Saturday 2 January 2010

Saturday January 2, 2009 - Out and About

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Gordon shoveling the front steps & walk this morning.

We went out for the day to pick up groceries and some bird seed for the bird feeder and wound up touring around the countryside. We went to the RV park where our RV is being stored to check on it. Everything looked ok. Then on to Almonte to see if the falls were frozen, they weren't and we couldn't find the Co-op place we had heard about to buy bird seed.

Downtown Almonte

Almonte is an interesting little town as the downtown is built on a hill as well as a curve.

Barns along the way

We traveled on toward Pakenham and took a photo of Stonebridge. We drove around the little town for a while, found a park and Gordon photographed the Catholic church.


Back to Almonte where we stopped and asked where the Co-op was. We had passed it on the way in so stopped for our bird seed.

On to Carleton Place where we stopped at Superwalmart, Bulk Barn and Steve's Independent. The store shelves were pretty empty after the holiday but I managed to find most of what I needed.

We got home around 4 p.m., had a nice day even though it was COLD!

Friday 1 January 2010

Friday January 1, 2010-Our Year in Review

We spent our 2008/2009 winter near Port Lavaca, TX specifically on Powderhorn Lake. Powderhorn Lake is part of the Gulf of Mexico. We had lucked in to this little Mom & Pop RV Park last Fall and loved it there. Not only is it a great spot, but it’s very inexpensive. Since Gordon was able to get both sunrise and sunset photos there over the Gulf due to the way the park is situated, he was a happy camper. We had one of the best winters that we’ve had to date on our odyssey. We were very close to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and Gordon obtained his America the Beautiful pass so that he gets into National parks free and since I’m with him, so do I!

In February we left our little gem of a park and took advantage of our Texas parks pass and stayed at Goose Island State Park at Rockport and Mustang Island State Park near Port Aransas and then at Goliad State Park which is inland a bit. From there it was off to Hill Country where the rv-dreams group was having a gathering at Kerrville, TX. We stayed at a different park than most but managed to get in on a couple of social events and met some people we hadn’t met before as well as some that we had.

From there we stayed for a while at Breaux Bridge, LA where Gordon enjoys Lake Martin swamp and the rookery there. We took a lot of photos of the birds in the rookery – lots of egrets, roseate spoonbills and herons. Unfortunately we had to leave before we got to see baby birds.

We headed on into Mississippi where we discovered the beauty of COE (Corps of Engineers) parks. We stayed at Grenada, MS and with Gordon’s America the Beautiful pass we had an absolutely beautiful spot backing on the water for $9/night.

From there we started our trek to Ohio to visit Gordon’s kids and grandkids and his sister.

Then it was on to Ottawa where were were trying out a new park in the east end of the city. Recreationland is a nice enough park but it’s way out there and all our medical/dental appointments as well as my sister are in the west end so it was taking forever to get there and traffic is terrible especially at rush hour.

We had a lot of wet, chilly weather on our return but no snow, thank goodness. Mid May we made our way to our home park, Tranquil Acres near Carleton Place and enjoyed ourselves there until we headed to Northern Ontario mid June. By this time most of our medical and dental appointments were over.

We stopped for a weekend at Deux Rivieres on the Ottawa River. It was a beautiful spot. From there we had planned to head partway to Sault Ste Marie but couldn’t find a campground that met our main requirement of being able to see the satellite. You’re in the north woods here so lots of trees so we drove all the way to the KOA at Sault Ste Marie where we overnighted and then north to Batchawana Bay where we had a lovely site overlooking gitchee gumee (Lake Superior). We were there for a week then had to leave as someone else was coming in. This was the only site in the park where we could access our satellites. We had a lot of outings at sunset, and of course Gordon was out at sunrise. He did see a moose while we were there.

After our week there we went north another three hours to Wawa, ON where we spent another week. One day we drove up to Marathon, ON and then on to Terrace Bay where we overnighted in a hotel. We haven’t done that in a long time! On our way home the next day we saw several moose along the road. They are such amazing creatures!

Gordon wanted to spend some time along Georgian Bay but their lack of RV parks especially for RVs the size of ours are few and far between. We stayed two nights at Parry Sound at a KOA but they were booked up after that. We had to go as far as Orillia to Heidi’s Campground which was very expensive but we stayed there over three weeks and drove over to the Georgian Bay area several times only ½ to ¾ of an hour away. We had never been to the Barrie/Orillia area before so we enjoyed it there.

It was then time to head to Lindsay as it was only one week before the cottage weekend held annually by my sister and brother-in-law, Betty and Garth. So back to our favourite spot on the Scugog River – Double M Campground to see Daphne and family.

