Our club chapter had a combined rally with the New York chapter in Kingston, Ontario. We left our summer perch on Friday, May 31st and made our way across the big smoke of Toronto to visit with my brother in Downtown Whitevale for a few days. The traffic was a typical Friday and moved fairly well with no real stops. As usual, our parking spot was ready and waiting right in front of Larry’s house. We haven’t been in for a year or so and we took a few extra ins and outs to get it where we wanted it – it has to be in the right spot to have clear line of sight to our satellites! Once set up, it was happy hour so the 3 of us sat in his Florida room catching up on each others winter activities – Larry to Costa Rica and Florida and our adventures in LA. Later, we headed off to our favourite fish & chip shop for dinner and back to Larry’s Florida room to watch the evening come in.
On Saturday, we were invited to watch Cody, one of Larry’s grandkids play soccer in Markham so why not, it was threatening rain with wind, what a better way to spend an afternoon! It must have been our karma because Cody’s team won. After a quick stop at the LCBO, we were sitting back in the Florida room with another happy hour. When we’re there, we usually provide dinner as our camp site fee. Barb made up a huge lasagne and asked Larry to invite some neighbours over. Lloyd & Marion, long time friends and David stayed for dinner. It was fun and to top it off, it was Marion’s birthday so what a celebration we had.
Sunday, we’re back on the road to Rideau Acres campground and the rally. The traffic was fairly light and we arrived without incident. Others we know got there ahead of us but then Pat & Carolyn only live in Hasting, not too far from Kingston. We were expecting Bill & Ann to arrive shortly after we did but they had a little longer drive – about 4.5 hours, stop at the duty free – thanks Bill and cross the border to boot. While at Larry’s, we made up a pulled pork dinner and had Pat, Carolyn, Bill and Ann over for a rally welcome dinner. It was good to see our friends again.
Monday, we got our bearings, found Walmart, The Beer Store and other important places of interest. One was the Kingston Brewing Co, a nice little place with good beer - We had their very own Dragoon’s Breath Real Ale - and good food. On our way back, we found John & Barb – another Ontario couple we met at the Plantation stopped on the side of the 401 with a blown tire. We had to do a loop at the next exit to go back to see if we could help. They were waiting for Emergency Road Service but we stayed and chatted for a bit then continued on our way.
On Tuesday, we were invited to spend the afternoon with Ross & Pat, another Escapee couple at their cottage on Sharbot Lake. We met Ross at the docks in the village of Sharbot Lake and he chauffeured us across the lake to their little piece of Heaven or as I coined it, their castle on the rock. It is a beautiful setting, the deck overlooks the water lapping on the shore and the cottage in nestled among the pine and birch trees. No road access so all supplies have to come in by boat and you know that you are on your own. We had a wonderful bbq lunch with lots of fresh food and cold beer, what a day. We are so lucky that our travelling adventures have brought us such friends.
So far the weather has been great but today, Wednesday we had some rain but thankfully, the morning and afternoon presentations are in the club house with no affect on us. It also did not interrupt the pot luck dinner held in the club house. Lots of camaraderie and good food abound.
Our Discovery boat cruise of the Kingston harbour was scheduled for Thursday but our spirits were dampened when we awoke to more pouring rain. It’s been a wet season so far and the next few days do not look great for us. Bill, Ann & Barb & I ventured on down to the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. The special exhibit was called Hundred Year Storm and has demonstrations, pictures and story boards on the worst disaster on the Great Lakes in 1913. The exhibit also has a video on the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975. There are lots of theories and studies out there while this exhibit and video shows the extensive research conducted at the labs in Newfoundland using 360 video and computer simulations that show what it may have been like in the bridge just before the ship went down. Wow is all I can say.
The museum is also housed in the original dry dock when Kingston was a major ship building port. The back of the museum housed the pumps that emptied and filled the dry dock back in. In the dry dock is one of Canada’s ice breakers off the Great Lakes. In the recent past after this ship was retired, it used as a B&B in Asia. After finding asbestos on board, it was brought back and adopted by the museum. The ship is open for a self guided walking tour but is in disrepair and needs funding to restore properly. Our government would rather spend money on Senate salaries instead of restoring some of our historic properties.
The Discovery boat tour was not much of a discovery with all the rain and the ships speaker system was less than desired so we sat and kibitzed as we toured around the harbour. I’m sure the audio recording and the tales by the captain would have been entertaining if we could have heard them. Our dinner after the cruise was at the Lone Star in downtown Kingston. The service was great, our waiter was very entertaining and we had a good time. Ann was showing us what crazy things she used to do when she was young and crazy, now she is just crazy, especially when her and Barb get together!
Our US rally hosts organized a bbq for Friday evening with a comedic singer after our meal. What a great time, an excellent bbq with beef and pork with all the trimmings, including deep fried Oreo cookies! Yes, that’s correct, a deep fired cookie. They are an acquired taste or maybe it was the texture but I just had
to try one or maybe 2! I found out that it is possible for too much laughter with Roger James entertaining us, my sides hurt from laughter. There was no reason why anyone would go home hungry for food or fun, it was an excellent evening.
Our next rally event we looked forward to was an evening tour and meal of Old Fort Henry. We were to meet after the Fort closed and had a private tour of the officers quarters and dining room. After, we were seated in the Officers Mess and asked to act like the Officers of the era. That means not to be polite to the servers and that can be difficult for a Canadian! The food was good and the experience created good memories.
Sunday was hitch up day and many fellow Escapees left fairly early. Some were staying to attend another rally in up state New York. We were going down the road to visit with our daughter and grandkids.
Hope all is well out there and please come back for more soon.