And So It Begins (the MMM)

MODD and the Oggorfian sisters have returned from a successful interplanetary jaunt to the hinterland of Thunder Bay and we now prepare Eagle 1 for its second exploratory mission to the far reaches of Canada, this time heading east to the Canadian Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland/Labrador.

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the MODD

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Ben, Bea and MODD

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one of DDs childhood homes

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DDs cousin Sandra’s resting place

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DDs grandpa’s gravestone

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Bea, Ben, Lynn, Jeneen, MODD, Cathy and DD

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Cathy (spelled correctly) and husband Joe

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view of the Sleeping Giant

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at the airport

Despite the sketchy weather we enjoyed our month at Nicolston Dam and our super hosts Frank and Charmon Nicolston. A Big 5 stars from our perspective. The month here gave us the time to visit many of the Oggorfian Clan and recharge the engines so to speak. A fabulous send off dinner at Jim and Anna’s concluded our visit although we will be back in a few weeks for quick visit.

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CC, Bob, Lynn, Anna, Jim and MODD

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female oriole on nest at Nicolston Dam

The Captain is happy to report that despite his new “convict” look, the Coach escaped serious injury from a fall caused by a sneaky garden hose tripping him up as he attempted to escape the confines of the garage to rush through a few chores that most certainly could have been left for another day.

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the “convict” Coach

So in a logic defying moment the Captain and DD set out in a westerly direction to Sarnia for their trip east.

Sarnia

Well we certainly didn’t return to Sarnia so soon in hopes that we would re-experience the not so wonderful weather of our previous stay here in March and lo and behold there was sun and blue sky. And to top it off in splendid fashion Busty Barb the Believer and Lonesome Larry were once again permitted unfettered entry to the Great White North. Coincidentally the arrival of BBB and LL found the Loonie taking another tumble for which they are sincerely grateful. They luvs being in Canada! To show their appreciation we immediately headed to Boston Pizza and Timmies to spend some of those inflated greenbacks.

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Walmart mates

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no BP in the USA

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LL and CC shopping for new bike helmets

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After a couple of nights at Walmart we discovered the spacious and much more scenic waterfront Casino parking lot and set up shop there for a couple more days. The Casino located in the shadow of the Blue Water Bridge on the shores of the now unpolluted St. Clair River provided miles of pathways and parks for hiking and biking in as well as several of the now ubiquitous chip wagons to offset all that healthy exercise undertaken.  The new location while it had its positives also proved detrimental as both DD and CC along with BBB failed miserably to lessen the profits of the OLG. Only LL managed to beat lady luck this trip.

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the Blue Water Bridge

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flags over the bridge

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Lighthouse on US side of river

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looks like there may be a shark by the rocks

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from the Chip Wagon

After several days of acclimation to the northern air,  BBB and LL declared themselves fit to begin the trek east. This year’s odyssey has been formally ordained as the Maritime Madness Marathon (MMM). Next stop the tomato capital of Canada.

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along the road to Leamington

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DD getting into the swing of things

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CC tries to get LL and BB to take a dip

Leamington and Point Pelee National Park

This may come as a bit of a shock but we did not overnight at Walmart in Leamington. Instead thanks to BBB’s Italian connections we were permitted to camp in the ROMA Club parking lot.

As an aside and on a completely unrelated subject the Captain is taking a moment to digress and relate to you a sports related historical event from Leamington’s past that for the most part has been lost (and probably for good reason) from the history books. In the early 1960s the Captain (known as Gee at the time) and his fellow teammates from the Newmarket Squirt Allstars made the arduous journey from Newmarket to Leamington for an epic battle to earn the crown of Ontario baseball champions. The visitors despite their fatigue prevailed and were immediately run out of town by a less than friendly crowd. Upon returning to the “Market” the returning heroes were paraded through town on the fire engine.

Sadly it seems that Leamington never fully recovered from this disastrous loss and the more recent loss of the Heinz Ketchup plant.

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From Leamington we took a day trip to the Point Pelee National Park. This park is internationally renowned for its migrating bird and butterfly populations. Birders come here from all over the world to many species that travel through.  Birding is obviously a skill that takes time to acquire as we mostly saw red winged black birds and barn swallows with the occasional oriole and cardinal providing a bit of colour. It is also the most southern point in Canada and is on the same latitude as northern California.

