March 2010

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Scenery To Shoot For

Click here for larger view Today started out with a morning-long shopping spree that netted a barbecue grill and a 6-piece patio set, both of which we then dropped off at the storage unit near Smiths Falls.
    Then, deciding to do some 'sploring of a region of lakes 30 miles (50 km) southwest of Smiths Falls, that I had never seen before but from what I could tell from the map looked to have the potential of being scenic, we drove down there and found that it was indeed quite scenic (photo on the right).
    My original thought was to simply see Chaffey's Lock on the Rideau Canal. I had read that Chaffey's was the prettiest set of locks on the canal and thought it was worth the drive to find out. Well, it is indeed a very scenic location, but continuing farther southwest from there was even more scenic. We took that road to its end at Regional Road 10, which we then took north to Westport, for an additional drive of 28 miles (45 km) that went through scenery very reminiscent of the stunning scenery we saw this past summer going to and from Lake Superior's North Shore.
    At Westport, we found and drove up Foley Mountain to see the view from its Spy Rock lookout. Calling this 200 foot (61 m) high ridge a mountain is quite an exaggeration, but it does give a beautiful panoramic view of the town below and surrounding area.
    I don't know for certain what the region of lakes is called that we saw today, but it is situated along the southernmost intrusion of the Canadian shield called the Frontenac Axis and Frontenac Provincial Park is in the heart of this lake region. The terrain of the Canadian Shield is rugged and characterized by granite outcrops, hills, lakes, wetlands, and forests. We only scratched the surface today of what is there to see, so once we get settled in at Smiths Falls I expect to be spending some serious time in this lakes region.
    Our total scenic drive today ended up being 150 miles (243 km). Click here for the map.
    For Sandra's account of the day, click here. For my latest photos, click here.

Welcome To Spring

Click here for larger view In the northern hemisphere, yesterday was the end of winter (hurray!) and today the first day of spring. Winter went out like a lamb, with mild weather, and spring arrived with a cold front that moved in today and chilled things down and the long range forecast is calling for snow at the end of the month, so it might be spring but winter isn't going out without a whimper.
    Anyway, yesterday we received a package from Michelle which she mailed on March 2, so it took 17 days to arrive here from Ohio. In this age of email and the internet with instant communications the slang name of 'snail mail' for traditional mail certainly is apt.
    The package contained some Extra Strength Excedrin that can't be bought in Canada and some very yummy home-made caramel corn (used as packing popcorn) and some fine and fantastic family photos, one shown above. L-R: Luke, Faith, Michelle, Grace, and Eric.
    For Sandra's account of the day, click here. For my latest photos, click here.

Inspected & Signed Off

Click here for larger view Yesterday we drove down to Smiths Falls to observe the inspection of the house we are to buy and since we were a bit early we took a short detour on the way to find this little church, which my family might be interested to know is called Wolford Chapel. I had seen it on the map and been curious to see what it looked like and was pleased to find it a quaint little wayside church. I don't know if it's still in use, but it's definitely well maintained. Since it's only 15 minutes east of the house and quite near the Rideau , I expect I'll return from time to time. Finding things with my family name is quite rare.
    Anyway, after seeing the chapel we went on to the house, arrived right on time at 1pm only to find the house inspector, his son, and the realtor already there and only a few minutes later our insurance agent arrived as well, so the place was hopping for a while.
    The inspector found a few things that need addressing, like half the roof needs to be replaced (fortunately it's a small one) but I had seen this along with most of the other things he found, so in general, it's a solid little house and they found no deal-breaking problems, so we've signed off the paperwork and since all conditions have been met the sellers should sign off on it tonight as well, at which point we will be closing on it the 14th of May.
    This morning while the housecleaner was here, Sandra and I went out to look at more furniture, again, and found some things we liked at Leon's, two of which (a coffee table and TV credenza with a built-in electric fireplace) were on sale so they are being held for us at the sale price until we move in.
    For Sandra's account of the day, click here. For my latest photos, click here.

Shopping & Dropping

Click here for larger view Nothing terribly exciting has happened since my last report. About all we've done is sign off on more house paperwork and shop for furniture, Sandra shopping til I was dropping.
    Women are amazing shoppers. Whoever started the myth that women are the weaker sex obviously never went shopping with one. My mother was a short petite little thing who was a dynamo when it came to shopping and who loved to torment and torture her children by taking them with her to shop in the city on the occasional Saturday morning and I have no childhood memories of anything more arduous, exhausting, and grueling than trying to keep up with her on those shopping forays and Sandra has the same female shopping gene. When it comes to shopping, women seem to have unlimited energy and stamina.
    Anyway, Sandra has been surprised I want to go with her to furniture shop, but it's a matter of interest. I have no interest in the things she normally shops for, reminding me too much of those punishing shopping trips with Mother, but I do have an interest in the furniture I'll be sitting and sleeping on for years to come, so I go with her. In our twenty years of marriage, this is really the first time the need has arisen to furnish a house from scratch. When I met her 23 years ago, she already had a large well furnished condo and that furniture stayed with us until we liquidated everything to move into the RV, which was also already furnished. The 'new' house though comes empty except for kitchen appliances, so there will be much to buy when the time comes.
    Fortunately, we've had some decent weather lately. Cool, but not really cold, and lots of sun, after seemingly months of incessant overcast, so I've once again been going out for sunrise photography and found a few photos waiting for me, such as the one above.
    For Sandra's account of the last few days, click here. For my latest photos, click here.

