Notes from along the road around the Great Lakes
Coyotes and wolves hybrid
Not far from our campground in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada, we heard reports of coyote or coywolves attacking and killing dogs and small farm animals. Authorities say the coywolves are mostly coyotes but contain a small percentage of wolf from an unlikely mating of the species years ago. They exist throughout the northeastern U. S. and eastern Canada and have been confirmed in northeast lower Michigan. Coyotes do not hunt in packs or stalk their prey, however, there have been reports that coywolves may stalk their prey. (http://www.therecord.com/news-story/4978724-coyote-coywolf-attacks-have-ontario-communities-worried)
Walking 600 miles in 30 days
In Wiarton, Ontario, Canada, we talked with a young couple who were hiking the Bruce Trail from Toronto to Tobermory, a distance of 600 miles. They were planning to finish the hike in 30 days or an average of 20 miles per day. Nice to be young. The trail follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, one of the thirteen UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves in Canada, for almost 900 km (560 mi).
Camping from South America to Canada
In St. Ignace, Michigan, we camped near a couple from Sweden who were driving a German made MAN diesel truck camper conversion that had been shipped from Europe to South America. From South America they drove the high wheeled vehicle through South America, Central America, Mexico and across the United States and into Canada. The truck was built for back country rugged driving but from the outside didn’t appear to have many camper features.
A close encounter of the bear kind
Heidi dog’s bathroom clock went off as usual at 6:30 a.m. in a Sault St. Marie, Ontario, Canada, campground on the edge of town. Half awake, and in the dark, we walked about 50 yards from the RV to a fenced-in dog park where she proceeded to take care of her morning toilet, as they call it in Italy, then walked back to the RV. Fifteen minutes later, a huge black bear weighing at least 400 (say the spotters) pounds, made a brief visit into the campground following the same route we walked only minutes before. It climbed a tree near the dog walk area, woofed and clicked its teeth a few times at a barking dog, then exited the tree and the campground. We are not in Kansas.
Who would have thought?
It’s early September and we’re camped in St. Ignace, Michigan and awoke to a startling 37 degrees outside temperature. Inside the RV it was 53. Thank goodness for a gas furnace that works.
Walking and driving the Mackinaw Bridge
On Labor Day an estimated 30,000 people with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder leading the way, walked across the five mile long Mackinaw Bridge. Two lanes of the four lane bridge were blocked off for walkers. It was the 58th year for the annual bridge walk. A week later while we were staying in St. Ignace on the Canadian side of the bridge, more than 1000 antique tractors were driven across the bridge. It was the eighth year for the event. The bridge is more than a bridge for vehicles.
Speaking of bears, Michigan has between 15,000 and 19,000 black bears. About 90 percent of those live in the Upper Peninsula, where we are currently camped. Males can be five feet tall and weigh 400 pounds. We have hiked many a mile in Michigan and yet to see a bear which is fine.
Extra camping fees in Michigan
Local residents pay $11 for an annual camping permit called “Recreation Passport” that allows them to stay in Michigan State Parks. In addition, they must also pay the camping fee which can vary from park to park. . Non-residents must pay $31 for the Recreation Passport plus the camping fee. Michigan also charges $8.40 for campers pulling a tow-car if they disconnect the vehicle while in the campground.
Dinner with the critters
At Sault St. Marie, Michigan, we had dinner at a very unusual place called The Antlers. There are over 200 animal mounts scattered throughout the restaurant with dozens of various antlers tacked to the ceiling and walls. Deer, antelope, bears, big cats polar bear and fish are among the critters mounted on the walls and ceiling. Most thrilling, however, was the news that The Antlers has been featured on a national television show My Ghost Stories. Nothing scary about the hamburgers. They were delicious.
Waterfalls are becoming major attractions
In Canada we found waterfalls galore in the area around Owen Sound, Ontario and all were attracting lots of visitors. At Munising, Michigan, the area boasts at least 12 major waterfalls. Most communities are taking advantage of the waterfalls as an attraction and publishing separate brochures with pictures and maps for visitors to the area.
Driving across the Mackinaw Bridge
It was drizzling rain and clouds were covering the tops of the five-mile-long Mackinaw Bridge during our crossing giving us the impression that we were climbing into the clouds—an erie feeling. When built in the late 50’s it was the tallest suspension bridge in the world. The bridge is the dividing line for Great Lakes Michigan and Huron. ????
How far did we travel?
5,728 miles, used 639 gallons of fuel, and spent 60 nights in campgrounds