14 Apr 2017
What a relief to finally see sun and warmer temperatures. But, I still feel like I'm riding on a yoyo -- my light winter coat is next to my spring coat, and I've just put my warm winter coat in the closet for now. It is not unusual to see another snow fall in April, but, fingers crossed it will all be over soon!
The one thing I am really enjoying in April because of the clear roads and warmth from the sun shining through the windows in the car is getting on the road and exploring. By now, some of you have heard of my yearning to take my marina blue 2017 Hyundai Elantra on the road! By the way, I named my car Elvis! Elvis and I plan to do more road trips this year compared to last year. I will have some of you join me -- you know who you are!
My friend, Marleen, invited me to join her on a road trip to Bowmanville on the first weekend in April. The drive from her home in Mississauga to Bowmanville with a side trip to Orono was enough to turn on my "road trip switch". Yes, I actually feel the excitement of the itch or a switch inside! So, when we went back to Mississauga in the afternoon, I told Marleen that I might just go for a drive. I left her house and headed north on Cawthra Road. Marleen said that Cawthra becomes Hwy 10 which then turns into Hwy 410 further north. So, on a nice sunny afternoon, I ended up in Orangeville, turned east on Hwy 9, took a road north and ended up in Alliston! I found my way towards Hwy 400 from Alliston on Hwy 89. That trip would come in handy on a later road trip.
In the past few years, I have thought a lot about things or events which end. I have friends who have ended friendships/relationships. Four years ago, I ended my long term employment at the Ontario Government and since then, I have friends who have also quit or retired. Some friends have sold their homes and relocated to a new home in a different neighbourhood. Many of us have struggled with decisions to end relationships or events/activities. We paused and MOVED ON. Thankfully, it is seldom simply a DEAD END in our lives.
I've tried to find inspiration on my road trips which I could write about. So, because of my thoughts about endings in life, I decided to see where certain roads end. I find it really exciting and seem to have A-HA moments when I come to the end of a road. What have I learned? Usually, it means I have to decide which direction to turn -- left on right. Oftentimes we have to make decisions when we come to the end of a relationship, job or other events in life.
Recently, I chose to take Bloomington Road from Aurora and headed east. The name of the street changes as it passes through different regions. I've usually taken Bloomington to Goodwood to Port Perry. On this particular trip, I wanted to to see where Bloomington ends. And so, it felt like the plot was getting a bit more interesting. With my GPS on my window, I could see each crossroad coming up. Bloomington eventually turned into Toronto Street in Uxbridge and when I reached Main Street North, the road ended and I had to decide whether to turn left or right. I turned left. After about 5 minutes, I was surprised to see a familiar road coming up on my GPS -- Davis Drive! Well, that is a well known road in Newmarket which I often came across. I knew if I turned left, I would be heading in the direction of Newmarket, so, I decided to turn right. Davis Drive ended at Lake Ridge Road, and I remembered from a couple years ago when my GPS took me here. I turned right on Lake Ridge until I saw a sign for Port Perry at Reach Street. Well, there was something I have been wanting to know about Port Perry, so, I figured, today was the day to find out! As I've mentioned, I've usually turned on Goodwood towards Port Perry, so, this was a different route for me. If I had any doubts about whether I would reach Port Perry, I could hear the voice of my friend, Jaimie (who lived in Port Perry) say, "All roads lead to Port Perry." A-HA! I hoped I would figure out how to get to Island Road. When I saw the sign for Hwy 7A/12, the familiar road filled me joy! A-HA! I knew where I was! Hello Wal-mart! Hello Water Street! And soon, hello Island Road on Scugog Island where Great Blue Heron Charity Casino is located. The Casino is on my OLG Slots and Casino tour which I started in 2014. On that day, I wanted to see where Island Road ended. After passing Great Blue Heron, then a road sign to the Marina on my right, and further on, I recognized the location of the annual Mississaugas of Scugog Island Pow Wow, I finally arrived at a dirt road with a yellow "No Exit" sign. It was not the end of the road, but, I decided it was time to turn onto Fralick's Beach Road, just at the beginning of the dirt road. This was an opportunity to see the houses located at the waterfront, with a view of Lake Scugog. Fralick's Beach Road took me near the water and back up to Island Road, right across from Great Blue Heron Charity Casino. So, the end of this road actually brought me full circle to a place I had previously passed. In life, there are times when we find some experiences come full circle. Sometimes, where we started working might be where we end -- whether we have left that company or not. Sometimes, we meet people in grade school and much later in life, we might meet them again. Some events come full circle in life which I think is really cool to embrace. During recent road trips, I have said to myself, I remember being there just a week or two ago! It prevented me from getting lost. It's nice to feel comfortable with people we have known for years or a place which we have gone to many times. But, I think it's worth exploring new places and meet new people. I thought it would be difficult to make new friends when I left my job. But, in the past four years, I can say that I have met women whom I now call my friends.
