New Adventures to Spice-up Our Annual Journey to Arizona


We’re off again! That summer sure slipped by!

We must be slowing down in our old age. Despite dropping some things off at the motor home several times on our way by during the last couple of weeks, it still took us the better part of three days to load everything else that we (thought?) we needed once we had it parked outside the Condo building. By the time we were finally on the road at 11:30 on Monday morning, I think we were already tired. The rainy weather didn’t help to lift our spirits, and it turned out to be not a good day.

The driver side windshield wiper wasn’t hitting where it should, so when we reached Cobourg, twenty-five kilometers down the road, Jim felt he needed to purchase a new blade and install it. We were barely out on the highway again when I heard a thump and looked back to see the fridge door swinging open! That had happened once on our way home in the spring, but it was on a very bumpy road and it was forgotten about. Unlike the dual refrigerators meant for RVs, our newer house model didn’t come with any sort of locking system other than the suction seal. I managed to find some pieces of Velcro and secure it. An hour or so later, Jim was in need of coffee so we made a quick stop and got going in earnest.

A couple of hours later found us in the middle of rush-hour traffic going through Toronto, when traffic suddenly slowed to a stop and Jim had to brake very hard. The cars ahead of us loomed closer and closer. I saw Jim downshift and, fortunately, was able to make a quick lane-change to the left. Whew. He told me once it was over that the brakes had gone soft after the initial push. The rest of the way through the traffic he drove much more slowly and kept his hand on the gear shift, downshifting at the first sign of a traffic stop. It was already 4:15. We stopped to get brake fluid and that seemed to help a little.

There was no way we would make it to the US border before dark then, so we called Jim’s cousin, Marjorie and her husband Dave,  who had accommodated us on our way last year, and asked if we could once again park in their driveway. Of course we could. We stopped to pick up sandwiches. We arrived at Glencoe at 7:00 pm, just as the sun was setting.

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The rain had stopped somewhere along the way, but we hadn’t really noticed. It was a beautiful sunset, but then the temperature tumbled. We had a visit with Marjorie and Dave and then crawled into our cold bed. Jim discovered he’d forgotten the extension cord that he uses for his CPAP, so had to improvise. Last year, if the batteries were well charged before we went to bed, the inverter would keep them running for the night. But, of course, that wasn’t to be that night. Jim had to get up twice to turn on the generator. It was a long and stressful night.

In the morning, Dave made some calls and found a mechanic who could get us in to diagnose and fix the brake problem right away. After breakfast we said our thanks and goodbyes. When we got to the shop we had to wait for them to finish up another job before they could look at ours. The diagnosis was a blown brake line! It could have been worse. They set to work replacing it. Because the other one showed some signs of rust they recommended that be replaced too. Lunch time came and they took their break. We sat in the motor home reading. We had only snack food to eat without any electricity to even heat a bowl of soup. At 2:30 the job was done and it cost much less than we’d expected. At last, some good news.

An hour and a half later we were rocking with the waves of Lake St. Clair, on the little Walpole Ferry to Michigan.

 

Upon arrival, because we couldn’t fit through the scanner, we were told we’d have to wait in the office while they did a manual search. Hunger was making me fidgety and the one male officer was watching me. Maybe he thought I was nervous about something, but we had nothing to hide and we were soon on our way. I couldn’t help but notice the picture of a very stern-looking President Trump staring down upon us while we waited.

We stopped at the first place that we saw that served food – Hungry Howie’s. It was take-out only so we ordered a pizza and ate it in the motor home. We would have loved to just crawl into bed and stay there for the night, but we drove on for another hour then stopped for gas, picked up a couple of things at Walmart and hunkered down for the night. Our propane tank was empty by then, so we had to haul out one of our portable ones and hook it up so we’d have heat.

