Day 3 – Sault Ste. Marie to North Bay and Pembroke (Ontario)

(Okay, full disclosure:  this post is heavy on the writing and light on the pictures.  I’ll try to do better next time! ) 

Dale was up early today so he could be at the dealership by the time they opened at 8:00.  The rest of us took advantage of the fact that we could sleep in, since we knew we wouldn’t be leaving Sault Ste. Marie until at least noon now.

Some morning exploration.
Two of my monkeys climbing the jungle gym.


When the courtesy car brought him back to our campsite (about an hour later) he told me that as he’d been driving up to the dealership suddenly the “check engine” light had gone on.  Seriously?!?!?  Thankfully we carry an OBD2 Code Reader and he hooked it up to see what the actual problem was.  The error was on a solenoid for the gas tank (used to release pressure in the tank, if necessary.)  And no – I didn’t know/understand any of that – Dale is just relaying to me what to type!  The local GMC dealership was able to repair this too, so I suppose it’s good it happened when it did.

While our Yukon was off being repaired, us adults had a quick discussion about what ‘the plan’ should be for the next few days.  Originally we were supposed to be heading for Ottawa (almost 800 km away) this day.  Then we would spend 2 nights in the area, giving us a chance to spend 1 day in the city checking out the Parliament buildings.  Now that we weren’t leaving until after lunch, there was no way we would make it to our campground by that night.  We decided to cancel both nights, and go as far as we could that afternoon, then drive the rest of the way to Ottawa in the morning.  We’d spend a little bit of time sight-seeing, and then continue on.  In the end, this would put us closer to the east coast than we otherwise would have been.

Sherri called the campground we had booked at, but even though we were able to cancel our sites, they still needed to charge us for the first night because of the short notice we were giving.  Knowing we were still paying for a spot that night, we decided that wherever we actually ended up staying needed to be ‘free’.  And so we made plans to check “Walmart Camping” off our list.

Dale returned to our campsite with the now fixed Yukon around 1:00 pm, with new wiper blades in hand (something else we’d needed to replace).  He and Erick quickly attempted to change them out, only to realize the dealership had given him the wrong ones.  And then we also noticed the new air suspension was still leaking air.

With the kids already loaded in the car, Dale quickly drove back to the dealership – encouraging Erick and Sherri to start driving and we’d meet up with them later.  I stayed at the campsite.  I had already been chatting with a couple we were camping beside, so I stayed and continued to visit.  Fellow campers can be some of the friendliest people!  This couple was from Alberta, had been on the road for about 2 months already, and were on their way home from Newfoundland/the east coast.  They were full of helpful information about the road ahead of us, Walmart camping, and road tripping in general.

As the afternoon marched on, and Dale didn’t return, they even offered me their phone to call him and see what was going on.  I truly enjoyed spending the afternoon visiting with Rob and Donna, and appreciated their graciousness in hosting me at their campsite!

Meanwhile, Dale spent about 3 hours at the dealership with all 5 kids in tow.  Yep, he’s pretty amazing!  They gave us the proper wiper blades, and managed to replace he leaking part of our air suspension.

We loaded a bit of water into our fresh water tank, and pulled out of Sault Ste. Marie at 5:00 pm.  We were aiming for North Bay, Ontario; where there was a Walmart we could park overnight at.  Sherri and Erick were already so far ahead of us that they were pushing to get to Pembroke, Ontario (the next Walmart available along our route, and about 3 hours farther down the Trans Canada Highway).

We stopped at a gas station to fuel up and make some soup/supper, and even spied an Amish horse and buggy. 20170718_191525 Then it was another few hours to get to ‘our’ Walmart.  The kids were exhausted and cranky, and it was dark.  Everyone was glad to get out of the vehicle and fall into bed!

Even the bright parking lot lights and sound of traffic didn’t keep us up!  A quick sleep, an early morning to try to catch up a bit with the Herrera’s, and on to day 4 (and Ottawa)!


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