Our trip August to November 2012 (September 26-30)

September 30

Blue and Grey

The skies were blue as we started our journey today, but became grey as the day wore on. We had a quick continental breakfast at the Travelodge we stayed at last night (which was sadly in need of some TLC), then pointed Priscilla toward Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I managed to squeeze in an oil change in Allentown along the way, and arrived at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center in early afternoon. It is run by the National Park Service, and is quite remarkable. Greeting you outside is a statue of Abe Lincoln and the text of the Gettysburg Address, which, for those of you who never memorized it, appears below:

The Gettysburg Address

One of the many beautiful exhibits

(Don’t forget to click on any image for a larger version)

As part of our museum visit, we watched a very well-made documentary about the Battle of Gettysburg on a huge screen, then made our way to an adjoining “theatre-in-the-round”, more properly known as a Cyclorama, which depicts Pickett’s Charge (he was a Confederate General) against the Union position, which ultimately failed, and turned the tide of the Civil War. (Of course, the Confederates wore grey, and the Union wore blue.) It is difficult to describe, other than to say that it was originally painted in the late 1800’s by a famous French painter, and has wound up having a permanent home in this museum. It is oil on canvas, and measures something like 20 ft. high and 370 ft. in circumference. It has been completely restored and the show consists of a narration over a very moving soundtrack. As the story unfolds, the appropriate sections of the cyclorama light up and the sound of cannon and musket fire are heard. It is accurate down to the smallest detail, as the artist and his team visited the battlefield and had photographs and drawings made to work from. These photos may give you a bit of a sense of it:

Cyclorama detail

Cyclorama detail

Cyclorama detail

The complete cyclorama in a much smaller scale

Sorry to be so wordy about this, but this all left quite an emotional impression on us. If anyone reading this has any interest at all in the Civil War, put this on your bucket list.

We drove to the campground (right on the edge of the park) and checked in, then headed into downtown Gettysburg for a bite to eat at the (you guessed it) Blue and Grey Pub. Our plans for tomorrow may change to include a day’s bus tour to Washington D.C., which is only a couple of hours away. If that doesn’t work out, we’ll do a self-guided car tour of the Military Park, then go back into Gettysburg and go walkabout. I’ll update tomorrow, depending on what time we get back.

September 29

A change of plans

We were woken early this morning by a lightning and thunder storm directly overhead. Not a surprise, as it had rained on and off all night. We decided not to stay a second night, as the weather was not promising. We did decide to drive to the tip of the Cape to Provincetown, a community with a number of historic attractions (see tower below),

Tower built of Maine granite, as a memorial to the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth near here

and a greater number of tourist stores full of the usual kitsch. We did have an enjoyable walk out on the pier.

Pigeons on Parade

We had a quick breakfast, then decided to head back down the Cape and then head east toward Pennsylvania, to cut a few hours off what was going to be a very long drive to Gettysburg tomorrow. On the way, we stopped at Cohoon Beach, on the Atlantic side:

Cohoon Beach

We drove through four states today; New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York, and crossed into New Jersey late this afternoon, the rain finally having given up around noon. A somewhat stressful drive around New York City, and the fact that we had no campsite booked, led to the decision to stay at a Travelodge tonight, before continuing on to Gettysburg tomorrow.

September 28

Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head, we’ve L.L. Bean to Freeport, the Boston Marathon and Tunnel Vision

On the way to Cape Cod, we stopped in Freeport (a town seemingly built around outlet stores), to visit the L.L. Bean flagship store. Unless you have been there, it is hard to describe, other than it is BassPro on steroids. For those unfamiliar with BassPro, it is a huge store that sells everything for the outdoors. The L.L. Bean store complex takes up a full city block, and if you can’t find what you need here, you don’t need it. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera with me, so there are no pictures to share. One of the best window displays is a pair of full-sized male moose, horns locked together in what is titled “The Last Charge”. The antlers are real; they were found in 2005 on what was left of two bull moose who had locked antlers and died of starvation. L.L. Bean had a taxidermist recreate the scene, and it is quite emotional to look at.We couldn’t help but purchase a few clothing items while we were there.