End Of The Odyssey

Click here for larger view Yesterday, Sandra and I submitted an offer on the house we've been looking at (as mentioned in my last report) and the offer was accepted, so barring any unforeseen problems the inspector might find, it looks like this is the end of our odyssey.
    The house is a small one, but it always surprises me how roomy these are once you're inside and small as it is, it's plenty big enough for two people and far larger than the RV we've lived in for the last 5 years, so it will take a while to figure out what to do with all of the space.
    Pictured here is the kitchen, which Sandra says is a good one and was one of the main selling points of the house for her. I know nothing about kitchens, but she's not easily impressed with them so this one must be good.
    Now to get the place inspected and come up with a closing date.
    For Sandra's account of yesterday, click here. For a gallery of house photos, click here.

It Ain't Over Til It's Over

Click here for larger view After much soul searching and weighing the pros and cons, Sandra and I have decided to sell the truck and fifth wheel and give up the RV lifestyle.
    This has been a painful decision and in the words of that wise old sage Yogi Berra, "It ain't over til it's over," but yesterday we started looking for a house to buy and found one in Smiths Falls, Ontario that might be workable (photo on the right). Smiths Falls is a nice little town situated on the banks of the Rideau River (Canal) and about an hour south-southwest of Ottawa and centrally located in eastern Ontario. At the moment this house is not a done deal, but if not this one, we'll find another somewhere.
    Sandra's ongoing and expensive situation with US Immigration isn't the reason we are giving up the nomadic lifestyle, but it was certainly the catalyst for evaluating it at this point. The immigration situation was so devastating to our life that if it ever does get resolved it will be a very long time before we will be able to cross the border without apprehension and foreboding.
    However, other factors in the decision were things we learned by being on the road for five years, not the least of which is that due to having to be in Canada for six months of the year, by the time we can get out of here it is too cold for RV living in a great many areas of the US we would like to visit. Plus Sandra's retirement extended health coverage will be ending soon due to Nortel going bankrupt and we don't feel the health of either of us is good enough to be away from our Canadian health coverage for half the year when a serious illness could wipe out one's life savings.
    We're glad we had the RV experience, but to us its advantages no longer outweigh its disadvantages. That's not to say we are looking at completely giving up travel. Hopefully we will be taking trips during good weather and might even resort to using a tent on them. Only time will tell. Stay tuned.
    For Sandra's account of yesterday, click here. For my latest photos, click here.

Yes, Dear...No Deer

Click here for larger view Here we are, now entering the month of March. Time does march on. Here, the month is entering like a lamb, so if the old saying holds true, it will leave like a lion.
    Anyway, yesterday we were finally able to meet the DeJongs (Margie, John, and Danica) at the Jack Pine Trail in the hope of seeing deer. Margie said they had never been there when they hadn't seen deer, but considering Sandra and I have been there countless times and only saw deer twice and only one of those times was I able to actually get a photo (as seen here) we weren't too hopeful this time would be different, especially when we arrived at 1pm to a full parking lot, which meant the trail would be full of people and therefore unlikely there would be deer anywhere nearby.
    However, hope reigns eternal so we set off on the trail anyway and it came as no surprise that after hiking nearly the entire trail we saw no deer. The only wildlife we saw was the usual red squirrels, chickadees, and nuthatches, as well as the wildlife looking back at me in the photo above and a pileated woodpecker, which while they aren't rare around here, aren't all that common either.
    Pictured above L-R: Margie, Sandra, and Danica.
    Otherwise, life has been pretty quiet around here.
    For Sandra's account of yesterday, click here. For my latest photos, click here.


For Older News

To read details of our previous stops and camps, visit the News Archives.

Updated Sunday, April 4, 2010

Copyright © 2010 by Gordon L Wolford .
All rights reserved.


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Just want to say 'Hi?'

Didya Know?

Only two countries south
of the equator have ever
won medals at the
Olympic Winter Games -
Australia & New Zealand.

Norway has won more
gold medals at the
Winter Games than
any other country.

A Spot O' Humor

Police were called to
the day center when a
three year old was
resisting a rest.

Wills - dead giveaways.

Parting Thot

When anyone tells me I
can't do anything, I'm just
not listening any more.

– Florence Griffith-Joyner

Cast of Characters

For those reading this page who might
not be familiar with the people in
my life, these are who I often refer to
without noting who they are
(in alphabetical order)...

Becky - Nick's wife
Betty - Sandra's older sister
Caden - Grandson
Carol - my younger sister
Danica - Margie's daughter
Eric - Son-in-law
Faith - Granddaughter
Garth - Betty's husband
Grace - Granddaughter
Ian - my son
Iris - Granddaughter
John - Margie's husband
Lillian - Granddaughter
Luke - Grandson
Margie - Sandra's younger sister
Michelle - my daughter
Miss Pinky - our GPS navigator
Nick - Margie's son
Rick - Carol's husband
Sandra - my most wonderful wife*
Tracy - Daughter-in-law

*(a.k.a. 'Grammy' to some)