October 31/18 – Calgary to Beaumont – The End of the Road


All caught up on the early posts I missed, so here is the post for our final travel day on this trip. 

The End of the Road

On the road for 60 long days,

seeing some sights that did amaze.

Prissy packed up, ready to go,

goodbye Wingate, highway hello.

Jets flying high over our head,

sunrise sky burning orange-red.

An  Airdrie stop in the middle,

next visit was sure a Riddle,

to give a hug to our friend Jane,

convalescing, but still in pain.

Back on a road past fields of bale,

for Red Deer lunch, with our friend Gail.

QE2 traffic ebbed and flowed,

leading to the end of the road.





September 14/18 – Kingston to Ottawa – Part 1 – CFS Carp (The Diefenbunker) – Cold (War) Storage


This post first appeared on October 10/18, but now includes a lot more photos and explanation. With this post, all my trip back posts are now complete. Tomorrow’s post will be back to the end of this trip. I can hear my audience shouting “Hooray” from here. Thanks for following our journey.

We had been told not to miss this relic from the past, as we traveled to Ottawa and indeed, it did  not disappoint. Having previously visited Churchill’s War Rooms in London, we did not know exactly what to expect.

Arriving around 12:30 on a Friday, we were there in time for the wrap up of the 11:00 AM tour, but too early for the start of the 2:00 PM tour, so picked up an iPod style hand-held guide, which turned out to be pretty much perfect for the tour info we needed.

The Diefenbunker construction was ordered by Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker (hence the nickname). In his memoirs, he always lamented that he could not convince the Canadian people of how real the cold war threat was. (Source:Wikipedia)

CFS Carp (the Diefenbunker) was a 100,000 square foot, 4 story bunker  built between 1958 and 1961. It required 5,000 tonnes of steel and 24,000 tonnes of concrete and was supposed to be able to survive a 5 Megaton blast. It was decommissioned n 1994 and slated for demolition, but the municipality persuaded the government to keep it as a museum and it remains to this day, offering a glimpse into the Cold War era. (Source:Wikipedia)

On arrival, we noted a shiny, black Cadillac parked outside and inside, a neatly dressed man in a dark suit stood waiting. We never put 2 and 2 together at the time. We had a very important question for him. “Excuse me sir, can you tell us where the washrooms are?” \Appropriately directed, we promptly proceeded, bypassing the admissions desk.

Mission accomplished, we returned to admissions and bought our tickets. At the desk, it dawned on us the guy at the entrance must be a security guy waiting for his “important” passenger to return. We queried the clerk, but no info was forthcoming from her.

We went back to the entrance to start the tour properly. The security man and car were now gone.

Below you will see clockwise from top left, an air raid siren, JEEP transport, a replica of an Atomic bomb and the long corrugated entrance corridor leading into the earth sheltered Diefenbunker.


Bombs that can be attached to fighter jets.


Decontamination shower, paper slippers and radiation detector.



Once past the Decon station, we arrived at the medical facilities.




There were signs, models and exhibits throughout the facility, explaining the various areas.



Communications room with technology of the day (Teletype, etc.)


Emergency escape hatch.


It is hard to take this door seriously, but in those days, apparently, you did.


Clockwise from top left…lounge…cafeteria and kitchen…The Window (a photo of the Alberta Rockies to give the place a view into the world)…supply pantry


Typical interior corridor.


Bank of Canada vault area.


Secure communication and briefing rooms.


Computer room. I recall building one of these in 1978 during my job as a construction project manager for a major bank.


Female quarters.


Broadcast studio


Prime Minister and senior government ministers offices and Prime Minister’s quarters.


Artist in Residence display.


Back Outside


A definite glimpse into the past that we, as children did not totally get other than the “Duck and Cover” drills in our school classrooms.


September 13/18 (Part 2) – Kingston – Inside the Notorious Kingston Penitentiary


This post was originally published on October 9/18. Here is the update with more photos and text.

We were visiting with long time friends from Kingston who wanted to show us a bit of their city. We had already been to old Fort Henry numerous times. There is a lot to see and do in this historic city, established in 1673 as Fort Cataraqui (later renamed as Fort Frontenac) at the Eastern end of Lake Ontario, where the Saint Lawrence River starts. (Source: Wikipedia)

We never thought we would ever get a chance to take a tour of KP, without being arrested, but, here we were.

KP is what former staff all Kingston Penitentiary, a maximum security prison opened on June 1, 1835 and closed September 30, 2013, with many of the remaining prisoners transferred to the new Max at Millhaven. (Source:Wikipedia)

The feature photo was taken just inside the North gate. Below are shots before we entered the admissions area.



Even though it is no longer housing prisoners, there was a bit of a process to get in, almost like being booked and finger printed. The following photos will illustrate what I mean.



After we had all been finger-printed, errrr, signed our waivers, we waited for a tour guide to come along. In no time, we were getting briefed on what we would be seeing and doing and told not to ask any questions about past residents of KP. This instruction was obviously lost on one of our group, who soon asked which cell infamous Paul Bernardo had been in. Historic photos and displays were scattered around the place.


From time to time, we would be introduced to former staff members who would tell the story of their time working here. Very interesting tales of the constant stress of trying to maintain control and security throughout such a dangrous facility.

Here are shots of some of the accommodations available, depending on your crime, status and disability…(yes, there was a disabled cell). A certain amount of personalization and privacy modification was permitted, depending on the prisoner and in order to maintain a more contented population.



Some still had residents in them.


There were even family suites for conjugal and family visits. The entire family would be locked in for the duration of your visit. You would be responsible for the cost your food. Your food would be brought in, but you had to pay for it. No bringing in your own stuff and hiding contraband inside it.


The control center located at the junction  where the cell blocks abutted was like an armed fortress where a guard would be locked inside. There was also a secure weapons cache, should they ever be needed to quell a riot.



