You are currently viewing archive for August 2013
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Today was a Mackinaw City kinda of day. The boys spent the morning touring the Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw WAGB-83. The icebreaker known as the "Queen of the Great Lakes" was built as part of the war effort during World War II to meet the heavy demands of war materials and transportation during the winter months. She was decommissioned in 2006.


Ed and John on the deck.

Carol and I went on a mission to find dinner. This included a drive to the Upper Peninsula to Lehto's to purchase John and Carol's favorite pasties. We drove 40 km (26 miles) round trip and paid two bridge tolls and it was worth it.

A view of the Mackinac Bridge from the Upper Peninsula.

The afternoon was spent on the Lighthouse Boat Tour. The owner of Sheplers Ferry's was our captain and Terry Pepper, the executive director of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association was our guide. This was a "3 hour tour" --- we were relieved that we didn't have any Howells, Gilligans, Professors, Maryannes or Gingers on board.

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During the tour we saw five lighthouses and drove under the Mackinac Bridge. This is the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City.

The Mackinac Bridge from the water.

Under the bridge looking at the Cormorants.

We were also lucky enough to see five great lake freighters. On February 20, 1959, the Great Lakes Engineerg Works launched the Herbert C. Jackson.

This is Algosoo, one of the many freighters owned by Algoma Central. This freighter was built in Collingwood Ontario and was launched on July 24, 1974.

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The tug Defiance and the barge Ashtubula were specifically designed to operate together as a self-unloading bulk carrier. After a long career on the ocean, the pair have returned to the Lakes where they were built. The barge was launched on April 22, 1982.

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The the left is Grey's Reef lighthouse was completed in September 1936. On the right is the White Shoal lighthouse was built in 1909. The outside of the lighthouse was covered with glazed white terra cotta blocks. In the 1980 a coast guard crew repainted the lighthouse in the "candy cane" red and white spiral we still see today.

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Waugoshance lighthouse was built in 1851. After the White Shoal lighthouse was built, Waugoshance lighthouse became redundant and was decommissioned in 1913. The lighthouse remained undisturbed until the early 1940's when it was used for bombing practice.

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The St. Helena Island Lighthouse was built in 1873. By 1980 the lighthouse was in extremely poor condition. The Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association purchased the lighthouse in 1986 and with the help of the boy scouts and many volunteers have restored it.

The Wilfred Sykes going under the Mackinac Bridge.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Just after 8:30am we were on the road ... only a half an hour later than I had hoped. After fifteen minutes of driving we came across a road closed / detour sign that sent us half way back home. It felt like it was one step forward, two steps back. Luckily those were the only problems we encountered on the trip to Michigan. The border crossing went quickly and nothing was confiscated and even though it threatened there was only a couple of minutes of light rain. Just before 5 pm we arrived at John and Carol's house. After about a 12 point turn with three directors the trailer was parked beside the garage (John and Carol have a big driveway on their country property).

2013/08/29: Packing Day

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Today we are loading the trailer and hitching up. Tomorrow morning we leaving early on our first real trip in the trailer. First stop is John and Carol's home in Michigan. On Labor Day we'll join thousands of people and walk the Mackinaw bridge. On Tuesday we'll head out on our adventure. Not sure where we are going but think we'll be staying in Michigan. Ed decided the planned trip was more days and more miles than he really wanted for the first trip --- so much for planning.

2013/08/27: Rob's Sports Bar

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
You hear about the devastating fires, floods, earthquakes, etc. but I don't think you really know what they mean until it hits close to home. I believe I have a slightly better understanding now. Rob, who owned Rob's Sports Bar also lived in one of the apartments above the bar. In one short afternoon he lost his home and his business. I can't image what it was like for him to watch the building burn. The fire started around lunch time, the bar was open and Rob was the person who noticed the fire.



As Ed and I don't go out a lot so we've never been inside the bar, but we know people who are regulars. Rob's will be miss by many --- the regulars, the pool league that ran out of the bar, the people who lived in the apartments, the people who worked there and as a landmark. We hope Rob will rebuild and prosper.

2013/08/25: Thornbury

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
A few weeks ago we drove to Meaford, today we drove to Thornbury, 13 kilometers south of Meaford also on Georgian Bay. We drove from Walkerton through the beautiful Beaver Valley and past the orchards as drove into Thornbury. Being from "the south" I didn't realize that Thornbury was known for it's apples and apple cider. Now that I know about the cider I think I may just have to buy me some and try it out.

First stop was the habour --- a nice enough harbour as harbours go but I did think Meaford harbour was prettier.

As we approached Thornbury the density of clouds increased as did the feel of impending rain. That probably explained why most of a boats were in the harbour and not out on the water.


