Black Cloud Chronicles ~ Day 4: Sault St. Marie

Our first full day of camping in Sault Ste. Marie was a busy one.

Frank was up at 7 AM for the sole purpose of hitting the camp showers early.

Why not use our own showers you may ask?

Well, these KOA camp showers are really exceptional. It’s like a country club or pretty close to it I imagine, not that I’ve ever been in a country club before.

These showers are big, shiny, modern, clean and equipped with rainwater shower-heads and blow dryers.

Jennifer was the next one to indulge in a hot shower. I went last.

Then, it was time to give baby Ginny a bath which we did in the kitchen sink.

I wish I would’ve taken pictures.

Unfortunately both my hands were busy propping up three month old Ginny as her Mother soaped up and rinsed her off. Ginny mewled, splashed and kicked in protest.

Looking back, I realize now that my small and humble kitchen sink will never wash anything so precious again.

I decided for dinner that day I would make a pot of my beef barley soup in my handy-dandy Insta pot. This proved to be much easier to prepare in my tiny kitchen than I had expected. Twenty minutes to prepare, thirty minutes to cook and finally twenty minutes to vent.

As they say in the movies… “Easy Peasy.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Frank had insisted that I accompany him to the KOA campground store. I didn’t have to think too hard to figure out why. The day before he had gone to the same store and purchased two small lawn ornament poles, one for each of his brothers.

Along with the polls he bought two Harley Davidson flags to go along with them.

He got the idea for these tenting flagpoles while camping here last year. One of our neighbouring campers who approached us and asked if we thought the camp would allow his MIA flag.

We told him no. There would be no problem.

As it turns out, he also purchased a pole for us as well and now he wanted me to go and pick out a flag for it. Once at the store it didn’t take me too long to find my flag. In fact it was pretty much the first one I had seen.

It was whimsical.

It was colourful.

It was my kind of kitschy.

The flag depicted a gnome sporting the customary felt red pointy hat standing next to a red and white polkadotted mushroom. The caption read…

“Welcome Gnome.”

Later that evening we watched the movie Pure Country, one of our old family favourites starring George Strait.

We were all in bed by 10.

Tomorrow we would head for Thunder Bay.

#BlackCloudChronicles #SaultStMarie #Travel #Camping #Family #Blog #Alaska2019 #Jayco

Black Cloud Chronicles ~ Day 3: Sault St. Marie

Woke up at 7 AM, left the park by 9 o’clock and pulled into Tim Hortons for breakfast.

Goodbye Parry Sound.

Today was Mother’s Day. Actually, it was a very special Mother’s Day because Jen was celebrating her very first one.

For the very first time I wished my daughter a very happy Mother’s Day.

Later, at about one in the afternoon, my interest was piqued when we drove by a very scenic resort called Lake Lauzon Resort and Marine. With Lake Superior on the left and forests on the right, this looked like a place where I could really spend some serious camping time.

We pulled over for lunch and to give Ginny her bottle.

By the beautiful scenery, it was obvious that we were working our way in to a more and more picturesque terrain.

Later, as we rambled down the highway now leading to Blind River, I couldn’t help notice Bobby-Dog perched in between me and Frank atop layers of cushions and pillows covering our cooler and barbecue. He seemed stoic in his determination not to give into bobbing his head the the bobble headed dogs familiar to any souvenir shop…

…although I rather wished he did.

Meanwhile, Jen’s attention seemed focused on the scenery from the grand vista courtesy of the large window to her left.

About 112 kilometres outside of Sault St. Marie and just on the outskirts of Blind River it looked like the trees were just coming out of their dormant stage and had yet to get that soft green dusting that heralds the imminent budding of leaves.

So far this trip, I had seen only cows and horses. I am happy to report that I could now add yaks to the repertoire.

84 kilometres outside Sault St. Marie we passed a sign saying that if we would turn left ahead, the road will take us to Tessalon.

The lakes we have seen so far are the colour of my father’s star sapphire ring, a nice accompaniment to the powder blue skies.

I had told Jen earlier in the day that we would indeed be witness to the beauty of Ontario.

We were not disappointed.

By 2:00 p.m. we were entering the township of Bruce Mines. We had already passed barren fields where evidence of mines could be seen in the distance.

