Friday, March 02, 2012

Sudbury Ontario to Cambridge Ontario via the Toronto RV Show

This is the weekend of the Toronto International RV Show so we decided to go down and have a look. We will then continue on to see Kim, Mike, Jolene and Robyn in Cambridge and do some planning with Heather and Tom for our trip to Bristol, Tennessee in a couple of weeks for the NASCAR race.

It was a grey morning as we hit the road at 7:00 AM sharp. There was no snow falling yet but all the weather forecasters were calling for a significant dump this evening and overnight. I will have to fire up the new snow blower when we get home. After a quick stop at Tim's for a breakfast sandwich (ham on whole wheat English muffin) combo, we were southbound.

Just south of town, we were listening to CBC radio as an older man in a promo said he lisetened to the Morning North program so that he knew how to dress and whether to take an umbrella when he went out to walk his dog. Immediately after, Morning North host Marcus Schwabe mentioned that there was light freezing rain falling in some parts of the area. Which parts, Marcus? Like the old man and his dog, I need to know whether I will be sliding around on black ice. But no further information was forthcoming. Just in case, I stayed loose and didn't make any sudden moves.

I called Gary and Ray, who were bound for the show but had left earlier. They were about 100 miles ahead of us. Forty miles out of town, we started to get a very light drizzle on the windshield that continued off and on until we were past Parry Sound, but luckily the road surface didn't ice up. We made a fast pit stop at the Tim's south of Parry Sound where snowmobilers from the south were unloading their machines.

Snowmobile staging south of Parry Sound

Continuing south, the snow levels got even lower. You would never know this is one of Ontario's major snow belt regions from the lack of banks alongside the road. This time through, I also took a photo of the embankment my 1988 GL1500 went off when I wrecked in 1997. The location is on the northbound side of Highway 400 (two lanes back then) just north of the MacDonald River bridge.

No snowbanks along the road

The embankment my motorcycle went off in 1997

I'll get my gas price rant out of the way right now. Sudbury was $1.369 per liter this morning. Parry Sound was $1.319 and the Sunoco at Waubaushene was $1.269. Ten cents a liter ($0.40 per USG) difference for going 150 miles north in the same province. So far no one has explained this in anything close to a satisfactory manner. Okay, the gas price rant is done. Again.

I also noticed the van was riding a bit strangely over the bumps and dips. Then I realized that 100 pounds of rock salt and ice melter placed back of the rear axle will do that. But I'm ready if I should find any ice.

Rather than contend with the construction at the 400/401 interchange and unwilling to pay the exorbitant 407 tolls, I got off at King road and went across to Highway 27 in Nobleton. Then it was south with a small jog at Highway 7 onto the 427 and off again at Derry Road. There were Canada geese flocking all around here. Maybe they think it is spring because, south of Highway 7, there is no snow at all. We stopped at McDonald's on Derry Road for a quick burger (no fries) and a change of foot gear.

No snow south of Highway 7 (seen from the 427)

Exchanging boots for shoes at Mickey D's

Fed and shod, we arrived at the International Centre before noon. The show entrance was at Door 5 so we found a parking space and walked back. I didn't even take a jacket, finding it to be quite comfortable in short sleeves. Hard to believe it is the beginning of March.

The show was interesting. There were a lot of trailers and fifth wheels but many Class A, B and C motorhomes as well. Somewhere down the road, we will be looking at trading our C for a more spacious Class A and we were interested in what was out there. We made some contacts with a few dealerships and saw quite a few nice models at excellent show prices. We also looked at the smaller Class B Roadtrek units. Very expensive for the size and too crowded for extended living IMHO. Although we are not into trailers, we did have a nice talk with a gentleman named Einar and his wife. Hailing from Milton, they tow a 30' Airstream behind a 3.3L Toyota Sienna minivan and are big fans of a thing called a Hensley Hitch. They were volunteering for Can-Am out of London, arguably the best hitch and towing specialist in North America. We also bought some environmentally friendly bug killer and RV cleaner from a chemical engineer named Ray who worked as a summer student at the INCO Copper Refinery in 1970. We also saw Gary and Ray, who would be staying in Toronto tonight and heading back to Sudbury tomorrow.

Sandy in the snow free International Centre parking lot

I thought his was impressive until I met Einar

A baby Airstream (I think this is like my brother Rabbi's)

Einar and his wife in an Airstream trailer

We left the show about 3:45 and I suddenly realized we would be trying to leave Toronto during Friday rush hour. Instead of going south to the 401, I worked my way northwest aiming for Highway 7. I got off the 410 one exit too soon without realizing it and followed Queen Street through Brampton with another quick Mickey D stop for new Bistro chicken sandwiches. Then we worked our way southwest via Queen, then Steeles and then some roads that didn't have names. By the time we got to the 401 on the far side of Halton, traffic was flowing well and we made it to Cambridge in short order.

Everyone was eating when we arrived but we were already fed so we just sat and watched. It is interesting to watch a three-year-old and a one-year-old demolish supper. Then we played with kids, watched TV and visited for the evening. Word came through the news that the system which brought rain and high winds here and snow to Sudbury unleashed a major line of killer tornadoes across the eastern US. This after a previous one earlier in the week. It is way too early in the season for this type of event.

Kids don't wear many clothes here

Robyn likes being hung out to dry

Play-Doh time

Today's Route (296 van miles):

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Maneuvering around Toronto:

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