Monday, April 16, 2007

Mon. April 16 - We did make it to Edmundston around 7 pm. last night. Roads good, just lots of rain. Got our trip permit, good till 12 noon tomorrow. The roads before Fred. were awful, ice pellets coming down and staying on the road, temperature hovering around zero, treacherous! We drive slow and make it to Fred. around 2. Stopped to have lunch with G's brother Joe, short visit then back on road, as heavy rain and wind coming up the eastern seaboard & we're trying to keep ahead of it.
Yeh!! we have just crossed the Confederation Bridge onto PEI, and the roads are great, just light rain now. We will stay in Charlottetown tonight so that we can get the final permanent license for the motorhome, groceries, then head for Souris. More rain in the forecast, so likely can't get the motorhome up to the cottage, but we can walk in...

We will each post our comments on our 6 mth experience "on the road"...stay tuned!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

TJ holding Ubu, Chantel, Gerry & Sherri
The (welcoming committee) pets in our bed at Chantel & TJ's!

Lake Huron

Anne, Steve, Lee holding Kailee Ann, TJ, Mike Haselden

The cooks in the kitchen
Wed. April 11 - Up, juiced, fruit & cerealed and down the road with coffee to go by 9 or so. Very pretty drive alongside Lake Superior, nice beaches and tons of boats & cottages, this is hunting and fishing heaven.... It's outdoor enthusiast heaven too, outfitters, kayak tours, hiking trails, etc. Thru the Soo & back on the road we did on our way west in November. Alongside Lake Huron now, still lots of rocks and trees, but some awesome spots we must come back & explore later. We push on to North Bay once we hear the snow forecast for Thursday. We are tired by 7:30 & take the first hotel we come to on the highway, as we don't have a way to plug in and don't want to freeze. No campgrounds open, this is not a good time of the year to be RV'ing with snowstorms still pending. Order in pizza & relax with a bath, tv & the newspapers.

Thurs. April 12 - I sleep till 9:45, navigating is hard work!! Gerry, the driver is up by 8:30 & goes downstairs to get breakfast before it closes, how sweet! We relax for awhile in the room as there is alot of wet snow outside & it is still coming down. We leave for Ottawa just before noon & the road is very slushy & slow going thru the hills. We stop for a lunch break around 2 & find out that we are almost thru the hills, so push on & it does get much better. Arrive in Ottawa at Will & Donna's just before 5, perfect happy hour time & we are relieved to have arrived safely. Will has a beautiful dinner prepared, shrimp & salmon appy, with standing pork ribs, caesar & 3 bean salad & potatoes, outstanding!! Even our new motorhome knew the route directly to this gourmet B & B!! We've made it here 3 x in the last 12 mths!

Fri. the 13th - eek! - After breakfast we pack up and head out to the motor vehicle office to buy another trip permit, but Ont. will only sell one if you have bought the vehicle in the last 30 days. G researches Que & NB, so we can drive legally after Monday. It will have to be Edmundston where we can obtain a 24 hr permit, so that's our deadline!! Drop into IKEA & Linens & things, looking for items needed for the 2007 reno plans. We almost come out of IKEA with less than 10. spent, but some last minute purchases (hammock, mirror) renew our former spending habits at this store!! Then its off to Hudson, QC, a favorite little tourist town near Chantel & TJ's with some great shops. We get out for a walk in Hudson & look around, then off to Vaudreuil, arriving at C & TJ's just moments before they are home from work. So great to be here & see them & the 4 pets. Ubu has grown so much!! We visit & then bowl on the Nintendo WII (sp?), fun & lots of actual physical movements! Off to Kelseys for dinner to give everyone a break.

Sat. April 14 - lovely sleep in again, we are back in the east & getting back to our 9 - 10 hr/night habits!! Off to Home Depot to pick up supplies for the fix it projects lined up for G, what are Dad's for eh?? Then it's back to put the turkey in the oven for dinner - TJ's family and the new baby coming later. I make lasagna for the freezer & we get things ready for dinner, visit & relax for the afternoon. TJ's Mom, Dad, sister Lee & Steve & baby Kailee Ann arrive around 6. Dinner of turkey, stuffing, gravy, carrots, corn & bread is a delicious feast!! Great to see all this gang again, before TJ's Dad Mike heads back to China this week.