Day Three Brings Relief

We were up at six the next morning and waiting at the door for Bob Evan’s to open a half hour later. A big breakfast of Eggs Benedict got us off to a good start to the day. And except for a detour around Detroit that cost us some extra time, it was a very good day. We were in Ohio before noon and stopped for an early lunch at the Cracker Barrel. We were in Kentucky by 3:00 and looking forward to staying in our first Campground with propane, electricity and water. We hadn’t had a shower since we’d left home. But Oak Creek Camping was full, as were a couple of others in the area. We thought we would be stuck at the nearby Flying J truck stop. Then, a very nice man named Larry offered to let us connect to his electricity if we wanted to dry-camp at the empty space next to him. The office agreed. We could also get propane at the Flying J, and showers, and dinner! It worked out well after all.

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Fireworks, Parades, Cars and Motorcycles – Canada Day Weekend in Trent Hills


Our community of Trent Hills is made up of the three towns of Hastings, Campbellford and Trent River, and their adjoining areas. When it comes to celebrating summer, especially on Canada Day, the events are grand, and well-coordinated to enable visitors to sample all there is. We did just that.

Celebrations started early in Hastings. On Thursday the long awaited stainless steel fish was unveiled at Pisces Park, a small patch of green space next to the marina. This six-foot high piece of art, sculpted by Bill Lishman, is to be the first of several fish that will form an icon to represent the fact that in 2012 Hastings won the distinction of being named the Ultimate Fishing Town of Canada in the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town Challenge.

On Canada Day the weather was a little uncooperative at times, so we didn’t go to the morning celebration in Campbellford, but the skies almost cleared up in time for the parade in Hastings at 4:00 p.m. I’m ashamed to admit that I went without my camera, but here are a few photos from last year:

A thunderstorm after that cooled the air considerably and when we walked to the park with our lawn chairs at 8:30 to wait for the Fireworks, Hastings’ big contribution to the celebration, we were dressed in layers. As the sun went down, the wind turned quite chilly, sending Jim home to get some more layers! But, it was worth it.

On Saturday the sun was shining again and the temperatures perfect for a ride on the motorcycle to Campbellford for another annual event, Chrome on the Canal. We found a place to park our bike, and then began the mile or more stroll along the Trent Canal banks to exclaim over the interesting variety of bikes and cars. They ranged from antique to classic, to the latest models. Some were “chopped” (modified); some were restored to original; some were just as they’d been found abandoned in a field or garage.

bikes

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Original Powered Bicycles?

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1948 Indian

IMG_14502015 Indian

IMG_1453A lot of work went into building this one!

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Amazing pin-striping

IMG_1482A few, like this one,were For Sale

On our way back from Campbellford, we turned north off County Road 35 onto Smith Road, a lovely tree lined stretch of curves, and then east onto Concession Road 11 that climbs high over the eskers. This is another recommended route for bikers.

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A Happy Canada Day!

A View of Superstition Mountains from the Back of the Boulevard


After ukulele lessons, lunch at the Cactus Grill, and a visit to Verizon to purchase some more internet data, we decided it was time for a ride on the motorcycle. We did part of the trip up the Apache Trail, in the Superstition Mountains, that we’d done in December on the Jeep Tour. It was a different perspective from the back of the Boulevard and before long I was busily snapping pictures. Sometimes they turn out; sometimes they don’t. But that’s the beauty of the digital age.

The road is a popular one for motorcyclists, with all of its twists and turns.

Bikers' Twists and Turns

Bikers’ Twists and Turns

One lane bridge around the bend

One lane bridge around the bend

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Being late in the afternoon, it was a perfect time for capturing the scenic mountains and lakes.

Apache Trail

Apache Trail Vistas

IMG_3345 IMG_3368 IMG_3395 IMG_3402 IMG_3403We made a stop in Tortilla Flat for another taste of Prickly Pear Ice Cream.

Tortilla Flat

Tortilla Flat in the Valley. Great Prickly Pear Ice Cream found there.

IMG_3424 IMG_3428By the time we were heading back down, the sun was setting, dusting the rocks with gold, before becoming a blazing red aura around the peaks.

Sunset on the Apache Trail

Sunset on the Apache Trail

IMG_3441 IMG_3460 IMG_3471Another glorious day in Paradise.

