Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On To Ontario

Finally...after a few days on the road...we were in Ontario. It felt a little strange, being back in our home province for the first time since leaving two years ago. Driving on the 401 soon came back to us (well...mostly Larry as he was the one driving).

Our first stop was my friend Lori's house. She is a fellow homeschooler who has made many of the same life choices we have and some of our journeys have been quite similar.

It was great to see her and her daughter again. Unfortunately, we missed her husband as he had to work. That's ok (well ...not really..we would have liked to see him.....but ....we're hoping they will come and visit us soon as well.)

It was a great afternoon....the kids, even though their ages are varied, all fit together well. They swam, played basketball, ran, laughed, swam, played get the picture....while the adults visited.

Lori had a wonderful lunch for us...(more like a dinner). Yummmmy!!!

After lunch, we visited some more while the kids continued with their activities. After an all too short time though, it was time to gather everyone up and head on to our destination.

It's always nice to visit...but so hard to say goodbye. This time was no exception. After our extended good byes...we headed westward to Port Perry.

This is where everything started to explode in many different directions. Everyone had someone different they wanted to see... After some discussion, it was to grandpa and grandma's first. It was sooo good to see seemed like forever since we saw them. After a brief visit though, we headed on to our hotel. (Our friends, Kathie and Larry had graciously offered to put us up at their house for the two weeks...but, we were ahead of schedule so decided to check into a hotel for the night rather than showing up at their house a day early. Not a surprise they would appreciate lol.)

My life-long friend, Tammie, happens to work at a hotel, so you can guess where we decided to stay. We'd pre booked a room with two double beds and hoped there would be enough room for our blow up bed we always cart along. Imagine my surprise....when Larry returned to the van announcing we'd been upgraded..... to a Jacuzzi suite!! Hmmmm...upgraded? to a jacuzzi suite??? sounded *really* interesting. We could hardly wait to see just *what* this upgraded room looked like....surely larger and nicer than we were used of having. It was beyond what we ever was a HUGE Suite....two huge rooms...a King sized bed in one room, a queen pull out in the other..and french doors between the two.....a huge jacuzzi tub, two big screen tvs, a microwave, fridge and did I mention there were two huge rooms?

Also thrown into the package was a late check out time plus a couple of other perks. I could hardly wait to call Tammie on the phone....Thank You hardly seemed enough....but we were so thankful to be in such a beautiful suite! Thank you Tammie!!

Jacuzzi in our suite

Friday, July 24, 2009

Spectacular Encounter!!!

I need to back up just a bit in our journey to share something really cool that happened to us in Nova Scotia after we left Rick and Shirley's.

We stopped at Tim's (Tim Hortons) in Oxford, Nova Scotia. The car needed gas and we needed coffee. Larry and Tyler went next door to get gas, while Jake, Brittney and I stood in line at Tim's to get coffee. We put in our order but the cashier advised it would be a minute or two as she had just put on a fresh pot. In the meantime, two, well-dressed businessmen had came in and got in line behind us. They were talking to each other as they waited in line and didn't appear to notice us. They chatted away with each other as they waited.

I had my Tim's card out and ready to pay for our coffee but when the cashier brought our coffees over (before I had a chance to hand over my card), Jake whipped out a $10.00 bill and announced,

"I'm going to pay for this.".

These business men immediately took note and turned their attention to Jake, commenting on how he must have a paper route or other entrepreneurial venture going in order to treat his family.

Jake, immediately broke into story telling these men (and all the other customers in line, the cashiers and anyone else who was around) his he sells cookies, how long he's been doing it, how much he's made, how we live in Newfoundland now but used to live in Ontario, when we moved.....he covered all of the bases. *grin* These business men seemed quite taken with Jake and one of them asked for his address. He told Jake he was going to send him something in the mail and it would be waiting for Jake when we got back or shortly after we returned.

For the rest of the trip Jake was excited about this....wondering *who* these men were and just what they were going to send him.

There was nothing waiting when we returned, but Jake has been watching the mail every day. Yesterday, a package finally arrived. It was addressed to "Master Jake _____" at the "Pouch Cove Cookie Company".

He eagerly opened the package to find the book "Always Fresh"...written by Ron Joyce. Ron Joyce is the man who took a one location only store, one that was almost failing, an unknown store by the name of Tim Hortons (Donuts) and turned it into the huge empire it is today (For those of you outside of Canada...Tim Hortons coffee shops are all over the article I read said there are 3000 locations...not sure if there are more than that now or not....but it is huge).

We opened the book to find a two page note written by one of the business men we had met in line at Tim's that day (this businessman himself is CEO of a huge Canadian company with branches all across Canada). He must be friends with Ron Joyce, as he mentioned in his letter to Jake he had told Ron Joyce all about Jake. Also listening in to the story was a successful stock broker. In addition to the letter from the business man, there were two personal messages one from the stock broker wishing Jake well....and one from Ron Joyce!

Ron Joyce's message read:

"Hi Jake You have a great future. Don't compete to tough on Tim Hortons. Ron Joyce" (Sounds like he's really nervous about the upcoming competition....doesn't it? wink wink lol)

How cool is that to have a signed copy of the book with a personalized message from a man who has created such a huge Canadian empire????

One further thing, there was a business card of this man we met at Tim's that day, the one who sent the book. That business card allowed us to search and see he himself is CEO of a large company as I mentioned above. In his letter to Jake, he also mentioned he is sending (separately) to Jake a portable cookie stand from which to sell his cookies from! That hasn't arrived yet, but Jake is on the mail watch once again.

