Thursday, July 1, 2010

2 For 2

We felt like we have hit it twice in a row.  Yesterday we went to another great museum.

This one was in Oil Springs, Canada, right across the border.  Pam and I decided to take a different route over to the Petrolia area (which is near Oil Springs) and we took the little ferry across.
We took this route on our 220 mile day trip 
A,F:  Starting/Ending point - New Hudson, Michigan
B:  Border Crossing Ferry at Algonac, Michigan to Walpole Island, Ontario, Canada
C: Museum at Oil Springs, Canada
D: Petrolia, Canada
E: Border Crossing at Port Huron, Michigan

Just before we boarded the ferry at Algonac (B on map) we stopped at an empty restaurant with a little grass lawn on the shore of Lake St. Clair.  We had a picnic lunch and enjoyed the beautiful and cool day.
From there it was about a 15 minute drive to the Ferry at Algonac.  I asked the lady behind me for directions after we got off on Walpole Island.  She and Ron (the security guy and operator of the ferry) gave us some good instructions to Oil Springs.
Our drive to the museum (C on the map above) was uneventful and took us about 30 minutes from the ferry.  The Oil Springs Museum brings to life one unbelievable fact:
Oil in the North America was discovered first here, at this location in 1858.  
I was blown away by this.  Did you know it all started here?

The entrance to the grounds shows a number of outdoor displays and this first commercial oil well.  Owner James Miller Williams dug a hole 6 feet by 8 feet.  At 14 feet down, oil began seeping into the hole.  He put a pump over the hole and this 3 pole derrick to lift heavy tools and equipment.
Inside the museum, we listened to an informative video and then a short geological talk by one of the museum docents.
Inside, there are many displays on the ground floor.  It contains a wealth of petroleum industry artifacts, working exhibits, fascinating stories and a kerosene lamp which was an early by product of the oil.
In the latter part of the 19th century, Canada exported oil drilling expertise all over the world.  Canadians were drilling in Peru, Malaysia, Saudia Arabia and Europe and elsewhere.  Technology export and oil workers from Canada spanned the globe beginning in 1873.

The Oil Springs blacksmiths made all the tools and bits for drilling there.  They also made wheel rims for the wagons, barrels and shoes for the horses that hauled the oil to railheads in nearby London (Canada) and Sarnia.
One interesting invention during this era was jerker lines.  These wooden rods moved back and forth to relay power from the pump house.
We could have spent a long time there.  We didn't see all the outdoor displays and will have to go back another day.

From the museum, we went to Petrolia (D on map above), then to the bridge and Port Huron.  We stopped at the Vistor's Center for some information on the new HST tax in Canada.  The national tax goes up from 5% to 13% on July 1.  I don't know anyone who is very happy about that.  We will be paying that tax for our campsites in Canada in the next 5 weeks.

Then the worst part of the day.  The looong wait on the at the border getting backing into the USA.
It took us over an hour to go through the line.  But at least there were some good sights to see.  On the top is Port Huron Michigan.  The picture below is Sarnia, Canada.  The water in Lake Huron is about the bluest I have ever seen...

We arrived home in the early evening and had dinner along the way.  Atferwards, we spent some time with our friends Roger and Joyce.  They are leaving today for Hillman Michigan to see Howard and Linda and some other RV-Dreamers.

Many thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  And special thanks to our newest Followers:
Flo and Jerry
We appreciate it!

See you all next time and BE SAFE during the 4th of July Weekend!


  1. Great information and pics on the oil museum. Looks like a great place to visit. I always thought oil was first discovered in Pennsylvania for some reason.

    As for the tax issue, it does change today but it's not quite as drastic as you mentioned. The actual tax rate is staying the same with the HST(Harmonized Sales Tax) at 12% here in B.C. and 13% in a few other Provinces. The difference is the Provincial Sales Tax of 5% is being eliminated altogether and "harmonized" with the federal Goods and Services Tax(GST)so the actual tax rate remains about the same after the elimination of the PST. Our leaders tell us that the HST is better for all as it will lead to more jobs etc. than the old PST system - sure!!

  2. Lake Huron sure is pretty and you are blue! Thanks for the information and tour of the oil museum. Very informative!
    You all have a good 4th of July and stay safe!

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  3. I have always enjoyed museums. If we ever get up that way I hope we remember to visit that one. Thanks for the overview.

  4. The oil museum seems quite informative. We will be looking forward to see how ordinary USA folks get along with a diesel motorhome up in Canada. And yes in spite of what Rick says, any way you cut it, 13% added onto the top of everything is a very expensive tax indeed! We're not too sure we could afford to vacation in Canada.