Thursday, October 01, 2015

Road Trip Summer 2015

Road Trip Vancouver to Cobourg Cottage Summer 2015

 ….so how did you spend your summer?
As advertised in our last posting, on July 7th we winged our way from Fiji to Vancouver in that amazing Fiji Air time machine that had us landing 2 hrs after departure and 27 hrs of travel time….How is that possible you ask?  (Answer see International Dateline.)
We had arranged with our friend Pat to purchase her Toyota Highlander which was to become our trusty chariot for our planned road trip. 

After acouple of hours of paperwork and vehicle insurance transfers we made our way south of the border to dine with good friends Jan and Joan in Blaine Washington. 

The next day we found ourselves in Marysville (famed for Mary’s pies) for lunch with boating and Peru travelling buddies John and Gerry (Mv Peking) who were visiting their daughter in Seattle.  A quick drive back to Vancouver for dinner with ex good neighbour Lorrie.

The following morning we hopped on the ferry to Vancouver Island to spend some quality time with Tom and Jane who also hosted boating friends John and Darlene and a party of their neighbours in their beautiful home in Nanoose Bay. 

It was wonderful to spend time with these trusted amigos and share memories and laughs and make plans for a possible Bike and Barge adventure in the French countryside for summer 2017.
After two quick short days it was breakfast on Vancouver Island, ferry back to Vancouver for a lunch of Eggs Benny with dear Australian tennis buddy Wendy and her Vancouver friend Moira who were leaving the next day for New York City and the US Open Tennis finals at Flushing Meadows. 

After lunch we had a short visit and dinner with Kaija’s mom and brother Art, then on to Abbotsford for desert with Pat and pick up our stored luggage.  Another full day, in more ways than one :o).


Next morning we departed for Kelowna for an overnight visit with Kaija’s niece Carrie, husband Steve and family. 

It was a fun evening as we celebrated Nephew Todd's 40th birthday.

 Then it was on to Calgary to see my Baldwin buddy Brian and beautiful wife Roxy along with the Grinch man Jeff and two great pups Hailey and Harley.

Whether it was me spending time with B on his Harley or Kaija spending time in Roxy’s amazing kitchen, without a doubt these folks are the most gracious hosts you will ever meet. 

The R & B Resort and Spa is without a doubt a wonderful 5  Star experience.  With happy hearts and satiated spirits we were on the road again.

Two days of comfortable driving we were in Thunder Bay.  Kaija spent her early years growing up here and it was fun to revisit many of her childhood memories including her dad’s Deli and the hilltop view of the famed Sleeping Giant.  While here we had the chance to visit with her ailing Aunt Eila and spend some time with her cousin Janet and husband Wiley. 

Next stop... the Bruce Peninsula where we had a lovely visit with my beautiful daughter Katie, Grandson Cole and her new beau Chris and daughter Christiana.

Finally 2 ½ weeks after landing in Canada, having feasted and fattened…driving a few thousand miles and when not driving visiting with family and friends getting caught up and laughing till our sides hurt, with a mix of joy and sadness we were once again saying goodbyes to those we had just re-united with…we were back on the road again… and finally…we arrived at the Cottage.

The cottage has been in my life for 55 of my 63 yrs.  Built by my father with some assistance from 8 yr old yours truly along with mother and brother, it is for me a place of solace, refuge and tranquility.  It remains that constant in my journey that brings me back to those values I learned in my formative years. 
Dad and mom are gone, but the cottage remains, replete with fond memories and unique chatkas collected over the years that contain a storehouse of feelings evoked by simple glance. 

We are blessed to have wonderful family friends in Dutch Uncle Jack and Sweet Pearl who were waiting with welcome signs and balloons upon our arrival.  They had spent weeks working at preparing the cottage for our arrival.  Cleaning windows, working in the gardens and tidying up.  It was certainly a welcome site to see them and walk into the cottage, clean and inviting.