While there were many renovations over the life of the prison, the buildings did not have any semblance of modernity.



There were several shops in the prison, where trusted prisoners could work. One of them was for making mattresses.


For exercise, there was the yard and a gymnasium. The security precautions are still plainly in view.


The tour with all the stories from the guides and former guards was an interesting view into a life you would not wish to personally experience.





Easter Bunny Conundrum

When you eat your Easter candy, will you think of me,

as I hunker down outside, beneath this leafless tree.

I’m caught between winter white and tawny summer brown,

to avoid being eaten, I hop all round the town.

And just when nicely snuggled, feeling all safe inside,

the house door opens and it is time to take a ride.

I wearily get up from the cold ground where I lay,

all I really want to do is run and jump and play.

Hopping off to munch flowers, I must avoid a trap.

Its Easter for heaven’s sake, I don’t need all this crap.




September 13/18 (Part 1) – Kingston, Ontario


Midway between Toronto and Montreal, Kingston is located at the East end of Lake Ontario, at the beginning of the Saint Lawrence River.

In 1673, a French trading post and fort (Fort Cataraqui) was established to better control the fur trade with the local aboriginal peoples. The name was changed to Kingston after Britain took control of the fort and Loyalists began settling in the region in the 1780s).

Kingston was incorporated as a town in 1838 and was named as the first capital of the United Province of Canada from 1841 to 1844. Kingston was incorporated as a city in 1846 and remains an important military installation. The population was 123,798 as of the 2016 census.

There are 21 National Historic sites in Kingston and the Rideau Canal and fortifications at Kingston were designated as a World Heritage site in 2007. Prime touring sites would be the Kingston Penitentiary (see later post) and the 1836 Fort Henry. We did not go to Old Fort Henry on this trip as we have been there many times before.


But, we were here to enjoy a visit with friends C & R, who we have known for more than 40 years. We first met them when they moved to Edmonton and we do not often get together since they moved back to Kingston. Our day started off with a walk around the neighbourhood, before the day got too hot. Too late. it was already stinking hot by 10 AM.


After lunch, we headed out to tour the now closed Kingston Pen. (next post). The feature photo is of a historic home that was used in the production of the Canadian drama, Alias Grace, based on a novel by Canadian author, Margaret Atwood.

After the tour, we did a bit of a drive around town. The street below is named Tragically Hip Way after the Canadian rock band of the same name that hails from Kingston.


Our plan was to take our hosts out for dinner at their chosen restaurant, which turned out to be River Mill, a 4.5 star restaurant back downtown. All was delightful and if you ever find yourself in the area, give them a look.


After the meal, we sauntered out along the promontory into the Inner Harbour. It was a nice night, much cooler than the day. Really bad selfie time.

Sunshine Blogger Award Nomination


I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award. This award is peer recognition for bloggers that inspire positivity and joy.

This is my 2nd Sunshine Blogger Award nomination and my 4th award nomination on my current (5th) blogspot which has been in existence since January 31/19.  When I started this blog, I never expected to establish a group of over 400 followers, let alone be nominated for any awards. This nomination came from Chris (CJ) Porter’s blog  Being Better: From Pothead to Providence https://potheadtoprovidence.com/  and I am honoured that he thought of me. Thank you for thinking of me, Chris.

Chris posts on Life Lessons Learned the Hard Way, Single Parenting, Personal Development and the Road to Self Improvement. His posts have a lot of good insight and inspire and motivate his readers to persevere as they encounter adversity. Chris always seems to find a way to look on the bright side.

Do visit his blog and give it a look.

Award Rules: Thank the blogger and provide a link to their site.

Put Award logo on your blog.

Answer 11 questions.

Nominate 11 other bloggers.

Chris’s questions and my answers:

  1. If you knew you would die tomorrow, except crying or whatsoever, what you would do or say? Spend the time with my wife and family. No need to update wills, finances, accounting or other info. I do this as a matter of course throughout the year. I might cry, but I would have no regrets. I have always said “LIve each day like its your last, because you could be right”.
  2. Why do you like blogging? Hmmmmm. I started blogging as a way to keep in touch with family and friends when I was travelling, to kind of take them along with me on the road. I still take people along with me on the road, more people than ever, in fact. But, they now come with me on time delay. You know, you never want to tell the burglars when you are away from home. Blogging gives me an outlet for creativity, photos, prose and poetry. It keeps me sharp (even when I have writer’s block) and I like reading other peoples’ take on life and blogging. There are a lot of interesting bloggers out there.
  3. If you had to give up something in your life, what would it be? This sounds a bit like Lent. Somehow apropos at this time of year. I would have to say, I would give up beer. I could not give up coffee or chocolate, so yeah, beer.
  4. Do you believe in love? Yes. After 44 years, I am still in love with the same lovely lady, whose father set me up on a date with her and then tried to convince me not to ask her to marry me.You heard right and I am still confused, but also still in love Oh, there are other loves, since then. I love my two sons, I love my brothers and sisters and I love coffee………….
  5. If you won the lottery today, what’s the first thing you do?  Probably die of shock, because I do not even buy tickets. My earlier ticket contributions have likely helped others to become millionaires, but never me. Oh, you were serious! I would try to make sure my family were all financially secure before spending any on myself. I am very fortunate to have what I need.
  6. Do you forgive a betrayal or adultery if you’re married? Like all things, worthy of a discussion, before taking any fateful steps to end a relationship. I am not saying there is ever a good reason for cheating, just that I would try to understand. Trust is a difficult thing to establish and even more difficult to regain, once it has been broken.
  7. Tell me why someone should be close to you or be friends with you? (even if you don’t give a shit) Hmmmmm. This sounds like I am a dog, but I am loyal, trustworthy and caring. Seriously, though, I am always there for my friends and family.
  8. What you really love to read, that you can’t stop or ever feel bored? I have been struggling of late to keep up with my reading. I have a couple of hard-cover books on the go (Canada by Mike Myers and The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson) and An Irish Country Cottage by Patrick Taylor on Kobo. The latter is tougher to put down. Patrick Taylor is from Northern Ireland and now lives on Salt Spring Island near Vancouver Island, Canada. A friend suggested I might like An Irish Country Christmas. I did, as well as all the rest of the series (13), 2 books of short stories and a couple of books on the Troubles that he wrote. I think he has one more pending and that will be the lot. I will be sad when the series ends, but it has provided me with much enjoyment.
  9. What makes you happy. Photography, travelling to new or old places, a good walk outside, winter, spring, summer or fall, an evening in with a good book, a good movie or good company, time spent with friends and family. Retirement also makes me feel happy.
  10. Have you ever read a blog post that had a great impact on you? Honestly, hearing about people who have beaten the odds, (death of a loved one, loss of a spouse, overcome illness, physical or mental, taken on a challenge outside their comfort zone, succeeded or failed and yet still maintained a good disposition. They have my vote. In fact, my posts are not that interesting or compelling by comparison.
  11. Describe the person of your dreams, physically and mentally / emotionally. Funny, I am sitting here right now, as I type, looking at her, sitting there reading her Kobo. Since I met her 44 years ago, I have never needed to dream of any other. My Patty was it. She is loving, caring, considerate, beautiful, thoughtful and is always laughing. I know this is the diplomatic answer (she reads my posts), but it also very true. I can not imagine a day without her.

