We have been to Kakabeka Falls several times. In fact, one of my earliest memories is visiting this waterfall as a child. On our WVO Roadtrips, we have stopped here in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2015. If you are in Thunder Bay, you must stop at this water fall.
Just remember to bring some Canadian coins. You have to pay for parking, but it’s an unmanned station. The machine only takes Canadian money, and since we are so early into our Canadian roadtrip, we still hadn’t acquired any substantial coinage.
269920. Kakabeka Falls, ON. 11:30am Friday
Strangely, we calculated that I may have been at this very falls twenty years to the day. Note to visitors to the falls: the rangers have a parking kiosk that only takes Canadian coins, so bring more than just plastic or paper money. They patrol the area looking for unlabeled vehicle.
Wow. Things really have changed so much.
One of our regular restaurants in Canada is Hoito. It’s in Thunder Bay in an area that is supposedly full of Finns. I couldn’t tell you if that’s true, but Hoito makes the Finnish style pancake. It’s basically like a thicker crepe.
In 2009: This was the first time we got to eat here. We crossed the border near Grand Portage, and the Ontario tourist clerk told us that the most unique place to eat is Hoito. Intrigued, we decided to indulge our Scandinavian heredity.
If you want to eat without waiting an hour in line, get here right as they open. Even then, it’s still not a sure bet that you’ll get a table right away. The early bird gets the flapjack.
In 2012, we got up early in Wisconsin, and headed up to Thunder Bay as soon as possible. Our goal was to hit the border right when they open, and then get up to TB for breakfast. There are nice bluffs on the drive to TB, and the terrain really changes once you get out of Minnesota.
We were surprised to find a line to get into the place. It’s just pancakes after all.
As we waited, we meandered the nearby neighborhood. More proof of the Finnish influence.
We came back here all sorts of times in 2015, 2010, and 2012, and more.
In 2009: It was still way too early to do anything in Duluth or Superior. Kept heading north to Thunder Bay.
In 2010: Duluth MN. 204725. 3:50pm Fri.
Added 1.5 cubes. Had a loose hose, and it was squirting D all over the passenger side of the engine compartment. Tightened ‘er up.
Indianapolis, IN. 7:30pm, Thursday.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to visit Ash Cave. We ran out of daylight, and even if we had some light, I’m not sure I wanted to tack on more hours of hiking on top of all that time spent at the USAF Museum. Gotta leave some things to see for the next trip.
Cruising thru Indy…
Stopping by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway…
Looking onto the racetrack…
We wrapped up our visit and got some food in downtown near the Capitol.
That concluded our 2009 WVO Roadtrip. We drove through the night back to northern Wisconsin. Glenn at many Taco Bell tacos and had massive indigestion.
Dayton, OH. 4:00pm-5:30pm, Thursday.
This is a small collection of NPS sites that have artifacts and simulations of the Wright brothers’ work. They have an “original flight” virtual simulator, which is a tricky device to control.
The staff at the Interpretive Center said the Bicycle Shop would only be open until five, so we had to rush over there. We weren’t driving very fast, but two cars happened to be blocking up traffic in front of us. Finally, one pulled off at a stoplight, when one of the lethargic drivers paused to confront us with the statement “You can’t go no faster than 35 anyway.”
We were a bit shocked to hear this, so without much thought I said, “Oh yeah? Watch this.” Mysteriously, our vehicle was capable of exceeding 35 mph.
Once at the shop, the NPS staff member was great and even stayed open longer to chat with us.
Dayton, OH. 10:45am – 3:45pm, Thursday.
This museum was comprehensive to say the least. We spent five hours there and really only saw one hanger. It’s a great museum with videos, lots of content, and authentic aircrafts. I highly recommend it, and thanks for the suggestion. Oh yeah, it’s free too and a “must see” if you are visiting Dayton.
One of my favorites: SR71. This jet was (and still is) the best of the best.
They even had real Apollo program artifacts.
Here’s a compilation of some of the aircraft we saw:
273342. Springfield, OH, 2:30am – 9:50am, Thursday.
Well… we didn’t get to Dayton and the GPS suggested some motels in a neighboring city, Springfield. We stayed at some “Motor Lodge” that was one of the worst hotels I’ve experienced in the US.
Maybe the only reason why we survived the night was because Jesus was watching over us with his “New Vision.”
