Monday, August 4, 2014

My July Vacations

Finally I get around to writing again.  In June I was in Ohio with mom & dad for 2 weeks, but in July I was on vacation on and off too.  From Friday, July 4th - Monday, July 7th I visited my sister Ursi and her family in Kirkfield, Ont.  Then I came home for a day on July 8th, and from July 9th - July 13th I went on a Road Trip with Ben Dettweiler a friend from Kitchener here to go and visit another friend of ours (Tim Procter) in Ottawa (Ben, Tim and I have been friends as far back as public school, or at least high school).  On July 9th at 8:00 am in the morning Ben Dettweiler came to pick me up with a rental car to go to Toronto onto a small (150 people size) Sailboat called the "Kajama" which went on a 2 hour cruise along the Toronto Skyline, leaving from downtown Toronto Harbour.

About the Small Canon, at the furthest point out into Lake Ontario, they told us to close our ears because it was actually quite a loud shot that the Canon let off.

Afterwards Ben and I continued to travel from Toronto to Belleville, on Hwy 401 and in Belleville headed North East to Bon Echo Provincial Park where we stayed from Wednesday, July 9th in the evening till Friday, July 11th after lunch.  Bon Echo Provincial Park is a bit South East of Algonquine Park. On Thursday morning we went hiking, in the afternoon we relaxed and Friday morning we canoed along the cliffs that some of the pictures will show.  I should mention at this point that not all of the pictures in this blog are mine, but I have Ben's permission to use some of the pictures he took as we both experienced this trip together and my camera's pictures kind of went green especially in Ottawa.

On July Friday, July 11th Ben and I packed up camp & Tent before we went canoeing and afterward went to visit Tim Procter in Barrhaven (outscurts of Ottawa).  We went grocery shopping, talked, ate suppper and watched the movie Johnny English 2 and basically just relaxed as there was lots to catch up on since especially I haven't seen Tim in at least 7 years if not more.  The next day, Saturday, July 12th we went to Ottawa downtown to see the Parliament Building, got a free tour of the Parliament Building and even got to go up on top of the Peace Tower.  I really enjoyed that day a lot as the last time I was in Ottawa was when I was in Grade 8.  I would have been 14 years old at the time.  I am now 34 years old.  You kind of see things differently now then 20 years ago.  Plus in Grade 8 it was an organized learning school trip, now it was a relaxed only among good friends where ever we want to go kind of trip.  We saw more than just the Parliament Building, but also the Waterlocks (10 of them where the Rideou (spelling?) Cannal goes into the Ottawa River and just hung out around Ottawa.  Sorry if I sound too much like a tourist Tim.

The last event in July was the Swiss Club Thames Valley's annual Swiss National Day Celebration on the last Sunday before August 1st, since in Switzerland like Canada Day on July 1st, Swiss National Day is on August 1st.  My parents play the Alphorns, Dad sings in the Men's yodeling group and I play with the Swiss Farmer Band.  This year there was no one on the program to have a few reflective words, but they found a Swiss lady who said something after all and it was very interesting.  Of course, there's Swiss Traditional and Canadian Traditional Food and Snack all day long, and in the afternoon there is always The Stone Toss and Crossbow Shooting Competion.  I just got told by someone in the Swiss Farmer band that the heavier Stone for the Men weighs about 32 kg and the lighter one for women, 17 kg.  After the official morning ceremony at which the Bundespresident of Switzerland on tape also speaks, and I played with the band, since I've been to so many of these Swiss National Days year by year went for a 2 hour nap in the van.  A big part is too that because of my disability I can't do the Stone Toss or the Crossbow Shooting easily or at all.  So the afternoon gets pretty boring pretty fast.  This day reminded me though of last year when everyone was here (the whole extended family) and I kind of got homesick.  It's one of those moments you notice and wish we all lived a bit closer together and knew each other a bit more.

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Vacation in Ohio with Mom & Dad

This June (June 1 - 15, 2014) Mom & Dad invited me to come along for a 2 week vacation on a GPAA (Gold Prospector Association of America) Campground near Buttler, Ohio.  It was for me a both challenging but also very good time, as I learned what it means to live close together with my parents for 2 weeks yet be my own person, with interests that are some the same as my parents and some different, as I'm still growing to become more independently inwardly.  Overall I enjoyed the vacation a lot and I would do it again.  We laughed a lot and had a lot of jokes, like Mom who saw the flying Raccoon, or Dad who named the one Big Fish we saw at a zoo we went to Sea Sausage, or me who had the revelation of planting a Mellon Tree till dad reminded me what a miracle that would be of melons grew on trees.  But then again you would have had to be there with us in the moment to think it's funny.  Anyway we had a lot of fun.

