Thursday, June 27, 2013

Here we are zip lining in Renfrew, ON. We had a blast, it is just a new facility and very inexpensive so I decided to give it a try.  Another customer was just finishing as I was getting suited up and Barry decided that it looked like fun and away we went.  There were 3 sections of the course which totaled almost a kilometer of zipping.  You know what they say, "When is the last time you did something for the first time!" 

We had a lovely visit with Lucy and Mark.  Lucy is Barry's first cousin, they met for the first time at Sherran's wedding about 10 years ago.  We got along famously and really enjoyed the area where they have their fifth wheel, we saw loons, turtles, catfish, red winged blackbirds and a baby robin.  We met a set of friends that had cruised in the Caribbean for a number of years so exchanged sailorly yarns. From Renfrew we drove across to the middle of the east shore of Lake Huron and visited our old buddies from Tungsten days, the Crawfords.  
From left to right, Val, Pat, me Crystal, Hank and Bailey 
Pat had retired from working at the Sifto Salt Mine in Goderich, but went back to work 3 years later and is now working 2 weeks in and 2 out at a mine in Northern Saskatchewan.  They have a lovely home and their daughter Crystal, aka Toad, married a local farmer and is living the life of a farmer's wife about 20 minutes away from her parents.  Toad and Hank have about 280 head of sheep and they grow corn, soy beans and hay.  I was astonished at how all the barn animals got along, the cat below tolerating getting put in it's place by a duck.  I don't know isn't that pretty demeaning for a cat!?!

The view from the ferry when leaving Toblemory. 
We headed north from Goderich and took a ferry from Toblemory to Manitoulin Island across Lake Huron where Georgian Bay narrows.  It cut off a lot of driving but with the time spent waiting for the ferry, we may have gotten their faster if we had driven.  Ontario is a huge province and we drove and drove and ended up a 12 hour day at the wheel with about 1100 kilometers to go until we reached the Manitoba border.  We tented on the north shore of Lake Superior and walked along a lovely sand beach that was on fresh water. We actually saw two moose on this trip, on while driving through Algonquin Park, the other north of Lake Huron.  
The view across Lake Superior, the mark on the left side of the picture is a squashed Canadian bug
on our  windshield we are glad we could get rid of one, there are millions and they bite, and then itch and itch. 

Our last stop in Ontario was at Lee and Sarah Berry's place near Eagle Lake, which is between Dryden and Kenora, ON. They had a lovely home on the lake shore, a two story 3 bedroom home with a gazebo, their own private dock with a storage hut/fish shack at the lake's edge.  They retired from Yellowknife a couple of years after we did and we spent the evening catching up and reminiscing about track meets in our past and people that we knew in Yellowknife.  In Ontario we visited five sets of friends and family and enjoyed every minute of it.  Isn't it grand to be able to take the time in our lives to renew acquaintances and make new ones. We are now visiting my Mom and hope to stay in Winnipeg for about 2 weeks.  We have past the longitudinal center of Canada so we are now closer to the west coast than the east one.
I hope everyone in Canada enjoys a wonderful Canada Day and for those of our Canadian buddies still sailing in other countries, invite your friends over, fly your Canadian flag high and have a party.  Last year we were in Mauritius with Tagish, Cat Mousses and Erica celebrating in style. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

 We rounded the tip of the Gaspe and had some beautiful vistas with lighthouses at the tips of points.  That night we stopped at a camp ground on the edge of the St. Lawrence and it was pretty calm and benign.  The next morning we woke up and it was just howling down the river, the waves were crashing against the shore and we figured that if we had been trying to go up to Quebec City on the boat we would have waited in whatever safe harbour we were in because you would have been crashing into the wind and the waves and possibly fighting the current, not a good place to be in a sailboat, but in our little red SUV life was good, safe and we had no problems driving into the wind.  

Quebec has invested in some wind energy and there were several large wind farms along our route, about 100 km north of Quebec City.  There was an average of 15 windmills in each park and they must  put out a goodly amount of power. There were the closest we had seen to dwellings. 

This is the bridge across the St. Lawrence when we crossed in Quebec City. I am the navigator in the car and I was madly trying to reprogram the GPS so we could go to the Old Town and Barry was driving along, he headed off to Montreal because he did not realize we were in Quebec City, he said he thought the signs that said "QUEBEC" just meant we were in the province of Quebec, I will have to make sure he has a clue where we are in the future!!!  