Part two – Quartzsite


I’d planned to post this second part within a day or two of the first, but I was forced to take a sabbatical when, the very next day, something began to bother my throat. What I expected to be a two or three day cold, turned out to be five grueling days of laryngitis and sleepless nights of coughing and spitting.  On day six our kind neighbours sincerely suggested I go to a clinic to get checked out and offered to drive us. Riding through the open air on the bike had somehow lost its appeal for me. I accepted the offer. Fortunately the diagnosis wasn’t “Valley Fever,” one possibility that concerned our friends, but I was just as surprised to learn that it was allergies! I’ve been hearing a lot on the news lately about the poor air quality because of the dust, and reports of more cases of allergies starting early this year, probably because of the hotter and dryer weather. But I’ve never been one to suffer from allergies, other than mild hay fever now and again, so I was completely unprepared for this. I returned home with $150 worth of medications to combat this out-of-control problem, drugs that I usually avoid, but embraced this time with the knowledge that the torture would soon end. Next time I’ll pay more attention to the signs and start on the antihistamines right away.

So what am I allergic to, and when did it start? When did the itchy ears begin? Was that at Quartzsite? It could very well have been.  Let me tell you about Quartzsite.

There’s a story among some seasoned RVers that a visit to Quartzsite during the first two months of the year is an absolute must, while others who have gone don’t understand the attraction and will never go again. I think it compares the Friday the 13th Bike Rally that started out with a few bikers getting together on a Friday the 13th in the small Ontario town of Port Dover many years ago. They made plans to do it every Friday the 13th and the invitation spread. Now, the town is completely taken over by bikers and spectators on those days, especially on the warm summer ones. There’s music and vendors and long lines at the restaurants. Bikers go just because it’s the place for bikers to be. Quartzsite is the same for RVers, but it’s not for just a day, it’s for a couple of months. They start rolling in the first week of January. Most are snow birds, looking for an inexpensive and warm place to spend the winter; others, like us, are just curious and plan to spend only a day or two, just to say we’ve been there.

I have to say that I was feeling very disappointed when we arrived late in the afternoon. We’d watched a DVD about the great migration to Quartzsite and I’d envisioned one very large tract of desert land that slowly transformed into a mass of RVs and vendors. I thought that the restaurant and book store were also moved in and under large tents, and likewise the RV Show that was scheduled for the weekend we were there. That wasn’t the case. We drove through town, where we saw the restaurants and book stores and gem shops, and out toward the last exit to Hwy. 10. There we found a barren looking patch of sand and gravel where a couple of dozen RVs were set up. There was also a large tent and a sign that read “Revival Tonight.” We circled through the area until we found a fairly level spot not too far from the road, and set up camp. Looking at a map we discovered that the RV Show was back down the street and across the highway. By the time we got the bike unloaded, rode over there and found a place to park, it was 4:45. We were told that the doors closed at 5:00. We had just enough time to find a vendor of the LED light bulbs that we were looking for to reduce electrical usage in the motor home. We’d have to return the next day. When we were leaving, so were hundreds of other vehicles, spewing clouds of desert dust into the air. I imagined what it was doing to my lungs! I wished I had a face scarf with me.

Quartzsite dust

Quartzsite dust

Something for Everyone

Something for Everyone

We returned to camp for a quiet evening. It seems that most RVers travel in groups, or at least plan to meet up at predetermined locations. When we arrived, most of the RVs that were already there had formed wagon circles of four or five motor homes. We were on the outside. A walk over to the revival tent in the hopes of hearing some good gospel music proved disappointing. There were no television stations available either, so we decided to read in bed, but we were soon asleep.

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Desert Sunset

Desert Sunset over our campsite

Desert SunsetThe next day things looked a little better. We went back to the RV Show and roamed around for a few hours. We found several things to buy for the RV, including one set of bulbs for the ceiling to try, different that the one we’d picked up the night before, as well as some others for the wall lamps. After a brief rest and a sausage on a bun, we continued through the outdoor flea markets until we had only $1.00 left between us, not even enough to buy a much needed bottle of water! We did find an ATM and water on the way back to the bike, enabling us to seek out Sweet Darlene’s Restaurant for a home cooked meal and fresh baked sticky buns for our bedtime snack. At the table we met Jan from Oregon (I think) and exchanged stories and tips of the RV life. On the way out we chatted with a couple who were also wintering somewhere near Mesa, with a group of Ham Radio buffs, and only visiting Quartzsite for the week. More examples of the interesting and friendly people we meet.

