Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Canada Day Weekend

The question came up a couple of weeks ago, considering our planned July trip out west, about when we would be down to visit kids and grandkids. We settled on the Canada Day long weekend. So it was decided and so it came to pass.


It was a good day to get out of town. We weren't in too big a hurry because everyone down south was working today. We got away as planned about 11:40 AM.  We saw some pretty black clouds as we approached Barrie and lines of northbound cars south of there escaping the Big Smoke by fleeing to cottage country.

Storm clouds near Barrie

Northbound Toronto escapees

Rather than tangle with Toronto traffic, we cut west on Highway 9 to Mono Mills and then down to Highway 24 towards Guelph. Our first night plan had been to stay at Kim and Mike's in Cambridge so we could spend tomorrow with the grandkids. Near Caledon, Heather called to tell us that plans were changed and we should head for Woodstock. I fooled around with the GPS to find a route that would avoid the 401. As we approached Breslau on Highway 7, Kim called to say the change in plans had changed again and we should head for Cambridge after all. Luckily, she caught us two miles before a critical intersection and no backtracking was necessary. And it started to rain.

On the way into town, we saw fields largely underwater as a result of recent heavy storms and the creek through a golf course in Cambridge looked like Class 5 whitewater.

Raining near Waterloo

Fields under water

We arrived at Kim and Mike's to find Jolene had finished her junior kindergarten classes for the summer. She is probably the only child around to be disappointed that summer holidays were here. I hope she can keep the enjoyment of education as the grades go by. Robin was her usual bouncy, smiling self.

Mike, Jolene and Robyn

Robyn loves the camera

Mike ordered pizzas for supper and we enjoyed playing with the young ones until it was time for them to go to bed. Soon after, it was time for us to go to bed too.


We all slept in this morning. After the kids got up, we played with them for a while. Kim, Sandy and I decided to take Jolene to the movies to see Monster University. I was surprised to find a skating rink in the mall and we were able to watch the Zamboni going around as we enjoyed a Tim Horton's lunch.

There was more ham than what was in the sandwich

The movie started at noon. We had selected  the 2D version because some of us who already have glasses don't like trying to wear 3D specs over top of them. The film dealt with how Mike and Sully became scarers and was entertaining (except for the few moments I dozed off). Jolene caught me and was surprised I was asleep while Sandy was still awake.

The moviegoers

After the show, we went to Menchie's Frozen Yogurt.  This is a new franchise here but, from the celebrity photos on the wall from other places, it looks widespread and popular. You load as much of the many flavours of yogurt into a dish and then add as much and as many tasty toppings as you can stand. This is well and good until you reach the cash where you are charged based on weight. We were at about $4.00 each while the most expensive cup of the month (posted on the bulletin board) was $18.32. Sherm took us to a place like this in Kingman a couple of years ago but I don't think it was the same chain.

Great frozen yogurt

Back home, we played while Mike went out to assist a co-worker who was having some difficulties. Kim made a macaroni dish for supper that we all enjoyed and, about 7:15, Sandy and I headed for Woodstock. Tom had been working on their new deck all day and it was looking good. We talked for a bit and I did some  work on last weekend's blog (it gets harder to stay current these days). Strangely, I was the first one to go to bed.


Tom and I started the day with an 8:00 AM tee time at nearby Cedar Creek Golf Course. It is a nice little nine hole course and we only went around once. Good thing, the way we were playing.

Back from the course, we all jumped in the truck and headed to Costco in London. The goals were to check out patio furniture and get food for tomorrow's family BBQ. The furniture was a bust by we got lots of food. I may have to renew my Costco card because they have lots of interesting things that our usual grocery store doesn't have.

On the way back from London, we stopped at a new On Route service centre for lunch. Sandy and I had hot dogs and fries from New York Fries while Heather and Tom got a panini from Tim's. In Cambridge, we left Tom working on finishing the deck railings while we went on looking for furniture at WalMart, where we were successful. The patio set consisted of a table, four regular chairs and two swivel chairs. They hauled out two huge and very heavy boxes. I needed to remove the box cap (not easy on an Avalanche) and drop the mid-gate to get them in.

Back at the house, we found it was easier to open the box with the six chairs in the driveway and carry the pieces around back rather than try and muscle the whole thing at once. The lighter, flatter table box was easier to carry back. Tom started assembling the chairs and then we pitched in and got an assembly line going. Before too long, we had six assembled chairs.

Tom starting to assemble the chairs

We left Tom to assemble the table and headed out again. The first stop was Canadian Tire where they had little solar lights along with clips to mount them on the deck railing. Heather bought 18. Then we went to No Frills to pick up a few more food items and swung by the liquor store for some party refreshments. I usually don't drink but got a couple of small boxes of Mott's Caesar coolers.

