Monday, June 30, 2014

6/30/14 Trenton (Monday)

We have decided to stay until Wednesday morning (after Canada Day).  There are currently seven looper boats in our harbor here.  All are larger than our boat.  After grocery shopping, we spent most of the day on the boat because of the heat.  At 5:30, we had a looper get-together in the band shell in the park.  The loopers are from Charleston, SC, Grand Haven, Michigan, Kansas City, Kansas, St. Petersburg, FL, Queenstown, Md,  Nacomis, FL, and Dunedin, FL.  It is amazing how the connection of doing the loop brings people together.

Most of us plan to pull out of here on Wednesday morning.  The problem is that the lock can only hold 2 or 3 boats, depending upon size.  It may take us several hours to get through the first three locks which are only a couple miles from our current location. 

6/29/14 Trenton (Sunday)

We walked through downtown Trenton and up the hill to lovely St. Peter's Church.  A special acknowledgement was given to one of the families leaving the parish and moving to Ottawa.  This military family has three teenage sons who have been instrumental in caring for the stained glass windows in the church.  Seemed like very nice young men. This was the first Canadian Catholic church that showed some age diversity.  Instead of just Q-tips (aging people with white hair), there were families in attendance.

Our friends Ann and Ken arrived from Picton mid-day .  There are several very large boats (40 to 60 feet long) on the docks here at Fraser City Marina.  Most of them are loopers. Our boat appears miniscule next to these boats. 

We joined Ken and Ann for dinner at Tomasso's Italian Restaurant.  The food was outstanding!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

6/28/14 Picton to Trenton

It took 5 1/2 hours to get from Picton to Trenton.  We are at Fraser City Dock and will be here through Canada Day on July 1 for the  fireworks display and other activities.  Our friends Ken and Ann crossed Lake Ontario today and headed for Picton.  They will arrive here tomorrow.  After three weeks of boat repairs, I'm sure they are happy to be moving.

Although it was very hot (near 90), we walked downtown to scope out the stores.  I was able to find a good dulcimer book at the music store.  After dinner on the boat, we headed for the free concert in the square.  It was a jazz duo, Mike Francis and Neal Davis.

Two familiar boats are here:  Joint Adventure and Francesca. 

We visited with Chuck and Margaret (Francesca) after the concert and then Chuck and I got together on the dock to play our music.  Great to have another musician around!

Friday, June 27, 2014

6/26/14 and 6/27/14 Brewer's Lock to Picton

6 /26/14  After an early start, we had an hour wait at Kingston Mills locks due to two boats coming up through the four locks. We met two couples (on the wall) who winter in Indian Rocks Beach.   Once through though, it was clear sailing (motoring) around Kingston and on to Picton.  We did encounter a few rain showers but no storms.  Picton is a lovely harbor surrounded by land on three sides, making it a really good place to wait out any storm.  We opted for the Picton Town Dock ($1.51 per foot)  and were given a super location on the wall near the building containing restrooms and showers.  We can only stay through Saturday morning because they are expecting a large boat.  When we pulled in to the harbor, we recognized the catamaran, Joint Adventure, we had parked behind in Ottawa.  According to their blog, they had spent a few days in Kingston.  We opted to pass on Kingston since we visited there last August with Ken, Ann, Kenny and Jeanne.

It was a short walk into town, but up a fairly big hill.  Once on the main street, it was about a mile to the grocery store.  We learned later that there is a new laundromant in the same complex.  Dinner was at a Gus' Family Restaurant and the food was OK.  After dinner we were able to catch up on emails and Facebook postings.  With our WIFI booster, the internet access at the marina is good.  A boat (Francesca)  pulled in behind us and their home port said Peoria, Illinois.

 A very small world since that was our home port prior to moving to Florida.  The couple, Chuck and Margaret Stiles are actually from Ohio, IL near Princeton.  We struck up a conversation and realized that Chuck played the guitar, so he and I sat on a picnic table surrounded by mosquitoes and played together.  He has been playing the guitar for 50 years, having learned to play from his mother.  He was very good and was very patient with me as I played along on the dulcimer.  Chuck said there are several jam sessions that he participates in when in Illinois.  Some people walking and some sitting in a car clapped after we played.  Free may not be good, but it is free!

6/27/14  We decided to do laundry and walked  to the Washing Place which was about 1/2 mile closer than the grocery store.  If you are looking for a Laundromat, do not go there.  It was dirty, had broken machines, and was unattended.