Newark, OH. 12:50am, Wednesday.
I had heard about the Longaberger building for a while, so I thought I’d investigate it for myself. It was a big ordeal to pull off the interstate, especially since the roads wind through the wilderness and small towns. The light was pretty dim, but we got a few shots.
Stoystown, PA. 8:30pm, Wednesday, 2009.
While trying to get to Dayton before sunrise, we noticed that the Flight 93 memorial was along our path. I looked this up before the trip, but it appeared to not be a formal site. That didn’t deter us, so we plugged it into the GPS. We found a church that constructed a monument near the crash site, shown here:
Update 2019: This post was written in 2009, long before the official Flight 93 National Memorial was finished.
Gettysburg, PA. 2:00pm, Wednesday.
A must see. It would take days to get a good understanding of the grounds here, but we had only an afternoon. Here are some pics of the Autotour:
And here’s the Minnesota and Pennsylvania memorials…
Harrisburg, PA. 11:00am, Wednesday.
On the northeast of Harrisburg is the National Civil War Museum. It’s brand new and houses a substantial amount of authentic and replica Union and Confederate artifacts. Also they have staff in different portions of the building answering questions and whatnot. They even have an supervised exhibit where visitors are allowed to handle replica (but functioning) weaponry, like repeater and muzzle loader rifles, swords and bayonets, knives, etc. I thought these things were fake, until I checked some of the blades and rifles—they were sharp and the hammer and trigger functioned properly.
Also, this place is just an hour north of Gettysburg, so if you are planning a trip to this area, it would be prudent to visit this museum.
The entrance of the museum:
Harrisburg, PA. Afternoon, Wednesday.
Here’s a pic from the south of Harrisburg.
Hershey, PA. 9:40am, Wednesday.
We stopped by the Hershey area in the hopes of seeing something interesting. Unfortunately, for those who think there is a chocolate factory to tour, you’d be sorely disappointed with the condition of the town of Hershey. Instead the Hershey company has strangled the life out of that town and transformed it into some hideous amusement eyesore. We spent a half hour in their Hershey park and left before they even had an exit gate open.
Their only interesting site is their new “Hershey Story” museum, opened in January 2009. If you want to maintain your sanity if you visit this town, sign up early for their Chocolate Lab. We got there just too late and missed their testing.
Here’s a pic of the city’s infamous lampposts, one of the highlights of the visit.
Hartford, CN. Tuesday night.
We got a little behind schedule and weren’t able to meet up in Providence. We are on the road to Harrisburg, PA if possible before it gets too late.
@BillyBaru and Stevels: Sorry we couldn’t stop by, but we were running behind. It’s been pretty tight this trip. Maybe next time.
Boston, MA. All afternoon, Tuesday.
It rained for most of the day, for the trip down and while in Boston.
We were able to park for free outside the Bunker Hill National Monument. It’s surprisingly tall and we didn’t get a good view of the city due to the weather. Glenn got yelled at by some Bostonian because he asked to use the bathroom. The people here are tightly wound.
We got to tour the infamous USS Constitution.
Also a more modern battleship.
We always try to talk to locals on these trips, and we found an actual dockworker. He had a thick accent, and we asked him where’s a good bar or restaurant to eat. He recommended Warren Tavern, but his accent was so strong, we couldn’t help but imitate it. Then he literally called us “wice guyz.” The TOTAL Boston experience.
Regardless, we went to the Warren Tavern. Little did we know, this bar was one of the original taverns that people like George Washington and Paul Revere plotted our independence. Patriots!
We meandered around town. Here’s the actual church where Paul Revere signaled about the incoming British in the American Revolutionary War.
We also visited Paul Revere’s house too, but I don’t have a picture at the moment. Instead, here’s Hancock Tower:
We left town after a full day of walking and sightseeing. A nice change of pace from the 1000 miles of driving through Quebec and Nova Scotia yesterday.
Crossing into New Hampshire. 11:00am, Tuesday.
New Hampshire has a strange way of greeting people. They had a tiny sign saying “Welcome to New Hampshire,” but they had several government issue large lottery ticket/liquor signs.
272156. Brewer, ME. 9:30pm, Monday – 10:10am, Tuesday.
If you are cruising through Brewer Maine, and looking for a place to stay, you have stay at the Colony Motel. Amazing staff, cleanest rooms, great service, and fast internet. Also, it was inexpensive too. We’ve been a lot of these trips, and it was the best hotel yet.