We spent our last day back at the RV Show to get the rest of the light bulbs, and finished our tour around the Flea Market. We learned of the many other things available in the Quartzsite area, but we had tickets for a show back at Mesa the next evening so had to be on our way in the morning. We had to stop in at the famous Reader’s Oasis Books store, where we spent an hour perusing the thousands of used books and magazines. There is a sign on the door warning of the “nudist” on site who wears only a G-string.” Since Paul Winer (the nudist) had been interviewed on the DVD, we quickly recognized him when he passed through the store wearing only a black felt hat and what appeared to me to be something even less than a G-string! Sorry ladies, I didn’t take any pictures. Let’s just say that his days as a porn star are long past, although he is still pretty lean. It could have been worse.

We went to Times Three Family Restaurant for dinner. The parking lot was full and there was a line up at the door, a sign of good food, we figured. We got seated quite quickly, but the place was packed. Our table was close enough to the two on either side of us to be considered one long one, but everyone was friendly. A cute little lady with out-of-control white hair and bad teeth, but sparkling blue eyes and a lopsided smile, and her husband kept us entertained with their  views on American politics and their displeasure with the Utah government who had just passed a law to allow gay marriage. I just smiled and nodded. I wasn’t getting into that, but when she suddenly asked Jim if he was gay and he said, with a serious face, “yes”, the look on her face was precious. Jim quickly told her that he was joking with her.

Our waitress began to apologize for the poor service that was to come from the moment she took our orders. She said it was very busy and she had ten tables to wait on. We said we weren’t in any hurry. When we had sat down, the people on the other side of us were eating their salads. An hour later we still hadn’t been served our salads, nor Jim his iced tea, and the others still didn’t have their entrees. They complained when they watched other patrons, who had come in after them and been served by a different waitress, already on the way out. Soon our meat loaf meals were on the tables, the special of the day, but we had to tell the waitress that we didn’t get our salads, or the bread that our neighbours told us we all should have gotten. We were nearly finished our meals when the waitress brought us our salad in to-go boxes. We never saw the bread or the iced tea. She took the iced tea off the bill, but Jim let the manager, who was working the cash, know that we’d received the worst service ever experienced. He tore up our bill. I wonder if that waitress still has a job.

In the morning we strolled through the rocks and gemstones shop next door to our campsite before leaving for home. They were all so beautiful and fascinating that it was difficult to leave, but leave we did.

The Rock Shop

The Rock Shop

Rock Shop

Jim admiring some of the rock gems

Jim admiring some of the rock gems and minerals

Calcite

Calcite

More Calcite

More Calcite

Malachite

Beautiful! But not within our budget.

On the way out of town we made one last stop at the Hi Jolly Cemetery to read about a bit of Arizona history.

Hi Jolly Cemetery

Hi Jolly Cemetery

Hi Jolly Cemetery

Hi Jolly CemeteryHi Jolly Cemetery

We got “home” to Mesa in time to shower, change, and eat before walking over to Regal Hall for “Dancing with the (Mesa) Stars.”

Day-tripping on the Boulevard


The pool is ready for summer, but the water wasn’t quite warm enough for us to stick our toes in, so what better way to spend the first Canadian long-weekend of summer (Victoria Day weekend) than doing some day-tripping on the motorcycle?

The weather was perfect for riding when we started out on Saturday morning to attend a local Pow Wow; but a misunderstanding between Jim and me took us to the Curve Lake First Nations instead of Hiawatha! Nothing special was happening there, but we weren’t far from our other planned destination – the annual Buckhorn Spring Craft Show. We shared a hoagie, fries and Greek salad at the Olde Ice House in “downtown” Buckhorn before heading out to the Community Centre to admire the colourful creations and sample the jams, jellies and fudge on display, in the Community Centre and in and around the several wooden out-buildings.

Buckhorn is a small community along the Trent Severn Waterway at Lock 31, and a bustling tourist destination during the summer months.

