Adventures in the Villa


Boblo Island

2017-08-26 Westbound; Boblo Island Day 3

The kids were really tired after yesterday’s adventures; they slept until almost noon!  So we did some grocery shopping and readied ourselves for a long drive tomorrow…

We arrived at the house on Boblo about 1:00, just in time for a nice ride in the golf cart to the ice cream store:

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We played around as usual; we did a lot of coloring in the coloring books and chasing balls in the yard. At some point, I retreated to a quiet spot by the pond…

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After another lovely dinner, we relaxed as the kids got ready for bed.  After saying our goodbyes, we headed back to the Villa; we hitched up and got ready to travel – we will be leaving before dawn tomorrow!  We enjoyed our time in Boblo…















2017-08-25 Westbound; Boblo Island Day 2

We again traveled to Boblo Island to meet up with our grandchildren. Today, right after we arrived, we went for a long walk around the decrepit, dilapidated amusement park (what is left of it…).

The most prominent feature is the tower, which used to be a ride where visitors were taken to the top, then spun around… Now it’s just a tower… but it helps in your orientation as you walk around the wild country…

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We found the old lighthouse:

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This used to be the end of the island and this lighthouse was at the entrance to the Detroit River, just off Lake Erie.  But the land has been filled in, so this abandoned lighthouse sits useless in the middle of a field…

There is also a block house, used to house prisoners and defend the island in the 1830s:

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The rest of the south end of the island contains all types of abandoned buildings:

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This is the ferry terminal for the 5,000 passenger ferry from Detroit:

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The dance hall and concert venue:

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Lynda and Roisin had a chance to catch up after their long time (2 months!) apart:

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We had a lovely walk – we saw spooky black squirrels, snakes, lots of birds, and assorted other critters…

Upon our return to the hose we found that we have been joined by Kevin’s two brothers and his father… The more the merrier!

The kids played around as usual.  As dusk fell, they brought out the yard lights:

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After a lovely dinner, we said our goodbyes and we returned to the Villa; an enjoyable time was had by all…





















2017-08-24 Westbound; Boblo Island Day 1

After CanAm finished a few minor service items we headed out for a short drive to Amherstburg, ON, to Willowood RV Park.  We were greeted by a bizarre sight on this August 24:

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This park is teaming with families and kids.  Lots and lots of kids… We found out that this place used to be a Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, but it was recently purchased by Sun Resorts, owner of several of our favorite RV resorts in Southern California.

Anyway, apparently Halloween is a big deal around here, but most RV parks close at the end of September.  So they have devised a way to capitalize on the holiday: they celebrate it in August.  Twice;  this weekend, and the next.  Anyway, we don’t care; we don’t much like Halloween, and we are here for another reason:

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Our daughter, Erin, and her husband, Kevin, and their three children (Roisin, 4 years; Ian, 3 years, and George X, 2 years in October) will be vacationing for a week on Boblo Island, just a few minutes from here.

Boblo Island (correct name: Bois Blanc) is an island in the Detroit River on the Canadian side of the border and is part of Amherstburg, Ontario. The island is about 2.5 miles long, 0.5 mile wide and 272 acres  in size.  The Detroit river is very short – it merely connects Lake Huron with Lake Erie.

The main northbound shipping channel of the Detroit River lies between Boblo Island and the Amherstburg mainland.  A stone lighthouse was built in 1836 on the southern tip of Boblo island which marks the historical beginning of the Detroit River navigation channel for ships traveling upriver from Lake Erie in more modern times.

Bois Blanc means “White Woods,” a name derived from the many birch and beech trees in the area. “Boblo” is an English corruption of the French pronunciation of the name. Several islands with the same name dot the Great Lakes, and nearly all are known as “Boblo” by the local populations.

The island had strategic importance when Fort Amherstburg (now Fort Malden) was built in 1796 to guard passage along the Detroit River after Detroit was turned over to the Americans. Guns from the fort could reach the island across the navigable waters and hence secured the river.