Now, as to my nominations:

  1. I will stick with the above questions for my nominees.
  2.  I know how much time posting about these awards takes and that there is a vastly differing opinion on their merits. Some think they are a waste of time, while others look at them as an opportunity to grow their readership. If I nominate you, please do not feel obligated to accept or carry the process on. Just know that I enjoy reading your blog. It makes me think, feel or smile and that is why I thought of you.
  3. Drum roll please, the nominees in no particular order are:













September 12/18 (Part 2) – Minden Hills to Kingston, Ontario – Bancroft Butt Nuggets


Heading to our friends place in Kingston in time for dinner, we were determined not to miss lunch again. C suggested we stop in Bancroft, about a third of the way between Haliburton and Kingston.

Bancroft is a town located on the York River in Hastings County. It was first settled in 1852. There was an influx of United Empire Loyalists, but from 1856-61, most of the settlers were from Ireland, as they fled the Great Potato Famine. There were 89 families in 1868 and lumber companies began to remove timber. Over the first years, the settlement was called York Mills, York River and York Branch, before being renamed Bancroft in 1879. It was incorporated as a village in 1904 and as a town in 1999. Population as of the 2016 census was 3,881. The closure of  the nearby uranium mines has created economic hardships for the town. (Source:Wikipedia)

As we had already Googled during the drive, we knew where we needed to go and headed straight to Wattle and Daub Café, a cute little bistro in the Heart of the Park. We did not sample the farm fresh butt nuggets at this time, but, coffee, tasty squash soup and blackberry and apple pie were consumed with slow satisfaction. The coffee and soup were excellent, but the pie was deliriously delightful. How long had we been searching for home-made pie on this trip. TEN DAYS

Satisfied, we drove on to Kingston.



September 12/18 – Minden Hills to Kingston, Ontario – Cottage Country Morning


This is a repost of my blog from September 23/18, with photos and words added.

I have long heard about Ontario cottage country and in particular, the beauty of the lake areas North of Toronto. These areas are close enough to Metro Toronto to make weekend cottage getaways easy, but far enough away to to take city dweller’s minds off the daily grind. The only worry is the weekend traffic jams getting back and forth.

I was fortunate enough to know someone from my previous work life and to receive an invitation to stay at their cottage on our cross-Canada trip. Awakening early, just after sunrise, I wandered down on the dock to capture images of the awakening of Soyers Lake. Crows cawed, ducks quacked and loons wailed. The water was still and the morning mist just starting to rise. I can certainly see the appeal.


After breakfast, we went for a walk in the nearby woods…

…before heading back for a boat tour around the lake.


We stopped at one point to watch the interaction between a mother Loon and her young “Loonie”, seemingly giving him last minute instructions, before setting him off on his own.

After the boat tour, it was back to the dock, to pack up and head off.


But first, time for group photos on the deck…

…before heading into Haliburton to see the highlights.

What is your favourite escape from the weekday office blues?

September 11/18 (Part 2) – Sault Ste. Marie to Minden Hills, Ontario – Lost in the Blairhampton Triangle


Our destination was S & Bs home on Soyers Lake in Minden Hills. We called to let them know we were close, we received detailed directions and a warning. DO NOT GET CAUGHT IN THE BLAIRHAMPTON TRIANGLE!!! Apparently, like the Bermuda Triangle, GPS and other navigational aids do not work there.

Still we did not listen and we kept going around and around country roads in a spiraling vortex until finally being spit out close to the real road. We were so stunned, we actually drove right by their place to the end of the road. Turning around, we saw S standing at the end of the lane, shaking his head. “I told you to watch out for the Blairhampton Triangle”… were the last words I heard, before the large glass of wine was placed firmly in my trembling hands. Luggage could wait.

Going in Circles

From Bracebridge to Minden Hills is not such a long trip,

unless, of course, GPS advice you do not skip.

Turn left, right here and do not give it a second thought,

at the next turn, move along quickly or you’ll be caught,

in a vortex that will forever keep you spinning,

until you give up your thoughts of this contest winning.

It suddenly spits you out on familiar road,

turn here quickly, our GPS Gertie, us did goad.

Driving on quickly to the end of the gravel trail,

no sign of S & B, we begin to think we fail,

at following even the simple-est of directions.