Sea Sausage:

June 1, 2014 (Sunday)

Today we didn't go to church in the morning as mom was still slowly recovering from a cold and so we had plenty of time to keep packing.  I was amazed how much we packed for just 2 weeks.  Yesterday mom picked me up in Kitchener with my things to come out to the Farm, so we could pack and leave from Brussels today.  We left at 11:40 am, and arrived at the GPAA Camp Ground at 8:40 pm. at night (9 Hours and 500 kilometers south).  Of course that included a  1/2 Hour Lunch an Fill up Gas Stop across the border and a 1 1/2 hour shopping spree in Norwalk, OH.  We bought too many things and didn't know where to stop with all our desires.

June 2, 2014 (Monday)

Today, we stayed at the campground.  In the morning mom & dad went to say hi to our neighbours while I stayed at the trailer.  Than Mom, Dad & I went for a walk to check out the creek where it would be best for dad to start digging for gold.  For lunch we went into a Restaurant in Buttler, OH.  In the afternoon Dad went to start getting some samples for seeing what Gold is in the creek if any, and doing some panning.

June 3. 2014 (Tuesday)

Today we had breakfast around 7:00 am and got going an hour later.  We came by Mount Pleasant Hill Dam, a man made dirt dam on our way to Mansfield, OH, driving through beautiful Ohio country side.  We went to the "Bible Walk", a self guided tour of life size wax figure scenses of the Old Testament, New Testament and other stories like the Great Reformation, Martyrs, etc..  It basically was a big Bible Museum.
If I remember there were at least 300 wax figures in totals.  We walked through the Old and New Testament Displays, each of which took an hour to walk through to look at about 25 Bible Story scenes each and listen to the audio story for each.  I didn't take any pictures because I didn't know if I was allowed to and I just wanted to enjoy the moment and didn't even much think of it.

June 4, 2014 (Wednesday)

In the morning mom, dad & I went up river on the other side to set up dad's home made gravel classifier (sorting machine) in the river to dig for some more Gold in the afternoon and at night it rained a lot.  In the Evening Dad and I explored the back scenic road into Butler and back, while dad showed me the capability of his loud stereo in the Truck as we were driving with heavy metal music on.  It was fun!  At night we played Carcassone.

June 5, 2014 (Thursday)

By about this point I should probably mention that I picked up playing the Alphorn with Mom & Dad, playing the base part for them, since we were together for 2 weeks.  People in the camp ground loved it.
Today I went for a swim in the morning after getting up in the ice cold creek with soap.  Then Dad & I started washing the bag of sand (one of the two he took with us) that he bought from the "Lucky Strike" Gold Claim in Marion, North Carolina.  A man, who was single (Michael), came by our place.  He was super excited about the whole gold finding idea.  He was a Christian too.  At night as I mentioned I played the Alphorn with mom & dad and had sausage over the fire with them.  Also, every night we enjoyed a glass of wine and sometimes Baileys with Coffee before going to bed.  We just called it Plus (+) for short.

June 6, 2014 (Friday)

In the morning as I woke up I felt cold, so after breakfast I went back to bed for a little while.  Mom & Dad went looking for fire wood and dropping off dad's gold digging equipment at his digging site.  In the afternoon though it was much warmer and mom & I went into Belleville, OH, grocery shopping and checking out the town.  There was a nice old Bell Stand which was built in 1879 exactly 100 years before I was born. Mom also saw an entrance a little further on into an old antique shop and there was room after room of about 5 - 6 rooms of old antiques, from books, to audio tapes, to old Clothing from 50 years ago, to toys, to old cribs,, etc..  Mom & I spend quite a while in there.

June 7, 2014 (Saturday)

Today I think we spent the morning at home (I did anyway) reading.  In the afternoon Mom, Dad and I went for a drive, via Belleville, Mt. Vernon, Loudesville, Buttler, and back home.  Mom & Dad where looking for another another GPAA Claim that was near by, that was not nearly as nice to camp at as the one we were at on Zuck Road. (don't know what town that was near).  Mom & Dad where there previously and never stayed.  This time they played the Alphorns and then we left again.  In Mt. Vernon, we went into a restaurant called Friendly's for Ice Cream and Coffee.  The Ice Cream was great, but I think they forgot to change the coffee filter, and ran the water through old coffee grind, because it was lousy to say the least.  To make it worse, 5 minutes later still in Mt. Vernon we drove by a Tim Hortons.  Can you believe that?  I didn't think they had a Tim Hortons this far south of the border.  They even had one in Columbus which is even further south yet.  Obviously we didn't get another coffee which was fine by me.

