Monday, August 30, 2010

Kingston, by choice, not by sentence

Sept 2nd
When we left Lou and Ann's last night the plan was for them to go to breakfast with her sister and brother-in-law and then come over to see us. Then we would all go back to their place for the afternoon. Well, that didn't happen. We waited all morning and then until 1:30PM to see what happened. Somehow they had got their communications all screwed up, so we waited all morning when we could have been doing some sight seeing. But they finally did show up at about 2:30PM for a tour of ELTORO, then we went to Lou and Ann's for a couple of hours. We came home by 6:00PM, and started to get ready for the move tomorrow.
Sept 1st
Lazed around all morning until about 2:30PM, then went over to Lou and Ann's to visit. Later in the day Ann's sister, Teresa, and brother-in-law, Sean, arrived from Gataneau Park. They live in Kitchener, but had been holidaying in Gataneau Park for a few days.

They are both very Irish, as is Ann. Lou is very French-Canadian, so you have a whole range of accents to sort out when you are only Albertan. Anyway they were all a real hoot when they get together. We spent a great afternoon with them drinking Chandy. That is what the Irish call a drinka drink of beer and Ginger Ale. I remember drinking the same thing when we were younger, but do not remember if we had a name for it. Even Denice, the non beer drinker submitted to the chandy, and rather enjoyed it, maybe a new milestone in her young life! And then were treated to a fantastic dinner, complete with copious amounts of red and white wine.

The bubbly produced a lot of candid funny conversation. Sorry to see the end of day but, we returned home at about 9:30PM.
Aug 31st
Big Day!! Drove down the road from Renfrew all the way to Kingston, a distance of 115 miles. Pulled into our reserved RV Park of Rideau Acres RV Resort. Route took us down Highway 29 and then 15. Some good highway, some not so good!! Got set up and Denice called her friend Ann DeRasp that we were in town and set up. Lou, her husband, and Ann came over and visited us for a couple of hours at ELTORO. Ann and Denice became friends in Calgary when they both worked at the Deer Valley Mall. About four years ago, after Lou and Ann's three kids moved to Ottawa, they followed suite, sold their house in Calgary and moved east to be nearer their kids and grand-kids. Ann has had an ongoing health battle these last few years, but her and Denice have remained in close contact and are still good friends. We went with them back to their house and then to Dinner at a Chinese Buffet. Great Food and a Great Visit. After Dinner they drove us back to our motorhome.
Aug 30th
Rest Day - Nothing to Report

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Heading for Harperville!! Ottawa that is!!

Aug 29th
Up early this morning and in to Ottawa . We had booked in for a city tour on Greyline Tours. Included was a "Hop on, Hop off" bus tour of the city, and then a boat cruise on the Ottawa River. The bus tour started right near the Parliament buildings at the corner of Sparks and Elgin Street, every hour on the hour. We planned to be on the first bus at 10:00AM, so we left Renfrew shortly after 8:30AM. But by the time we got into the city and found parking under City Hall, we were too late for the first tour , so took the next at 11:00AM. The first was on a double decker, open air bus, the second on a Greyhound style bus, but air conditioned. It was hot at 32 degrees celcius! The bus tour took in a whole series of places where you could jump off. Included were many historic sights: the Canadian War Museum, Parliament Hill, Museum of Civilization, Notre Dame Basilica, Rideau Hall, RCMP Museum and Stables, National Aviation Museum, Royal Canadian Mint, National Gallery, Byward Market, Rideau Canal, Dow's Lake, Experimental Farm, Museum of Nature. To see all of these places would take many days. Our pass was for 3 days, but given the heat wave we decided to just get a good feel for Ottawa in one day. If it had been cooler we might have been tempted to spend a couple of days. We did stop at the Museum of Civilization, and spend a couple of hours there.

Denice and Pierre Hamming it up

Didn't have time to see everything there, but what we did see, was well done and most enjoyable. I guess the War Museum was also well done from reports we got from other people. I would have liked to see the Royal Canadian Mint, but you just can't begin to see them all unless you have a lot of time. While we were waiting for our bus in the morning, we did walk over to the Parliament Buildings, and got some great pictures.

