Halifax, at Last!


June 28, 2022

Once we left Moncton, we stopped only for gas and refreshments, being now anxious to settle into Halifax for a few days. We’d traveled for a few hours when Jim thought about me almost leaving my pillow behind our last night.

“Did you remember your pillow this time?”

“Umm.” I looked into the back seat. “I guess not. Did you see it when you checked the room?”

“No. But I didn’t look on the bed.”

“Well I guess it’s still there. I just have to hope the pillows are good at the next place.” I smiled. I have some trouble with my neck and shoulders and need proper support when sleeping.

The day had started out rainy, but the sun was out by then. “I can’t find my sunglasses either! We’ll have to stop somewhere so I can get another pair.”

The sun hid behind the clouds shortly and didn’t reappear until we were entering Halifax. We stopped at a Super Store to find a washroom, and some sunglasses, A couple of days later I found my original sun glasses under my seat in the car, while looking for something Jim had misplaced! Lol That was $25 I didn’t need to spend. Sigh. Oh well.

Once again we arrived at our accommodations a couple of hours early and were unable to check in. That Air B&B had an automated check-in system we’d never seen before. Jim was texted a code that unlocked the appropriate lock-box for our particular room, wherein the key was hiding. Once it was opened, our check-in was complete. But it couldn’t happen before three o’clock. I was looking forward to finally relaxing, but instead we had to find someplace to eat, so we parked the car in the parking lot and walked a few blocks until we found a little Ramen Café. We didn’t want much. We each ordered a dish of breaded jumbo shrimp, that were very good.

When we were seated at a long natural wood-slab table, with a few other people, only four empty stools remained available for anyone new who arrived.

I soon noticed four young women standing at the entrance and asked them to join us. It was a lovely surprise to discover they were part of the Nova Scotia Military Tattoo we were planning to attend. They had been in the city for a week, putting fourteen hour days, practicing and performing. They were highland dancers representing three different countries – one from Edinburgh, Scotland, two from Canada (Toronto and Vancouver) and one from Los Angeles. They gave us an interesting insight into what goes into these major Tattoos, and the expenses the performers have to bare. Their only “pay” was room and board. They were responsible for their flights and other transportation to get themselves there.

We made our way back to the suites at precisely three o’clock.

The suite was in an historical three story home, that had been restored on the outside, but the suites had the convenience of an updated bathroom and shower, and a modern kitchen, open to the roomy sitting/dining area. The bedroom was large and brightly lit by tall windows. The original doors, windows and intricate moldings were retained. There was cable TV and excellent WiFi.

The downside was the twenty-eight steps up a winding stair-case to our suite.

Thank goodness we were only on the second floor!

A hot shower and a change of clothes was the first thing on our agenda, followed by a trip to the laundry, a few blocks away, and another to the grocery story, within walking distance. I put together some dinner and then started writing and reviewing until my tired eyes could no longer see the screen of my iPad. The bed was comfortable; the pillows were perfect, and we discovered we were only a few blocks from the waterfront entertainment.

Moncton New Brunswick


We arrived at the Glory Guest Suites in Moncton, New Brunswick where Jim had made a reservation. We were a little early, again, but the sweet Chinese man who showed us where to park was unconcerned. He was, however, concerned about our e-bikes we had on the back of our car. Jim understood him to say something about putting them into the garage, but he couldn’t see any garage, so he assured the man they would be alright.

Once we settled into our rooms and rested for a bit, we went out in search of dinner. We found a lovely pub called the Tide and Boar where we enjoyed an delicious meal of baked, breaded fish, salad and interesting fries made from cornmeal polenta.

I wondered what kind of paint was used for these rainbow cross-walks that keeps them so vibrant.

Jim thought the tidal bore* was to happen that evening, so after dinner, we walked to the waterfront park. It was an interesting spot, but we’d missed the tidal bore.

