5 Nov 2014
As I sit at the Hyundai dealership (on November 3rd) getting the second service done on my car, I reflect on the past month of October and the further road trips I have taken. I continued my journey in Ontario as part of my OLG Slots & Casinos tour which I started at the end of August. I had such a beautful experience driving to the various Slots & Casinos in Ontario during the summer, I eagerly looked forward to seeing the rest of the province in the fall! So far, I have not been disappointed!
In October, I travelled to Casino Thousand Islands in Gananoque at the most easterly part of Ontario near the Canada/US border. It took just over 3 hours to reach my destination, but, what a joy to travel on Hwy 401, passing by and through cities and towns that I had only heard about. For example, Belleville and Napanee -- the birthplace and hometown of Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne. Trenton - where French explorer, Samuel de Champlain began his journey on the Trent-Severn Waterway in 1615. Trenton is the beginning of the Trent-Severn which runs northwest towards Peterborough and eventually ends at Port Severn along the Georgian Bay. The last major city before arriving in Gananoque was Kingston - nicknamed the "Limestone City" because many of the heritage buildings were constructed with the local limestone. I still remember from high school geography (earth science) class that my teacher told us about the limestone at the Kingston Penitentiary and how they contained fossils and I use to wonder if inmates sat in their cells counting fossils instead of sheep at night. Kingston became the first capital of the Province of Canada in 1841, where the St. Lawrence River flows out of Lake Ontario.
Gananoque (aboriginal name which means "town on two rivers") is about a 30 minute drive from Kingston. It is known as the Gateway to the Thousand Islands. If you're like me when you first saw its name, you're probably wondering how to pronounce Gananoque. I like this phrase to help me remember, "The right way, the wrong way, and the Gananoque." One can cross the border to the USA a short drive from this town. The Casino Thousand Island was located a short distance from Hwy 401. In spite of the beautiful surroundings, I must admit, just the drive along Hwy 401 is one of the most beautiful routes. I thought my road trip to and from Hanover (located near Walkerton) was scenic and beautiful, well, the route to Gananoque was dreamy. At the time, just before the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend around the second week of October, some fall colours were already very visible. I had done several road trips heading west and northwest, and so, heading east was refreshing!
Two weeks after Gananoque, I was itching to be on the road again! I watched the weather forecast and then, just the day before Halloween, I found my window of opportunity! I was revved to head west, the complete opposite way from Gananoque. My first destination was Casino Point Edward, located adjacent to the City of Sarnia. Point Edward sits opposite Port Huron, Michigan, at the source of the St. Clair River. Drivers and pedestrians can cross the Bluewater Bridge which connects Canada and the USA. In the summer of 2013, Larry and I went to Detroit, Michigan, and later to Pinery Provincial Park in Grand Bend, we crossed the Bluewater Bridge from Port Huron to Point Edward.
I spent a couple hours at Casino Point Edward. The staff were friendly and helpful; the people who visited the casino were friendly. After spending time at several towns, villages and cities in Ontario, I would say that Point Edward and Sarnia a friendly place with a small-town feel. I felt like staying longer! But, as I had a "mission" to visit other OLG Slots and Casinos, I decided to head to the Dresden Raceway that same day.
The Dresden Raceway and Slots is a tiny venue and although it took about an hour and a half to drive there from Casino Point Edward, I stayed for less than half an hour. Still, I am glad I headed to Dresden, as otherwise, I would not have headed to that part of the province. Dresden is part of the municipality of Chatham-Kent and is best known as the home of a former American slave, Josiah Henson, whose life story inspired the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin. The Henson homestead is located near the town of Dresden. The agricultural community was named after Dresden, Germany, and was an important terminus of the Underground Railroad. The slaves who escaped from the US were known to gather, at least to worship, as far south and east as what is today Chatham, Ontario. (Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dresden,_Ontario)
A year ago, I did not have a GPS. Perhaps, some of you may recall the story I wrote about my trip to Port Dover and Simcoe -- I got lost a few times! It was really frustrating! Nowadays, I don't want to live without my GPS! Between my Garmin GPS and Apple's Siri telling me where to go, I am up for many more road trips in the future! I am now contemplating snow tires, even though I do not recall ever having snow tires on our cars for the past 40 years. It makes me think of all the other places I could go -- even during the winter!
I am really excited about next month's episode of KaTsZoNe! It will be 10 years since I started writing and sharing my monthly issues or "episodes" of my life - places I had gone, things I wanted to do, and introducing people I had met. I've had lots of fun telling stories and sharingwhat I have learned along the way and perhaps, taught and inspired my readers or followers. Oh wow - I had followers before Twitter was even created! Facebook was created in February, 2004, while KaTsZoNe began on my birthday in December, 2004! I wonder what the world will be like in the next 10 years. I hope many of you will still be following KaTsZoNe!
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