Saturday, October 31, 2020

Sudbury Ontario to Woodstock Ontario - Moving Trip #2 (Day 1) - Halloween

Since the run to Woodstock last week, we had made great strides in reducing our worldly goods. Darren contacted us a few days ago to see if we were interested in moving the closing date on the house up again. I told him that we could do November 15th if we could leave a few things in the house rather than cleaning everything out. The buyer agreed.

It was now the end of October. Both Halloween and taking possession of the condo were upon us. We decided to go to Woodstock today for Halloween with grandkids (suitably distanced) and then meet Alex at the condo tomorrow morning to pick up the keys.

Marie and Ron came by with their trailer to pick up the master bedroom set Sandy had sold to a friend of theirs. We also loaded them up with any other goods they were willing to take and struck a deal on our snowblower. Then we stuffed as many boxes and essential goods as would fit into the Equinox.

Just after noon, we set out for the south. Imagine our surprise when we reached the end of the four-lane just before the French River and were unexpectedly directed onto the new highway. Rather, we were on half of it, as one side of the new four-lane road was opened for two way traffic. The were on new pavement most of the way to the Grundy turnoff including crossing the French and Pickerel Rivers on new bridges.

The end of the four lane approaching the French River

The French River Trading Post from the new highway

Looking at the old Pickerel River Bridge from the new one

Last week we were on that other highway

We stopped in Parry Sound at McDonald's for coffee and a bathroom break. It was really a chance for me to wake up again. The rest of the way to Highway 401 in Toronto was uneventful except for one stretch at the Aurora exit on 400 where I suddenly noticed the 80 KPH reduced speed sign. Looking down, I saw that we were doing 132 which could trigger a seven day licence suspension and vehicle impoundment (50 KPH over is where this draconian roadside justice comes into play). I slowed down.

We chose the Toronto/401 route because it was Saturday afternoon and we expected traffic to be reasonable. It was, although we saw eastbound traffic in Mississauga held up by police, ambulance and fire vehicles. There was no evidence of a wreck, just a few unmarked pickup trucks. RIDE check? COVID checkpoint? We never did find out.

Eastbound traffic being held up on 401 for an unknown reason

The stopped line up eastbound went on for a long time

We took a detour through Waterloo so I could show Sandy our new home.

Our unit is 14 floors up (15th floor with no 13)

We arrived at the Best Western Plus in Woodstock just before 6:00 PM. After checking in, we headed over to Heather and Tom's where a modified Halloween was underway. Heather, Sandy and I walked the neighborhood with Jasper and Fiona as they visited homes which creatively dealt with the Trick or Treating under COVID conditions.

Heather and Tom's distancing solution - take one

Somebody inventing obits for still-living neighbors

Getting treats while keeping distanced

This household went all out

After we finished the walk through the neighborhood, where a surprising number of houses were still offering the kids candy, we went back to the house and spent some time with the Jasper and Fiona. Then we returned to the hotel after making a stop at a Subway to pick up something for supper.

Today's Route (315 Equinox miles):

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Sudbury to Woodstock Return - Moving Trip #1

Now that we would have the condo on November 1st and had to be out of the house by December 1st, things started to get serious. We had decided that we would not take much of our furniture with us, so it became a race to sell, give away, donate or throw out much of what we had. We also had a massive job going through all the boxes and drawers of "stuff" to decide what would go with us.

We ended up using bankers boxes for a lot of things we decided to take. Sandy did a lot of the work packing them up, a little more every day. We also made a few runs to the Greater Sudbury landfill with junk and to Restore, Value Village and the Pet Thrift Shop with things that still had some miles in them.

Although we did not have the condo yet, Sandy and I decided I should make an advance run to Woodstock. Heather and Tom had kindly agreed to let us store the bike in their garage for the winter so we would take that and as much as we could carry. Anything not bike related could be brought over to the condo after the end of the month.

I hooked up the trailer and loaded the bike for the first time this season. Then we packed all the related bike gear and as many other boxes as we could. Without folding the rear seats down, the back of an Equinox will hold ten banker's boxes plus some flat things and some soft stuff.

Leo (who helped us so much during the move) and I set out early in the morning. We took Highways 69 and the 400 all the way to Highway 401 in Toronto and then followed that west to Woodstock where we arrived just before noon. It did not take long to unload everything and start heading back. On the way, we drove through Waterloo and checked out Waterpark Place. It looked impressive. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures.

In an attempt to avoid traffic, we headed north on the back roads through Fergus, Orangeville and Stayner. We were back in Sudbury in good time, having covered 633 miles since we had woke up this morning.

