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2017-08-22 Westbound; A Stay at the Winery via Harvest Hosts…

We move on today to a new experience; we are visiting a winery and spending the night in the Villa, through the Harvest Hosts program.

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Harvest Hosts is a program through which you pay a modest annual fee to be connected with farms, wineries, orchards, museums, and other sites which will allow you to camp overnight, for free; the unwritten rule is that you purchase something from your host. We had signed up several months ago, but this is our first opportunity to take advantage of it…

So we are headed to the Burning Kiln WInery, in St. Williams, ON, about 100 miles south of London, ON, on the shores of Lake Erie.

This trip entailed driving through the greater Toronto area.  There is a lot of construction going on, (Local joke:  there are only two seasons in Toronto – Winter and Construction…) busy morning traffic, and, of course, rain.  Lots of rain.  Heavy rain.  Sudden rain.  Sudden sun!  It was a bit nerve-wracking, but eventually we left the freeway, and within two minutes we were in the countryside, with nary another vehicle in sight.  The rain stopped, the skies lightened, and everything was beautiful.  As we drove further south, towards the lake, the vehicles, towns, and building got smaller and further apart.  By the time we reached St. Williams we were in what seemed like a very remote area.  The crops on the farms were either corn or some other odd, large-leafed plant that we could not identify.

Eventually we reached the winery and parked the Villa in the large gravel lot.  We headed to the winery to check things out, and to do a little wine tasting…

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We had a delightful time at the wine tasting. We learned that the odd, large-leafed plant that we could not identify was tobacco.  But this tobacco farmer has converted his farm to grapes. However, he uses the tobacco drying racks to dehydrate the grapes, much like they do in parts of Italy.  Drying the grapes allows water to evaporate, concentrating the flavor of the juice.  (No, there is no residual tobacco to impart flavor from the drying racks…)

So we tasted several wines, and bought a few:

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We needed to get a little exercise after our hard day, so we walked about one mile down the little country road to another winery – Inasphere. These wines were not as good, and, besides, we didn’t want to carry them back on our one mile return walk, but we were tempted by their farm stand:

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Back at the Villa, we enjoyed the view out our door; the vista over the vineyards was also quite nice…

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We also looked around the vineyards:

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That evening we returned to the winery for dinner.  They have simply cleared an area in the winery, brought in tables and chairs, and set up a gourmet food truck on the property.  While it was a little cool in the winery, the food was excellent!  I even ordered a steak, which I haven’t done in years… It was fabulous! Maybe I should eat steak more often!

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After dinner, as we walked back to the Villa, the sky was beautiful! (It stays light late up here…!)

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We retired to the Villa.  Tomorrow we will leave before first light again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-06-25 Toronto and Grandchildren

We awoke Sunday morning to sunny skies.  I stepped outside and I immediately found the source of the strange sound during last night’s storm: The fiberglass cover over one of the roof-top air conditioners was lying on the lawn next to the Airstream!  Good news was that it didn’t blow away…! At least CanAm can re-install it tomorrow…

My daughter and her three children were nice enough to fly in to Toronto to see us:

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They were also seeing Toronto Family and Friends…

 

We took an Uber to the London train station, then took the express train to Toronto.

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We all met up at the station, then walked through the streets of Toronto. We found a playground to keep the kids occupied and we caught up on our various happenings.

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Erin, Kevin, and the kids had a lunch date with Kevin’s Toronto family, so we said our goodbyes and Lynda and I headed off to walk some more.  We found the “Distillery District”.  It’s an old industrial area converted to pubs, shops and restaurants. Unfortunately, we did not find a distillery.  But we did find a great French Bistro to escape to when it began to rain.

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After lunch we headed out again. We did some window shopping, and when the rain started again we ducked in for coffee.  Then more walking.

We found a great old church, and the old City Hall.

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We saw Justin Trudeau drive by. But he didn’t stop to chat…

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In the afternoon we met up with the kids again, but after a busy day the boys were a little sleepy…

 

Roisin enjoyed the Underpass Playground…

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Finally it was time to go. We said our goodbyes and headed back to the train… An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-06-24 The Villa crosses the Border…

Not much action today.  We left the KOA south of Pittsburgh and headed for Canada!  We were cruising along the Pennsylvania Turnpike on our way to Erie and Buffalo… And we found that this section of the turnpike was closed!  We were routed towards downtown Pittsburgh, towards a tunnel with giant signs stating, “No flammable liquids or explosives”.  If I had known all this, I would have researched what this meant (isn’t gasoline a flammable liquid?), but, thinking they were banning my on-board propane tanks, we just played it safe.  We exited and headed up a “little red line on the map”.  We had an interesting but rather nerve-wracking journey through the near suburbs of Pittsburgh – beautiful, with their abandoned old red brick buildings and rusted industrial plants. The roads were narrow and rough, with many stop lights.  Oh well; we were not in a hurry.  Eventually we rejoined the interstate and then we were back on the turnpike. We had a long day, but finally we crossed over into New York, and then entered Canada at the Peace Bridge outside Buffalo.

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The wait to drive through Customs was short, and the agent was smiling, conversational and all in all the stereotypical polite Canadian. She only asked one odd question: “Are you bringing anything in to Canada that will stay in Canada”?  What was I supposed to say?  Trash? Sewage?  Whiskey bottles (empty)?  Anyway, I said No, and off we went…

Our destination was London, ON, the home of CanAm RV.  We have an appointment for Monday, 6/26/17, to have them review my hitch set-up.  I’ve never been happy with the weight distribution of my current hitch, so either they can adjust it or modify it, or put a different hitch on for me.  Also, we hope they can fix the refrigerator, which runs only on propane, but not electricity as it should in RV parks.  Plus, if you recall, we lost one of our rock guards in Texas, and CanAm has ordered new ones for us.  Best of all, we can camp right there (free!) and not have to travel back and forth to an RV park.

So we found CanAm, parked where we were told, plugged into power, and we were set. The weather was beautiful: No heat, no rain, no humidity, no wind. We opened our windows and vents and settled into happy hour. We were just about to pull out our chairs and sit outside when WIND!  RAIN! THUNDER! LIGHTNING!  As we scrambled to close the roof vents, and close the windows, and close the door, we heard another sound that we couldn’t quite place…Sort of a crash, sort of a plastic banging sound… Oh well, we were safe inside, the Satellite TV was working, and Happy Hours continued.  The rain stopped after about an hour…

Tomorrow we head to Toronto!

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CanAm RV… Lots of Airstreams… (Some Other Brands, too…)

 

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Tucked in for the night…

 

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The calm before the storm…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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