• Picnics at the beach...

    Picnics at the beach...

    My life

imageThe road trip is officially on.  Goodbyes were made in Woodstock and Suzy the GPS gal got us with a bit of left turns here and right turns there to get to the the 401 to London, Ontario.  It was busy with the usual semitrailer traffic and cars, but before we knew it, we had passed London and were on the 402 in the direction of Sarnia, Ontario.

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Now we do know the Americans like to do things up big – and BIG is exactly what I’d call the new bridge to Port Huron that is not quite completed yet. It was a fifteen-minute wait to get through the border control and into to the USA; then a 20-mile stretch of construction greeted us on our arrival in Michigan.  The two lanes of eastbound #69 are being replaced, so we had the westbound lanes carrying two way traffic.  It was very slow: the speed limit was 55 mph.

Now Flint, Michigan has a #475 by-pass and that was a pleasant surprise because we got on it and before we knew it we were northbound on #75.  We stopped near Saginaw to have our picnic lunch and talk to a seagull.  The Mackinac Bridge was being repaired and I could not recognize it as I had not seen it since 1965 when it had just opened. My oldest daughter was five when we first went over it: there had been a boating accident and a mother and her two children were lost. As we drove over the bridge, she remembers trying to look for those children in the choppy waters below.

Ruth and I am very excited about our road trip adventure.  We take turns driving every hour or two, and we’ve found that this old Oldsmobile has a favourite speed she likes to be driven at, and for this old girl, 78 mph just isn’t her speed. She likes to cruise at exactly 69 mph – not 68 or anything over 70 – so we are certainly not getting any attention from the Highway Patrol!  Neither of us are scared to be out driving on the highways and byways, but we are careful to know our surroundings – especially when we are stopped for gas or the occasional Coke. Coke you say? The caffeine keeps us alert!

I am so impressed with Highway #2 from St. Ignase to Escanaba across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is a beautiful, wide highway with a surface as smooth as a baby’s bum.  With the water close by on the left for 146 miles it was a pleasure to drive next to.  Trees lined the right-hand side the entire way.  Although it’s only two lanes wide, there were 12 passing lane sections and they always seemed to be there when we needed them.

Bench on the beach at Escanaba, MI.

Escanaba, Michigan

We checked into the hotel and went to find dinner, which was found it was in the name of Stonehouse.  An impressive building, outside and in.  A 30′ long glass display case with lights is a showcase for cars, cars and more cars.  This is in the bar area, but there is only one TV so it is not what you call a sports bar.  The dining area is large with white tablecloths and is nicely separated from the bar.  We were lucky to get the last spot in the big parking lot so we were pretty sure the food would be good.  It was more than good and a exceptionally good selection was on the menu.  We opted for a fresh fish medley and New Zealand lamb chops with double-baked potatoes and salad.  So yummy you would not believe.

Lori the waitress from Stonehouse that gave me the information about the golf courses.  Looking good with Ruth.

Lori the waitress from Stonehouse that gave me the information about the golf courses. Looking good with Ruth.

Stonehouse Strawberry and Almond Salad

Stonehouse Strawberry and Almond Salad

Model cars at the bar in the Stonehouse Restaurant

Model cars at the bar in the Stonehouse Restaurant

Lori, the waitress at Stonehouse gave us the names of three golf courses to try out tomorrow. The Sweetgrass Golf Club has an Island Green and looks exciting on their website, so it just may be the one we choose to play tomorrow.

Swedish Pantry

Swedish Pantry

After dinner we drove downtown and found the downtown area has maintained its sea side attractions.  There are many little stores and boutiques and I took a picture of one that really popped out: the Swedish Pantry with it’s blue and yellow colours just like the Swedish flag. The Swedish Pantry looks to have most everything in it and baked goods too and advertises itself as having “The Best Food in Town”!

The park overlooking the bay is beautifully kept and has lots of benches, which I’ve posted pictures of at the top of this post.

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As I told you on Monday, we spent the night at Helen’s in beautiful Woodstock, Ontario.

I was up around 6:30 a.m. and made myself a coffee with the Tassimo.  The sunroom was waiting for me to welcome the singing birds.  Helen and Ruth showed their heads from under the covers around 8:00 a.m., and we sat down to a great breakfast of cereal, toast, yogurt, strawberry rhubarb jam and peanut butter with juice and coffee.

Then Ruth and I were off to the 401 to Guelph to check in with Jean Julian where we will stay tonight.

Ruth and Jean Julian

Ruth and Jean Julian

We went to lunch at the With the Grain restaurant to meet up with Alberta, Pauline and Gwen.  I found it was quite hard to visit with five people at the same time, and the restaurant is converted from an old house and the acoustics were not good, so I let the four of them visit while I took pictures and did some writing.