Phase One of the move was done. Thank you Leo.

Today's Route (633 Equinox/trailer miles):

Friday, October 16, 2020

The House Is Sold

 We got word from Darren tonight that, subject to a minor adjustment due to a cracked living room window that we had never noticed, the conditions had been lifted on the agreement to sell the house. The original closing date had been December 15th but, since the condo deal was finalized, we moved it up to December 1st. That would still allow us one month to get things moved.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Freedom Riders Colour Ride to Mattawa

The weather man, notorious liar that he is, forecast an unusually nice Saturday for mid-October. This gave the Freedom Riders the opportunity for one final ride together. For me, it would be my last ride as a local member of the club, although Sandy and I will remain members no matter where we live.

It was warmer than it looked

A good sized group gathered at Tim's on Levesque Street and, once President Rob arrived to lead us, we headed east on Highway 17. The plan was to ride to North Bay and then ride up Highway 64 to Highway 533, which we would then take southeast into Mattawa. This was the reverse of the route we had ridden earlier in the season.

I took up the last spot to keep an eye on the group. As we passed through Hagar, Fabien and Laura joined us, she riding her new Spyder. Then we stopped at the Tim Horton's in Sturgeon Falls where we were joined by Greg, someone I had met on the Facebook group Let's Ride Sudbury.

The ride to 533 was uneventful. Once we turned onto that road, which is more interesting than most in the area, the group spaced itself out as each rider set their own pace. It took a while for me to work my way forward from my spot at the back but eventually I got clear and followed Rob to Mattawa.

We fueled in Mattawa and then stopped at Myrt's, a local landmark for as long as I have been coming through here, for lunch.

Myrt's in Mattawa Ontario

Freedom Riders in Mattawa

Masking up to go inside

The ride back was pleasant and a little melancholy because this was probably going to be my last time on the bike this season. We stopped at the other Tim's in Sturgeon Falls (yes, the little town has two) and said goodbyes to the folks who would be leaving us before we got back to Sudbury.

Tim Horton's - Sturgeon Falls

We got back to Sudbury in good time and I stopped to fuel the bike again before taking it home and parking it in the garage.

I will miss the Northern Ontario terrain but I expect that I will have a lot more riding options in the south next year.

Today's Route (243 motorcycle miles):

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

A Very Busy (And Life Changing) Week

 A lot has happened in the last week, so buckle your seatbelts and hang on.

For some time now, Sandy and I have been talking about selling the house and moving to an apartment where we would not have to worry about mowing, snowblowing, maintenance and all those other chores that property ownership entails. In an apartment, we would also be able to just lock the door and go out on the road whenever we wanted.

We had also considered moving south to be closer to family and were only staying in Sudbury because her mother Jan was in a nursing home here.

On Saturday September 26th, after releasing Jan's ashes, and notwithstanding Sandy's cousins as well as decades of very good friends here, we were free to explore both ideas about new living circumstances. We were thinking maybe sometime in the spring because nobody wants to move in the winter. I had a conversation with son-in-law Mike about this and he said his real estate guy in the Kitchener/Waterloo area also dealt with rentals. On Monday the 28th, he sent me the contact info for TrilliumWest Real Estate Brokerage so I sent them an Email and arranged to talk to Alex (Alexandra) Bunker the next morning. Now hang on because it is going to get hectic.

Tuesday September 29, 2020

We spoke to Alex at 9:00 AM and told her what we were looking for. Something in an upscale apartment or leased condo with reasonable space, two bedrooms, an exercise room and preferably underground parking. She said she would look around and get back to us. She sent a list of five possibilities a little later in the day and we agreed to come down to look at them Friday morning.

Seeing that there seemed to be a lot of interesting places, I also called Darren Leblanc of Kat & Darren - The Leblanc Group. He was the agent who sold Jan's house a couple of years ago. He was also a former STOP Officer and I had worked with his father Marcel for over twenty-five years. We had asked him over a while back to see what we should do to make the house saleable and he said that we should pretty much leave it the way it was.

Now, faced with the question of a possible sale, Darren asked if we wanted to be done before the snow flew. If we listed, we could probably get more if there were competing offers but it could also take longer. Plus there was the issue I was concerned about with our unorthodox sump system. He said he had a potential buyer if we were happy to get the asking price rather than taking our chance on an auction. It would also reduce the realtor commission. I told him to consider it.

Wednesday September 30, 2020

Nothing special happened today. We planned our trip to Kitchener/Waterloo. Traveling overnight in a pandemic was new to us.