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CC claiming he has captured a picture of the rare Indigo Bunting

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there’s a BBB bird in the tree

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follow the footprints and find the prize

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or maybe not

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DD at the southern most point of Canada

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DDs art deco of the week

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another bird in the tree

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Barn Swallow

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the colourful “male” cardinal

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red winged black bird

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one of DD’s distant relatives

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the marsh boardwalk

The major excitement (read ISSUE here) of our visit to the park came when we stopped for a picnic lunch. Patrolling the picnic area was a cute little racoon that decided to visit out table to enquire about available scraps. As the little scavenger sauntered over to our table DD went into meltdown mode and began a series of hysterical screeching while prancing about on the table top.  The racoon was not easily dissuaded however and hung about for several minutes until chased away a park ranger brandishing a toy Star Wars like light sabre as her weapon of choice.

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guess who is coming to dinner

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Sand Hill Park

We stopped overnight at this RV Park on our way to our destination of Niagara Falls. While it is nicely located on the shores of Lake Erie it is difficult to recommend to overnighters. The web site failed to make it clear that its prices were based on a per person rate as opposed to most parks that put out a site rate. And with no off season rate (despite the park being virtually empty) we paid a princely sum of $64. This is the highest fee we have seen in our travels all and this didn’t include the extra loonie required to use the shower. Further there was no Wi-Fi or laundry available. Sorry Sand Hill Park but its 2 thumbs down from all of us.

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the Canadian Navy aground in Port Burwell??

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the girls rest while

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the boys work of course

So now it’s on to Niagara Falls and this will be another first for BBB and LL. As I write this we have already been to Niagara Falls (no I’m not confused) but it will take a day or two to sort through the several hundred pictures DD took before doing another post.

By stubbs99

Birds, Bathrooms and Babies

I can hear the groans already. CC is going to burden us with another depressing story about the abysmal spring weather. Damn right folks. Sunday morning here in the 5th wheel and as I write this blog post I can cast my eyes out the window and see the snowflakes (somewhat sparse but!!!) falling in the ZERO (32F) degree weather.  But hey it’s not all bad it’s going up to a balmy 5C later today. Just 2 days ago we had 20 plus degrees and sun but then another Polar Vortex. This madness must stop.

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Saturday morning

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Sunday morning

Sunday afternoon

Sunday afternoon

There I’ve got it of my chest and speaking of getting things off my chest, figuratively speaking of course, DD has abandoned me for 4 days and has headed north to Thunder Bay with 2 of her sisters (Jeneen and Lynn) and MODD for a visit with her Aunt B and Uncle Ben and cousin Cathy. Bet it’s really warm up there, not!!! CC provided a bit of excited when driving the gals to the airport by inadvertently turning down the wrong way on a streetcar lane. Despite the cornucopia of screeching CC was able to calmly steer clear of the oncoming streetcar and safely deliver the gals to the airport. For some odd reason there was a mad rush to the bathrooms upon arrival.

As wonderful as we have found our little campsite to be we can say that the place is literally going to the birds. For the past 2 weeks we have a couple of robins attempting to build a nest on the underside of the skirting. CC has been charged with the daily task of removing the construction ruminants however after removing the debris from one side the construction was moved to the other side. I would ask that everyone please try to understand the circumstances and refrain from reporting me to the SPC-NBC or any of its international affiliates. The SPC-NBC is not an affiliate of the NBC television affiliate but the well respected and world renowned Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Nest Builders of Canada.

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nest under construction

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a few more birds at the trailer (Maureen, Jeneen and DD)

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apparently we are not all that “accessible”

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DD and MODD have plenty of spare time??

LLL and BB have left the wilds of Colorado and are now headed east to meet up with us in Sarnia next weekend. It would only be appropriate if they were treated to a spring snowstorm upon reaching the GWN but we definitely won’t keep our fingers crossed on this one.

Mothers Day was spent at Jeneen and Pats.

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DD, Maureen, niece Angela and Jeneen

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Pat’s attempt to photobomb is foiled

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nephew Allan

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Angela and shy son Brenton

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well maybe not that shy

Earl Rowe Provincial Park Hike

DD and CC have managed to get in some outdoor activities when the chance presents. We enjoyed a quiet hike around Earl Roe Provincial Park. The lake in the park is man-made and doesn’t always have the best water for swimming. To offset this the Park built a huge swimming pool that can accommodate up to 2000 swimmers. The parks trees also suffered for extensive damage from the April ice storm.

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ahhhh little baby duckys

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are those winter shorts??

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sheltered from the storm

Kensington Market/Chinatown

DD and sister Jeneen took a short tour of historic Kensington Market and Chinatown in downtown Toronto and brought back photos of some interesting stores etc.

