Canada Trip Jul/Aug 06

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday Afternoon Cycling

We went with Earl on a Sunday afternoon bike ride around some of the bush parks that Ottawa is blessed with. There are some fantastic trails for biking and walking in some of the suburbs not far from Earl and Mandy's house. We spent a good couple of hours cycling around. Being nice and flat its not difficult riding. Very enjoyable.

We went to Earl and Mandy's church this morning. Being the summer time here a lot of people go away on the weekends to their cottages (baches), so the numbers were down. Rob played bass in the service to help out due to lack of numbers in the music team. Mandy and Jordyn sang. Jordyn has an excellent voice and can harmonise really well. It was fun.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Little Cedar Lake

Last week we travelled about an hour and a half North of Ottawa into Quebec to stay at a cottage we rented at Little Cedar Lake close to a town called Maniwaki. The drive up was through some beautiful countryside, lots of trees and small farms and very green at this time of year.

Here is a picture of the cottage we stayed at.

The girls, Sarah, Jordyn and Sophie spent a lot of time in the water swimming etc. There was a small runabout provided with the cottage so we could take trips out on the lake. Earl also towed the blow up turtle behind the boat so the girls could get a ride.

Sarah, Mandy, Bron and Earl enjoying the lakeside.

The location was very beautiful and peaceful and we had a very relaxing time. The sunsets were stunning.

Bron enjoying the setting sun and looking beautiful.

The temperature was a lot cooler than down in Ottawa but very pleasant. the weather was quite variable and we had a few overcast days and some rain. We spent quite a bit of time in the evenings around the campfire, talking, singing and roasting marshmellows. It was magic.

Bron and Earl.

Earl and Mandy enjoying an intimate moment.

We enjoying experiencing the local wildlife. We had some cheeky chipmunks scooting around looking for food etc. Bron got this gorgeous shot of a chipmunk.

We heard some amazing sounds at night made by loon birds. They have this most mournful cry that echos around the lake at night. It just the most incredible sound that conjures up a real sense of the outdoors and the wilderness. Its sort of like the howling of wolves. We saw quite a few loon birds on the lake and tried to get decent photos of them, but they are very shy. When you try and get close they will dive under the water and swim quite a way underwater to get away.

Here's Robin out on a boating excursion around the lake.

The area is dotted with lots of lakes and we drove to a couple of other lakes where they had nice walks and cycle tracks. There is a beautiful walk next Blue Sea lake that we went on a couple of days. The cycle/walk track runs by the lake for several kilometres. In winter they use the track for snowmobiles. The whole countryside and throughout Canada is covered with these cycle/snowmobile tracks. Its an amazing network and facilty that people can use.

Not long after we started on this walk by the Blue Sea Lake one day, thunder and lightning started in the hills on the other side of the lake. The thunder and lightning got closer and closer until it was all happening directly above us. It started to rain and Bron and Rob were caught out in the middle of it with lightning and thunder crashing directly overhead. Rob found it very exciting but Bron was really scared. Earl and Mandy picked us up in their car just before the heavens opened up and the rain absolutely poured down causing torrents of water to run down the streets.

The area is very beautiful with some great scenes like this one below.

So it was a great time and the lake and we thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the variable weather. We had to get back to Ottawa a day early because Bron broke one of her fillings and developed really bad toothache, so we had to take her to an emergency dentist to get that seen to.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday - Ottawa City

On Friday Bron and Rob went into the central city and wandered around looking at the beautiful old government buildings, shopping and looking at the markets.

We tried a Beaver Tail, which is like a flat donut covered in cinnamon sugar. Very yummy.

As cities go Ottawa is very nice. It is very green and pleasant at this time of year with lots of trees and park areas. Public transport is great with an excellent bus service, cheap and very fast. They have buses only roads leading out of the city to the suburbs. The population of Ottwa is about 750,000 so its smaller than Auckland.

Tomorrow we head off to Little Cedar Lake for a week, so we won't have Internet access. So don't expect any more posts for a week.

Upper Canada Pioneer Village

On Thursday we travelled south of Ottawa to the St Lawrence River (which feeds out of the Great Lakes and heads off to the Atlantic.) We went to a little place called Upper Canada where they've set up a working pioneer village. When they dammed the St Lawrence River back in the 50s for hydro electricity and to make the river more navigable by big ships they relocated a lot of the old pioneer buildings and artefacts from the area that was to be flooded to a new area. They've maintained it as a proper working village and farm using all the old methods. The people running the place all dress up in period costume, working the farm and the industries such as gardening, wool scouring, carding and weaving, flour milling, timber milling, baking, tin smithing etc. all using the old methods. During summer they have camps for school kids there, where they all dress in period costume, go to old time school and get involved in doing things the way the pioneers did.

The flour mill is run by an old woodfired steam engine. They bake and sell their own bread using the wholegrain flour from the mill. Very nice. The timber mill and wollen mill are run by water power.