Recalculating, Gertie is making corrections.

Just when it seemed darkest and we should give up all hope,

I saw S smilingly mouthing, I warned you,You Dope.

Watch out for Blairhampton, it will sure make your head whirl,

you can relax now, here’s some wine for you and your girl.


The Easter Bunny Came Early


So subtly camouflaged under light so dim,

I rubbed at my eyes, could it really be him?

Lying so still with his nose all a-quiver,

the spring breeze picked up, he gave such a shiver.

Hunkered down so low in his snug little nest,

maybe he just needed a safe place to rest.

No doubt he’d been all round, hipping and hopping,

with all that candy and chocolate shopping.

He must be tired, rushing round in a tizzy,

he’d  no energy left, he’d been so busy.

Of course it was him, I’d bet any money,

right here in my yard was the Easter Bunny.


This poor bunny found a place in my front planting bed to rest from all his hopping. Perhaps, he was just waiting until his transformation from winter white to summer brown was complete.

Happy Easter everyone. May the Easter Bunny bring you lots of goodies and may you have the love of family and friends around you . Thanks to all of you for reading. Allan

Sad Day for Notre Dame Cathedral and Paris


Seeing the news of late, I felt a great deal of sadness and a touch of remorse that we did not go inside Notre Dame, when we visited Paris in 2017. I went back and looked at the post from happier times and reissued it on my old Blog site. For any of you interested, here is the link.


September 11/18 (Part 1) – Sault Ste. Marie to Minden Hills, Ontario – The Kilometers Just Pyl-on


We had a seven hour drive ahead of us today, so no real time for stopping.  That lasted for about an hour and a half until we neared Blind River….


…and this accident scene, which apparently led to a fatality. The Feature photo pylon was our companion for this half hour and as it turned out for most of the day, as it’s friends were strewn all along our path that day.


After half an hour, traffic control showed up and we were rerouted through a small village and back on our way.

Below is another of the Great Lakes…Lake Huron – surface area of 23,007 sq. mi. (59,588 sq. km.), maximum length of 206 miles  (302 km.), maximum width of 183 mi. (295 km.) and maximum depth of 750 feet (229 m). (Source:Wikipedia)


OK, so more rolling rocks, trees and water scenery, inter-mixed with roadwork, orange pylons and traffic slow downs. The Trans Canada skirted Sudbury and we elected not to go in, which was likely a mistake, as after that, the new highway route had little in the way of facilities (washrooms, gas stations, restaurants, etc.). Our needs not being met, we turned off to the little town of Estaire and a country gas station. Washroom?-Check. Token bag of chips purchased?-Check. Info about nearby restaurants obtained?-Check. OK, we had a destination for food.

Hungry Bear House at French River.


Over the French River.


With glimpses of water through the trees at times.


Past numerous areas of road construction and Parry Sound.


The road just went on and on and on.


Finally, we turned off to Bracebridge and our eventual destination in Minden Hills. We were in lake country and we were looking forward to getting out of the car and a tall glass of wine, not necessarily in that order.

September 10/18 (Part 4) – Wawa to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario – The Road to Meatballs is Paved with Good Intentions


It was not a long driving day, as Wawa was only 2 hours and 22 minutes from Sault Ste. Marie. We had spent more time hiking than driving on this day. (two preceding posts).

All that being said, it was a pretty drive along Lake Superior. It was also uneventful, until we got to Sault Saint Marie, at which point, we were attacked by a killer car wash from the 90s. I have never seen such odd technology and I am sure the attendant has never seen such an inept user.

Now, a bit about Sault Ste. Marie, (Soo Saint Marie), a city on the St. Mary River, close to the U.S./Canada border. Again, this part of the trip was not about the cities and I must admit we did not explore the city, other than to find our hotel, a car wash, a liquor store and a place for dinner (in about that order). Next time. Dinner was an Italian feast, as you can see from the Feature photo.

The historic Ojibwe people called this place Baawitigong or Place of the Rapids and used it as a meeting place, during the whitefish season on the St. Mary’s River. In 1623, Etienne Brulé called it Sault de Gatson, in honour of Gaston, Duke of Orléans and brother of King Louis XIII of France. In 1668, it was renamed Sault Ste. Marie (Saint Mary’s Falls, by Jesuit missionaries who set up a mission settlement at Salt. Ste. Marie, Michigan. (Source:Wikipdia)

A fur trading post was set up here and it became the center of a 3,000 mile fur trading route.  It was incorporated as a town in 1888 and as a city in 1912. Population as of the 2016 census was 73,368, making it the third largest city in the area. The economy is fairly diversified with industry (steel and pipe making), forestry (flakeboard plant), business process outsourcing (call centers) and gaming (lottery commission) as well as tourism. (Source:Wikipedia)


September 10/18 (Part 3) – Wawa to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario – Lake Superior – Provincial Park – Katherine Cove hike


Just across the road from the Sand River hike was Catherine Cove, a beautiful beach and walking trail around the cove. The beach was nice as was the hike, but the track was a bit rugged in places and I left Patty behind so I could get closer to the point.

On the Rocks

Down by the cove on this beautiful day,

September sun gleaming on smooth blue bay.

Stopping on the sand to enjoy the view,

waves washing over rocks, making them new.

Off to the left was a path overgrown,

a bit too steep, so I went on alone.

After a drop-off of more than six feet,

the path now level, easy to complete.

Popping out of the trees, onto the rock,

selfie taken at the end of my walk.

Now back together, we walked hand in hand,

a perfect day to enjoy sun and sand.


September 10/18 (Part 2) – Wawa to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario – Lake Superior – Provincial Park – Sand River Hike


Our plan for the day was to take a couple of moderate hikes in Lake Superior Provincial Park between Wawa and Sault Ste. Marie.

