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Archive for July, 2016

Stop showing off — we know how hot you are !!  We woke up to a wet bike this morning and ominous looking clouds.  Full rain gear on a warm muggy day quickly turns into a sauna like situation.

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The storms must have been all around us — we didn’t really get very wet at all. One thing that did dominate today’s ride was construction.  Road construction is keeping people employed all across North America this summer.  Everywhere we’ve been there have been delays and stops for road and bridge work.  Today we were stop-start for more than 20 km as two lanes of major highway had to merge into one.  We spent a lot of time looking up at the back of this trailer.  My French is pretty rusty.  Does it mean “hot guy crossing?”  Looks more like “don’t drink too much or you’ll fall down and hurt your head.”

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We were very thankful for Onroute Rest Stops today.  Every hour we stopped for coffee/pit stop/leg stretch and were boggled by the lineups at the fast food kiosks. We chose Gatorade & yoghurt instead.  When we arrived in Bowmanville we drove downtown and found a pub that specializes in wings.  We sat in air-conditioned heaven eating boneless wings covered in bbq sauce dipped in honey garlic.  Oh my what a finger licking good mess !!

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We’re back in Welland tomorrow which means I get some Mama hugs.  And then on Thursday I’ll be giving some Mama & Grandma hugs when our daughter Megan and grandson Bowen arrive from BC.  It’s a wonderful life.  We’re on the trip of a lifetime and enjoying every moment of it.  Every kilometer, every weather system, every encounter we have with people from around the world is all part of our dream come true.

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Love & hugs from the road…

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It’s not a very clear picture — I actually look like an alien but this is me with my scarf right up over my nose and covering my ears from the cool air this morning. We were on the road super early to get out of Quebec City.

We see the most amazing things in our travels.  This morning a parachutist landed in a field right beside the highway.

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Sassy (our GPS) was up to her usual tricks again today — I guess she thought it would be fun to send us right through Montreal.  That’s the closest to the city I’ve ever been so I was happy to see a few skyscrapers in the distance.  Chris’s skill level maneuvering traffic and countless lane changes — EXCELLENT !!

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Today we really noticed the incredible number of motorcycles, campers and vehicles carrying bicycles — we’re all on the move.

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Arriving in Cornwall early afternoon we booked a room at Best Western. Since the room wasn’t ready we plunked ourselves down at a table on their outdoor patio.

Sharing a baked brie appetizer as well as a deep fried appy plate to go with our cold beer we had a relaxing two hours in the shade with a lovely breeze.

Our original plan was to spend the night in Toronto tomorrow but hotel after hotel showed no room available online.  Chris called another and was told there are 6000 people attending an Alzheimer’s symposium.  All the reasonably priced rooms are gone !!  Plan B is a night in Bowmanville.

Love & hugs from the road…

 

 

 

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The roads were dry and the sun was shining this morning as we left New Brunswick and crossed the border into Quebec.  A time change means we’re back on Ontario time again.  Not that it makes any difference to us. We eat when we’re hungry and go to bed when we’re tired.

The reason I took the picture of the Motel de Montagne was to remind me we ate breakfast at the restaurant there this morning and I had caramel spread on my toast. How did I live to be this old and have never eaten caramel spread?  Dee-licious !!  They also had Cheez Whiz as an option on the omelette.

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Chris sitting on the bike at a rest stop nearing Quebec City.  Not long after a leisurely leg stretch we finished the last part of the trip through beautiful tree lined boulevards and old homes.

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We call our GPS “Sassy.”  She is occasionally cranky and sometimes incorrect (she recently sent us off the highway towards a gravel road that ended in woods) and today she scared us.  The picture does not show how steep the road was and I closed my eyes through some of it.  Seriously I love roller coasters but this road was Streets of San Francisco.  Yes we did find our hotel but I’m sure there was a much safer route.  A block away from our hotel in the old city we found St. Roche Church and were mesmerized by the incredible stained glass windows, marble floors and statues. We’re not Catholic but I lit some candles and said a prayer for friends and family dealing with health issues.

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Outside the church is a piano that passers by are welcome to play.  This fellow has obviously had some training and entertained the crowd for quite a while.  Right beside the piano is a fridge where people can leave a meal for those who need one. What a cosmopolitan place the old city is.  It was hard not to gawk – the owner of the dog with a blue Mohawk didn’t mind us taking his dog’s picture.

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We wandered up and down the streets and found the dining room set of our dreams in a funky furniture store.  And then came across the perfect outdoor table at the Pub du Parvis where we sipped St. Ambrose pale ale and ate Crab Cheeseburgers and watched the world walk by.

