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Day 155 – Napanee District Secondary School Reunion

Day 155 – Thursday, November 28, 2013

It was cold and clear today when we headed out to run some errands. It was around -15C. We dropped off some home care aids that Jim and Vera had been using to the Harrowsmith Lending Barn run by the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs at around 10:00 AM. Julie notes “Howard, who met us at the hall to take the items, just happened to be the neighbour of Helen and Karl, our marriage mentors, so we got some dirt on them while we did the drop. Interesting stuff!” We then had an appointment at the Scotiabank in Napanee to sign some documents for our daughter Kristin’s student loan at 11:30 AM. Julie notes “Don’t get us started on that ‘quick’ six month process. We don’t blame Kristin for occasionally screaming ‘WTF!’ (Where’s The Funds?). Our Napanee contact was very helpful however there may be some windmilling once we get back to our own branch in Grande Prairie.” That gave us time to have a coffee at Tim Horton’s in Napanee. Julie notes “He is slowly building up his Tim Horton’s blood content.” On our way back to Moscow, we stopped at the new bakery in Newburgh, ON. Abrams Bakery was busy at lunch time. They have fresh bakery items and also make sandwiches and pizzas on-site. We both ordered the pastrami on a fresh Kaiser bun. Excellent. I also purchased a half a dozen bagels to go. Julie notes “Great to see a local business thriving. The service and food was top notch.”

Julie’s friends from public and high school had arranged a get together at 6:00 PM for dinner at Spud’s in Napanee. I left the 4 ladies alone to visit and headed over to Shoeless Joe’s for a beer and burger. They had a great time catching up and laughing. Julie notes “Alert the media! Unfortunately another NDSS classmate, Avril Lavigne, was a no-show but we had fun without her. She is always going on about her ‘Complicated’ relationship with a ‘Sk8ter Boi’ anyway. Makes it hard for us to tell all of our cool stories.”

The Moscow United Church on a cold clear Ontario morning. Julie notes “Among many other family and community events, this is where it became official folks, September 15th, 1979. Helen and Karl, married two weeks already, were there to answer any questions we had about the wedding night, and marriage life in general. Thanks guys!”

The drive to Harrowsmith.

Oh yeah! There are windmills in Ontario.

I think this is the Lennox and Addington County Court House in Napanee, ON. The flag was at half-mast and we never did find out the reason. Julie notes “I would’ve taken Brad to the old NDSS alma mater but as you know I am directionally handicapped and can’t recall where the school bus took me every day for 5 years of my life.”

A beautiful old Ontario farm near Napanee, ON.

The menu at Abrams Bakery.

The Napanee River near Yarker, ON.

The road to Moscow, ON. Julie notes “Back before this road was smoothed out, Dad was the expert at whizzing up over the knolls and giving us butterfly stomachs.”

The school chums; L to R: Julie, Linda, Kathy, and Vickie. Julie notes “Take my word for it; we have not changed a bit. Linda always was a trend setter though and now we all wear glasses just like she did in school. She was our voice of reason and experience, coming from a very large family and a real farm girl she was the one who explained the facts of life to me when Mom was expecting my youngest brother. I am sure hoping she got some of those details ironed out before she got married herself! Vickie and I were christened on the same day in the Moscow Church seen above. I remember being angry at the age of one month, to see that she was wearing the same style of christening gown as me. But I got used to the fact that she was always trying to emulate me, in every way but height. We decided our fashion and other talents shouldn’t be wasted so in our high school acting career, one of our many stage names was ‘The Apple Sisters’, Seedy and Cora. Eat your heart out Avril! Kathy moved in up the street from me in my formative public school years. We instantly bonded and became joined at the hip. Being joined at the hip made it difficult to do a lot of stuff but we were still able to spend whole summers on our bicycles, riding around ‘the block’. A country block that is. Our mothers went shopping together and bought us the exact same clothes hoping we would dress like the bellbottomed twins they never had, I guess. Kathy and I travelled on a cross Canada camping/badminton tour hoping to attract young men with our great skills with the birdie. Sounds fool proof doesn’t it? We also went to Cuba on a high school trip and learned the real meaning of sun burn and rum in your coke. Lots of memories with these gals. Sorry to the other patrons as we did not even try to keep our boisterous laughing in check. Next adventure ‘Las Vegas’ or more like the movie ‘Last Vegas’ as Linda said.”