This is one of the largest provincial parks in Ontario at 1,500 square km (600 sq. mi.). Established in 1944, it is located on Highway 17 (part of the Trans Canada Highway at this point) about 23 minutes South from Wawa. A daily use vehicle permit costs $14.50 between May 4 and October 28. The park has a variety of hikes, topography and campgrounds. Checking in at the North Park office, we asked what their favourite hikes were and they suggested this one as well as Katherine Cove (next post).

The hike is a 3.5 km moderate out and back hike, along the Sand River past a series of waterfalls, with an elevation gain of 124 meters. It was a fabulous hike and a great spot for quiet contemplation (although the falls were certainly not quiet).

Autumn Falls

Sand River rushing

down to Lake Superior.

Blue skies shine above.

The photos will tell the rest of the tale.




September 10/18 (Part 1) – Wawa to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario – Goose-Bear-EEEEs


Wawa (Michipicoten until 2007) is a township in the Algoma District of Ontario. The area was initially developed for fur trading. In the late 19th century, gold and iron ore were found, leading to mining in the area. From 1900-1918, the Helen Mine had the highest production of any iron ore mine in Canada. Established in 1899, the area has a population of 2,975 as of the 2011 census. (Source:Wikipedia).

By the way, the lack of civilization around Wawa, lead me to develop a different pronunciation for it. I changed it to Waaaaah Wah! We were actually staying in a resort area just outside Wawa. Our motel was nothing special and there were very few restaurants nearby. We left our sightseeing for our departure morning. As we walked the short distance to the Best Northern Resort for breakfast, the morning was cool and damp.


After breakfast, we packed up and headed off to find the Scenic High Falls. Spotting a gravel road with the same name, we turned off and headed off into…..the bush. The road got narrower and rougher with twists and turns, but no sign of a water fall. Finally, we gave up, but stopped to catch the morning sun reflecting off this small pond.

We opted to run into Wawa for a photo of the famous Wawa Canada Goose (feature photo and below). The Tourist Info Center was a log building and it was surrounded by brightly painted Adirondack chairs.

As we stood out front, a car pulled up, the window rolled down and a lady warned us that a juvenile black bear might be headed our way. Rather than running away, we moved towards where it had last been sighted, making sure the door into the info center was unlocked. Sure enough, a black bear came shuffling our way. As soon as we spotted each other, we both headed in opposite directions. We popped into the info center to ask for directions for the scenic Magpie High Falls.


Alright, our Wawa sightseeing tour was a success. Time to head away for fuel and then to the High Falls. Interesting flaw in this sign, which rolled through prices from $1.499 to $1.999 cents per liter. We knew the prices were high here, but, yeeeesh.


The turn off for Magpie High Falls was right beside the Esso and we arrived in no time.  Ooh, Aah, we have seen bigger, but it was scenic. The sign for world renowned pianist and composer Glenn Gould was only here as he always said Wawa was one of his favourite places.

Okay, time to head away.

Versatile Blogger Award Nomination


I am pleased to advise that  I have been nominated for “The Versatile Blogger Award” by Denise at https://denise421win.wordpress.com/ .  Denise is an author and lyricist whose blog speaks to children and the environment. She also writes books to help engage children in what is being and what can be done to better protect the environment. Thank you very much Denise for thinking of me for this honour.

You can read her Versatile Blogger award nomination post here:  https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/53542110/posts/1728

The Versatile Blogger Award was created to celebrate bloggers who create blogs that have unique content, good writing, beautiful images or photographs.

This award (Versatile Blogger Award) is the first blogger award Denise421win has nominated me for and is my 4th different award nomination overall. A very humbling experience, to be sure as awards and recognition were never the reasons I started blogging. In truth, I almost feel like a bit of a cheapskate, because after 4 1/2 years, I am still using the free WordPress plan and this blog spot is my 5th, since I started blogging in November 2014.

My blogs have always been about my favourite pastimes, photography, travel, the great outdoors and finding my place in the retirement world. I am still surprised that others seem interested in what I have to say and thank my faithful followers from the bottom of my heart. 

Award Rules

In order to receive the award, each nominee will have to:

  • Thank the person who nominated him/her.
  • Link to the blog of the person who nominated him/her.
  • State 7 facts about himself/herself.
  • Nominate other bloggers who bring joy into their daily life (Note: There’s a different rule which asks nominees to nominate 15 more bloggers.)

Seven Facts About Myself

  1. I have been retired for over 4 years and due to my large number of interests outside the workaday world, the transition has been a fairly simple one. In fact, I do not know how I ever found the time to work.
  2. I am an avid amateur photographer, starting at the age of 12. My blog name and posts are all based on the photos I take. I love photographing wildlife and in particular birds, I find them fascinating.
  3. I am a proud Canadian, living in central Alberta. While I love to travel to the mountains and the ocean, I have no plans to move away from this place I consider home.
  4. I am a “groan” man as other punsters would say. I love the play on words and must admit, I get pretty competitive when others try to best me. Sorry, everyone. As my blogs progressed, I turned more and more to poetry and haiku to showcase my photos.
  5. I enjoy the great outdoors, whether it be sea coast, mountains or simply hiking in Edmonon’s beautiful river valley. It is amazing how far you can get, just by taking that first step and putting one foot in front of the other. 
  6. I enjoy reading other bloggers’ posts and always make sure to never forget my readers in my drive to post new content. Too often, we get readers to start following and liking and then forget our faithful readers down the road. Without my readers, I would be back where I was in my first blog, which was a private one.
  7. My blog has no products to sell and no main message. If I had to suggest one main theme, it would be “Gratitude”. I am so grateful for my health, my family, my wife of 41+ years and the chance to get out and appreciate this world.