My quest to find the end of another road continued. I chose Steeles Avenue East and headed westbound from Bayview Avenue, which is not far from my house. According to Wikipedia, the entire length of Steeles Avenue is 77.3 km. In a previous episode of KaTsZoNe, I've mentioned my drives going eastbound on Steeles Avenue East which turns into Taunton Road and took me to my nephew's house in Ajax. On this particular road trip, my westbound adventure too me across many familiar crossroads including Dixie Road. I often took Dixie Road from Marleen's house in Mississauga up to Steeles Avenue West where I would then head east towards home. On this trip, I took a nice deep breath past Dixie Road and continued into Halton Hills. The leap of excitement filled my heart as I passed one of my favourite malls, Toronto Premium Outlets, at Trafalgar Road. Shopping was not on my to do list that day! No, my journey continued westbound on Steeles Avenue. The road was still north of Hwy 401 but, it crosses to the south of the highway, heading up the Niagara Escarpment, and ends at Appleby Line, Milton. It was definitely a pleasant surprise! By the way, there are 5 scenic lookout points on Appleby Line! By then, my bladder was going to burst, so, I needed a pit stop for a bladder break and some food! I decided to save the adventures in Escarpment Country for another day. At Steeles/Appleby, I saw a sign to Rattlesnake Point which sounded like a great adventure, but, I turned in the opposite direction. It was intriguing and I thought my future adventures could be exciting! Sometimes, the end of an experience in life could lead to an exciting future! You might be ending your status as a single man or woman, yet, will embark on an exciting future with a partner in life! I think that my scenic drive and detours on Appleby Line which ended on Guelph Line (a road I am familiar with) ended well. I've heard about Kelso Conservation Area in Milton from Larry, so, I would put that, as well as Rattlesnake Point, Crawford Lake, etc. on my "To Do" list for the near future. If anyone of you have been to any of the scenic lookout points on Appleby Line or conservation areas in Milton or Burlington, please let me know! (Ref. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steeles_Avenue)
On my last road trip in April, I decided to go to Georgian Mall in Barrie. I was caught off guard on Hwy 400 which forced northbound traffic to exit at Hwy 89 due to an accident involving a cement truck. It was only then when I listened to the radio and tuned in to AM 680 News. So, I took a detour starting from Hwy 89 and 10th Sideroad. I have heard about 10th Sideroad and often wondered about how long it stretched since I've heard it mentioned on the radio. I usually take Yonge Street, and sometimes Hwy 27 or 5th Sideroad from north of Hwy 88 if I head north towards Barrie. On that day, other drivers and I had no choice but to find a detour route to head north. I decided to take 10th Sideroad and it definitely travelled well. I found myself at Innisfil Beach Road in no time and that's where I got back on the 400. I was very happy and relieved to finally make it to the mall!
Georgian Mall is located at Bayfield Street and Livingstone Street East. Bayfield is a very busy street which reminds me of Yonge Street in Toronto. I am familiar with it as it is part of the route to Wasaga Beach. Georgian Mall is not a huge mall, but, it has major stores like The Bay, Sears, Sephora, etc. for my amusement. I admit, having a Starbucks and DavidsTea at Georgian Mall is like icing on a cake! On that particular day, I was hoping to find some shoes at Shumaker, a store I had accidentally discovered this past winter. It is very difficult to find good, comfortable shoes when one has flat feet. I bought a short pair of boots on sale in the winter and wore it all the time! The only other location I found near me is at Markville Mall. Their other location in the GTA is in Mississauga. I got lucky and picked up a couple pretty and cute shoes - something which has orthotics or I can put my own orthotics in one of them. I had to put a plug in for Shumaker because a girl has to share good shopping finds with her girlfriends! But, a man can also find a nice selection too, I'm sure! They only have one size in stock for most shoes which may seem annoying, but, think how unique that is. If the store has good business, perhaps they will open more stores! It reminds me of a chocolate store I discovered many moons ago when I was at the Bramalea City Centre in Brampton when I was with my mom. For years, I hoped they would open more stores because I loved their chocolates! It's a company which started in BC called Purdy's! LOL. I hope Shumaker will also eventually be in all the major malls in the GTA!
