Because we went home for a week and I lost my writing momentum, weeks 30 and 31 are being combined!
We start out by moving the boat from Belleville to Trenton, with our dear friend Hans, his daughter Silke and husband Doug along with our first canine visitor (Nova, a giant Schnauzer) aboard Makin Memories. All fare well and we enjoy both the company and the scenery as we travel down the Bay of Quinte (Qwin tee).
Hans, going way above Rotary’s “Service Above Self” motto, has secured a spot for our boat from a friend, who is another Trenton Rotarian (Thank you, Eben James!) where the old Trentport Marina used to be. It is the perfect spot to leave the boat for a week; private and secure, sheltered and shaded from afternoon sun by a huge tree in a lovely park and our hearts rest easy when it is time to leave her to go home.
Before leaving, we attend the Trenton Rotary meeting and have a wonderful time being with Hans and Keith and Joan Stainton (Keith has been a regular Snowtarian at our club in Tarpon for 34 years and Hans has also attended for over a decade!). Afterwards, they return to our boat, along with Wilf Wilkinson, past Rotary International President (what an honor!) and we have drinks (We should have had some Scotch on board!) and great conversation on the back deck as the sun sets.
Hans drives us to Toronto the next day and after visiting with his other daughter, Anke and her family and enjoying a wonderful meal together, we fly home. Home was a whirlwind of visiting with family and friends <3, painting the entire interior of one of our rental homes (Thank you Tom, Faith and BJ for the painting help and Mike E for advice), arranging for transitioning our rentals to a real property manager (Tarapani-Banther & Assoc. YAY!!!) and meeting with our business partners at Alpha UMi, in the new office, to discuss recent accomplishments and plans for the future.
We celebrate Walker’s first birthday with lots of water and more babies than I have seen in one place in a LONG time!!! It is great fun to have so much family in one place at the same time and Walker is a real trooper remaining happy throughout a long afternoon. It makes our hearts so full to be with him and family for this milestone celebration! Can’t wait to meet his little sister next time we are home!!!
We accomplish a lot in a short period of time and are sad to leave friends and family but are happy to return to Canada where it is raining but where it is MUCH cooler than in Florida!
My mom, who is a happy and healthy 85 years young, has stated on a number of occasions how she regrets never having visited Niagra Falls and has encouraged us many times to go there if we possibly could. Once we decided to go north through Lake Champlain rather than west through the Erie Canal, the Falls were pretty much off our itinerary but when we needed to go home this month, for medical reasons, and realized that the Falls were only an hour away by car from the Toronto airport, we decided to rent a car and go upon our return.
We are both SO glad we made that choice! The town of Niagra is a cross between Disney and Vegas and so holds little interest for us but the falls! Oh my gosh! When we round a corner and there they are in front of us, we about lose our minds. I never expected the water to be so blue and beautiful and while I have seen videos and photos, they truly pale in comparison to reality.
The sheer power of the water that goes over the rock escarpment is staggering. The walkway along the Ontario side of the falls affords views that are stunning and as we progress downstream, each view is more amazing than the last. There are throngs of tourists literally from everywhere in the world but it is a moving crowd and so you are able to get to the railing for a great view as you move along the walls.
The weather is gray and drizzly when we arrive and in spite of the beauty of the water, as it is, I long to see it under bright sunlight. After our initial walk along the side of the Falls, we wander through the gift shops and the Garden of the Theater (which resembles a formal English garden, complete with boxwood mazes and gorgeous flowers) just killing time.
We are rewarded when the sun comes peeking out from behind the clouds and so we walk the edge of the falls in reverse this time, taking some of the same photos again but with perfect lighting this time. It was just spectacular! Thanks, Mom! If there is one lesson we have learned well on this trip, it is to listen to the travel advice of people around us. We have detoured off our planned route a number of times and have always been really grateful that we did.
Our cousins, Tog and Doreen, who were aboard in New London, had recommended Niagra on the Lake and so that is our next stop. Again, we are ecstatic to have such great advice! Along the way to town there are miles and miles of vineyard after vineyard. Apparently the soil which is mostly shale here is perfect for growing happy grapes.
We stop at Wayne Gretsky’s winery for a sampling of his wines. Gretsky was #99 on the NY Rangers when I was a young fan and also played for the St Louis Blues, the team for which one of my high school friends was a rabid fan.
His wines are lovely and Jerry discovers Baco Noir, a red wine that is made from grapes that grow in Ontario and has aromas and flavors of red fruits, cedar and wildflowers as well as toasty oak, according to the young lady who is educating us. Jerry loves its flavor (when we got back to the boat, we found that there was a bottle of Baco Noir in the beautiful gift basket that Keith and Joan had given us in Trenton!!! Thank you Keith and Joan!).
