Yukon wild

Yukon wild
Yukon wild

Monday, February 28, 2011

Leg 5 – the Prairies

There’s just no way to get around it  - Canada’s prairies are FLAT.  From Manitoba…

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through Saskatchewan and Alberta…

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There are some interesting sights in the grain elevators…

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and trains…

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and hay bales…

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We had a couple of adventures on this leg.  We saw the first animals of our trip; eight or so deer leaping across the road in front of us outside Yorkton, Saskatchewan.  We also got a little lost, went up a side road thinking it was the highway and got stuck in the snow.  The tow truck driver was friendly…

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Who would think you could get lost somewhere so flat or mired in so little snow…

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Edmonton was very snowy and blowy so we didn’t even get the relief of seeing the Rocky mountain foothills. 

Canada is really just a series of hick towns with a few cities.  The prairies show that off to its fullest.  DD and I have been trying to send a postcard from every province.  Well in Manitoba and Saskatchewan we couldn’t even find a postcard to buy.  When we asked where we might buy a postcard the reply was “Postcard… why you would get that at the post office wouldn’t you?”  We’re not completely out of Alberta yet so I’m holding out hope that they will know what postcards are here.  After all it is the home of spectacular scenery and one of the earliest tourist areas of Canada were in Banff and Jasper in the rocky mountains.

Today we are on to the last leg of the journey, heading north on the Alaska Highway.  The road will no longer be a divided four lane highway, or have passing lanes built in every 10 kilometres or so.  But I’ve driven this road at least once, sometimes twice, every one of the last 30 or so years, so it’s familiar to me. 

Two more days of driving and we should be home.

Janet

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Leg 4–Ontario

We’ve made it through Ontario; a province of many contrasts.  My impression for this trip was of trains and trees.  Oh, and hockey.  Many Canadians love hockey.  And we don’t just watch professional hockey, we play it in one form or another as well.  Some people play on recreational leagues, or old timer’s leagues.  A lot of people just play “pick up” hockey; playing on a backyard rink with whoever is around.  Lots of people make rinks in their yards, or on the local frozen ponds. 

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Notice the watering can…. that’s for smoothing out the rough spots in the ice.

We took the northern route around the great lakes.  The southern route runs along the lakes and there is beautiful scenery, but it has many twists and turns.  The northern route goes up and around through the bush. I’d never been this way before so it was interesting to see a new area.  The road is mainly flat and straight and the view looks like this for miles and miles.

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Beautiful sunsets though…

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We stayed one night in Cochrane, Ontario.  In Canada there is a chain called Tim Horton’s.  It is a coffee and donut place, that also has bagels, muffins, sandwiches and soup.  Canadians love Tim Horton’s (Timmy’s) and the shops can be found everywhere.  Tim Horton was a professional hockey player in the NHL (National Hockey League) and he started the coffee shops when he retired.  He was from Cochrane, Ontario. 

Cochrane is just a couple of hundred miles from James Bay – polar bear country.  In Cochrane they have two polar bears in captivity.  We didn’t go to see them  but maybe we should have as I’ve never seen a live polar bear before.  There is a stuffed, mounted polar bear in the Inuvik airport, which I went through regularly for six years for work.  It was huge.  It was standing up and it’s head brushed the ceiling.

The polar bear is Cochrane’s mascot.  Many small towns in Canada have mascots and large statues of their mascots.  We’ve see giant blueberries, lilacs, sasquatches and more.  This town didn’t claim the snowman as it’s mascot, or announce that it was the home of the largest one, but I haven’t seen one bigger.

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I didn’t get any pictures of the beautiful lake country in Ontario.  Or the Terry Fox monument.  Terry Fox was a young man who lost a leg to cancer.  He wanted to run across the country to raise money and awareness about cancer.  He made it from St. John’s to just outside Thunder Bay, Ontario, when his cancer returned and he had to stop his run.  He died shortly afterward.  Such a courageous young man.  There is an annual Terry Fox run in Canadian communities to raise money for cancer research.

We passed the longitudinal centre of Canada yesterday, between the Ontario/Manitoba border and Winnipeg.  Since our destination is about 500 km short of the westernmost point in Canada, I would say we are well over halfway!  Leg 5 – the Prairies.

Janet

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Leg 3 of the journey

We have successfully finished the third leg of the long trip.  This mainly involved getting out of New Brunswick, which we did with a vengeance today.  We left Nova Scotia on Sunday but travelled only a short distance to New Brunswick.  DD left me at my Aunt Sylvia’s home, then went off to PEI to see her friends there.  I had a lovely 24 plus hours with my aunt, cousin Lee and her husband.  Lots of snow at their house.

