Monday, May 21, 2007


On completion of this journey we all hugged and thanked God. Since it was a nice shady spot we decided to have our lunch there. Ed wanted to see the Owen Sound so I directed him there. We had stopped there for information earlier. Then we hit the road heading south for the first time in over five weeks. It was a bright beautiful sunny day for traveling but on the cool side, 49 degrees.
Later Ed pulled into an A & W and to celebrate we all had Root Beer Floats. Miriam and I have not been in an A&W for perhaps forty years. We are all in a celebrative mood.
Much further south in the town of Caledonia we stopped at a nice little restaurant and had dinner. Earlier we had agreed that whenever we eat out we each pay our own. The Longeneckers insisted on paying ours this time as a thank you. Who should be thanking who? We are so blest to have had this opportunity to see so much more of God’s great universe and be with these two dear people. They insisted. Thanks Ed & Rhoda.
About eight we arrived at Maurice & Arlene Mellinger Yager’s lovely home near SelKirk, Ontario, about a mile from Lake Erie. It is a cold rainy evening but no match for the warmth of their friendship. Maurice helped us hook up the electric and then we had a lovely evening together. Yes, there were a lot of biking stories and laughs. Tired, we all hit the sack about 10:30. They offered us their beds but we all chose to stay in our MH beds again. There we have all our clothes etc.

Sunday 20. We were up at 6:45 to another cold, damp drizzly morning. We piled on the covers during the night. Arlene Had a delicious breakfast of more than any of us should have eaten.
We went with them to their little church, Rainham Mennonite. We made up 27 persons. It is one of the oldest congregations in Ontario but having a hard time. The farms grow larger and the population decreases and there have been struggles. It was a warm fellowship and the pastor had a good message.
During the announcement time before worship they had us sing our famous “I Owe The Lord A Morning Song.” I think we did it better this time than ever.
For Sunday school they had asked Ed and Rhoda and us to share our learnings from the bike trip. There was good interaction and interest with the 8-10 persons including the pastor.
For lunch the Yagers drove us through and by a lot of points of interest and finally to Port Dover some thirty miles west to a very nice restaurant where they treated, another part of the celebration. We and the Longeneckers agreed that there would be no better place for a celebration than with the Yagers. They know how to party.
On the way back we went past a huge power plant on Lake Erie where many freighter loads of coal daily arrive from Astubula, Ohio. We went through there about a week ago and saw many rail cars of coal and huge piles of coal. We did not know if the coal was coming in or going out.
Maurice took us to the farms he and his sons farm and also showed us the Maple Syrup operation his son Allen has. It is huge. We received delicious samples.
Back home Arlene showed her flower gardens. She is a master gardener and then some. I chatted with Maurice.
After a delicious snack and chatter catching up on old times we watched the DVD of Ed’s farewell Service at Landis Homes. What a joy it was, with a lot of good laughs. It was a cool rainy day and we went to bed about 10:30.

Monday 21. We were awake at our usual six. Again Arlene had a great breakfast of baked oatmeal with all the trimmings.
We got off at eight as planned on a beautiful sunny morning. Too bad it was not nice like that yesterday for Arlene to share her garden.
In about an hour and 15 minutes we crossed the Peace Bridge back into the USA again. US Customs only asked Ed a couple questions. We are not certain if they even saw Miriam or I. That was very smooth and we would not have needed out birth certificates. They did not even ask for our driver photo ID’s which we all had ready.
It was a beautiful day for traveling with the temperature staying in the high forties until we crossed the mountain south of Williamsport, then it began to warm up. The hills of New York State and northern Pennsylvania were so beautiful. Ed did need to stop at a DQ, a favorite that is hard for him to pass, especially when on the bike.
We pulled into Landis Homes at 5:10 and began sorting things out to unload. There were Azaleas, Rhododendren and other flowers booming which Ed and Rhoda walked around to see.
Again we warmly hugged and kissed goodbye. While it is nice to be home it was sad to see the motor home drive away. It had been our home for 40 days and 39 nights of a lot of fun and joy. How blest we have been to be allowed to have shared in the journey of these two delightful and faithful Christian friends.
While Miriam and I did nothing but sit and watch the scenery go by today we are more tired than we have been for a number of nights. It is a bit of a downer too for it all to have come to an end. But that is life. Ed and Rhoda agreed with us that Landis Homes is a beautiful place. We hope that some of these years they will be able to join us here.
