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.

On Our Way in Earnest


After two days in Kingston, Ontario with friends, watching some of the Canadian National Pickleball Tournament, we got on our way to Halifax in earnest. First we had to pick up an extra car battery to boost the almost new one we have.

We made it through Montreal during a provincial holiday – Saint-Jean Baptiste Day, and arrived at our first planned overnight stop in Drummondville, Quebec. We stayed at Hotel Alouette on Mercury Boulevard, which we highly recommend if you’re passing through. It is well maintained, very clean and has good high-speed internet. Because the rooms are very compact, you might not want to spend more than a night at a time, but the owner is very friendly and accommodating. 

We didn’t have time for much exploring in Drummondville, but we did take time to look for the Hemmings Generating Station before we left the following morning. We had to take a bit of a morning hike to get close enough to take pictures, and we got scolded for leaving the trail to do so, by the security guard. Actually, he was very kind about it, taking pity on us because all signage in Quebec is now in French only.  

This generating station is just one of many that are part of the James Bay Project, the construction of a series of hydroelectric power stations on the La Grande River in northwestern Quebec, Canada, by the province owned Hydro Quebec company.

We were in Levis, Quebec by noon that day.

Changing Times


It’s been too long since I’ve posted on this site. During COVID shutdowns, because we could do no long-distance travel, I immersed myself in other types of writing. But you might recall that we did do some local travel on our e-bikes.

This past week, we sold our motor home, so our journeys to Arizona are done. We have no plans for escaping the cold of  winter, yet, but we did embark on a new biking journey this week. We took our bikes to Long Sault, Ontario on Thursday evening, after a stop in Prescott to take my brother out for a drive and dinner. We spent the night at the Lion Inn so we could ride the Long Sault Parkway Trail on Friday morning.

The air was cold when we started out, shortly after 9:00 am, but the sun was bright. I took enough pictures to give you an idea of the beauty of the area.

Directly across from our hotel was a round-about intersection with a pedestrian/bicycle crossing that took us to the River Trail, which led us to the Parkway Trail.

The Beginning of the Long Sault Parkway Trail and a bit about it.

The Islands. The eleventh island isn’t named on the map, but there was a road to the right named Moulinette Island Road, which seemed to lead to a private community.

Most of the islands have campgrounds and beaches, that have restroom/store buildings, but there are no houses or businesses. We could hear birds in the trees and see some on the water. It truly is a peaceful green space.

When we reached the end of the trail at Ingleside, we found a great little place in a plaza to eat lunch, before the return ride.

There is a story behind these islands. They were once a part of these two cities, until the 1950s when an agreement was made between Canada and the US to flood the St. Lawrence River that ran beside the towns and between the two countries, in order to expand the shipping lanes. On MacDonnell Island there is an information area with posters that tell the incredible story of houses and other buildings being moved, and the Highway #2 being flooded. We found the small portion of the highway that remained above water.

The road that goes nowhere

Most of the pictures on the boards are now faded beyond recognition, but I did capture the written story in pictures. If you take time to read it, you will be amazed.

The information is posted in both English and French. I cropped out the French only to adjust the pictures to a smaller size and square them up. You can find more detailed information on the Wikipedia website.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey. I can’t say when the next one will be but I hope you’ll join me when it does. Happy Travels!

At Last, Sturgis!


Continuation of the Series Sturgis and Beyond

Originally posted on August 10, 2010

Days five and six

On Sunday morning, still in our campsite near Mitchell, South Dakota, we took our time getting ready to leave. I did some laundry; Jim repaired a window screen that had become loose, and I finished blog and Facebook postings. While I sat outside completing these tasks, I watched streams of motorcycles speeding past on the I-90. By 10:30 we had joined them, but the bikes ruled the road.

With a couple of stops along the way to refresh, we finally arrived at our campsite at Sturgis around 4:00 pm.