And these are my nominees for “The Versatile Blogger Award”

Don Viajon https://donviajon.com/

Shiro https://ourworldlegends.com/

Amanda https://amandacade.com/

Chris https://potheadtoprovidence.com/


Diane https://lifeonthepatio.wordpress.com/


September 9/18 (Part 5) – Thunder Bay to Wawa Ontario – Rossport Serendipity


This was part two of the valuable wisdom imparted to us by the Parks Canada staff at the Terry Fox Memorial near Thunder Bay. Stop for lunch at the Serendipity Gardens Cafe in Rossport.

When you read Wikipedia, there is nothing that would really lead you to visit Rossport. In part it says that “Rossport is a dispersed community and unincorporated place in the Unorganized part of Thunder Bay District in Northwestern Ontario, Canada.” Hmmmm, nothing about a funky village vibe or a quaint café.

We thought we had lots of time to spare, so walked along the shore for a bit first, before going in to dine. It was early afternoon, the traditional time for our lupper (lunch-supper) and it was a Sunday afternoon, so we were looking forward to lingering.

The special of the day was fresh caught lake trout, with rice and a Caesar salad. Yummm. And there was that page on desserts.


Driving along with automotive impetus,

when we spotted a place most serendipitous,

in Rossport settlement unincorporated,

while looking for where our hunger could be sated.

Up a long winding path past pots full of posies,

and into a café, at once warm and cozy,

the crowd looked content and the menu was pleasing,

we quickly sat down, our hunger was not easing.

We chose the special of fresh fish, rice and salad,

and then read of Rossport history quite valid.

Hungry tummies growling, food arrived just in time,

main course over, dessert and coffee were sublime.

At long last satisfied, to our car we did plod

Sat Nav said four more hours of driving, oh my God.

The rest of our travel day only included one stop. It was for a light snack at the A & W in French River. It was for an order of onion rings and yes, we are ashamed, but Wawa had little to offer in dining options. Toodle-loo!

September 9/18 (Part 4) – Thunder Bay to Wawa Ontario – Nipigon and Nipigon Bay


Nipigon is a small town situated along the Nipigon River where it enters Nipigon Bay on Lake Superior. It is surrounded by forests and the economy is primarily forestry related, as well as fishing and tourism. As of the 2011 census, the population was 1,631.


Our neighbours told us this was a must see town and in truth, I had been here before. On a cross Canada trip with my brother and his wife in 1974, we could not find a campground late at night. We ended up camping on the edge of a golf course, which was fine until the morning, when the early riser golfers tried to play through. After a few “tents” moments, we moved on.

Driving into Nipigon on this day, there was not much happening and frankly, we could not see the attraction, other than the water and the new bridge being completed. In all fairness, it was a Sunday and things would be quieter on a Sunday in September. They have some really decent murals and a nice waterfront park, but there was no cute little cafe or coffee shop open, so we drove on.



It was definitely a pretty drive along the bay, as we wound our way toward Rossport.


September 9/18 (Part 3) – Thunder Bay to Wawa Ontario – Keeping a Lookout for the Nipigon Trail


Part 1 of the helpful hints from Parks Canada staff at the Terry Fox Memorial was to stop at the Red Rock Trail trailhead for the Nipigon River Recreational Trail.

The entire trail is 10.1 km one way with an elevation gain of 154 meters and takes 3-5 hours to hike with a difficulty rating of Difficult. There are fabulous views of both the river and Lake Superior. If you do not have time for the entire hike, you can do the 2.6 km. return Lloyd’s Lookout portion in 40 minutes and get a fabulous view over Lake Superior. There is no cost to do this hike.


Take a Hike

Red Rock hike up

                         to Lloyd’s Lookout.

Blue Superior

                                                       gleaming below.

Sublime beauty

                          displayed all round.

Nipigon Trail

                                                       something for all.




December 9/18 (Part 2) – Thunder Bay to Wawa, Ontario – Terry Fox, a Real Canadian Hero


This is a re-post of my September 17/18. I need say nothing more, but I am adding photos.

We had previously seen the locations where Terry dipped his toe into the Atlantic Ocean in Newfoundland, before he started his cross Canada run and we saw the point in Victoria, B.C. where he had planned to dip his toe into the Pacific Ocean. Just East of Thunder Bay is the Terry Fox Memorial and Lookout. In addition to the statue, there is an interpretive center. Parks Canada was setting up a display on site this day and this turned out to be fortuitous, as we gained knowledge of both a hike and a restaurant on our route ahead (future posts)

Unfortunately, that was not to be as Terry’s cancer recurred somewhere around Thunder Bay, Ontario after completing 143 days and 5,373 kilometers (3,339 mi) and I can not use the word “only” here, as this is still an amazing accomplishment for a brave young man who had already lost one leg to the disease. (Source:Wikipedia)

His goal was to raise a million dollars.  Runs are still completed each year in his name and as of 2018, more than $750 million has been raised. Terry was only 21 when he started his run, but was much wiser and more compassionate than his years would indicate. A true Canadian hero. (Source: Wikipedia)


September 9/18 (Part 1) – Thunder Bay to Wawa Ontario – Trees, Rocks and Water


European settlement in the Thunder Bay area began with two French fur trading forts, Caministagoyan in 1683 and Fort William in 1717, but both were subsequently abandoned. The North West Company established Fort William in 1803 as their mid continent entrepot. When they merged with Hudson’s Bay Company in 1821, Fort William was no longer required.

The province of Canada negotiated the Robinson treaty with the Ojibwa peoples in 1850 and created a reserve for them South of the Kaministiquia River. Land was set aside and, eventually surveyed for the town of Fort William for European-Canadian settlement in 1859-60.

