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North Shore Lake Superior

Very early in 2017, I learned about the Thunder Bay Blues Fest.  The event features 100% Canadian talent, so I booked a VIP pass and began making plans.  Held during the first weekend of July, I made this into a road trip, planning to do a circle tour of Lake Superior.  Two days driving, but it realistically should have taken three.

Day one was an extremely long, tiresome day, having to first drive partly through the traffic mess that Toronto has become.  North on the highway, and by about 16:00 I was settled into the Watertower Inn in Sault Ste Marie.

First stop was Batchawana Bay, which is 71km north and west of the Sault.  Two centuries ago you would see voyageurs here, sheltered from the storms of Lake Superior.

 

Beautiful Batchawana Bay, North Shore, Lake Superior
Beautiful Batchawana Bay, North Shore, Lake Superior

Moving 43km north, my next stop was Alona Bay.  Here is Theano Point, believed to be the first uranium find in Canada.  Also nearby, the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Alona Bay, North Shore, Lake Superior
Alona Bay, North Shore, Lake Superior

Move along another 90km north, through Lake Superior Provincial Park, and the next stop is Old Woman Bay.  There are cliffs with forests, and a beach for your pleasure.

Old Woman Bay, North Shore, Lake Superior
Old Woman Bay, North Shore, Lake Superior

We now move inland, through the small town of White River (with a cute coffee shop) and travel 284km north and east to Aguasabon Falls, just west of Terrace Bay.  There is a well-built viewing platform to take you near the falls.

Augasabon Falls, North Shore, Lake Superior
Augasabon Falls, North Shore, Lake Superior

Travelling 204km west, we are nearing our destination.  We know we’ve arrived when we’re at the Terry Fox Memorial, just outside of Thunder Bay.  His goal was to run across Canada, beginning in Newfoundland.  This is where he was forced to end his journey.

Terry Fox Memorial, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Terry Fox Memorial, Thunder Bay, Ontario

The Lyceum Theatre opened its doors in the former Port Arthur in 1908, with seating for one thousand.  There have been many changes of ownership and usage, with the ground floor being used for office/retail.

Remodeled in 1932 for “talking pictures”, it closed permanently in 1955.

The Prince Arthur Hotel originally built by CN, is on the same street, and dates from 1911.

 

The Prince Arthur Hotel, Thunder Bay, Ontario
The Prince Arthur Hotel, Thunder Bay, Ontario

Thirty kilometers west of Thunder Bay is Kakabeka Falls, a waterfall on the Kaministiquia River.  It is the highest waterfall in North America.

Kakabeka Falls, west of Thunder Bay
Kakabeka Falls, west of Thunder Bay

 

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Return to Vancouver, BC, Spring 2016

WestJet had a seat sale, so I thought it was time for another trip to Vancouver, BC.

I usually book trips based on a seat sale and where I want to go.  One of the conditions of this sale required me to take a flight with three stops.  I departed from London, ON (YXU), next stop was Winnipeg, MB (YWG), followed by Calgary, AB (YYC), where we had an opportunity to deplane for thirty minutes, finally arriving in Vancouver, BC (YVR).  Not a terrible way to spend an afternoon.

I had booked accommodation through EBAB – a site I have used before, although mostly in Europe.  I just off Davie Street, within walking distance of English Bay Beach.

The view from my balcony in Vancouver, near English Bay Beach.
The view from my balcony in Vancouver, near English Bay Beach.

It was evening when I arrived.  The apartment owner picked me up at the airport, and made dinner.  I settled in for the night.

Early the next morning, it was time to venture out.  I took a wander down Robson Street, where I had stayed on my previous trip.  Locals are making a big deal over a new Nordstrom store that recently opened.  Lunch brought me to the Ovaltine Cafe on East Hastings Street.  It’s easy to see that gentrification is encroaching.

The Ovaltine Cafe on East Hasting Street - in business since 1943.
The Ovaltine Cafe on East Hastings Street – in business since 1943.

Late afternoon the apartment owner calls, asks if I want to take a trip!  He picks me up downtown, and we’re off to Horseshoe Bay.  It’s a small village nearby in West Vancouver.  We stopped into the Spirit Gallery, where I bought a piece of native art for my home.  It barely fit in my carry-on.

The BC Ferries dock at Horseshoe Bar
The BC Ferries dock at Horseshoe Bay

We returned to Vancouver and had dinner at the apartment.  I went for a walk in the dark, toward the Pacific Ocean, where I discovered that at the end of Davie Street is English Bay Beach.  Great for a little evening relaxation.