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My aunt had just finished transcribing some taped interviews with her sister, my Aunt Cecily, who has been deceased for more than ten years.  It was fun to read her stories and talk with my aunt and cousin about the family.  I discovered that my mother was stationed in Newfoundland during WW II.  She was a nursing sister.  I also found out that my triple great grandfather was lieutenant governor of Van Diemen’s Land from 1843 to 1847.

I went for a few walks down the driveway and had to check out the animals. 

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This cat was a master purrer….

On Monday we moved on to my sister’s house.  Again lots of snow.  This is the view from her house out to the Bay of Fundy.

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I hadn’t been to her place before and we had to stick around for a day to see the sights and visit.  New Brunswick is very picturesque.  This is the land of covered bridges.

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And boats…

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We left early this morning.  A long day of driving took us out of New Brunswick, through Quebec and on to Ottawa, where we are spending the night with another of DD’s friends.  This girl has a lot of friends Smile

I grew up in Quebec and it holds many memories for me, some sweet, others not.  It feels familiar and homelike to me though.  What struck me about Quebec today was the birch trees, brick buildings, tall spires on churches and millions of saint names.  There must be a thousand small towns that are named after saints.  One of the most unique is St.-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!  Wikipedia has this to say about the name.

“The commission de toponymie asserts that the parish's name refers to nearby Lake Témiscouata, the sense of haha here being an archaic French word for an unexpected obstacle or abruptly ending path.[2] The Louis may refer to Louis Marquis, one of the first colonists of the region, or Louis-Antoine Proulx, vicar of Rivière-du-Loup, or perhaps the abbot Louis-Nicolas Bernier.[3]

The exclamation marks were added colloquially and have since gained recognized status among Canadian federal institutions such as Canada Post.”

I love Le Fleuve Saint-Laurent…

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And the Montreal skyline…

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After a fourteen hour day of driving I’m feeling woozy.  I think we’ll have to go a bit slower tomorrow.  There is no one for us to visit, so no rush to be somewhere in time to visit. 

We’ve had sunny days the last two.  The roads today were clear and dry and there is only a little snow in Ottawa.  Tomorrow begins leg 4: the long haul through Ontario.

On the sewing front I’ve got Maria’s goat ready to mail.  I might add another little thing tomorrow morning and I’ll find a post office to mail it from tomorrow. 

 

Janet

Saturday, February 19, 2011

And on to Nova Scotia

Well the second leg of the long journey is over.  A twelve hour drive across Newfoundland to Port-aux-Basques.  There were a couple of quick stops along the way so DD could say goodbye to friends, and a restaurant dinner in Cornerbrook with one of her friends. 

A little digression here with some family history.  Canada is a very big country with a relatively small population.  It always amazes me who you can meet along the way, and the connections there are from coast to coast. 

Both my grandmother’s families had been in Canada for generations, and both my grandfathers were new immigrants to Canada from Britain.  My father grew up in British Columbia, my mother in Quebec.  My DH’s father’s family was the same, his grandfather was the “bastard son of the lord of the manor”, somewhere in Britain, and was a new immigrant to Canada as a young man.  His grandmother’s family lived near Chilliwack, B.C.  His mother’s family were from the east coast of Canada. 

One set of my mother’s grandparents lived in Newfoundland at Pilley’s Island, for a number of years.  My DH’s great grandmother came from Burgeo, Newfoundland.    His Chilliwack grandmother’s family originally came to Nova Scotia on a boat called the Hector.   There is a replica of it in Pictou, Nova Scotia.

His mother grew up on a farm in Nova Scotia.  My aunt lives down the road a couple of hundred miles in New Brunswick.   One of my sisters also lives in New Brunswick, not far down the road from my aunt.

We had dinner with DD’s friend who comes from Newfoundland, but is working in Alberta and was home to visit with her boyfriend who is from Melbourne, Australia.  My sister lives near Armidale, Australia. 

There are connections everywhere.

After our long drive we took the overnight ferry to North Sydney, Nova Scotia.  As DD commented you would think since it’s a “night” ferry that they would at least dim the lights so people could sleep.  No such luck, but we managed to get a bit of sleep. 

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Lined up waiting to get on the ferry.  Guess which is DD’s car…

Off the ferry we had a three hour drive to DH’s mother’s home at the farm in Nova Scotia.  His cousin, Carl, still lives here and raises Black Angus cattle.  Another cousin, Linda, lives minutes up the road.  About ten minutes after we left the ferry we passed a truck and DD commented “I think that was Stephen we just passed.”  Steven is Linda’s son and he has been going to college in Newfoundland.  Sure enough it was him and he had been on the same ferry as us, only we didn’t run into him all night long. 

