The Coyles- Discover North America Expedition 2012 #1
North of the Border…
The Discover North America Expedition team is on the road again! For those of you that followed us on the 2010 & 2011 expeditions we thank you for your company. This year we plan to cover new territory, seek out some of the hidden secrets of this vast continent, revisit favorite haunts and discover the beauty and the bizarre of North America.
Our trusty Land Rover steeds of past expeditions, “Blackie” a 2008 Range Rover Sport and “G” a 2007 LR3 have found new homes and this year’s ride is a 2012 Range Rover Sport nicknamed “G” also. As we get older it’s just easier to have the same names to eliminate confusion! On board is our mascot “Pip” the Prairie Dog (see past blogs for Pip’s history) and “Pad” our navigator. Captain Jay is at the helm and I try to keep them all in line (not).
We head north out of steamy Florida trying to escape the swelter but this summer proves to break all records everywhere for drought, heat, fires, floods and wild weather. Where to go that’s ‘safe’? Well, we could try Canada…it’s cooler, usually? We pass through the border into the province of Ontario and head east into the province of Quebec. The day we arrive the temperature pushes 100 degrees! What? It’s hotter than Florida! What happened to the cool mountain breezes? All air conditioners everywhere groan under the unexpected load. We hang our hat in the little village of Montebello along the Ottawa River. There are a few bed and breakfast inns here but the big name in town is Le Chateau Montebello managed by Fairmont Hotels. Built in 1930 as a private club, the Chateau is the largest log structure in North America. Check out the many activities offered year round and don’t forget there is the Land Rover Experience Driving School here. We have checked out the other schools but this course is the most challenging we have found in North America. The course and steep trails wander through the Kenauk , a 65,000 acre private preserve owned by the Chateau. You can not only test your mettle on the rocky, steep Canadian Shield terrain but also have the chance to see moose, deer, bears, wolves and other local wildlife.
The unrelenting heat continues and the drought that shriveled the Great Plains moves north and sits on Quebec and Ontario. The numerous fires burning in the western U.S. scorch some of the areas we would like to visit. We scan the map and try to find somewhere cool and fire free. That treasure trove of water that straddles the US & Canada boarder looks good. It has to be cooler with the 5 magnificent Great Lakes and surrounding forests generating moisture? We load up G and the DNA-X crew and head west into Ontario. After passing through Ottawa, Canada’s capitol, we get on the lonely Trans-Canada Highway and wonder…