We were both tired and ready for bed by 9:00 that night. As I was waiting for my turn in the bathroom, a knock came to our door. It was the smiling wife of our host. She explained that they were worried about our bicycles being stolen and they would really like us to put them into their garage. She said they would not sleep at night if we didn’t. We both tried to convince her they would be alright. Many necessary parts were in the trunk and there were three lock on them and the hitch. But they wouldn’t be deterred so we gave in. We both went downstairs with her and she called her husband to come help. It turned out they owned another rental house next door, where the garage was. They both beamed with joy when we had the bikes safely stored in the locked garage.

“You call me in the morning when you want to leave. My husband will help you. You are family!”  That made us smile.

True to their word, her husband was out as soon as Jim called and got the bikes out and to our car for us. We managed the rest, having loaded them many times.

Jim drove back downtown to Cora’s for a delicious breakfast of waffles with cottage cheese and an abundance of fresh fruit. There was even real maple syrup, something that’s hard to find in restaurants because of the cost of it these days.

It was there I had my second nosebleed. I was thankful it wasn’t bad compared to the first, and there were no patrons sitting anywhere near us. Being unable to eat while I tended to my problem, I asked for a take-out box for the breakfast I’d just started eating.  I got it under control quickly, but it left me feeling a little weary.

Before leaving Moncton,  Jim wanted to try again to catch the tidal bore. He parked the car within a short walk to the park we’d been in the evening before, but I just didn’t have the energy. We had seen one on our previous trip to our East Coast, so I chose to remain in the car while he walked to the river and captured  this great video.

Tidal Bore on Bay of Fundy,

When we left Moncton I slept for many miles, then enjoyed my breakfast. Our next stop was our main destination: Halifax.

*A tidal bore occurs along a coast where a river empties into an ocean or sea and the strong, twice daily ocean tide  pushes up the river, against the current creating a high wave of water.  If you ever have the chance to see one, it’s well worth seeking it out. The largest ones occur on Canada’s Bay of Fundy.

The Journey Continues into New Brunswick


We left Levis, Quebec at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 26th. We arrived at our planned destination in Edmundston, New Brunswick at 12:45 p.m. Jim tried to check into our reserved Air B & B suite, but were told it couldn’t be done until 3:00, so we went looking for a place to lunch. Who knew that most restaurants were closed on Sundays?! It was 1:30 when we found a place that served only breakfast on Sundays, and only until 3:00. We’d had a good breakfast soon after we’d left Levis, so we settled for a couple of very healthy, fruit smoothies. We picked up a few items at the Super Store, knowing we’d be making our own dinner, and arrived back at our suite just in time to check in.

The “suite” was very tiny, with a funky déco art theme. There was an overused futon in the open living area. It was piled with brightly coloured cushions. A small kitchen table with two chairs sat very close to the refrigerator on the other side of the  room. The bedroom and bathroom were so small I’d take pity on anyone who was much larger than we are, either by height or weight, to fit comfortably. For us, it would do for a night. It was clean. So clean, as a matter of fact, the very strong odour of Lysol cleaner still saturated the air! I opened as many windows as would open to clear it out. As with the smoke I’d accidentally inhaled while walking by smokers on a sidewalk in Kingston, it choked me and hurt my nose. Jim didn’t notice.

When we got into bed, I squeezed into the small space between the bed and window and climbed in. There were no beside tables, so I didn’t have my usual box of tissues nearby. That turned out to be significant. At 4:00 a.m. I felt something running from my nose and down my throat. I quickly covered my nose with my hand and somehow found my way around the bed and into the bathroom next door. My nose was bleeding profusely, and running into the back of my throat. I pinched it, and wiped it and coughed and choked, unable to call out to Jim, who was peacefully sleeping. He has a sleep apnea machine that drowns out most noise.

After I got over my panic and got the bleeding stopped, I worried about being stuck in the bedroom again, or even laying down. I propped myself up on some of the throw cushions on the futon, staying to one end where the padding was firmer, and drifted in and out of sleep until Jim found me at 6:30. I wondered if the bleeding had anything to do with the Lysol and/or the smoke. Little did I suspect this might be a recurring problem.

We were out of there by 8:00 a.m. after quick showers and a breakfast of bagels and cream cheese I’d packed in a cooler bag. I was relieved to see that no blood had dripped onto the bedding, other than the minor spot now dried on my own pillow I’d taken with me.