Home again, all was not well. The table had all the big parts but was missing the hardware and instructions. Oops. back to WalMart where Becky of Customer Service got some guys to get another table box out, open it and give us the missing parts. She was going to return that table as incomplete.

The finished patio furniture

Solar railing light

The table went together easily and then Tom installed the lights. Someone miscounted and we had to go back for four more lights. Interestingly, the lights were on sale for $0.99 but the clips cost $2.50. With the deck, lights and furniture done, we went and picked up supper at Subway. I worked on the blog backlog (backblog?) while the rest visited. Sooner rather than later, it was time for bed again.

Monday (Canada Day)

This used to be called Dominion Day when I was a kid but then we repatriated our Constitution from England in 1982 and they renamed it.

I finished last weekend's blog over breakfast and heaved a sigh of relief. Then I realized that I was three days behind on this weekend. I can't seem to stay ahead of the curve. After breakfast, Tom and I took the Kawasaki pre-wash and White Diamond metal polish I used on the Wing last week and cleaned Heather's bike. I left the Kaw kit (I had three after various VROC draws) with Tom for future use.

Tom cleaning Heather's windshield

Soon after we finished with the bike, Kim, Mike, Jolene and Robyn showed up as did Tom's brother Wojtek, his wife Agnieszka and there two children, Adrian and Maja. Like his cousin-in-law Jolene, Adrian was celebrating graduation from Junior Kindergarten.

The kids enjoyed playing in the sloping back yard while the brothers tackled the grilling task. Tom had a game we who frequent NASCAR campgrounds call Cornhole. They have a more civilized name for it up here but it still consists of throwing beanbags at a hole in a board. The food turned out to be plentiful and very good.

 Part mountain goats

Tom and Wojtek grilling

Sandy taking it easy

I still call it Cornhole

When we were done eating, we all headed over to Southside Park where they were having a big Canada Day party. We parked without difficulty and first went to check the pony rides. Jolene, Adrian and Maja rode but Robyn, initially interested, decided she didn't want any part of riding. Instead, Grandpa carried her and we walked beside the pony she would have ridden..

Robyn liked the ponies at first

Equine activities over, we took the kids over to the playground equipment. I wish we had things like this when I was little. Jolene did some climbing and Robyn did some sliding.

Intrepid rope climber

And monkey bars too

A slide with rollers just like the beer store

Done with the playground, we moved to the big field where they had several kid type activities set up but no one was selling tickets yet. We milled around for a while waiting.


Robyn is ready

Jolene isn't sure

Lineup for tickets

Eventually, the ticket sellers got their act in gear. Jolene wanted to ride the little Ferris wheel first and was, in fact, the first one on it. Robyn wanted to try as well so the young man operating it stopped the ride and put her in the car with her sister. She loved it. As we moved on, she stayed and rode it two more times by herself. Jolene tried an inflatable slide that she had to climb. Twice. We need to get her to a climbing wall sometime.

Jolene has the wheel to herself

Now the two of them have the wheel to themselves

Jolene climbing to the top of the slide

When the tickets ran out (Robyn was not happy that she would be limited to three Ferris wheel rides), we went over to check out the fire engine and ambulance. The paramedic had the kids in the back of the meat wagon checking vital signs and then everyone got a turn sitting in the driver's seat of the big red truck

Firefighter Robyn

Jolene in the driver's seat

From there, we stopped at the smaller playground for a bit before everyone headed home. We dropped Heather and  Tom at their house and made our way back to Kim and Mike's in Cambridge for the final night. Mike made a supper of chicken thighs and the young ones actually suggested it was time for bed. Grandpa helped read bed time stories, although Jolene is starting to figure out a lot of words on her own.

Tuckered out after a busy day


We were up and loaded early but waited until it was time for Kim to take Jolene and Robyn to daycare before leaving. Sandy took a few garden photos and we need to figure out what the shrub with the pinkish leaves is.

Mike took this photo of a happy Grandpa

Jolene saying goodbye

Robyn, too

Anyone know what this is?

The outer leaves are pinkish with tiny red berries

We had trouble getting out of Cambridge because of road construction at Queen Street and Hespeler Road. In fact, to all intents and purposes, they don't meet any more. I let the GPS find us another way out of there. The trip back was uneventful. There was a light rain around Moon River while people from a loaded Greyhound bus meant we went through the Tim's drive through at Horseshoe Lake Road.  We found blue skies north of Parry Sound and made it home by 1:30.

All in all, it was a very full and enjoyable weekend.

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