The Chateau Laurier

Again could have spent a lot more time there and had a tour inside, and a walking tour around the grounds. Maybe next time ---. After the bus tour, it was now 3:30PM, we went down along the Rideau Canal, Watched a yacht being lowered through the hand operated, 8 locks from the canal to the Ottawa River.

The canal joins the River right in between the Parliament Buildings and the Chateau Laurier. It is here that the boat tour originates. At 4:00PM we boarded the Paula D, a 150 passenger cruiser.
They took us on a well narrated tour, both English and French, of the River, past the Parliament Buildings, and on up the river a few miles to see Ottawa's waterfront, then back down the river past all the Foreign Country Embassies along the river.
The Chateau Laurier

24 Sussex Drive - Where is Stephan?

Parliament Buildings from the River
An amphibian bus on the River

At the outlet of the Rideau River into the Ottawa, there is a very large water fall. It looks very similiar to Niagara, only on a smaller scale. Our tour boat nosed right into the spray from the falls. We were only feet from the actual curtain of falling water.

Great Pictures, and quite an experience!! Then on down the river, turned and went up the Gataneau River a mile or so, then worked our way back to the docking, Now ,5:30PM ,and still 32 degrees. Time to head home. To get back to where we were parked under the City Hall we had to pass Confederation Park where a very large "Gay" party was happening. Oh, in the morning on the bus tour, our guide told us we would have do some detouring, as a parade was in process. I asked what kind of parade, and he answered, "Well, you will see a lot of Rainbows" But we did get by the Park and into City Hall with some help from security and some OPP advice, and eventually back to the jeep. Returned to Renfrew by 8:00PM where we stopped and got some takeout Japanese "Chinese Food." It was good. A LONG DAY!!! Denice says, " Just as a note, we were pretty naive to think that we could see all of Ottawa in one Day!!"
Aug 28th
Back over to Shawville again this morning to meet Evelyn by 10:00AM at her house. When we drove up her daughter Elizabeth, my second cousin, was already there. Soon after two more second cousins arrived, Elson Schock and Elwyn Lang, as well as Lawrence Langs, now deceased, wife Margaret. We discussed family lineage for another couple of hours. Elwyn,tookus for a quick spin in the immediate are for us to see his, and his two sons land. Beauiful land and great corn crops.

He says they will produce 4 tons of corn/acre this year, a bumper crop. Then Elson offered to drive us out to the old original Lang homestead. It was oly a 15 minute drive out into to rural Quebec the where many of the Langs homesteaded after immigrating from Ireland. Seems 3 or 4 of them settled around a small lake, and it is fittingly called Langs Lake.

The photo above and below are from Google Earth of Lang's Lake
The original homestead is now owned by another quite senior man, but he graciously allowed us access to the property and into the old house.

The Old Homestead
Elizabeth Young (Hazel's daughter)- my second cousin, Hazel - My first cousin, once removed, and Elson Schock, My second cousin
This is all that is left of the Barn
I guess in those days it was quite serviceable, but now seems very small. We haven't been able to prove or disprove, but my Great-Grandfather had 11 or 12 children, and to think that large of a family was maybe raised in that small of a house is almost mind boggling!! Elson, Evylyn, Elizabeth and Margaret were great guides as this was there back yard, so the knew every crook and cranny in the road and who lived on each twisting corner. From Langs Lake we continued on to Greer Mount, where we visited the old Prespeterian church that my Grandfather was part of the construction organizing party in about 1886.

All doors were locked, but we had a look in the windows and admired from the outside the skill those loacl pioneers had with the solid rock construction. Sort of reminds me of the skill that the Egyptians had for pyramid construction. It is amazing how those people in those days were able to complete such fine workmanship, lasting with such little deterioration. From there we continued on over to Johnson's Lake, where Elson lives in a nice big house right on the shore and beach. Then into Ladysmith, Thorne and Charteris, where we visited another graveyard.

Found a couple more Langs buried here. One Fred Lang, my grandfathers brother is buried here and our guides were able to relate the story of how his brother-in-law, and he were on their way to work at a sawmill in the morning, but did a little deer hunting on the way, and Fred was mistaken for a deer and shot. He died 4 days later. Once back at Evelyns, we had a sandwich, and talked a while lot more. God, there are more Langs than I had ever envisioned. They have a picture of a family gathering with 63 in it, and these were just the ones close by.
Aug 27th
Today we went over into Quebec and to Shawville. First went to the cemetary to try and find some of my Roots. Found quite a few buried roots, but just brought up more questions than answers.