We stretched out the day’s travels a little better, taking time to visit the longest covered bridge in the world. It crosses the Saint John River that runs through the Town of Hartland, New Brunswick.

After a visit to the Information Centre and a quick lunch of sandwiches, we picked up in the grocery store, we were on our way again.

Signs of Spring Renewal


I’ve really let my blogging slip by the wayside and I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t get into the re-blogging thing. Now that spring has begun to show her face, we’ve managed a couple of interesting local excursions. 

One day we took at drive to Healy Falls, where the water is running rapidly once again.

We got our e-bikes out and did a couple of tours around our neighbourhood to get back into the groove of riding. Then one day we did a 28 km trip to a neighbouring town, with two of our biking friends. It was a warm, almost-like-summer day. It was the last day before Ontario was going into another lock-down, when we’re told to stay home except for essentials, which includes getting fresh air and exercise.

Taking back country roads, with many steep hills, we arrived in Norwood in time for a take-out lunch, which we ate while sitting on the curb of the parking lot. The ride home seemed easier.

A few days ago we discovered, after Jim’s daughter told us about it, the lovely Nawautin Nature Sanctuary in a nearby Township. After an unpleasant start to the day, it was just what I needed to calm my soul. The pictures say it all.

Since then we’ve had rain and cooler weather again, but hope for more excursions soon prevails.

Riding West Along the Trans Canada Trail out of Hastings


We got in another, shorter, ride on Wednesday, before the wind, rain and colder weather blew in. Our plan had been to drive to Omemee to unload the bikes and then ride to Lindsay for lunch, and back, but the forecast wasn’t looking good for later on in the day. The morning, however, was sunny and warming up nicely by the time we met with two of our riders in Hastings, to take the Trans Canada Trail west out of Hastings for an hour then return to Hastings where we’d meet the other couple for lunch.

There isn’t much to say, other than it’s a beautiful section of the trail. The many pictures that we took tell the story of the vibrant autumn colours we passed through. Enjoy!

The Trail took us mostly alongside Trent River/Trent Severn Waterway, then we veered off to the north to take this tunnel under County Road 2 and went a little further before turning back toward Hastings.

This could be our last ride of the season. But, then again, maybe we’ll get one more shot at warm sunny weather before winter reaches us. 🙂

Again, thanks to Jim and Julie for contributing to the pictures.

Exploring Peterborough by Bike


A couple of days ago we decided on another trail ride. This time only two of our friends were available. It was another gorgeous fall, almost summer-like day.

We’d planned to meet at the same place we began on our first excursion, on Auburn Street in East City. Since our friends had a slight delay in arriving, we nipped into our Barber who is on that street, and got our overdue haircuts while we waited. They ended up having to wait a few minutes for us!

We took the trail in the same direction as before, toward Lakefield, but this time we turned off at Trent University and crossed the bridge to tour the other side of the campus.

From there we crossed Water Street and used the sidewalk for one block, until crossing back at the next set of lights and riding through the Peterborough Zoo trail, then up the hill and across Water again at the lights to the beginning of the Parkway Trail on Cumberland Street. This is a very pretty part of the trail passing through a forested area where you forget you’re in the city. We used to live in this part of the city, and had  ridden this trail many times  on our mountain bikes. I was grateful for the electronic assist for getting up the long, gradual hill this time.

The trail took us across Hilliard Street, and continued through a greenbelt between subdivisions, across Chemong Road, through another part of the greenbelt, until it came out at Fairburn Street. Across the street was a non-maintained bit of a path that led us down into Jackson Park once again. The section was steep and rocky. We got off our bikes and walked, which isn’t too easy either when trying to hold back the weight of a 50 pound bike!

Back on the trail through the park we continued on, crossing Parkhill Road and a few other quiet city streets until we arrived in the restaurant district of downtown, where there are designated bicycle lanes on the main streets. We thought about stopping at one of eateries, but decided to carry on to the waterfront and through Millennium Park, for lunch at the Silver Bean Café.