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “Extra hugs to Kathy and family as they still come to terms with the loss of Harry.”

Day 154 – Even More from Moscow – Driving in a Winter Wonderland

Day 154 – Wednesday, November 27, 2013

We awoke early this morning to a real taste of winter. (Julie notes “WTF! (Wow That’s Frigid!) I had an appointment for some servicing for the truck this morning at 7:45 in Kingston at D&D Auto Service. Once we confirmed their shop could balance the tires, Julie and I headed to the little strip mall nearby for some breakfast at the LaSalle Park Restaurant. It was a good little greasy spoon breakfast place. After breakfast, we headed back to D&D where they informed us that they would need the vehicle longer than anticipated and offered us a ride to the mall. We choose to go to Chapter’s and Starbucks instead. Julie notes “Okay time for a WTF (Wow That’s Freaky!) story. My sister in law Kelly shares the same birthday as me (Aug. 11th, for those of you who would like to get an early start on shopping for our presents). Although we are a few years apart (I will not say which of us is older, I’ll let you guess) we have always felt like we were kindred twin spirits. So we both get out our exact same model of ‘Kobo Glo’ e-reader to compare and we are both reading the same series of books. Actually we are both reading the same 3rd book in the series. Actually we are both at almost the same page in the book give or take 10 pages. And the clincher, we were both starting to suffer the very same cold or allergy symptoms. Thus cementing the kindred twin spirit theory. Now the reason I mention this now is that I may have broken the delicate bond we shared as I read for quite a while in Starbucks and am probably no longer within plus or minus 10 pages of Kelly in the book. I suggested she call in sick to work so she can catch up.”

We had arranged to meet our good friends, Helen and Karl, for lunch. They suggested the English style pub, The Loyal Oarsman Public House. They picked Julie and me up at Chapters and we headed over to the pub for lunch. They have a great selection of beers and some good pub style food. Helen and Karl shared some wings and fries. Julie ordered the mushrooms on toast so she could try something different. I went with the steak sandwich. It was all very good. Julie notes “As usual it was hard to end the visit because we always have lots of great conversation with these good friends. Despite the time between visits we seem to be always able to pick up where we left off. Also we owe our long lived marriage to them for good or for bad. Being the more experienced married couple by a whole two weeks we looked to them for marital advice and guidance. We owe all these years of wedded bliss to this couple, our mentors, forerunners, pioneers, who forged on by example. I said to myself, while parked once again in a border crossing parking lot in the heat of El Salvador, as my pillow hovered over Brad’s head, if Helen hasn’t killed Karl after all of this time, I guess I probably shouldn’t kill Brad. One regret I have from this trip was not being fast enough to snap pic of a road sign in Texas that said ‘Carlsbad/Loving 40 miles’. Interpret that sign as you will. Made me think how lucky I was…to have you guys and your two week head start as our marital roadmap.”

After lunch, Helen and Karl dropped us off at the shop to pick up our vehicle. We paid the bill and were ready to leave. I had asked the shop to remove my TireMinder valve transmitters when they balanced the tires, replace 2 leaking valve stems, and set the pressure lower on the tires for our ride home. The transmitters were not in the cab so I went back in the shop to ask for them. They only had 3 out of 6. I asked about the remaining 3 transmitters and was told that 2 could not be removed and 1 was missing. So, I asked how they had reset the tire pressure. It hadn’t been done. I removed the remaining 3 transmitters from the tires without issue. None were missing and none were difficult to remove. Then the fight started. Needless to say the truck was taken back in the shop. The tire pressure was set, one of 2 valve stems had not been replaced and was still leaking, and the rear tires had not been balanced. Terrible service in my opinion and I would never recommend this shop to anyone. None of these “supposed” issues were documented on the work order. In fairness to them, they did not charge me for the rear wheel balancing when I checked the work order more closely, but it was work I had requested and it was not done. I had also asked for a rear suspension inspection and that was not done (and not charged). Just as well, because I had no faith in anything they would have told me after this experience. Julie notes “There were a few WTFs flying around during this experience. One of them being ‘Why The Flat?’ Many others are not printable.”