Anyway, after a bit of driving around, trying to find a map we ended up on Plains of Abraham and spent the better part of the day exploring the old town.  We walked through the Chateau Frontenac, (pictured below) which was very impressive. We visited a maple syrup museum and learned the finer points in tapping maple trees.  One fact was that it took about 40 litres of sap to get one litre of maple syrup, I was astounded!

Barry figured he had found a street named after him, but figured out shortly afterwards that it just meant the road was closed. 
For Quinn!  It is full sized, I should have stood by it so you could see how big it is!
We headed to Ottawa to visit my Aunt Marianne.  We found her in pretty good health and a pleasure to spend an evening with.  We have pictures of her on my phone but I have yet to figure out how to put them on my computer, I can put them on Facebook and perhaps I will try that. My brother said there is an app that I can get to load them on blogger, so may have to see about that! We visited the National Science and Technology Museum and found it very much geared towards the younger generation and sadly out of date, although it is a museum.  They had a number of full sized railway locomotives, you could even climb up inside this one. 
We met another of Barry's cousin's for lunch, Ken Lange, Robert's younger brother was able to meet us and it was great getting to know him.  He is very much interested in the Lange family history and took the particulars of our children and grandchildren to add to the family tree.  He is very involved with ultimate frisbee and has been on  two national championships teams, quite the accomplishment. We decided to visit the National Museum of Civilization.  It had a gallery that took you through Canadian History from the early explorers to the present day.  Much to our surprise at the end was a full sized replica of the Wildcat Cafe, which is located in Yellowknife and where we have eaten numerous times.  The thing was, the replica is bigger than the original, there was more space across the middle than the one up north.  
You can't leave the capital without taking a picture of the Parliament Buildings.  The Museum of Civilization is directly across the river so we had a great view of Parliament as we left. We found our way out of Ottawa easily following the directions of the syrupy voice on the GPS. We camped about 40 km out of town and are planning to visit Barry's cousin Lucy tonight.  The we are hoping to visit some old friends from Tungsten days in Goderich, ON on the shores of Lake Huron.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Lange B & B called Island Tree Farm

The first night out we stayed with Barry's cousin, Robert Lange at his bed and breakfast about 50 km. from the causeway to Cape  Breton Island.  We had a great visit and in the morning Robert showed us his Christmas Tree Farm.  They had lots of beautiful trees to pick from, but Robert said the money was in making wreaths, not in selling trees, he could make a wreath in an hour and sell it for $25.00, when he sold the trees to a lot he only got $4.00 a tree, cut and delivered to the lot.  He showed us an example which was in great shape considering it had sat there for 5 months.  
 From the farm we headed over to take the ferry to PEI, Barry had never been, we just missed a ferry so had 3 hours to fill.  We headed into Pictou, NS and toured an exhibit about the Herbert, a boat that brought over a load of Scotsman, that were the first settlers in the area. They had removed the tree masts and all the rigging in order to check them out and they unbelievable as they laid outside the building.  I am in the background to give a scale, as you can see they are huge. 
Landing in PEI
The red earth was in full view as we landed at Wood Island.  It was a bitter day, threatening rain and the temp. was supposed to go down to 8 or 9.  We both decided that tenting was not an option so we drove around until we found this lovely Inn in Georgetown.  I had some strange thought that Georgetown would be a big place, probably because of the other Georgetown's in the world, but it was quite small, but we managed to find a lovely spot to spend the night.  They had a great restaurant inside the Inn and we had a lovely dinner, dining on chowder, mussels and crab.  
We drove into Charlottetown and visited the spot where Confederation began.  The building is very well preserved and the PEI legislature stills meets in the building.  It was interesting to learn the nuts and bolts about how Confederation began and to see a re-enactment of the ball that took place after the talks.
The meeting room where Confederation was hatched. 

