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1997 Travel Log #1 - May 31 to June 24

Saturday - May 31, 1997

The weekend after my last day of work at Paradyne (and my last day as an engineer) was spend packing to move out of the house I was renting. I had intended to be out Saturday night or Sunday morning. I was a day late, but I did sell my boat at the last possible moment for a fair price. I actually left (moved out) the house Monday morning.

Monday & Tuesday - June 2 & 3, 1997

First stop - store my stuff in a Mini-storage across the state in Delray Beach. On Monday I drove across to Delray and unloaded the trailer. On Tuesday I drove back to return the U-haul where I rented it to save the "one-way" fees. But, I didn't leave everything in storage. I wanted to take some stuff with me and it covered the bottom of the U-haul which had to be returned by 6:30 PM that night. I stored the stuff in the garage of a friend until I could figure out how to get it into my little S-10 pickup.

Wednesday - June 4

Wednesday was busy running errands including getting a Leer Fiberglas deck lid and bed-liner put on my pickup. Topper King had the right color and size in stock and were able to install it that day: More good luck. Wednesday night I drove to Orlando to see my son from Arizona who just happened to be there on business so I got to see him before I left on my long vacation: More good luck.

Thursday - June 5

Thursday night was my first-ever seminar, called "Clearing Some Fears". It all went well and I made a video and audio tape of it. Audience participation and response was gratifying.

Friday - June 6

Friday morning I pack everything under the new lid of my pickup, said a few more good-byes and stopped by Intol, the computer discount people. I noticed they had 24-bit, 2400 DPI scanners on sale for $199. Can't travel without one. Then I thought, "Hmmmm". [Slow thinker now that I'm on vacation.] I just bought a Sony HandyCam to take movies, why not get a video capture card also. More good luck, they had one left and it matched my new 8MB video card (which I also got from Intol earlier this year).

I filled up in Tampa and took US 41 and I-75 to exit Florida. I like leisurely back road driving so I would get off of I-75 from time-to-time and take the older US highways.

Saturday - June 7

Even though I had left Florida, I didn't really feel my vacation had started because I had 2 more seminars to do. Other than getting off the freeway occasionally, I didn't do much "touristy" things on my way North to the Detroit area.

I stayed in motels along the way.

Week of June 8

I arrived at my niece's house Sunday afternoon and gave the 2nd seminar Monday night at VantityZ Salon in Sterling Hts, Michigan. On Wednesday evening I gave the 3rd seminar at the Sterling Estates Club House. Seminar photo  I had planned to leave the next day, but I actually left on Monday, June 16. I spent the time making copies of videos and audio's of all 3 seminars, I installed the video capture card and the scanner, and generally got more prepared for my long journey.

For example, I created a database and mailing list using MS Access. This allowed me to throw out piles of paper collected over the years containing everybody's name and address. I knew I would be doing newsletter's again on this trip so the time spent typing in all that information would be worth it. Since I brought my color printer with me and a supply of Avery mailing labels, I was all set to generate color, illustrated documents, complete with address labels.

Monday - June 16

It took me from 7 AM to 11 AM to re-pack my pickup. Packed pickup truck. You see, I bought a VCR and A 9" AC/DC TV while I was in Michigan to copy seminar tapes and watch them plus movies while I traveled. There was barely enough room in the back (under the lid) to put a handkerchief when I was all packed plus the passenger seat was full with clothes and a sleeping pad.

Now I feel my vacation/journey had begun. Where to first? Everyone had asked me that but I hadn't decided yet. Now was a good time. Dug out my map book ("8 1/2 by 11" version of Rand-McNally Road Atlas) and decided. There were 3 cross points from Michigan to Canada: 1) Downtown Detroit into Windsor - No big city, heavy traffic for me, 2) the Blue-Water Bridge at Port Huron, and 3) since I wanted to get to Northern Canada, why not the International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie in the Upper Peninsula? Yes, that's it.

So I left the Detroit area on freeways to get to I-75 (again) and head North. Near Standish, Michigan I decided to take the scenic route along Lake Huron so I got Off of I-75 and on to US 23 to the Mackinaw Bridge and the UP (Upper Peninsula). I spent the night in Roger's City.

Soo Locks

Tuesday June 17

I headed for the Soo Locks (local slang for the shipping locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan & Ontario). When I first arrived, I went to the public viewing area to watch lake freighters `lock' up and down. Neat! I did some sightseeing and checked into a Motel.

Wednesday June 18

In the morning I took the first 2 hour lock tour boat. I took both 35mm snap's and a video. Tour boat, moving into the lock when it is low, and leaving the lock when it is full. On the way up the lock my Nikon was fixed on the tripod. On the way down my HandyCam was fixed on the tripod.

After the lock tour, I went to the Valley Camp museum. A real-life lake freighter anchored and turned into a museum. I was fascinated by it's size. You normally see them from a great distance which tends to diminish there apparent size. Then to K-Mart and Wal-Mart to look for camping gear: A tent and a sleeping bag.

Finally, I crossed over the bridge into Canada and stopped at the Tourist Information Center. There I got some information and exchanged American money for Canada money at a safe place (for a fair exchange rate). For every $100 I gave them they gave me $134.40 back. Wow. Things are more expensive in Canada, like gas and hamburgers, so it's better not to have merchants give an unfair exchange rate on top of the higher prices. By paying in Canadian dollars, there is no problem with exchange rates.

Since it's hard to get to Hudson Bay and I found out I could save a bundle by making 14-day advanced reservations and I didn't want to just sit there for 2-weeks, I decided to wait until my return trip west (towards Wyoming) to visit James Bay and Hudson Bay.

See I'm making it up as I go and that's why I don't always know what to say when people ask: "Where are you going next?"

New Tent

I decided to head for Tobermory, Ontario. Known to Michigan Scuba Divers as a great ship-wreck dive site. To get there I would need to take a ferry across Georgia Bay. I stayed the night at South Baymouth in my new tent and took the first ferry in the morning. Campsite view and lake view from South Baymouth Resort.

Thursday June 19

Ferry was an enjoyable 2-hour ride. A bit chilly for a Floridian: 55 degrees in the morning. Clear water, nice little uninhabited islands along the way.

TO BE CONTINUED...