Day 20 - Happy Birthday Momma !

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July 16th 2009
Published: July 18th 2009
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After a long and completely exhausting day yesterday, we could only hope that today would be better. We both slept good last night but we woke up this morning at the Montreal South KOA to a very cold, dark and cloudy day. I will have to say that we have definitely had the craziest twenty days of weather I’ve ever experienced in my life. One day it’s seventy degrees and the sun is just a shinin’ and the next day it’s forty degrees and pouring down rain. It’s no wonder Jason and Lynn were sick for most of their time on the trip and I really can’t believe that Tim hasn’t been that sick at all. Well, we got up, grabbed our bath buckets and made our way on over to the showers. Thank goodness there was plenty of hot water to go around cause it was forty-two degrees outside and that made for an extremely chilly walk back to the motor home. As soon as we made it back, I began to whip us up some breakfast while Tim started making calls to Dupont Ford. The English speaking receptionist put a gentleman by the name of John Pierre on the phone to assist Tim. I am happy to report that John Pierre was very friendly, helpful and he understood everything that came out of Tim’s mouth. This was such wonderful news for us so we packed up and headed on over to the dealership to see if they could fix the motor home. John Pierre and his assistant came right out to meet us when we arrived and they immediately began assessing the situation. We were so thrilled to finally get some help but the thrill would soon be killed ! As I was watching through the windshield, I quickly saw the disappointment come over Tim’s face. I knew this wasn’t good news so I braced myself accordingly. When Tim returned he proceeded to tell me that, this and that and over here and under there and blah blah blah and all that car talk that I don’t understand, was wrong and John Pierre couldn’t fix it and we would have to just put it in the shop when we get home. At least now we knew what the problem was, well, Tim knows what the problem is so that burden is lifted and we can be on our way. He did say that it was “safe” to drive for now so we made the decision to continue forward with the trip and off we went. Tim grabbed the map and I went for the book as we began to plot out our next venture. That’s pretty much how we decide which direction to take and where to go next. I have been through the book and highlighted everything on Tim’s map so he tries to navigate us through the orange highlights. The collaboration of the two seems to form a good path for us to follow and we usually get to see some interesting things that we otherwise would never get to experience. We left Quebec and made our way towards Ottawa, Ontario to check out Parliament Hill. Lynn had been there before and her green highlight was staring me in the face so I had to make sure we found it so I could mark it off in the book too. About thirty minutes later, I recognized it from the picture in the book and yelled for Tim to stop. It was an amazing site to see. Parliament Hill is a castle like building that sits high on a bluff above the Ottawa River in the midst of the most magnificently manicured grounds you’ve ever seen. I remember staring at it and thinking to myself, I would hate to be the person that has to cut all that grass, water all those flowers and trim all those bushes ! I’m afraid that the pictures are not going to do it justice because it was still so dark and cloudy outside but at least I’ll always have that beautiful memory in my head. Next, we were off to find the Rideau Canal which can be found on page 1002 of the book. Oh look, it doesn’t have a green highlight through it, sorry Lynn but this one is all mine ! Don’t fret, I’m sure it will look great in orange ! The Ridau Canal was originally built in the 19th century as a military route linking Montreal to Kingston and it dumps into the Ottawa River. However, now in the winter months, it serves as an icy thoroughfare and is considered the world’s longest naturally frozen ice skating rink. During the week, it fills up with businesspeople commuting by skate between their homes and offices as well as schoolchildren zipping along carrying their lunch boxes. How cool would that be to ice skate back and forth to work and school ? On the weekends the pace is more leisurely, with skaters making frequent stops at food concessions for hot chocolate and maple covered shaved ice. This reminds me of something you would read in a fairy tale or see in a movie. I wish it looked like this today when we saw it but unfortunately it didn’t. It looked just like a normal canal with boats cruising along and a few fishermen trying to wet their hooks. Nonetheless, it was still beautiful and maybe we’ll get the chance to come back and experience it in the winter some day. Other than sightseeing, there was one more thing nearby to see but first we would have to cross the bridge and make our way about three miles back into Quebec. The book took us into a quaint little town called Gatineau and here we found the wedge-shaped Gatineau Park. This park is one of North America’s