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The view down the hill from the farm to the Bay of Fundy.  It’s still overcast and snowy.

We’ve had a most entertaining visit with them all, helping prepare a big chicken dinner for lunch, aka dinner, feeding calves, playing with the cat and just chatting.   Carl’s wife Jessie has been really ill and just got out of hospital, but she is one of the most positive spirited people I know and they insisted we stay the night. 

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The calves were hungry…

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So we had to feed them.

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Tiger, a well indulged farm cat.

We went to a community dinner at the Canadian Legion hall with Linda and her husband.  Baked beans, brown bread and blueberry grunt.  Delish.  There were door prizes.  They came over and asked me to pull a slip for one of the prizes.  I said “if I pull my own name do I still get to win?”  “Of course.”  And I proceeded to pull my own name and won a nice t-shirt.  Then DD won a bag.   Smile

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These Brownies were working towards earning badges by helping to serve at the dinner.  They were very attentive waitresses.

Tomorrow a short third leg of the journey.  I’m off to visit my aunt in New Brunswick, while DD hops over to PEI for the day to see some of her friends there. 

Janet

Thursday, February 17, 2011

St. John’s, Newfoundland

The first leg of my long journey ... I arrived in St. John's at 1 a.m. on the 16th.  The flight was smooth and not too eventful, short layovers in Vancouver and Montreal, a little bit of turbulence going across the prairies and a couple of short delays in leaving.  The most interesting thing that happened was that they didn't serve any coffee or tea on the 6 a.m. flight out of Whitehorse because the hot water machine was frozen up.... By the time we were due to land in Vancouver there was water dripping out of the ceiling of the plane.

I've had two days to see the sights in St. John's and run around with DD # 2 while she does all her last minute chores prior to leaving.  The weather has not been cooperative for sightseeing however; lots of wind and blowing snow.   

Last night DD and her friend took me to a pub, Shamrock City, to see a local band, the Navigators.  They play "traditional" Newfoundland music, sort of Celtic, a bit folksy and a bit modern.  They really rocked the Shamrock.

This morning was sunny and no rain or snow.  We managed to get up to Signal Hill before the weather changed...

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This was the closest point of assistance for the Titanic when it sank – 365 miles away according to the sign.

 

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St. John’s from Signal Hill.

But by the time we got out to Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America, this is all we could see....

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Tomorrow we're off on a ten hour or so drive to Port-aux-Basques to catch the overnight ferry to Nova Scotia.  Maybe.  DD said that she isn’t getting on any ferry in waves like that.    The ferries have been running off and on over the last few days due to the rough seas.  Maybe we’ll have to wait. 

DD is trying to cram all of her things into her car.  She doesn’t want me to point out to her anymore that she seems to have more boxes than her car can possibly hold. 

I haven’t done any sewing yet, although I brought lots of projects with me to work on in the car.  I did manage to finish the Christmas block swap block for Cheryl before I left.  Here’s a sneak peak.

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Janet

Friday, February 11, 2011

I’m still alive

I’ve been a delinquent blogger lately.  I’ve been really busy doing something and not much sewing has been done.  I did make some inspiration blocks for Victoria’s 15 Minutes of Play.  I have a dozen more of these to finish.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them next.

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I got excited about Madame Samm’s mug rug contest one day and whipped up this one.  It was supposed to represent me… I got one vote for third place.  Gotta start small….

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Here is a sneak peak of the block I made today for Robyn in the Block Swap Adventure. 

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And I took a class last week with my friend Dahn in working with metal for fabric pieces.  Dahn said she’d like to see a picture of herself on my blog, so here she is teaching away.

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And here is my masterpiece from the class.  I have a great idea for using it on a journal cover – when I get time.

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I’ve received some goodies in the mail as well.  Toni sent me a hexie in the Inchy Hexie Swap in December, but didn’t like her work so sent me this one, received today.  I liked the first one but I LOVE this one.

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My DD sent me another installment of the vintage hexies…

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What else have I received??? These great Valentines mugrugs from Karen.

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And Allie, my wayward goat from the Sisterhood of the Travelling Goat has come home to roost and she brought this fabulous pillow cover with her!  Thanks to Fiona, Maria and Laura.

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I’m leaving on Tuesday, flying to St. John’s Newfoundland to drive back to the Yukon with DD # 3.  A long trip – 8000 + kilometres and it is winter out there.  We’ll take it slow, stop and sleep every night and hopefully have a great time.  I’ll check into blogland if I can.  If not see you all in a couple of weeks.

Janet