We Are Off

Like the proverbial Turd of Hertles we drove out of our driveway on our Annual Winter jaunt to Gold Canyon Arizona.

As we are apparently moving in to our yet to be Completed Park Model addition we brought quite a bit of furniture and Patio gear that we wouldn’t normally have along, to the point that I was contemplating renting a U-haul trailer to bring more ‘stuff’ along.

In the end, a trailer was not required, but no one ever will accuse us of packing ‘light’.

And that last pic was taken before I squeezed Sylvia’s suitcases into the back seat. I can’t count the number of times I packed and the repacked everything, but I am thinking I should take up Jigsaw Puzzles as the skills would translate well.

We are taking off in a fairly heavy Rainstorm, but sunnier and warmer days are ahead. Can’t wait!

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A Great Trip to Ontario

We had a few reasons for our recent trip to Ontario.

First we have decided that we need to spend some time traveling in the Fall every year while we still can, and before we head South for the Winter. Our time in the Arizona Sunshine is obviously a lot of Fun, but as we now have a second home in Gold Canyon, it really does feel like an extension of our lifestyle more than a Travel Opportunity. IMG_5622

That may be a bit difficult for those of you who don’t spend time in the Sunbelt to get your head around, but think of it this way: Yes, we are blessed with and appreciate the chance to enjoy sun and fun for more months of the year, but we still have to prepare our own food, make our own bed and clean our own house along with many other day to day tasks while we’re there. Plus, now that we head South for about 5 months, it really feels like not much has changed for us but the location over the winter. Although not having to shovel the Sunshine is a real treat.

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Second, Sylvia found an article in the Canadian Snowbirds magazine last fall extolling the virtues of the Stratford Festival  and lamenting that not many people from the rest of Canada spend the time to come to the festival and enjoy the plays and the experience. Since we have always enjoyed live performances of any and all types, we figured we were built for the experience.

Interestingly, we found very few Canadians visiting the festival among those seated around us at any of the plays we attended. Most of the folks seemed to be from Michigan!20180914_111450

And finally, we really wanted to see some of our friends from both Arizona and Campbell River and immensely enjoyed our time with both Jim and Cheryl and Jack and Marilyn.IMG_5707We ended up seeing 4 plays in 4 days in Stratford. The first was An Ideal Husband (an Oscar Wilde play about politicians, secrets and consequences. quite appropriate today). We were constantly amazed how they could change the backdrop and scene during the play and make it look seamless and at times comical.20180913_140048

The second play was a musical, The Music Man, which was spectacular. The opening scene took place on a train car and while the play was written in the 50’s and set in 1912, we believe we learned where the origins of Rap Music came from during this segment. It was quite special.20180914_131019

Our third play was Napoli Millionaria and was set during the last few years of WW2 and detailed how fortunes were made and character was destroyed via the Black Market economy during the end of the Nazi era and the beginning of the Allied Occupation in southern Italy. It was quite moving, although the couple behind us didn’t seem to appreciate it as she kept saying ‘It wasn’t really like that, you know’. I don’t think she had it figured that Artistic License is actually a thing…..20180914_133905

Our last play was To Kill a Mockingbird. I have seen the movie, but it was decades ago, and only remembered snippets of the dialogue and recall images of Gregory Peck looking stoic. This was a very great performance, and I don’t think there were many dry eyes in the house when they were finished. We really enjoyed it, and it was our favourite of the four we saw.20180914_131405

Between all the plays, we had numerous chances to wander around Stratford, which is a fairly small town, and enjoy the architecture, shops and definitely the restaurants. We had several impressive meals while we were there, and both need to go on a diet now that we are home.20180915_19063220180916_124716

As our flight home wasn’t until the early evening, we had a full day to explore, and ended up wandering around Elora and Guelph for portions of the day.20180917_124851

In Guelph we found an impressive Basilica when we were looking for the local Museum. The museum was closed for renovations, so we wandered around the Basilica taking pictures. The building is 160 years old, but was built in the French Gothic style from the 1200’s and reminded us of things we saw during our trip to France a few years ago.

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We finished off our time in Ontario wandering around the Grand River in a park we found, and too soon we were on the plane back to BC. At least we were in the airport waiting to board the plane. It turned out that there was a bit of a leak coming from one of the Engines (never a good thing) so they held us in the terminal while they fixed it and ran the engines for a bit to see if it returned. The technical description given by the pilot was that they ‘think’ something was overfilled. Not very reassuring, but we did get home safely.

Now it’s back to our regular routine. Pickleball, Painting and Playtime.