We had a good time at cottage weekend with the family from Ottawa also in attendance, Margie, John and Danica and Nick and Becky. We stayed a month at Lindsay as usual with Betty and I going out driving around the small towns and having lunch and being at their cottage.

Just after my 61st birthday in September we returned to Ottawa and back to Tranquil Acres where we stayed until Thanksgiving weekend. Margie and John prepared an early Thanksgiving dinner for us on the Friday night as we were leaving for Sherkston Shores on Saturday in preparation for crossing the border near the end of October.

We had a nice time at Sherkston Shores but our odyssey ended there at least for the time being.

On Oct19 we went to Canada Customs to get some electronic items registered for crossing the border the next day. Our usual plan is to cross in to the US to scope out our route for the following day and we were on our way to do that when the border agent said we had to go inside to see Immigration. From there our whole lifestyle as we’ve known it for the past five years went downhill.

In 1992 I obtained a green card since Gordon had been unable to find work in Ottawa and I worked for State Farm, an American insurance company. So we thought I’d transfer and he’d have a better shot at getting a job in the U.S. I obtained my green card and was told that it would expire in two years and I would have to renew it. However Gordon found a job in Ottawa so we never did move to the U.S. and we forgot about the card until October 19th! Apparently I was supposed to return it. We were never told that nor does it say that anywhere on the card.

Anyway I was subjected to mental and verbal abuse by the Immigration agent for about two hours, fingerprinted and told that there was no way we were going to Texas this winter. I was given a letter of some sort with a couple of phone numbers scribbled on the back and we were led back to Canada.

After the initial shock we proceeded to get ready to return to Ottawa. I contacted Dave, our home campground owner and even though the campground had been closed for a couple of weeks, he opened it for us to get our RV in to store after we had taken it to our dealer to get the unit winterized. We had never had to winterize before so hadn’t a clue how to do it. We got the RV parked in the campground and over several days started the emptying out process.

In the meantime my friend, Nancy offered us a place to live for the winter. We have such amazing friends! So we started moving things into Nancy’s house that couldn’t be left in the RV over the winter and are now safely ensconced with our own bedroom and bathroom on her lower floor with a walk out to the backyard.

After about a month trying to get our heads together and get over the anger and stupidity of my ‘deportation’, I tried to contact an Immigration lawyer here in Ottawa who never did return my call.

Another friend recommended someone in London, ON who had assisted his son in getting his green card to join his fiancĂ©e in the U.S. so I contacted him. He did some research and found out that my problem had to go to court so he could not help me but recommended a law firm in Buffalo, NY. I had a telephone consultation with them and paid a retainer and hopefully he will be able to clear this up but there are no guarantees. I have received forms to complete so nothing has really happened and probably won’t until the forms are returned.

At the beginning of November, my sister, Margie started having decreased vision. It turned out to be a congenital brain tumor that was pressing on both optic nerves as well as her pituitary gland. They operated and it was successful. She now has her sight back. So I’m glad that we were able to be here and it was a bonus to be having Christmas with family but I sure do hate snow, cold and winter in general!

In the meantime I have made arrangements to have my cataracts removed early in 2010. May as well make the most of it.

New Year’s Eve was spent quietly as usual. Neither one of us are party animals of any kind and prefer to spend it at home so out with the old and in with the new. Hopefully 2010 will find us back on the road and on our way south for next winter!

Since I didn’t send any Christmas cards this year, please consider this a belated Christmas card.

Thursday 31 December 2009

Thursday December 31, 2009-2009 Comes to an End

It was a beautiful morning with snow falling lightly and -7C (19F). I guess my blood must be thickening up to think that's warm! Anyway I went for a long walk around the residential area. Sure glad I have my ice grippers on though!

We took the Christmas tree down this morning. Nancy had taken most of the decorations off last night so all that was left were the decorations on the top, the angel and the lights to take down this morning. Gordon got it out to the curb and we got the pine needles cleaned up off the floor.

We had to go to Farm Boy to pick up some kale for Gordon. He's really gotten into eating raw kale every day to help ward off macular degeneration so we stopped there and then headed for Wakefield, Quebec. Wakefield is a pretty, artsy little town on the shores of the Gatineau River about 62 km ( 37 miles ) or so from Ottawa. It was snowing lightly when we left Ottawa.

The Wakefield sign with the frozen over Gatineau River as a back drop.

There are many ski hills between Ottawa and Wakefield not to mention the Gatineau Parkway which is closed to traffic in the winter but open to cross country skiiers. There are lots of people up here who actually enjoy winter. Unfortunately I've never been one of them although I did cross country ski in a previous lifetime, not well, but I did do it.

