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By Katherine Kiang
KaTsZoNe Newsletters > KaTsZoNe - Issue 113 - On The Road Again!

3 Jun 2014

Hi everyone,

It finally feels like summer here in Toronto! Not hearing any complaints!

It has been a busy May and I squeezed in some trips to flea markets and farmer markets as I am delighted to get into my new Hyundai Elantra - finally a car with air conditioning! I have not had AC in our cars since my parents and I came to Canada in 1973.   We have not had very hot days yet, but, I did try it out just for a bit.  And, I'm sure it will be nice to have heated seats in the winter!

If the title "On the Road Again" reminds you of Willie Nelson's song, this episode is not about music - well, then again, I am enjoying a free three-month subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio, so, maybe there is a lot of music involved!  It took me a couple weeks to get started, but, I now love having Sirius radio on my short and longer road trips!  I love the Christian radio station called The Message and as a result, I downloaded a lot of new Christian music from iTunes.  And, with bluetooth in the car, it's really nice to sync my iPod to my car and finally stepping into current decade!  I haven't taken advantage of bluetooth technology for many years, but, these days I can take advantage of it in the car as well as at home on my new bluetooth speakers!

In the month of May, I started my Flea Market and Farmers Market excursions with the Courtice Flea Market located about 4 kms east of Oshawa.  It was my first visit to the Courtice Flea Market and I enjoyed the drive as well as the little flea market!  And, since it was on my way back, I swung by the Pickering Markets that same day.  The Pickering Markets is much larger than the Courtice Flea Market.  I took mom to the Pickering Markets once, several years ago.  It now has an antique market, flea market, farmers market and trade centre.  It was a fun-filled day at the markets, topped off with two big bird droppings on my relatively clean car!  I now have cleaners and wipes in the trunk of my car to take care of these little "accidents"!  Larry always tells me that bird poops are lucky.  I try not to buy into it, but, given that they were the first bird poops on my new car, I bought a LottoMax!  Yes, there was a winner - a small one, but nevertheless, just to prove Larry was right! 

Larry and I went to Barrie on the fourth weekend in May.  He worked at the Barrie Waterfront Festival.  He drove his car, but, on Saturday, I rented a Mazda 2, which Larry calls a "puddle jumper" - LOL.  That "puddle jumper" was really nice to drive - better than the Chevrolet Sonic which I rented last year in Barrie.  I went down to the Tanger Outlets and then The 400 Market. Afterwards, I went to Georgian Mall in Barrie, known as the largest mall in that city.  I went to Heritage Park last year, so, I thought I would go somewhere different this year.  I know, it's another mall, which I often go to in the GTA, but, I had never been there before and I was trying to avoid getting a sunburn since "someone" forgot to bring her sunglasses and hat! 

That Saturday night, I attended the Barrie Waterfront Festival.  Larry was keeping fans at bay at the stage during the evening concerts.  The main act was Tyler Shaw -- oh, to be a teenager again!  If you are bad with names like me, you may have no idea who he is, but, you might know a very popular song he co-wrote and sings, Kiss Goodnight.  If you listen to a pop radio stations, you will likely recognize it.  Well, I had no idea until I googled him AFTER the show.  I walked around the amusement park rides, walked along the beach and then stood on the side a bit away from the stage until Tyler Shaw finished his performance.  The fans later went backstage to meet him.  It was only my second time in Barrie, yet, I was pretty comfortable finding my way around.  So comfortable that a week later, I thought about going to the Georgian College Auto Show - but, I changed my mind.  I headed elsewhere instead because I figured I needed to get out of my comfort zone.