On to Hanover and London

We spent most of the last 2 days visiting with old friends Jack and Marilyn. For those of you from Campbell River, they may be very familiar to you. During the time we knew them in CR, Jack worked at CBS Doors and Marilyn ran the office at Canadian Helicopters among other things. Prior to us moving to River City, Jack worked in the Woods and at the local Pulp Mill too. We also got to work with them closely at a couple of the Churches in town.

The original purpose of our plan to visit Ontario was to attend a play at Stratford with this couple. Unfortunately Marilyn suffered a Brain Aneurysm only Three and a Half months ago, and while she had a devastating prognosis early (she wasn’t expected to live for more than a few hours), she has battled through her situation thanks to both her Faith and her formidable Irish Temper and was sent home from the rehab hospital just one month ago. This recovery time included 3 surgeries and the removal and subsequent replacement of a large section of her skull. Not for the faint of heart.

We arrived at their apartment in the early afternoon, not quite knowing what to expect, but were soon laughing and reminiscing the time away. If any of her friends from CR felt their ears burning, that is why. Before we went out for Dinner she announced that we were not allowed to leave, as we made her laugh and she really needs that right now. We also got a chance to meet their Daughter in Law who kept us all up to date on her prognosis and subsequent progress and to thank her for keeping us all in the loop.

You can tell that she is still challenged by some things as her short term memory is a bit ragged, and her train of thought can sometimes get slightly derailed (quite entertaining when we are in a Cross Walk in the middle of Main Street). At times like that she closes one eye, stares at you and says ‘I did recently have Brain Surgery, ya know’. Otherwise she is recovering quickly, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She is the same Marilyn we all love.

After Dinner, and before we went back to our Motel, we asked Marilyn if there was a good place for us to pick up Breakfast before we showed up in the morning. She said ‘certainly, you’re sitting in it’. The meal she prepared for us was vintage Marilyn; Fancy, Tasty, and Enough for an Army.

We had a wonderful morning, and managed to fit in a bit of a drive to see their old stomping grounds in Cheslea from before they moved to Campbell River in the late 70’s. Before we left for our next stop, we made plans to spend Saturday Afternoon together in Stratford so they could show us the sights. Only a couple of weeks ago we had to re-jigger our plans as Marilyn didn’t have enough confidence to get out and do very much. She’s come so far, and we are all amazed.

Jack and Marilyn’s first? house in Cheslea.

Over the next 4 days we will be seeing 4 plays at the Stratford Festival (no Shakespeare for some reason) and should have a blast. Oh, and there will be an Anniversary Dinner in there somewhere.

Sunday in Parry Sound

We also spent today on the water, but in a powered Cruiser touring the edge of Georgian Bay near the town of Parry Sound.

There are hundreds of cottages built onto any accessible piece of rock or beach that people can find. Jim and Cheryl have boated in this are many many times anditis considered the #3 cruising area in the world after the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.

In order:

Sylvia did all she could to stay warm. It was actually pretty nice for a Fall day.

First we stopped at one of only 2 Marine Railways in the world.

It is part of the route between Jim and Cheryl’s and Georgian Bay.

On the Tour leaving Parry Sound. Check out the train above the town.

I still have to figure out the Selfie thing. At least I caught everyone else.

Some of the cottages were not exactly small.

Us and them Jim and Cheryl staying out of the wind. It wasn’t exactly warm.

Heading back to Parry Sound. Another great day.

Flying the Flag.

Heading into Hole in the Wall. That’s Sylvia in the pink.

Yeah, it Has Been Awhile.

It has been months since I published anything on the blog, and I hope to catch up on our rather busy summer in the next few weeks.

Right now we are in Ontario visiting with our friends Jim and Cheryl before heading to the Stratford Festival to see 4 plays later this week. We arrived Friday evening, got to experience dining on the Danforth (where we passed by the Memorial for the recent shooting victims) and made our way to downtown Innisfill. Don’t worry, I didn’t know where it was either.

Saturday was spent on the water where we got to experience sailing in Jim and Cheryl’s boat.

In order, we have Sylvia immensely enjoying steering the ship and looking to stay with the wind.

Cheryl with her In Charge pose.

Jim and I posing for posterity.

Sylvia and Cheryl doing the same (do you think Sylvia is having any fun?)

Jim and Cheryl looking to find home?

More pics later.

We are No Longer RV owners.

After 10 years and countless good times and great memories (and only a couple that revolve around excrement) we have sold our 5th Wheel.

Kinda sad to see it go, but seasons change and now that we have a Semi Finished Park Model we will have to see what new memories we can create. (With hopefully none of them involving excrement)

Sayonara!