I thought I had taken a photo of the gift basket that Keith and Joan gave us but hadn’t ☹ Here are some of the fun things that were in it! Thanks again, Keith and Joan!
I am partial to the ice wines that this vineyard produces. I was introduced to ice wine when I was teaching a Series 7 Course (the course that potential stockbrokers must take and pass to be licensed) in Heidelberg, one frosty German winter. Towards the end of the week and after class, the manager of the office took me and all of his guys who were my students out for drinks and, at his urging, I tasted my first ice wine. Ice wine or Eiswein, in German, is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine.
The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water inside of them does, resulting in a more concentrated grape juice. The grapes must be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine. With ice wines, the freezing happens before the fermentation, not afterwards, like other dessert wines. We buy a bottle of each of our favorites and will save them for special occasions.
From there we drive into Niagra on the Lake. This little, VERY upscale town is not far from the Falls and we spend the evening wandering the streets and stopping to eat at the Shaw Café (our table is the empty two-top just behind and to the right of the statue of Shaw in this photo).
There are flowers everywhere and the view of Lake Ontario is lovely as the sun is setting. We really LOVE Ontario and hope that someday, if we put an RV trip into play, that we will come back and be able to spend more time exploring some of the towns we had to pass due to time constraints on this side trip, like St. Catharines.
The next morning, we meet up with Hans and drive, through pouring rain, back to Trenton where we find our boat damp on the outside but nice and dry inside. We open her up and air her out, spend some time catching up on paperwork and retire early.
The next morning, we find presents hidden in nooks and crannies and it takes us a moment to determine that the black squirrel who frequents the park next to our boat has grabbed nuts off the trees and hidden them all over the back deck of our boat!!!
We have some work to do before we gear up for the next part of our adventure on the Trent Severn Waterway. We have been having issues with a fussy thermostat and Jerry spends some time removing the old one and replacing it with a new one, while I work on paperwork.
He finishes and we start her up. All looks good; the gauges are showing the proper temperature, there are no leaks and Captain Fixit has struck again! So, off we go, waving to Hans and Nova as we pull away from our home-away-from-home in Trenton and into the Trent Severn!
It is less than a mile before we hit the first of 6 locks that we plan to do during the first day on the TSW. Hans is there to say a final good bye and we are sad to leave him and Nova but hopefully we will see them again when we get up into Lake Simcoe, where his daughter resides.
The locks are still manually operated on the Trent Severn Waterway but rather than hand cranking them, like on the Rideau, the Parcs Canada attendants walk in circles, pushing a turnstile-type thingy to open the sluices and the lock doors.
We don’t go far, having gotten a late start and we pull into Frankford at Lock 6 about 3 PM. There is power on this Parcs wall (this always makes our batteries and our captain happier). After exploring town and doing some provisioning, we cook some fresh mushrooms, onions, garlic and basil into pesto sauce for pasta. We enjoy a really great dinner but even better is our dining room, which is a picnic table under the GIANT weeping willow next to our boat. You just can’t beat the scenery from the places we have eaten along the canals!
The best part is dessert! While in town, we bought some of the Butter Tarts that Canada is famous for. They are like mini Chess Pies in a shortbread crust and are very rich making them TO DIE FOR!!!
After dinner we spend a couple of hours on the flying bridge, enjoying the colors of the sky as it dumps rain somewhere but not on us. A line of threatening clouds sweeps over us and the grayness scrubs the sky, making way for a rose and gold sunset. This line is bringing a cool front and we sleep really well until about 11 when it starts to rain in earnest. We leap up and close the windows and ports as thunder booms around us. Turning on the AC to remove the dampness, ensures that we sleep soundly until morning. It is in the high 50’s this morning, crisp, clear and cool!
After breakfast, we move up 6 more locks, going a whopping 21 miles, and are at Lock 12 just outside Campbellford, ON. Rotary is everywhere here; designated trails, library and a commemorative bench for Rotary International President Wilf Wilkinson’s visit! We are sorry that Rotary here meets on Mondays as we can’t stay that long and so will miss the meeting. It looks like a very active and productive club judging by its presence in town.
There is not a cloud in the brilliant, blue sky and the temperature is a dry and cool 80 degrees. This cruise was supposed to be called “Chasing 80!” I guess we have finally found it. We are enjoying a bike ride into Campbellford and will maybe have dinner out tonight.
We’ll see what adventures await us when we start a new week tomorrow!