Sun. April 15 - after Chantel gives me photoshop tips & tricks 101, and a relaxing morning of breakfast, coffee, plans, etc., we head down the road around noon. There is a snowstorm forecast for Montreal, so we have to try to get ahead of it. Just raining so far, aiming for Edmundston tonight, where we need to pick up our next trip permit, that hopefully gets us to PEI on schedule Monday or Tuesday, depending on weather...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Inukshuks on top of many rocks along highway in Ontario.
The Wawa Goose
Mon. Apr 9 - drove thru Manitoba & arrived at my high school friends' Jim & Annie Mowrey's house around 5. Annie had to go to Toronto for training for the provincial election, and Jim was left with a casserole & detailed instructions! It was very good, Annie, pasta, beef & lots of cheese, but poor Jim took alot of ribbing for the help he needed there, ha! Lots of talk of old times & retirement, how does this keep coming up??? Vacations, how much $$'s do you need, what to do, requires many drinks to aid the discussion!! It is about -10 outside, so we sleep inside, after the guys watch the taped end of the Masters Golf & I talked to Annie on the phone from her hotel room.

Tues. April 10 - after a hearty breakfast of juice, toast & coffee, Gerry brings in his iPod & Jim gets us psyched up and set up for the long drive across Ontario with 495 new songs he has ready to go! Wow, thanks Jim, it got us thru the first day safely, arriving at Marathon about 8 (with time change). Many awesome views of the rocks and Lake Superior as we cross the pre-cambrian sheild. Still no moose sightings. The cook is in the kitchen preparing salmon & green beans, and we are starving!!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Good Friday, April 6 - We meet niece Stacy & Dallas at Houston's Pizza for lunch. Stacy is expecting in July, so she is looking plump & very healthy & Dallas is excited about having a little brother! The food is mostly very good & we hear all the news with the newlyweds! Back to Ryan's to do some cleaning in the RV, time to get it road ready for the final leg of our trip. It is stored in a big equipment garage, as the water had frozen up earlier in the week, so it is nice & warm here & cozy for sleeping, no need for furnace heat. Off to Wade & Donna's for dinner of ribs, spinach salad & crispy potatoes, delish! We pull out pictures & go thru some more of Mom's, little by little we will get them organized.

Sat. April 7 - I am up & over to Penny's to color Easter eggs with Alexis & Trista, their Grandma Lynne is there also. We do some with boiled onion skins for color & twigs & pine needles for design, natural style. And of course there are lots of bright colored ones too! Such busy little girls.... After lunch it is time to press our clothes and get ready for the party tonight. At 5 we arrive at the Heritage Inn for cocktails. Beautiful hall & the Nagel kids are all there. Brian & Dennis & wives Jillian & Annabelle that we have not met & Ruth & her ex, Peter whom we have not seen for years, maybe since Yellowknife days. The 140 people here are celebrating the 90th birthday of Martin & Martin & Bernie's 56th wedding anniversary (they were our next door neighbors on the farm & have remained lifelong great friends). The dinner is scrumptious, roast beef, chicken & lots of hot veggies & salads, along with great Alberta wine Ruth imported! We are sitting with us 6 & Uncle Lawrence & Gladys, so good to see them again! Brian is the MC & he does a bang-up job, being witty & touching at the same time. The 8 grandchildren & "adopted" grandchildren all make presentations or speeches, right from age 6 to 20 or so. Very moving, they all do a great job. Then the dancing started, with a polka band, from 8 till 12. What a hoot, everyone danced lots, all the old time dances. I took 90 plus pictures, so you should see a few soon! It was a great time & Gerry went to the mic & made us all more teary by saying that Clarence & Emily would have loved to be there & were with us in spirit. All in all it was the party of the year & we were very happy to be there!