Early morning drive to Kingston. Julie notes “To quote some of my family, WTF. Watch Those Flakes. Where’s The Fleece? Won’t That Freeze? ‘Wow That’s Fluffy!”

I just like the blur in this traveling windshield picture. I think it gives a sense of driving down the road.

A place to avoid in Kingston, ON. Julie notes “The front end staff were very good. We enjoyed their company.”

Julie knew right away that she would love The Loyal Oarsman Public House. If they have Bobby Orr memorabilia then they must be good. Julie notes “I am not faking this look. Right Vickie? What did our sign say way back when? Bobby Orr Bust?”

Our friends Helen and Karl. Julie notes “Helen took me under her little wing (or drum stick in this case) on the first day of college. She was a tiny big city girl, and I was big little country mouse.”

…with the muleskinner and sidekick.

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “Back home and Ron has joined us again. Roast beef, gravy and potatoes and carrots and some Pirates of the Caribbean to round out the night.”

Day 153 – More from Moscow

Day 153 – Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This morning was the community coffee get together in the Moscow United Church. They community holds a morning coffee get together the last Tuesday of the month. It’s a good chance to meet with Jim and Vera’s neighbours and get caught up on the happenings around Moscow. Julie and Susan know most of the names and people and I fumble my way along. It is a great community and a great group of folks. Julie notes “Well we know most of the names but are not guaranteed to get the right name to the right person. There was no doubt who we were though as I heard many times throughout the morning how much I looked like Vera. A compliment I hold dear… now. When I was a young mother and just came home sporting a new perm and the four kids jumped up and down adoringly shouting ‘Mommy, you look just like Grandma!’ I was not as flattered. Time changes those kind of viewpoints.”

I ran a few errands in the afternoon to pick up some packing supplies at the hardware store, check out the new butcher shop in Harrowsmith, and also the Harrowsmith Bakery and grab a few more groceries in Yarker.

I made some spinach and feta stuffed chicken breasts for dinner and cooked a small roast beef for tomorrow along with some left over potatoes and broccolis. Julie notes “The dish fairy has been missed. But my fingernails are nice and clean.”

We all watched a movie on the computer, checked the email and internet on our phones, and then called it a day. Julie notes “Brad’s night to pick a movie again. He was given another chance after last night’s crowd were left mumbling WTF? (Why This Film?) while watching Brad’s pick ‘Couples Retreat’. Not likely to win any awards in any category. And I also ask Jason Bateman, an actor I like, WTF? as well. But Brad’s choice tonight was pretty good. The ‘Invention of Lying’ was quirky but funny. Just like us three watching it.”

The Moscow group at morning coffee. Men at one end, ladies at the other. Julie notes “Hmm one end of the table seemed to eat more goodies than the other end of the table. Don’t you be eyeing our fruit cake, gents.”

Julie notes “My other mother growing up, Mrs. Hambrook, Jean, perusing our photos. She is looking wonderful and she let me have a little cry on her shoulder when we talked about missing Harry.”

Julie and Susan kept finding treasures in the boxes they were sorting through. I don’t think this made the cut and may have ended up in the burn barrel. Julie notes “It was shiny and sparkly and in pristine condition so we can see why mom would’ve wanted to hang on to. But as we did often throughout the week, we said ‘Sorry Mom/Dad’ and it was sent as a smoke signal up to them.”

The Canadian spinach and feta stuffed chicken – very patriotic don’t you think?

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “We have been having a good time sorting through stuff, reading old newspaper clippings, finding more stories, sorting through cards. A hard job to do on one’s own but with Suze and I tag teaming, it takes a bit of the sting away. Some things just needed one more touch before saying goodbye. Some sorted to go to others for their decision. Many conversation starters and some ‘WTF’? (What’s This For?) Thanks for making us think Mom and Dad.”