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We’ve got 1000 km to cover in the next few days so there will be no lollygagging. We want to get back to Welland and get ready for Megan & Bowen’s arrival.

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Love & hugs from the road…

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Every province has beware of animal signs posted on the highways.  So far all we’ve seen is a stuffed moose on someone’s porch in Parry Sound, Ontario and a moose and beaver paddling in front of an Irving gas station restaurant.  Chris ordered the truck driver breakfast yesterday morning and it came with fried bologna which I was happy to take off his plate.  Seriously, bologna is a meat choice at breakfast out here.  image

Here are a few of our first glimpses of Saint John, New Brunswick.  The last time I visited was on a family vacation — we spent my 12th birthday on a friend’s boat.  And it’s always a bit of fun to visit Harley stores when we come across them.  One more shirt to add to my collection.

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Parking downtown Saint John was tricky so we ended up driving around and sightseeing from the bike.  Our goal was to have a quick look before heading just outside the city to visit with family.  Now try to stay with me on this one.  Chris’s grandmother Elva Stewart’s maiden name was Harrison.  We spent a wonderful night with Wayne Harrison & his husband Ross Leavitt.  Wayne is Chris’s first cousin once removed.

Wayne has a huge interest in genealogy and we chatted up a storm about the Stewart & Harrison families.  We also met Wayne’s daughter Heather and her family.  That’s Heather’s daughter Emma watching me swing in the hammock. Thanks Wayne & Ross for making us feel so welcome and providing such a lovely home away from home.

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We couldn’t see a darn thing taking off out of the city this morning.  But it didn’t take long before we were down to short sleeves and slapping on sunscreen.  The highlight of the day was to visit Plaster Rock where Chris’s Dad was born and raised.  Along the way we made a brief side trip to travel through the longest covered bridge.

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New Brunswick is absolutely gorgeous.  We feel that way about every province !!!!

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It’s been 40+ years since Chris has been to Plaster Rock.  We stopped in for a short visit with Chris’s Great Aunt Roberta Harrison.  We’ve added one more relative to the family tree and I’m delighted Roberta is on Facebook so we can all keep in touch.

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You’ll notice we’ve done some back tracking in the past few days.  Totally worth it to visit with family.  And hey we’re retired it’s not a big deal lol.

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Today however we were a very longgggggg time on the bike.  First we had fog, then heat and finally very dark clouds.   And just moments after checking into our hotel room we saw the first flashes of lightning and heard the booming cracks of thunder.  The skies opened and torrential rain created huge puddles in front of our room.

Tomorrow we’ll have a shorter ride into Quebec City.  The plan is to leave the bike & trailer at the hotel and explore the old city.  So for now bonne nuit ma famille !!    image.png

Love and hugs from the road…

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Class can any of you use the word buffeted in a sentence?  Well I sure can and it goes like this.  From the moment we left the red earth of PEI, crossed the Confederation Bridge and arrived in Fredricton, New Brunswick we were constantly buffeted by strong winds making it a very challenging ride.

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Not quite 13 km long the bridge is an engineering marvel.  It makes us wonder why we don’t have a bridge from the mainland to Vancouver Island.  I know we’re not a province but PEI has a population of 146,000 and Vancouver Island has almost 760,000 people.  And the ferry is free traveling to PEI and the bridge toll for a motorcycle is only $18.50.

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Leather gear was required this morning with the cool wind.  By the time we hit Fredricton, dumped off the trailer at the motel and headed downtown – the sun was shining and the temperature had gone way up.  We found a microbrewery and tried a local ale and had a great conversation with locals who have both visited Vancouver Island.

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Tomorrow we are going to meet Chris’s second cousin Wayne Harrison and his husband Ross near St. John’s.  I’m most interested to talk to Wayne about the genealogy information he’s collected about Chris’s paternal grandmother’s family. One of my goals when we get home is to dig into my Collings/Kennedy family trees.

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Love & hugs from the road…

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Yesterday morning we were up early and on the road without even stopping for coffee.  We wanted to make sure to catch the early ferry to PEI.  Perfect timing, we were sent right to the front of the line and only had to wait a few minutes before loading.  The best part — the 90 minute trip was FREE !!  We were given maps & brochures on the ferry by a very knowledgeable staff member and have come to realize PEI has really got tourism figured out.  Their beaches, lighthouses and historical sites are all numbered and well marked and we easily made our way to the northeastern tip of the island.  And yes the dirt is red and potatoes are sold everywhere including the gas stations.

