Last year my sister in law and I did a tour of Ontario. We where going to a convention in Ottawa and also celebrating 150 years of Canada.
I flew into Kitchener and then drove to her place where I picked her up. Our route took us from southern Ontario, up through Collingwood, then over to Algonquin park. We spent two weeks in Ottawa and then headed down the St Lawrence river around Toronto as I did not want to drive through and over to Niagara Falls. Spent a couple of days there and then headed her home and I caught my plane back to the coast of BC.
This is our adventure of three weeks. Yes it was an adventure. We usually travel with our significant others, but this time it was two young ladies in their 50s heading down the highway to have a good time. Did I say good time. It was a great time.
Now mind you this was a year ago and I just have to go back in my memory banks and see how much will come back to haunt me. Nah! No haunting, we had a blast! Oh ! I had said that already.
After I got her two suitcases in the car we were on the road. I was doing the driving so I planned out the route. Ivy says she was just along for the ride. Let’s go!
First stop we made was in St Jacobs. Small community just outside of Kitchener/Waterloo. Allot of stores with home made goods and items you will not find in many other stores. I love walking around there. All the boutique stores of odds and ends to look at. Thing was at that time they were doing construction on the streets there and seemed like most of the place was closed down. Then again we were there early in the day and some things may not have been opened yet. Well we window shopped a bit and then headed back to the car and on our way again.
Next stop we made was at a covered bridge a little more north. After a couple of roads driving around and me saying it should be around here close by. Ivy saw the the sign for it. Drove down the road to a parking place. We walked along the Conestoga river to the bridge. There are not many of these structures left like this. A couple of cars drove through while we were there. We walked through to the other side and checked out a gift shop on the other side. There use to be an ice cream shop there , but no more. Aw and we where thinking about ice cream.
Just as we were leaving the right kind of picture would have been to take. A horse and buggy came over the bridge. Dang my camera was put away again so didn’t get that picture.
Heading up the highways and byways our next stop was Elora and Fergus. Oh my what a busy place that was. We where going to stop at the gorge and wander a bit, but there was no place to find a parking spot. There was some construction there as well. I drove round and round the town of Elora. Up and down the same streets looking for the street I was to turn on. For the heck of me I could not find it. So I finally said let’s just take this way. It will get us to Fergus as well. Out of town we go and yes I was going the wrong way. I had to pull out my iPad and check were we where. Yep! Going the wrong way. So back into Elora and look around again for the road I wanted. Okay let’s use this road. Not great when there is no gps in the rental car. I carried on though. Got off on another street. Yes! Heading the right way. One or two turns and we are on the road we are suppose to be on. Heading for Fergus. The street, we found out, was the one that was under construction. All blocked off so we could not get to it. That is why we could not find it. Are we having fun yet? Well this is the way I travel when I am driving. You get there the easy way or you go round and round until you find what you are looking for. That is part of the adventure. Takes a little longer, but you sure do see a lot of country.
Fergus is our next town to drive through. Whooo hoo! We actually found with no hiccups. Well you know Fergus is just down the way from Elora. Once you find the right street you are on the right path. No stop in Fergus. We are on our way to Collingwood.
Yeah! I have been there many times. I should know how to get there. If you are following hiways and byways though it may be a different story. Wanted to make it to blue mountains area. We saw signs as we drove that there was turtle crossings. So watch out for turtles as we are driving. Not deer or moose, but turtles. Too funny.
The countryside is just gorgeous. The weather driving is not too hot. We are having a great time. The tunes are playing and we do not need to be anywhere at any set time.
Blue mountain is our next stop. Now this is getting a little tricky. I turn on this road and we should be coming close to the road we want. The scenery is beautiful, but yes I still have to find a certain road to get to where I want. We are going to the scenic caves. Have plans to wander around the caves and then maybe, just maybe take a zip line ride. So driving and I check my iPad. This is not right we have to be over this way. Okay a turn around and back the other way. After a bit still do not see the road we want. iPad again. What we past it way back there. This is getting to sound like when I travel with hubby. You should have turned back there. Well turn around again. Follow another road. Aw heading in right direction. Well I hope anyways. All of a sudden Ivy sees a sign for scenic caves. Turn on it and up we go. Higher and higher. Then we pass the road we were looking for in first place. Guess what under construction. There we go. That is why we could not find.
