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Author Topic: Polar Bear Trip - Act 2  (Read 1179 times)

dverstra

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Polar Bear Trip - Act 2
« on: September 25, 2013, 09:16:24 PM »
Woohoo! We are on the road again. I needed a fresh start to this trip. I'm gonna forget about the last 7 days and concentrate on our adventure again.
2007 Holiday Rambler Navigator
2013 Honda CRV
Grandville, MI
FMCA 431519
RPCV Sierra Leone

Jeff

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Re: Polar Bear Trip - Act 2
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2013, 09:26:27 PM »
You give new meaning to "Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you."

Now go find some bears. ;D

dverstra

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Re: Polar Bear Trip - Act 2
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2013, 09:49:13 AM »

Wow, this trip report sure got away from me.
Day 12
We picked up the motorhome at the Cummins repair facility. They are a great bunch of people. They wished us well and off we went to the KOA just west of Winnipeg. It sure was nice to be back in our home again. I spent the rest of our day putting things back where they belong and grocery shopping for a few needed items. Mary Anne did the laundry.
Day 13
On the road again. Off we went to meet up with our tour group at the International Peace Garden. The entrance to the Peace Garden is located on the border. We passed through Canadian Customs and turned right into the Garden. The campground is on the American side. We arrived at the campground and saw the Fantasy Tour banner as we pulled in. Since you cannot reserve a site, we drove around and found a nice pull through site with water and electric. Each site is in the trees and nicely separated from the next one. Then we checked in with the Canadian Wagonmasters, Erich and Carol.
Day 14
Rally Day
We relaxed for the day. I walked the dogs and MaryAnne finished knitting a Christmas present for our soon to be granddaughter. Even though she isn't born yet, you need to begin the spoiling early.  Our first meeting was held with snacks and dinner. Everyone is eager to get to Churchill.
Day 15
Tour of the Peace Garden
What a neat place! I never knew that the Garden existed. We took a walking tour with a local guide. Even though it is late September, the flowers were still gorgeous. If you are in the area, this should be on your list to visit. We finished the day with a Dinner meeting in the Lodge. Tomorrow, we start heading North.
2007 Holiday Rambler Navigator
2013 Honda CRV
Grandville, MI
FMCA 431519
RPCV Sierra Leone

dverstra

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  • Posts: 400
Re: Polar Bear Trip - Act 2
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2013, 09:50:50 AM »

Day 16
Head em up, Move em out!
The caravan is not a group of motorhomes following real close to each other. We can leave our site between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. The Tail Gunners, Dave and Carolyn, leave after the last rig departs. They are there to help us if we breakdown ( we've had enough of that for one trip). We stopped in Dauphin at the Vermillion Campground. It is a nice city park along a river. We are the only ones there since the park is usually closed at this time of year. A Ukranian dinner was prepared for us at a local church. Interesting food but I'm still not sure if I like Borscht, though. 2 Ukranian dancers entertained us after the meal. What was really entertaining was our attempts at dancing with them.
Day 17
Dauphin to The Pas
We were the last ones out of camp this morning. We pulled into the Dump Station and did our thing, since we were dry camping in a casino parking lot tonight. As we headed north there were less towns and farms along the way. The roads are better than I expected. We arrived and Erich directed us into our parking spot. We had a buffet dinner at the casino. What can I say about a buffet dinner at a casino? Not much!
Day 18
The Pas to Thompson
Ok, I'm staring to notice a trend here. We were the last ones to break camp in the morning. Either these people are EarlyBirds or we are sleeping in too much.
The roads today varied between really smooth and poor. We can see that they have done a lot of work on them recently. Hopefully they finish the job.
Thompson is a larger town and has better facilities than I was expecting. We pull into the McCreedy Campground and are directed to the Dump Station and water fill hose. We only have electric at the sites here.
Tomorrow we board the overnight train to Churchill.

