Great Lakes, Great Canada!
**I wrote this yesterday (Monday, July 7), so any reference to today or tomorrow is from yesterday. We have been able to find some wifis every couple days, but mostly use them for way finding, planning, and mapping. We are currently at an ONroute, just outside Kingston. If you need to get ahold of us, email is probably best. See you on the flip side!**
We knew Canada would be great and she has not let us down! From the border patrol to our fellow campers, the people here are so kind and helpful, and not in a disingenuous customer service sort of way, but in a way that warms your heart and makes your insides all maple syrupy.
Let's begin with our entry at Sarnia, Michigan, just north of Detroit. There was no traffic at the border, but apparently being homeless and jobless are red flags and earned us additional inspection. The men who inspected our car and camper were curtious and friendly, taking interest in our setup. Once inside immigration, the niceness didn't end with a couple people trying to assist us all at once. I nearly made a "Canadian standoff" joke, but figured it's racist in country. We explained our trip and were quickly on our way.
Our first camp was at Port Burwell Provincial Park in Ontario, on the banks of Lake Erie. As we're learning with most campsites, and most things in Canada in general, it was expensive, but nice. It was a great place for taking in Canada Day, though. We walked the beach and were reminded of Canada's Mennonite population, which, as we learned, fled the states because they are pacifists and didn't want to be forced to fight in a war (as so many people did those days).
From Port Burwell, we drove Ontario's country roads to Long Beach Conservation area, also on Lake Erie, but further east on the Niagara Peninsula. This drive was a testament to renewable energy with huge solar fields, private residences with solar, and windmills everywhere. As if our car was inspired by all this, we also hit our all time best MPGs while towing: 29! The day averaged out at 28-ish, but we definitely maxed out in the low 29s!
We loved our campsite in Long Beach so much we went back and signed up for a second day just so we could relax at camp and take it all in. Although the campground was full, we were in an area all by ourselves and right on the beach. It was beautiful and peaceful and perfect.
Our second day there we went to Niagara Falls because it is a honeymoon tradition. The city itself is like Las Vegas meets Wisconsin Dells with views of the falls that exceed anything you can see from the American side. We strolled along the falls and through town before heading back to camp.
The Greater Toronto Area was our next destination, making camp on Glen Rouge Park, just east of the city. One of the observations we've made that was really apparent at Glen Rouge was the shift in demographics for campers in Canada. In the US it's mostly retirees with enormous motorhomes and fifth wheels, but in Canada the majority of campers are families with popup campers or tents.
Getting an early start the following morning, we took the commuter train (the Go train) into Toronto's Union Station. We spent the entire day on our feet walking around the city. We went to Open Air book and map store, where we could have spent the entire day. From there we went to the Saint Lawrence Market for lunch. We then took the ferry to Toronto Island, a no cars allowed sort of place, which we explored and dreamed about moving there. After de-boating back in the city, we walked some more, finding ourselves at the CN Tower, Toronto's version of the Space Needle. We didn't go up, but got a good look from the ground. It's worth noting that Toronto is, according to our Lonely Planet guide, the most multiculturally diverse city on the planet.
We then headed back to camp where THE MOST FRIENDLY Canadians (and that's saying a lot), Sean (Shawn?) and Paul helped Ryan repair our broken propane and battery cover. It's actually better now than it was when we got it. If you're reading this, thank you once again! Ryan even got to talk a little computer shop with Sean.
Yesterday we arrived in our current spot at Sandbanks Provincial Park and it is by far our beachiest campsite and we love it! Once again we find ourselves practically on the beach, but this time it's Lake Ontario. Unfortunately, the water is ice cold so we won't be swimming, but the we had a lovely walk along the beach in the sun and explored some impressive sand dunes.
This morning we woke up to a near constant drizzle and decided our day was best spent exploring the eateries and shoppes. Prince Edward County is much like Door County in Wisconsin, but without all the Illinoisans. We had artisan cider, artisan goat cheese, shopped at a farm stand, and had lunch at a restaurant that self identified as "creative homemade". It has been a great day! The sun even came out again.
Things in Canada are wonderful. The people are so refreshingly kind and end every conversation by telling you to have a great day. Or new solar panel is awesome. Life is good!