The day was another very hot one, reaching temperatures in the upper nineties. Our poor old motor home began to protest when we stopped to register. She didn’t want to start again. But we managed to slowly move her to our campsite and backed into place. We did our nesting; electric hooked up, table and chairs out, awnings pulled to provide some shade. We started a list of things we should purchase the next chance we got, like a sewer connector, a new door blind and stamps to mail cards. After a frustrating evening of trying to get and stay connected to WiFi, an internet stick was added to the list. Hence the reason no news got posted that day.

On Monday we took the bike into downtown Sturgis, list in hand. Lots of luck! There were many interesting sites and lots of pictures to take. Beer could be bought at nearly every corner; if you wanted a souvenir t-shirt or cap or any biking paraphernalia, you had hundreds of shops to choose from. But nowhere in sight was there a computer or mobile phone store, or a grocery store. Our list had to be discarded for the time being. We just parked the bike and enjoyed the show. The streets were lined with bikes of every shape, size and description that you could imagine. Granted the majority seemed to be Harleys. At least the loud pipes on our Virago blended right in.

There were bikes customized to look like cars; there was a bike that looked like our Venture, but it pulled a coffin for a trailer, painted to match the bike. The licence plate read “X-wife”.

The people riding the bikes and walking on the streets were just as varied. Jim especially enjoyed photographing the buxom women who equally enjoyed flaunting what they had. It seems that pasties are the only top covering required in this state. We saw people dressed in caveman/warrior garb, women in bikinis, old people, young people, an extremely tall woman, probably seven feet.

We stood in the crowd for the daily group photo. If you look really closely you can recognize Jim’s hat in the crowd. Well worth the $10 we paid for a copy. We poked through several of the shops, ate pulled pork for lunch and ice cream cones for dessert. We visited the Knuckle Saloon for a cold drink and a listen to some excellent guitar picking and songs by Rogan Brothers Band.

By 4:30 the sun and the walking had done us in so we found our bike and decided to look once more for the Post Office. By the time we found it, it had closed and there seemed to be nowhere else to buy those stamps. Some suggested we might try the grocery store and told us where to find it, but it would mean another slow ride through town; We came back to camp.

But the desire to get internet connection to complete some business and post our updates led us to get on the bike again and head sixty miles east to Rapid City. There we found the internet stick we were looking for and an IHOP where we finally had some dinner. It was nine o’clock by the time we finished eating, time to return to camp. Perhaps tomorrow we’ll get that list taken care of.

In the evening we were still struggling with internet while enjoying some live music coming from the beer tent.

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.

April 11, 2020 – Mind Travelling – Journaling through the COVID-19 Pandemic


Remembering Europe

Several days ago, I was thinking about how dire the situation is in Italy, and my thoughts travelled to my very first long-distant adventure, to Europe. So I dug out my photo book, and scrap book of postcards, and took a stroll down Memory Lane.

I was just twenty-two years old and working in a temporary job back in my hometown when I suddenly decided I wanted to go on an adventure after my job was to finish at the end of the summer. I had money saved up. I went to see a local travel agent and came away with information about a twenty-one day tour of Europe through Fourways Travel. I called my friend, Carol, and convinced her to take time off work and go with me.

On October 4th, 1972 I left home by train to meet Carol in Toronto, where she lived.

On October 5th we embarked on our adventure! We somehow got to the airport, probably by taxi, to catch our flight to London. I had a little journal to record our trip, but somewhere during a series of moves that I made after my return, it got lost, so all that I have to tell this story is my now vague memory, my postcards with a few notes beside them, and some photos.

In retrospect, it’s obvious I knew nothing about photography at the time, and I realize that I didn’t pay too much attention to the history and geography lessons that I could have learned. I took a several (poor quality) pictures, but I’m stumped to know what many of them are. If any of my European travellers recognize anything, I’d love to hear from you!