It was busy, but spacing was regulated outside, masks required, and tables cleaned and disinfected before new patrons were allowed to sit. We let the two men go inside to place our orders. There was no seating inside the small café. Jim and I each ordered chicken and avocado sandwiches (I forgot to take a picture!) that were so huge we should have shared. We packed up most of the delicious accompanying salad to bring home for dinner.

Leaving the café, we continued on the path along Little Lake, crossing the railway bridge and cruising past the waterfront patio of the Holiday Inn.

We crossed a little wooden bridge that took us into the Marina that provides docking for the many private boats that tie up there during the summer.

Most summers it’s also where the Lift lock Cruise Boats  pick up and drop off passengers, but of course this year COVID put a stop to that.

Beyond the Marina is another waterfront restaurant at the edge of Del Crary Park,  home of the Peterborough Musicfest which, under normal circumstances brings awesome entertainment to the city twice a week, all summer long. Closer to the road a winding path leads to a bronze statue remembering fallen Peterborough firefighters, and the Peterborough Walk of Fame where bronze plaques are laid to commemorate local area residents who had contributed to the arts and entertainment life. Jim’s dad, a well-known local musician and entertainer from the latter half of the 1900s is remembered there.

From there we passed the Art Gallery on the way to the narrow path worn into the grassy area between Little Lake and Crescent Street. We admired the beautiful old homes with the amazing view.

We toured through Little Lake Cemetery.

We ended up on Lansdowne Street at the foot of the bridge that transported us back into East City. It’s a busy bridge and there was some construction going on so some of us chose to walk our bikes to the other side via the sidewalk.

Further along Lansdowne Street we took a short cut through a subdivision that led us out to Ashburnham Drive, where we caught the Trans Canada Trail, going through Ecology Park, Beavermeade Park, Trent Severn Waterway Lock #20 and Roger’s Cove beside the lake.

From there we wandered up hill, through a few quiet residential streets, past the ball field and Quaker Oats and finally got back onto the paved trail that took us back to where we had begun.

Our friends, Julie and Keith, said they’d never known so much about Peterborough and all its treasures before, and I remembered why I like that city so much in the summer time.

Bike Ride Number 2 – Peterborough to Omemee


When we woke up yesterday morning, the sun was shining, but the thermometer  told us it was only 4 degrees Celsius! So we donned an extra layer of clothing before driving to Peterborough again to begin another adventure.

We caught the trail in the south east corner of Jackson Park, from the parking lot off Fairburn St. at Parkhill Rd. I don’t recall ever being in this park during the whole time I lived in Peterborough. It’s beautiful!

We crossed Jackson Creek via the covered bridge, and then stopped to gather for a group photo, soliciting the help of a lovely young woman who was enjoying the morning with her little son and friends. Thank you!

Once through the park, the paved trail ended, but everything beyond that was smooth and packed either gravel or sand.

We rode through cool shadows beneath arches of trees, then emerged into the sunshine on bridges crossing rivers and creeks; through dense forests and past golden farm fields.

Beginning of another Trail

More amazing scenery! Notice the very clear blue sky.

We had to take care to cross some, sometimes busy, roads but were thankful that there is a tunnel running below busy Hwy. 7 at Fowler’s Corners. These trails are all built on the old railway beds, and very well maintained.

After stopping for pictures many times, two and a half hours later we were gladly seated on an outdoor patio in Omemee, more than ready for lunch at Bill’s Pizza House. Some of us had Pizza; others had Fish and Chips. Both were excellent!

An hour later we were back on the trail leading us back to Peterborough. Clouds had rolled in and a bit of wind had picked up.

On our way back through Jackson Park, we stopped to take a look at the Flood Control Weir.

And we lingered a little longer in the park admiring the ducks and the views.

By the time we pulled into the parking lot, it almost felt like time for dinner, but it was only 3:00 pm!

Have Bike will Travel!


Just when I was sinking into the depths of the doldrums, the second of the two e-bikes, mine, that we’d ordered in July,  finally arrived on Wednesday!