June 8, 2014 (Sunday)

Today we slept in till 9:00 am and had Eggs & Bacon for breakfast.  At 10:20 am we left for the Zoo in Columbus, OH (south of us.  We arrived at 12:00 pm.  It was an interesting zoo, but a very rainy day, so that didn't put me into too a happy, patient mood.  We got back home by 4:30 pm.  Anyway, it was an interesting Zoo, I took some interesting pictures, so I let the pictures speak for themselves.

June 9, 2014 (Monday)

Mom & Dad went diging in the creek (water run off I think) up the paved road on the other side of the corn field.  I washed the rest of my "Lucky Strike" sand bag and went for another swim in the river.  In the afternoon  Mom, Dad & I hooked up the Trailer, took out everything from underneath, unplugged the generator and went to see at the near by official camp ground whether we could dump our grey water, black water, and fill up with fresh water and possibly shower there without camping there and how much that would cost.  The reason for this is that our freshwater tank which holds 150 Liters of water was empty.  We were able to do all that at a reasonable price and it felt good to know we had a full tank of fresh water again and we could use the toilette again (Black Water) as well as the Kitchen Sink for washing Dishes (Grey Water). Otherwise we enjoyed camping life.

June 10, 2014 (Tuesday)

Today in the morning I went with Mom & Dad back into the bush at the end of the GPAA camp ground to cut for some more fire wood.  We filled the whole back half of the truck, and I got really into it too.  It was a lot of fun.  Dad set up his Classifier and Sluice Box  (Gold Digging Equipment) here by our trailer in the river.In the afternoon as Mom & I were looking through a bowl of already sorted out stones I found my still missing Gold Nugget in there.  It was quite an excitement.  You see, when Dad bought those bags of sand from the "Lucky Strike" Gold Claim they put a Gold Nugget in with the sand, and as I went through the process of washing the sand we never found it, because it was so big we sorted it out with all the bigger stones, which we were going to look at anyways, but I found it.

 June 11, 2014 (Wednesday)

 Today we got up at 7:30 am.  In the morning Dad set up and started Digging for Gold here at our campsite (unfortunately finding little).  Mom & I left at 11:40 am for Mount Pleasant Hills Dam.  We went for a walk in the State park there for 2 hours from 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm to Little Lyons Fall and Big Lyons Fall.  It was beautiful and I was ready for a swim when I got back home.

 June 12, 2014 (Thursday)

Today we got up around 9:00 am.  We left camp about an hour later.  We went to the Mohican State Park, up the Fire Tower and to over look the gorge.  We went to Berlin, OH into Amish Country.  Berlin was kind of like St Jacobs here in Ontario Tourist wise, except 4 to 5 times bigger and more of everything.  There was a huge old antique barn with 2 levels to walk on, a quilt shop and a general store.  We also had coffee and desert in a bakery.  There was also a museum about the Amish and Mennonites and there was much more we could have done.  There was also lots of traffic.

June 13, 2014 (Friday)

Today we went to the town wide garage sale in Belleville, OH (10 Minutes drive away)  We saw a lot and not everything there was to see and bought even less then we were seeing.  In the afternoon we enjoyed camp life at our camp

June 14 2014 (Saturday)

Today was a big GPAA (Gold Prospecting Association of America) meeting at our camp site.  The campsite all of a sudden started filling up with GPAA Members, starting already yesterday and especially today.  Some people where digging for Gold by hand, a lot where digging for gold (gravel, which contains black sand, which in turn contains maybe a little gold) with dredges (spelling?).  Dredges where basically big vacuum pumps that suck up the gravel by motor so you don't have to do it by hand.  There was even a guy out in the middle of the river with scuba diving gear sucking up gravel, which then the concentrate, got bagged in plastic and divided among winners based on draws.  There where also raffle tickets you could buy for different prices or the biggest price I think was a fairly big gold nugget.  I don't remember or wasn't interested enough to know exactly how everything worked all day long, but it was a big event.  Even the boy scouts where there and mom and dad played the Alp-horns (perfect occasion) and gave away their Swiss Mountain Crystals.  In the evening Mom, Dad and & I started to pack as in the morning we left to go home again and our vacation would be over.

June 15 2014 (Sunday)

Today our vacation was over and we finished packing (although most of it we packed last night) and traveled home. We left at 8:30 am at our campsite and arrived at mom & dad's at shortly after 4:30 pm.  So we traveled 8 hours including border crossing and breaks.  By the way, let me show you how much the corn field grew beside which we where camping in the two weeks we were there.

June 2, 2014

June 15, 2014