According to my Boarding Pass, we left at 7:00 pm that night. My ticket receipt says that I paid for a round trip ticket between Toronto and London for $210 Canadian! I also have a Menu that indicates a dinner was provided and a Continental Breakfast was to be served at 6:45, so presumably we arrived in London sometime on the morning of October 6th. We were booked into the Regent Palace Hotel Piccadilly. We were on our own to explore London for the rest of that day and most of the next.

London

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Later in the day of October 7th we met up with our Tour Group and took a train to Harwich, where we boarded an overnight steamer “Queen Juliana” to The Hook of Holland. Upon our arrival, our Fourways motor coach, with our driver and guide were waiting for us and our tour began.

London postcard

October 8th – We spent this day travelling toward Brussels, Belgium, through Amsterdam, Breda and Antwerp, with a side trip to the colourful tourist town of Volendam, where I picked up a few postcards. In Amsterdam, I took pictures. Some I recognize; most I don’t.

Holland

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From there the bus continued on to Brussels, Belgium, where we did a walking tour through the old cobblestone streets and enjoyed dinner and camaraderie with our fellow passengers before settling down in our rooms at the Hotel Bedford. It’s funny how some things stick in our memories. The Manneken-pis Fountain was one of them.

Belgium (2)
Brussels (2)

October 9th – Germany

On driving out the Belgian capital, toward Heidelberg, my Itinerary tells me that we saw many other principal sights of Brussels, including the Royal Palace, before continuing the route through forests and several towns, including Luxembourg, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Luxomburg (2)

In Heidelberg, we toured Heidelberg Castle. The Heidelberg Tun is an extremely large wine vat contained within a separate building of the castle.

We ate dinner at The Red Ox Pub, and we stayed the night at a (not-noted) hotel.

So… five countries in five days!

October 10th and 11th – Lucerne, Switzerland

After breakfast, presumably in the hotel, we drove on through Freiburg, situated in the southern part of the Black Forest, and onto Basle, Switzerland, through Olten and Sursee until we reached Lucerne, where we spent two nights in the luxurious Grand Hotel Europe and had the chance to enjoy more history, culture and cuisine. We saw the Alps up-close from a cable car from Mt. Pilate (7000 ft)

Lucerne (2)
Beautiful Hotel
Lucerne2 (2)
Enjoying dinner out with our fellow travellers

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Switzerland (18)

On our first morning there, I was surprised by this delivery of red roses, from my love back home! Unfortunately, when we left, I had to leave them behind.

October 12th – Austria

This morning we drove on through Kussnacht and Nafels, and made a brief stop in the Principality of Liechenstein where I recall the Prince greeted us before we took a tour of a Perfume Factory, before entering Austria. We climbed the Arlberg Pass (5,910 ft.) and soon reached Innsbruck, a beautiful city. We spent the night at the Clima Hotel. Unfortunately, even the Itinerary tells me nothing about the city so I’m thinking we arrived late and left early the next morning. (Sigh) I do have a postcard.

Innsbruck (2)

October 13th – Italy

This day was spent on the motor coach, travelling from Innsbruck to Venice. We had to go through Customs formalities at the small village of Brenner before crossing the border between Austria and Italy. Because we would have no time to do any touring ourselves, I suppose, the Itinerary includes some history of all the seven cities we passed through. Brenner, for instance is on the watershed between the Black Sea and the Adriatic. In this village several conferences were held between Hitler and Mussolini.

On the Italian side of the border, we entered Vipiteno in the Italian Tyrol, which was formerly Austrian territory until 1918.

It was afternoon by the time we reached Venice. The coach was left at the terminus of the motor bridge, a mammoth, multi-storied garage, and we were transferred to our hotel. I remember it looked onto the canals and the gondolas. I remember feeding the birds and looking at the monuments of Piazza San Marco. I remember that I wasn’t feeling very well, a cold was coming on. I was offered an evening ride by a canal gondola operator and it was tempting, but now I know that it was a good thing I was sick. I was rather naïve back then.

