourselves into the Best Western. The tour was very relaxing. It took us all through the town explaining the buildings and history behind everything.

Castillo de San Marcos

The Castillo de San Marcos site is the oldest masonry fort in the United States. Construction was begun in 1672 by the Spanish when Florida was a Spanish territory.

During the twenty year period of British possession from 1763 until 1784, the fort was renamed Fort St. Mark , and after Florida became a U.S. territory in 1821 the fort was again renamed Fort Marion, in honor of revolutionary war hero Francis Marion. In 1942 the original name, Castillo de San Marcos, was restored by Congress. The fort was also subject to a paranormal investigation by the Travel Channel show Ghost Adventures in 2009.

Old Drugstore

Apparently special tonics were made up of things like opium, laudanum and alcohol. They may not have cured you but you didn't care. Since the pharmacist was one who prescribed the drugs, he was one of the most popular merchants in St. Augustine.

Alcazar Hotel

Hotel Alcazar, commissioned by Henry M. Flagler to appeal to wealthy tourists who traveled there on his railroad, was built in 1887 in the Spanish Renaissance style.

The Alcazar Hotel is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Old Country Store

A new feature on the historic tour is the Old Country Store. They have taken antiques to create a full product store. Some of the antiques included the treadmill wringer washer, bicycle, coffee grinder, butter churn.

St. Johns County Jail

Our tour package included the Jail. The St. Johns County Jail was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on August 27, 1987.

Built by Henry Flagler in 1891 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 27, 1987, the Old Jail served as the St Johns County Jail until 1953.

We thought it was neat that all aspects of the jail were fully on display up to and including death row cells and the Sheriff's residence. One interesting bit of information was the "leasing" of prisoners.

I barely passed go and got out of jail before Karen arrested me again!! It seems that I can never get through a road trip without being thrown in jail.

Originally built to house up to 72 prisoners, the two story northern wing of the Jail consists of a general population and maximum security area, a women's section and a lower level kitchen. Maximum Security housed the most dangerous prisoners held at the Jail and includes a Death Row cell, for those condemned to die.

A total of 8 men were hung from the Gallows on the Jail compound during its history.

Overall conditions at the Jail for those serving varying sentences were quite poor by modern standards and prisoners were typically used as free farm labourers during the day. Baths were infrequent, toilet facilities consisted of one bucket per cell and diet was poor and was typically supplemented by any animals that the prisoners might catch while working on the fields. Segregation by race was steadfastly adhered to at the Jail and disease, violence and death were commonplace. The two story southern wing of the Jail consists of an Office for the Sheriff and living quarters for his family.

Ghosts and Graveyards Tour

After a couple of hours break we set out for a haunted tour which also included the Old Jail. The darkness certainly changed the overall feeling but none of our pictures captured any ghosts.

Horse and Buggy Tour

We decided to drive downtown to a restaurant along the route "Harrys" but before going to eat we took a horse and buggy tour with Wayne and his horse, Freida. The tour was a very relaxing way to end a busy day.

Thursday, June 23rd - St. Augustine to Savannah, Georgia
We had to be at the the Trolley stop by 10:00 in the morning to get ourselves to the stop for the shuttle to the Alligator Farm.

Riding a Cannon

8 Inch Columbiad a part of the Armament of Historic Port Marion (Castillo De San Marcos) before, during and after the Civil War. Presented to the City of St. Augustine by the U.S. War Department June 12, 1900.

Potter’s Wax Museum

This display of Seinfeld Gang is one of the newest additions to the museum.

The Alligator Farm

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park is one of Florida's oldest continuously running attractions, having opened on May 20, 1893. Not only does it have over 20 species of crocodilians, but also a variety of other reptiles, mammals, and birds, as well as exhibits, animal performances and educational demonstrations.

Karen hasn't seen an Alligator Farm since she was 12 years old. She went to Ross Allen Reptile Farm in Florida and was thoroughly impressed. She was still impressed with them - especially when the Alligator that she though was a statue - MOVED!! I didn't know I could catch her that high off the ground.

We watched the Alligator feeding, bought a few souvenirs, and took the Trolley back.

The Atlantic Ocean

From St. Augustine we took the coast highway because Karen wanted to finally put her toes in the Atlantic Ocean. There were several public beaches along the way so "mission accomplished".

Kingsley Plantation State Park

Kingsley Plantation is the site of a former estate in Jacksonville, Florida that was named for an early owner, Zephaniah Kingsley, who spent 25 years there. It is located at the northern tip of Fort George Island at Fort George Inlet, and is part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve managed by the U.S. National Park Service.