At this point Echo Bay was 40 kilometres ahead and Sault St. Marie was 64.

As I contemplated that, I promised myself at one of the first things I would do when we arrived an settled at the camp I would seek out a long, hot shower.

By the sound of Ginny’s rising squeaks coming from behind me I sensed that my three-month-old granddaughter was pretty much feeling the same way I was.

As this is going on, Bobby dog moved his head back and forth casting a sorrowful glance towards Ginny and her mewling. He then looked at me and seemed to implore me to make it stop.

As Frank predicted we arrived in Sault Ste. Marie at 3:30 PM. It was close call because we first had to find a propane dealer and fill our depleted tanks. After scouring the streets for 20 minutes very nice lady at the Sault Ste. Marie trading post directed Frank to go down a few more lights where they have a propane dispensary.

Sure enough, there it was. Thirty dollars worth of propane later we were heading for the campground.

The sight of the KOA campground came as a welcomed relief after the mud and grime of the Parry Sound campground. Everything here is orderly and neatly groomed. We were allotted to the back of the campgrounds next to the rental cabins, out-of-the-way of continual traffic from the head office.

I was the proverbial happy camper.

After we were all hooked up Frank and I decided on sandwiches since the majority of the meat was in the freezer. I made turkey on rye with cheese alongside a pot of soup.

It turned out to be a pleasant and quiet evening.

That is until we turned on the television shortly after eight and tuned in to the Toronto Raptors game. The three of us watched while Little Ginny slept oblivious to the game and the high tensions being felt by all the fans including us.

During the last five seconds of the game the Raptors threw the ball towards the net where it teetered on the brink until fortune favoured the team of the true north and gently, the ball tipped into the basket. The crowds went wild and so did we.

It was at that very moment of jubilation when we woke our sleeping princess and she was not happy.

She did not go back to sleep until 1:00 a.m.

Ouch.

Black Cloud Chronicles ~ Day 2: Parry Sound

Our first night in the camper for this journey across Canada went by peacefully. Jennifer didn’t seem to mind the kitchen table made into a bed once it was covered in a sheet and paired off with a pillow and blanket. She said she slept well as did the baby beside her in a portable bassinet. The usual 4 o’clock a.m. feeding went off without incident. Later, Jen would tell me that her bed in the camper was more comfortable than the bed assigned to her in the hospital for labour and delivery.

For breakfast we had frosted flakes cereal. For lunch, standard pork and beans.

For dinner, we finally got to have on our steak and asparagus.

We tried to stay upbeat to offset our mud brown surroundings and sloshy roads. Meanwhile, the interior of the camper became immersed in a routine of meal preparation, baby bottle washing, sterilizing and preparing infant formula.

In the afternoon Jen and I enjoyed a card game of rummy. I’m embarrassed to say that she beat me quite soundly in spite of years of experience playing rummy with my father who had taught me to play when I was around six years old right along with Go Fish. In the end it was all great fun of course.

For the majority of day two in Parry Sound, we spent the day inside the camper due to cool temperatures.

Towards the end of the day Frank got out the propane fire ring which would be our obligatory evening campfire.

We wrapped baby Ginny up in the plush velour brown blanket and carried her to the picnic bench where we bounced her on our knees best we could. It wasn’t long however before she tired of that as did our knees.

It was lights out at 10.

Tomorrow we would head for Sault Sainte Marie.

Black Cloud Chronicles ~ May 10, 2019

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Day One

At 11:47 a.m. on May 10 2019 we loaded up our Jayco C Class motorhome with groceries, clothes, camping chairs, various stoves, ovens and barbecues, pots, pans, cooler, kayak, propane tanks and bear spray as we launched ourselves into the trip of lifetime that we had been planning for over nine months.

Finally, husband Frank, Bobby-Dog and I were heading out west, as far as the road, motorhome and our money would take us.

On board for the trip was our eldest daughter Jen with her new three month old daughter Ginny, who would be travelling as far as Winnipeg with us.

There, she and the baby would be visiting with her sister, my youngest daughter Aria and her husband for a week before flying back home.