 
2007 Holiday Rambler Navigator
2013 Honda CRV
Grandville, MI
FMCA 431519
RPCV Sierra Leone

dverstra

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Re: Polar Bear Trip - Act 2
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2013, 09:53:03 AM »

Day 19
We spent the day getting our rigs and pets ready for us to leave them. Needless to say, we were all eager to board the train for the overnight trip to Churchill. Colleen, the campground owner, will take care of the dogs while we are away. She obviously likes dogs and we feel comfortable leaving them with her.
Previously, in The Pas, we were required to draw a slip of paper to see if we had a double or single berth on the train. This did not go over well. Obviously, the brochure failed to mention this. We had drawn a double berth. There was not a lot of room in there, but we were only going to spend 16 hours on the train. Dinner was better than expected. I think that they had a chef onboard. After dinner, we sat and played cards in the dining car. Later, I climbed into the top bunk to attempt to sleep.
Day 20
Was that a bunk or a washing machine that I slept in? The top bunk kept moving around on me. I had no motion sickness but the irregular movement prevented me from sleeping more than a couple of hours. Mark that one off my Bucket List! Good Riddance!
We arrived in Churchill at 9:30 and were ushered onto an old school bus that was painted green to hide the fact. Paul, our tour guide for the day, drove us around Churchill for a while on a "City Tour". Obviously the hotel was not ready for us yet. We drove past the Polar Bear Jail, a crashed airplane, and various other "wonders". What a waste of precious time. We finally arrived at The Tundra Inn. After lunch, we took a walking Tour of Churchill. We went to the Eskimo museum which had some interesting artifacts. We had the Post Office stamp our passports with their Polar Bear Stamp. Back to the hotel for dinner and sleep before our Tundra Buggy Ride.
Day 21
Oh, did they mention that this is just before the actual polar bear season begins? Not Really! I guess that you can see where this is headed.
We boarded the Green schoolbus early in the morning and rode to the nature area. We boarded the Tundra Buggy and were introduced to Kevin, our tour guide and driver. Kevin was very knowledgeable and a great tour guide. As we lumbered around in the TundraBuggy, Kevin explained a lot of facts about the flora and fauna of the Churchill area. It is a good thing that he was entertaining because we spent the entire day craning our necks to see a polar bear. As we headed back to the "station", Kevin stopped the Buggy, got out his binoculars and pointed out a polar bear at 1800 meters away. Our first sighting....how dramatic! Since we were on our way back, we did not have the time to go for a close up today.
Day 22
We boarded the Tundra Buggy this morning with our lesser expectations this morning. Kevin explained that we were going to the area that we saw the bear yesterday. We lumbered off. These Tundra Buggies go very slowly. We were all anticipating a close encounter. The bear from yesterday was located about a hundred meters away from the road. Since we had to stay on the paths, we watched as he picked up his head in curiosity. He was not curious enough to approach us. We lumbered on to seek another. Another Tundra Buggy had spotted a bear that was close to the road. We parked near to the other buggy and watched the bear. Kevin decided to have soup and sandwiches at this point. Those aromas enticed the bear to come up to the buggy. Our Close Encounter was great. It was a young male bear and he came right up to the buggy for quite a while. Plenty of photo opportunities. This was what we had all been waiting for. It's a good thing that this bear had responded. This was the last bear that we saw during the trip.
We went back to the hotel to collect our crayon luggage for the plane flight to Thompson. After a short flight, we were back in Thompson. We were transported back to our motorhomes by local taxis. It was great to see the puppies again.
Day 23
We had the day off to explore Thompson and settle back into our coaches. Did I mention that there is not much to see in Thompson? The only museum was closed since it was Sunday. We had dinner at a local eatery/bar. We should have eaten in the coach. 3 hours to eat cold food that was not very tasty(I'm being kind here).
Day 24
Thompson to Grand Rapids
We left this morning after an hour in line to dump and fill. We were dry camping in a gas station parking lot tonight so we need water and empty tanks. The roads were smooth. We stopped at the Pisew Falls turnout and ate lunch.
We all parked at the back of the truck stop and had a potluck dinner. I guess this was the equivalent of circling the wagons. MaryAnne and I said our goodbyes since tomorrow we would be leaving the caravan. I had jury duty the following week and we had already spent too much time in Winnipeg.
Day 25, 26, 27, 28
Grand Rapids, MB to Grand Rapids, MI

Well, that's the end. Would I take this trip knowing what I know now? No. A lot of money and time to see a few bears. I would plan it out to fly there and be at the height of the season. I'm sure that I would see more bears. I would also have time to take that optional dogsled ride that I thought would be offered in addition to our tundra buggy rides. We could have taken one instead of a day on the tundra buggy. This was not an option in my opinion.
Thanks for reading this log! Message me if you have a question.
2007 Holiday Rambler Navigator
2013 Honda CRV
Grandville, MI
FMCA 431519
RPCV Sierra Leone

 

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