Saturday, August 31, 2013

Photos from Quebec

If you ever want to visit Paris but don't have the funds to do so, go to Quebec instead.  Other than the Eiffel Tower and other famous landmarks you can enjoy quite the French experience.

Quebec is a charming city and we thoroughly enjoyed our trip into the city.



There are flowers everywhere and the richness of the colors in the woodwork and walls are stunning.  Everywhere we turned it seemed we had stumbled into a little corner street in France.

These reminded me of my friend, the Divine Miss M

This is probably my favorite shot - loved the brick walls and ivy.
I wonder if there is a sixth window down there beneath it all.

It was fun looking down from the top of the hill to the buildings below.  But not so much fun to walk up and down the hill.

Such a grand old building!  It was like a castle.

Ah huh!  Here's the answer to the arduous climb...take the tram.  Why we took it down and then walked up I'll never figure, but that's what we did.

This looks like the perfect little tower for her Highness to have a reading room.

Long Live the Queen of Quebec

Friday, August 30, 2013

Photoshop Friday- purple bookstore

Here I took two images I enjoyed from our trip to Grand Marais MN with our grandkids.

Kiersten had on this purple striped sweater and was posing for me with this flower.

I noticed that her purple sweater matched the hue of the little bookstore downtown.

Since she does love to read, I decided to put her inside the bookstore looking out the window and gave it a dry brush filter to hide all my imperfections of blending the two images.

And then because I can never leave anything alone, I hit it with a find edges filter to posterize it.

Long Live the Queen of Purple

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back in the USA!

We left Quebec and headed south towards Maine with high hopes of soon returning to the US and on low fumes.

The gas tank was down below a quarter now and with the hills we're crawling up and down the gas really burns up fast.  We won't get our whopping 6.5 miles to the gallon like this.

They don't seem to mark the roads a lot up here with signs for where gas might be, so I went with my theory of where there's fast food there's gas.  Think about makes sense.

So it was a Subway sign that led us off the highway and into a tiny little town with a tiny little gas station.  We're talking four pumps here and there was a tanker truck blocking the way.

Left Brain thought he could swing it through an empty lot, get turned around and approach it from the other side.  But then again, he has a lot of thoughts that aren't really valid.

We found ourselves partway across the street and completely blocking traffic and stuck up against the opposite curb.  Ooops.

But faster than you can say "Dumb Americans from Texas" we leapt from See-More and started to unhook the car.  I then crawled into the drivers seat with the brake buddy still attached and thus having very little space to operate the pedals.  But I managed to get it backed up and out of the way so he could now back up and get the motorhome pointed the right way.  Oh yeah, this is how to make friends along the road.

Why didn't he just back up with the car on you might ask?  I can hear some snickering about his inability to do this.  Well, let me tell you...Left Brain can put that RV anyplace he wants to but with our Blue Ox towing bars to back up with them attached means damaging thousands of dollars of gear.  Not to mention paying for services out of the country in a remote area.  You get my drift?

So now he's at the pumps and I've positioned the car to allow me to drive up to the backside of See-More once he's finished to hookup once again.  We are getting so fast at our take down and set up routine that I almost wish there was an RV competition for such things.  But that's just the competitive spirit we have.

With gas in our tanks we headed for the border...literally.  After our first entry into Canada I have a bit of a phobia of how long and awful this might be.  The nice young man asked the questions and then came on board to open doors and check things.  Well, he found out quickly than when an RV has been on the road things will fall on your head as soon as those doors open.  He'll learn.

Once we were clear from customs we breathed a sigh of relief to be in Maine.  Part of me wanted to just stop early at a Wal-Mart for the night and continue on in the morning but with Labor Day weekend looming ahead of us we decided to push onward to Bar Harbor and hope for an empty campsite.

We got in about 6:00 PM and there were a few openings left.  At this particular campground they do not take reservations and you pick what site you want and then go back and or check, no credit cards.

The sites on the Ocean were already taken so we opted for one closest to this grouping and proceeded to set up.  It was not at all level and after several tries of adding blocks we gave up and went to another spot instead.