This was to be our first visit to the cottage since taking ownership after my dad's Passing.  It was missing that well cared for 'TLC' my father was famous for.  After a couple of days of counting up the work projects it was time to dig in.  The first item of business was the boathouse which looked verrrry tired.
I soon learned however, that despite looking like it was ready to fall down, what my father built 55 years ago was built to last…and it was a lot tougher to tear down than at first glance. 
 However,  with the help and assistance of my new friend and Master builder Rob Ocoin and the unending proffers of guidance and direction from 'interested neighbours'... tearing down the old and building up the new gave me a real sense of well-being and the satisfaction of a Job Well Done…I think dad would have approved of the final outcome.
After of month and a half of heavy slogging and hard work sprucing up the place it was time for a party. 
We invited cousins and remaining Aunts and had ourselves a wonderful fun filled visit.
I even met a double cousin of my mom (two sisters marry two brothers = Double Cousin), Aunt Beatrice, whom I had never previously met.
Last year while visiting Tonga we met John and Rosemary Teed.  They invited us to come and visit them at their home in Cloyne on Lake Skootamatta which by chance is within a short drive from the cottage, via my birthplace, Campbellford.  We stopped to see the house in which I was born and the church my dad built 63 years ago…still standing and going strong. 

John and Rosemary live in an idyllic setting in a beeeeautiful lakeside compound made up of the ‘big house’, a smaller cottage on the lake, and a garage/apartment that had all the toys and more room than most city dwellers ever get to use.  They were gracious and very hospitable and what was intended as a dinner visit turned out two be a two day sleepover.  They have commissioned a 60 ft barge currently being built in Holland which they plan to use on the canals of Europe…all two thousand miles….mmmm sounds like a second visit is in the offing :o).

One of the highlites of this trip was spending time with old Gospel Quartet  (KJV) compatriots John and Raul and wives Cathy and Lea, and old friends Arnie and Sue. It’s amazing the memories that are generated spending time with those from your teenage years when so many firsts came about.  Travelling coast to coast with those great guys (John, Ed, Dave and Raul, John, Les, Andy and Brian) literally making music with my friends.  We were honored to perform with some of the real heroes of Gospel music including the Oak Ridge Boys, The Imperials, The Blackwood Bros, JD Summer & The Stamps Quartet.  Our performance schedule included many Country Fairs and were lucky to be invited to perform with Gordie Tapp (Cousin Clem on Hee Haw).  Gordie invited us to record an Album with him and along with Ricky York we produced ‘The Good Life’ and developed a lasting friendship with this master showman.

Kaija, Gordie and Helen Tapp, Cathy, me Gordie and John

We all had a side-splitting lunch as Gordie regaled us with story after story of his life as a humorist  all the while his sweet darling wife of 50 years Helen was doing her finest imitation of a blushing bride.  A outrageously good time had by all!
It was now mid-Sept.  We had spent time with so many old friends and renewed acquaintances and it was time for Kaija to head back to Vancouver to spend some quality time with her mom and siblings.  While she was gone, I finished up with the new railings for the boathouse.  At month end I said my Goodbyes to friends and had a visit from this unique wee critter.  I closed up the Cottage, delivered the car to her new owners and flew back to Vancouver to join Kaija.   We had a terrific evening with former neighbours and good friends JJ, Anna, Maxine and Bob.
  The next day we lunched with my oldest childhood friend Wayne before heading to the airport. 
And so it was, after 2 ½ months on the continent we winged our way back to Fiji and our floating home, KaijaSong.
With our road trip behind us and most of the heavy lifting of our ship’s refit completed it remained only to get KS out of the cyclone pit, up on chocks, complete the bottom painting and install all the new canvas and we were ready…11 months out of the water…too long mi amour, too long!
Thus begins Season 12 for us as boatpeople.  We are back in the water and looking forward to what new adventures await…new places and new faces…each a new path in our journey.  To kick it off we have our good friend Pat joining us for a month to share this wonderful enchanted and exotic land called Fiji.




1 comment:

Florian said...

Happy to hear you guys are doing fine! Keep on cruising...