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  1. Default Thunder Bay area roads around Lake Superior


    I am moving across country and travelling from San Francisco Bay Area to Thunder Bay with my family (seemed like a great adventure) enroute to the northern east coast where we will be living soon. Does anyone know if there are good roads or highways around Lake Superior or if this route will be too hard with very small one lane roads (or worse: too much wilderness). I obviously do not know the area. Any insights would be very much appreciated.

    Also: I am bringing our pets (cats and birds) as part of our move to the US northern east coast. Besides getting current on rabies shots for the cats, do you know of any reason why we wouldnt be able to enter Canada with our pets?

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Transiting Canada over Lake Superior

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The rules for importing birds into Canada are relatively straightforward. I would also suggest that you get some sort of documentation showing that the birds originated in the United States and/or were in your possession when you entered Canada from the United States. I recall (from longer ago than I wish to admit) that on a trip to Germany with an expensive German camera, I first went to my local Customs Office and got a notarized letter listing the serial number of the camera and lenses so that I could show that I was not trying to 'sneak' the camera into the US on my return. Copies of the declarations you will have to make when crossing into Canada might be sufficient, but you should check this out.

    As far as highways over Lake Superior through Thunder Bay, you will be on the Trans-Canada Highway, the major road stitching that country together. However do not expect freeway quality. Between Thunder Bay and Ottawa, the Trans-Canada is almost exclusively two-lane blacktop (one lane in each direction) with occasional passing lanes. In fact, between Thunder Bay and Nipigon, a single two lane road is all that links eastern and western Canada. On the plus side, the road is so vital to Canada that it is well maintained. Besides, you are - as you note - in for a scenic adventure. Towns can be relatively few and far between, but that is only relatively. Just be aware of where the next sizeable town will be and don't assume that just because there is a dot and a name on a map that there are affordable tourist services such as food, gas or lodging (or any services for that matter).


  3. Default

    You might like to go into Google Maps and then its StreetView mode to look round at a few points along the roads. In StreetView mode you can drag with the mouse to pan and tilt the camera. To move along the road you can click with the mouse, or use the cursor keys, or drag the little yellow man icon. It's a wonderful resource, both in towns and on the open road. There are even a few hiking trails in the national parks which have been StreetViewed.

    Another excellent method of researching roads is to search on YouTube for dashcam videos of them, although sometimes it takes some considerable persistence before finding something useful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    The roads you are taking are perfectly safe, and see a fair number of travelers. They are also very scenic, and you are in for a very enjoyable ride.

    However, having said that, they are slow going. Duluth to Thunder Bay, for example is 180 miles but takes at least 4 hours, and that's if you don't stop at an scenic sites (and there are many, many, things to stop at). The TransCanada is pretty similar to MN-61 in that regard. Don't expect to average more than about 45 mph for the trip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Just in case....

    If you do not already have it, I would take out a AAA membership before this trip. Just as mentioned, there may be spells without services. At least you will have AAA/CAA to come to your assistance. With animals you will not want to be stuck somewhere. And just like in Northern Canada, fill up when you see a bowser, even if you are nowhere near 'empty'. You will be travelling much, much slower than what you are used to, but through some gorgeous country. Who'd want to speed through that.

    Enjoy the adventure.


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