We drove south until we hit Boston, where traffic slowed to a crawl; our planning had put us in Boston on Friday afternoon at rush hour. Brilliant. Four lanes of traffic, moving at less than a walking pace through what has to be North America’s longest tunnel. My claustrophobia was starting to kick in by the time we finally saw daylight again. This was not the end however; the freeway south to Cape Cod was nose-to-tail traffic pretty much all the way. As a result, we were two hours late arriving at the campground. (Did I mention that it was raining the whole day? It was sometimes so heavy that the wipers could barely keep up.) The office was closed by the time we got there, but a local resident of the resort kindly took us to a site. Off to Provincetown tomorrow.

September 27

Thunder at Baa-haa-baa (as it is pronounjced in Maine)

Bar Harbor’s harbour, with a cruise ship in town

Downtown Bar Harbor

We then caught another bus, which took us on a loop through the Acadia National Park, an absolutely beautiful drive, with the trees beginning to change. We stopped at Thunder Hole, a natural cleft in the granite rock, which allows waves to enter and magnify their strength, resulting (in rough seas and high tide) in some spectacular “blowhole” effects. Unfortunately, we reached it at low tide and calm sea conditions. Nevertheless, it is was a wild and beautiful place worth the visit.

A few moments in the sun at Thunder Hole

We caught the last shuttle back to the campground and celebrated a great day with the requisite Green Apple Martinis. Off to South Dennis and Cape Cod tomorrow. We hope to drop into L.L.Bean’s flagship store in Freemont on the way.

September 26

Breakfast and a Movie

The trip from Digby to Bar Harbor was uneventful. The ferry ride (3 hours)across to Saint John was very pleasant, although there was a slight roll to the ship. No repeat of the Lake Michigan experience, however. The ship is equipped with several very nice lounges, and we spent two hours in one of them watching a movie, after grabbing breakfast at one of the small cafeterias. We arrived at the Bar Harbor campsite mid-afternoon, having adjusted our watches back one hour at the Maine border. We are kicking back and re-organizing this evening, as the weather has turned grey and showery again. Supposed to be nicer tomorrow, so we are going to leave Priscilla here and take the free shuttle busses in and around the town and surrounding areas. I’ll update tomorrow about how it went.

Our trip August to November 2012 (September 21-25)

September 25

A “Barry” Good Buggy Ride and The Attack of the Killer Picnic Table

We went back into Peggy’s Cove (35 permanent residents) for breakfast under a cloudless blue sky.

Peggy’s Cove

Here is our Indian Harbour campsite from last night:

King Neptune Campground

The drive to Lunenburg is along a road that hugs the coastline, and runs past one picturesque little harbour community after another. In Lunenburg (the only town in North America to have a Unesco Heritage Site designation), we took a horse and buggy ride around the town. Meet Barry, who has phobias about street sewer grates and garbage trucks:


It was a lovely and informative tour. Before leaving town, we went to see the newly renovated Bluenose II, a project 3 years and many millions of $ in the making. She will be launched this Saturday, with 50,000 people expected to descend on this lovely little town. Her masts will be installed once she is in the water.

Bluenose II

We drove across to Digby and checked into the Digby campground. Once in the site, we decided to sit at the picnic table, side by each, to look at a map. The picnic table took exception to the seating arrangement, and promptly turned over on us, pinning us underneath. Fortunatley, no serious injuries were sustained, other than to our collective dignity. We made ourselves feel better by going into town for a burger and beer, counted ourselves luckier than this fellow:

Up early tomorrow to catch the 8:00 ferry to Saint John, then on to Bar Harbor.

September 24

Nightmare on Water Street (You can’t get there from here)

The sun actually returned for about half the day today, as we headed for Peggy’s Cove via Halifax. We wanted to visit the Marine Museum of the Atlantic down on Water Street by the port, but it turned into a bit of an adventure. When we reached Water Street, the GPS tried to have me turn right, not recognizing that it is a one-way street going the other way. After turning left to take another run at it, we had to navigate construction, tour buses (a cruise ship had just docked), pedestrians and bicycles, all on an already narrow street that nonetheless still allows parking on one side. We finally managed to park and spent a couple of hours visiting the museum, focusing mainly on the Halifax Explosion and Titanic exhibits:

Original deck chair from Titanic (seat has been re-caned)

Only complete piece of cabinetry saved from Titanic

“Unknown Child” story

Shoes of the” Unknown Child”

Before leaving Halifax, we visited the Titanic section of the Fairview Cemetery:

Burial site of some of the bodies recovered the night of the sinking

“Unknown Child” Memorial

We carried on to Peggy’s Cove, where Jeannine enjoyed (sort of) her first lobster dinner:

“Claws; just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water”

We stayed to watch the most spectacular sunset we have seen yet:

Peggy’s Cove Sunset

We stopped to visit the Swissair Flight 111 Memorial, which is quite moving.

Swissair Memorial

We carried on to Indian Harbour and established camp next to the water just as darkness and rain fell. We plan to go back to Peggy’s Cove tomorrow, then on to Digby.

September 23

A “Reel” Good Time and Following The Trail

We greatly enjoyed the Ceilidh at the St. Mark’s Parish Hall last night:

St. Mark’s Parish Hall, Baddeck NS

Gabrielle on fiddle, and her husband Tom provided two hours of toe-tapping local music, including a number of jigs and reels. Our hostess Nancy (who is involved with the local l’Arche community), then solicited 4 couples from the audience to learn a couple of reels. We volunteered and managed not to screw up too badly; it was actually a lot of fun.

Gabrielle and Tom

Today dawned cloudy, rainy and foggy, so we made ourselves feel better by making our first stop at a Tim Horton’s since we left over a month ago; hard to believe it has been that long already!

Before joining the actual Cabot Trail, we took the Englishtown cable ferry. As you can see, it crosses a large body of water. Crossing time 2 minutes:

(Why don’t they just build a bridge? – is anybody listening?)

The first hour or so on the Cabot Trail produced spectacular views like this:

There is ocean out there somewhere

Gulf of St. Lawrence side, looking towards Cheticamp

We stopped for lunch at Cheticamp in a nice little seaside restaurant, then returned to the campsite. We will be heading for Peggy’s Cove tomorrow.

September 22

A Little Tea with Rita and Calling on Mr. Bell

Weather today is not much better than yesterday; we have simply traded less fog for more rain. However this is September and this is Cape Breton, so we go with what we’ve got. We bid farewell to Marilyn this morning and headed for Baddeck.

Jeannine and Marilyn

A beautiful drive, notwithstanding the weather. We made a stop at Big Pond and had tea at Rita McNeil’s Teahouse:

Teahouse from outside

Teahouse from inside

It’s a lovely little place, originally a one-room school. It is full of memorabilia, including copies of all of her platinum album awards, Gemini awards, and even her Order of Nova Scotia and Order of Canada. She has a home right above the teahouse, and a house down below on Bras d’Or Lake. She grew up in Big Pond, and spends as much time here as she can when not touring.

When we arrived in Baddeck, we stopped in at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. It is an impressive showcase of his life and inventions, very well organized and with lots of films and video clips covering all aspects of his life. Like most people, I knew he invented the telephone, but was astounded by the sheer range of his other inventions and interests. He is described as an “amateur inventor”, meaning that unlike Edison, he tended to lose interest in his inventions once they reached the stage of commercialization. What we also liked about the museum was that there is a lot of attention paid to the lifelong love story between he and his wife, despite their significant age difference (she being much younger), accentuated by the fact that she survived him by only 5 months. This was definitely worth the visit.

View of Baddeck Bay and St. Patrick’s Channel from above the museum

We are going to a Ceilidh at the Baddeck Community Hall tonight, then attempting to follow the entire Cabot Trail tomorrow, returning to Baddeck tomorrow night. For now, we’re going to try a Rain Dance in hopes of better weather!

September 21

The Long and Winding Road

Woke up this morning to fairly thick fog. After breakfast, we headed for Fort Louisbourg, the biggest restoration of a historic site ever undertaken in North America. We followed the Fleur de Lis Trail, aptly named because it really is more of a trail than a road, badly maintained, full of curves and one lane bridges which occur without warning. The 80 kilometre per hour speed signs are for the terminally suicidal. It winds through the Cape Breton wilderness, with the odd village appearing and disappearing before you can blink. The fog persisted throughout our visit to the fort, but it didn’t interfere with our thorough enjoyment of the three hours we spent there. Some buildings and activities were closed, as it is after the tourist season, but it was still a very worthwhile visit.