This is the headstone of my Great-Grandfather Lang's, My Great-Grandmothers, and 2 Great-Uncles and one Great-Aunt
I saw an older resident next to the cemetery, so I walked over to him and started a conversation with him. I asked if he knew any Langs around there. He responded that he did know some, and I should be able to find a Jack and a Elwyn Lang down at the fair grounds as they are heavy into agriculture and preparations are under way for their large fair next week. Also we could drive up the road a couple of miles and find an old second-cousin-once-removed, Evelyn Shock, in a house jusy off the road. We drove down and questioned a lady at the fair grounds, but neither Jack nor Elwyn were there at the time, so we backtracked and went to find Evelyn, We had here address and when we got there she was outside sitting on the step talking another lady. We backed into her driveway and walked over to talkto her. We hadn't even introduced ourselves, when she said "you are Langs from Western Canada, aren't you?" Amazing, and she is 95 years old! She had seen our licence plates. We agreed and were invited in and talked for a couple of hours. Sure a lot of Lang history here! Mind Boggeling!!! We are invited back tomorrow, and will take her with us to see the old Lang Homestead, where my Great-Grandfather settled after coming from Ireland. Returned across the Ottawa River to ELTORO with our heads swimming with "Lang" information.
Aug 26th
Well, we planned on going to Shawville today, but instead we just relaxed for most of the day.
Sunrise Mist on the Lake
Pink Sunset from our park

Went back into Renfrew to Wallyworld and bought some needed groceries. Then just read and sat around the rest of the day
Aug 25th
Up this morning to a slightly overcast sky. Its nice and quiet and peaceful here, but we want to move on. We have reserved at Renfrew KOA for 4 nights, just south of the Ottawa River, across from Shawville, Quebec. We want to go to Shawville to research some of my roots. We followed Highway #7 about 30 miles east and then swung north onto Highway 41 toward Renfrew at Kaladar. This 70 miles across country was a beautiful drive. The highway was good, the traffic light. Passed Bon Echo Provincial Park and Mazinaw Lake. We passed a neat little town of Denbigh and then at Dacre turned onto #132 to Renfrew. Checked into Renfrew KOA by about 1:00pm. Seems like a nice place. Park right on the grass with a nice little lake out the front.
Aug 24th

On the Road Again!! Left Waterloo by 9:00AM and headed North and East. We weren't even out of Waterloo yet when we got our first "Wake up Call". Some woman cut us off from the left lane. pulled right in front of us, slammed on her brakes and turned right onto a side street. We sure had a chance to check our braking system, and then an opportunity to check our blood pulse rate as well. Denice's was high!! Mine a little as well!! Went through Guelph on Highway 24 and on to Caledon, then on #9 NE to New Market and on up to Lake Simcoe on highway 48, then back down to Lindsey and on through Peterborough to Marmora where we reserved at a KOA. Todays trip was only a couple hundred miles, but took us over 6 hours of steady driving. Ontario highways confuse me. Seems no rhyme nor reason to their direction. Some areas are in sort of a grid running NE / SW, then the next is also a grid but in a different direction. There does not seem to be any highways that are direct from one city to the next, except maybe the 401, and that one we are trying to avoid as much as possible. The other thing that is rather surprising is that posted speed limits are quite slow. none are over about 90Kms/hr, some are only 80, and we have been on some that are only 70. I guess that makes since since it seems the whole southern part of the province is sort of semi Rural / Semi Urban. Along most highways you just
get up to the posted 80 Klms and then have to slow down again for the next town.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

And then there was Niagara and Beyond

Aug 23rd
We were planning on moving down the road today, but after looking at the weather forecasting showers, we just decided to spend an extra day. Tuesday is forecast for full sun. I went to the office last night and requested an extra day, but was told the site we were in was booked, so would have to move. That's OK. Packed lightly this AM and moved back to #339. That's the site we were originally in when we arrived.
Aug 22nd
Today took a drive that was recommended by a man at the St Jacos Market yesterday. Went out to a town a few miles from Waterloo, called West Montrose. This is a place where the last covered Bridge in Ontario is. Drove through and stopped to take some pictures of it. While we were there several Mennonites crossed with their little buggies pulled by high stepping horses. Quite a sight to see this mode of transportation in todays w

Then we continued on for another 10 miles to Elora Conservation Area and Gorge. Here the Grand River flows through a narrow gorge for a few miles. Seems that this is a favourite place for the young to "Tube" down through the gorge and over the many rapids.