We make it to the ski area. Wow the view from there is magnificent.
In at the caves. Find a parking spot. Walk over to the store and take a gander around. We are heading to the ticket booth to go look around the caves. Um they are not gonna let us is. Well they will let Ivy in, but me I am wearing sandals. Have to be wearing runners. Comfy closed toe shoes. I do have them but they are at the bottoms of my suitcase under two other suitcases. I could have dug them out, but instead we head on our way. Down the mountain and on our way to Wasaga beach and further.
Come into Collingwood and then I take a guess. Is it right or left? Well I pick right. Nope that is the wrong way. Going out of town see a sign that does not make it the right way. So time to find a place to turn around again. You know with all these wrong ways Ivy is just laughing along with me. Hey I am driving let go whichever.
Finally driving along Wasaga beach and heading up to the peninsula a little north. There is a castle in the area I wanted to walk through. By the time we got there it was closed for the day. Oh well, missed that.
So onto a church I wanted to wander around. Was thinking of going over to Pennitanguishing (I know spelled wrong), but it was getting a bit later in day. We found the church . Very old and so much land around it made up into gardens. Ivy looked at the steps in front and thought, Oh boy what did I get myself into. Well she did climb the steps and take a look inside with me. Very old and I just love this architecture. So serene and quiet in there. You can just sit down and think. Feel at peace in there. We stayed there for quite awhile. Then headed out to the gardens to look around. Way too much land to look too far and I was thinking we had a reservation for the night in Orillia. There was still a little driving to do today.
Wow the gardensbeautiful. We where there for about an hour. Light was starting to fade so we headed back to the car and headed to our first stop for the night.
Orillia is where I had our first night picked out. So the next day we would have lot of sun going through Algonquin park. Tomorrow we are heading up the four lane highway to get to our next destination. Gonna be a long day. We made it to Orillia and next was to find the hotel. Okay it is over by the water. What road do we take. Um! Let’s go this way. Nope not the right one but it got us over to the water. So we follow along the water and yes we do come to the right street and yes we do find the hotel. Aw! A nights rest coming up and food just down the street for us.
Up and Adam. Let’s get a move on. Well we where not that up and Adam, but we where on the road not too late. Four lane highway in our future for a bit. Not the highways and byways that we where on yesterday. Hi speed driving up highway 11 heading towards our turnoff of highway 60. The scenic route through Algonquin park. Also known as the only route through the park. Unless well we won’t go there. May be some backroads or maybe gravel roads or even you can go through some parts with canoe, but that was not us. We where driving through and eventually would get to Ottawa tonight.
An hour or so later. Well maybe longer we found the highway we wanted. Off the four lane and back to two. Back to looking at countryside instead of cars on the road. Highway 60 was quieter, but there was still a bit of traffic. So if you wanted to turn off and look at something it was either wait a bit while traffic coming the other way to cross or scoot across the highway fast and hope you don’t get caught in your scooting.
Ivy asked that if I see a trading post along the side of the road she would like to stop. Well I saw one almost too late. I did a scoot across the highway to turn into the trading post. I am not sure whether she was impressed or not, but she said thanks for seeing it and stopping.
We looked around the shops and stretch our legs. Ivy bought a few things for her new grandbaby. We walked over to the next store and YES! We found ice cream. Aw! Something we had been thinking about since yesterday.