Day 152 – Monday in Moscow

Day 152 – Monday, November 25, 2013

Susan and Julie and I were the only ones left in Moscow this morning. The rest of the family had made their way back to their respective homes. Julie notes “The place felt a bit empty so we turned up some motivational iTunes. Well the Anne Murray tunes motivated Susan to go have a shower anyway. And some others had us speaking fake German or whistling poorly. Annoying enough to keep Brad working away outside and leaving us to fill the table and kitchen with ‘treasures’.” Julie and Susan continued their cleaning, sorting, and organizing. I began packing and wrapping some things Julie wanted from her mom and dads to take back to Grande Prairie.

One of the items is an old antique very large HEAVY wooden cabinet. One of Jim and Vera’s neighbours dropped by and was coerced into helping me move the cabinet to the deck to be wrapped. I think it must have weighed close to 200 lbs and was a good lift for the two of us but we made it. Julie notes “Suze and I frantically looked for CPR instructions and the number for 911 amongst all the papers we were sorting as we watched from a safe distance. Luckily neither was required. Harley will be thinking twice before he drops in unexpectedly again. I think I heard him mutter WTF? (Wife Too Frail?) to lift WTF? (Weighty Tall Furniture?) WTF! (Well That Figures!)”

Susan, Julie and I were invited to Corrie and Brenda’s for dinner. Their son Robin joined us at their home near Violet, ON. Brenda prepared a delicious stew served over mashed potatoes after our appetizer of salami and cheese. We had a good visit over dinner, wine, and dessert.

Harley and I moving the cabinet to the deck. Julie notes “WTF! (Watch That Frog!) And those toes!”

Harley and I showing our pipes. Julie notes “WTF! (We’re Tough Fellows!) Thanks guys. We realized after that maybe we should’ve emptied the bricks and rocks and shells out of the bottom of it before the move. Don’t tell Harley.”

Some of the sorting, packing and organizing happening on the kitchen table. Julie notes “We kept telling Brad, ‘only the stuff that was on the table’ was going to Grande Prairie, but every time he turned around the table would magically refill.”

Corrie and Brenda in the kitchen. Julie notes “Somebody is getting the finger. I think it might be me.”

Susan and Robin enjoying a drink.

The gang at dinner. Julie notes “Brenda is waving a lovin spoonful of mashed potatoes. Which segues to my reference the other day as we got closer to home, of the Lovin’ Spoonful singing ‘Darling Be Home Soon’. Corrie and Brenda, were good friends with Lovin’ Spoonful band member Zal Yanovsky, who was chef and owner of the Chez Piggy restaurant, in Kingston, where Brenda has worked for many years.”

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “That is not a polar bear in the above picture. That is WTF (Woolly Tubo Friend) the Samoyed, and by Robin’s side little Jet Li. Not seen, but always present, guarding Corrie and Brenda from crazy family and in laws, is WTF (Willow The Fierce) an old rescue Great Pyrenees who becomes more protective as she ages. We just remember to move slow and steady and no sudden movements and everyone was happy.”

Day 151 – Five Siblings Feast For Fun

Day 151 – Sunday, November 24, 2013

Today, a family get together was planned. Julie’s brothers and sisters and families along with other relatives arranged a dinner at the “Holmestead”. Twenty people and five dogs were in attendance for a great pot-luck meal of pate, cheeses, deviled eggs, cabbage salad, buns, ham, mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, brussel sprouts, onion pie, sweet potatoes, squash, and desserts of apple crisp and banana split cake. Delicious!

Below, Peyton is concentrating on her homemade banana muffin for breakfast. Julie notes “Oh what a cute little monkey. She had no fear of Uncle Brad stealing that from her as he is still haunted by a bad childhood banana experience. But I helped myself to one or two. Yum yum, thanks Kelly! We also got to try some delicious homemade applesauce that the Storey boys had made in mass production at their Four Storey Acres. A trial expansion to their Maple Syrup product line perhaps? The taste testings’ were well received. With Brad as his toast wing man, Jim whipped us up a deluxe breakfast as well. And where there are meals there are always dishes so kudos to Ron for being the best and most dependable dishwasher, day in and day out! So much appreciated!”