This man also went on to give Jake some sound business which was to always be known as a man of his word. Great advice.

We are truly humbled and taken aback that men of such positions would take the time to show such an interest in Jake.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Visit to Ontario -- part two

(Note....I am still having a lot of trouble getting on to my own blog, as well as others I visit. I can't comment on most of them...which frustrates me because I usually have something to say! ;) Not sure why I'm having these problems but hopefully it will be straightened out soon!)

The ferry ride over to Nova Scotia....was a little bit....ummmm.....rolly. *grin* I kind of liked the feeling, but Brittney....well not so much lol. A fellow passenger generously gave her some gravol and after a bit of a nap...she felt quite a bit better. This particular crossing took around 6 hours. It was supposed to be shorter but I'm sure the ocean conditions lengthened out the crossing.

After disembarking from the ferry, we drove through Cape Breton to the mainland part of Nova Scotia where we spent the night. We have good friends in Nova Scotia who we always enjoy visiting with on our way through. We met Rick and Shirley and their children Sandy and Jenna while camping in PEI one summer. They happened to be at the same campground again the next we exchanged emails and have been good friends ever since. It's great to visit with friends and we always enjoy their company....catching up on the latest and noticing how much all the kids have grown. Rick and Shirley always provide a wonderful meal for us (and feed us well). This time was no exception! (The first of many wonderful meals we had provided for us along the way. We certainly did not go hungry on this trip....not at all...and I have the waistline to prove it!)

Here are a few pics of our visit with Shirley and Rick:

Mmm....Dinner! Rick and Shirley are at the front, beside Rick is Sandy and his girlfriend beside him. You know Brittney and tucked in behind her is Jenna.

After dinner, the kids decided to burn off some of that good food and work out the we've-been-sitting-in-the-van-for-too-long wiggles.

It looked like Sandy and his girlfriend decided to join in

After an all too short visit (it's so hard to say good bye once again....but we're working on convincing them to come visit us in NL) we left and continued on our journey toward Ontario. That night, we made it as far as Woodstock, New Brunswick which is about 2 hours away from the Quebec border. The next morning we were up in good time and on the road by 6:45. a.m .... but with the hour we gained from crossing a time was actually 5:45. That gave us a great day of driving covering almost 1100 kms (660 miles).... we got through New Brunswick and Quebec, putting us into eastern Ontario. We were ahead of schedule...which is always a good thing!

Not long after entering Ontario...we were greeted by this...(click on pic to enlarge it and see the long line up of cars on the other side)

Oh no....we are no longer used of this much traffic! (remember my pics of our first day driving across NL). We were wondering....would we be able to handle these things we *used* to deal with on a daily basis?

Time would tell.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Our visit "Back Home" to Ontario -- Part one

As many of you know, we moved two years ago from Ontario to live in Newfoundland. We had not been back since leaving, so thought a visit back was long overdue. We love travelling, driving, seeing the beautiful country and were excited to be visiting family, friends and our 'old stomping grounds' again.

With the van loaded up, we headed out in the early morning hours. First stop was for breakfast....a tradition that was started by my Dad and step-mom when we lived in Ontario and would leave for holidays. They'd take us out for a full breakfast before heading out. It wasn't quite the same being just us....but it was breakfast just the same.

Jake decided he would keep a journal of this trip and here is his first entry that sums up our leaving:

"It's 6:38 a.m. and we are leaving our drivway to go to McDonild's for brekfist then off to Ontario. It's now 7:49 a.m. and we just finished brekfist 20 minutes ago. So far we are having an exilent time." *grin*

It's about 900 kms across the island of Newfoundland. We live on the east coast..the ferry comes to the west it was a full day of driving. As far as landscape goes, our province is so varied. Here are some pics I took along the way. They're not very good quality as I took them through the windshield, while we were moving....but it still gives an idea of the landscape.

It always amazes us at the lack of traffic going across. A beautiful highway, lots of beautiful, natural scenery and hardly any traffic to get in the way. It doesn't get much better than that!

Lot of beautiful lakes (although here in Newfoundland, they're referred to as Ponds). Many of them have no inhabitants or it appears so anyway as the sandy beach goes all the way around and not a dock or a house in sight.

This is in central Newfoundland....notice the patches of snow still on the mountains.

Finally we arrived at Port Aux Basques (where the ferry comes in). These are taken at the Shark Cove Suites. It's actually apartments....this unit had 3 bedrooms, a living room, eating area and kitchen. We always stay here on our trip across.

(Here is Jake's journal entry for the end of the day:

We've been on the road for 12 hours and we can't believe it. We are approaching Porto-Bask (ummm that's actually spelled Port Aux Basques but he spelled it as it sounds lol) and that's where Shark Cove Hotel is. Thank Goodness. It's 8:55 p.m and we are going to bed." )

The next day, in line waiting for the Ferry.

On the ferry...making the trip across the Cabot Strait. This is the 'short' ferry crossing....which takes between 5-7 hours..depending on the weather conditions, the size of the ferry etc. The short crossing is not to be confused with the 'long' crossing....which takes around 14 - 17 hours (but comes in closer to the east side of Newfoundland)

Down below on the car deck, waiting to disembark from the ferry. Sorry for the poor quality...It was dark and dingy down there and I should have removed the napkins from the dash board first.

(I'll post more about our trip in the coming days.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

For my Dad....

My Dad has been after me for years to cut down my coffee intake. Sooo...I've decided I *will* limit myself to one cup per day. I am having my one cup for the day. ;)