Parking area for those wishing to cross country ski on the Gatineau Parkway.

Quebec is a very picturesque province, much more so than the area of Ontario where we live. Unfortunately due to its political problems I wouldn't want to live there although homes are less expensive than in Ottawa.

Canada is supposed to be a bilingual country. In this area you find road and street signs in both official languages, English and French. In Quebec which is part of Canada, you find road and street signs in French. Go figure! Anyway, Canada does bend over backwards for them, it seems although they don't seem to think so. Regardless of their political issues, it's still a beautiful province!

Quebec road sign on the left and Ontario road sign on the right

We had a lovely trip to Wakefield and took photos of the rebuilt covered bridge. The original bridge burned down in 1984. It's been a long time since we've seen the bridge in winter.

Views of the covered bridge and a view of the Gatineau River from the covered bridge.

After that we stopped and had a mediocre lunch at the Alpengruss Restaurant just outside of Wakefield. We have been there for breakfast quite often and it is good but had never been there for lunch before. We probably won't be there again for lunch either.

It was snowing quite heavily so we decided we'd better head for home. The truck did well on the snowy roads and after stopping at Tim Horton's to pick up coffee and doughnuts we got home safely.

A snowy drive home

A barn along the way

Snowy trees

The I-5 was pretty snowy too

When we hit Ottawa there were some people cross country skiing along the Ottawa River Parkway. Here's one of them.

An old family friend passed away yesterday. We don't have funeral details yet. She was 89 years old and had never been married. There also aren't many relatives left. I used to spend three weeks each summer with her and her sister (who was also unmarried and passed away quite a few years ago) when I was a kid and they lived in Cornwall, Ontario. We had some good times then!

Tonight we have no plans to go out and celebrate the end of 2009. We usually don't go out for New Year's Eve anyway so this year isn't any different from other years. I'm working on our Year in Review for posting hopefully tomorrow.

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday 30 December 2009

Wednesday December 30, 2009-Walk

It was -18C (0F) with a windchill of -27C (-17F) so again no walk this morning.

I needed to go to the library today as I finished my last library book last night. So, I decided to head over to the Carlingwood Mall to do some walking and look around and then stop at the library on the way back. Gordon decided to go as well and drop me at the Mall and go and find a photo. Walking around the mall wasn't much fun and it was too hot.

By the time we got back it had warmed up quite a bit so I went for my walk.

I started a new library book and watched some TV this afternoon.

Let's call it a day!

To read Gordon's blog, click here.

Tuesday 29 December 2009

Tuesday December 29, 2009-Visitors

It was cold and sunny today. The temperature was -17C (1F) but the wind chill made it into the -30C (-22F) range.

The highlight of my day today was a visit from my friend, Laura and her husband, Steve. They are here from the Kitchener-Waterloo, ON area visiting for a few days. Laura and I worked together at State Farm ions ago and have kept in touch. She is one of my loyal blog readers. We had a great time playing catch up.

Unfortunately due to brain damage on my part, I forgot to take a photo. Hopefully they'll be back this summer.

Today's photo was taken by Gordon at Alight at Night at Upper Canada Village on Sunday.

Monday 28 December 2009

Monday December 28, 2009

Not much going on today. The housecleaner came and I went out and picked up some groceries.

This afternoon I read and napped.

How exciting!

Sunday 27 December 2009

Sunday December 27, 2009-Upper Canada Village

I started out for my walk this morning but the snow was too soft to walk on and I kept sinking in to my knees so just took a few photos of the ice storm and came home and shoveled Nancy's walk.

This tree had some damage

Lots of ice on the trees

This afternoon we went out and bought me my own tripod in anticipation of our little road trip late this afternoon.

We headed south to the Morrisburg area (Morrisburg is where I went to high school and where I lived when I was married to husband #1).

This photo of the sunset was taken from the dock in Morrisburg.

While there we were also able to update the roaming on our Verizon cell phones as Waddington, NY is right across the St. Lawrence River so we were able to get the Verizon signal.

Then on to Upper Canada Village for their Alight at Night Show.

Here are some photos of the lights that I took around the village with my camera and my new tripod.

It's about 1 1/2 hours or so to Upper Canada Village from here so we arrived there for the Alight at Night opening at sunset and got back to Kanata shortly after 8 p.m. That's the second time we've been there since it started years ago and boy was it crowded tonight. I guess the temperature being above freezing contributed to that. Last time we were there there weren't nearly as many people but we also nearly froze to death.