The plantation was originally 1,000 acres, most of which has been taken over by forest. The structures and grounds of the park now comprise approximately 60 acres.

Free blacks and several private owners lived at the plantation until it was transferred to the State of Florida in 1955. It was acquired by the National Park Service in 1991.

The most prominent features of Kingsley Plantation are the owner's house—a structure of architectural significance built probably between 1797 and 1798 that is cited as being the oldest surviving plantation house in the state and an attached kitchen house, barn, and remains of 25 anthropologically valuable slave cabins that endured beyond the U.S. Civil War (1861–1865). The foundations of the house, kitchen, barn and the slave quarters were constructed of cement tabby, making them notably durable. Archeological evidence found in and around the slave cabins has given researchers insight into African traditions among slaves who had recently arrived in North America.

We may not have seen any ghosts on our Ghosts and Graveyards tour the night before, but we certainly made up for it on this lonely road into the Kingsley Plantation.
We took two pictures back to back and within seconds of each other. One shows orbs - one does not. Where did they go? And the lens was NOT dirty.

Photo 1 - Showing Orbs
Photo 2 - Orbs Gone

We didn't spend much time at the actual plantation because a very nasty storm was rolling in and we wanted to be back on the main road before it hit - not somewhere down a swamp back road on an island.

We stopped about 15-20 miles before Savannah for the night to get out of bad weather.

Friday, June 24th - Savannah to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
We must have looked confused and lost (which we were) because as soon as we drove into the area we were jumped on by the Trolley Tour salesman who just happened to have a parking space for us. Good enough for us - sign us up.

Red Sonya

This tour turned out to be one of the highlights our our trip. Our tour guide was Red Sonya and she was so interesting we did the entire loop with her instead of getting off along the way.

Her whole presentation was exceptional. Her personal comments and humor kept us hanging on her every word. The way she remembered where everyone was from was remarkable. (Even the fact that she took the time to ask where people were from was amazing).

We had to switch trolleys and start the tour over to get ourselves back to stop 5 where we wanted to have lunch. This tour guide just about put us to sleep. However, much to our delight - it was Red Sonya who picked us up after lunch. We just about leveled a family of three in our haste to get on her trolley. Butt in?? Yep. Did we care? Nope.

The Squares

The city of Savannah, was laid out in 1733 around four open squares. The plan anticipated growth of the city and thus expansion of the grid. Additional squares were added during the 18th and 19th centuries, and by 1851 there were twenty-four squares in the city.

In the 20th century three of the squares were demolished or altered beyond recognition, leaving twenty-one. The city of Savannah was founded in 1733 by General James Oglethorpe. The first squares were originally intended to provide colonists space for military exercises. The original plan resembles the layout of contemporary military camps, which were likely quite familiar to General Oglethorpe.

The layout was also a reaction against the cramped conditions that fueled the Great Fire of London in 1666, and there is speculation that Oglethorpe's military studies had made him familiar with the similar layout of Beijing (or "Peking," as it was formerly spelled).

A square was established for each ward of the new city. The first four were Johnson, Percival (now Wright), Ellis, and St. James (now Telfair) Squares.

In 2010, one of the three "lost" squares, Ellis, was reclaimed. Most of Savannah's squares are named in honor or in memory of a person, persons or historical event, and many contain monuments, markers, memorials, statues, plaques, and other tributes.

Pirates House

We stopped here for a late lunch. Once we finished lunch we visited the gift shop then took the Trolley back to our car. It was nearly 4:30 pm before we got out of town.


We travelled the scenic route hwy 17 from Savannah to Charleston. The visitor's centre gave us an easy auto tour through historic Charleston.

As it was nearly sunset, most tours and and tourists were done for the day and we were able to stop and go at will. We parked and strolled the boardwalk.


Final pictures of the day were of a very beautifully but totally poisonous plant called Oleander. A thumbnail leaf of the oleander plant can kill a horse. Note the clean shiny car. With the heavy rains, we have not even had to hit a car wash.

Karen's Afternoon Delight

Another bridge to end the day and give Karen one more thrill. This is the bridge from Charleston to Mt. Pleasant.

McDonalds Sunset

A great sunset tonight but not a great location. This was taken from the parking lot of a McDonalds - complete with pole and wires.

Saturday, June 25th - Myrtle Beach to Washington, DC
We left the congested ocean highway and hit the interstate - non stop to Arlington. Other than beautiful greenery and tourist stops we did no sight seeing along this route.