After an enjoyable lunch, we checked out the antique mart. Lots of interesting things .... but $18 for a Home Hardware yardstick seemed a bit much.

Luckily the rain held off till we were leaving the antique mart so we were able to put the sports car's roofs up before the interiors got wet. As we drove inland the rain stopped and we were able to stop and find a couple of geocaches.

Driving down the hill in Walkerton we noticed fog/smoke/mist sitting over the town. The blocked roads and detour signs led to the conclusion that it was smoke. A neighbour confirmed this telling us Rob's Sports Bar had caught fire.

2013/08/22: Tall Ships

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
When I logged onto Facebook this morning a message appeared on my screen telling me that two tall ships were arriving in Kincardine between 4pm and 6pm. Kincardine is only half an hour away and we thought it was a good excuse to drive the Miata.

We arrived at the harbour just after 4:30 and ships could be seen in the distance.

It was interesting how they "tacked" (I think that's the correct term) their way in to the harbour.

A few people found ways to make the wait more exciting.

The pipe band was there ready to pipe the ships into the harbour.

A number of people were dressed in period costumes.

The ships starting to enter the harbour.

The Pathfinder is in.

and now the Playfair is also in.

Don't think I would have ever been as brave as these kids.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
On the drive up to Southampton on Tuesday, we saw this beautiful site.

The "sunnyness" of this field made us all smile.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
I'm happy to report that my drive to Burlington was totally uneventful .... no heavy traffic due to an accident on the 401, no construction. Now Ed wasn't with me so maybe it was his presence that caused the problems ....hmmmm.

My mother and I had a busy day attending a couple of appointments and running a number of errands. My mother and brother have been meeting friends for dinner on Wednesdays so this time I went with them. We met at the Red Maple Chinese Buffet --- in my opinion a pretty good buffet. It was great to visit with Les and Louise.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
I think I've mentioned the deck the Ed was helping to build at Anne and Victor's house. At long last the framing is done and it's ready to start receiving it's deck boards.

This deck runs along the entire west side of the house and turns the corner and goes along part of the north side of the house. It's one big deck.

Ed won four free passes to the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Center in Southampton. Ed and I decided that Victor needed a day off from deck building so we invited Victor and Anne to join us at the museum.

First stop was lunch on the patio of the Walker House. Their whitefish fingers were really tasty (we made it easy for the waitress and all ordered the same special).

The museum consists of two buildings --- an old part and a new part. The old part pictured here contains the archives, a theater and meeting rooms. The new building contains the museum exhibits. Much of the museum tells the story of the HMS General Hunter. This ship was used during the war of 1812 and was shipwreck onto the Southampton beach. Unfortunately, the ship burned leaving only a charred hull and some artifacts. The burned hull was buried in the sand for over a hundred years till it was discovered in 2001. After the hull was studied and any artifacts removed, the hull was reburied and remains hidden under the sand on the Southampton beach.

After the museum we drove the couple of blocks down to what is becoming my favorite park in Southampton. The park is by the mouth of the Sagueen River yielding some beautiful views.

2013/08/18: Miata Rides

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
My mother and brother drove up from Burlington for the day. After a lovely lunch of smoked chicken and salads, we gave them a tour of the new trailer. Then it was time for something my mother really wanted to do ....

a ride in the Miata. I needed to drive up to Anne and Victor's home to pick up some carrots so it seemed like a good place to go for a drive. David drove himself, Ed and Zaph. After digging ten pounds of carrots and having a nice visit Ed and David drove the Miata home while I drove my brother's car.

2013/08/16: Zaph goes to Camp

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
One of our neighbours (Lynn) works for Walkerton's recreation department. She asked if Zaph (and us) would be available to visit the town's day camp. The theme today was "dog's days of summer" so she was trying to find a few dogs to visit the kids. As Zaph loves kids he said sure we would go.

The kids sat in a circle. Zaph laid down while I was telling the kids about him. After I finished talking he walked around and visited the kids getting many pets.


I remembered to bring some cookies so several of the kids had the opportunity to gets paws in exchange for a cookie. Anybody who knows Zaph also knows that kids who didn't have cookies also got paw shakes.

A guys gotta do what a guys gotta do ....the girls insisted on giving him a belly rub.

Zaph posing with his thank you card.