Another settlement developed a few miles to the North of Fort William when the federal Department of Public Works built a road between Fort William and the Red River Colony. Originally called Prince Arthur’s Landing by Garnet Wolseley in 1870 and renamed Port Arthur in 1883. The arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1875 created competition with Fort William, which lasted until the two centers amalgamated in 1970. With the amalgamation, on January 1, 1970, the new City of Thunder Bay was created. As of the 2016 census, the population was 107,909, making it the 50th most populous city in Canada. The economy in the area is reliant on Thunder Bay’s status as the commercial, administrative and medical center of the region, since the downturn in agriculture and forestry sectors. Bombardier runs a 553,000 square foot facility, producing mass transit vehicles in the area, employing 800 people. Thunder Bay is still an important Great Lakes shipping point with access to the Saint Lawrence Seaway.


While we spent the night in Thunder Bay, we certainly never saw it. Maybe next time. We had 5 1/4 hours of driving on this day, places to go and people to see. Should have planned it better with a 2 night stop.

Below and feature photos are shots out of our hotel room window. The Hampton Inn was fabulous.


The price of gas was climbing. when  we left Beaumont, the price was 118.9¢/liter.


Scenes along our route, past Lake Superior. Lake Superior is indeed superior, being the largest of the Great Lakes and the largest body of fresh water in the world at 49,300 square miles (127,700 square kilometers). Maximum length is 350 miles (560 km.), maximum width 160 miles (260 km.) and maximum depth 1,333 feet (406 m). The Ojibwa name is Gitchy-Gami. The lake is shared between Canada’s Ontario and America’s Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.



The Rossport Coastal Trail. No time for a long hike but we did stretch our legs.


September 8/18 (Part 4) – Fort Frances to Thunder Bay, Ontario – Kakabeka Falls


This is a duplicate post of the one made on September 15/18, but with more pix and words.

We had been told not to miss the Kakabeka Falls just West of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Kakabeka is an Ojibwe word meaning “water over a cliff”. It did not disappoint, as we looked at it from both sides of the Kaministiquia River Gorge. The rock face and the escarpments are made of unstable shale that is constantly eroding. Kakabeka Falls is nicknamed  “the Niagara of the North”.

‘The falls drop of 40 meters (130 feet) with an average flow rate of  50 cubic meters/second (1,766 cubic feet/second).


What a Falls

With a mighty roar,

water cascades over cliff.

Kakabeka Falls


September 8/18 (Part 3) – Fort Frances to Thunder Bay, Ontario – Steady Eddy


A short driving day (under 4 hours) today, with a few stops to see the sights and maybe a hike. But, first, we had to get out of Fort Frances. Sounds easy, but Highway 11 was our only way East and we had to get past a slow moving train. We sat in the line up for about 20 minutes, then I stupidly thought, there must be another way out of town. Wrong! We circled the streets and arrived back on Highway 11, but about 30 cars further back from our original position. Yikes.

Finally on the road, we drove along Rainy Lake, past Quetico Provincial Park (previous post) to Kakabekka Falls (next post) and on into Thunder Bay. As you can see, we did manage a really great supper at The Eddy, directly across from Kakabekka Falls.



September 8/18 (Part 2) – Fort Frances to Thunder Bay, Ontario – Are we in Quetico, Yet-ico??


Our hiking (and picnic) stop for the day was to be Quetico Provincial Park. Arriving at the gate, we were again told this was the last weekend of the season and not to worry about the entrance fee. I knew there was something good about travelling off season, other than the extreme shortage of washrooms, that is.

As we drove down to the lake, a chipmunk darted back and forth on the road and we thought “How Cute is that?” That was before we felt a slight bump under our car tire. OMG, we were barely moving on the road, trying to make sure he was safe. How could this happen?

Traumatized, we continued on down to the lake for our picnic snack and hike.


The trail that was recommended was French Portage/French River Falls route. It sounded good and with a waterfall at the end, we thought it would be fun. It actually was not that much fun as it was hot, the trail was overgrown and the mosquitoes were relentless. Top that off with a lousy view of the falls and we ended up being exercised but not excited by the whole experience. You could say, it was not exactly what we thought it would be. Definitely EX that hike off our list.


Don’t get me wrong. Parts of the trail were beautiful, but we just could not stop long enough to enjoy it.





September 8/18 (Part 1) – Fort Frances to Thunder Bay, Ontario – A Sunny Rainy Morn in Fort Frances


Before you go to far wondering how this can be, you need to know a couple of things:

  1. It was indeed a glorious, sunny morning.
  2. Fort Frances is located on the North side of the Rainy River (Riviere a la Pluie) just past the point where Rainy Lake (lac a la Pluie) narrows, so one could say it is always Rainy in Fort Frances

Sunny Rainy Morn

Finishing our breakfast far from sublime,

we both agreed not to walk was a crime.

Heading South, soon arriving on the banks

of Rainy River with boats and dock planks.

Far ahead rose a shining high tower,

drat, it was closed, we’ll just look at flowers.

Drive away or walk further, we were torn,

on this beautiful sunny Rainy morn.


September 7/18 (Part 3) – Winnipeg, Manitoba to Fort Frances, Ontario – Fort Frances Follies


Fort Frances was the first European settlement west of Lake Superior and was established by French Canadian Pierre Gaultier de Vareennes, sieur de La Verendrye. In 1731, he built Fort Saint Pierre  near here as support for the fur trade with native  peoples. In 1732, he built Fort Saint Charles on Magnuson Island in Lake of the Woods and Fort Saint Pierre gradually fell out of use.

In 1817 after the War of 1812 that redefined U.S./Canadian borders, Hudsons’ Bay Company built a fort here and in 1830, chief factor John Dugald Cameron named the fort after Frances Ramsay Simpson. Fort Frances was incorporated as a town in 1903 and as of the 2016 census, the population was 7,739. The main employer from 1900 until plant closure in 2014 was a pulp and paper mill.

Fort Frances is located on the international border with International Falls, Minnesota where Rainy Lake narrows into Rainy River. The towns are connected by a bridge.