Boblo island has a very rich history.  In the early 1700s, 70 First Nation families peacefully farmed the fertile land.  It was the location of the headquarters for the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh (“Shooting Star”), the leader of a large tribal confederacy (known as Tecumseh’s Confederacy), during the War of 1812.  It was the location of the invasion point for 60 Canadian “Patriots” on January 8, 1838 during the Upper Canada Rebellion  There are buildings on the island dating from this time.; see below…  It also served as the stepping stone for numerous individuals on the Underground Railroad to Canada. One estimate puts 30,000 people as having had crossed over between 1834 and 1860.

Most famously, Boblo was the site of a large and very popular amusement park from 1898 until 1993.  Huge crowds would come to Boblo via the big ferry from Detroit, which had a capacity of over 5,000 people.  Big bands played in the dance hall, commissioned by Henry Ford, and other name-brand performers drew large crowds as well.  But as “old fashioned” amusement parks lost out to newer, flashier entertainment venues, Boblo’s popularity faded, and the amusement park closed in 1993.

But the owners had other ideas.  In 1994 the northern 1/4 of the island was subdivided into lots; streets and utilities were constructed, and houses were built.  Today there are many houses, mostly with full time residents, and a few houses used mostly on weekends or during the summer.  And this is where we come in.

Kevin’s sister and her husband own a lovely vacation home on the island, complete with pool, pond, and golf course.  And this is where Erin, Kevin, and their family vacation every August.  And they are arriving today!

So we set up the Villa in the RV park, and headed for the ferry to Boblo. It runs 3 times per hour, so if you catch it right it is a short ride to Boblo; but if you miss the ferry, it is a 20 minute wait for the next one.

We arrived on the island, found the house, and we were reunited with our kids and grandchildren:

George X, or Jorge Diez:

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Ian Philip, named after his grandfathers:

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And Roisin:

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You might notice they all have band-aids or scabs on their foreheads; their mother is hoping for the Mother of the Year award… George crashed chasing a ball a few weeks ago, Ian got his earlier today, and Roisin  got whacked in the head with a golf club this afternoon…

We had a great time; swimming, “golfing”, and chasing balls…

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We brought them beach hats from Montreal:

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So we hung out for the afternoon; after dinner we made our way back to the Villa; this time the trip across the ferry took a little longer than usual; an ambulance had been called to the island. The ferry was held, and no other cars were allowed on; once the ambulance reached the island the ferry waited; 20 minutes later the ambulance came back, and the ferry took it to the mainland.  By this time there were lines of waiting cars over 1/4 of a mile long… We managed to squeeze onto the ferry as the last car on; the operator needed to go check to see if my truck’s rear wheels were actually on the ferry. He told me not to back up…!

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So we returned to the Villa later than planned; when we arrived we saw that Halloween festivities were in full swing!  An enjoyable time was had by all…




















2017-08-23 Westbound; Back at CanAm RV for service…

We left Burning Kiln Winery at about 5:00 am; we had a lovely drive in the dark; we stopped for coffee about 6:30, and we rolled into CanAm RV about 7:30.  We pulled into “our” parking spot, and hooked up to power.

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We had a few issues for CanAm today: They will install the new stainless steel rock guards we ordered last time we were here (see above…)  Also, they will check out, and hopefully fix, the refrigerator, they will replace the cracked and mostly missing skylight, they will look into why the electric water heater blows the circuit breaker, and they will look at the rear storage hatch frame, plus a few odds and ends. After 9,000 miles on the road, it’s time for a little fix-up.

About 8:15 Dan came by. He checked out our hitch, and everything seemed fine. He did tell me that I needed to buy grease to lubricate the hitch, one of the most awful things about the EazLift hitch…  They pulled the Villa into their service bay and we left for town.

We stopped into the local Chevy dealer and asked for an oil change and regular service; while they worked, we walked to the neighboring Costco to see if they carried my beloved Vita Rain Water.  Nope – we struck out again.  We did stop into a grocery store and bought a few minor things, and by the time we were back at the Chevy dealer the truck was not only finished, but they had washed it as well!