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Just in time for lunch we rolled into the town of Montague. We sat on the deck at
Windows on the Water Restaurant and didn’t notice right away there are trees growing right through the floor.  We both ordered the lunch special of potato salad and seafood chowder.  Chris didn’t realize that also came with a whole lobster. Best lunch EVER !!  We really had to work for our food and there were bits of shell flying everywhere.

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Heeding the advice of fellow travelers we stopped at an info Centre and called ahead for a room.  Singing Sands Motel was one of the worst rooms we’ve had but we were just moments away from one of the best beaches in Canada.  The sand actually does make a squeaking noise when you walk on it. Which of course I had to try out a bunch of times.  We watched dozens of people jump off the bridge into a channel to be swept away to the ocean where they would get out and climb back onto the bridge.  Very entertaining to watch braves souls plunge into the cold water.  And lifeguards were watching very closely.

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Deciding on a slow/easy ride today we had lots of time for coffee and caught up on emails & Facebook in the motel breakfast room.  Our room last night was too far away from the modem we were told by the motel owner.  One night away from technology bothered us both a little.

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We arrived in Charlottetown late this morning and quickly found out many hotels were already booked up.  A kind clerk at Best Western had a list of a few properties with a room or two left.  The very moment Chris called Quality Inn — guests had decided to cancel their second night so a suite was available.  It’s our nicest room so far in an annex on the hotel property — full of character and just huge.  We dropped the bike & trailer in the parking lot and walked the few blocks to downtown.  The funniest moments happened in a little barber shop where Chris got his hair & beard trimmed (a whopping $8 by the way).  The lady barber told us one hilarious story after the other of how she embarrasses her kids when they all travel together.

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After lunch on “Victoria Row” which is the shopping district, we headed over to Confederation Centre Art Gallery to have a look at their all Canadian content in some very interesting mediums.

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Today marks the one month mark since we left home.  We have dipped our feet on the most eastern tip of PEI and tomorrow we start the trip back west.  Tomorrow we’re headed for Fredericton.  And in nine more days we’ll be hugging Megan and Bowen as we all meet up in Welland for some Stewart/Collings/Kennedy/Hickman/Daust family time.

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Love & hugs from the road…

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Two mornings ago we left Yarmouth for a much anticipated reunion with our friends Terry & Debbie Boyd.  Sadly most of the morning’s sightseeing was limited due to pea soup FOG !!  Eventually we caught glimpses of the water and the sign welcoming us to Cape Breton.

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We feel such an affinity to the east coast — sparkling water, craggy mountains, millions of trees and big open sky. Once the fog lifted and the sun came out the temperature rose dramatically and by the time we arrived in Howie Centre we were HOT.  Chris & Terry solved that immediately by jumping into the pool.  Two retired RCMP members with their long hair & hairy faces !!  We all marveled at the fact we haven’t seen each other for 30 years.  Chris and I got married in Terry & Debbie’s dining room and remember Christopher and Matthew as little kids and Karla as a newborn.  Now our kids are all grown up and have kids of their own.  It was wonderful to take a trip down memory lane talking about our time in the Northwest Territories.

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With another hot day forecast yesterday Terry & Debbie recommended a trip to Louisberg where it was much cooler by the water.  This partially reconstructed French fortress is a historical gem with people in period costumes wandering the property in character and answering questions.

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We toured through homes, barracks, church, bakery all recreated as it was 300 years ago.  Anyone in costume stays in character and we chatted with guards, a baker and a blacksmith.

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One of the highlights of the tour was watching the soldiers load the cannons and fire them.  They don’t use cannonballs but the powder they use as a substitute was still very LOUD !! I know Chris would really like to have cannon in our backyard.

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This morning we hit the road after a quick cup of coffee and goodbye hugs to Terry & Debbie. Shortly after getting onto the Cabot Trail we pulled off for breakfast and didn’t have to read any further when we saw Cape Breton blueberry pancakes & bacon.

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Finally today I was able to take a picture of lobster pots.  We’ve passed thousands of them and they’re on sale at every antique & craft shop

Breathtaking vista after vista — around every corner another viewpoint and we knew we couldn’t stop at every one of them.  Look at the happy little house — it’s in a town called Cheticamp that we really liked.

Soon after our afternoon snack dark clouds loomed overhead.  We decided to tough it out and not stop to put on rain gear.  We made it to Pictou a bit damp and happy to check into our room at the Lionstone Inn.

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Today was our longest ride yet and rehashing it over a cold beverage at our motel room in Pictou, Nova Scotia we know that 510 km was too long.  Tomorrow we’re getting on the ferry to cross over to PEI and we’ll spend a few days exploring.  I heard there’s a potato museum and a restaurant that makes everything out of potato.  Yes please !!

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Love & hugs from the road…

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