Some of the cannon used in the defence of Fort Louisbourg

Jeannine buying a loaf of “Soldiers’ Bread”, baked in the original way in stone ovens

Of course, the fog lifted just as we were leaving. We took the same long and winding road back to Marilyn’s, then took her for dinner in a nice hotel restaurant in St. Peters. Tomorrow we leave Back-Ass-End-Of-Beyond, (Lordways), for Baddeck, which will serve as our base campground while we attempt the Cabot Trail on Sunday.

Our trip August to November 2012 (September 17-20)

September 20

PEI to Lordways

Well, actually it’s spelled L’Ardoise and is in the middle of Acadian country, but everyone pronounces it “Lordways”, rather than “Lardwahz”. Go figure. The wind and rain from last night had both disappeared this morning, so we had a smooth 75 minute ferry crossing to Caribou Nova Scotia.

Leaving Wood Islands PEI

By the time we landed, the rain had begun again, and didn’t stop until we arrived in L’Ardoise. We stopped in New Glasgow to visit the Westray Mine Disaster Memorial Park, established by the families of the miners killed in the explosion.

Westray Memorial New Glasgow NS

We arrived in L’Ardoise and found Marilyn’s house by mid-afternoon. We will be taking a day trip to Fort Louisburg tomorrow.

Marilyn’s house

September 19

Computer woes and Atlantic toes

The weather last night was cloudy and very windy, to the point where Priscilla was rocking at times (yes, it was the wind). In lieu of the Canadian flag, we flew this one instead:

“Proud to be Canadian, eh?”

We left the campsite at around 10:30 and found a Staples, where they informed me that my notebook computer had suffered a hard drive crash. It is under warranty, but I will have to wait until we get back to deal with it. I bought another one at a reasonable price, so here’s hoping it stays healthy. We then drove into downtown Charlottetown and did a bit of a walking tour. We stopped at Cows for a cone of “Canda’s Best Ice Cream”, as voted by Reader’s Digest. We couldn’t argue with their assessment. Of course, we couldn’t leave PEI without 3 genuine “Dirt Shirts”.

Next stop was St. Dunstan’s Basilica:

Explanatory Plaque

Inside of Basilica

We then made our way to Province House, where we watched a short film recounting its role as the host of the Charlottetown Conference, the first of three that led to Confederation. We went upstairs to view the Legislative Assembly room and the original meeting room of the Conference.

Legislative Chamber

Charlottetown Conference room

We signed the guest book and noticed that some visitors from Comox had noted that they were distant relatives of Sir Charles Tupper. Small world. We stopped in at anumber of art galleries and boutique stores, then had a bite to eat before returning to Priscilla to continue our coastal drive out to Northumberland Provincial Park Campground, where we snagged a beachfront campsite, red sand and all.

Our Campsite

Jeannine dipping her toes in the Atlantic

Catching a 9:30 ferry tomorrow for Caribou, Nova Scotia, then on to stay a couple of nights with an old school friend of Jeannine’s. The weather has turned cooler and rainy, but it’s all good. We cooked burgers, swivelled our chairs and listened to Diana Krall as we ate; too civilzed for words.

September 18

Fredericton, 15 Seconds of Fame and a Free Concert

We drove into Fredericton this morning, past Saint Marks Roman Catholic Church, built in1878:


Arriving in Fredericton, we went to the CityHall and obtained a parking pass which enabled us to park for free all day. We had barley walked a block, when we were accosted by a team from the CPAC channel, who asked us for an interview. They asked us a number of questions, soliciting our views on a number of political issues. It was all very serious, until he asked us the following:
“How do you feel about politicians appealing to the public for help with their legal bills?” (Seriously!?)
We snorted with laughter, as did he. You can imagine our answers. Jeannine’s was the winner: “Only if they help with mine”.
We spent a lovely day in gorgeous weather wandering around the city and stopping for lunch at a creperie, where we had a squash/pear curry soup to die for. We stopped at the Anglican Cathedral, where by sheer luck the organist was practising, so we sat for about 15 minutes listening to the magnificent pipe organ. It was quite magical.