Update in 2019. Out of all of our WVO Roadtrips, this is still the best hotel we ever experienced. Fond memories. I remember the sound of the creek in the back as I woke up. Amazing.
272025. Calais, ME. 8:05pm Monday.
Crossed into the U.S. without problems or delay. Planning on staying in Bangor and get ready for Boston on Tuesday.
Nova Scotia is mostly farmland and forests. It’s a lot like Wisconsin. I’d argue that it’s the closest thing to Wisconsin in all of Canada.
Near Moncton along the THC:
Near Saint John:
Onward to the US Maine Border….
271598. Coles Island, NB. 3:30am Monday.
Added two cubes.
271731. Halifax, NS. 9:15am Monday.
Made it to Halifax by 6am and stopped off at their mall to get some food and relax. We got back to the car and noticed a small pool of VO under the engine. Turns out a hose came undone and was easily repaired.
We cruised around Halifax for several hours and visited the Citadel and the Prince of Wales Tower. The Citadel was probably the most organized museum/fort that we’ve visited, and we’ve seen several in the U.S.
They do reenactments and fire off canons in the fort. It’s a nice place.
After getting some decent “City” food, we headed up to the Prince of Wales Tower…
270989. Northeast of Montreal on the 40. 3:40pm, Sunday.
Checked the pressure and tread on the front tires. Things are still dicey, but we’ll keep a look on them. If anything wears funny, we may need to get a new set in Halifax or Maine.
St Lawrence Seaway, around 9pm, Sunday.
271324 (est). Riviere-du-Loop, QC. 11:00pm, Sunday.
Added two cubes. A few hours prior, we ate at a Quebec City restaurant that served Poutine. They added chicken to mix too.
Also, on the Ile Ste. Helene there is a Buckminster Fuller sphere, similar to the Epcot sphere.
Be sure not to mix up the “Biosphere” and the “Biodome.” Also, in Quebec, it’s pronounced Bee-yo, not Bio.
Montreal, QC. 12:30pm, Sunday.
We spent a good deal of time in Montreal, since we didn’t get into Ottawa until late last night. We cruised throughout the city, visited the Montreal Tower (in the Olympic park) and toured the Stadium.
Here’s the stadium with the tour in the background:
We took a tour of the stadium and Olympic park.
Shot from the tour:
The infamous Biodome.
On to more sights in Montreal….
This was Glenn’s first time entering a French speaking country or province. He was naturally concerned, because he didn’t speak a lick of French other than Oui or Non, but he didn’t worry. He had been seeing signs all across Canada in both French and English in the non-Quebec provinces, so he assumed that Quebec would be Canadian-nice and print the English equivalent.
The Quebecois don’t put anything in English. LOL.
Ottawa, ON. 10:30pm, Saturday
We had a few minutes to stop off in downtown Ottawa. Here is Canada’s Parliament Building.
We walked around the complex for a while. It was really late, so we weren’t allowed inside. Glenn, as always, had to take another shit, so he found a portapotty. He immediately exited the potty, because apparently it was too dirty for even him.
270859. Vars, ON. 11:30pm, Saturday.
Added two cubes.
North Bay, ON. Saturday.
On the way to Ottawa.
270708. Clifton, ON. 7:48pm, Saturday.
VO pump still working fine with the air cooling.
Along the Trans-Canadian Hwy. 8:28pm Saturday.
Random image of the sunset on the TC Hwy.
270573. Trans-Canadian Hwy. 4:30pm Saturday
We encountered the same pressure problem and found our VO pump to be functioning intermittently. It’s an inexpensive all-purpose fuel pump from a typical auto parts store, and it lasted several thousand miles, so maybe it’s fried. After several miles on Diesel, we got a check engine light, forcing us to immediately pull over. There was a strong Diesel smell and a small drop trail down the road. Turns out, we forgot to stop the manual purge when we got some VO pressure issues, which overpressurized the fuel lines. We attacked the fuel issues from several angles, verifying and removing filters, replacing and checking hoses, relieving pressure in lines, and cleaning up the engine compartment. It appears that the air hose had provided a cooler environment for the fuel pump, but one of our fuel filters may have been overstrained. All filters had reasonable, but restricted flow. We’re headed to Sturgeon Falls to buy a new pump and get spare filters. After letting the current pump cool for a few minutes, it will function for dozens (or more) miles, so it may last longer than expected.