I have discovered that road trips are part of life's challenges which have helped me gain a sense of freedom and confidence and I learn from them, from driving itself and my destinations.  Instead of heading to Barrie where I would be very comfortable with, on the last Saturday in May, I drove to the St. Jacobs Market in Waterloo.  I headed west on Hwy 401 and after a few kilometres, I already had a near miss side swiping a car in the left lane next to me.  I assumed we were in each other's blindspots.  Thank goodness I did not have any caffeine in my blood yet because I think I would have been a mess!  Right away, I just thanked God for sending His angels to save us and then, I noticed that the song playing on the Sirius Christian radio station was a song called, Take Me Home, which I had never heard before.  I was thinking, I miss my parents, but, I don't think it's time for me to go HOME yet to see my parents and all my loved ones who have passed!  I was relieved to have survived my first ordeal on the highway and when that song had finished, my next thought was, where is my first pit stop so I can get some caffeine at Starbucks and SOON!  I ended up near Cambridge and I recognized the ONRoute stop immediately where Larry and I have stopped in the past.  All ONRoute stops have a Starbucks -- amongst other restaurants.  As it turned out, I was not too far from my destination, but, it was still nice to get a latte!

I found directions to the St. Jacobs Market on their website but could not program my destination on my GPS, so, I ended up taking two detours, but, it allowed me to see more of the area.  Last year, I was really sad to hear that the main building of the St. Jacobs Market caught fire.  I could not make it there last year.  This year, I learned from someone who worked at the market that a new permanent building is being built.  The original wooden building has walls but still have a tarp overhead.  Some vendors were outdoors.  The market is open on Thursdays and Saturdays year round, and in the summer, it is also open on Tuesdays.  Across the street is the St. Jacobs Outlet stores -- not a huge number of stores, but, if you have kids who love Lego, it's on the second floor.  I had read about tours to a Mennonite farm which starts at the St. Jacobs Market and I was able to hop on a horse-drawn carriage (for a price) and head to a Mennonite farm nearby.  There is lots to learn about the Mennonites' way of life.  It was a great opportunity to meet family members at a little store at the farm and I walked away with my maple syrup and maple sugar purchases -- not that I can indulge in all the sugar, but, I wanted to support the family business and bless friends with some treats.  

After seeing the market, outlet stores and Mennonite farm, I drove about 3 kms to the Village of St. Jacobs.  My first stop in the village was the Visitors Centre where I picked up some information for possible future trips for this summer including Stratford, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Elora and camping, as well as a small leaflet about The Mennonite Story.  I had a nice dinner buffet at the Stone Crock on the main road and then headed home.

I did not actually go straight home because the Toronto Premium Outlets closes at 9 p.m. on the weekend, I had plenty of time to stop by!  After the dinner buffet, I just wanted to go for a walk!  I had to stop by at Eddie Bauer, Kate Spade, and Coach, of course, but, ended up walking away empty handed. 

I can't believe the number of accidents on the 401 those past few days and I could have ended up in one earlier that day.  Larry told me about a delay on 401 east due to an accident while I was at Toronto Premium Outlets.  I told him I would just take another route home, which I have been in the habit of doing the last few times.  I take Trafalgar and head north to a street which turns towards Georgetown.  Then, when I reach Hwy 7 (Georgetown), I turn east and the road eventually turns into 16th Avenue.  I discovered it by accident last year.  It is not a short trip but I do enjoy it.  I could have crawled like a snail on the 401 and would still probably have reached home sooner, but, what is a road trip without detours?

I am already itching to get out on the road again!  I love driving my new car, but, that's just part of it.  The summer is so short and if there is any good driving to be done, it is just the right time. Where to next?  No idea yet.  Like I've said, I picked up some brochures.  I would like to take some shorter trips before heading out to the east coast to see my friends.  There will also be road trips with Larry.  He and my friend, Tracy, are my two favourite people to go on road trips with.  I've been through a lot and learned a lot from both of them and considering we are still friends, I guess surviving those road trips is a good test of sorts, and memorable, to say the least. 

I am glad to hear from some of you after May's episode of KaTsZoNe, particularly about your summer vacation plans.  I hope to catch up with many of you this summer!  I will try not to run into you!  Imagine, "Crazy Asian female driver in an Indigo blue Hyundai Elantra ... NEWS AT 11!"

KaTsZoNe would love to take the summer off but if I live to tell the tales, I will be back with summer episodes in July and August.  Stay in touch!

Enjoy the summer!


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