Later in the afternoon, we took a guided tour of the historic city hall. The Council Chamber used to be an Opera Hall holding 810 people, and is adorned with 27 tapestries tracing Fredericton’s history, all created by an 80-year-old doctor. All in all, a great day. Off to PEI tomorrow.

St. Dunstan’s Basilica

Fredericton City Hall Tapestries

City Hall Fountain

September 17

PEI and Pots and Pans

The weather held out again today, with blue skies and balmy temperatures. We had a very interesting drive through rural New Brunswick and Fundy National Park, crossing into PEI in late afternoon via the Confederation Bridge. First stop was the Gateway Village Tourist Welcome Centre, where Jeannine purchased a set of Paderno pots and pans for $280, shipping included, which are regularly $780. “What did you do in PEI? Oh, just bought a few pots and pans”. Due to encroaching darkness, we changed plans and stayed at a lovely KOA campground right on the West River.

Campsite on West River

Our trip August to November 2012 (September 11-16)

September 16

A Step Backward (in time)

After going to Mass this morning in a very pretty little church nearby, Cathy took us to Kings Landing. The following description comes from their brochure:

“Kings Landing was created in the late 1960’s. the buildings were moved to this site to allow construction of a hydro-electric dam, which raised the water level, which raised the level of the St. John River over 150 feet. The research on each home was meticulous, and the history presented is based on real families.” (By and large, these were Loyalist families who had fled north after the American War of Independence).

The weather was sunny and a bit on the cool side, and was perfect for the 6 hours we spent exploring this wonderful historical site, occupying a beautiful acreage along the St. John River. It is absolutely worth seeing if you are ever in this area. Here are just a few pictures. I will put the rest on Fotki http://public.fotki.com/TwoDwarves/).

Water Wheel, Kings Landing

St. Patrick’s Presbyterian Church, still used for services once a month

Overlooking the St. John River

The Ingraham house 4-holer – a model of efficiency

We’re planning to spend the day in Fredericton tomorrow, so will try to find Wifi access to post this.

September 15

Fifty Shades of Grey

No, not the book, the weather. We awoke to a change in the weather, with cooler temperatures and building clouds. We went for a walk along the lake, then returned to the cottage for a rest:

The Girls Chillin’

We took a short drive into a 175-year-old hamlet called Harvey Station, which, logically enough, grew up as a stop on the railway line.

Kevin, the cottage owner, and his wife came by in the afternoon and we sat aroung talking while a thunder and lightning storm raged outside. Very exciting. Later in the evening, the weather began to clear, and we had a lovely evening:

Lake George Sunset

September 14

Maine Marathon

Today was simply a very long, alhough quite scenic in many places, drive from Sherbrooke to Lake George, New Brunswick, where we are staying at Cathy’s nephew’s cottage for a few days.

River near Skowhegan

The drive took us across Maine, with the requisite Customs stops at each border. This time, it was the US Customs that gave us a quick lesson on liquor import/export regulations. We listened with vacant expressions, which he obviously mistook for comprehension, because eventually he let us go on our merry way. The young lady at the Canadian end waved us through with barely a glance. We finally arrived at the cottage around 7:00 PM, having had to switch to Atlantic Time. We were very tired, having been on the road for nearly 8 hours. A couple of drinks and a very late supper, and we fell into bed.

September 13

Of Cathy and Coldpatch

Stopped at the campground office to post yesterday’s entry, then left for Montreal to pick up Cathy at her older sister’s care home. The drive had its moments, but was largely uneventful. Our faithful GPS led us directly to the front door, and about 20 minutes later, we were on our way to Sherbrooke, after surviving Montreal traffic and roadwork. When we arrived in Sherbrooke, it quickly became evident that this city wins, hands down, the award for the worst roads I have ever been on. Elsewhere, most roads consist of road dotted by spots of coldpatch (those shovelfuls of cold asphalt thrown into potholes); in Sherbrooke, the roads consist of coldpatch interspersed with bits of road, which seem to be designed to test the quality of your fillings. We are spending the night at Cathy’s brother’s place, and will be picking up her sister tomorrow to head for Fredericton (via the state of Maine), about 7-8 hours’ drive. Once we are ensconced at the nephew’s cottage on Lake George for a few days, I may not have internet access, so will post another update when I can.