Easter Sunday, April 8 - the final pack up of the RV, and then off to brunch at Nick's Place with the bro's & families. Thanks Ryan! From here we drove to the farm at Crane Valley to spend the afternoon with Uncle Lawrence & Gladys. The plan was to take out a metal sign we had designed, with "Gibson Homestead" on it, but it was not completed. Too cold to climb Clay Butte today, took out pictures to look at. Great to visit here again. We also had a look at the diaries that Grandma Gibson wrote about the happenings on the farm between 1925 & 1960 or so. Some restortation needs to be determined for some of them. Fun & lots of history to read there! Once back in MJ we say our goodbyes and head down the road to get a few hours of driving in before dark & a head start on our 1st leg to Kenora. We cross the border into Manitoba just around 7 pm & park at a Rest Area for the night. Pull out our barbecued chicken & coleslaw from the grocery store for an easy dinner. It feels odd to be on the road alone again, but we are now looking forward to getting back to our little cottage on the ocean & to seeing our kids again!! We hear there is a big snow storm that hit the maritimes on the weekend, so it may not dry up on our road in time for us to drive up there....we could be living in the motorhome longer yet. Maybe we should be heading south for another few weeks, instead!

April 3 - out for another walk/run, over to Crescent Park, a lovely park in downtown MJ, geese in the stream, the Natatorium pool where we used to swim, the library & art gallery & lots of trails. Cool but clear morning. In the afternoon we go to Vina Thiele's and visit her & Lynne, who is here for 2 weeks, so its nice to see someone from PEI again & catch up on some news. Plans for the summer are already formulating! It is colder out this afternoon, so tea tastes good! Lynne & I go to do some shopping in downtown MJ, looking for shoes for the party on Sat.
Gerry takes the RV to Constable's Service Station to have the oil changed. The Constable's are family friends & a 3rd generation of sons are now working there. G is advised to make his apointment for 4:30 or so, as the drinks come out at 5. Wade & Ryan join for this activity, after work, life is tough. I am back to Wade & Donna for a drink with Donna when she returns from her trip, still with beer left in her cooler!! Then its off to Ryan & Pat's for dinner with them & their friends Wayne & Dorothy. Ryan barbecues up some honkin big steaks, Pat does baby potatoes & carrots, another big burp! They have all been in Cuba for a week, at Coco Beach, so are well tanned. Penny, Alexis & Trista are also over, so great to visit with all!!

April 4 - time for a haircut from the young Victoria at Nadine's, an entertaining stylist who cuts good too! Gerry's walk takes him past the Casino, he drops in & recoups his losses from North Battleford, sweet revenge! In the late afternoon we go to Virginia Pickard's (family friend from Crane Valley) for drinks, also Cal & Betty Koehler arrive, so great reunion. Then off to Cordova's Bistro for dinner with the family. Food is good, lots of pastas & Italian chicken dishes are consumed! Ryan, Pat, Wade, Gerry & I drop in for a visit at the Nagel's, before the big party on Sat. Martin, Bernie & Ruth are there, so it is great to catch up with the latest happenings of the family.

Thurs. April 5 - shopping needs rule today, then off to Penny's to play with Alexis & Trista. The games & books come out, 2 busy little girls! Then we are outside at the play area & Gypsy the horse comes over looking for a treat. It is a very cold wind outside, so playing out is short lived. Penny makes dinner & when Dean comes in we stay for port tenderloin, taters, beans & salad. Gerry & Ryan have plans to go to poker night that Wade has organized with a bunch of friends - Texas Hold'em. Pat gives G a quick lesson before his initiation. Then we meet Lynne at the Casino & I am the lucky one tonight. After an hour or so we walk out into the bitter cold night & go bar hopping to Bobby's, the Royal, Nickels, all too noisy for us old folks, so we settle in at Hopkins House for snacks & drinks where we can visit.

Well, I'm way behind now, we're on the road in Manitoba, so will try to fill in all that we've done in the last 10 days.

Mar 30 - After doing laundry & gassing up the RV (a scary event!), drove from Jasper to Edmonton, on the Yellowhead Hwy, there are hardly any mountains to cross, just off in the distance, a beautiful view leaving Jasper where the mountain is straight ahead. Lots of snow up there, but the roads are great, very little traffic. Arrived at cousin Marv & Colleen's around 5, they were home soon too. Had a lovely meal of ribs on the barby, salad & angel hair pasta. Got all the news on their trip to Trois Riviere, where Marv's curling team (with skip Pat Ryan) won the senior mens canadian championship! Way to go!