October 14th I was really sick and that was one of our busiest touring days. Most of it is a blur. I remember sitting on a bench in the Palazzo Ducale Great Council Room looking at the amazing art work on the ceiling through watery eyes, my whole body feeling weak, and finally asking our Guide and Interpreter to take me to the pharmacy for some cold remedies. I don’t remember if I did the rest of the Tour. If anyone took the recommended “lift to the top of the Campanile for the magnificent panorama of the Lagoon and the 117 islands that comprise Venice,” after the Tour, I know I couldn’t have been among them.

Venice (2)
Venice (3)
Palazzo Ducale

After lunch we left for Florence. I’m sure that I slept all the way. We spent the night at the Hotel Ambasciatori in Florence.

The next morning, October 15th, we were taken on a sightseeing tour with a local guide and saw The Medici Chapel “the most important of Florence’s architectural and artistic treasures, with its façade of white, green and red marble,” the Gothic Cathedral and the Chapel of the Princes. Again, I now wish that I’d been more in the present and captured more of the memory. I have a cut glass ring that is very similar to the engagement ring of Princess Diana, which I’m quite sure I purchased at a glass factory in Florence.

After lunch we drove through Tuscany, Umbria and Campania before reaching Naples. We were on our own to explore until we were ready to crash in our rooms at the Parker’s Hotel.

October 16th  After breakfast in our hotel, we boarded a steamer for the short trip across the blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the romantic island of Capri. A local tour guide was supposedly in charge, but he spent the whole trip over flirting with Carol and me, and he disappeared into a bar after lunch. We never saw him again. We had a beautiful time without him.

We took the steamer back to Naples, through Bay of Naples, and once more boarded the coach to drive through the Campania region toward Rome. That evening we checked into the Caesar Augustus Hotel.

October 17th and 18th we were again on our own to tour Rome, with all of its Cathedrals, Museums and Ancient Ruins. As the Itinerary says “To see everything in detail would certainly take many weeks.” For that reason, I wish we’d had some guidance as to how to best plan our day.

The last evening we all got together for dinner at Risorante Tempio Di Giove for Pizza and Champagne.

October 19th found us once more on the Autostrade heading toward Rapallo, with a side trip into Pisa to see the leaning tower.

Italy (10)

We passed through Viareggio, La Spezia and Sestri. That evening we checked into the Grand Hotel & Europa in Rapallo, which is a beautiful seaside resort at the head of the Tigullio Gulf.

Rapallo (2)

It’s too bad we didn’t have more time there, but then most of us wouldn’t want to leave! But then, our next stop was Monte Carlo.

October 20th was spent travelling through several other towns and cities along the eastern Riviera, such as Nervi, Genoa, Finale Ligure Marina, San Remo and Mentone until we reached Monte Carlo, where we would spend two nights, giving us one full day to enjoy the beauty and excitement of this famous resort, and capital of the Principality of Monaco. We stayed at Hotel Balmoral and visited the Casino. Beside a souvenir stub in my scrap book is the note: “Cost six francs to get in and lost two francs playing machines. That’s hilarious! It was the first time we’d ever been in a casino or tried slot machines. I remember being very nervous, not understanding how it all worked, so I didn’t play very long for fear of losing more than I could afford.

Monaco (2)

October 22nd we continued our drive along the French Riviera coastline. I’m sure we stopped in Nice, France, although I have no mention of it in my Scrap Book. We went through Cannes, Aix En Provence, Avignon, Montelimar, and Valence and Vienne, which are situated on the banks of River Rhone. We stopped for the night at Hotel Bristol in Lyon France.

We arrived in Paris late in the afternoon of October 23rd. The next day a guided tour was provided. We visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and the Place de Bastille, From the coach we saw The Palace of the Louvre and Tuileries, which comprise the former royal residence, the Champs Elysees and the Arc de  Triomphe, and of course the Eiffel Tower.

Paris (2)

That evening the tour culminated with an excursion to the Moulin Rouge to see a fantastic show.