While on the side of the road, a couple horses stopped by to supervise the maintenance.
270606. Sturgeon Falls, ON. 5:10pm, Saturday.
Stopped off at a Sturgeon Falls Canada Tire to see if they had fuel filters and fuel pumps. Turns out they had neither (of what we needed). Those places are pretty worthless, because this was the third CT we’ve been to and they all didn’t have anything we ever needed. The only thing we bought was a pair of sunglasses that broke an hour after purchase. Later, Glenn remarked, “The only good thing about Canada Tire is to go in and ask where a real auto parts store is.”
270558. Sudbury, ON. 12:55pm Saturday
We stopped off at the museum Dynamic North to check out their mine tour. We had a good view of the Inco Superstack (second tallest structure in Canada, just under the CN Tower) and that crazy two-story nickel.
Sudbury is the nickel mining capital of Canada or Ontario or the world or something. I don’t remember. They have a massive 2-story nickel out front of the Dynamic North science center.
All jokes aside, the Dynamic North mine tour is pretty spectacular. It’s an actual former mine shaft, and you get to take an interactive elevator down to the bottom. We had a few kids on the tour that thought it was boring, but I can’t understand why they were bored. It was fascinating.
270568. Leaving Sudbury, ON. 4:00pm Saturday.
Heading out of Sudbury, we stopped off at a home supply store to see if we could rig up something to cool the pump. We found some flexible plastic hosing that could suck air from outside the car. It’s a makeshift solution, but should get us around
Since we were having some issues with the fuel system, we thought it might be prudent to fill up the Diesel tank just in case we get stranded with the veggie oil tank. We pulled over at a typical THC gas station and started pumping fuel. A bunch of Canadians ran over to inform us that it’s illegal to pump our own fuel. LOL. We were already done by the time the staff came out to transfer our fuel.
270385. west of Sault Ste Marie. 10:00am Saturday.
Dispute was made over the missing beef sticks. It is evident that Glenn ate them and is blaming Nick for their absence.
270387. 10:05am Saturday.
Beef sticks found under seat.
270502. Webbwood, ON. 11:30am Saturday.
Added 11.4 gallons of Diesel.
Sudden noticeable loss in boost (while driving and on gauges). Found the pump to be non-responsive and extremely hot. Also, it wasn’t a fuse/electrical issue. We’ll drive in “safe mode” to Sudbury to find a new pump.
270369. Sault Ste Marie, ON. 10:00pm Friday – 8:50am Saturday.
We got into SSM pretty late and begun looking for a cheap hotel. The first place we visited asked for a pricey sum, and then justified it by saying “Michigan is right over there.” We didn’t get what he was saying, because we’ve been to Michigan, and it’s not a bargaining chip.
We had an issue with some accelerated wear on the outside of the driver’s side tire. A professional alignment was done before the trip, but they must have missed something. The tires were even a little over-inflated, so the wear wasn’t due to the pressure being low.
The next morning, we stopped off at the shittiest store on the planet, behind Harbor Freight:
For diagnosis purposes, we decided to rotate the tires and see if the wear pattern progresses. However, this was not as simple as it seems, since our jack and spare were underneath the VO tank.
It was an early morning of unloading the back of the car and extending the VO tank to the maximum extents of its umbilical. After it was all changed out, we reinstalled everything quickly and did other diagnostic checks on the car. Here’s Glenn purging the air from the fuel lines.
Added 0.5 cubes.
270230. Wawa, ON. 7:00pm Friday
Added two cubes. We ate at a local Chinese-Canadian restaurant that served us what could loosely be described as “chicken fried rice.”
2670XX. Somewhere along Lake Superior. Friday
Nearby the lake, there was a barren portion of land.
I always liked these photos. It was a foreign looking place.
2699XX. Eagle Canyon Adventures. Noon Friday.
Just north of Thunder Bay, there is this private campground with zip-lines and cable suspension footbridges across a large canyon. After you sign away your rights (literally) and pay a $18 fee, you can climb across the 300’ and 600’ bridges. It’s a 150’ drop from the highest point and when a good wind gust hits you at the middle, it give you a good scare. Unfortunately, with the $18 fee, they don’t provide diapers.