We walked along the top on a well shaded path and watched some of the fun they were having. Stopped for a hot Dawg at a local consession there before moving on. One of the brochures we had showed some sort of a mill in the town of Elora, right on the river, so we decided to see if we could find it. We did. It is now converted into an Inn.

Not sure what the original mill was used for, but it now is quite a picturesque place right above a falls on the Grand River. Then returned to ELTORO. Took longer than we had anticipated, but it was worth it!!
Aug 21st

Today out to St. Jacobs Farmers Market and Flea Market and Outlet Mall. It was only a few miles from home. Thousands of people flock here every day to sample the produce from mostly local Mennonite growers.

The produce is phenomenal!! Every kind of jam, jelly, sauces, relishes, preserves, pickles, that you could imagine.

Also beautiful quilts and home made crafts. Too bad ELTORO is saturated!!! But we did buy pickled sausage, eggs and asparagus and two huge dill pickles. YUM YUM -- pucker power! We will eat them ASAP. We also bought two goose down pillows. By the way, the goose down comes all the way from Alberta. We needed new ones to replace those we do not like in ELTORO. The lady there told us the best goose down pillows there are in the world come from the Hutterites in Alberta, but no, we had to come all the way to Ontario to buy them. I'm not telling the costs. We walked through the large Flea Market.

It was great, but much like so many other Flea Markets we have see before. Also the big Outlet stores, are much the same, but we did pick up a few things in the Kitchen store. Denice, well me too, have a slight addiction to all types of gadgets, and we did need a coffee carafe to keep our left over coffee warm. On our way home, just at the corner turning into Green Acres RV Resort, we came upon a whole contingency of Ontario Police. They had set up a posting in two spots along the Conservation Drive about a half mile apart. They did not have their lights flashing and were only waving motorists by at a slow rate. Nothing seemed to be amiss. No accident. Nothing. We could not imagine what the ruckus was about, until mid-way between the two sets of congregated officers, just off the road we saw a large farmyard with a whole bunch of Motor Cycles and a bus with a large banner on the back saying, "Hell's Angels" Ontario Branch" Now we knew!!!

The police were there just to have a presence, and to make sure nothing erupted, I guess. Nice neighbors we have here!! They must have been having some sort of gathering at that farmyard.
Aug 20th
Today was maybe a little slow. Didn't do much in the morning, but after lunch decided to take a drive down rural roads to Stratford to see what was there seeing it was only about 25 miles away. The rural scenery is great here.

Sooo green and yards so well manicured. Every farm seems to have a acre or two of well maintained lawn and flowers. Some have ponds and fountains. I don't think too many of the Ontario farmers are suffering economically. Once in Stratford we stopped at Shakespeare's Park at the info hut, then found free parking near by. Spent an hour or so just walking along the Avon River.

