Sorry, I haven’t written any posts in the longest time.  I left everyone hanging back in August, wondering if we’d ever see bears during our travels.  Well that part of the story is that we visited Waterton National Park, drove through all the great areas where bears might hang out and never saw one bear!  The next day, I overheard another visitor mention that he had seen a mother and her cubs at the same place we drove through, about 30 minutes after we were there.  Unbelievable!!  We did see the taping of a commercial for the Province of Alberta (the part with the kids flying the kite).  Not as interesting as bears, but still…

From Waterton, we crossed over into Montana, then east through North Dakota.  We stopped late at night in Williston where trailer towns are everywhere.  It seems the oil fracking business is booming, so people from 80 different countries have come looking for work and live in very temporary housing (trailers).  We tried to park in Walmart overnight but it turned out it was one of 2 Walmarts in the US that does not allow overnight parking.  I was told that if they allowed people to stay all night, then pretty soon the parking lot would be filled with the job seekers and the customers would have nowhere to park while they shopped.  So after much searching, we decided to stop in a sketchy looking campground.  I left an envelope with $20 and a note at the office.  Then we parked, practically in the roadway, doors locked, curtains drawn. I made us a fried egg sandwich for dinner and made Leon promise to get us on the road as soon as the sun came up, sooner if possible!  I didn’t even dare use the toilets.  Thank goodness for the water closet in our camper!

We continued our drive east till we got to the shores of Lake Michigan.  We stayed overnight and stopped to visit Mackinac Island where we rode our bikes for the day.

Back on the road, we rounded Lake Michigan, then Erie and finally crossed over into Canada at Sarnia.  That area has been stricken with the closure of the automotive industry.  A funny thing I noticed was that there were very few foreign cars.  Go GM, Ford and Chrysler!  No Hondas and Toyotas to be found here.  We stayed overnight in London, Ontario and had probably the worst Chinese food ever in a restaurant that was recommended in the CAA travel book (tsk, tsk!).  There was an odd assortment of customers there, including a lady who came in dressed in a full burka.  I still wonder how she managed to eat in.  Was she just there to order take out? We had intended to try camping at the local Walmart and actually went to the separate ones in London, but apparently overnight parking in Walmart is an urban myth.  We’ll have to investigate further during future trips.

The rest of the trip ended quickly as we were anxious to get home and renovate our kitchen in the new house.  The renos proceeded smoothly in spite of the floor salesman having lost his job just as we were expecting the delivery of the materials.  It seems we got a really good deal to the detriment of the company’s profits.  Oh well!  Lots of hot days and a new air conditioning unit later (ours died the day we returned from our trip), we had a new hardwood kitchen floor, fresh paint in the kitchen in one of the many shades of 50 that I have begun to paint in our house and a new dishwasher and slide-in stove (I won’t mention the angst of choosing between stainless and white while purchasing the appliances!).