 As we waited in the small restaurant next door (probably owned by the same person) we saw a mouse run up to the building.  After the laundry was completed, we went to The Acoustic Grill for lunch.  It had very good burgers.  Weekend nights they have live music beginning at 7 p.m.  Reservations are recommended since it a small place and it fills up fast. 
We went back to the Acoustic Grill to hear the guitarist, Jason Fowler.  He was good, but took long breaks
Picton harbor

House overlooking Picton harbor

6/25/14 Davis Lock to Lower Brewers

The season just started for students in training to work the locks.  They are under the guidance of the Parks Canada staff, but assist with lines and actually operate the opening and closing of the locks. 

This part of the Rideau is more agrarian the upper Rideau, but still beautiful.  We are beginning to see more boat traffic as we approach Canada Day on July 1, but nothing like last August in the way of boat traffic. 

Lower Brewers is a really nice location.  We stayed there last year with Kenny and Jeanne.  On one side of the river is an art studio and about 1/4 mile on the other side of the river is an apple pie barn and store.  Since we had seen both and didn't need dessert, we stayed on the boat and enjoyed dinner.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

6/24/14 Newboro to Davis Lock

After an uneventful trip from Newboro, we arrived at the  Davis Lock wall and were greeted by Dean and Charlotte on Carrie Rose.  We met them in 2011 when we drove from our home in Morton, IL to  St. Ignace, MI for the Nordic Tug Rendezvous.  Charlotte and I were among several other women who went out on a 32 and each of us docked and undocked the boat several times.  Thanks to that training, I have been the docking person on frequent occasions.  Like us, they are from Illinois (Chicago) and are doing the little triangle this year and plan to end their trip in Lake Champlain.  They were gracious enough to share their Trent Severn and Georgian Bay materials with us during cocktails on their boat. 

Although we rarely let Duke loose anywhere, Ron decided to let him run free.  He crossed the lock wall and headed for the rushes where he dug, presumably for turtles.  Boy, did he have fun!!
He was a royal mess when he finished and needed a good bath. 

Carrie Rose pulled out the next morning after saying our goodbyes.


6/23/14 Colonel By to Newboro

Mid-day all of the boats pulled out of Colonel By because storms were predicted.  We had planned to stay another day, but felt we should head across Big Rideau Lake before any storms occurred. As it turned out, there were no storms, only light rain. 

  It was an easy trip to Newboro where we tied up next to several other boats.

  Ron did a great job of docking.  There was one spot left as we pulled in and it was a tight squeeze, something like parallel parking when there is a very small parking space.  Rain was persistent throughout the day and night.  By morning, the rain had stopped and we headed for Davis lock. 

6/22/14 and 6/23/14 Smiths Falls to Colonel By Island

After a brief trip to the drug store to return something from yesterday’s purchase, we headed toward the lock, just making it in time, since another boat was already tied up.  The owner of this small Bayliner-style boat said his boat burns 11 gallons per hour.  YIKES!  Compared to our 2 gallons per hour, that is a travesty.  After a second lock, we entered Big Rideau Lake and headed for Colonel By Island.  Because it was Sunday, there were lots of boats. 
 Many were on mooring balls and the others anchored or tied to the three docks on the island.  It is a beautiful setting. 
 The water is clear, clear, clear.  Old tennis courts and a club house, now run down, are present on the island.  At one time, bands would play here.  It is reported that Paul Anka was a guest here.  New docks and bathrooms make this a great destination.  There is a walking trail around the island (2 miles).  Ron, led by Duke and his nose, followed the entire trail.  We met another Springer Spaniel, Molly, on the boat next to us. 
She and Duke did not hit it off…apparently Molly has another boyfriend.  Molly did not like to swim so her owner donned is life jacket, put Molly on his shoulder and went for a swim.  Although Molly tolerated it, I don’t think she was having a great time.   
One boat here had all sorts of toys for the kids and adults:  kayaks, snorkel gear, and even a remote control float plane. 

 By evening, most of the boats had departed.  Those boaters appeared to be families with children.  Three of the remaining boats were French Canadians, Francophones (French speaking) with the exception of the boat behind us. One of the French Canadian boaters was the same one we met in Merrickville and again in Smiths Falls.

Nights here are short because of the summer solstice and the location (45th parallel).  It remains light until 10pm and the sunrise is 5am.  With the hatch above our heads as we sleep, I have always been awakened at first light. 
My solution this year has been fabulous.  I have a sleeping mask that keeps the light out and allows me to sleep as late as I want.  That said, Ron is the morning dog feeder and dog walker, usually around 7 am.  Thank you Ron!



