Continuing the diary....

WEEK 3

Monday, 6 September (Labour Day)

Today is a public holiday, but we're not sure of its origin.

We all piled into the Ford Taurus and took a drive out to St Jacob’s, which is about 60 km northwest of Oakville, just north of Kitchener and Cambridge. It is a Mennonite settlement area, farmers of German extraction who do not use modern technology for the day to day living, i.e. no electricity or motor vehicles, their means of transport is a horse and buggy. The village is a gigantic flea market with lots of shops selling arts and crafts. We walked up the main street, window shopping, then drove up to the railway line to have lunch.

An old F7 diesel locomotive pulled a few coaches in to the station taking people for rides to Waterloo and back. It started to rain a bit so we had our lunch under some huge pine trees in the back yard of a Guest House. We didn’t know it was a guest house until we drove past the front.

After lunch we visited an outdoor shop then made a dash for the car as a thunderstorm was passing overhead.


F7 at St Jacob station taking passengers
to and from Waterloo

We drove home along the highway and got a pizza for supper. They make nice pizza bases here, fluffy, not like the dry thin things we sometimes get in SA.

 

Tuesday, 7 September

Lost track of Tuesday.
Oh yes, Dad and I took the GO train into Toronto to collect our train tickets to Vancouver next week. A very thoughtful booking clerk attempted to get us in the same cars to sleep, but only managed to do so for the main part of the journey. Booking so late caused the split sleeping arrangements. After about 15 minutes he said that he'd tried his best, and we should ask the train manager if he could get us together in the same car. See what happens.

We had lunch in a Macdonald's at the station then headed for home.

Bruce spent the day in Barrie again, and was told he must phone the office where he'd been for his interview the next morning to see if he'd been successful in getting a position he'd applied for. The tension MOUNTS!!

 

Wednesday, 8 September

The waiting's getting too much to handle!

Finally nine o'clock came and went. Bruce didn't want them to think he was that desperate… At 5 past 9 he phoned.

He had the job!!! Wow - the excitement brought tears to our eyes. The position he has is a fuel sales representative for Simcoe Co-Operative whose office is at Essa near Barrie, and his clients are the households of Barrie and farmers in the area. He had to go up to Barrie to sign the papers etc. so Dad and I went with him. We arranged that he would drop us off at the airport and I could see about a microlight ride as promised on Saturday at the airshow.

The man I saw at the exhibition was there, but was busy with a pupil so he took me up next. Just after take off he gave me the controls and I flew a microlight in Canadian skies. It was very twitchy, and the air was a bit bumpy and Peter Glaw told me that I was flying extremely well after only 22 hours. He said I must have a very good instructor. So Jas, there's a feather in your cap. We didn't use a radio at all and I was told that it wasn’t really necessary, as the airspace was uncontrolled. They only used radios to communicate between aircraft when flying away together.

He let me take the plane in but took over just before touch down. Really great.

I was told again how well I flew at 22 hours. I had a wonderful time, what a bonus, although it cost me $50 (x4= R 200), but well worth it. I was invited to go back, and I will try my best.

Bruce got all the papers signed and sealed at the Co-op just outside the city of Barrie and now the next thing for them to think about is moving home from a very nice Oakville to Barrie. The city is also very pleasant. Bruce really wants to live there, as the Muskoka lake region is very close. He envisages going up there to camp and hike in the future.

Me strapping into the E Z Flyer at Barrie Airpark

Take off

 

Thursday, 9 September

Montreal…

To celebrate Bruce getting a job, we decided to hire a Plymouth "mini van" (not a mini bus here!) and go on "vacation" (not a holiday here!). Bruce and Glynis wanted to show us Montreal in Quebec and Vermont in the USA, so on a rather rainy morning we headed north east along the northern shore of Lake Ontario then down the St Lawrence. The road was long, it took about 6 hours to get there. 

Quebec is VERY French. All the road signs are in French, and it made me feel like a foreigner for the first time. We arrived in Montreal at 4:30 p.m. in time for the rush hour traffic and I was a little put off by a driver going up over the pavement because the traffic was moving too slowly. Mark and Bradley also had the shits after the long drive, over 600 km, so we weren't too happy in the mini van. Thank goodness we didn't go in Bruce's Ford Taurus, that would have been a squash.
We found the Quality Hotel in Park St. without too much trouble, then went for a walk through the streets of Montreal. Well, it's a pretty city, on an island. It gets its name from a very small mountain (in our terms) called Mount Royal - translated into French…Montreal. (It's about as high as Cowies Hill, perhaps lower!)

We walked until it got dark and although we felt as if we were in France, never felt unsafe. We couldn't find a typical pavement café in which to have supper, but found some place upstairs where we ate, then continued our walk back to the hotel, arriving back well after 9 p.m.

Downtown Montreal at night

Friday, 10 September

Vermont

Left after breakfast for "The States".

We crossed the border into Vermont with very little hassle from the border control, although Dad and I had to wait to pay $6.00 for some reason or other. As we drove south the terrain became hillier, and as always trees and farms everywhere. It was cloudy with rain threatening.

Our stop over Friday night was at a little skiing village called Stowe, a charming holiday spot in the hills of Vermont. With the approaching "Fall" as they all call autumn here, some trees were just starting to turn yellow and orange. Unfortunately we will miss the truly beautiful time when some tree's leaves go brilliant red, but never mind, next time maybe.Saw some ski slopes cleared of trees on the hills as well as the lifts used to take skiers up to the top of the slopes. Passed the turn off to the Von Trapp Family (of Sound of Music fame) Lodge, where Concerts in the Meadow take place regularly.

Bicycle path in Stowe in Vermont, USA

 Supper was in a nice little restaurant in the basement of yet another arts and crafts building. Afterwards we went for a walk through the village and saw about 4 cars screaming along, sirens going and flashing red lights. We wondered what the disaster in such a small town could be. Had there been a fire or a terrible accident of some sort? As we arrived at the Season’s Pass Inn where we were staying, we found that a "fender bender" had occurred outside. An ambulance was blocking the entrance causing Glynis many headaches as she was driving AND she'd had a beer with her supper!

Our rooms were very nice (a bit musty smelling) and reasonably priced.

 

Saturday, 11 September

Vermont - Syracuse

Saturday dawned bright and clear. As we drove out of Stowe, we saw miles upon miles of really beautiful countryside. Bruce and Glynis want to come back here for a holiday.

At about lunchtime, we left hilly Vermont, the "Green Mountain State" and went into the state of New York (called "The Empire State". Glynis drove for a while and as usual I navigated. Our stop that afternoon was a place called Syracuse. We stayed at a Red Roof Inn next to Interstate 90, which was also quite comfortable so didn’t see any of the city/town of Syracuse. Lake Ontario is about 60 km north of Syracuse.

 

Sunday, 12 September

After blueberry muffins and coffee, we headed for home - home being Oakville, Canada.

We crossed the border at Buffalo, about 15 km south of Niagara Falls. Border control didn't ask us to get out the cars here like we had to do entering the USA nor did they look at our passports, just a few questions and we were on our way. About 2 km on I remembered Dad and I had to hand in a card which had been stapled into out passports when we entered America, so we turned round and went back. Without too much trouble we joined the re-entry queue to Canada and gave the official the cards and after all that found out we could have done it at the airport when we left Canada!

We drove right past Niagara Falls this time, been there (twice), done that (getting a bit blasé about things here now) and headed for Oakville.

What an enjoyable tour. Thanks Glynis and Bruce (and Mark & Buzzy - [Bradley])

Checked the e-mail at home, good to hear from friends Dieter and Leon.


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