Today, we got together with two other couples and went on a beautiful 30 km ride.

We met in East City, an area of Peterborough, and got onto the Rotary Green Trail and headed north toward Lakefield. The sky was still cloudy and the wind was a little chilly. I was wishing that I’d put a hoodie on beneath my jacket, but before long the sun broke through and the rest of the day was filled with blue sky and sunshine.

This trail is beautiful, especially this time of year with the colours of the trees starting to turn. The bright yellows of the golden rod and the red blossoms of the sumac shone vibrant in the sun.

Once out of the city, it meandered through arches of trees and then suddenly took us beside the Old River Road to show us the glorious sparkle of the Otonabee River.

We rode along the road, past the campus of Trent University, before picking up the trail again. We made a stop at the wooden bridge that spans a little pond where Canada Geese swam, taking some pictures, before winding our way through the streets of Lakefield until we reached our destination – Shakers Diner.

We were more than ready for the big mugs of coffee and platters of home cooked breakfasts or sandwiches with fries.

I knew I was out of shape because my legs felt like rubber. If anyone thinks that you don’t pedal with an e-bike, give one a try! After lunch I was ready for a nap, but once we got going again my energy returned.

On our way back, Jim led us on a different path, through the University Campus. and gave the others some bits of history about the land where it had been built. He grew up in the area called Nassau.

We crossed back over the trestle bridge that spans the Canal and were soon back at our cars, tired but happy.

I expect to sleep well tonight! I’m looking forward to getting some more rides in before the winter weather hits.

Thanks to Julie and Jim for contributing some of the photos.

May 24th – Mind Travelling – Journaling through the COVID-19 Pandemic


Another month is quickly slipping by. It’s been a better month for sure. Mothers’ day brought great comfort, with phone calls or chats with all of my children, and gifts from my step-children left at the door, with a distancing visit.

The box of paints, brushes and a canvas were meant to prompt me to try something new. I took that challenge and found an online Paint Workshop that was suggested. I didn’t join it live because the time wasn’t convenient, but I did it on my own time the next day. It turned out that was good, because I struggled at first with mixing enough paint to do big sections, in different shades of blue, but I persevered. Unlike using watercolours (which I’d tried many years ago) my mistakes could be painted over and corrected. Well, most of them, until I ran out of the very important white paint required for mixing. Then I had to improvise. The two-hour class took me most of the day to finish this one painting. But, in the end I felt  good to have completed it, and it didn’t look too bad for an amateur. I enjoyed the challenge and hope to get some more canvas to try another one, sometime.

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Another gift was a jar of sourdough starter. It brought back memories of the delicious and light sourdough muffins that I used to make. The recipe made big batches and, because the starter had to be divided up with some to feed a new starter and the rest to be used in baking, once a week (actually it seems to me it was more often) my freezer was full of frozen muffins of a variety of flavours. My son told me years later how he used to often sneak down to the freezer to grab one or two and eat them frozen. I didn’t even notice the missing ones. I had to wait a week until it was time to feed the starter before I could use some of it, but I kept those muffins in mind.

I had several days when baking was my outlet, creating another (better) lemon meringue pie and chocolate/peanut butter squares one day.

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Another day I recruited Jim to help me make a big batch of perogies, one of my favourite quick from the freezer meals, but that I’d never made myself before. They were a lot of work, and took a long time, but we worked well together.

 

When the day came to feed the sourdough I was having a major pain day, which usually causes some brain fade. That day was no exception. For one thing, the new way of measuring ingredients is by weight instead of volume. Fortunately we have a scale that we used for weighing packages when doing product shipping for our online businesses, but I had to learn the trick for adding multiply ingredients. Then I put the water in before the flour, which made mixing more difficult. I doubted that it was going to work, but the next day I saw that it had.

I made a batch of muffins, not the recipe I used to use. Seems I didn’t keep it, never expecting to be doing volume or sourdough baking again. They might have turned out good if I hadn’t been trying to do something else in the kitchen while they were baking. I somehow tuned out the sound of the timer and they got way over baked. Not burned, but rather dry. Disappointing.