Mar 31 - drove to North Battleford, the only place we could find to plug in the RV (it's going to be below zero tonight) was at the Golden Eagle Casino, no campgrounds open yet. Walked around town & stopped at Boston Pizza for beer & wings & a take out veggie pizza. Back to the RV for pizza & wine, yum! Then off to the casino to pay our rent for the electricity, and that didn't take long!!

Sun. April 1 - down the road to cousin Gail & Dave's at their farm outside Ruddell, Sask. Haven't been here for many moons either! They have a lovely lunch prepared, soup, salad & lots of fixins. Their "kids" Krista & Jason, with kiddies Taylor ; Brodie; and Tyler & Kim, with Mckenna & Rylan (sp?) arrive also. So great to see everyone and have a short visit! They are still talking about the lobster fishing in your boat, Brian! Lots of great memories... Soon we are off down the road to Moose Jaw, to have dinner with Wade. He cooked up some of his deer sausage on the barby & we added in some salad and corn. Donna was on a visit with Samantha in Medicine Hat. We met the new (1 yr old) puppy Molly, who needs to transfer some energy to the rest of us!

Mon. April 2 - laundry day again, time to wash jackets that we have been wearing again now that we are back in the colder provinces again. It is below freezing at night, but some sunny days, not much wind. Get some walking and running in. Paperwork to catch up on, meeting with lawyer, stuff!! Dinner with Wade, Gerry cooks halibut along with another salad, we are eating so good!!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Mar 26 - drove up the Okanagan Valley, to Oyama and our friends' Jose (from PEI) & Len's. It's been a long time since we were here - early 80's??? The new Coquihalla Highway is great, smooth, straight, but some good mountain views too. They have a great lake view & soon after we arrived they were home also. Took Mia the dog out for a run in the park, or more like Mia chasing the ball until she could run no more! Back to watch Jose prepare a beautiful pork tenderloin, salad & wild rice, delicious, a gourmet delight!! It stays light until 7 pm + now, so quite a change from the south. Great to catch up on all the news in this part of the world & to see everyone on their own turf! Monica was home after her cooking class & met Len's Mom, Bea, also.

Mar 27 - after breakfast, short hike in the nearby park around part of Lake Kalamalka, beautiful with lots of geese. Got a chance to wash our sheepskin bike seats that the dogs at the Lookout Inn had played with (ick!) & lay them out in the sun to dry....hopefully they smell better too! Jose took the afternoon off, so we took Monica and picked up Jose from work & went to the Wild Apple on the Okanagan Lake for lunch, awesome view, funky restaurant and great food, good choice!! Drove to Summerhill Winery, where they have a pyramid shaped wine cellar. Wine tasting was great, very knowledgeable staff & yummy wines. Next up to Knox Mountain - what a great view of Kelowna!! Beautiful sunny day, so lots to see. Picked up red snapper, back to Jose & Len's to have a shrimp appetizer, snapper, salad with Jose's homemade dressing & asparagus, yum!! Lots of food talk, recipe sharing and then the pictures from CR came out (think home videos from years gone by, ha!).

Mar 28 - left Oyama after breakfast & drove up thru Vernon, into the country town of Armstrong, where Jose told me there was a good quilt shop. Couldn't resist that, and sure enough Clea had some great fabrics, so I left her some money.... Very cute town. Drove on along the Shuswap Lakes & Salmon Arm (reminders of my youth when I came here with the Brownlees to visit their relatives ...). Beautiful area, where you can rent houseboats to travel the lakes. On over to Kamloops and then north. Very scenic area and a lovely sunny day. Stayed overnight at a campground in Clearwater. We were the only campers, got to plug into the only electrical outlet available, no water or sewer. Nice walk around town, many shops closed, but nice view of the town & river below from the main road.Went out to eat at the local Country Inn, next to the RV park. That was a mistake..Gerry's ribs and my soup were great, but ick to the rest ...oh well, we didn't have to do dishes...