GPS to the Rescue

Once reaching Arlington and trying desperately to avoid Washington we got lost and ended up on a one way road over the bridge to Washington. This seems to be a pattern with us. However, the GPS rescued us and took us back over another one way bridge and straight to our hotel. We only got off track once and had to reset the GPS.

Once we were checked into the hotel, we promptly booked a Washington tour to the White House and Arlington Cemetery for the morning. By now it was 10:00 and with nothing else to do, we called a cab and went shopping at Target. This was really necessary as Karen needed to buy another suitcase for all her purchases that were flapping around the car.

Cooked to Perfection

Everything seemed to be OK. It looked like we would be able to enjoy our time in Washington until we got back to the hotel and found out that our room had no air conditioning. Two old menopausal broads did not make for a pleasant night. With no other rooms available and no maintenance until 8:00 am, things started to go downhill.

Our alarm was set for 7 am as we had to be ready for the bus at 8:20 am sharp. We were there - the bus wasn't. We sat at the curb, in the heat, for 20 minutes. It was not getting any better. The greyhound style bus finally showed up. (We were expecting a trolley). Not only did it have filthy windows we were told the bathroom on it wasn't "safe" to use. Maybe there was a natural gas leak in there?

Grin and Bear It

Off to the next pick up stop where the driver spent 15 minutes outside the bus smoking and chatting while he waited for the money collector to arrive. Not only did we have to wait from him to show up 15 minutes late, we had to watch him run each individual credit card through manually. Why we didn't pay for the whole amount of the tour when we booked it is beyond us. Then he gave a 10 minute speech none of which we understood because of his thick east indian accent. Finally, three quarters of an hour after scheduled departure time - we were off on the tour.

Warp Speed and Ice Cubes

Now lets back up. Remember the filthy windows? Karen was unable to take any pictures through the dirt - not that it would have mattered anyway as we were whizzing by everything at warp speed. In addition the air conditioning was blasting so high that our feet and hands were freezing rendering clicking the camera impossible.

We should have known this wasn't going to work when our tour guide started out saying: "The USA is the most powerful country in the world and Washington is the most powerful City in the world". I don't even want to repeat what I thought about that comment.

Easily (un) Impressed

Finally we were at the White House stop where we could get off the bus, walk three blocks, and peek at it through a wrought iron fence half a mile away. That was ....... interesting? Notice my big happy smile! I tried. Well at least we thawed out.

Grin and Hold It

The good news was that there were washrooms at the tourist center. The bad news was the center was closed. Why? No idea. Back to the natural gas leaking bus.


On returning to the bus we both said "to hell with this" and decided to ditch the tour. We did have the courtesy though to let the driver know we were aborting the tour. He very kindly gave us directions to the metro or hotels where we could catch a cab.

The Washington Hotel

We took a leisurely stroll to the Washington Hotel and happily photographed the gardens. This picture of the hibiscus is probably the nicest thing about the whole day.

Bumper Cars

The hotel staff graciously hailed us a cab but things slid again. As Karen was gently closing her door the cabby promptly drove into the car in front of us barely missing a pedestrian. As they exchanged information, we watched our meter ticking! I DON'T THINK SO!!

The Great Escape

We exited the cab un-noticed and once again the hotel staff graciously hailed us a cab. We were on our way to the Arlington Cemetery.

Arlington Cemetery

The grounds at the Cemetery are very beautiful. It leaves you with a sense of awe. If you were not patriotic before you got there, you would be by the time you left.

Cattle Drive

Tourists are herded onto trolley buses through a cattle chute method - and - don't you dare talk while in line or the tour guide will reprimand you for not listening to her. You have to fill the seats whether you are sitting with your group or not or the tour guide will tell you that you must sit where she puts you - or walk. There must be five seated to a row whether that includes a 40 lb child or a 400 lb sumo wrestler. The reason? Everyone is waiting to get onto the trolleys at the next stop and in the end not everyone will get on. Meanwhile there are three or more empty trolleys sitting unused while people stand in the heat waiting.

No Exaggeration

We are not exaggerating here. The first tour guide setting up the cattle chute said to some people who were not attentively listening to her: "Excuse me, I am only one person here and I am trying to give you instructions."

The second tour guide pointed at a young girl that was not wanting to be separated from her family and said: "You have to sit where I put you or you will end up walking."

One would think that after their years of experience they would be able to figure out how to shuttle people effectively and without being rude. They could take a lesson from "Old Town Trolley" but of course, since there is no competition for the Cemetery Tour - they don't have to worry about pleasing anyone.

We decided not to spend time being herded like cattle and treated like toddlers. We skipped the rest of the tour, continued back to the entrance, took a few pictures, and left.