Saturday, June 21, 2014

6/21/14 Day 2-Smiths Falls

Ron and I are always a day early or a day late for the typical summer festivals, but this time was different.  There was a wellness festival downtown and the streets were blocked.  Numerous activities were going on:  field hockey, zumba demonstrations, booths with wellness displays and healthy food options.  One of these vendors had muffins on a stick.  There were also face-painters and circus type entertainers.
muffins on a stick

face painters

man walking on glass
field hockey (our boat in distant background)

We had planned to stop at the local bakery for breakfast but it was not open, so we choose a Greek restaurant.  VERY INTERESTING.  They did not have a menu, everything cost $4.50, and there were no customers.  The waiter was the cook and service was very slow.  We probably would not refer future loopers to this restaurant:)

After returning to the boat, Ron took the bike to the grocery store.  I decided I needed an ibuprofen for some aches and pains.  Let's just say I had a mental lapse when I grabbed the wrong bottle and took a Tylenol PM.  Within a half hour, I was sound asleep and it was only 1pm. 

Last Sunday we missed church because we were in a remote area.  Today (Saturday) we opted for the vigil mass at St. Francis de Sales.  It was a lovely church.

 During the homily, the priest mentioned (and we had heard this throughout Canada last summer) that 75% of Catholics no longer attend mass.  I wonder if that applies to all Christian churches in Canada. 
Musical comment:  Pianist, no choir.  Only two songs during the entire mass.  (miss our OLL choir in Dunedin)

After a good dinner, we walked to the Kilt and Castle for dessert, but primarily to get their WIFI password.  Thanks to them, we are finally able to use the internet.

Tomorrow we are heading toward Newboro, about 25 miles away.  Our friends Ken and Ann are still in Brewerton due to some problems with their boat.  As we head for the Trent Severn, we will meet up with them again. 

6/20/14 Merrickville to Smiths Falls

During the night it got very cold!!  In the middle of the night, I started closing all of the boat’s windows. 
After a second night in Merrickville, we headed back to Smiths Falls.  One of the boats on our dock last night was from Three Rivers (Quebec)  and we soon realized that only the husband spoke English.  It is amazing how much one can communicate through gestures and body language.  Ron had helped them dock when they arrived, so he assisted us with lines as we left this morning. 

We’ve mentioned this many times, but it is worth repeating.  The Canadian lock workers are wonderful.  They assist you in and out of the locks, offer advice when requested, and assist with docking when staying on lock walls.  A key for the restroom is available to boaters, but there is no power for the boat at this location.  We rely on the generator when needed, but usually rely on battery power. The only thing we can’t do with the batteries is run the water heater or the air conditioners. 

It was windy today, the first choppy water we’ve experienced on the Rideau.  By mid-day, we arrived in Smiths Falls.  They have a very large, clean Laundromat which was filled with customers. In order to get to the Laundromat, we loaded Ron’s bike with four large bike bags and we both rode the few blocks to town.  After an hour and a half washing and drying clothes, we headed for a hot dog stand for lunch. 

Again, we are the only boat on the wall in Smiths Falls.  This time, we are on the back side of the blue line wall instead of the park wall.  This offers us a little more privacy and security.  We’ve been told that the school will end soon for summer.  At that time, there will be an increase in Canadian boaters. 

Ron’s favorite Czech restaurant (My Place) was open for dinner.  The menu offers many freshly prepared meals and it was very good.  We learned on the way back to the boat that one of the pubs has music starting at 9:00p.m.  Hopefully we are still awake!
Note:  No, we didn't make it to the pub and opted instead for relaxation on the boat.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

6/19/14 Merrickville-day 2

Since we are on a dock with only one other boat, have power, and are within a stone's throw of town, we decided to spend another night here.  Probably not a good idea, since I went to some of the upscale (pricey) stores and spent more money.  Today we opted to have all meals on the boat.  (There is a walk-up food stand here that specializes in French fries so Ron had a mid-day snack of these paper bag delicacies). 

A unique boat came through the lock today.  It was a home-made trawler but very small.  The couple on it said it took him 2500 hours to build it and it is now for sale. 