2013/08/15: Drive to Burlington

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
My mother had a "to do" list for Ed and he finally hit a lull in his own list so we drove to Burlington for the day. Most of the drive was the regular uneventful drive. I wasn't the happiest person when two OPP (Ontario Provincial Police, for any Americans reading this) cruisers got behind me, but setting cruise control to 80 kph kept my heavy foot off the gas pedal. We had just driven through Brookville (about 20 minutes north of my mother's home) when the traffic pretty much stopped. That's when we realized the accident on Highway 401(heard on the traffic reports on the radio), 5 km south of our location, was causing traffic to take alternative routes. We grumbled but continued driving south ever so slowly --- then we saw the construction sign. Guelph Line (the road we were driving on) was down to one lane and the construction crews were only letting a few vehicles through at a time. The OPP officers seeing this, turned on their sirens and lights and drove into the construction zone. Ed also overheard one of the construction guys saying they were told to shut down --- yea OPP officers. Now you're probably wondering if there was a big hole in the road ---- nope --- the construction crew was filling the cracks in the road. I find it amazing that the constructions guys couldn't figure out that it just wasn't the correct day to have the road closed to one lane for a couple of kilometers.

Happily, Ed completed my mother's "to do" list though one item did cost her more money than she expected. My mother's barbecue needed a new burner and a new igniter box. After determining that the parts would cost more than one third of the price of a new barbecue and she would have to wait a week for them to come, she bought a new barbecue. One good thing was the new barbecue is the same as the old barbecue so no learning curve and the cover fits! She also has a few spare parts now.

2013/08/11: End of the Trip

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Happy to report we made it home without any incidents. Hitching the trailer went smoothly, dumping was straight forward, and the trailer pulled nicely in the light winds. I think I'm speaking for Ed and Zaph too, when I say we really enjoyed camping in our new trailer. I didn't cook a lot but I think I'll be able to manage fine in the tiny kitchen. We have a temporary solution for hanging towels in the bathroom but I think we'll need to figure out something better. We also have a list of items we forgot to put in the trailer so we can be better prepared for our next trip.

Happy Trails

2013/08/10: Elora Gorge

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Elora Gorge Conservation Area is known for it's tubing. Yup, people climb into a big tube and float down the gorge through the rapids. Looks like a lot of fun though we did hear about a blown tube and receiving gashes from the rocks. Afraid we didn't try it this trip --- it needs to be a lot warmer before the cool water would look inviting to me.

a tubing we will go, a tubing we will go hi ho the merry oh a tubing we will go

looks like the tubers were having a lot of fun

Somebody would have loved to go swimming ... I did let him get his feet wet

We enjoyed a couple of nice walks and had a good visit with our friends.

and some got a head massage or was he a foot stool?
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
It's an exciting day today .... first trip in the new trailer. We are meeting friends at Elora Gorge Conservation Area just outside of Elora. It's a little further than we had planned for the first trip but Elora is just over an hour from home so still pretty close.

Things were going smoothly till we got to the unhitching stage. Ed had decided to go with a "stability" hitch --- you still have the normal ball hitch but you also have a bar on each side of the hitch. We determined that it is much easier to disconnect the bars on even ground --- the uneven ground we were on caused us some grief. Once we were unhitched set up was a breeze.

Here we are in our site.

Now that's a lot of enthusiasm. I guess it was hard work supervising our set up and our friends set up.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
As Zaph didn't make it to the beach yesterday he was determined that we were going today. Around 11 we walked over to the beach as we were hoping to beat the crowds that normally come to the beach on the August long weekend.

Zaph dragging Ed towards the beach.

Made it ---- life is good --- stick in mouth, feet in water

Extracting the stick from Zaph's mouth.

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I received much ridicule for my "beach attire". Don't most people go to the beach in blue jeans, a fleece and their husband's fleece with the hood up. Didn't get warm until we had walked for awhile away from the beach and the cold wind.

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We were actually surprised by the number of people on the beach as there really was a cold wind. As the day went on we assumed the beach became more crowded as the roads became busier and cars were parked everywhere.

Seadoos waiting for renters.

The water seemed a little rough for paddle boarding but this fellow was giving it his best shot. He was dumped a number of times and didn't seem to get very far from shore.

Rob and Ellen have a number of bikes, one of the dating back to Ellen's high school days and another one from their daughter's middle school days (read this as small bike). The four of us managed a nice bike ride around Sauble Beach though only one of us could shift gears and ride up the small hill. After the ride, Ed and Rob started tinkering with bikes --- all four work great now and the small one had it's seat and handle bars raised. I'm still asking the question --- why did they fix the bikes after we rode and not before?

When I got off the bike was riding to walk up the hill I saw a very interesting thing. A snake (and not a very big one) had it's teeth sunk (do snakes have teeth?) into the rear end of a fairly large frog and was dragging it backwards off the road. Poor froggy, think he became the meal of the week for the snake.