Mexican Stand Off

We hailed a cab just outside the gates. I watched as the driver punched in $2.50 for extras. When I asked him what the extras were, he seemed to have an explanation but we weren't sure just what it was. We asked him why the extras were $1.00 to drive us here and $2.50 to drive us back. After some negotiation the driver told us he would take us back to the hotel for the same price it cost to get us here - $9.50. He turned off the meter altogether and talked on his cell phone in a foreign language the rest of our trip. We paid the $9.50 and gave him a tip. I think we thanked him but I couldn't swear by it.

The Three H's

We came back to Washington because our first experience was so bad we felt we owed it an honest effort - a chance for redemption. In 2003 we summed up our Washington experience as The Three H's - Hell, Hate, Horrible. Unfortunately this trip has not raised that rating and we still have those other two "H's". "Hasty and Humourous" for our exit. I guess we can add "Happy" that we finally saw Arlington Cemetery and will never want to go to Washington again.

Sunday, June 26th - Washington to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Our route took us up hwy 15 through Gettysburg. Gettysburg turned out to have everything we were hoping to find in Washington. We toured through the College, Town Square and several streets and stopped for an ice cream cone.

We were able to wander through the cemetery at our leisure, read the inscriptions and take pictures beside the monuments instead of between fence rails.

Soldiers' National Cemetery

Soldiers' National Cemetery contains the graves of more than 6,000 United States servicemen, including 3,580 Union soldiers killed in the Civil War. Nearly half the Civil War burials are unknown soldiers.

A few days after the battle, Andrew Curtin, Governor of Pennsylvania, visited Gettysburg and was deeply moved by what he saw. Bodies of soldiers had been hurriedly buried on the battlefield, and some had not been buried at all. Curtin and representatives of Northern states took steps to create a national cemetery. Beginning in October, 1863, bodies were carefully removed from the field and re-interred here. The work took five moths.

On November 19, 1863, before the burials were completed, government officials, battle veterans, and citizens assembled to dedicate the cemetery. Near the end of the ceremonies, the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, offered a few remarks - his Gettysburg Address.

The Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg, fought July 1–3, 1863, had the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War. It is often described as the war's turning point.

Union Major General George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee's invasion of the North. Between 46,000 and 51,000 soldiers from both armies were casualties in the three-day battle.

We continued north on hwy 15 with a sense of satisfaction and the disappointments of earlier in the day faded away.

We stopped early just north of Harrisburg, had a swim and went to McDonalds in our jammies (drive through of course).

Monday June 27th - Harrisburg to Niagara Falls

Green Lawn Memorial Park

Today was an easy drive through secondary highways. We could take our time.

Memorial Day has just passed. The cemeteries still had the flags and flowers - an impressive site. We drove through this cemetery. One thing we noticed was that there were no upright headstones at all.

Blue Star Memorial Highway

Blue Star Memorial Highways are highways that are marked to pay tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces. The National Council of State Garden Clubs, now known as National Garden Clubs, Inc., started the program in 1945 after World War II.

The blue star was used on service flags to denote a service member fighting in the war. The program has since been expanded to include Memorial Markers and since 1994 Memorial By-ways. These markers are used in National Cemeteries, parks, veterans facilities, and gardens.This scenic overview gave a breathtaking view of the valley.

Corning, New York

We made sure our route included Corning. We passed through here in 2003 and wanted to visit again. We strolled the main street and browsed through the novelty stores and then the Corning store. Karen finally found a replacement for the pot she broke years ago.

As long as I can remember there has been Corning Ware in the kitchen - first my mom's and then mine. It is fascinating to put a City to the name. For me, it was like finding out there was a City named Tupperware!!

The city is the headquarters of Fortune 500 company Corning Incorporated, formerly Corning Glass Works, a manufacturer of glass and ceramic products for industrial, scientific and technical uses.

Corning Ware was originally a brand name for a unique pyroceramic glass cookware resistant to thermal shock, that was first introduced in 1958 by Corning Glass Works. Corning Ware is notable for the fact that it can be used directly on the stovetop.

Timmies - Yeah

As we approached the Canadian border we came upon a Timmies!! Of course we had to stop. Welcome home. The flowers were smiling too.

This sunset was taken just outside of Lockport, USA.

Canadian Border

Without much delay we passed through customs into Canada. Karen had to pay $21.00 duty for her purchases. After a couple of weeks in the States, it felt good to be back in Canada.

We stopped at Niagara Falls for the night.