September 11/12

Cruising Ottawa and Getting Lucky

No, not that kind of lucky; get your mind out of the gutter. We left the cottage around 10:00 on Tuesday and arrived at the Ottawa Municipal Campground mid-afternoon. After a quick consultation, we headed out to the local Park and Ride (known in French as the “Park O Bus”), and caught a bus downtown, about a 45 minute ride. We found the Parliament Pub, right opposite the Parliament Buildings, and had a brew and a meal.

Here’s to you, Stephen!

Thus fortified, we walked all around the Center Block and admired the gorgeous views across the river into Gatineau.

Gatineau Sunset

We decided to wend our way back to the bus stop to head home, but stopped two ladies to ask for directions. Long story short, they were headed across the street to the National Arts Centre to attend a Celtic Thunder concert. We looked at each other, the light of sheer irresponsibility in our eyes, and decided to go see if there were any tickets available. Not only had some just been released, but they were Orchestra, Row G, dead centre. It was a great concert; serendipity is a wonderful thing! We caught a late bus back to the Park and Ride, picked up Priscilla and arrived back at the campsite around 11:00.

Today (Wednesday), we walked to the campgorund office and called a taxi to take us to the Park and Ride, then caught a bus downtown, where we transferred to another which dropped us at the Museum of Civilization, where we spent the next 6 hours, including a 3D Imax movie on the Arctic. Even then, we didn’t see everything.

Museum of Civilization

Museum of Civilization

We caught the bus back to downtown Ottawa and wandered the Sparks St. pedestrian Mall for a while, although most stores were closed by then. However, Jeannine did manage to find Ontario and Quebec pins for Priscilla. We headed back to the Parliament Pub to celebrate, only to discover that the kitchen was closed. “Not even peanuts?” we asked, only to be told that they are not allowed to serve them, as they encourage drinking. As our waiter said, “Welcome to Ontario!” We had a beer, then found a pita place to fill the hole that 7 hours of walking had generated. We caught a bus and taxi back to the campground, where we are sucking back well-earned Green Apple Martinis. Off to Montreal tomorrow to pick up Cathy, then head for Sherbrooke.

Our trip August to November 2012 (September 1-10)

September 10

The Kayak Kids and Remembering Ellie

Woke up to a cloudless blue sky and temperatures warmer than yesterday.

A quiet moment on the dock

After breakfast, the geriatric Kayak Kids took to the water:



We paddled down the lake and paused by Jeannine and Lorna’s sister Ellie’s old cottage, and thought about the good times we had spent there in years past. She died on this day in 2001.

Later in the day, we went back into Fenelon Falls and came back with only blackballs, jujubes and mango chutney to show for our efforts. However, we took a lovely walk along Cameron Lake, before returning home. Andy and Heather will be dropping by later tonight. The fox did not return. We will be heading for Ottawa around 10:00 AM tomorrow, and will spend a couple of nights in the Ottawa Municipal Campground before heading for Montreal and Sherbrooke. Will update when I can.

September 9

Lunch at Lagoon City and a Magical Moment

After attending the birthday celebration at Andy and Heathers’ house, and spending the night at Mickie’s, we stopped off at Carolyn’s to ooh and aah at her new kitchen, then headed back for the cottage. We stopped at Lagoon City (a “manufactured” community built along a series of canals leading out to Lake Simcoe, a little south of Orillia). We had a very nice lunch at the Harbour Inn:

As promised Dave, this one’s for Alexander!

After lunch, we walked out onto the lakeside breakwater.

Looking out to Lake Simcoe

Looking down the main canal toward Lagoon City

After returning to the cottage, we were sitting out having a drink, when a red fox walked across the lawn within 10 feet of us. It seemed relatively unafraid of us, and stopped for a few moments as if to say hello, then continued on his way. Didn’t have a camera with me, but will keep one handy in case he returns tomorrow. It was one of those magical moments that will remain one of the wonderful memories of this trip!