We were happy to arrive in town at the end of our driving day. After checking into our hotel, we headed to nearby Flint House for dinner. They had surprisingly good street tacos and really good craft beer. I took the photo of the beer glass, not for the beer, but for the Panic Line, which I was well below and therefore, must have been panicking.

After dinner, we wandered the town, past historic murals…

…even more historic buildings…


…and along the Rainy Lake and La Verendrye Parkway. International Falls was just across the water.


September 7/18 (Part 2) – Winnipeg, Manitoba to Fort Frances, Ontario – Kenora – Rats


One of our stops for the day was to be Kenora, Ontario on beautiful Lake of the Woods. At least I assumed it was beautiful. We had never been here before.

Kenora’s future site was in Ojibwa territory when Jacques de Noyon first sighted Lake of the Woods in 1688. Pierre de le Verendrye founded French trading post Fort St. Charles on the U.S. Canada border South of Kenora. The French maintained the post until 1763 when it lost the territory to the British in the Seven Years’ War. In 1836, Hudsons Bay Company established a post on Old Fort Island and opened another on the mainland near Kenora’s current location in 1861.

The town of Rat Portage (portage to the country of the muskrat) was incorporated in 1878. Rat Portage was disputed territory claimed by both Manitoba and Ontario in a dispute that lasted from 1870 to 1884, with the town formally becoming part of Ontario in 1889. In 1905, the town was renamed Kenora.

Gold was discovered in 1850 and the first ocean to ocean train passed through Kenora on the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886. The Kenora Thistles won the Stanley Cup in 1907, making Kenora the smallest town to ever have won a major sports title. The highway constructed through Kenora in 1932 became a part of the Trans Canada Highway in 1943.

As of the 2016 census, the population was 15,096. Major economic drivers are forestry and tourism.


We stopped to admire Lake of the Woods at the Tourist Information site. It was a pretty day.


September 7/18 (Part 1) – Winnipeg, Manitoba to Fort Frances, Ontario – Hopping Off to Ontario


Today was going to be a big day. We were about to head off toward uncharted territory, as we drove into Northern Ontario. Whats that, you ask? Northern Ontario? That will be a long drive, you say. Turns out it was only 1 hour and 41 minutes away. Hmmm. Were you speeding? Did you have a jet? Nope. For some unknown reason, just across the provincial boundary line, Southern Manitoba on the 49th Parallel turns into Northern Ontario, even though Northern Ontario’s border drops below the 49th parallel.

There is also the added anomaly of Northwest Angle, Minnesota, which resulted from a misunderstanding between the negotiators of the initial Canada-U.S. border during the 1783 Treaty of Paris discussions . Benjamin Franklin and British representatives relied on the Mitchell map which did not indicate the source of the Mississippi River or the correct shape of Lake of the Woods. The result was that 596.3 square miles (123.09 being land and 473.2 being water) above the 49th parallel became an virtual exclave of the U.S. Its land border only abuts Canada and the 119 residents have to video-phone Canadian Customs and Immigration when they wish to drive out of the Angle and video-phone U.S. Customs and Immigration when they drive back in. If they take a boat South across Lake of the Woods, all is fine. Weird, huh? (Source:Wikipedia)

Which brings me to the next question….What do you call the Northern part of Ontario at the North border? No imagination here, it is still called Northern Ontario. Not sure  why, but, my best guess is that it is relates to Toronto being known as  “the Center of the Universe”. As Toronto is located in the area between the Great Lakes and as this area is South of the 49th parallel (South of the 44th actually), it is definitely South of Northern Ontario.

In any event, we had heard from all sources that we were in for a long, boring drive through Northern Ontario, on a highway that gives you great views of trees, rocks and water as well as great views of water, rocks and trees. All that and a maximum speed limit of 90 km/hr (about 56 mph). But, if the maximum is 90, why was I still being passed as if I was standing still? The answer came just up ahead, when the provincial speeding fines sign hove into view. Turns out if you are caught doing 110 km/hr, you will get a ticket. So, everybody (including me eventually) was doing 107-109 km/hr. Still way too slow through such a vast expanse.

Along the way, we visited Falcon Lake Provincial Park in Manitoba (where our dear friends M & M were stationed in their early days). The park had an admission fee, so we simply stopped for a cup of really bad coffee and a restroom break and headed on our way across the Provincial boundary into the great unknown of Northern Ontario.


We managed a longer stop in Kenora on Lake of the Woods. (next post).

The next stop was at Sioux Narrows Provincial Park, which was also still open, but would be closing on the weekend. The gate attendant told us to go on in and enjoy and not worry about the entrance fee.



At Caliper Lake Provincial Park, our entrance fee was also waived, so we were able to enjoy the scenery and a short hike. Thanks Ontario.


Only three more days of driving through rocks, trees and water to go……………..



September 6/18 (Part 5) – Winnipeg – Pineridge Hollow


H & L had planned a nice day for us, topped off by a wonderful dinner at Pineridge Hollow, a multi purpose venue near Birds Hill Park and the town of Oakbank, Manitoba.

The facility was opened on the Regehr family acreage in 1992, converting a 1920s log home into a quaint country gift shop. This was augmented in 1995 by the construction of a turn of the century carriage house on the same acreage. In 1999, the carriage house was moved to the current site. Further expansions have happened since that time. In addition to the shop, the location provides a restaurant, a venue that can be hired for weddings and other events, a farmers’ market and even has what we can only surmise might be a farm animal petting zoo. (Source:Pineridge Hollow website). Link is below:


We first wandered the grounds…


….before stopping to watch the antics of the piglets and kids…

…then a bit of shopping in the store (sorry, no pix) before our dinner table was ready. We enjoyed a delicious meal and as you can see the desserts are the specialty (at least they were with me).


All in all, a delicious day. Thanks H & L.