The first leg of the journey would be an easy one. After a little over four hours of driving we arrived at he KOA camp-sight in Parry Sound, not so much a campground as a mud pit. We would be here for two nights content in the knowledge that we would make the best of our new surroundings and cool mid May temperatures knowing that there is still so much ahead of us. At least we weren’t hopelessly stuck in the mud like some of our camping neighbours, the ones who came with their ATVs, apparently not expecting their trucks to sink in a lake of mud before even reaching their camp sight.

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For dinner, we just kept it simple, turkey sandwiches on rye and mushroom soup. The steaks and asparagus would have to wait until tomorrow.

It was a good first day, and I have no doubt there will be many more.

First day down, and at least another hundred more days left to go.

Yay!

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Daily Grace ~ June 4 2018

All these smiling faces are brought to you courtesy of Oma and Opa’s love of photography and their fore site to ensure that there was always a camera at the ready.

“Wit müssen knipsen!”…

Or in English…

“We must photograph”…

was always Oma’s rallying cry when she found herself surrounded by family and friends.

Which happened quite often…

This is how we are able witness their legacy from the 1920’s to the present.

I feel so blessed.

Daily Grace June 2 2018

The address of Grandfather’s church was 257 Euclid Avenue, Toronto.

In the top left corner you can see Oma, another church member then Opa standing by the entrance of their parsonage.

Looking at all the dresses and suits, this photo gives me a keen sense on how serious the men and women of the church were about being part of a sharply dressed congregation.

The photo in the middle is, left to right, my Father, me, my Grandmother, my aunt and then her husband and my uncle holding my cousin Veronica and then lastly Opa.

In the bottom left photo is Opa Scherer proudly standing at his pulpit. In the right photo is the church’s congregation. That’s me sitting on the ledge between Oma and Opa in front of the parsonage door. Judging by my age I would say this photo was taken 1961-62.

If you were to visit 257 Euclid Avenue today you would find that the church has since been replaced by fashionable condos. Long gone are any traces of this church.

I am grateful that Oma and Opa left us these important historical gems for all of us to look back on and be proud of.

Daily Grace ~ June 1 2018

As you go through Oma and Opa’s albums it’s clear that it’s all about the happy thoughts…

Just take a look above. There’s a souvenir coaster from a cup of coffee dated December 26 1978, and then along the bottom there’s a familiar bible verse.

Of course, we then have the obligatory photograph showing the happy grandparents.

Then there are the postcards…

One of my favourite postcards ever is the one with the Eiffel Tower. It’s the red poppy sticker of modesty that always gets me.

And then there are the albums mysterious secrets…

The red rose appliqué is somewhat of an enigma to me. Where did it come from and how is it significant?

But never mind that…

Check out the immaculately folded paper tablecloth right next to it.

I’ll never figure that one out…

Daily Grace ~ May 31 2018

These photos of Oma and Opa clearly show their love of travel and being with family and friends.

Case in point, the dated dinner napkin at the top of the photo and next to that Oma’s resounding handwritten praise for the excellent meal she had at “Wurst Spezialitäten” which I believed translates into “The Sausage Specialist”.

Any opportunity to sit and enjoy a meal, some cake or even a cup of coffee with loved ones was always reason to celebrate.

Always.

Daily Grace ~ May 30 2018

Today’s post is special to me because it includes a gift in the form of a story that my Grandfather decided to include in his personal narrative.

And here I thought his story telling days were through…

One last story from Opa…

My Grandfather excelled at telling stories.

My love of stories began with him telling me one story each day that we spent together.

He had a collection of over 500 which he kept in a small handwritten journal of robin egg blue which he kept in the left pocket of his jacket.

I’m hoping to rediscover it as I make my way through his albums.

That would be incredible!

Daily Grace ~ May 29 2018

Oma and Opa loved music. Grandfather was always leading us in song before meals, when talking to loved ones during long distant phone calls, or even during a lull in conversation.

In the centre you see birthday wishes received in the mail written in different hands. Each signature offers their good wishes and loving thoughts.

Ticket stubs were also particularly prized as they were tangible proof of one of their joyful travelling experiences.

My favourite part of this picture is the bold red AMEN at the end of what seems to be a quote of scripture followed by his initials and the date.

No doubt, all those who loved Opa can still easily identify with this testimony of faith and still feel his joy.