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
but now I have. One day when I was looking at a local map I noticed Meaford on the coast of Georgian Bay and realized that I had never been to Meaford and neither had Ed. Driving the Miata our first stop was Ellen and Rob's cottage. We dropped Zaph off and in the sports cars (our Miata, their TR6) drove to Meaford. A new rule has been instituted .... first we drive to our destination then the geocaching can begin. A good thing we instituted this rule because I messed up the lunch plans and we would have starved if we had stopped to look for geocaches on our way to Meaford. In retrospect it was good that I messed up lunch as we had the best fish and chips from a vendor by the harbor --- they were so good that I plan on eating fish and chips the next time we good to Meaford and there will be a next time. In fact the entire day ending up being filled with wonderful things we "lucked" into such as the book sale. The local library has use of an old building where they sell used books (50 cents for paper backs and a dollar for hard cover). The books come from the library or are donated. Yes, we bought a number of books.

In the distance we saw white things sticking up in the water, on closer observations using the telephoto lens and the cameras magnification we were able to determine that there were a lot of sailboats sailing close together. When we got to the harbor we were told that it was a sailing regatta.

Meafords beautiful harbour.

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Not sure why people have the need to leave graffiti everywhere.

Meaford has a number of geocaches. One of them took us to Beautiful Joe Park. This park is in honor of "Beautiful Joe" a mixed breed dog and Margaret Marshall Saunders who wrote a story about him in 1893. Beautiful Joe was originally owned by a local Meaford man, who cruelly abused the dog to the point of near death, and even cut off his ears and tail. Walter Moore, rescued the dog in 1890 from what likely would have been a violent and painful death. Margaret Saunders, of Nova Scotia, learned of the story when she was visiting her brother in Meaford. She returned home and wrote a best seller. The park has memorial sites for police dogs, a rescue dog who perished at the world trade center in 2001 and pets. The park exists to help promote a more human world. The photo is of the memorial for the dog that perished in 2001. The cross was cut from a beam of the New York World Trade Center.

Another geocache was located on this tank at the old Legion building.

The rule is after we have found ten geocaches we can stop at Dairy Queen. We stopped for our reward after only finding six geocaches but did plan on finding four on the drive back to Rob and Ellen's cottage. This little guy was out ride on the motorbike.

We pulled over on the side of the road to find a geocache. Rob and Ellen recognized the place to be Morland Gardens where some of their daughter's wedding photos were taken. The sign said the gardens were open so we stopped for a visit. There are acres of gardens and a hedge maze. We'll need to come back when the flowers are in bloom and when we have more time to explore the gardens.


We started chatting with a fellow and it turned out he was the owner of the property. After a bit of a chat he offered to show us the stone portion of the house. In the 1970s the current owner built the "stone manor house" addition for his mother.

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There is a room on either side of the door, it is two stories tall with a Belvedere yielding wonderful views. All of the rooms are filled with antiques.


The circular stairs were amazing.

Just a couple of hundred yards down the road from Morland Gardens we stopped and found the tenth geocache of the day. As we pulled up to a sign that was at the specified co-ordinates, we spotted the cache. Just love the easy ones.

After a hurried but very good pork tenderloin dinner we walked down to Two Chicks Cafe to hear Danielle Todd. I believe we saw her when she performed at Two Chicks last year. She was great but it was just too cold to stay for her last set.

Even Zaph enjoyed the show.

2013/08/02: Bird Siting

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
We had just finished breakfast when Carol noticed a couple of different birds on our lawn. After consulting the bird book we determined that the birds were Northern Flickers.

John, Carol and Caity left for home just before noon. Going to miss them.

2013/08/01: Waterfall Tour

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
The Niagara escarpment runs from Niagara Falls to Tobermory. Niagara Falls is the largest and most famous waterfall created by water running over the escarpment but there are many other waterfalls with several of them within an hours drive of Walkerton. Spring and early summer are the best time to visit the falls but heavy rains last night made us think that today might also be a good time to see the waterfalls.

Zaph and Cait decided to try a canoe out at the McGowan
Falls in Durham.

The McGowan falls are named for an early miller who used the waterpower of the Saugeen River.

Hoggs Falls are found along the Bruce Trail near Flesherton. Named for William Hogg, the waters of the Boyne River tumble seven meters.

Eugenia Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in Ontario, the Beaver River drops 30 meters into Cuckoo Valley. The falls hosted 5 mills and was the site of Ontario's second Hydro electric plan.

Walter's Falls spill over the cliffs edge, dropping 14 meters to the valley floor. The falls is named for John Walter and his family who still own the property. The waterfalls was originally home to an old lumber and wool mill, now it is home to the Falls Inn, a popular wedding spot.

First art shot.

Second art shot. Can you figure out what this is a photo of?

Cait decided to sit on her mom's lap and Zaph who had been using Carol's lap as a pillow for his head decided Cait would also make a fine pillow.

We saw this handsome dude hopping about.

The guys had a lot of fun photographing the falls so we only managed to see 4 of the eight waterfalls on the tour. Ed and I will have to finish the tour one day soon.