The houseboat that we saw yesterday came through the lock again going back toward Smiths Falls where it had been rented. 
Ron was able to get the Elizabeth, NJ native's name (Walt Varran).
Ron and Walt

 Walt graduated from 8th grade at St. Catherine's (Hillside) in the mid-50s and then moved to Leonardo.  Ron graduated from St. Hedwig's in 1961 so they didn't know any of the same people. 

The weather here is beautiful.  Clear skies, low humidity and temps in the 70s. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

6/18/14 Burritt's Rapids to Merrickville

Our destination today was Merrickville, a mere 6 miles from our starting point of Burritt's Rapids.  However there are 9 locks in this section, so we knew it would be several hours before we reached our destination.  Prior to today, we have had no wait at locks, but today, we had a 45 minute wait at Lower Nicholson Lock due to two boats that were locking down. This series of 3 locks require the lock master to drive his car to the middle lock from the bottom lock (about a 2 minute drive).
Our travel time today was about 4 hours.  While we were in the last lock, a man came up and talked to Ron.  He and his wife had rented a houseboat in Smiths Falls and were headed for Burritt's Rapids.  After talking for a few minutes, they realized that both he and Ron were from the same town (Elizabeth, NJ) although they had not attended the same schools. 

Once we got to Merrickville, we had a late lunch.  I then began searching for a hair salon.  Every 3 or 4 weeks, while on the boat, I am forced to find someone to cut my hair.  So far, I've always had good haircuts.  The price in Canada is about what I pay in FL.  A couple of years ago, while on the Tennessee River and in other spots in the south, I was astonished at the high prices in hair salons. 
This town caters to tourists and has some nice shops.  I stopped in one and bought a new top.  Tomorrow I'll do some additional shopping.  Tonight we had dinner at the Baldachin Inn, a circa 1860's heritage designated building.  My dinner was my favorite so far since arriving in Canada. 
Dinner at Baldachin Inn---very good!

old house in Merrickville


6/17/14 Departing Ottawa

It was sad to finally leave Ottawa, one of our all-time favorite cities.

 We arrived at the first bridge after 9:00 a.m. rush hour and got right through.
Our favorite lock worker.  We met her last year and both trips this year.
Locking through
Swing Bridge

  It was a long day with numerous locks, a stop at Hurst Marina for water and pump-out, and a trip through the section called the Reach, before arriving at Burritt's Rapids where we spent the night.  One other (Canadian) boat was on the same dock.  We walked to a new restaurant across form Lock 17 to take advantage of their WIFI, but it wasn't working because of the impending storm.  There was heavy rain and a mild thunderstorm which was gone by morning. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

6 16 14 Becky and Frank visit

Our friends Becky and Frank drove to Ottawa from Frank's home in Montreal. 

They encountered heavy traffic and didn't arrive as early as they had hoped.  After a nice lunch we toured Parliament.

Becky and Frank

Ron assists with the tour
We were fortunate that the House of Commons was in session and we were able to sit in the gallery as they voted on  a bill. 

A boat was headed down the stair-step locks.  These are the series of locks that we came up last year from the Ottawa River. 
Watching boat enter the stair-step locks.

at our boat 
at the flame at Parliament


We had an early dinner at Hearth and Crown before they returned to Montreal. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

6 15 14 Visit to Centre Town


Yesterday, Ron located a grocery store (Hartman's)  and a church (St. Theresa's)  in Centre Town (about a mile away) while out riding.  This morning we headed out for the 10:30 service on our bikes. 

Biking to church
St. Theresa's
St. Theresa's

 It was a beautiful church.  Today’s liturgy was the Trinity.  The choir was very good and sang familiar songs.  At the end of the service, the priest thanked the congregation for joining in on the singing.  Apparently he has strongly encouraged their participation in song.   As we were leaving, the priest shook our hands and asked where we were from.   Everyone is always surprised that we are here from Florida and we arrived by boat.   

We had brunch at the Atomic Rooster, a local restaurant in Centre Town.  After spending some time on the boat, we headed for the mall across the street to see if we could get a data plan for the I-pad.  We learned that our Verizon plan kept us from converting to a Canadian plan.   If we had an AT&T plan, we could have purchased a chip and gotten a Canadian plan. 
  We decided to return to the Atomic Rooster for our evening meal since the food was great and the prices were reasonable.   A 5 piece blues band started playing at 6pm, just before we arrived.  They were so loud in this small restaurant, that I stuffed Kleenex in my ears.  It was still LOUD!

We saw this boat earlier in the day.  Looked like they were having fun.
"Island of Sanity" party boat
 Looking forward to seeing Becky and Frank tomorrow!