Thursday October 1, 2020

We drove down to Waterloo leaving about 11:30. We stopped on the Hockley Road to take a picture of the building used as the Rosebud Motel in TV comedy series Schitt's Creek.

Rosebud Motel

We checked into the Best Western Waterloo, formerly known as the Destination Inn, about 5:30. Then we went out and drove around looking at some things before picking up Subway sandwiches and returning to our room.

Friday October 2, 2020

We were given bags of breakfast to go from the hotel and stopped at a Tim's for a bit more on our way to meet Alex at 9:00 AM.

New Miata, anyone?

The first complex was Blackstone, a brand new complex on Northfield Road. Excellent location but only one of four buildings was complete, the three available units were small (under 900 sq. ft.) and the underground parking wasn't ready yet. Then we went downtown to the Caroline Residences. Upscale building (24 hour concierge, brand new) with two underground parking spaces and a spectacular view from the 11th floor. But it was also small and the second bedroom was laid out oddly so it would be almost impossible to get a bed into. I think it was really a study. The third building was the Bauer Lofts, a larger 2nd floor unit overlooking the famous Vincenzo's Market. But it was a little rough and we didn't really feel comfortable.

Caroline Residences - the taller left building

The Residences on Caroline St

Caroline underground parking

Balcony View from Bauer Lofts

Living room/kitchen at Bauer Lofts

A little sadly, we realized we hadn't found our perfect new home yet. I loosened up our terms a little bit and Alex said she would look for some other listings. After meeting Heather for lunch at the Daily Grill on Northfield and giving her some special Sudbury beer we had brought down at Tom's request, we headed home via the back roads to avoid the Friday Toronto rush.

It was a beautiful fall day to travel. We hit a bit of a traffic bottleneck near Barrie but once we got past that, it was clear sailing. As we headed home, Darren called with a couple of questions because he was showing the house to the prospective buyer.

Seen near Orangeville

Lovely fall day in Northern Ontario

We pulled into our driveway a little after 6:00 PM, not sure just where we stood.

Saturday October 3, 2020

Darren let us know that his buyer was submitting an offer for our asking price plus a little extra if we left certain furniture. That was fine with us since we didn't plan on taking much with us.

Then Alex sent us a list of 54 places that she had found. It was late in the afternoon so I set it aside to review in the morning.

Sunday October 4, 2020

I prepared a spreadsheet with columns for each of the key factors in the prospective rental units. Then I went through the list and excluded any unit under 1,000 sq. ft. That left six for which I proceeded to list all the details I had columns for. Square footage, bedrooms, in suite laundry, exercise room, utilities included, parking, etc. 

There were a few nice ones but one unit stood out. It was a condo lease in Waterpark Place in Waterloo, It was a 15th floor two bedroom unit with 1,441 square feet, two bedroom, two baths, a large walk-in closet, a dining room, living room, breakfast room and Florida balcony. The complex had an exercise room, party room, library, craft room and a pool. Plus there were two underground parking spots. It was a little more than the smaller places but looked like it was worth it. It had only been listed a couple of days so called Alex and told her we were interested and did not want someone else to scoop it up on us. 

The condo floor plan - 1504-6 Willow Street Waterloo

Alex checked and said it was still available. The current tenant was leaving at the end of the month to move to Vancouver to be closer to family. They were not showing the unit but Alex said she would be allowed in the next day to allow us a Skype tour.

Monday October 5, 2020

We accepted the offer on the house conditional upon the home inspection and financing. The closing date was December 15. Then we saw the Skype tour of the condo and submitted a lease application.

An interesting side note on the lease application. I have never needed to know my credit score before but it was requested for the application. As I pondered how I should do this, I picked up an envelope in the mailbox from Desjardins Financial. I had a Desjardins credit card because, a few years ago, I had bought furniture from Leon's on a zero interest deal and they handled the payments. Earlier this year, Desjardins suffered a data breach and offered all their clients five years of premium Equifax membership worth somewhere more than $20 per month. Last month, I had found the letter, good until the end of the year, and sent away for the code I needed to enroll in the Equifax plan. And now, the very day I needed to know my credit rating, the means to find it out appeared right out of the blue in my mailbox. Sometimes the universe just reaches out to you.

Oh yes, my credit rating was fine.

Tuesday October 6, 2020

Alex called in the morning and told us we were successful with the lease. We would take over tenancy of the condo on November 1st.

So there you have it. In almost exactly one week, we sold a house and leased a condo. I can often procrastinate but when I do decide to move, things can go very quickly. Now all we have to do is wait for the conditions on the house sale to be lifted and figure what to do with 36 years worth of "stuff" in the house.

Let the fun begin!!!!