top cross-country ski and snowshoeing destinations with nearly 124 miles of groomed trails for people to enjoy. There were tables spread throughout the park for picnicking as well as a few cabins for the skiers to utilize during the winter. They say this is a skier’s paradise and I’ll just have to take their word for it because I just don’t see myself getting on any skis in this lifetime. Well, we had a great time touring Ottawa today but now it was time to make our way on down the road. It seems as though my beloved husband has this knack for sniffing out casinos so we didn’t really make it that far before he spotted the Hilton Lac Leamy Casino. He had that little twinkle in his eye that I just can’t say no to, so I caved in and we made a little pit stop. I’ve always heard that Hilton either did it great or not at all and this place was no exception. It was a small but beautiful casino and everyone there seemed very friendly. I have to brag and say that I was just piddling around with a couple of slot machines while I was waiting on Tim to strike it rich at the three card poker table when, much to my surprise, the bells started ringing and the lights began flashing. I had just hit the $1,015.00 progressive jackpot on a one dollar Quick Hit machine and boy was I happy ! Of course Tim heard me squealing all the way across the casino and he knew it was something good. I took my money and made a b-line for him and told him it was time to get the heck outta and take there money with us. Surprisingly he agreed so we cashed out, went upstairs to eat the buffet and then made our way to the motor home. I would have to consult with all of our gambling buddies but I’m quite certain that the less than two hours we spent inside the casino was a record for us. I don’t think we ever spent less than two hours in a casino in our life but hopefully it was enough to satisfy the craving for a little while anyway. According to Tim’s trusty map, the next big destination on our list was Manitoulin Island. We weren’t sure if we would make it all the way tonight but luckily Magellan was all rested up and it would be able to locate us a Wal-Mart if we fell short of the island. I just sat back with my feet on the dashboard enjoying the scenery as Tim steadily drove on for hours. We passed some beautiful wildflower fields as well as many well maintained farmlands. As we were traveling, Tim spotted a coyote standing in a field and soon thereafter a beautiful lynx ran out in front of us. Thankfully he didn’t make Big Bertha’s dreaded road kill list. We were only a few hours shy of Manitoulin Island but Tim just couldn’t make it any further so we pulled off into the Wal-Mart in Pembroke, Ontario, Canada. I know you are not going to believe this next part but I swear it is true. As ashamed as I may be to admit it, I even have the pictures to prove it ! Once we were settled in, Tim decided to go inside Wally World to pick up a few things as I sat at the table and filled out a few post cards. As I’m trying to think of cleaver things to say to my friends and family, I turn to my left and take a look out the window. Much to my surprise, an older man who is parked in a motor home in front of us, proceeds to get out of his RV and make his way across the grassy area to the fence. I’m thinking to myself, what in the world is he doing ?? Well, the next thing I know this crazy old man drops his trousers and begins to “use the bathroom” right there in the wide open for the whole world to see ! As I fumble around for the camera, cause I knew Tim wouldn’t believe it, I’m thinking why in the world is he doing that when he has a perfectly fine motor home to do it in or at the very least he could have walked into Wal-Mart and used their facilities. As he is finishing up he looks around to see if anyone is watching and about that time I hit the floor ! I was laying there thinking, oh my goodness I hope he didn’t see me cause then he may come over here in the middle of the night and all this crazy stuff starts going through my head and I start freaking out. I crawled over to the door to make sure it was locked and about that time Tim opens the door. I just start laughing and trying to tell him what happened and he starts shaking his head at me and laughing and anyway it was pretty funny. I did put the trash can in front of the door before I went to bed in hopes that it would deter him if he really was crazy or something. What a way to end the night ! I have always said that laughter is good for the soul. Tim fiddled around with some of the stuff he bought while I finished up my postcards and then we were off to bed. Today was a much better day but I knew it would be because it’s my Momma’s birthday. Happy Birthday Momma, We Love You and Miss You Millions ! Sweet Dreams…….

Additional photos below
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18th July 2009

Rideau Canal
If the Rideau Canal is the one that runs thru Ottawa, then I have seen it. We drove along it on our way from the airport to Debbie's family's house. I must have missed marking it in the book!!!
18th July 2009

I guess I'll be nice !
That's the one dangit ! I'll be nice and mark it off for you ! Hope the party goes well tomorrow !

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