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everyone was topless

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wishful thinking from DD

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is that Stompin Tom driving?? (Canadian joke)

Cookstown and Cookstown/Thornton Bike Ride

CC and DD did a short walking tour of DD’s childhood. A visit to DD’s childhood home and a conversation with the current occupant put to the test DD’s somewhat implausible story that the outhouse located by the old barn was the same as the one where she spent time as a child doing?? Well you get the picture I’m sure. The current occupant let it be known that the old outhouse imploded many years ago and she built the existing structure as a tool shed cleverly disguised to look like an outhouse which has inadvertently allowed DD to perpetuate the OOO (original outhouse oracle) way beyond its best before date.

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the old homestead

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“new addition” at back

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the infamous non outhouse

From Cookstown we rode our bikes on the 14+ km (28+ return) bike path between Cookstown and Thornton. A fairly relaxed ride along an old rail bed that had several old trestles on it. Interestingly enough the top end of the trail ended at the Georgian Downs Casino. As luck, probably good luck as far as CC is concerned, would have it neither of us had the cash to make a wager.

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one of the trestles

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the Trillium – Ontario’s official flower

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By stubbs99

Mayday! Mayday Mayday!

Is this a fruitless call for help? Perhaps a call to celebrate the feast of May Day?? Or possibly a desperate call to petition for a day in May when spring will actually arrive with its requisite warm weather. A combination of the 1st and 3rd is the likely answer as we yet again sit huddled inside the trailer looking out at the drizzle and rain in balmy 45F temperatures.

Leaving the Bath House on April 10th the Captain and Debbie Dewdrops engaged warp drive as we headed for the Oggorfian Empire, DD’s ancestral homeland.  The original plan had us setting up camp at the Nicolston Dam Campground and using this as our home base until BBB and LL’s arrival in late May for the commencement of our summer of 16 Atlantic Canada Tour. Please reread opening paragraph before proceeding. Due to a “severe” ice storm the Nicolston Dam Campground’s opening would be delayed. Last minute arrangements were made for a place to store the trailer and DD and CC found refuge at MODDs (Mother of Debbie Dewdrops) where we stayed until we were finally able to move to Nicolston Dam on April 20th. Our 10 day stay provided us the opportunity to begin the rounds of visits with DD’s numerous (well 6 anyway) siblings and catch up on some shopping and other chores.

Uncle Pete’s Celebration of Life

As mentioned in my previous post my Uncle Pete, Mom’s twin brother Arthur (Pete) Powell,  passed away at the age of 86. A Celebration for Pete was held in Port Perry on April 24th. Many of my cousins, some of whom I had not seen in about 45 years were there as well so it was great to reconnect and catch up a bit.

Nicolston Dam

We moved into the Nicolston Dam Campground on April 20th. Park is still in the process of cleaning up from the ice storm and opening up facilities so we didn’t have our water connection for the first week and the washrooms weren’t available but that has all been taken care of now so all is good for the next 3 weeks.

Trees Damaged by the Ice Storm

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The Campground

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the old mill building

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the only other camper in the park

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The Campground is on the site of an old mill and is run by the Nicolston family who have been on the property since 1853. And yes there is a dam. There is also a fish ladder on the river. CC was fortunate to record a fish attempting to go up the dam. DD claims it must have been a male fish. Had it been a female fish she would have consulted the river map and seen the fish ladder off to the side and used it rather than flail about in a fit of macho madness.

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Fish jumping at 9 to 13 second point in following video.

 

Just down the road is the Nottawasaga Resort. At the resort there are some beautiful hiking trails through the golf course and CC and DD have used these for hiking and running.

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Views of golf course from along the trails

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Wasaga Beach Trip

We headed out on a day trip to the famous Wasaga Beach on Georgian Bay. The place was deserted as could be expected due to the time of the year and the weather. DD and CC had spent a day here when we were 16 and the beach was wall to wall people. We have no photographic verification of this trip as DD continues to have ISSUES related to the operation of her new (6 months old now) camera.

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the only photo that sort of survived the trip

On the way home, with DD navigating we mysteriously found ourselves parked in front of the Georgian Downs Casino and since we were like there you know, and like we needed a bathroom break you know, we went inside for a bit of relief. Well CC was quickly relieved of $20 while DD was relieved to come out ahead to the tune of $90. This made up for a previous trip to the Woodbine Casino where both CC and DD were cleaned out of their $20.00.

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DD with the famous Northern Dancer at Woodbine

By stubbs99