Out for a walk beside the Ottawa River in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Heading to Nova Scotia around August 1st.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

We are off to Europe!

Not much time this morning because we are flying to Europe today! The next blog post will be coming to you from Germany.

We fly Ottawa to Toronto then Toronto to Frankfurt. From there, we take the train to the town of Dulmen where our motorhome Max is waiting for us.

Here's the plan for the next few days...

September Expenses - things are about to get much cheaper!

September was a little higher than expected. Mostly because of our plan to ship our bicycles and a few other things to Germany with us. But, we also did a lot more driving than we originally planned, and the fuel added up.

We spent a total of $3,338 CAD ($2,620 USD). Here's how it all broke down...

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The next visit will be better

Just reflecting on the past few weeks as we prepare to head back to Europe tomorrow. 

We arrived in Ottawa in mid August right at the end of a heat wave, so our timing was pretty lucky in that regard. Overall, the weather has been decent. But as I've said before, September is the best time of year to visit Canada, in our opinion.

But we've been just too busy to enjoy it as much as we would have liked to.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Getting ready to head out

Only two more sleeps. We're busy getting ready to head out on Thursday late morning. 

We're not traveling as light this time around. The bikes are all boxed up and ready to go. And besides our normal carry on bags, this time we're actually bringing a larger suitcase with us as well that we will just ditch after we've emptied it upon arrival.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Best ribs ever.

Little bit of a late post today, but I didn't have much time this morning because we were told we had to be out by 10:00am.

Saturday turned out to be better than expected from a weather perspective. The guys weren't that ambitious but we managed to get three of us out for a short 5 km (3 mile) hike in Bon Echo Provincial Park. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Good start to the weekend

Yesterday, I said goodbye to Ruth and drove two hours to a big chalet on Mazinaw Lake near Bon Echo Provinical Park to meet up with my friends for our annual guys weekend away.

Not the best weather though. It was actually chilly sitting out on the deck, and when it started spitting with rain it almost felt like it was going to snow!

Friday, September 24, 2021

Visit with the Newstate Nomads

After three different phone calls with Air Canada, we ended up getting our upcoming flights changed around enough to be able to bring the bicycles with us. The original booking was Ottawa to Montreal to Frankfurt to Dusseldorf. But part of the problem was the Ottawa to Montreal airplane was too small to accept the bikes in the holding bay. 

The other part of the problem was that we had a codeshare flight with Lufthansa on the Frankfurt to Dusseldorf leg and it was going to require confirmation from them that they would accept the bikes.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Changing some flights

Yesterday was the first day of fall. And you can sure tell winter is on it's way. The leaves are changing color, and the temperatures are cooling off. Here in the Ottawa area, you can go from summer to winter pretty quickly. There is still the possibility of some nice weather in October, but it's hit or miss. It's also common to get some snow flurries by the end of October. 

But we are out of here long before that possibility occurs. In fact, we fly out a week from today!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Toronto Zoo with the grandkids

My own grandmother lived in Toronto and I have fond memories of going to Toronto's Riverdale Zoo when I was a kid. In fact, it was walking distance from her house! But that zoo closed in 1974, and the animals were relocated to a bigger and better facility. Good thing too, because I remember the enclosure the black bears were in... just a concrete holding cell... it really wasn't very nice.

The "new" Toronto Zoo is so much better, but there are still some animals who just don't seem at home in their enclosure. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Made it to Pickering

We arrived at Lindsey and Justin's fairly early, just before 11:00am Sunday to pick up the grandkids. Lindsey is a chef, and she treated us to her famous Eggs Benedict. Such a delicious food item, especially with everything made from scratch.

Even the eggs were from their own chickens!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Nice bike ride down to Manotick

As I've said before, September is the best time of year for weather in the Ottawa area. It's been perfect hiking and biking weather. And so we took off on the bikes down to the village of Manotick on the Rideau River.

The Rideau River is partly a 202 km (125 mile) man made canal system that runs from Ottawa to Kingston. It was built around 1830 in case the U.S. ever decided to invade Canada, but is now used by pleasure craft.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Just as happy in our motorhome

The house we're living in is a beautiful home on a beautiful property backing onto a forest. I haven't shown many photos out of respect to the homeowners. They may not want their stuff on display. But needless to say, most people in the world would be pretty happy to live here. 

And we feel fortunate that this opportunity came along. It's been a great stay for us. And looking after the cats has been no trouble at all... in fact they each have their own personality and they're enjoyable enough to have around.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Received an offer on the house

But it's a low ball bid, with a number of conditions, and it could be that nothing comes of it. All part of the negotiation process of course, but as it stands we won't be accepting it. We're not desperate to sell... but it would be nice to get the whole thing out of our hair. In fact, if it doesn't sell within the next two weeks, we'll be handing it over to a real estate agent anyhow, and then it really is essentially out of our hair. 

And given that I am away for pretty much six of the next thirteen days, I'm starting to lose confidence that it's going to be sold by then. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

International Driving Permit (IDP)

These permits have been around since 1949. Canada only signed on to the agreement in 1965, and some countries (Germany, for example) have never signed on.

We've done a lot of driving in foreign countries. Sometimes we have traveled without an IDP, and sometimes we have bit the bullet and obtained one prior to leaving Canada. I say "bit the bullet" because they are not free. And the odds of you actually needing it are quite slim. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

How we spent $40,000 on our credit card in the last year.

The credit card we use is called the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite. The main reason we got this card is because it's one of the rare Canadian cards that has a 0% foreign transaction fee. And because we use it for a lot of foreign purchases, that's a big savings for us compared to most standard Canadian cards that charge 2.5% on foreign transactions. 