Rhoda calculated that twelve nights we were not in campgrounds. Many time we parked in shopping mall parking lots. Other times we were at friends. Meeting people along the way was certainly one of the highlights.
What a big job it now is to go through the mail of the past 5 ½ weeks. It will take several days. Tomorrow we will need to go to Oregon Dairy to replenish our depleted food supply. We should have our own nice hot shower and be in bed by ten.
If I get the time and have the ambition I may try to do a summary of the trip.
Beginning mid June we are making a 5-6 week trip to the West Coast to attend Mennonite General Assembly and see the sights along the way. I may pick it up then. We’ll see.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

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Friday 18. While we were cozy under two thick quilts, as expected it was very cold this morning. Frost was forecast for some areas. Where we were parked yesterday the corn was up about two inches. I wonder how it fared.
It was another good hot oatmeal morning, our frequently used morning hymn (I owe The Lord…) Bible Reading, Rejoice and prayer. Repeatedly we thank God for his preserving us both as we travel the highways – MH – and byways – Bicycle. We pray to be kept safe or given the strength to face the difficulties that could happen. God doesn’t owe us anything. So we just thank him for safety each day. We also lift our children and grandchildren to him and friends we know who are hurting.
E&R got themselves all ready to go and then we drove them back near to where we picked them up in a parking space at a little row mall. They got their horse out of the stall, oiled it up, etc. An employee came and chatted. He was quite a talker. He has been to Gettysburg a number of times and even though Canadian is a Civil War Buff. He also talked about Old Order Amish near by. That confirmed that I thought I saw Amish across the parking lot last evening where we were parked. E&R were on the road by 8:30.
At the parking lot where we parked last night there was several strong WiFi’s but all locked. Here at this little shopping lot there must have been ten and several were unlocked so I latched onto the strongest. There was a lot of email to download. I downloaded the past several days’ journeys.
We were on the road at 9:01. We had a nice easy drive today with excellent roads through lovely farm land, but except for the last ten of the 60 miles it was all up hill. That part was the same as yesterday. We would come to the crest of the hill believing that was it. There was perhaps half a mile of level road and then there was another up and up and up and up. But it was all nice straight smooth roads.
We felt so sorry for the bikers thinking they were having another tough day weaving around and up and down those hills.
However, we finally came to the crest of the last hill and were we ever high. It was a beautiful sight across the miles and in the distance was the Georgia Bay. Then it was a nice gentle down hill ride into the quaint and lovely Bay front town of Collingwood – 15,000. Orangeville where we were last night was close to 30,000.
The Provincial Park of Craigleith was about seven miles west of Collingwood immediately along our route right on the Georgian Bay. We arrived here at 11:30 and soon got our site and five loonies and two quarters for our five dollar bill.
We went for showers and to do the laundry. The showers shot out over our dressing area. Then we walked back and forth numerous times trying to locate the laundry. Finally we needed to ask because we did not have the camp map with us. Small wonder we could not find it. It was quite a walk, way out at the opposite end of this long narrow campground. After we had the laundry started – one Looney and three quarters – we sat by the bay. Later we discovered that the showers by the laundry were a great improvement over what we had used. They had a button to push and soon there was a nice warm shower – no temperature control – and the button was pushed again to stop it. And the water did not shoot all over the dressing area.
Back at the MH I made lunch while Miriam put away the wash. After that we sacked out until 3:30.
Miriam asked, “What time do you think E&R will arrive today?” I said it seemed like a day equally as hard as yesterday, certainly not before 4:30 and perhaps 5:30 or six. Half an hour later at four they came rolling in all smiles, “We had a wonderful day, nothing like yesterday.” There was one bummer, a construction area where Ed just wheeled the bike through the mud for quite a distance while Rhoda followed. Yes, he weather was cool, but otherwise wonderful, bright and sunny, just great for biking.
For a first, E&R headed off for the showers and laundry we suggested – on their bike. It made good photos with the laundry mounted on the back instead of the regular bike gear.
We soon had a supper of tasty chicken breast, mixed vegetables, baked potato, cake with Jello & pineapple. We tried to finish a few leftovers.
