July 20 - 23 (21)
We then drove through a large Manitoba Provincial Park that turned out to be nothing more than a series of cottage developments. We speculated that this was mainly a playground for the residents of Winnipeg. If there were any campgrounds, we did not see them. (In fact, they were jammed in between the cottages!)
We were amazed that the Sandbar Lake electrical outlets were so far away from the sites. They had one post between the sites and we needed our extension cord to make the 100 foot connection. The weather was even warmer than before and we knew we were in full summer. Having air conditioning in the van was great (good thing we had the long electrical cord!).
Sandbar lake is west of Thunder Bay and not as large as the other lakes we had encountered in Manitoba. However, the wind was strong and the lake had whitecaps. Tom rode his bike down to the lake and met a couple of fishermen who had not had much luck that day. They liked his bike, having never seen such a neat folding contraption. They also complimented our van for its modern aerodynamics. There were thunderstorms all day long and we spent some of the day re-planning the remaining 1,100 miles of driving. So far, the provincial parks had been a disappointment and we had planned to stay at Rossport (where we had visited 2 years ago) for 3 days. Given our experience, we decided to cut the stay at Rossport to 2 days and spread out the drive home over another day to avoid 400+ mile drives.
Well, that was not a good idea. The Rossport Campground of Rainbow Falls Provincial Park, just a bit east of Rossport turned out to be a beautiful place. Our site looked right onto Lake Superior. After grilling hamburgers, we took the kayaks from the top of the van that evening in preparation for an early morning paddle the next day before the wind kicked up.
We were launched and on the largest Great Lake by 9:30AM. There was a gentle swell on a nearly flat surface. We headed west toward the town of Rossport. After about a mile of easy paddling, we noticed that the swell was now twice as large as it had been when we launched. There was a wind that began to build the waves. We decided to turn around and had a vigorous paddle back to our camp site. Lake Superior was living up to its legend.
We would have liked to have stayed all three days we had originally planned on at Rossport, but we had made a commitment to reducing the amount of driving to less than 300 miles a day by using the buffer day at Rossport as a driving day. We put the kayaks back on the top of the van in record time of 25 minutes (we are really getting good at this). Tomorrow, Monday, July 24 would be the start of our last week. We felt both sad and excited to be returning home.