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  • Writer's pictureSandra

I like places which make me smile

published 26th of june, 2022

Friday, 06/10/2022: Thanks to Scott's recommendation, we knew where to go for lunch, Port Dover (Ontario, Canada). There – he promised us – we would get the best yellow perch. For some reason I was expecting a cozy restaurant on the beach... and was a little confused when I saw the beach shack "Knechtel's on the beach".

But that doesn't have to mean anything... it was very well attended and we were hungry. We ordered the specialty and sat down at an empty table. After a short wait we got our food in the styrofoam canton. Somehow, even after more than 6 weeks in the USA/Canada, I can't get used to the disposable plates and plastic cutlery and I don't want to either. When I first opened the box, I couldn't see any fish, but I knew the fried pieces had to be the famous perch. I found it a shame that the fish was fried because I don't think there's much of the actual flavor left. But it was really tasty and the sauce that came with it – a kind of tartar sauce – went well with it. The coleslaw served in a plastic bowl was ok, I didn't need the fries with it. After dinner we treated ourselves to a few minutes at the lake. Thanks to the beach mats I could almost roll into the water.

Then we drove to the Turkey Point. Also recommended by our skydiving friends. To be honest, I don't even know why anymore... I think because of the beautiful beaches. Since we had already seen much nicer stretches of beach and didn't want to sunbathe anyway, we didn't stay long and drove on to Long Point Provincial Park (Port Rowan, Ontario). The park is part of a sandy headland called Long Point that juts out into Lake Erie. The long, dark beaches weren't nearly as beautiful as the endless white beaches of St. George Island (Florida, USA), but they still had a beauty of their own... also because we almost had them to ourselves.

It was late afternoon when we left the park and went looking for a place to sleep. On Google I found some pictures of the "Port Bruce Pierhead Light" (Sparta, Ontario); that looked nice so we went there.

When I saw the pier and the small and rather inconspicuous lighthouse standing on it in real life, I immediately had a smile on my face! The fact that there was no prohibition sign far and wide made things even better... but the last evening light made this place perfect for me, for today!

I didn't want to miss the first rays of sunshine the next morning either, so I set my alarm clock. The sunrise wasn't as spectacular as expected and honestly looks better on the video than it actually was... but pssst, don't tell anyone! 🤫

Our next port of call was Point Pelee National Park. Located in the Canadian province of Ontario, the park was established in 1918, making it one of the 10 oldest national parks in Canada. It is also the southernmost point of mainland Canada, jutting 15 km into Lake Erie. There were beautiful stretches of beach, as well as paths through the forest (easily doable with a Segway), as well as a wooden walkway across the wetland (no problem even with "normal wheelchairs"). However, the mosquitoes were annoying and I was glad that my "Anti-Brumm" (Mosquito spray) helped at least a bit. 🦟

So now we had grazed within Canada along the Lakie Erie, which caught our eye on the map. The search for a parking space was more difficult that day than on most others, because we were getting closer and closer to the city and thus to the border with the USA (Detroit, Michigan).

We parked at a kind of city park; this was very small, not well attended and basically consisted only of a fenced 500 m circle in which people did their rounds. I wondered why, because most of the houses had larger lots than this park was big. But anyway. The night was quiet and no one bothered us.

The next morning (Sunday, June 12th, 2022) we left Canada after only 3 days - for the time being! The border control to the USA (Michigan) was less friendly than to Canada, but relatively quick and painless. Back in the USA, our first port of call (after the gas station because fuel/diesel is cheaper there) was the “Guitar Center” in Detroit. Since Nashville, USA, this topic hasn't let me go... (see blog post "Music on - world off"). I knew what I wanted now, no matter what the seller would say. I tried my way through a few more guitars until I put all my doubts behind and settled on THEM. An inner peace spread through me – finally!

Now we could go to Vermilion (Ohio) with peace of mind. This visit was 2 years overdue. This is where the host family lives with which Sebastian lived as an exchange student more than 30 years ago. 2 years ago Jim (host dad) turned 80 and we wanted to pay him a surprise visit for his birthday. As is well known, our plan didn't work out because of COVID. It should work this time. We had been nearby a few days ago, but decided to drive first to Niagara Falls and through Canada, circumnavigating Lake Erie. Jim & Dawn knew that we would arrive at some point, but on this Sunday they weren't expecting us.

We parked the bus in the dead end street right next to their house. It took them a few minutes to get out of the house, they hadn't heard the bus. Sebastian got out and he and Dawn (host mom) hugged. I was still on the bus because I have to raise the bed to get to my ramp and get off. At that moment I was glad that it was still taking me, so I had time to take a deep breath and suppress my tears. The joy of seeing each other again was great, because the last visit was in 2014 and therefore a while ago. At that time we had visited them in Pine Island, Florida. At that time they lived there and I was still a "pedestrian", Jim had a few kilos more and Seb' was a little blonder... otherwise little had changed.

For the next few days we were spoiled by Dawn and her 93 year old mother (a very affectionate and humble woman)... unbelievable how fit she is at her age! Unfortunately I won't be that fit in this life anymore. Jim entertained us with his stories from his days as a Navi soldier on an aircraft carrier and his 35 years in the police force.

Sebastian wasn't idle either, because the bucket that had been used as a waste water tank for showering and rinsing for about 3 weeks was not a permanent solution. To explain that I have to go back a bit. Back then we installed a 200 l fresh water tank on the driver's side (left) and a 200 l waste water tank on the passenger side (right) under the bus. We thought it would be good if the fresh water tank was near the pump and the fresh water had the shortest route to the shower (because of the water pressure), because the sink in the kitchen and the barrier-free shower (no shower tray) are also on the left in the bus installed side. What we hadn't considered was that the drain from the shower has relatively little incline to the waste water tank on the right-hand side, but we have to be inclined to the left to shower so that the water can even get into the drain. However, if we are leaning to the left, the waste water has to run uphill into the tank on the right. As a result, the shower water often drained very poorly and slowly, and the rinse water from the kitchen came out of the shower drain. I hope you're still coming with us? So when the drain didn't work properly again a few weeks ago and Seb' wanted to see if something might be blocking the waste water pipe, he removed the angle to the waste water tank. He didn't get it back though...hence the interim bucket! That should be over now, because the solution was to swap the fresh water and waste water tanks.

On the way we had already obtained the small parts needed for the undertaking and so Seb' was able to set everything up within one day. And let me say it in advance: everything works perfectly now. Good Seb' - well done! 🤗 I, on the other hand, took care of the room maintenance: washing the cupboards, vacuuming, cleaning, etc. The days passed quickly. Thursday was Jim's birthday and in the afternoon friends and family came. There was a lot of talking, eating and laughing - everyone had a good time. Lennox was happy about the many treats and the air conditioning, because it was super hot in Ohio - at times 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 degrees Celsius). Outside, he looked for a shady spot and caused a few laughs as a 24-hour video security system.

We said goodbye on Friday morning... but it felt ok because we want to come back in October (towards the end of our road trip).

No, there was no alcohol involved!🥴

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