Sorting through some of Vera’s handy work. Julie notes “Isaac is saying ‘WTF? (Where’s The Fleece?). We were choosing treasures from what was left over from the ‘Vera’s Table for Martha’s Table’ fundraiser that the community had had the week before. It was a sentimental journey for us all, feeling and touching and trading and collecting and sizing up gifts for others. Suze will set up another ‘Vera’s Table for Martha’s Table’ at the community breakfast coming soon with the remaining items to sell for a good cause.”

Around the kitchen table again. Julie notes “Peyton is still working on that full course Playdough meal so we had to supplement with cheese and amazing pate and such to keep the rumblies away. Get cooking Peyton!”

Visiting and storytelling during Happy Hour. Julie notes “I seem to be looking confused in these last two pictures. What do you suppose is going on in that little pea brain? WTF? (Where’s The Fois gras?) or is it called pate?”

Our special guests, Aunt Hazel (Vera’s sister) and her daughter Cindy, made the drive from Pickering to join us for the day. Julie notes “Aren’t they beautiful? And I am not just saying that in hopes that they will adopt all five of us orphans. Cindy is the gal who made and donated the beautiful quilt for the silent auction at the above mentioned Vera’ Table last weekend. She is also the main chauffeur, body guard, and dessert maker extraordinaire for our precious aunts Hazel and Elsie.”

Susan and Ron’s daughter, Randi, and her new family addition. Julie notes “One of our 5 canine dinner guests today. Have a good look at the cute little 10 week old puppy now because based on his gene pool she may be able to get a saddle and ride to Moscow once he gets growing. Sweet puppy and all the gang played nicely, most of the time. The same could be said about the humans as well.”

…a great celebration day with family, over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick.

Julie notes “WTF!(Wonderful Time Family!) But WTFWH. (Wish The Folks Were Here.) Love you all. And keep gathering around the kitchen as much as you can.

Day 150 – Moscow Games

Day 150 – Saturday, November 23, 2013

I started the day out with a trip to the Wilton Cheese Factory to stock up on some delicious products; fresh cheese curds, extra old cheddar, gouda, blue cheese, and some sweet baby dills. Julie was busy cleaning various parts of the house. Julie notes “Many spiders were injured in the making of this blog. To the ones that escaped my duster and vacuum, there is always tomorrow. I don’t like WTF (Webs Touching Face).” More family were scheduled to arrive this afternoon. Susan, Ron, Julie, and I had a great lunch of cheese and crackers, grapes and condiments. MMMM Good. Julie notes “Yum! Squeaky cheese! WTF! (Wow That’s Fresh!)” Ron made a big pot of chili for supper. We all enjoyed the chili and hot dogs with some fresh buns, garlic bread, and salad.

The Wilton Cheese Factory goodies.

Julie’s sister Krista, and her husband Jim along with their children Adam and Harrison arrived as planned. Julie’s brother Quentin and his wife Kelly and children Isaac and Peyton arrived later in the afternoon. Julie notes “WTF!!! Welcome Terrific Family).”

Here are some random family shots of the day.

Visiting in the kitchen.

Around the table just like in Julie’s poem.

Cousins watching a movie and playing games; Harrison, Isaac, and Peyton. Julie notes “WTF movie (Way Too Funny)”

Julie photo bombs a Quentin & Kelly Holmes’ family moment. Julie notes “I don’t remember doing this. Maybe I was trying to stop Peyton from some play dough faux pas. Or catch flies? Now that the spider population has been reduced.”

Peyton doing some crafts in the footsteps of her Grandma Vera.

…over and out from Moscow, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Day 149 – Do Not March on Moscow

Day 149 – Friday, November 22, 2013

We “Did not march on Moscow” as advised by British Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery;

Rule 1, on page 1 of the book of war, is: “Do not march on Moscow”. Various people have tried it, Napoleon and Hitler, and it is no good. That is the first rule. (In the House of Lords, 30 May 1962)

We did however drive from Cobourg to Moscow, ON to spend the week at Julie’s (maiden name Holmes) parent’s home. We met her sister Susan and brother-in-law Ron at the “Holmestead”.

