Day 64. Tuesday 2nd July. Bay City Campsite. Michigan. 30k’s East of London, Ontario.

What a hot and sticky night!  This morning just before we are about to get up, it started to rain. Steady, persistent rain. Great. After shower the chore was to take the Caranex down, soaking wet. 

I have to say all credit to the Michigan State Campsites. Well run and with excellent facilities.

On the road by 11am. The Sat-nav was programmed to London Ontario. That …lady, in the sat-Nav gave us the run around. Programmed to take us on the shortest route, she put us through the hoops.Took us down muddy tracks, across county, through towns and at no time, till we got to the US/Canada border, did we see a main road. I can tell you folks it was WONDERFUL.

Americans love to see cut grass. Town and country. They have large swathes of grass around their hovels, their modest and luxurious mansions. Groomed and green, often tastefully planted to create a picture of harmony and grace. Yes, there are lots of dilapidated, falling down buildings that are still being lived in. Yards covered in rusting cars, trucks and tractors. What a difference it makes getting off the main roads.

We are going to do the same in England when we get back. So much beauty in the  out-of-the-way places. 

Jen stopped to buy some groceries in the small town of Frankenmuth. Having to avoid buying perishables that could be taken from us at the border.

Flint Michigan! our path was taking us right into Flint. Somehow ‘she’ managed to divert us.

Why did we want to go to Flint?

Michael Moore did a sequel to his film Fahrenheit 9/11, with Fahrenheit 11/9 and it featured the water supply into Flint, Michigan. I cant remember why, but the Mayor and officials decided that his people, the poorer people anyway, would benefit from drinking the fetid, toxic, poisoned industrial waste water of the Flint river. Rather than the relatively pristine water of Lake Huron they had been enjoying. I seem to recall one of his buddies offered to put the pipeline in for a price he couldn’t refuse? I stand to be corrected if I have that wrong.

As a publicity stunt, Moore hired a water tanker, or two, filled them (allegedly) with the Flint river ‘drinking’ water and proceeded to water the Mayors lawn from the street. I wanted to see if his lawn and trees had died, like the people who were drinking his water.

It got so bad for the people, that I seem to recall, GM complained that they couldn’t build their cars with such water. That bought about a change. President Obama’s credibility went down inestimably in my view, when he flew in to support of the Mayor, asking for a glass of water at a press conference, proceeding to appear to sip it.  

The lunch stop was on a roadside, a muddy gravel lane and we were fortunate to pass a young Amish boy driving his pony and trap along in front of us. A cheery wave was returned with gusto. He disappeared up a driveway, curved and wooded to obscure any view of their habitation. While eating, another pony passed us with a totally blacked out buggy and only small slits, presumably clear plastic covered, for the driver to see out from. We assumed there was someone in there?..:)

The border came up almost unexpectedly. This was the big one for us. You are channeled into the lane to pay your Toll to cross the bridge to Canada. I said to Jen, “this is where we make it or break it”!

Pulling out of the queue, we parked beside a concrete barrier, locked it and made for the US Inwards border police. A cheery young lady simply tore out the entry cards and handed the passports back to us. I just hope she remembers to enter the fact that we have left the US, in her computer, as we don’t want to be labelled “overstayers”. Getting back in on the East coast is going to be…interesting? 

We both enjoyed the American excursion very much, but it was…comforting to be back in Canada. Having said that, the young Canadian border officer gave us the ‘third degree’. He was most interested in the vehicle registration number and couldn’t quite get his head around how we got it to Canada. Why we weren’t doing the journey by rental car! I think more pertinently, when and how we were going to leave and take it with us. Our journey continuation depended on his getting it right.

Frankly, the line of questioning made that far from certain. However, once happy that we posed no threat of staying in Canada, he warmly returned our passports with a “Welcome To Canada”.  Then it wouldn’t start!!!! Blocking off a whole lane it wouldn’t start. Jeeeezzz!!!  Leaving his booth he wanted to order us a tow truck. Winding out of the line on the starter motor and in gear, we cleared the lane and waited for a bit. Then it started with no trouble at all….grrrr. 

It’s now around 4pm and the sky to the north east is looking threatening, but fine ahead. The road we took east, the 402, a lesser road, and straight. There is habitation all along it. Farms and commercial premises. No opportunities for camping.

By 5pm we pulled into a service station and asked the young attendant if he knew of any camping places along the road. “There is a Conservation area about 5 minutes down the road and to the left he side”. “Down Quaker Road”. “I am sure no-one would mind you camping there”. While we are in the country, it’s amazing where housing is off the main road. Quaker road looks all  suburbia.

Soon enough a Conservation sign and pull in area appears, sees us in a sports ground car park. No signs saying No overnight Camping. Just a sign saying This Area is locked between Dusk and Dawn. Pulling into the car park it started to rain. So, the Caranex was wet when we packed it away and it didn’t get the chance to dry out.