Ed & Rhoda talked about their day. The roads were confusing and once they needed to walk the bike quite a distance through mud and then grass around a construction site. It is tough for bicycles when there is a construction project. What is not far out around for a car can be a looooong way for a bike. The met some interesting persons
We worked out our final meeting place. That sounds so sad. It will be in Harrison Park in Owen Sound.
And then, yes, likely the last night of Rummikub together. Miriam won two, a Longenecker had one and unbelievable I won a game. Miriam was declared the champion of this tour having won more games than anyone else. It was about 10:30 when we hung it up and went to bed.

Saturday 19. I was awake at five but stayed in bed until E&R got up at six. It was 7:45 until they pulled out and we took photos of the final departure. We left camp at nine after doing a more thorough cleanup of the house, filling the water tank and dumping the sewer.
We had a nice drive to Ownen Sound much of it along the bay. It is a beautiful morning with the temperatures in the high 40’s but bright warm sun.
In Owen Sound we found the tourist information office and the nice young man told us how with a nice map to get to our meeting place. We also purchased post cards and stamps to sent to each of our kids. He also told us how to get to the post office.
We arrived at the meeting place at eleven an 15 minutes later Ed and Rhoda arrived with shouts of joy. We joined them for joyous photos, the conclusion of a wonderful and safe 2100 mile journey. Thank you Lord Jesus.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Wednesday 16. It seemed as if it rained most of the night. After a good hot oatmeal breakfast, Bible Reading, prayer, discussion, several hymns and a few senior citizen jokes the rain drops seemed scattered enough for the bikers to don their rain gear and shove off. On the TV this morning it called for showers off and on all day.
I finished journaling and then pulled up to near the office where the WiFi was quite strong. I sent and received a lot of email and published the journey.
It was about eleven when we began slowly driving across country. We went through mile after mile of vineyards. We passed an MB church and the Vineland Mennonite Church. Later we got on the QEW and finally arrived at the Ancaster street corner where we planned to meet, courtesy of the GPS.
As this is Archie & Ursula Harms home town we stopped at an auto repair shop and got their address and telephone number. We called them and they were overjoyed. They said that as soon as the plumber left they would come right over and they want us all for supper – no excuses. In about an hour after a brief nap they arrived. It is great to be so warmly welcomed. They stayed for about and hour and then went home to await our coming.
Ed and Rhoda arrived about four; put the horse in the stall and off we went for Harms home. It was only 1.2 miles and GPS directions were great. They had a nice driveway for the MH and electric and water hookups, which we hardly needed as we got our services in their house. Our four friends were delighted to meet each other and we all had a wonderful evening together. E&R showered and then we ate Ursula’s lovely beef dinner plus.
They took us to a house out in the country where a former slave family had settled. It is now a preserved historical site. Archie showed us other interesting things in the Ancaster community. Ursula stayed home and did the dishes as their little Saturn did not have room for all six.
They showed us their new B unit RoadTek MH they had just gotten from trading in their old one. It is nice and compact – almost too small. It was a nice evening to sit and conversate. A truly good time was had by all these dear friends of ours. They offered beds in the house but we chose to stay in our regular beds. It was ten when we hit the sack.

Thursday 18. It was a cold night and we should have had on the extra cover. The furnace ran a few times.
The Harms insisted that we have breakfast with them and we acquiesced. Ed cleaned up the muddy horse before breakfast and had it ready to go. They left about 7:30 as all four of us watched them go.
Archie gave us a tour of the area. He showed us the MacMaster University (huge) where he has taught in Hamilton, a large city of over 300,000 and their church, Hamilton Mennonite and other sights. Last evening we asked why Canadians make jokes about Tim Hortons. So we ended up having coffee and a bit of pastry at a nearby Tim Hortons. It is a cross between a Dunkin Donuts and a McDonalds. Archie says it is a sort of social experience.
Back at the house we soon unhooked and were on our way. We followed GPS which seemingly took us way out of the way. It seemed as if we were nearly in Toronto. Later on when we reviewed the tour, it was right.
We arrived at our meeting place in Orangeville, Ontario at 11:30, had our lunch and finished off the peanut butter. E&R need peanut butter to make a sandwich for each mid morning snack. So we went in search of a supermarket. We also got coffee. I tried to use the debit card and get cash but it would not work. They wanted to treat it as a credit card so I just used the credit card. I was hoping to get some change for the Laundromat which we then searched for fruitlessly.
