In luck at Bruce Peninsula National Park: Chi-Cheemaun ferry, national park and wedding day rainstorm.
We left Sault Ste Marie after a refreshing stay at a hotel which was much needed. Our goal was to get to our friend's house in Sarnia. It had already seemed like we had driven very far on this road trip and given how much was left to go we were starting to wonder if this was a crazy idea, this whole driving across Canada idea. Nevertheless, we had a goal and we decided to just focus on getting to Sarnia and maybe Toronto.
We drove to Manitoulin Island because one of the things we were really looking forward to doing was riding the Chi Cheemaun Ferry across Lake Huron to Tobermory/Bruce Peninsula. There was a National Park at Bruce Peninsula that we were hoping to check out as well.
You would have thought that a couple of Vancouver Islanders would be pretty sick of riding ferries but this one felt different. The scenery was different and we were very much looking forward to this boat ride. It didn't even save us time on our journey. It was the slower route but it meant that we got a welcome break from driving.
There is a bridge going over to Manitoulin Island which is where you catch the Chi Cheemaun ferry.
We got our tickets and then waited for the ferry to arrive. It couldn't have been better weather.
The ferry arrived and we really liked the design on the side of the ship.
Lots of passengers loaded onto the ferry and we looked for a seat to watch us sail away. It was weird seeing Ontario ferries as it was probably the first time we had been on a ferry that was not operated by BC Ferries.
That is the flag of Ontario. It is not super creative since it looks like the Red Ensign flag which is the flag of Canada before the flag with the maple leaf became official in 1965.
We watched as the ship pulled away from shore.
A common custom in Ontario is to hold your children over the railings. The Chi Cheemaun ferry is a great opportunity to let your child stare death in the face but the authorities are starting to crackdown on this.
We were in shock that they put up this sign. I mean what is wrong with the world when people are denied the real pleasures in life, like endangering your child's safety?
Hard to believe that this is a lake and not the ocean as there was water as far as you can see. We relaxed inside the ferry and read our books for awhile. When we got to Tobermory we started looking for places to stay including motel and campsites. We weren't finding much so we headed to the Bruce Peninsula National Park.
We really lucked out this time. As it turns out we showed up on the busiest weekend of the year at Bruce Peninsula, the Chi Cheemaun festival. The park ranger told us that people reserve campsites months ahead of time for this weekend and they would have been completely booked if it hadn't been for some people running into their friends and deciding to join their friend's campsite, leaving a space open for us.
It was party central at the campsite with lots of drunken young people drinking beers and talking loudly about nonsense. We thought we were in for a terrible sleep but then we forgot how polite Canadians are. About 9:50, right before the noise/alcohol curfew of 10:00 we heard people saying "guys we only have 10 minutes left to drink, chug your beers" and "man, drinking all day really makes you tired". I think everyone at the campsite passed out so it was one of the quietest campsites we had been to yet even though it was completely full.
The lake nearby our campsite was very nice and there are trails to walk around it. What a great campground. There were signs warning about bears and rattle snakes but we didn't see either.
The next day we went to the interpretive centre of the park.
There was lots of info on the park and nature.
There was even a short film on the park and the famous Flowerpot Island with flowerpot shaped rock formations. There are quite a few tour boat companies in nearby Tobermory the specialise in tours of the island with glass bottom boats.
After the interpretive centre we climbed to the top of the observation tower. You can't see the flower pot shape rocks on Flowerpot Island because they are on the opposite side of the island.
It was also a bit foggy. One of the park rangers said on a clear day you can partially see the flower pots if you know what you are looking for. It's better to take a boat tour out there.
We always try and find the highest ground to get the best view wherever we go.
Looking down is pretty interesting in a tower like this as you can see through to the bottom. How do you feel about heights?
The red chairs are a fun thing to search out. We've had a lot of fun looking for these and getting selfies with them. We'll probably write a post on all the red chairs we found.
We made a short stop in a town nearby to check out the graves of some distant relatives.
It was a short stop and then we were back on the road. There was mostly farm land around this region. We found another Parks Canada site that we could stop at that has a lighthouse.
We stopped at Point Clark Lighthouse National Historic Site which had a nice beach to look at.
We stopped for a snack on the picnic table near the lighthouse. The museum was closed for some reason.
It was a nice lighthouse. The weather was starting to get a little ugly so we were going to head on our way after eating.
Close by to the lighthouse there was a wedding that was about to start. We were feeling bad for them since the rain was getting worse and worse. As we left we saw the bride riding in a convertable as it started to pour.
You know what they say about rain on your wedding day, right? It's good luck. They are going to have tons of good luck because is was really chucking down buckets of rain as we left and drove towards Sarnia.
Sarnia is where our friend lives and she kindly said she'd host us there for a few days. We were looking forward to visiting with her and to be able to rest up so we could continue our epic road trip. We were having a little bit of doubts on whether we'd make it the whole way as the driving was wearing us out more than we ever expected. At the same time the wanderlust in us was strong so we really wanted to continue and explore the rest of Canada given this was our best opportunity to do so.