14 Jun 2015
Yes, it's me! I'm finally writing again after a whirlwind of guest bloggers for the last three episodes of KaTsZoNe! I want to thank my extremely gifted and inspiring guest writers, Jaimie Milburn, Sinéad Tyrone and Katerina Baboulas. I've learned a lot about their life's journey and hope to apply their great advice to my own life. These three writers have a great future ahead! I anticipate getting copies of whatever they write because their words are full of life! I don't know about you but I come across lots of reading material. I read all the time, but, there's good and bad writing all around. It's not just about writing technique, it has to do with what is written. I often read for knowledge, but, we need material to nourish our spirits and souls too. I hope that Jaimie, Sinéad and Katerina touched your spirits and souls through their writing. I hope to have them back again to be my guest bloggers and also add more writers in the near future.
I am really excited to have great weather -- you know what that means -- ROAD TRIPS!!! I picked up the "Festivals & Events in Ontario" booklet and am "dog-earring" pages of places and events which I am interested in. The booklet lists festivals and events in Ontario between April 2015 and March 2016. You can also check festivalsandeventsontario.ca for information.
This past May, I did not use the Festivals & Events guide, but, I literally took the approach of a game I've seen. Have you ever seen a wheel with prizes? Someone would say, "Round and round and round she goes. Where she stops nobody knows." I may not have spun a wheel, but, I took a random approach of visiting places. I would pick nice days, pick north, south, east or west - oftentimes, I'd listen to the traffic report before leaving my house. I had a couple destinations in mind, and if there would no significant jams, I'd head out. It's like a game.
In the beginning of May, I decided to head out towards Belleville. I did not use a map nor GPS to get there. As I have learned in the past, I saw signs for Downtown in any large destination, so, I decided I would turn off an exit in Belleville which said "Downtown". I read about a farmer's market in downtown Belleville and literally saw it as I drove by. Then, I decided to find the waterfront and literally followed some cars which seemed to be headed for a parking lot and I arrived at a park at the waterfront. I took a pleasant walk along the waterfront in Belleville and came across the Kiwanis Walleye Fish Derby that was taking place that weekend. I was munching on poutine when I was approached by a charming gentleman in his 80s who wore a Kiwanis shirt. I later learned that he was helping out with the Kiwanis Walleye Fish Derby. We talked about so many things and he even offered for he and his wife to take me on a tour of Prince Edward County one Sunday. I ended up taking the bridge which we could see just a short distance away and I went on my own little tour of Prince Edward County. I asked the gentleman if there were other bridges back from Prince Edward County and he told me that there was one crossing back to Trenton. In the back of my mind, I figured if I crossed over on Hwy 62, I could find my way back to Trenton on my way back -- hopefully!
As I have found in my road trips across Ontario, there's a lot of land - open fields, trees, and water. There are so many towns and cities of different sizes. I wish more people would explore where they live. We don't need to visit other countries to have an adventure. I think that travelling to other countries makes me appreciate what I have. I've met some wonderful people when I travelled overseas but I've also met great people while travelling in the province I live in.
So, just a bit of a detour, but, back to my journey in Prince Edward County. First of all, I had no idea that Prince Edward County is an island. So, that's one thing I learned that day. The only notable place I had heard of was Picton, so, that was my first destination. Relying on the elderly gentleman's directions, I crossed the bridge we had seen and drove all the way to Picton where I found a tourism office. I discovered that the tourism office was closed there on the weekends, so, I did not have the opportunity to chat with anyone about some possible attractions to see. I knew there was not much time to cover a lot of ground so my plan was to drive. I looked at the map of Prince Edward County but instead of finding Hwy 33 to head towards Trenton, I went in the worng direction and ended up at Glenora which has a ferry that crosses to the mainland, where Hwy 33 would continue towards Kingston. I decided that might be an adventure for another day. I turned around and went back on Hwy 33 through Picton again and found my way along the coastline towards Trenton. Prince Edward County is wine country and I think that it would be a nice trip for another day or maybe a longer vacation in the area.
I reached Trenton and randomly came across a grocery store where I was hoping to find a washroom. I met some people fishing along the water and spoke to them briefly, asking if they caught any fish. I had parked right by the waterfront, right in front of a bridge which said, "Gateway to the Trent Severn Waterway". Without realizing it when I first stopped, I was at the second location for the Kiwanis Walleye Fish Derby! I was so surprised! When I was in Belleville, I spoke to a young guy about what this was about and he told me that there were three locations, which included Belleville and Trenton. He did not know the exact location. So, I accidentally stumbled upon this location. Needless to say, there was a food truck in the grocery store parking lot (near the fish derby location) and I was craving a fish burger! This popular food truck in the grocery store parking lot had a line up which did not stop!