Next we tried calling A Friesen couple here who are listed in the MYW directory. The number was incorrect so we let the GPS take us there. It was in a rather tight development where there did not seem to be room for a MH. We might have stayed at the curb. I knocked at the door but no one was home.
We returned to the meeting site to await the biker’s arrival. They called about four and said the hills are killers today and they may not arrive until 6:30. We assured them we would be here – no rush. They did arrive about 5:30. “We thought the hills of Kentucky were tough but this surpassed those,” Ed said. The Niagara Escarpment that Archie spoke of was repeatedly crossed and went up and up. We noticed the same thing in the MH. We thought the next hill was it and when we reached the top, there was more. All of it was farm land and straight roads. So the bikers came in beat tonight.
Ed put the horse in the stall and then we drove to the shopping mall where we were earlier today and asked permission to stay for the night. Welcome!
So we settled in for the night. Miriam made E&R’s daughter Cheryl’s Venison with Pasta plus the marble cake and Jello with pineapple that she had made earlier.
We talked some more about the tough hills. For tomorrow night we called a BIC couple in Collingwood several times who are in the MYW directory. But with several tries we assume they are away, so we nailed down the meeting site for tomorrow in a Provincial Campground.
After we had things settled for tomorrow it was popcorn and Rummikub. Miriam won 2 and Ed one. I guess we only played three. It sure has become our game for this trip. We crawled in bed at ten with double covers on what is projected to be a very cold night.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Here are some more notes about Sunday Morning; For the offering two ushers stood at the front and everyone filed by, put in their gifts. Later at a sort of invitation near the close of the message a young mother, who appeared Hispanic, came forward. The pastor came down and met her. He announced that she wants to become part of the church. Everyone was invited to come forward and welcome here. Both this and the offering took quite a while as nearly the entire congregation of about 200 came by.
Near the beginning of the pastor’s message somebody’s cell phone began ringing and all heads turned our direction. Ed had a difficult time getting it out of his pocket. The pastor very humorously said he hoped it was a call from God. All laughed, even Ed. Miriam quickly placed ours on vibrate. Longenecker’s kids were calling to wish Rhoda a Happy Mother’s Day not realizing that this service went well past twelve.

Monday 14. We had a good warm night with the extra covers and the heater. It is cloudy and breezy this morning with some slight possibility of rain. It is not quite as cold out as last night. There was no frost here.
We had Miriam’s delicious pancakes for breakfast. A street address in Hamburg, NY was nailed down for a place to meet this afternoon, so that is more definite than we planned last night. E&R were on the road by 8:10. It appears we will cross into Canada tomorrow.
I went onto the Internet again and found a note from Arlene with directions to get to their place. I also sent some photos along with the latest report.
We unhooked and pulled out at 10:15. We passed E&R about eleven and soon after that found a Wal*Mart Supercenter and got our groceries and then had lunch.
We arrived at Hamburg about 1:30. A policeman directed us to a fire station because he said the corner of Scott & Pleasant was not a good place. We called E&R several times but there was no answer – weird. We napped and then Miriam thought we ought to drive one block to that corner to see if they might be there. There they were having only arrived two minutes before.
Earlier today we came to a detour on route five and followed it. We both wondered what the bikers would do with it. They decided to chance it. They asked the workman at the beginning of the bridge construction site where the bridge was being replaced if they may go through because it was a long way back around. That man radioed ahead to those at the bridge and they were told to come on. It was a deep gulch and two workmen picked up the bike and carried it over. Phew! Many miles were saved.
They decided they were not going to ride any further but drive to the bike museum. About that time a lady pulled up in a mini van and asked if we need help. We told her what we were doing. She invited us in for a belated mother’s day celebration at this Adult Day Care Center. That triggered conversation when we told her that Ed had just recently retired as CEO of an adult day care center plus. She then reported that she is the CEO of this place. Next she insisted we come in for the festivities. We parked and did so. The facilities are in an old railroad station and done ever so creative. Shirley’s office is in an old railroad passenger car. It is all so very lovely. She and Ed shared about each other’s facilities and programs. It was an unbelievable connection. We made a friend. Then we were served delicious cake and coffee.