Alberta, Ruth, Pauline and Gwen

Alberta, Ruth, Pauline and Gwen

I had an egg salad sandwich, and it was good, but it pales in comparison to what I had at the Two Chicks Cafe in Sauble Beach. So far, the Two Chicks Cafe takes home the absolute FIRST prize for all the egg salad sandwiches I have had on this trip. You might remember that I wrote about the two chicks going to the Two Chicks Cafe earlier in our adventure, and it was one of my favourite Wi-Fi stops when we were at Sauble Beach.

After lunch, we drove to the Basilica as everyone had been talking about the renovations that have been made to the church.  It is now very elegant.

The highlight of my visit there was while I was trying to get a picture of the whole church, a young fellow by the name of Chris was riding his bike down the 60 steps to the front of the church.

We left there for a visit with Tom and Elinore Hulland for a few minutes and then went off for dinner with Ruth’s sister Velma.

Velma and Don

Velma and Don

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Nobody ever said that packing up the cottage for the last time would be easy.

There is so much to do and so little time to do it! Well there might be more time if we were not so busy doing other things – like golfing, shopping and, occasionally, stopping to eat! There have also been times when people have stopped by to have a coffee with us and a visit, which is great, but now, with our Sunday departure looming large, it’s crunch time!

Grosfillex chairs

Grosfillex chairs outside the cottage

We have made a valiant attempt to make sure everything is clean. There were cushions for the game table’s chairs and cushions for the Grosfillex chairs on the patio. These were washed with care and hung to dry on the clothesline (washed by hand no less)! The windows were washed inside and out and the top panes were washed by the two gals that were hired. These two gals also vacuumed the furniture in the living room and the porch. The BBQ had to be cleaned, as well as all the outside furniture.

Perhaps it would have been easier if the cottage had not been for sale all-in or as advertised, fully-furnished. If that had been the case, we would have HAD to take everything out of the house and the shed.  Now the hard part is deciding what to take for her home in Sun City, Arizona – what to leave here and what we should take to the charity bins. We have to decide which quilts to take or leave. There are paintings in a variety of sizes, from the very large to a number of 8×5’s.

Leaving Memorabilia Behind

The kayaks at the cottage

The kayaks along the fence at Ruth’s cottage

Leaving memorabilia behind is the hardest part for Ruth. She has had so many years of fun here and even leaving the hammock and two (almost brand new) kayaks will be very hard for her. Ruth’s brother Mike has been – and will be – the recipient of many things left behind. On Saturday, he’ll be here to pick up some treasure from the shed.

I have played the role of the mini-hawk, stopping Ruth from taking things that are too heavy or can be replaced at a consignment store in Sun City. But there have been some exceptions.Ruth had two beautiful hexagon wooden planters made locally by Ted Graper and she was bound and determined that they were going to be packed in the car. The only way the planters would fit was by putting it on the floor in the backseat on their sides, facing the front seats.

I managed to pack the car, and it’s packed to the rim with books, games, cards, tools, extension cords as well as many other collectibles. We have a waffle iron, an electric can opener, a coffee grinder and a tea pot ready for the trunk. Oh yes, Ruth has a tricycle-type golf cart that is wrapped in one of the duvets at the back of the trunk.

On Friday, we made the trip to the Salvation Army bin at Wiarton and on Saturday we will wash the bedding and towels, pack our suitcases and be ready to roll on Sunday. Oh, yes we have a farewell party for us to go to at Ted and Maureen Grapers’ home on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday Morning

Mornings here are absolutely wonderful. It is so quiet and there are actually a few robins and chipmunks in the yard to keep me company. This morning I was awake at 6:00 a.m. and I hit the shower while the coffee was brewing. Coffee on the patio was so peaceful. You can hear the waves from Lake Huron slapping against the shore from where I was sitting, and this morning it was just a slight rustle.

Mike came by with The Globe and Mail so we were able to catch up on the world news. I don’t subscribe to a paper at home but I go online to read, like the Calgary Herald and the Regina Leader Post.

Maureen O'Shea in front of Sauble Beach Public Library

Me in front of my main Wi-Fi hotspot, the Sauble Beach Public Library

I just finished washing the BBQ cover and Ruth has now finished the last of the laundry at the laundromat. We also have washed our clothes by hand and they are drying on the clothesline! You might think that’s something normal for an 80-year-old woman to be doing, but truthfully, the last time I did something like that was when I was a girl, helping my mother with the laundry

Mike is now cooking the bacon on the BBQ and the eggs will soon be in the pan and I’m slipping out to the Sauble Beach branch of the Bruce County Public Library to use their Wi-Fi connection to get this posted. The picture was taken by a man named Rory, and I took a picture of him and his son Michael and have posted it to thank them for their kindness in helping me out.

Sadly, this will probably be my last post from Sauble Beach, Ontario. It has been a wonderful time, I’ve met some great people and played golf at some excellent golf courses, done some great shopping, eaten some great meals, and had a lot of fun exploring cottage country with my friend Ruth. Thanks to everyone for making our visit so welcoming and memorable.

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