Things are getting a bit…clammy?The forecast is for more showers, so lets hope by morning we are able to dry out and air bedding particularly.  Lets also hope also the park attendant doesn’t decide to throw us out when he goes to lock the gate!! Jen will give you an update in the morning. 🙂

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  1. I tried to give you some advice about entering the US of A, like not saying you were mates with Donald, but the blog police ate it again. At Noels till tomorrow then back to Oz to carry on with our trip. Hope all the border hopping goes well. You really should have bought an Isuzu you know.

    • Hi! Bro & Jen, sorry it’s taken so long. Wifi has been a disaster the last few days. Worse than dial-up speed. Thought I had approved your earlier response. Will write via email later in the day. Enjoy and stop making ludicrous suggestions re vehicles..:)

  2. Flint, Michigan – I watched a show on Netflix last year about the Police Force there. Looked like a tough job, for very little pay. From what I saw the town looked pretty rundown…. interesting story about pumping the gas (with the zip code) – that must have been a little stressful! Things can be complicated at times in the US! One (of many) things I’ve noticed about living in the States is when pumping gas, it seems to take forever (opposed to NZ, where it’s a super quick process). When living back in Boston during the (brutal) winters, standing outside waiting for the gas to do its thing would take a lifetime! You’d practically be frozen when jumping back in the car! An interesting fact about life in Oregon, it’s one of only a couple of States where it’s illegal to pump one’s own gas. A strange law. July 4th today. Hope you’re both having a great time!

    • Hi Logan, interesting. Thanks for the petrol pumping tip. Oregon, one of the more gentle states? More social caring?
      Be interesting to get your opinion having lived on the East Coast. Am I right that there is no taxes on car tires? Should just about need a replacement set when we get there…:)



      • Hi Dennis,

        You bet, there’s no sales tax here in Oregon. Definitely find life more easy going here than back in Boston. People just seem a little more laid back and happy. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Maine. We spent a fantastic Summer there and have great memories. Awesome photo’s from the Falls by the way!

        • Hi Logan, be careful or you will have a land Rover on your lawn…:)

          • That could be tricky Dennis, as we live in an apartment – we are looking to buy a home very soon though!! Living in the city has been great for convenience (quick commute to work for both our us), but we’re ready to have a front and back lawn (along with hearing those birds chirping in the morning opposed to Police sirens every 20 minutes!). Do keep Portland on the list though!! It would be brilliant to see you both! I read the latest post – about tuning into the TV news and I know exactly what you’re talking about – watching news in the States is more like tuning into a drama tv show. It’s a little weird from my Kiwi perspective…

          • Only joking Logan. We’ll make contact somehow…:)

  3. John Cowell& Margaret

    Hi to you both caught up with you at last,we really enjoyed you trip to Russia what a time you both had you are certainly burning the rubber off what memories you will both have take care.

  4. I don’t know which way you are heading from London area but if you happen to find yourself passing through the small hamlet of Millbank, Ontario there are two little treasures there.

    One is Anna Mae’s Bakery and Restaurant serves an amazing Broasted Chicken and some very nice pies, and it’s very inexpensive. It’s at the intersections of hwy11 and hwy 121, about 20km NW of Kitchener. ) 4060 Perth County Line 72, Millbank, ON N0K 1L0)

    The second is two blocks away at the Millbank Cheese and Cold Storage. A local Mennonite business that sells some great cheddars (like the bit I served you while you were on the computer, upstairs) But it’s a cash or debit card business. It’s on the corner of Church st and Waterloo st.

    And if you haven’t had enough of my suggestions I offer one more. If you’d like to pitch your camp for a day or two and do some walking…..The mill town of Elora, on the Grande River is a lovely little town/village. The Elora Gorge conservation area is immediately west of the town (down river) and they have camping. Lots of history in that area (not ancient English history but still….it’s as step back in time by a few years)

    Hope you have a great trip!!!!

    Have you any plans to go near Hamilton???? The Royal Botanical Gardens are there as is Dundurn Castle (more like an 18000 sq ft manor house used to house dignitary and nobility in the 1800’s when they came through “upper Canada”. It was the home of Sir Allan MacNab, first queen’s counsel to upper Canada. You will also start to notice buildings are getting older here as well. Christ Church Cathedral was built in 1835 (second oldest Anglican Cathedral in the country). As you follow the lake Ontario out onto the St Lawerence seaway through Quebec and Montreal you will find lots of building going back as far as the late 1600’s

    Okay….I’ve pontificated long enough.


  5. Just completed my “2 weekly catch up” on your trip. Lots of interesting stories about my dad,s home country, thanks. Glad you are enjoying the cricket Dennis, but it has never grabbed my attention. How can you play a game for 5 days that then ends in a draw 🤔. I still have family living in Fort St. John and have visited on many occasions, your description was spot on..” why would you ever want to go there”. Park life is, as was, but the ugly sales office 🙄 has been reclad and moved so it’s not so in your faces. I hope my recent WhatsApp didn’t offend Jen to much..
    Take care and I’m looking forward to next installments.

    • Hey Mel, thanks for your updates..:) No offence taken, your advise to Jen was timely..:) We are just opening your WhatsApp message and looking at the pic. Mmmmm. Looks like a tree has been removed to accept the office. It certainly looks better. How are you keeping?


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