We left Cobourg around noon in the cold wet drizzle and headed east on the 401 to the Napanee exit. We stocked up on food and drink in Napanee and then headed north to the village of Moscow. Ron and Susan were already there and had opened up the house and turned up the heat. Julie made us all grilled cheese, tuna melts, and clam chowder for supper. It was really tasty on a cold damp evening. We visited and got caught up on family news and all reminisced about the good times at Jim and Vera’s. Julie notes “Yes the house was warm, along with the welcome. It was good to be ‘holmes’ again. Different without the folks here, but good. The family has been working at organizing and sorting so stuff has been shuffled and moved. WTF (Where’s The Furniture?) But as Tom Jones sings ‘The old house looks the same…at the green, green grass of Holmes.’ Thanks to all of them for bearing the brunt of that burden.”

The east bound 401.

Of course, we pass The Big Apple at Brighton on the 401. Our kids always thought this landmark was a highlight of the drive.

Brother-in-law Ron (Montreal Canadiens #1 fan) and Julie’s sister Susan.

I think they were glad to see us. Otherwise they get pretty silly by themselves. J Julie notes ‘With the telephone, satellite and wifi all disconnected they have had to find ways to entertain themselves. This is one of them. The other was watching some of many movies and shows that their son Jacob downloaded for them on the big computer. Johnny Depp had us laughing in our seats as Tonto, in the Lone Ranger. A good pick by the movie gurus.”

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick.

Julie notes “The spiders have been busy holding the house together with their webs. Enjoy the night my 8 legged, 8 eyed little arachnid friends. Tomorrow you will see the wrath of the spider hunter.”




Day 148 – Oh Canada!

Day 148 – Thursday, November 21, 2013

Today we crossed the border into Canada. We drove 527 kilometres from Munroe, MI to my sister Janet’s home near Cobourg, ON. Julie notes “Gordon Lightfoot aptly started off our journey with ‘In the Early Morning Rain’. It was a bit gloomy day but it didn’t dampen our spirits as we were homeward bound (a Simon and Garfunkle song that should’ve played but didn’t). The Lovin Spoonful sang ‘Darling Be Home Soon’ though to keep our motivation up.”

We followed I-75 into Detroit, MI and crossed the Ambassador Bridge into Canada at Windsor, ON. From there it was a straight shot on the 401 to Cobourg, ON.

The Detroit skyline as we approached.

We’re close!

Crossing the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor, ON, CANADA.

The Windsor, ON skyline from the bridge.

The border crossing for passenger vehicles was pretty much empty and no wait time. A nice treat compared to Central America border crossings. We spoke with a Border Services Officer who directed us into the main building after we declared our goods. We had to pay the GST on the items over our individual allowance. We were across the border in less than 30 minutes. No complaints here. Julie notes “One trucker was getting a talking to while we were in declaring but the dressing down was in that polite but stern Canadian style and no machine guns were involved. We wanted to tell him how lucky he was this wasn’t the Panama/Costa Rica border.”

I love our flag. Nice to be “home”. Julie notes “WTF! Wave That Flag!”

Julie’s windmill money shot for the day. WTF – Windmills Turning Freely

Some beautiful old south-western Ontario farms. It is very flat in this area of Ontario.

If you don’t believe the Canadian flag picture, then this should prove our arrival back in Canada.

A toast to our homeland!

More contours in the land appear as we travel eastward through Ontario.

And more traffic as we traveled the 401. Julie notes “To keep us motivated in the heavy traffic, the iTunes came through again with sister Janet’s favourite artist Tina Turner blasting out ‘Proud Mary’.”

Janet was still at work when we arrived in Cobourg but her daughter Jenny was there to greet us. Julie notes “First family member after 4 months and she looked amazing! A sight for sore eyes.”

We ordered a chicken fajita pizza from supper. No, again, it’s not a salad. Julie notes “But note there are green things on top so again we are calling it ‘salad like’.”