We had a great day looking around all the exhibits and seeing how they lived and worked in the old days.

Timber Mill in Action

Sophie Watching Basket Weaving

Jordy in Period Costume

Stage Coach

The Flour Mill

Communing With the Horses

Bringing in the Hay

Cycling in Ottawa

On Wednesday morning, Bron, Rob and Mandy cycled to the river and back. Ottawa is blessed with a fantastic network of cycle lanes. There are cycle lanes almost all the way between Earl & Mandy's place and the river, and they run through some nice areas of trees and parks. Being mostly flat it is quite easy cycling, so it wasn't too strenuous for us unfit ones. Sorry, no photographs of the cycling (I don't look good in lycra!!!!)

In the afternoon we took a drive across the Ottawa River into the Quebec province. (Ottawa itself is in Ontario province.) Quebec is French speaking so most of the signs are in French. We drove out into the countryside. Very beautiful and green at this time of year. We were heading for an aquatic park, but when we got there it was packed with long queues on all the rides. So we gave that idea up and drove around some more. There is a national park up in the hills. We stopped for fantastic icecreams in a little village then drove up to a lookout where we could see south over the plains to the Ottawa River and Ottawa city itself. So it was a good day seeing some of the nice countryside etc.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Earl & Mandy's New House

Below is a picture of Earl and Mandy's new house.

Just kidding. This is a really flash hotel not far from the Omega animal park.

Here is a real picture of the house they are in the process of purchasing. It is not too far from where they are now and is closer to the girl's schools etc. It is bigger than the house they are renting at the moment and is very nice inside.

Omega Animal Park

On Tuesday we drove about an hour and a half north east of Ottawa and visited Omega animal park where they have deer, buffalo, pigs, arctic wolves, coyotes, bears and other animals wandering around for you to look at while you drive around. They also have some nice walking areas and tracks to go on. There was also some nice photo opportunities with the family.

Deer with a great set of antlers. This sight would make all hunters very twitchy and wishing they'd brought a rifle!!

Arctic wolf.

Arctic wolf baby, very cute! Bron wanted to bring it home.

Rob and Bron with the three girls.


Sophie, Jordyn and Sarah.

Beautiful black bear cubs.

It was a great day.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Trip to the Beach

Monday was a hot and humid day in Ottawa. So we went to the beach!! Well the Ottawa version of it anyway. Of course Ottawa is miles away from any ocean, but there is a river running through it and at some locations along the bank they have brought in sand and made beaches for people to sunbathe etc. See the photo. The water was quite warm in the river and very refreshing on the hot day.

One Canadian citizen had a novel way of cooling off in comfort!!!

Here's a picture of our niece Jordyn and another of Bron and Bron's brother Earl.

This is a view across the Ottawa River. It's hard to believe that in winter this river is completely iced over and they ice skate on it and go fishing through holes drilled in the ice.

There was a spectacular summer thunderstorm last night with continuous lightning and thunder that took out the power. Very exciting to be in the middle of.

Cheers for now.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Arrival in North America

Hi all. We arrived safely in Ottawa to a great welcome from Earl and Mandy and the girls. It was so great to see them again.

We stopped over in San Fransisco for the night staying with our friends Ross and Heather Morley and their 2 children Calista and Blake. Ross is a Kiwi who works for a Silicon Valley startup company as a software development engineer. They live in San Jose. They took us for a nice walk in the hills above San Jose through the bush to Castle Rocks (see the photo). Very nice after the long trip from Auckland.

It is very hot here in Ottawa, around 34 degrees and humid. We'll keep you posted as to what we get up to.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Trip Itinerary

Hi all. This site is a record of Robin and Bronwin Mead's trip to North America in July/August 2006. The itinerary is as follows:

Sat 15th July Fly Palmerston North to Auckland to San Francisco

We stay the night with friends Ross and Heather Morley in San Jose, CA. Ross is a kiwi friend from way back.

Sun 16th July Fly San Francisco to Montreal.

Earl Langridge, Bron's brother will pick us up from Montreal and drive us to Ottawa where Earl, Mandy his wife and daughters Sarah, Jordyn and Sophie live.

We'll stay at their place until 22nd July when we will head 90 minutes north of Ottawa to Little Cedar Lake. We have rented a cottage there, see for details.

We head back to Ottawa on 28th July and stay another week based in Ottawa.

On Sat 5th August we fly from Montreal via Chicago to Lexington in Kentucky, USA. There we be picked up by Glennis (Bron's elder sister) and her husband Paul who will drive us to a little place about an hour south of Lexington called Berea. This is bluegrass and hillbilly country, famous for its Kentucky horses as well.

We spend four days catching up with Glennis and Paul and their daughter Michelle.

On Thursday 10th Aug we fly to San Francisco and then on to Auckland and Palmerston North arriving home on Sat 12th August.

We'll keep this site up to date with stories and photos so that you can track our progress and see what we get up to. So stay tuned.