Again the park is well kept and flowers are everywhere. Ducks and swans cruised up and down the silent, smooth waters, as did the tour boats. A most enjoyable afternoon!!
Aug 19th
At 8:15 took Jeep down to Bustard Jeep Chrysler for window repair. Brought home via their shuttle. Originally we had reserved our RV Site for only 3 nights, but since we liked the Park had requested an increase it to 1 week. They accommodated us, but we had to move to another site as the one we were in on the lake had been previously booked, so as soon as I got home from the Jeep Dealer, we packed up and moved, but only a few sites to the east. Not a Big Deal!! And then settled in again. At about noon Bustard Jeep called with the "Good News, Bad News" story. The "bad" was to advise that the whole window controller and glass had to be replaced as there was an update. Cost $560 before Tax. The "Good" was that yesterday they had ordered two of the windows for another customer, whose window would not go down, and they would use the "Steal from Peter to Pay Paul" scenario as the other customer was unaware that the parts were there, and they would re-order for his parts. So we are without wheels today, so another day of relaxing. So today is sort of an expensive one, but I guess, "That's just the cost of doing Business".
Shuttle picked me up again at 4:45PM and delivered me back to Bustards. Paid the "Bad News" at $616.93. $70 to our good friends in Ottawa!! The Gal at the payment booth at Bustards wrote in large letters on their copy of the invoice, "Because of this bill this gentleman will not be able to afford to go to Newfoundland!!"
Aug 18th
Had email first thing in morning indicating they would schedule an appointment for 9:00AM tomorrow morning, if that was OK. I emailed back it was. Then spent the rest of the day just kind of schmoozing. Nothing very exciting. Went down to a nearby Sobeys for some needed groceries. Came back home and stowed them. Larder is full again.
Aug 17th
Drove down to Niagara today, about 100 miles from here. Routed Jeeps GPS to use secondary highways rather than Freeways. It took us longer but took us right through down town Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, and Hamilton. Not sure if that was a good idea or not!! Anyway arrived at the Falls in about 3 hours. Paid $20 to park while we took the photos that we came for. There were thousands of people there. I suppose there always is, but it was crowded.

We had planned on staying the night down there, but decided just to make the drive back to ELTORO instead. Took a longer route back as we wanted to at least see Lake Erie, so we headed south to Port Erie, and on the Port Colburne where we crossed the Welland Canal for a second time. Just prior to Port Colburn, took a run out to a local beach along the Lake. It was a nice sandy one, so Denice was able to add to her collection of sands from various point where we have been, Took a few photos and continued on. From there we headed north again toward home. Set the GPS to take the "quickest" way home. She routed us almost the same way we had come, except part of the way was on freeways. Stopped in Cambridge for a quick drive in lunch. Rolled down the window to order, but after getting our dinner, the window refused to roll back up. I tried several different scenario's, but with no luck. Well, it was lucky that it was a warm evening as we had to drive the last 25 miles or so with the window open. Arrived home 8:00PM. Got right onto the web when home to find a Jeep Dealer in Waterloo. Found Bustard Chrysler not too far away. They have an email site to request service so I told them of my problem, and got a prompt reply that they would be getting back to me soon. Went to bed shortly there after without any reply.
Aug 16th

Left Keith's place at 10:00AM this morning. Sure hated to leave, it was such a nice setting and Keith was such a great host, but time marches on, so down the road we went toward Waterloo, our next planned stop. Our preference of secondary highways led us through rural Ontario, down highways 6, 12, 10, 17, and 16. These are all well paved 2 lane highways, most with a speed limit of 80 km/hr. The speed is fine with us as we have a chance to enjoy the passing sights. We did notice that vehicles very often passed on double solid lines as there are more of them than dotted ones. we were travelling slightly over the posted speed limit, but people seem to have what we call the RV syndrome, and have to pass every motorhome and then slow down. In response to this Denice wrote this little joke.
"A man from Ontario was stopped in Alberta for passing on a double solid line going up hill. He asks "What did I do wrong Officer?" The Officer replied "You passed illegally on a double solid line going uphill." The man from Ontario replied, "Oh, sorry officer, I thought that double solid line meant, OK to pass, but go faster." We saw a lot of that!!

Our concept of Ontario is changing. Since we had never been here before, we were under the impression of a much more heavily populated area from the maps that we had looked at, when in reality although it is heavily populated, it is quite rural. I'm sure a large farm here is something much less than a quarter section. The land is rolling, strikenly green, lots of trees, and manicured yards. Towns are small and quaint. Mennonite and Amish people seem to make up a fair amount of the population. Highways are shared with horse and buggies. We only had about 90 miles to travel today, but it took us almost three hours, but a very enjoyable three hours, indeed. We checked into the GreenAcres RV Park on the northern outskirts of Waterloo for a three day period, and were escorted to our site by a nice young lady. We originally had planned for only three days, but once settled in, and found what a nice park it was, decided we would like to make it a week. I went back to the office and requested an extension, but the spot in is not available as it is reserved by someone else. However the receptionist was able to accomadate us by moving us a couple of times. Not our preference, but we will live with it.