Tuesday June 28th - Niagara Falls to Hanover, Ontario

We were only a few hours from Hanover so once again we were able to take our time on the road. Good thing as Karen couldn't remember how to get us through the maze of highways around Toronto to St. Jacobs!!

Karen, the navigator who has just managed to get us through 5000 unfamiliar miles through a dozen or so States without a hitch, was lost in her home town area!!

St Jacobs

Eventually, we arrived at St. Jacobs, parked and made a beeline for the quilt store - my "real" reason for wanting to stop here. This was my third time to St. Jacobs and I knew exactly where I wanted to go.

Three quilts later, we were on our way. The back of the car was so full I could not see out the rear view mirror!! A repacking was definitely going to be needed.

Hanover, Ontario

We arrived at Karen's mom's just in time to get whisked off to Bingo. Karen won $250.00. Birdie won $7.50. I got a migraine and spent the second half napping in the car!!

Wednesday June 29th - Hanover, Ontario

Sherry and Jim dropped in for a quick visit the next morning. One of their kids had put these blow up dolls on their bed.

We spent the rest of the day doing our laundry, touring around Hanover, and repacking the car.

I have decided to go through Thunder Bay on the way home. There is a store there that has Strawberry Hill pottery. I want to visit it.

Also, as I now have all Karen's purchases to haul home in addition to my own - I need to avoid going through customs again.

I would be leaving Karen tomorrow so even though we were still a couple thousand miles from home, it felt like our trip was over. Karen would be flying home.

We called the Tobermory Ferry to make a reservation for me but were unable to. The reservations were full and without one there would be a long, long wait in line. I decided to just drive around the lake and take in the scenery. It would probably end up being shorter time wise.

Thursday, June 30 - Hanover to Batchawana Bay, Ontario
I left Hanover just after 8:00 am. Originally I was planning to stay in Sault St. Marie but I made good time so decided to continue on. I stopped at Voyageurs' Lodge & Cookhouse a resort area at Batchawana Bay. My room overlooked the Bay. Believe it or not - I actually ordered fish at the restaurant. It just seemed right. Voyageurs' Lodge

Batchawana Bay

Batchawana Bay is a small bay on the eastern shore of Lake Superior, approximately 30 mines north of Sault Ste. Marie.

Batchawana Bay was termed Badjiwanung by the Ojibwe, referring to water that bubbles up. This occurs between Batchawana Island and Sand Point, where the lake narrows and a strong current and undertow results. The Ojibwe believed this was caused by an underwater spirit about to surface.

Friday, July 1 - Batchawana to Thunder Bay, Ontario

Happy Canada Day

Another leisurely day on the road. Absolutely no traffic. I had expected that with it being the July 1st weekend the highways would be packed. But not so. Lock it in cruise, relax and enjoy the scenery - all 400 miles of trees and water - but still very beautiful.

I've never seen so many police on the road. I saw at least 40 today and I'll bet there were at least that many again that I didn't see. They were advertising on the radio that OPP was doing a blitz this weekend. They seemed to be around every corner. It was great coasting along at the speed limit (well maybe 3mph over) as Speedy Gonzales zipped by me. Then a few miles later I got to pass him while he visited with the cops. Smile! You're on Candid Camera! The comedy of it certainly helped pass the time - made me want to drive slower just so they would get mad and roar past me. Then I could watch another episode down the road. I didn't but I sure thought about it.

What really amazes me though is why they would speed in the first place when there were so many cops around. You would have to be blind not to see them. What amazes me even more, is that they continued to speed after getting the first ticket. More than one zipped by me again.

Thunder Bay

I stopped in Thunder Bay, registered in the hotel, then took a drive around the City. I found the antique shop I am going to visit tomorrow and then drove by my cousins' family home. I barely recognized it which seemed strange since it was only 1984 the last time I was here.

July 2 - Thunder Bay to Winnipeg, Manitoba

Black Cat Antiques

My visit with Black Cat Antiques was delightful - not to mention expensive.

I happily left with several pieces of Strawberry Hill pottery. I've now added another mushroom and the brown hen and chicks to my collection. I also bought a little mouse for Karen.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

I planned on staying in Kenora tonight but there were no hotels available. Continuing west didn't prove any better. With it being the long weekend, everything in this area was no vacancy. I finally gave up and drove right through to Winnipeg. I arrived quite late, had a short visit with my friend Mike and called it a night. I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

July 3 - Winnipeg to Home
After a solid sleep, I woke very early and was able to drive straight through to Calgary. The weather was good and despite the long weekend traffic was reasonable. I was able to make the drive in good time.

Next - 2012 Guernsey Ancestry Tour


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