We left Buckhorn with no other destination in mind, but while we sat enjoying a Dairy Queen treat back in Peterborough we decided it was too nice a day to go home, so off we went again, this time to Fenelon Falls, another summer attraction along the Trent Severn (Lock 34) and a great place for snapping pictures.

Fenlon Falls

Fenelon Falls

Fenelon Falls

Fenelon Falls

We enjoyed dinner on the balcony over the falls, in …The Fallsview Restaurant, of course!

Fallsview Restaurant balcony

Fallsview Restaurant balcony

Before falling onto our couch at home, full, sleepy and content, we drove down to the Peterborough waterfront at Del Crary Park for the Victoria Day celebrations there. The place was packed with parents and kids, lined up to enjoy the dozen or so Bouncy Castles that had been set up for their free entertainment. Some of them were pretty darned elaborate! We watched the sun begin to set, but were just too tired to wait around for the fireworks.

One Huge Bouncy Castle

One Huge Bouncy Castle

The line up for this one ran half way across the park!

The line up for this one ran half way across the park!

Peterborough Tour Boat

Peterborough Tour Boat

Sunset Over PeterboroughSunset Over Peterborough

Sunday morning we were out the door before noon once more, this time to catch the Pow Wow at the Hiawatha First Nations Reserve, just a twenty-minute drive east of Peterborough. The breeze from the bike was refreshing, but the sun was hot as we sat on the bleachers watching the ceremonial parade of people dressed in colourful traditional costumes and performing native dance steps. It was beautiful. We ate buffalo burgers for lunch and checked out the many vendor booths around the perimeter of the ceremonial area. We also had a good chat with a fellow biker who we always see at the Bikers Reunion in New Liskeard. That day he was celebrating his native heritage along with the others.

Dancers

Dancers

Hiawatha

Hiawatha

Our friend "Bear" on the right,with Standing Buffalo Warrior (a.k.a.Cliff Standingready)

Our friend “Bear” on the right,with Standing Buffalo Warrior (a.k.a.Cliff Standingready)

What a glorious two days to kick off summer and the biking season!

The Last Sunset


Tonight we are at the Westfield KOA, NY. We took our time today and by the time we got this far it was just too far to go to get home at a decent hour, so we stopped in at this lovely site on Lake Erie. This is the end of this adventure — we should be home tomorrow afternoon.

We left Pigeon Forge after lunch on Monday and got as far as Renfro Valley, Kentucky before stopping at the KOA.The drive was hot and uneventful, as was the next day, when we drove through to Columbus, Ohio. The traffic was heavy when we arrived in the outskirts of the city and there were some very rude drivers on the road.  When we were driving in the right-hand lane, passing an exit ramp, a woman in a van to our left suddenly decided she was going to go off at that exit. She pulled in front of us and stopped dead in our lane because the exit ramp was already full.  She waved her hands at the driver of the car beside us, motioning him to back off and let her in! What nerve! It’s a good thing that Jim had already slowed down to a crawl because of the already slow moving traffic (turned out that there was an accident up ahead, causing the jam). So many people don’t realize the weight of a 32′ motor home, pulling a bike on a trailer.  We can’t stop on a dime!

We enjoyed a great meal at The Cracker Barrel and didn’t feel like going any further, so with the permission of the manager we set up for the night in the parking lot. There was some shade and we were the only ones in the large lot after the restaurant closed at 9:00 pm. At 9:30, just when we were thinking of going to bed, a semi pulled up right beside us, left his engine running and his lights all on, including his signal lights, and crawled into his sleeper cab and went to sleep! If you’ve ever been parked next to one of these for any length of time, you know all about the many loud noises they make.  If he had to nap there, could he have not at least had the consideration to go to the other side of the lot? We debated about pulling out and trying the Walmart lot instead, but I was too tired.  We were thankful to hear him leave an hour later.

Tonight, after a dinner of left overs, we  took a walk to the park across from the campsite to capture some pictures of the sunset over Lake Erie.

Sunset over Lake Erie

Last Sunset of This Adventure

Sunset over Lake Erie

Sunset over Lake Erie, Westfield, NY