Tag Archives: ginger

Just Coast-ing

After visiting Mt St Helen’s we headed South into Oregon.  Dropped into the city of Portland for some great pizza for dinner and a nice walk around the city centre.  As it was still Labor Day weekend we opted to spend another night in a Walmart to avoid the crowds.  We chose one right near the big factory outlet stores as this was the plan for the next morning.  As far as the Walmart camping, it has definitely improved since our Abbotsford experience.  Our two most recent nights in a Walmart have been quiet and we both slept well.

The outlet stores turned into a big day of shopping, where we both bought enough t-shirts (much needed) to last us until 2022.  We also visited an REI outdoor store and kitted ourselves out with a tent, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and a cooker.  Now we are all prepared for some backcountry exploring in the California National Parks.  California here we come!!!

After the hassles of city life we decided to head for the coast again.  We easily got a nice campsite since all the weekenders were gone home and the school year has started.  Now it’s just us and all the gray nomads!  We’ve spent most of the week slowly working our way down the Oregon Coast which has been stunningly beautiful.   ‘A real treat’ said a park ranger and we must agree.

On Cannon beach – ‘The Haystack’ in the background

View along the Oregon coast

Beautiful views while driving the Oregon coast

The bummer was that it was mostly enveloped in a thick cold fog which limited the, what must have been, spectacular views.

Heavy fog along sections of the coast

Fog rolling onto the beach

We had a lot of fun playing on the sand dunes which can be up to 150m tall and extend for kilometres from the beach.  Well, except for the nosedive that Dave took but sadly due to a camerawoman malfunction there is no photographic evidence – darn.  It was pretty funny and no one was hurt in the process, besides Dave’s pride. There are huge dune areas where you can go crazy on dune buggies, though we decided rolling down the dunes was more fun, and cheaper.

Christine climbing a sand dune

Dave and dune buggies

Christine having some fun

Dave descending Bear Gryll’s style

One of the big concerns we had on the way across Canada was getting Ginger up and over the Rocky Mountains, and especially Rogers Pass which was a climb to 1300m.  We thought that once she was over that it would be an easy run all the way South.  So it came as a bit of a surprise when we had to pull Ginger over for a cool down after she had climbed 700m without a break.  A quick check of the map gave us an even greater suprise when we saw two more passes we had to go over, both over 1500m high.  Oh well, nothing for it but to give it a try.  This was all because we decided to head inland to check out Crater Lake National Park, which as the name suggest is a lake inside a volcano crater.  By the end of the day Ginger had climbed from sea level to over 2300m, a great achievement for the ol’ girl, and a good confidence booster for us.

Not a bad view while letting Ginger have a breather

We had a quick view of the lake as the sun was going down, and decided to head back in the morning for another look and a hike along the calderas edge.

The sun setting over Crater Lake

 

Crater Lake

 

On our morning hike

Great views during the climb

We are now stopped for quick re-supply, and hope to be in California this afternoon!

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A little van on the prairie

After the truck stop in Sault Ste Marie, we headed to Pakaskwa National Park on the north coast of Lake Superior.  A good night with marshmallows on the fire.

We started out early Friday with a quick walk along the coasts peninsulas and beaches, then continued to drive around the top of Lake Superior to Thunder Bay.

On our morning walk

Geese on Lake Superior

The timber strewn beaches at Pakaskwa National Park

Christine having a ‘Lonely Planet’ moment

 Christine has started a new habit of running off in the morning, and hoping that I will stop when I drive by.  She’s been lucky so far…
A quick stop at the Terry Fox Memorial on the way.

The beautiful monument to Terry Fox

We then spent the night at CracknSack Provincial Park and a quick bike ride and walk along the river gorge and waterfalls before bed.

CracknSack Falls (or something like that??)

After picking Christine up from the side of the road again, we headed for the Manitoba border, with plans to stay at Whiteshell Provincial Park, which is right at the border.  This was also the day that we passed the half way mark, and would now be closer to Vancouver than Halifax! Unfortunately this was a Saturday night and all the park campgrounds were full.  Knowing we still had a lot of ground to cover, we decided to keep on driving towards our next destination:  Riding Mountain National Park.
Unfortunately again, it was further than we thought, and took a lot longer than we’d hoped.  Especially as our GPS decided that a route through downtown Winnipeg would be the quickest way (???).
So a discrete stop outside of a Tim Hortons to steal their wifi, and we had a truck stop lined up to spend the night for free.  This was to be a Petro Canada in a small town enroute, which we found with no problems.  When we woke the next morning we realised that we had somehow parked in a CO-OP, and not the Petro Canada.   So we very quietly and sheepishly packed up and moved on, as we were probably not meant to be camping there at all…
An early check in at Riding Mountain Park, followed by a few hours of napping.  We did get a bit more adventurous with Ging’s stove, and cooked up a fantastic Indian chicken curry with rice.  Very nice!
The next day we moved to another, more isolated camp within Riding Mountain, which included a drive through the Bison enclosure. Those things are massive, and hairy!!!
We tried to do a 20km ‘easy’ bike ride around Lake Audy, but found the trail super rough and churned up by horses as well as being a mosquito breeding ground.  We turned around and went home after only a couple of kilometres.  Nothing to be done but drink beer and wine by the roaring fire instead 🙂

Ginger camped at Lake Audy

Sunset over Lake Audy

Tuesday morning we headed out early as we had another big driving day planned.  We drove all day (800km) to the Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan.  Another province plus another time zone!  Christine’s brother-in-law, Roger, had described the prairies to Dave as “de-press-ing”.   We’re not sure we agree.  And for sure Ginger is lovin them, with not a hill in sight!
At the park we were greeted by deer, prairie dogs and more bison on the way into the park.  Also very happy and surprised to find a brand new campground with electrical sites.  We had planned for ‘primitive’ so were very ‘happy campers’ with this.  We had a very windy night, with the van being blown about all night, but managed a good sleep regardless.

Our little van on the Prairie

The welcoming deer

Dave and a toque – it was cold!

Wednesday we decided to put our cold weather gear on and check out the grasslands by following an 11km route. This turned out to be a random wander through the grass, occassionally bumping into the yellow trail markers.  Still fun though!

The old homesteads on the Grasslands

In rattlesnake country – thankfully this was just your common friendly type of viper.

Bison herds on the prairies

Dave found some missing parts

Out on the plains

Wednesday night turned out to be our coldest yet, with the temperature dropping to around -4C overnight.  For some reason our furnace decided to keep switching on and off during the night as well, so neither of us actually slept very much.
On Thursday we drove through to Calgary and had a great BBQ with monster Alberta steaks at Christine’s cousin Paul and wife Shelley’s house.  We also had our first night in a real bed since leaving Halifax. Thank you Paul and Shelley!!!

Another province down!

Next… to Banff.

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