On my way home from Trenton, I broke up my almost two hour drive by stopping at The Big Apple in Colborne. Several friends knew about the place yet I had never been! Delicious pies! Wow! I like their one sugar-free apple pie option which I picked up for myself. I gave some pies to Larry and his family. So, that's definitely a great place to stop at. Apparently they have mini golf and other games too outside and a cafe/restaurant indoors. So, if you like pies, it's worth stopping off at The Big Apple!
Another memorable May adventure was my trip to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Once again, no map and no GPS -- which resulted in me not arriving at Niagara-on-the-Lake first as I had intended. Instead, I ended up heading towards Fort Erie! I got off the highway and was able to head for the Falls and stopped at Fallsview Casino. Fallsview Casino has the funniest tv ads. I had never seen it so I parked in their underground parking. The Fallsview lobby had some Niagara brochures and one of the ads which caught my eye was Niagara Helicopters and I was particularly interested because it said No Reservations were required ahead of time. So, in less than an hour, I decided to leave Fallsview and headed to Niagara Helicopters. I thought I was lost, but, the Ontario Tourism office caught my eye while I was driving on Stanley Street. I passed it and swung back around. It turned out, I did not miss the street to Niagara Helicopters. It was still a good idea to get more maps and I also picked up maps of places in Ontario which I may visit in the near future.
Everything fell into place so well because when I arrived at Niagara Helicopters, I was told there was room for one (ME!) in ten minutes! Wow! I had time just to skip to the loo. I did not have lunch yet, so, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel on the ride. The man who organized us said there were four ladies who were together as a group. He asked if I would like to sit up front with the pilot. I was so happy and grateful he asked! I even told him that when I was taking a seaplane from Victoria, BC to Seattle about a decade ago, the pilot asked if one of us would like to sit in the front with him and I hesitated and wished I hadn't. So, another man took that seat. So, I told the man from Niagara Helicopters, I accept! Within seconds of take-off, I was dizzy already! But, I managed to see and absorb the view. I've been on a famous boat, Maid of the Mist, which took passengers on the Niagara River right up to the magnificent Niagara Falls, but, this was a different experience and what an amazing birds-eye view! I snapped some photos while on board the helicopter and I also purchased some photos from Niagara Helicopters which had me sitting next to the pilot on the helicopter as well as one standing outside the helicopter before boarding. A helicopter ride was something I thought of doing for years. Then, in one day, without much thought, it was done and is now off my bucket list! I was dizzy even after landing, but, I drove off and managed to get to Niagara-on-the-Lake and immediately tried to find something to eat. Starbucks happened to save my day, as it often does, and a really nice barista listened to my dilemma. She got me some food and tea and I was fine after finishing eating. What a relief! I don't usually get seasick, but, I've been sick in planes, cars and buses! That's something only travelling has allowed me to discover.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is so lovely this time of year. I have friends who have attended the Shaw Festival in previous years. I am a fan of Ireland and Irish things, but, I admit, I have not studied the works of George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright (1856-1950), and have not attended any performances at the Shaw Festival. Incidentally, Mr. Shaw was a co-founder of the London School of Economics. One thing I would like to do there on another day is to have afternoon tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel. And, I also would like to do a Niagara wine tour on another day.
Road trips aside, I am also thrilled to have finally meet my one year old grandnephew, Ethan, at the end of May. Ethan and his parents live in California and came to visit family. It's fabulous to get together with my family. Believe it or not, Ethan is not the youngest of my grandnieces and grandnephews. My niece, Lorraine, who lives in Hong Kong gave birth to a boy named Enzo! Lorraine and her sister, Lillian, each had a girl two years ago. I have not met all three kids since they live in Hong Kong. I now have four grandnieces and three grandnephews!
As you can see, this episode of KaTsZoNe took awhile to get out. I have decided to make this a June/July issue. I will also have bi-monthly issues for the remainder of this year.
I am on the lookout for more guest bloggers! I recently asked my friend, Victoria, to be my guest blogger/writer and hope she will take me up on the experience. She and her family are making a big move -- literally. I won't get into the details, but, hopefully when they've settled down and have some time, they will consider writing for KaTsZoNe. It's bittersweet to see them move away, but, I want them to be happy and healthy.
Summer will be upon us soon! If you would like to share summer adventure/vacation stories with me, give me a call, send me an email, or even make a comment on my website! As I've mentioned, the great weather is the start of summer road trips! My friend, Irene, wants to join me this summer! We'll see how it goes. Once she experiences my driving on the highway, she may change her mind, or I'll have to stock up on Gravol in my car!
Peace and blessings.
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