Don’t leave home without one …
An up-to-date GPS that is! If you’re going to be driving at anytime during your vacation, make sure you have one of the new ones that gives you free lifetime traffic and map updates.
Unfortunately, on our recent trek to northwestern Ontario and Winnipeg, Manitoba we took one we bought 6-7 years ago. Everything was working great until we hit New Brunswick and SAM (as I called ours for s… automated male) started leading us astray, trying to get us to go off the new Trans Canada Highway at every exit.
I dreaded what it would do when we got to Montreal, as on all other trips we managed to go wrong ourselves (the fault of this female not reading the maps correctly according to her husband) and always missed the entrance to the tunnel. But luckily SAM steered us right through it this time.
However, on the way back, approaching Montreal from a different direction as we came back via the 401, instead of from Ottawa, we went astray before the tunnel – I wanted to come back via the USA but as we had a new truck with no plates on it, hubby wouldn’t chance crossing the border.
Anyhow, we soon were back on track and on the correct route home.
SAM also tried to lead us astray in Thunder Bay, but I remembered the route and wouldn’t listen to him.
But he did manage it in Sault Ste. Marie though. And God bless his heart, he did steer us right in Winnipeg, which was a good thing as being in the middle of downtown Winnipeg at rush hour is not a place to go wrong.
Then there was Kitchener-Waterloo, a nightmare to be sure. We went round and he kept sending us back to the same incorrect spot.
I kept erasing the history and entering the correct address, finally after what seemed like forever, we got out of the city and back on the TCH, only to find ourselves in the middle of a traffic jam, which went all the way past Toronto.
It took as four and a-half hours to travel 90 kilometres – and people do this everyday on their way to and from work!
Not for me … give me a little ole Newfie outport anytime.
Other than traffic woes, and vehicle troubles, we had a great trip.
We stay in Kenora, a beautiful small city on gorgeous Lake of the Woods in northwestern Ontario. May 24th long weekend is the beginning of their lucrative tourist season.
The weather was gorgeous – sunny and in the mid-20s – now if only our temperatures would more like that!
The lilac, cherry and apple trees were all out in full bloom. The water fountain in the lake near the harbour front was turned on, spouting water high into the air. The marinas around town were filled with pleasure boats.
There were private jets and floatplanes coming in daily, as the cottage owners returned for the summer season to their million dollar homes on the lake’s 14,000 islands.
The large statue of ‘husky-the-musky’ was polished and ready for picture taking. (You can’t be a tourist in Kenora unless you get your photo taken underneath the large fish statue.)
Until a few years ago, the TCH went through town; now you have to exit onto the old TCH (Hwy 17), which is only a few yards away and this will take you through it. It is well worth the detour.
Every Wednesday during the tourist season, there is a large farmers’ market on the harbour front and throughout the season there are several major fishing tournaments held there. Their annual Harbourfest celebration takes place the first week of August.
Winnipeg is just a two-hour drive west of Kenora. While there, we enjoyed visiting the large zoo, the Forks’ marketplace and, of course, there is great shopping with several major malls and lots of places to eat and stay.
During the winter, one can watch the Winnipeg Jets place at the MTS Centre, also where major concerts are held, and in the fall you can take in a Blue Bombers’ game at the stadium.
But best of all was spending time with our daughter and grandchildren! Every moment with them was precious, as we don’t get to see them often enough.
As for SAM, I gave him to my son so he can find his way around the Peninsula, having recently moved here from Gander – I don’t think the roads around here have changed all that much so SAM shouldn’t lead him astray.
This is my last regular column while I focus more time on writing my new book of short stories entitled ‘A Life So Changed: A collection of stories’.
I hope you all have a pleasant summer. Be safe.
And if you’re not planning on taking a vacation, be a tourist at home and visit your local tourist attractions, museums and dinner theatres.