 We headed across the new bridge between PEI and New Brunswick and headed north and east around the Gaspe Pennisula.  Our first night in the tent was cold, I had my towel draped over me and was still cold whereas Barry in his new Canadian Tire sleeping bag was very comfortable.  Our stove worked fine and heated up a great can of pork and beans, not just any but Libby's Deep Browned Pork and Beans, not that is camping.  The next morning we stopped at Maugish National Park. It has one of the world's best collection of fossils.  There are cliffs along the Baie de Chaleur that have layered sandstone that have fantastic fossils.  There are 3D fossils of fish as well as great plant and tree fossils, we spent a couple of hours learning about this very interesting spot.  
 We drove east along the shores of the Gaspe, it is rather like the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, a road squashed between the water and the mountains. The Appalachian run all along the middle of the Gaspe. and at times come right down to the water.  Once we had rounded the eastern tip and were travelling along the north shore we saw the famous  Roche Pierce.  It is quite the site, the sea was very calm today and it made a lovely picture.  We have continued west and at the moment we are almost  at the end of the peninsula.  I had a better night last night covering myself with both of our fleecies, and I don't think it was as cold.  Last night we had a salad, with a spaghetti dinner and I sipped a glass of red wine as we watched the sun set over the St. Lawrence River. Life is good!!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

the boys hanging out with grandpa
we have been having a great time with the boys.  last weekend we went to visit a wildlife park.  they had lots of native canadian animals including a bobcat, which i had never seen.  there was a playground attached to the park so we spent time there pushing the kids on the swings and watching their antics on the monkey bars.
 during the week we kept busy shopping for more camping stuff and setting our finances in order at the very accommodating bank. i also took on the task of giving ithe play set in the back yard another coat of stain.
i was doing really well until the liter of paint fell of the second step and spilled all over the grass. i ended  up brushing the paint off the grass and managed to get the most important parts restained.  leeland was a great help, and didn't even get much paint all over himself.

we celebrated william's birthday yesterday, even though it isn't really until july.  he had a party last year and no one came because school was out, so this year the party was while school was on.  there were ten kids at the party.  it was held at the soccer dome and the adults had just as much fun as the kids.  there were frisbees, and small nerf  footballs to toss around.  there was a bouncy tent for the kids which they just loved, there were huge balls to roll around on or race with. hot dogs, cake and ice cream were next on the line up then the kids bashed away on a soccer ball pinata, fun all around. barry and i gave william a pair of in-line roller skates and here are his first successful efforts on them on the back deck.
we will be heading east on wed. spending the first night of our trip with barry's cousin robert at his b and b just over the causeway on the mainland.  we have three sets of old friends to see in ontario, so that should be fun.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

It becomes so easy to seamlessly slip into life ashore.  Having oodles of space to move around, being able to wash your hands with the water running and not having to worry about not having enough, access to a fridge that has room for a 2 liter container of juice. It is awesome to be able to just walk down the hall and put your dirty clothes in the washing machine, and then a dryer, instead of washing by hand in a bucket and hanging on a rope strung on the boat. The idea that you will absolutely, positively wake up in the same place you went to sleep, there is no possibility that your house may drift down the street and end up on the rocks.
Barry and \Leeland on the 4 wheeler in front of our new Nissan
The other day I washed the 2005 Nissan X-Trail that our wonderful daughter is gifting to us to drive across Canada. Today I washed and polished her new Honda Civic and Barry vacuumed both the vehicles.  It was a pleasure to bring a shine to a brand new car, no effort just wipe and rub a little bit, not like the elbow grease necessary to get even a half shine on our almost 30 year old boat.
Getting ready to fire the noon gun. 
Jennifer had a meeting in Halifax on Friday so we drove down with her on Thursday night and spent the day. We visited the Citadel, the fort in the center of the city, after we shopped for camping gear a MEC.  In the afternoon we drove to Peggy's Cove a beautiful spot about a half hour from Halifax.
 It is a gorgeous example of a small maritime Canadian village, very picturesque with a lighthouse that has been there since 1917.
Scoping out the crowd before the race
We both are truly enjoying getting to know our Nova Scotian grandchildren, William is almost six just finishing his primary year at school, and Leeland is a very athletic almost four year old. This morning William with his school classmates participated in a 2.4 km run.  The doctors in N. S. have sponsored a program to get the kids in the schools moving and today was the culmination.  There must have been over 700 kids there  today, all dressed in matching T-shirts and ready to run. Leeland ran the course too, jogging along for some 4 year old reason he felt compelled to turn each traffic cone he came across.  On on street where we had to turn there was a traffic cone and if you continued straight you would be crossing a street that had traffic (they had stopped traffic for the whole route).  I kept an eagle eye on him and sure enough after he had straightened out that particular cone he headed right into the traffic, good thing Grannie's instincts were still functioning. Both William and Leeland were very proud owners of finisher's medals at the end of the run. It was very cute to see Grandpa running along side Leeland, it made my heart sing.  We finished our camping preparations by buying a GPS so that we can successfully negotiate across Canada and visit different members of our family.