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Old 04-24-2013, 05:24 PM   #21
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If you're a rock hound, there are a couple of amethyst mines in the area that are worth a visit. If you check out the Terry Fox monument, you'll find quite an eyeful of amethyst.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:10 PM   #22
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The MN state parks are all wonderful up there. We've stayed at crookedlakemn.com in the cabins. They are rustic, but it is so serene there.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:40 PM   #23
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once your here you could just follow highway one and find the terry fox statue @ mile 0 .... in victoria

brush up on your metric too.... especially metric time (lol)
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:50 PM   #24
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Living in Minnesota most of my life I've crossed the border many, many times to visit friends or to hunt or fish. Never a problem, ever, except once and that turned out be a bad day.

About 25 years ago a supplier of my company decided to take 15 or 20 of his best clients on a fly-in fishing trip out of Red Lake, Canada. Plan was to meet at his company warehouse at midnight, pack several of his company's Dodge Caravans with all our gear and leave, good plan. We packed all the, stuff, duffels, fishing gear, beer and soda in 4 vans and took off. We thought we'd make Intl Falls by daybreak, drive a little further and have breakfast. Well, we did make I-Falls by sun up, I was in the last vehicle. The guys ahead of us whizzed through customs no problem. When I got there the customs officer asked where we were headed "Red Lake, fishing" I said. Then he asked if we has any liquor or beer, we told him a case of beer each (4) as is allowed by law. Now he's standing there looking through the window of this van at beer and booze stacked to the ceiling, many cases. At that point he asked for the auto registration and proof of insurance. The bulb suddenly went on in my head, I knew we were totally screwed and things were going downhill fast. We had everyone's booze in our van. I think I mumbled I didn't have them. He said "You expect me to believe you're going fishing in a possibly stolen vehicle loaded full with illegal booze, with no luggage or fishing gear? Please step out of the vehicle gentlemen and keep your hands where we can see them" By this time there were 20 cars stacked behind us and the customs folks had us surrounded with guns drawn. They then cuffed us, took our belts and shoes and locked us in a little room. This was not good.
To make a long story short, after a couple hours our cohorts in the other vans finally missed us and came back to the border, along with title, registration, proof of insurance and a plausible explanation. We were then on our way to a great fishing and a good story to tell our kids.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:53 PM   #25
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Alan

That's not highway one, we actually do not have a highway one - it's highway 61 from the border for cricket from MN then Hwy 17 to Terry Fox. Oh, just realized you must be talking about another Terry Fox statue - didn't now there was one in Victoria.

A former Tbay'er, Adrian

ya - and watch that metric time - for some reason Thunder Bay is on Eastern time - makes for great long evenings in JuneJuly but a pain on winter mornings!
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:06 PM   #26
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Ditto and for sure Old Fort William and Kakabeka Falls. If you take more time and want to go to Sleeping Giant, I think Ouimet Canyon Prov Park is on the way. The Terry fox statue will be a great experience for the kids too.

The kids will really learn from Old Fort William, a living history museum. Much bigger with more interaction than our Grand Portage. There is a new building at Grand Portage with neat stuff inside too. There is a National park fee for Grand Portage stop as well as fee for Old Fort William. If my budget only allowed one stop I would pick Old Fort William this time and Grand Portage on another trip. IMHO.

If you haven't passports Grand Portage, the info center at the border, and Grand Marais will make a lovely trip. We love staying at Grand Marais municipal campground and walking around Artist Point and eating in the village.

Nancy
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:12 PM   #27
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As far as what to see, it really depends on your activity level and your vehicle capability.

I've lived in Thunder Bay for about 12 years now, and spend pretty much every weekend exploring so I know of a few places

I've give you some of the easy/popular spots:

Literally as soon as you cross the border there will be a what looks like an information center and parking lot on your right. This is Pigeon River Provincial Park ( Pigeon River ). At the far side of the parking lot you'll find the trail head that leads to High Falls--a very scenic waterfall. There's two main trails here: one that leads to High Falls, and one that leads to a high lookout over Lake Superior.

On your way to Thunder Bay, there's a few places you'll pass that are worth checking out (Little Trout Bay, Picnic Point etc), but if time is limited you may want to skip them.

As you get into Thunder Bay on the Highway, if you make a left at the Harbor Expressway intersection that will take you into Kakabeca. The largest waterfall in the area is there--Kakabeca Falls. You can also camp here, but have to pay.

If you continue further down the highway and don't go towards Kakabeca, you'll pass Oliver St, then John St, then Red River, and finally you'll come to Balsam. Take a left on Balsam and follow it to the end. This will lead you to the Cascades Conservation Area. When I first came to Thunder Bay, this was my favourite place to go. It's a white water stream cascading over a large outcrop of rock with some calmer spots for swimming (very scenic).

Continue down the highway past Balsam, you'll pass the Terry Fox lookout on your left after about 5 minutes, and then after about 45 minutes you'll come to the turn off for the Sleeping Giant Provincial park. As others have said, there's tons of hiking trails there and it's a great spot to camp.

Past the turn off for the sleeping giant there's a few amethyst mines to visit and maybe 20 minutes past, on your left, there's a turn off for Eagle canyon (Canada's largest suspension bridge http://www.eaglecanyonadventures.ca/?type=link&WT.ctb_click_ad=Eagle%20Canyon%20Advent ures). Worth a look for sure, but can get expensive depending on how many of you there are. Ouimet Canyon is very close to here, free, and worth a look.

Further than that, about 3 hours outside of Thunder Bay are some of my favourite spots to camp and explore, but if you're only here for a couple a days they're probably a little too far for you.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:25 PM   #28
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Hi all,

Let's slow down on our suggestions. Cricket said a DAY or two of sightseeing and we've giving them a week or two. Let's not confuse them. Let's whet their appetite for another trip.