October 25th we travelled to Calais where we caught a steamer to Dover and the train back to London, where it had all begun.

Calais (2)

The next afternoon October 27th, we were on a plane taking us to Toronto.

Wow, that was a whirlwind trip! No wonder I can’t remember many details.

While going through Customs, I was questioned about the leather coat that I was wearing. I’d bought it in Toronto. They made me take it off, so they could check the label I guess. They searched all through my luggage and then shoved it aside and told me I could repack it and carry on. What a warm welcome home! Carol was ahead of me and wondered what was taking me so long.

I always thought that I’d go back to my favourite places someday and take the time to really see them, but it never happened. Life took another turn.

Thanks for the Memories.

Escaping the COVID-19 – The Full Story


On March 11, 2020 we were still in Arizona and had several things on our calendar for the next week. But disturbing glimpses of what could be coming were appearing in all our online news feeds. I wanted to pack up and head for home then. But we did seem to be isolated in our little community and I was convinced to hang on. In my head I prayed that they would all be cancelled.

That night we were in a crowded restaurant for the Sandwich Islands Ukulele Band final rehearsal for the upcoming Aloha Festival, but before we left we’d made up our minds that we wouldn’t attend the huge Festival that usually attracted thousands of visitors – my first sigh of relief. The next day our park management decided to cancel all large-group events, which included the Theme Day, in which our Mesa Regal Ukulele Band was supposed to play – my second sigh of relief. Some of our Canadian band members had already decided to head for home so wouldn’t be there to play anyway.

A Facebook comment from my son, who lives with his wife in Poland, told me to “pack up the RV and get out of there. You don’t want to be caught in a country that didn’t prepare for the threat of COVID-19 earlier.” He was speaking from firsthand knowledge. We decided to heed his advice, but it took us a few days to make it happen.

Since we wouldn’t be back anytime soon, we had a couple of big items to get rid of, like our car and patio furniture. It was probably risky, but I signed us up for the Patio Sales the next day (Saturday), and Jim put an ad online to sell the car. We were successful! While the sale was on we started packing things up. I had the inside of the motorhome mostly ready by that night, but Jim had to unload and reload outside bins in order to get everything he’d taken out, plus a few more new items, in. We weren’t ready to leave on Sunday. Jim wasn’t ready in time, so we accepted the offer of friends to go to their home, outside our park, for dinner. It was a nice evening of chatting, laughing and playing ukuleles, forgetting for just a while about the trouble brewing in the world. Small group gatherings were not yet frowned upon, but we were all conscious about frequent hand-washing.

Monday morning, March 16th, we managed to get the rest of our things into place, give our forwarding address to our Post Office, and check-out. But even that took a while as we stopped to say goodbye to our friends and neighbours along the street. No hugs, handshakes or kisses this time! Everyone was feeling the stress. There had already been 400 or more Canadians pull their rigs out during the last two days and more would follow us soon.

After a quick stop at the bank, we said goodbye to Mesa, possibly for good, and began our 2700 mile trip home. Our fridge, freezer and pantry were filled with food so we had no need to stop at restaurants or stores all the way home. When Jim had to get out to pump gas, or to hook up at a Camp Site, he wore disposable gloves. He had contact with no-one. In the six days it took us to get home, I left the motorhome only once, for about ten minutes to walk along a deserted path at one of the rest stops.

Jim with his gloves on

Jim with his gloves on waiting to pay for gas at the only full-service station we saw.

We put in long days after the first one, and covered hundreds of miles. Most days were uneventful. We listen to music and started an audio book, but found there was too much noise to hear it, even with an external speaker. Transports made up the bulk of traffic on the highways, roads were rough, and wind did blow.

