Desert Nomads ride Camels… right? And, Camels know how to find water… right? I’m a “Nomad”, but I don’t ride a Camel! Heck, I don’t even own one! Besides, if I rode a Camel it would just take too long to get to the festivals and communities we visit, and it would be very uncomfortable. We would, I think, cause a lot of excitement, but, frankly, for the most part, I like to go under the radar. Now, back to my ride! So, it stands to reason, if I don’t go by Camel, I must go by some other means! Yes, my festival and community going friends, I go by Car! Like a good Camel, my car knows where all the “watering holes” are located along the “ONTARIO ADVENTURE” way. I am, of course, referring to “TIMS” (Tim Hortons)! Plus, my car knows who is BOSS, because if it didn't know where the “TIMS” were, it would get into trouble with “Scoop” JUDI! And Judi, when it comes to passing a “TIMS” without stopping, has a “short fuse”! That being said, we make frequent stops during our ADVENTURE travels. Let me tell you, I like “TIMS” coffee as much as anyone, however, I don’t buy “TIMS” coffee, I rent it and then, only for a “very short time”! That means, for you young Camels, that my body rejects the coffee quite quickly. That’s where my “smart” car comes in for me. It remembers where all the washrooms are located. The only problem is that they are all located at “TIMS”… and so, my friends, the circle of life goes on!!
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
“Getting there is half the fun, isn’t it?” At least that’s what I believe, and I think I may even have convinced Judi. Take our trip to the Waterloo area for a Quilt Festival. We could have driven straight there, west on Highway 401 to Cambridge, north on Highway 8, through Kitchener-Waterloo and then on to St Jacobs. A two hour plus trip of driving and not much else! (Boring… boring) Instead, I (WE) decided to go the “scenic” route. It involved driving through Toronto on the 401 Highway to Milton. Then, just west of Milton, we left the 401 at Campbellville. We turned south on the Guelph Line into Campbellville. This is a picturesque little hamlet with a number of quaint stores. We got out of the car and explored the shops. Pretty neat, eh! Once we were finished looking around, we continued on our journey. This time we traveled north on the Guelph Line. On our way, we passed the Mohawk Raceway. Had we been later in the day, we could have stopped and taken in a Standardbred race or two. (Website: http://www.woodbineentertainment.com/mohawk/) Since it was early in the day we continued on. Further on, we passed the Streetcar & Electric Rail Road Museum. (Website: http://hcry.org/) We didn’t exactly pass, we stopped to take photos. Unfortunately we were traveling on a week day and the Museum was only open on weekends! Still, plenty of fun! We continued on the Guelph Line until we came to Highway 7. This we followed west right into the heart of Downtown Guelph. Guelph is the home of Canada’s agricultural university, Ontario Agricultural College (OAC). OAC is the oldest part of the University of Guelph (1873). Guelph is also one of the first planned towns in Canada. Driving through Downtown Guelph is both an interesting and challenging experience. Interesting because the all the historical architecture, challenging because of the road system! We finally left “The Royal City” (aka Guelph) and headed north. We were now in beautiful Mennonite Country! Our route was “serendipitous”. We were traveling the back roads of Waterloo County. We passed numerous Mennonite farms along the way. These well maintained farms are beautiful and fascinating. In a world gone mad for modern conveniences, Mennonite farms and lifestyle take us back to the days of our forefather, where hard work required strength and endurance. We also passed through 2 more charming villages, Maryhill and Conestoga. After 3 ½ hours “on the road”, we reached our final destination of St. Jacobs. Was the extra hour or so worth it? Quaint villages, horse racing, museums, historic architecture, scenic landscape, magnificent farms, winding roads… you be the judge! And, we hadn’t even visited the festival yet! NOT BORING!!! So, when you embark on your next festival trip, “go crooked”!
Thursday, May 11, 2017
With the hot weather (I hope) approaching, it’s time to consider water! “Walking a festival”, especially a large one, can be hard work and made worse, when it’s hot! The Nomad can work up a terrible thirst, after all he’s (me) not a “camel”! When I get dehydrated, I need water, lots of it, so I need to have water available at all times. Going without water is not an option. So, I either have to buy water when I get to a festival or I have to bring some with me. Fortunately most festivals and events, these days, provide lots of places to purchase water. That being the case, I normally do a combination of both. I bring one or two bottles and then purchase more if it is needed. One thing that is happening in the world today, is the “GREEN” effect. Most everyone is concerned about their imprint on the world, and I am no different. Plastic water bottles are starting to become a big concern and a lot of festivals are now considering alternatives. I attended a seminar a while ago and the speaker, the Manager of the Hillside Festival in Guelph, was talking about her festival and how they were trying to change the habits of their visitors. Their solution was to sell empty “Hillside Festival” refillable bottles and then provide a large tank of drinking water, where attendees could fill their bottles for free. Not only does this help eliminate plastic bottles, it’s a heck of a good promotion for the Hillside Festival. I hope more festivals and events follow their led! In this vain, Judi and I were in a grocery store the other day and saw refillable bottles for sale. They were great because they had a carrying shoulder strap. We purchase two for ourselves and encourage others to do the same. Hopefully festivals will see the “GREEN” light and provide drinking water. After all, "I am not a camel"…
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
A few years I was talking with my Grandson and telling him about a new event I wanted to take him to. As we spoke I started to think about other adventures we had undertaken together and the fun we had! Our first adventure together was actually with his whole family - Mom, Dad, Brother and little Sister. The festival was the “Spring Toad Festival” held at the Toronto Zoo. I marveled that he and his brother and sister could find fun sitting and playing on stone carved animals or climbing through cave like structures, but they did! Even the delight of having their faces painted at the “Toad” marsh was inspiring. The first event he and I attended alone was the Antique and Classic Boat Show held in Gravenhurst. We traveled the back roads to get to the show and talked excitedly about what we might find there. We stopped along the way for a “Tim’s” treat and then at the Muskoka Trading Post to see if we could find presents for his brother and sister. It was a “no go”, but we did manage to score 2 free buckets of “Nibs Ice Cream” bits. Then it was on to the show to admire all the antique and classic boats. It was great fun talking about the boats and showing him which ones I drove when I was his age. To me, of course, they were neither classic nor antique, but to my Grandson they were! That’s age for you! We argued which ones we liked best, but in the end we both agreed that they were all pretty “neat”. After lunch we drove home companionably, happy to have had such a great day! Our last outing was the Lang Pioneer Village for their “Christmas by Candlelight”. We arrived early so that I could take some pictures in the daylight. Darkness and night arrived quickly and we headed for the village’s Visitor Centre. There we were greeted by staff who gave us a village map and an agenda of the evening’s festivities. Our first stop was in the gallery at the back of the centre. Here kids could decorate gingerbread cookies with icing. From there we went into a side room to talk with “Father Christmas”. Then it was outside into the cool of the night. A horse drawn hay wagon was waiting to take visitors on a journey around the village square. My Grandson climbed aboard with other adventurers. I waited and listened to “Christmas carolers”. When the trip was over we walked the village investigating each building. At the Fitzpatrick House we learned how to make rag dolls. At the Keene Hotel we had cookies and hot chocolate. We sang carols in the Town Hall and made a “Christmas cracker” in the Old School House. We took it all in with quiet enthusiasm! After our Christmas tour we traveled to Peterborough for a well-earned dinner. These were wonderful memories, ones that I will always keep and will build on in the future. Of course, as our other Grandchildren grow a little older, the memories will for all of us!