Oh well, the sun came out the next day and the temperature climbed.

We had a few ukulele players over to our lawn to play some tunes one day, keeping our distance and staying no more than an hour. We limited the invitation to only five of us in total. It was a welcome change.

One Friday evening we ordered take out Fish and Chips from one of our local restaurants, a restaurant that had been closed completely for two months and just recently started doing order-ahead take outs. We invited another couple who lives in the building to join us at the twelve-foot table in the Common Room, each of us with our own orders, using our own plates and utensils, sitting at opposite ends of the table. It was nice to chat and get caught up, something we hadn’t been able to do since we’d been gone for six months.

I bought vegetable seeds and planted one of the three planter boxes that our Condo Board acquired so we could have a little community garden.

I’ve gotten used to grocery shopping. It seems to be the new normal for me now. More people are wearing masks, and so far there has been no news of CORONA-19 outbreaks in our small tri-town community. I have to admit that that might not necessarily be a good thing, only because it becomes too easy to forget that we still have to be diligent with our social distancing and mask wearing. I was shocked when, one day after I was introduced to the woman who agreed to rent us parking space for the motorhome, without thinking I reached out to shake her hand — and she reciprocated! That weighed on my mind for a long time. I sanitized my hands as soon as I got back into the car; I hoped that she did too. I didn’t sleep well that night, after that incident and after hearing the latest COVID case statistics. The curve was rising, or at least no longer falling in many places in Canada and around the world. I had another major pain day.

We sat in our car by a nearby beach and watched and listened to the peacefulness.

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This morning I woke up feeling optimistic and planning things I wanted to accomplish. It was to be another sunny day. But the first thing I saw when I opened my iPad was a message from someone who cares, warning me that “take out” food is dangerous unless we’d cooked it again at home for ten minutes at at  least 80 degrees. He’d seen Jim’s Facebook post about our sharing with neighbours. Then I opened a news app and saw huge crowds of people on beaches enjoying Memorial Day  in the US, and I thought “they are never going to get out of this virus if they continue like this.” When I opened an app with Canadian news I saw the same thing happening in a park in Toronto! There goes my optimism and respect for my fellow human beings.

At least the sun is still shining, today.

And the flowers are blooming in the beds.

And a mother robin has decided to build her nest in a corner of the building, on the ledge of our bedroom window! How beautiful is that?

PLEASE STAY SAFE! AND KEEP YOUR LOVED ONES SAFE TOO!

So Much to Do; So little Time! Scottsdale Indian Festival


It was a very busy month! Jim had his 80th birthday and on the day his daughters were flying in to surprise him, he decided we should go to Scottsdale to the parade and festival in the park – The Indian Festival! It was a lovely day, and I could give him no reason why we shouldn’t go. I just had to make sure that we didn’t stay too long.

I’m glad we went; I’m sorry that his daughters weren’t able to go with us. The parade was long, but one of the most interesting parades I’ve ever witnessed – colourful costumes representing the many tribes of Arizona; many school bands and cheerleaders; local representatives in various vehicles from the past and the present. And horses! Lots of horses! And dogs! I won’t tell you how many pictures I took, but I knew that I couldn’t capture it all in words, so I hope you like the shots I’ve chosen to share and take you along.

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It was well past lunch time when the parade came to an end and the streets were crowded. We finally found the restaurant we’d visited the last time we were in Scottsdale name but there was an hour wait! We settled on a bench and chatted with other patient customers until a table was at last cleared for us. We invited another couple to join us and during another half hour of waiting to be served, we shared stories of our life experiences.

It was 2:00 pm when we left the restaurant. Jim wanted to listen to the Mariachi Band that was playing on the street and check out other performers along the way back to the park, where there was a ring of vendors’ tents set up, and more entertainment along the walking paths. But I knew his daughters would soon be arriving at Mesa Regal, so I made an excuse why we had to get home.

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We were just getting into our car when I got the text that they’d arrived. They were happy to enjoy the sun while waiting for our return, and Jim’s annoyance with having to leave too soon vanished when he realized it was them, sitting on the couch when he walked into the RV.