Thursday morning was an exception. I was awakened by the sound of heavy rain on the roof and loud rumbling. I couldn’t decide whether it was thunder or just the roar of the many  trucks on the highway, until one big clap of thunder and the roar of wind got us both out of bed and dressed in a flash! The motorhome was rocking like we’d never felt before. We thought we were in the midst of a hurricane! We were in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so that was a good possibility. We were in a mostly empty Walmart parking lot, with no service of any sort, so I dug out the weather radio that we carried with us, but had seldom used in all of our years on the road. Relieved to learn that there were no Hurricane warnings in the area, but there was a flash flooding warning (2 inches of rain had already fallen and the drain ditch beside us was nearly full).  We decided to just try to relax and have some breakfast. The rain and wind stopped as quickly as it had begun. By the time we had eaten and secured everything inside again, it seemed safe to leave. It was only 8:15. We were both a little testy after that early morning scare. No flooding impeded our way, but we noticed spots where it probably had been up on the road. Fields were flooded. It rained off and on during the day, but Jim kept on pushing. A little nap after lunch revived him enough to keep going until 6:00 that evening. Needless to say, we were in bed and asleep early again that night.

Flooded Fields Close to Road

Flooded Fields Close to Road

We’d heard that the Canadian Border would be closed at midnight on Friday, to all visitors and anyone without a good reason to be crossing into Canada. It wasn’t looking good. On Friday morning Jim decided we should try to make it to the Detroit crossing instead of carrying on to Buffalo as earlier planned. We had 500 miles to go!

We hit the road at 7:45 a.m. We made short stops for gas and to have meals in our “home”.

While driving through Ohio, we passed these strange looking items being moved along the highway on flatbed transports. The first time we saw two different parts, which Jim determined were some parts of an airplane. One definitely looked like a wing. Hours later we passed another two. At first we thought they were the same ones we’d passed earlier, that they’d gotten ahead of us while we stopped to eat or gas up. But then we noticed that these parts were a little different. One looked like the opposite wing from the first one. Because of road construction at that part of the highway, which involved construction cones along the right hand shoulder, the entire convoy was blocking both lanes of traffic in order to accommodate the right side overhang. We patiently followed along and it wasn’t too long before the construction zone came to an end and the left passing lane was freed up once more.

We made it across the border without any problems at 6:00 pm! That Welcome to Canada sign brought us great relief and joy.

That night we shared parking with several other RVs and transport trucks at the first Onroute Travel Centre that we came to, near Windsor, Ontario, too tired to go another mile. It was noisy with all the traffic in and out, but surprisingly we did get some sleep.

We were up at five and on the road before the sun came up, so anxious to be in our home town, in our small condo. Traffic was light. We got through Toronto in record time and arrived home shortly after noon, to nearly empty streets and cold weather, but it never looked so good! Thanks to Jim’s daughter, we had food in our fridge and pantry that, along with what we had left over in the motorhome, should do us for a couple of weeks.

We’ve been in self-quarantine ever since. It’s been difficult – not wanting to watch the news, but needing to know. I’ve shed many tears, not for fear of us getting the virus, but for our families and friends all over the country and beyond; for the front-line workers everywhere who are risking their own lives to try to save many; for those who have lost loved ones, and those who are stranded in foreign countries where the epidemic is far worse than here; and for the stories that are emerging of the amazing people who are doing so many self-less things to help those who are suffering.

I’m grateful for the phone calls, texts, video chats from family and friends. We even had our Book Club meeting yesterday, by video!

It’s a time for reconnecting with people and appreciating what we have. Soon, tomorrow will be a better day. For now, stay inside, stay safe and keep in touch.

Escaping Coronavirus


We’re on our way home, as are many, many other Canadians. But ours is a long journey -2700 miles- in the motor home. At least we don’t have to worry about crowds. We’ve kept ourselves pretty much isolated, avoiding restaurants and site seeing.  And so far the staff at RV Parks have been very understanding when Jim request entering his credit card himself with his gloved hands. We just enjoy the scenery and listen to music or audio books. I keep in touch with family by text if I can. And I try hard not to stress out. Not an easy task.

Hoping all my friends and fellow bloggers are staying safe and well. Who knows when we’ll be able to travel again.