Lesson learned:  when it gets late and you're tired things are not going to go as well as planned.  This is why we like to start looking for a spot about 3:00 to allow plenty of time for set up and relaxing.

But we managed to get in, pay for our spot and get settled in.  And to my amazement George and Gracie surfaced pretty quickly and were eager to eat and play.  Sometimes George will throw up after eating when it's been a long ride but he was fine tonight and this had to be one of the bumpier long rides we've had.  Perhaps they are starting to be able to relax a bit while in hiding after all!

After supper and a little reading Left Brain decided to take a shower.  That's when he realized he didn't turn the water on outside at the faucet.  Sigh.  Clothes back on (thank goodness) and outside he trod to take care of that little chore.

We had not been set up very long before the rain hit and it was nice to be snug as a bug in our RV for the night.  Our expectations for Internet were not high so it was a nice surprise to find it works beautifully. 

I'll post photos of our time in Quebec later this week.

Long Live the Queen of RV Living

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tour of Montreal

The Blogger G-ds have finally let me add the photos to my write up on Montreal, so I'll post it quick before they become fickle again.

Last Sunday we took a coach tour of Montreal.  It was interesting for Left Brain to be a passenger instead of driving the bus as he had for so many years.

Montreal is a lovely city and an interesting mix of the old and new, sometimes side by side.

There are lovely parks everywhere in this bustling city, offering a chance to sit down and unwind.

I'm quite sure this is how George sees himself.

We were able to see the Olympic Stadium that was created for the Summer Olympic Games in 1976.  Near this was the Olympic Village where the athletes stayed which are now used as apartments.

Olympic Village

Olympic stadium

This apartment complex is called the Lego House as it is a series of apartments stacked one on top of the other at all unusual angles. They are arranged so that nobody can see into the others apartments.

The Lego apartments. 
The photo had to be taken through a glass window on a moving bus so it's not as detailed as I would have liked.


 St Joseph's Oratory is an Italian Reneissance style basilica which is the largest in Canada and dedicated to the country's patron saint.  There were many miracles performed here in the early 1900's and millions of people still continue to come to visit in search of cures.

St Joseph's

Old Montreal was founded in 1642 and is one of the main attractions of the city.  Our tour was on a Sunday and we passed many of the open air markets.

One of the many streets closed off for the outdoor markets

One of my favorite statues entitled the Pug and the Poodle


At Mount Royal Park lookout we had a view of the entire city below.  It's a lovely park that has provided many outdoor activities for over 100 years.

An overview of the city and the Olympic Stadium complex

We did some browsing around and had lunch at St Catherine's Underground City.

There were many floors below ground level filled with shops and restaurants.

There is a small Chinatown, but nothing the size of Seattle or San Francisco's.

A glimpse  into the entry to Chinatown

That's it for the tour of Montreal.  Blogger is still balking at loading photos and I'm out of patience. 

Long Live the Queen of Montreal

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mandarin Orange Monday - Polly want a cracker?

I had hoped to post my photos from our visit into Montreal, but Blogger is being difficult and not letting me load any of the photos.  So, I will proceed with Mandarin Orange Monday and try again tomorrow.

This is a photo of a parrot from one of trips to Florida.

It is a lovely reddish-orange color as you can see.

But what if it were more orange?  Would it be as stunning?


Long Live the Queen of Color Changes

Saturday, August 24, 2013

An easy day drive from Ottawa to Montreal...kinda

We slept in late, mainly because George was choosing to be snugly instead of tormenting me.  He did manage to run one of his fangs through my CPAP pipe, so that will need to be fixed.  Otherwise there's a soft hiss all night long and I don't know if it's the pipe or if there's a snake curled up by my head.  When you're half asleep in it's dark they do seem like the same thing.

Anyway, he chose to lay on my pillow by my head and on top of my hand.  This is the most affection he has shown other than when he wants food.  So I chose to stay in bed and enjoy the moment.

We rose about 10:00 and had some breakfast and went into our respective chores of preparing to break camp.  Our preparations ended with George and Gracie diving down the rabbit hole for safety behind the couch when the motor started up.

It was a short drive and we figured we'd be in really nice and early, and we would have except for the stinking tunnel.