September 7

Fenelon Feeding Frenzy

The weather has turned cloudy and cooler, with the threat of a thunderstorm. Nonetheless, the day was spent in Fenelon Falls, where many stores were visited, much stuff was bought, and a nice lunch was had beside the lock. Just when it seemed safe to go back into Sobey’s for groceries, a bin of half-price napkins was spotted by the sisters, and the feeding frenzy began.

You can’t have too many napkins!

Carolyn and family arrived around dinnertime bearing clam chowder soup, cocktails were consumed and the Aaaron/Chris ongoing Battleship challenge was resumed.( In issuing the challenge, Aaron asked Chris “Are you sober?”) I think he wanted a “no” answer! This one ended tied at 1 apiece, which shows that Aaron is not only growing, he’s getting smarter.

You sank my battleship!

Off to Newmarket tomorrow for the 60th birthday celebration of Jeannine’s sister-in-law Heather.

September 6

Life at the Lake, Lunch at the Lock, Weeds in the Prop

A beautiful morning on Balsam Lake:

Life at the lake

After a lazy morning, we decided that since this appears to be the last day of really nice weather for a while, we would take a boat ride along the Trent Canal to the lift lock at Kirkfield, and have lunch there.

Trent Canal between Balsam Lake and Canal Lake

Cottages at entrance to Canal Lake

Found this restored 1959 Corvette parked at the restaurant:

Restored 1959 Corvette

After lunch, we wandered down to the lock:

Kirkfield Lift Lock
Another view of the lock

As we entered Balsam Lake on the way back, we were greeted by one of the resident loons. She had a young one with her, but he was camera-shy.

Loon on the Lake

The boat refused to accelerate properly, so John was going to settle for going at half speed back to the cottage. However, when he suggested that a drink would be nice when we got back, I suggested, in a manner that implied vast knowledge of boats and their workings, that maybe there were weeds in the prop. Turned out that that was exactly the problem; who knew?

September 5

Aurora, Elora and beyond

We left Hamilton on Monday morning, arriving in Elora around 11:30. We met up with Jeannine’s sister Mickie and spent some time poking around the stores of this lovely little community, including two owned by Mickie’s daughter-in-law (Jammed Lovely and Epiphany). Shameless plug! We had lunch at at Tim and Laura’s (Mickie’s son and daughter-in-law), then headed for Mickie’s house in Aurora, where we have spent the past two nights. We awoke on Tuesday morning to a good old Ontario thunder and lightning storm, and have had periods of rain since, although it has remained hot and humid. Thankfully, we are now at Jeannine’s sister Lorna’s cottage on Balsam Lake, where we plan to stay until next Wednesday, when we head to Ottawa. I will continue to post updates if anything interesting happens, and will try to add a few pictures as well.

September 2

Major Crimes and Lunch at the Club

As we were about to retire last night, there was a knock on the door. We opened it, to be greeted by a representative of the Hamilton Constabulary. Apparently there had been three complaints from a neighbour that we were committing a major crime; to wit: the storage box on the back of Priscilla was projecting 18″ over the sidewalk, and it was suggested that we remove it. We did so, quite cheerfully, and full of gratitude towards the unknown good-hearted citizen who had pointed out the error of our ways and helped us avoid a lengthy jail sentence (not!).

We were invited by MC’s neighbour down to the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club (dontcha know) for lunch, and were provided with a wedding on the lawn as lunchtime entertainment. A dip in the Club pool rounded out the afternoon. We had a very pleasant dinner with MC’s mother to round out the day. Off to Elora tomorrow to pick up Jeannine’s sister Mickie, and then on to Aurora for a couple of nights.

September 1


Slept in this morning, had a leisurely breakfast, then cleaned up and got ready to head for Hamilton. Our departure was expedited by witnessing a vehement argument between our American neighbours in the next campsite. When he shook his finger in her face, she slapped him and then drove off in their car, we took that as our cue to leave. We had an uneventful drive to Ancaster, where we visited with MC’s mother, then went to MC’s house in Hamilton proper, where we are parked in her neighbour’s driveway for the next couple of nights.