It’s really fun if you try not to experience anything. If you open your eyes, all you’ll feel is constant fear.
The photo above really doesn’t capture the insanity of this place. Here is some perspective:
269910. Trans-Canada Hwy. 11:12am Friday.
On the way to Kakabeka falls, we see a cop coming from the other direction. He drives passed, hits the e-brake, whips his squad around, and pulls us over. Note to non-Canadians, it’s illegal to possess a radar detector in Ontario. To add insult to injury, they destroy your device, for a $30 fee.
And to add further injuries to injuries, Glenn broke his favorite sunglasses while traveling the THC later that day.
Glenn wanted to mention that not only do the Ontario police take and destroy your radar detector at a cost, but they ALSO fine you $140!
We’ve crossed this border on Highway 61 at least a dozen times now. It’s the go-to for our trips up to Thunder Bay and western Ontario. 2009, 2010, and a bunch more times.
In 2009: 269866. Hwy 61, Canada Border Crossing. 8:10am Friday.
Like all other US-Canada crossing from previous years, we didn’t get any issues about our WVO. Since we were at a “rural” crossing, we asked us to get out of the car and enter the premises, which we did precisely as they requested. Upon entering the building, they said, “Guys, I see that you don’t have a problem parking here.” They never asked us to move our car, but in retrospect, we probably should have assumed they didn’t want us to leave our vehicle in the only border crossing lane.
As you drive up to TB, there are all these amazing bluffs on the horizon. The terrain is substantially different than the woods up in Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota that we grew up in.
If we hurry, we can make it to Hoito and get some pancakes before they stop serving breakfast!
269575. Minneapolis, MN. 1:25am, Friday, July 3, 2009
Left MSP Airport with 24 cubes and a full tank. We got off to a late start because of flight delays.
269791. Two Harbors, MN. 5:45am Friday
We cruised thru Two Harbors when the sun was rising. We snapped this photo of the mist on the harbor.
269793. Hwy 61, Silver Creek, MN. 6:02am, Friday.
Added two cubes. 12 deer sightings. It’s slow going with all winding roads
Even with the stress of driving with lots of deer around, the view of Lake Superior on the way up to Thunder Bay was really nice.
Kicking off the 2009 WVO Roadtrip, we stopped at a Minnesota park to refill the veggie tank. We found this placard (kind of ironic we are on a tourist adventure):
Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region: A Tourist Mecca
Lured by America’s Premier wilderness canoe region, Lake Superior’s rugged shoreline and cascading streams, and Duluth’s reputation as America’s great inland seaport, tourists have been coming to the north-eastern Minnesota since the 1890’s. In recognition of this great natural treasure, President Theodore Roosevelt established the Superior National Forest in 1909.
Tourists first came by steamship and rail. But it was the advent of the automobile and building of roads, particularly the Lake Superior International Highway (the North Shore Drive), dedicated in 1925, and the Gunflint Trial, built during the 1920’s, that opened what came to be called the Arrowhead Region. The region’s civic leaders, quick to take advantage of this new opportunity, organized the Arrowhead Association in 1924 to promote the area’s recreational opportunities. Thanks in part to the organization’s efforts, the North Shore Drive soon came to be known as one of the nation’s most scenic highways. Americans, infatuated with the freedom and adventure of automobile travel, came in large numbers. In 1938, an estimated 1,000,000 tourists visited Split Rock Lighthouse, and in 1940, the U.S. Coast Guard declared it to be “probably the most visited lighthouse in the United States.”
Numerous resorts were developed during the 1920’s to accommodate the over-increasing number of tourists. The State of Minnesota acquired several scenic areas along the North Shore for parks: Gooseberry Falls in 1933, Cascade River in 1934, and Temperance River in 1936. In 1926 the federal government moved to preserve the pristine lakes and forests of the boundary region as a wilderness canoe county.
This region remains a favorite destination for travelers from all over the world who heed the captivating call of the Arrowhead Region.
After visiting the Halifax Citadel, we were told to see the “tower” of Prince of Wales. It was made some hundreds of years ago, and it maybe 3?-stories tall. Regardless, it must have been formidable back in the day.
272006. Lepreau, NB. 7:05pm Monday.
Added two cubes.
2009, 2012, 2015