Now, please keep in mind that the minute we entered Quebec all the signs are in French and with few exceptions, French only.  But we both understood the word tunnel and the symbol for hazardous cargo being denied access.   Oops.  We're 22 tons of motor home hauling propane.  I don't think they want us going through the tunnel.  We need to find an alternate route.  This is not usually a big problem as the signs will clearly indicate where to go...if you can read them.

I found myself back in Mr O'Brien's French class in High School desperately searching through those conversations with Margo and her Uncle to see if they ever covered anything like this.  I know, I know...taking French from someone named O'Brien is probably a bit iffy at best, but it's the only time I studied French.

Now we are driving around another huge city with tons of traffic, narrow streets and road construction.  Give me a break!  They clearly need to fix the roads as they are full of bumps and small craters causing the motor home to bounce around like an old time washing machine.  The poor cats must be miserable in their hiding spot.

But Left Brain clearly has an internal GPS built into his brain and between him and the real GPS we found a bridge to cross to avoid the tunnel.  This took us back through much of Montreal again in the process and I couldn't help but notice you don't see a lot of motor homes driving around here.  Especially those with Texas plates who are traveling through Canada to get to Florida.

I had managed to find an RV Resort near Montreal and that's where we were trying to get to.  They had not responded to my email about any openings so after arriving about 3:00 I was prepared to beg and French if necessary...for anything they had at all.

You go right ahead, I'll stay here with my little suitcase where I am!

We got settled in and set up our house again.  Gracie came out first and immediately wanted to go outside so I set up her little playpen for her while I waited for George to emerge from his dungeon.

They both seemed to be responding pretty well, but George did barf up his lunch. 

He does this if the trip is too much for him, but then shakes it off and returns for another feeding fairly soon.  They are both adjusting quite well considering all we've thrown at them in their three short months with us.

Our tour of Montreal is booked for tomorrow and we'll be gone most of the day, so photos and follow ups may have to wait a bit.  Fortunately we can get a shuttle from the office here in the campground into Montreal for a double decker bus tour and not have to do any driving.  The camera is ready and the spare battery is charging.  I also think the cats will enjoy a day off from us and travel.

Long Live the Queen of Jangled Nerves

Friday, August 23, 2013


Today our touristy assignment was to explore the city of Ottawa in Ontario Canada.  It's a beautiful city with a lot of old fashioned charm.

The Parliament Building

Even the mail boxes are cool!

We went to the Aviation Museum, one of Left Brain's favorite places to tour.

They were offering bi-plane rides this day...I like to stay on the ground and shoot others instead.

This is what first class looked like back in his day.

A Harley Davidson Indian motorcycle

Please note that the escape kit includes chocolate....I rest my case.

this rescue plane can land directly in the water and was used in Indonesia to aid victims of the tsunami

this one is definitely more my speed

Why is this in a museum, I think my parents had a car similar to this....that's not so old, is it?

There were planes of every type imaginable, as well as some cool old cars, trucks and motorcycles.

This cute little guy would pull nicely behind See-More, don't you think?

The museum was nicely laid out with seating area to watch videos as well as having several interactive portions that were perfect for kids.  At this station the kids put on space suits and were simulating living in a space pod.  They had to crawl from one area to another through the tunnels.  Gracie would have so loved doing this and I'm sure she would have outdone any of the kids there with her dazzling speed.

Our favorite part was the bush pilot area.  Left Brain has flown into remote areas on fishing trips and has shared his hair-raising stories of flying with these guys.  Maybe that's what happened to his hair...
Yup, that's a canoe lashed to one of the pontoons.

check out the skis for this thing - accessories are everything

We had hoped to find a Greek restaurant but stumbled instead across Patty's Pub, an Irish pub with an outside cafe that oozed with charm.  After a meal of fish and chips as well as crab cakes we returned to the RV to set a spell.

There is such a diverse ethnic mix here in Ottawa which makes people watching a lot of fun.  I'm going to post this blog now as tomorrow morning we pack up to head to Montreal and I don't know what the Internet situation may be like.

Long Live the Queen of Ottawa