Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 27, 2011

 Serious words about the TC-17
Bridge across the St.Lawrence at Sault St. Marie
We leave our lovely spot at the lake and are heading out on the highway. After a little more than half an hour we are approaching the Canadian border station in Sault St. Marie. Before we get there, we fill up with Diesel, as we have no intention to pay Ontario fuel prices. Our trip through Ontario is less than 800km long and we can make that easily with one fill.

The Trans-Canada Highway 17 is of a very variable quality. Right east of Sault St. Marie, it is nice and 4-lane. As we get further east it becomes more and more despicable. Besides of being narrow with no paved shoulder, it is uneven and full of holes. Most 3.-grade country roads in the U.S. have a better road standard. Another very annoying thing are the notoriously small-sized signs along the highway. Take f.ex. the signs to the (very few) rest areas. They are small and brown. From the distance they are extremely hard to make out. Also, the first sign is placed about 500m from the entry road, where it is followed by a second sign. There are no deceleration lanes before you get to them and the turn-off is mostly in a 90 degree angle, making it extremely dangerous to turn if you have traffic behind you. Again, when travelling in the U.S. the warning signs for rest areas are bigger, they are bright blue (which stands out much better in a green forest) and the first sign is placed 2 miles (3.2km) from the actual rest area, giving the driver better time to prepare for a safe turn-off.

The worst rest area we saw today was on the left side of the highway. The entry road went in a sharp angle backwards!!!  We did not stop there, but when passing the place, we saw a white warning sign in the entry way, not to enter with trailers!!  That sign could have been placed 1 km farther back and actually a left turn at such a location should have been prohibited as it would be extremely dangerous on a two lane highway with the traffic volume of the TC 17.

To campers coming along the TC-17 we will say, be prepared to look for an overnight spot early enough. The few rest areas are tiny with very limited parking and on some, overnight parking is prohibited. That leaves you to seek out a truck stop, which you will have a hard time to find, or try to get on a campground. 
Private RV-parks and campgrounds along water bodies are often full with seasonal campers. Roads through the parks can be narrow and winding, besides that you might not feel welcome there. The best bet are actually Ontario Provincial Parks. You will find them along the entire TC-17 with the best parks located along Lake Superior between Thunder Bay and Sault St. Marie.

When  we saw an Rv-Park by a lake at around 4.30pm I had to do a left turn. Right behind me was a big tour bus, a bit too close for my taste, but I hit the brakes and made the turn. His problem if he had to stamp on HIS brakes.

We pulled in and were greeted by a man. The place was full, he said, but hold, maybe there was ONE place we could take. And indeed the “forgotten” spot was available for 30 bucks.  But we were a bit cash-poor these days and there was only 20 Dollars left in Bea’s wallet. No, he did not take a card or a check (I don’t know you…)  Then what? Ok, he said, and took the 20 bucks, "but no water and power for that".  We sure had no problem with that and parked the rig.

Now we are sitting along a lake in clouds of new-sprung black flies.  But, I guess, for 20 bucks you can’t ask for more, not in Ontario anyway, at least it is pretty --- if we dare to go outside to enjoy it.

Campground on Lake Pisimi at the TC 17

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