From there we drove some eight miles to the Bicycle Museum in Orchard Park, NY. We must have been in there over an hour. It truly is a history of bikes. The man has an enormous collection of old bikes of all sorts, many very valuable.
When we finished we chatted with him about where we might find a campground for the night. He admitted there were none nearby as we had thought. He spoke of shopping centers. After Ed came back in the MH we talked about staying right in his lot. Ed went back and asked, and he quickly agreed and said we could hook up to his water. Later when he was leaving he told us to use the electric. Wow. We have nearly everything.
Tonight Miriam made the most awesome beef vegetable soup, the best I’ve ever eaten. It was just wonderful. Everyone raved about it. Then for desert she made frozen mixed berries with vanilla yogurt on it, great too.
Ed discovered that some how the only problem with his phone today was that it got turned off and needed to be re-programmed. We feel so dependent on our phones to stay in touch.
It was a major job tonight trying to locate and define the address of a campground in Ontario. Ed called the campground several times for directions.
It warmed up considerably this evening but put down a few drops one time. It appears there may be more tomorrow.

Tuesday 16. This was one of the quietest nights ever. We got up at 6:30. Miriam made a nice omelet with green peppers, cheese, potatoes and onions. We also had toast.
The Bicycle museum owner came by about 8:30 just as we were unhooking to leave. He gave us directions to get to the Peace Bridge to cross into Canada. They had decided to drive there instead of biking.
On the other side we stopped at the welcome Center and the folks there were most helpful and knowledgeable. Soon the horse was out of its stall and on the road to a very windy morning.
We cruised slowly up the parkway along the Niagara River. What a lovely drive. It was nice to see this great falls again – albeit from the RV in passing. The crowds were light. We did stop in the lot where the cable car crosses the rapids and eat our lunch. There we met about eight bikers and had a nice time chatting with them. They will look forward to meeting E&R along the way.
We pulled into the Shalamar campground at 12:15. It is not the greatest except for the price of nearly $52. It is not likely more than $40 US. Later Miriam discovered that they charge one dollar for a five minute shower, not a quarter as at one place in the US. When she gave the woman ten US dollars she would only give ten dollars Canada, claiming there is no exchange rate. I doubt that.
The Longeneckers returned at 4:30 having had a great day leisurely biking only 35 miles today, stopping and enjoying the sights along the falls. They were awed by the sight, thunderous sound and feel of those mighty waters – what power. Before the falls the water is right up almost at touchable level. Then there is the great plunge, after which the water is now broiling and churning way below and rushing down the gorges in a mighty torrent in its now confined space. They were amazed at the depth of the gorge. Then soon there were the enormous Electric power plants on both the US and Canadian sides. This is one of the greatest electrical power sources in the nation or perhaps the world. Ah, the marvels of God’s great creation.
E&R had a pleasant surprise near the falls. Some other bikers rode up to them and seemingly out of the blue said, “Are you Ed and Rhoda?” These were the folks Miriam and I had met and conversed with earlier. It is amazing when you are out where you don’t believe anyone knows you to have someone call your name.
In the showers Ed had the same experience I did. There were 5 showers and the three center ones were closed for repairs. I took the left one and after putting in my Loony (the Canadian dollar with a Loon on it) waited, and waited, and waited, and waited for it to get warm. Finally in desperation I took it cold … well perhaps the worst chill was gone. Just as I was all soaped up it quit and I had no more Loonies. So I toweled off as is. Ed first tried the shower on the right as I suggested but it would not even take the loony. So he too was stuck with the same one I had. Now when we pass gas we blow soap bubbles. The ladies had nice warm water – lucky gals.
After supper on the picnic table on a very pleasant evening we worked at where to camp tomorrow night. There is not a campground for many miles so we’ll plan to boon-dock again, this time in Ancaster perhaps with our (Miriam and I) friends Archie & Ursula Harms if they have a place to park at their home. After the dishes were cleared, the horse lubed, curried downed and in his stall we decided to play Rummikub on the picnic table. Even as we ate supper there was the rumble of distant thunder. We got at least three games in before the drops started falling. But that didn’t stop us we merely moved indoors. Miriam won many games tonight and Rhoda and Ed a few too. I just can’t pull it off. My job is to keep the others honest. It was ten when we quit and hit the sack to the steadily falling rain. It is so pleasant a sound to go to sleep on and