We drove back to CanAm and we were informed that the refrigerator is dead, with a fluid leak. A new one takes at least one week to arrive at CanAm; so my job now was to find a refrigerator and an Airstream service place along our route.  After many phone calls and internet searches, we have an appointment at the Airstream dealer in Minneapolis on September 8.  This means two more weeks of buying ice…

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The rest of the day was uneventful. We walked around the new trailers, and re-planned our trip so that we could spend the day in Minneapolis.  At 5:30 they were done for the night, so we embarked upon Happy Hours and retired for the evening, safe inside CanAm’s gates…

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Tomorrow we head to Boblo!

2017-08-18 Westbound; Moving on to Old Montreal

We drove from Quebec to Montreal; it was a short drive, but we did have some heavy rain.  We arrived at the RV park – Camping Cle’ des Champs – a beautiful park, mainly set up for full- and mostly-timers who summer here, then flee to Florida or Arizona for the winter.  The sites are huge – about 5,000 sq. ft., and most are paved with stone pavers, with a storage shed, and a screened porch, or entire screened and glassed-in rooms, containing kitchens, dining areas and lounging areas.  Our site, where they park the overnighters like us, are also very nice, but not quite as luxurious as the seasonal sites:

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We enjoyed some leisure time, planned our day in Montreal tomorrow, and Happy Hours ensued:

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Since I have no other photos today, I post photos of my grandchildren who are flying out from California to see us on Boblo Island in late August… This is what they look like at midnight while changing planes in Denver…

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I don’t thing they were having an enjoyable time…





2017-08-15 Nor by Nor’east Caravan is Over! Back on our own…

The caravan is over – we packed up this morning, said our last good-byes, and headed out of the RV park.

We leave PEI via the Confederation Bridge, locally named Span of Green Cables… Then our plans are to travel west, through New Brunswick, then north to Quebec;  once in Quebec, we head southwest to Quebec City, Montreal, the 1000 Islands, and towards London, Ontario.  There we visit CanAm RV to have new rock guards installed, and to check out our non-functioning refrigerator.  From there we go to Boblo Island, on the far western edge of Ontario – there we will reunite with our grandchildren:

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PEI is beautiful – not much wilderness, but lots of farmland…

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The trip over the bridge (the longest bridge in the world going over waters that freeze…), across the Northumberland Strait, was uneventful; even paying the toll was easy. Then we were on to New Brunswick.  Just over the bridge we were joined in our travels with two other Airstreams – that of Tom Jones and Ed Krisman.  They had left the RV park ahead of us, but apparently they had stopped for something or other.  We convoyed along for awhile, then parted ways as we stopped for fuel.

We reached our destination – Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park – in Woodstock, NB.

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Obviously, this is a kid and family oriented park, with miniature golf, playgrounds, pools, jumping things, a small water slide area, and all sorts of planned activities put on by the park.  They put us into a site at the rear, away from most of the activities.  We settled into the Villa, and enjoyed a peaceful evening alone.

About 9:00 pm, long after we were in bed, (it was almost dark!) we heard the camp PA system announce that it was time for the “Bedtime Story with Benny the Beaver”, obviously a popular activity. But then they added that there was a thunder storm warning being issued.  So I got up and disconnected our electrical power just to be safe. It was just as well – we plan to leave before first light in the morning…













2017-08-10 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – More Lobster!

Today we had another day on our own; we spent the day planning the remainder of the trip and enjoyed some quiet time.  We need to rest up, because tonight is: More Lobster!

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Once the caravan ends (in five days) we have about 2 months to get home; we will travel back through Canada, through New Brunswick and Ontario, stopping off to see the 1000 Islands; we will stop at CanAm RV in London, ON, then meet up with the McAnoys and see our Grandchildren on Boblo Island, located between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. After that interlude, we head north, over the top of Lake Huron and Lake Superior, through Thunder Bay, and back into the USA in Minnesota, all by September 1… After that, we’ll go through Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota, checking out all the Frank Lloyd Wright and Laura Ingalls Wilder sites we can manage.

But tonight we have a dinner at St. Ann’s Lobster Galley. This is a very nice restaurant set on a lovely lake.  Once again we enjoyed time eating together; meals like this create opportunities to get to know the other caravanners and enjoy a stress-free time together.

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We had a Drivers Meeting to discuss our last travel day within the caravan; tomorrow we take a ferry from Caribou, NS to Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island…




















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