After that yummie stop we where in the park. Trees, trees, trees and more trees. Okay not all trees there was some lakes too. Yes and rivers.. um and a few mosquitoes as well. We stopped at a rest area looked in the historical building there and did a little walking down a trail. We were on the trail and I had read someplace that if you howl like a wolf you may get an answer back. So I started to howl. Ivy is looking at me like what the heck am I doing. All of a sudden we heard a howl far off. She wasn’t too sure of that so I howled again. Got an answer again. I think she was ready to go back to the car. It wasn’t the answer back you are thinking. A couple of younger kids and their parents where up around the bend from us and they were the ones answering me back. Not wolves. As you would think but a couple of young kids thinking they where getting a real wolf howling. I could see the parents and they were laughing at the fact that they could see me howling and then the kids where in aw and howling back. Ivy did catch on, but at first was not sure. Too funny hearing those kids trying to get a wolf to answer and being that excited about it.
Well back in the car. A long way to go yet and Ivy wanted to stop at the Diefenbaker museum just outside of Ottawa. Well I kinda miss calculated on that and got close to Ottawa after it might have been closed. So we didn’t even try and just headed for our hotel in Ottawa. Yeah right down town Ottawa. This was not me being a happy camper for a bit. Driving expressways and looking for the turn you want and traffic. Hmm think I missed the turn I wanted. I wanted to go down by the Ottawa river and go in that way. I did see a route sign that would take us the the parliament buildings. That is where we are to be close to. So we both looked for the turn. Yay! We found it and followed it til we couldn’t follow anymore. There was a few turns back and forth but we did make it to where we wanted to be. Around the block three times in order to get to the front entrance without cars in the way so I could park. That was it.
We got our luggage out. I gave the keys to the door man and said this can be parked. I am not driving it for a week at least. We where here. Let the fun begin. Hey! Where we not having fun already
For the next four days I walked Ivy just about everywhere. We say the changing of the guards. We went to the cathedral. We went shopping. Wandered around the parliament buildings. Well at least the outside. Couldn’t get inside to look without a ticket. Something we didn’t buy. Got caught in a torrential rain storm. The water just came down and we where the farthest away from the hotel as we could get. Had to wait it out. We went on a duck boat ride down the Ottawa river.
We took a hop on hop off bus and traveled out towards the airport. Tell you about that in a minute. One night we went to a cirque show in Quebec. We took a taxi over there, but couldn’t seem to get a taxi back so yes I walked her back. I don’t think she was too happy with that walk. Her walking feet where starting to give out on her.
So anyways with us taking the hop on hop off bus we ended up over at the airport. We had the idea at home to take a biplane ride. The thing is Ivy is afraid of flying. You know. She is the one that asked about it. She is the one that booked the time for us and yes we went up. Over Ottawa we flew. Wow what an experience and she loved it.
Three days of convention. Almost 900 Red hat ladies converged on Ottawa to have a blast. They came from the US, they came fro Australia, they came from Europe. It was so much fun and laughter. We celebrated the maritimes, the calgary stampede, the Quebec winter festival and so much more about Canada.we met new friends and connected again with old friends. Met with ladies you had only seen on Facebook.. the last part of the fun was taking a pirate adventure out on a pirate boat. Looking for treasure. So much fun and laughter and what an experience for Ivy. It was her first year being a red hatter and going to a convention.
all things had to come to an end. On our last breakfast is where I met a very distant relative. That story I had written about in another blog. So check out my other blogs if you are interested. It is about my family tree research.
We are heading down the highway again. First stop was the Diefenbaker museum. Interesting, but going down under the ground was a little musty for me. Learned a few things there
A few stops along the way. We drove south over to St Lawrence river. Places we saw on the way down. We went to fort Henry. Took a thousand island cruise.
Also saw allot of small towns on the way down. As we got closer to Toronto I deemed over highway7. A very slow route, but I did not want to drive through the big city. Eventually a day or two later we made it over to Niagara area. We stayed there for two nights. One day we spent with Jane and a few other red hat ladies. So much fun. The last day together we went over to Niagara Falls. We started with a parachute ride. Then we went over to the falls sand went under the falls. Wandered around a little more. Then headed back to the hotel. Our last night together. Gosh was this a trip to remember. For both of us. We had a blast. These two ladies of a certain age. There is more life ahead of us and we are gonna live it to the best that we can.