In fact, we saved about $800 over the last 12 months just because of that. 

The card also gives points, and they've been adding up!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

An interesting turn of events

We notice that some of the trees are starting to change color, and there are a few more leaves each day falling onto our back patio where we are staying. Winter is on its way. 

But, it was still a beautiful day yesterday. So, taking advantage of that, we headed out for another bike ride to get some more sunshine, fresh air, and exercise.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Maybe something is in the works

We were back up at the house yesterday. Our son in law Justin agreed to patch the hole in the drywall for us, and they were picking up some dining room chairs that we had agreed to give them, so it killed two birds with one stone.

As we arrived, I saw that a guy was taking a photo of the "For Sale" sign so I went down and spoke to him.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Finally made it out for a nice hike

It was a beautiful day on Friday and so we made plans for just the two of us to go for a hike. There aren't a lot of great hikes around the Ottawa side of the river, but just across the river in the province of Quebec is Gatineau Park which has a lot of hiking trails. 

We chose the trail around Lac Philippe, a beautiful lake with several beaches. It's a really busy spot during July and August, but on a Friday in September there was hardly anybody around. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

20 Years ago today

Of course everybody remembers where they were 20 years ago today. 

We were both working... normal lives, with a house and two kids (15 and 13) and a dog and a cat. I was working as an appraiser at a Maaco Collision Repair Shop. Worst job I ever had! And Ruth was working at an office supply company. Where I was, the radio was always on the talk news station, so we heard the whole thing right from the beginning and the office staff listened to it all day.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Just thinking out loud...

Less than three weeks to go. We head back to Germany on September 30th. That's if they let us in. The one thing we were worried about when returning to Canada was if things change enough that they might not let us back into Europe. I see that the EU added a bunch more to their list of "high risk" countries. Fortunately Canada isn't among them yet, but a lot can change in three weeks.

Not that it matters to us right now, but I see that Germany has once again blocked Albania as a "high risk" country, yet Netherlands (right next door to Germany) still considers Albania to be a "safe" country. There is nothing stopping you from crossing the land border from Netherland into Germany. 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Funny story

It rained yesterday morning, but we did manage to get out for a late afternoon bike ride. I had a replacement credit card waiting for me at the Scotiabank in Osgoode. It's about a 45 minute ride one way, so we had to set a good pace because it was already 3pm and it closed at 4pm.

No problem, got there with time to spare, and picked up the new card. The old card was still okay, but it would no longer "tap".

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

It's a crazy world

Boy, it sure is a crazy world out there right now. Politics, religion, and now Covid. The three things you can't talk about because someone is sure to be offended. Can't we all just get along? It amazes me how closed minded many people are.

So while we're on the subject of Covid, the U.S. land border remains closed to Canadians. Despite the fact that the Canadian land border is open to Americans. And the Mexican land border has always been officially closed, but in reality it's totally open. You can't make this stuff up. Craziness.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Our route south

I ordered Max's new propane tanks yesterday and woke up to an email this morning saying they had been shipped and would arrive by Thursday at the latest. 

I had contacted our guy at the dealer so he knew to expect them. They treat us really well there. I asked if they had time to fill them and install them prior to our arrival, and he said worst case scenario they would certainly help me do it when we arrive, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them installed and ready to go.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Toronto Zoo tickets booked

I took a rare blogging day off yesterday! 

We were up at the house again. But we have to go up again tomorrow to put the trash out by the side of the road for Wednesday morning pickup. We thought we were almost finished, but we moved a big cabinet in the kitchen that had been sold to find a big hole in the wall behind the cabinet. More patching and painting. Going to have to do the whole wall. We're sure getting tired of doing that drive.

Still enjoying watching Blue Jays baseball. They're in a race for a wild card spot and they've won 4 in a row. It's going to be tough, but it could still happen. Would be nice, but either way we are enjoying it.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Max's propane problem, and granddaughter Sadie comes for a visit

I've been trying to work on the solution to our RV propane problem with our motorhome Max who is waiting for us over in Germany. What we want is tanks that can be refilled at a self serve style gas station type of propane pump that are common all over Europe. It's the cheapest and most convenient way of filling your propane.

But the problem is that I can't get anybody to install a system in Germany that is cost effective. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

So, there's another thing out of the way

We were back up at the house yesterday. We are almost done though... probably one more day to finish everything up, so we won't go up again until Sunday. I got both the back and the front entrance doors painted while Ruth's brother Colin had rented a heavy duty carpet cleaner at Home Depot and did the rug in the family room. It was in pretty nasty shape, and we considered actually changing it out but the end result using the cleaner was better than expected so I think we'll just leave it.

When selling a house it's always a big question mark as to how much painting and decorating to do, isn't it? Because many people will move to a new home and redecorate anyhow the way they want it.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

You can't see everything

You may have noticed the header photos are showcasing our Africa trip during 2013-14. It occurred to me that we didn't have very good internet at times during that trip, and not as many photos got posted to this blog. Anyhow, we're not doing much that warrants a new header photo right now so I thought I would put some of the better ones up through this month.

We recently spent two months in Tanzania and never went on safari. We simply couldn't justify the ridiculous cost, especially right after we spent ridiculous amounts of money climbing Kilimanjaro. And actually, I don't regret not doing the safari thing.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

September is the best time of year to be in Canada

In our opinion, September is definitely the best time of the year to visit any part of Canada. That's why we purposely try to plan our visits to Canada during this month.

In Canada, most of the kids go back to school the first week of September, so if you're out exploring things will be quieter. The mosquitoes and black flies that typically infest most of Canada during the other good weather months of May through August have pretty much died off by September. And September weather is usually exactly the way we like it... not too hot, and not too cold.