with Jim and Gayle
This month we continued our Canadian trip.
We stopped in Saulte Sainte Marie. We wanted to see the locks. To our disappointment, the Canadian locks only lock through recreational boats. The big commercial ships are locked through on the US side.
A fun stop was Marathon. There is a beach there on Lake Superior called Pebble Beach. The large stones on the beach have been shaped by Lake Superior into well rounded, almost spherical shapes that reminded me of ostrich eggs. There were signs saying not to remove the rocks, so I only took pictures.
Thunder Bay was a fascinating stop. It is in the heart of amethyst country. There are 3 mines (open pits) that let tourists come "mine" their waste piles. Jim researched out the three and chose Blue Point. It was the right choice. They had done some blasting in the last month so the rock waste piles were relatively "fresh". I hadn't taken safety glasses plus it was a lot of work making big rocks into little rocks. Jim "mined"; I visited and washed the amethysts he came up with.
We left the following day but about 4 hours down the road, while stopped for lunch, Jim said he wished we had have stayed another day because he really had enjoyed hunting for the amethyst. I said, well, let's go back. So we did. The second time was just as fun and interesting as the first time. We took an extra day to go to the largest mine's lapidary shop where we saw them working some of the amethyst that came out of their mine. We also went to the third mine and confirmed that Blue Point was the best tourist mine.
Our amethyst "haul".
Leaving, we had an overnight stay in Dryden, Ontario where "Max the Dog" got to meet "Max the Moose", a huge roadside attraction.
Our route through Ontario took us was to several waterfalls around
Crossing into Manitoba, we stopped in Winnipeg. We did a lot of things while there.
We went to the Canadian mint that produces circulation coins.
We went to a dirt track race.
We went to the Winnipeg Art Gallery to see two Picasso exhibits.
Probably the most enjoyable thing we did in Winnipeg was go on a
"Dragonfly Safari" with two excellent guides.
We decided that we didn't relish the idea of crossing the Canadian
prairie provinces. We had done all of the highlights several
years ago on a couple of Foretravel motorcades. Therefore, we
decided to end our Canadian travel. We dropped down into the US
in North Dakota and headed to Couer d'Alene, Idaho to visit friends.
On our second day of travel, crossing through North Dakota, one of
the brakes did not release, causing the tire not to turn. Jim was
able to get it to release by hitting it with a hammer which caused a
lot of debris to fall out of the mechanism. We were hopeful that
fixed the problem, but the next morning, the brake, again, would not
release. Jim was able to find a truck repair facility that agreed
to look at it. They replaced the slack adjuster on the brake
seemed to fix the problem.
Crossing North Dakota, we went through the geographical center of
North America in Rugby, ND.
From North Dakota we crossed into Montana. That is a huge
state. We stopped in Livingston, MT., thinking to hunt for
agates on the Yellowstone River. We were too far west. The
prime agate area on the river is on the eastern side of the
state. We still enjoyed our stay, going to a fun concert.
At the next stop, Missoula, we went to another fun concert.
Once again this summer, there are horrible forest fires throughout
the northwest. The smoke can be quite bad.
Arriving in Idaho, we had an appointment to have our fresh water
tank repaired. The repair facility looked at the tank and told
Jim that a weld would not hold. So, we didn't get it fixed and
will have to live with it until we get to Indio where Jim can decide
what to do.
We moved to an Elks campground so that we could visit with friends
for a couple of days. As Jim was parking, the brake once again
didn't release. Jim called every brake
specialist facility in the area. The earliest we can get an
appointment to fix it is September 11. So, since it is really
to be traveling with this issue (we had been quite lucky that it stuck
at times when we were not on the freeway at highway speeds), we are
We met up with friends, Karen and Gordon. Karen fed us and fed us.
Friends, Mike and Libby also live in the area. Following a
morning of pickleball (for Gordon, Karen, Libby, and me) we all went to
Libby's for lunch.
We were in Couer d'Alene for the full eclipse of the sun. It
reached about 90% totality. Jim made me a viewer box but it
didn't work. Luckily, other people had glasses that they shared.
While waiting to have the brakes repaired, we went car
shopping. Our 14 year old Toyota 4Runner was showing its
age. We bought a 2017 Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup.
It can be towed 4-down behind the motorhome and should have enough
power to get the boat out of the Columbia River when we fish.
I have had time to paint some rocks.
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