Mar 29 - another sunny, warm day & we drove to Jasper. Gorgeous views and mountain sights along the way. We were looking for bears and moose, but only sighted one coyote. Mount Robson was amazing, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. The info centre was closed by the time we arrived (1 hr time change), but the outdoor outfitter store had all the hike info, so we got that & took off for the 4 km Old Fort Point hike. Quite steep to start, awesome views of the town of Jasper, the Athabasca River and the mountain sheep on a knoll partway up. Deja vu for Sher (Rosemary did we do this hike on our visit here in 97 for the Tourism meetings???) If not , I must have been a mountain sheep in Jasper in another life!!! Find a site at Wapiti Campground, the only one open in the park in the "winter"! Lots of snow around in the trees & tons of ice on the trail on our hike. There are lots of other campers though, our first experience of this all winter in Canada... Stirfried veggies, some shrimp and left over ribs for dinner tonight. It's light here until 8 pm, what a change!!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mar 21 - leaving Costa Rica today. We had the choice of driving in a cab for 2 hrs over the road we had biked, or flying for 8 minutes. Of course the cost was different, but decided to spend the extra & fly, instead of getting hot and dusty before getting on 2 more flights. The flight was in a Cessna 206, 4 seats, arrived in Puerto Jimenez, then found out that our Nature Air flight was gone, too late to wait for the next one, so had to charter the same plane to San Jose to connect up with our Air Canada flight leaving for Toronto in the pm. Just a little mis-communication by our tour planner....
Anyway, the resulting flight over the country gave us a great view of the landscape that we had biked, from the air, lovely sunny day. Couldn't upgrade to 1st class on the next flight, but it was fine, with several movies and lots of food and drink. Arrived late in Toronto, straight to Novotel hotel near the airport.
On reflection of our gruelling, hot bike tour, it was a wonderful way to see parts of the country we would not have seen otherwise, and forced us to have lots of exercise, maybe even motivating us to do more in the future..!..At any rate, we will be looking for this TYPE of adventure on future vacations, maybe not quite so ambitious... :c)

Mar 22 - stayed in hotel room until 2 pm, pouring rain outside, caught up on reading the news, etc. Off to the airport at 2, great afternoon in the Maple Leaf Lounge, internet access, so caught up there, called our kids, everyone is fine, TJ auditioned for a TV comedy show (didn't get on but has lots of original material ready for open mike nights), Dean & Anne heading to Toronto for a weekend "One of a Kind" craft show for Anne's work. It was a long day waiting for an 8 pm flight to Victoria, then taxi to our motorhome (stored at Carls office/house in Langford, thanks again, Carl!), at 2 am body time....zzzzz

Mar 23 - after sleeping in, getting groceries & the permit for the RV, that will allow us to drive it for another 15 days, off to Dan & Joanne's for dinner and a visit. Barbecued steaks, and delicious fixins, great change after the beans & rice of CR! Great to see everyone again and start planning a future trip together!!

Mar 24 - off down the road, the start of our trip east, caught the ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawassen, then drove to Carl & Kim & Justin's in Surrey. Monique, Danielle & Michaela came over later and John was also there. Great dinner of Yellowtail tuna steaks, wild rice, greek salad and several yummy appy's, with wonderful company, catching up on all the news. Stayed overnight, parked in driveway.

Mar 25 - Sunday morning, after a big breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage & toast, burp, on the road again. Drove to Harrison Hot Springs, found an RV site, several parks not open yet... Got in a short hike around the town and on some trails. It's a great little tourist town, beautiful lake and lagoon with a beach. Carl, John & Justin joined us later and we took a soak in the hot springs public pool, ahhh, very soothing! Carl drove us all up the mountain road for some awesome views, then back to the RV to cook chicken & potatoes on the barby. Added a veggie stir fry and we had a great meal for 5 in the RV, our first dinner guests!

Monday, March 26, 2007

A selection of pictures of Costa Rica. On the left a hill we biked up, a very good road. One of the many streams we crossed below and an unusual bridge made of 2 halfs of a tree, yikes!

Gerry with Margarita the Lookout Inn dog, on a hike. Monkey mama and baby at the banana feeding station. Leaving La Fortuna for our biking day. S kayaking over the surf.

The biking crew ready to leave on the last day out, from Port Jimeniz to Carate. A scarlet macaw and a lizard.

Harvesting palm seeds, and a farming view.

A typical church at the end of the town square/park. The wedding party - Jamie, Amy, Jaime, Stephen, Dan and Cindy.