Number one attraction in Thunder Bay is Old Fort William
Fort William Historical Park

Adrian
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:34 PM   #29
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Bob,

Thanks for the info. There are a couple of free things you mentioned that we will check out next time we come up. Locals always know the best spots.

Nancy
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:06 PM   #30
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Do remember NOT to bring back any produce to the US. I ended up eating a bunch of apples, oranges, etc. upon approaching the border. Now that I think of it, I'm not sure they checked! I'm so used to being checked upon entering California, it's a habit now whenever I cross any border. Ha, ha.
Happy Camping,
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:47 PM   #31
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A few years back, we camped our way around the Lakes from NY to Grand Marais, MN. Our last stop on the Canadian side was Kakabeka. If you have a few days, drive a little further into Ontario and visit Rainbow Falls Park, and stay in the smaller Rossport campground. We loved it there. Small, great views, rocky shore. Nice little town, too, and friendly folks. We enjoyed Thunder Bay and the falls at Kakabeka, but enjoyed camping at Rossport far more... Just our preference.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:19 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilda View Post
Do remember NOT to bring back any produce to the US. I ended up eating a bunch of apples, oranges, etc. upon approaching the border. Now that I think of it, I'm not sure they checked! I'm so used to being checked upon entering California, it's a habit now whenever I cross any border. Ha, ha.
Happy Camping,
Gilda
That's funny! I remember doing that many times because the inspection station is in Truckee. But then you could go through town and get back on I80 just after the inspection station. Crossing into CA is almost like crossing into CA!

I remember seeing video of some roads in NY state that ran along the boarder, paralleling roads in Canada. Only thing between them was a shallow strip of dirt maybe a meter wide. I assume all of those type of places have fences now

Make sure your health and car insurance is up to date and covers you in Canada. Any "irregularities" in car or camper registration could cause problems at customs. I had the front lic plate stolen off my car while out of state. I reported it to the local sheriff but it got put on record as the car was stolen. That led to a couple uncomfortable stops, one in Tijuana, before CHP sorted it out.

I would suggest a quick look at local road laws. The green flashing light that some provinces use always confuses me. I don't know how familiar you are with driving across boarder (first timer?) but I refreshing one's memory never hurt.

I hope to make it up north in the next few years. Right now working and living in Florida would mean half of vacation is just driving there. Vancouver was pretty and I liked what little I saw of Montrťal, though the drive east was beautiful.

Enjoy the great suggestions and tell us how it goes. The rest of us may follow your lead

Jason
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:42 PM   #33
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It isn't our first time over the border, but it is the first time crossing without someone much more familiar with the process. Last time we crossed was into bc and then took the ferry to victoria island.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:50 PM   #34
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Thunder Bay runs two campgrounds.. Chippewa and Trowbridge Falls.. if you go to Trowbridge you can sit in the little cascades
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:37 PM   #35
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I assume you can make reservations on line?
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:41 AM   #36
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I assume you can make reservations on line?
Google is your friend.

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Old 05-01-2013, 09:59 AM   #37
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Cricket - you'll find crossing at Pigeon River should be without problem if you follow the suggestions outlined in this thread. We never had any problems there when we lived in Thunder Bay - mind you we're Canadians going home every time, and the biggest question is how much you spent in the US - that won't be a problem for you.

The suggestion for Trowbridge is a good one - it's right in Thunder Bay and you'll be close to see the sights. Just north on the Trans Canada from there is the Terry Fox lookout which was suggested in this thread. There's a full Ontario welcome centre there where you can tons of info for Tbay and area - there's also a welcome centre at Pigeon River right after you cross.

The suggestion for Rossport is also good, but don't know whether you want to venture that far - two hours past Tbay. I ran a B&B there for a summer, it's a gorgeous spot - and a lovely provincial campground right on Lake Superior just east of the town.

Hope you have a wonderful time on your trip to Northwestern Ontario.

Adrian
"hoping to see two Escapes on our current trip in NC"
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:33 AM   #38
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We went into Canada twice last year. The first time was when we were picking up the Scamp... we didn't even have MN plates on the beast, and the registration was to the old owner. No problems there. There was a bit of puzzlement at the big boxes of rocks. "We collect them." You could see the "Crazy American" look on their faces.

The second time was with proper plates and registration... again not a problem. This time, going into Canada, when asked "Reason for Visit' we replied "Rockhounding". Since this was on the way into Thunder Bay that got a "Hope you find some great amethyst!" and were waved on our way.

Coming back INTO the US was more of a hassle. Again, the buckets of rocks raised some eyebrows, but no big problems.

Oops... just pointed out to me that the following is WRONG. You do need a passport or an "Enhanced Travel Document".
The only REAL requirement is to have a passport. Not needed to go INTO Canada, but you need one to come home.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:11 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbailey View Post
If you're a rock hound, there are a couple of amethyst mines in the area that are worth a visit. If you check out the Terry Fox monument, you'll find quite an eyeful of amethyst.
Me? Rockhound? <grin> We make it up to Thunder Bay to collect amethyst around every other year. There's probably a couple of hundred pounds of landscape-quality amethyst scattered around the yard. My favourite (see, I'm bilingual!) mine is the "Blue Willow". We also scored big on the last trip with a new roadcut right across the trans-Canada from the KOA Thunder Bay campground. Neat crystals and some pretty good fluorescence on some of the pieces.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:19 AM   #40
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On our last big trip across Canada, my wife insisted that I wasn't allowed to pick up any rocks until we were own our way back. I started by collecting some of the stuff out of my Dad's garden that we had picked up when I was 6 or 8 years old -- he was selling the house and couldn't take them with him.

That was on Vancouver Island. By the time we were back in Ottawa, we had over 200 lbs of rocks.
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