My trip starts out well, with a packed first day.  Six more days to go.  Early mornings, late evenings, lots of walking, a car rental, and side trips to Harrison Hot Springs, Chilliwack and Whistler.

More to come…

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Fading Signs

I have a certain attraction for signs when I’m on my travels.  Painted signs are excellent, and neon are particularly fine, even if they aren’t working.  There are lots of neon signs to view in museums, but I have a fondness for those left in place.

New Castle, Delaware

This town was originally settled in 1651 by Peter Stuyvesant of the Dutch West India Company.  In 1680 New Castle was transferred to William Penn.

Overlooking the Delaware River, New Castle has 5200 residents and is the oldest continuously occupied town in the Delaware Valley.  The town itself is not a museum.  The historic homes are privately owned and operated.

Ivory Soap
Fading Sign: Ivory soap on a wall in New Castle, Delaware
Coca-Cola
Fading Signs: Two on this wall – Coca-Cola and the N Katz & Sons Fine Tailors

Hot Springs, Arkansas

There are many signs on this wall.  It appears to have been a hotel a some point, but the most obvious is the Tom Moore Ten Cent Cigar.  Underneath that is a Coca-Cola sign.  At the very bottom is the words “Milwaukee Wis”.

 

Hot Springs
Fading Signs: Multiple use wall in Hot Springs, Arkansas

 

Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Carriage House of Established 1886.  Located at 115 N Tejon Street, Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs
Fading Signs: Carriage House of Colorado Springs

 

St Augustine, FL

Somewhere in St Augustine, Florida, a cocktail lounge and package store, long forgotten.

St Augustine
Fading Signs: Cocktail Lounge somewhere in St Augustine, Florida

This is just a small sampling of what I have.  You can check my Pinterest account for more, under the topic “Signs in History”.  Vancouver and San Francisco offered a plethora of neon signs, both restored and somewhat battered.  From time to time I’ll be making more posts like this, if only for my enjoyment.

 

 

Rochester, NY September 2014

 

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IHG Hotels had one of their point breaks specials, and I didn’t want to travel too far.  Rochester is about three hours away and looked like a good fit for two days.

I crossed the border at Queenston without incident, and proceeded north to HWY 18, taking the scenic parkway that follows the south shore of Lake Ontario.  Close to Rochester, the road was closed and detoured off.  I found out later that portions of the parkway get shut down in the winter to avoid maintenance costs.  I can understand why, there was almost no traffic in either direction the entire length.

Rochester was interesting enough, but it has a nasty loop road around the centre of town making driving a awkward.  Street parking was plentiful.  

The Holiday Inn express was in the south end of town, but easy to get to.  Lots of promotion inside as it is being re-invented as a Country Inn & Suites by Carlson.  It was a very basic hotel without much going for it.

Probably the most interesting place to visit was the Susan B Anthony House on Madison Avenue.  I was the only person there so I got a private docent tour.  Walked around the neighbourhood afterward and had a long chat with one of the local homeowners.  It’s a nice neighbourhood and she had recently purchased a massive older home across the street from the park.

I did go downtown, but I think I hit the wrong area. Some huge old buildings, but the ground levels are mostly empty.  Lots of construction downtown and almost everywhere.

The former Erie and Genesee Canals have been made into a park.

DSCN7135 

Hung out a few times at the Avenue Bar.  All in, a decent way to kill a couple of days.

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The University has a lovely art gallery built in the early 20th century, and the surrounding neighbourhood of the arts includes the van Gogh themed Starry Nites Cafe!

 

 

 

Frequent Flyer Follies

 

The adventure continues…

In the previous two days, I have received two emails from Aeroplan, both declining to credit my account for flights previously taken.  The two letters listed ten flights (!).  Although it is possible I mistakenly submitted my claim twice, the letters list ASW-ABS (same flight, ticket) five times and ABS-CAI (same flight, ticket) five times.

Each items says Egypt Air has no record of a passenger using my name.

Now that I have the email address, I’ll submit copies of my eTicket and boarding passes for consideration.

That means the following flights are under review to credit my Aeroplan account.

  • ORD-YYZ
  • JFK-CAI
  • ASW-ABS
  • ABS-CAI
  • CAI-ABS

I don’t have a lot of faith in a system that immediately denies your claim, saying you were never on the flight.  This happened with the YYZ-ORD flight.  To prove my claim I needed a copy of the eTicket.  Air Canada, which denied that I was on the flight sent me a copy of the eTicket two days later.