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick posting from Canadian soil.

Julie notes “Now let’s hear that collective sigh of relief. It was an adventure but there’s no place like home.”




Day 147 – Holy Toledo!

Day 147 – Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Julie notes “Sorry for the lapse in reports after our ‘Three Blog Night’ a week ago. We are now speed blogging to catch up. Get ready to be superblogged.”

Today we drove about 627 kilometres from Effingham, IL to Munroe, MI right through Toledo, OH. It is a very industrialized area around Toledo. There is also quite a bit of agriculture in the rural areas. The trees are mostly hardwoods so we know we are in the east. Julie notes “For those of you concerned, we did start gradually speaking to each other again as we realized we were stuck with just each for a few more miles before we would reach family reinforcements. The iTunes belted out the ‘Mule Skinner Blues’ which is what we may have been suffering from as we come to the realization that our adventure is slowly winding to a close. Then K.D. Lang was singing ‘Hallelujah’ maybe praising the fact we were soon to be back to our home land. Or that we were speaking to each other again. Or maybe echoing Brad’s thoughts that there weren’t near as many windmills to take blurry pictures of in this region. But there were lots of nice farms and some silos.”

We stopped for lunch in Anderson, IN at Ruby Tuesday. This was our first visit to this chain and it was pretty good. We both had the salad bar, as promised. Don’t tell anybody, but Julie also tried their Tempura green beans and I added a chicken tortilla soup. Julie notes “My porridge from the hotel breakfast bar was wearing off, and I needed to keep my energy up in case we did get back into a windmill zone. Need to keep the energy up for camera clicking.”

We got a room at the Hampton Inn in Munroe, IL before heading out for dinner. We had some accounting to do before crossing the border into Canada. A 20 minute job of sorting out our purchases turned into about an hour and a half. Julie was right again. I was going to try and sort this out at a gas station parking lot but she convinced me we should just get a hotel in Munroe for the night to get things sorted out. Julie notes “It’s not easy being right all of the time, but being the humble, quiet sort of person that I am, I just take it all in stride and mumble loudly under my breath ‘I told you so’, leading to Lesson #147 ‘Listen to the Sidekick ’cause she knows stuff.'”

We wondered if we were going the right way when we were welcomed to Brazil. Maybe we made it to South America after all?

Holy Toledo!

There were some beautiful old farms in the rural areas. It was actually quite flat through much of our travels today. Julie notes “Must’ve been homesick for the old farmsteads because I took numerous shots along the way. The itchy camera finger is a curse.”

This is a shot of a guy who didn’t want the factory air option and thought his red-neck idea was better; a small generator and a window mounted AC unit in the back of the truck. He is heading to Detroit to sell this idea to the big manufacturers. Julie notes “Best of luck to him. Looks like a sure thing to me. And while we passed him and his creation, Jim Croce was signing about ‘moving me down the highway.'”

After some bill sorting, we headed to Red Lobster, right next door to the Hampton, for a late dinner. No, it’s not salad but the Bar Harbour Lobster Bake. We both ordered this special; a roasted split Maine lobster tail, tender shrimp, sea scallops, mussels and linguini in a garlic and white wine broth. Excellent! Julie notes “There was a lot of garlic and bits of tomato so it was ‘salad like’. Plus we walked both to and from the restaurant. (all 100 yards).”

…over and out for today, the muleskinner and his sidekick (who is always right and is speaking to him again, now that he has acknowledged that)

We’re Still Here!

Update: November 30, 2013

I know all you loyal blog followers are wondering where we are and if we’re still talking to each other.  Let me assure you that we are fine, we are speaking to each other, and we are in southern Ontario.  We spent last week with Julie’s family in Moscow.   Julie and her family organized, sorted and processed many things at her parents home.  We celebrated together and there was laughter and tears.  We are now near Cobourg, ON at my sister, Janet’s, home.  We are getting together with the Emond side of the family today.  Our plan is to head west on Monday morning.

We know we are a week behind on the blog but have every good intention of completing a post a day.  Stay tuned.

…the muleskinner and his sidekick