I usually head back to Hwy 400 from Georgian Mall, however, I decided to wander again. Instead of heading east, I headed west on Bayfield. It was a cloudy day with rain clouds lurking in isolated areas, but, Elvis could always use a "free" car wash, so, we up for another adventure. My gas tank was quite full -- thankfully. I filled up in Brampton for just over $1.00 when I headed back from the Steeles Avenue to Milton road trip. I had heard that gas would go up 6 cents after midnight, so, hopefully, I could fill up at a cheaper gas station than in Toronto. I drove for about five minutes and saw some cars turning left ahead of me. I decided to follow them. It turned out to be Snow Valley Road. I haven't played "follow the leader" since I was a kid, so, I wondered if this would be fun. Snow Valley Road is a pleasant, quiet winding road. I wondered if living on this road would be like living in cottage country all year round. However, living at an address on Snow Valley Road -- just having the word "snow" in my address all year round, especially during a hot summer, does not warm up to me. And, before that thought left me, it shocked me to see snow on a hill on Snow Valley Road. It is not unusual to see mounds of snow in parking lots and on the side of country roads north of Toronto at this time of year, in spite of temperatures above 10C and even above 20C in the past week -- but, snow on a hill as though it was ready for tobogganing -- yikes! I am just going to move along!
Snow Valley Road appears to be broken up into various branches. It seems I was travelling on the part which turned into Portage Trail which ended at Grenfel Road. Turning on Grenfel Road, I found the way to Sunnidale Road. Sunnidale then led to to Hwy 90/10 which passed through Angus, a place which I have been curious about but have never visited, so, that was one little surprise on this particular random excursion. I quickly came to a turn in the road -- slightly to the left which was still County Road 10 or Cambrai Road to the right. I decided turn onto Cambrai Road and was eventually surprised to see a sign for CFB Borden.
I've seen the sign on Hwy 400 many times, but, oh my goodness, I was entering Canadian Forces Base Borden. Was that a "Welcome" sign or a "Warning" sign that I passed? Was that a list of what I must have with me? I was thrilled at first, seeing buildings, tanks, direction to the museum, townhomes, schools and a Tim Horton's! I tried to think of the significance of Dieppe Road, Ortona Road, Ramillies Road, Hong Kong Road during WWI and WWII. When I realized that this was a huge place and had no idea how to get out, that's when I got a bit worried. Although I saw passersby and the OPP office, I still tried a bit longer to find my way out. I could not remember the street I took when I first came to the Base. Eventually, I recognized Ortona Road. But, what caught my eye was the large CFB Borden sign which I first passed when I arrived. I turned around in the opposite direction this time! No more Dieppe Road (which I saw several times) and I was on the road with farm fields on both sides! After going around in circles at CFB Borden, I felt like I had to get out! My surprise visit had me thinking that sometimes, while it is nice to visit a new place, it's also a good feeling to leave.
Do you remember the excitement of starting a new class? Were you amazed by the your office when you first started working at a new job? Remember when you first met someone and you thought, "He's delicious!" No, not the chocolate Easter Bunny, but, the good looking guy you met at your friend's BBQ! Then, once things got rolling in class, at work, or with a new guy or gal, things started to spin and you wondered, what am I still doing here? The fun and excitement was no longer there and you felt like it was time to get out. You did not feel just a bit uneasy, but, you worried about things and as time went by, you knew it was time to stop spinning.
I know that sometimes, it may seem easier to stick on the same path. You feel comfortable with your surroundings and people that you see every day. But, when you reach a crossroad or dead end which forces you to turn left or right because you cannot turn around because time does not reverse itself, you have to be brave and make that turn. Oftentimes, you are the only one who can make a decision. Sometimes, you have to consider other significant people in your life in order to make that big decision -- left or right. Just because you decide to turn right at the end of the road does not mean that you made the RIGHT or correct or best decision. It doesn't always work that way. Although I travelled with a GPS, I also had to pay attention to road signs and sign boards. In life, we should also pay attention to signs and allow our gut or instinct to guide us. With age, our past experiences can help us choose wisely. But, if you always make the same mistakes, better get a new GPS! Perhaps, you need professional help or a wise elderly male or female who know you well and whom you can trust. A GPS needs software updates from time to time, so, we need to tune our instincts, surround ourselves with wise friends and guides, and update ways in which we can make good decisions in all aspects of our lives.
I thought when I grew older that it would be easier to make decisions. As a child and youth, the lack of experience made me sometimes feel unprepared for life. I constantly asked my parents and teachers for advice. Both my parents have departed this earth, so, I have sought advice from professionals and peers, and occasionally wisdom from the elderly. I've realized that I still don't always have the answers and need guidance, but, I am not as anxious because I know I will not hit a dead end and am more confident that answers can be found. I think road trips make me see how life can be and it also opens my eyes to how decisions have to be made. Hopefully, we can all we seek good advice when needed and be more confident when making the small and big decisions in our lives.
I'll be back with a new episode of KaTsZoNe in June! Enjoy life!
Peace and good health,
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