85 Sodus Bay, NY to Kingston, Ontario

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The beauty of Irondquoit Bay was marred by the roughest conditions we were to encounter on Lake Ontario. We were at a dock and it was perfectly calm until 5 PM when boaters fresh from a hard day at work started out for an evening ride. The marina had no protection from boat wakes and the narrow width of the bay amplified the wakes. We endured a long, bumpy evening as boaters raced up and down the narrow bay sending a confusion of boat wakes into the marina. We quickly relocated to the comfort of the narrow Genessee River free from boat wakes.

Family milestones became our reward for lingering in Rochester. We paid one last visit to Cindy and Mike’s home site. A backhoe dug the trench and Mike laid power and phone lines from the pole we’d installed the down feed on in the dead of winter to the house. Mike made the electrical connections, pulled a switch and confirmed they now had power at the main breaker in the basement.

Our site visit provided a chance to meet the California side of Mike’s family. His sister Karen and mate Kim showed up, and we enjoyed their company as our work party swelled to a family gathering for a first barbecue at the top of the hill. Jeff and Danielle stopped by as did Linda and Steve. Later that evening we hosted a family gathering on Odyssey.

A buying spree at the garden shop was cut short as we realized we were out of car space. Ruth got her gardening fix in as we helped Debbie and Jeff plant ivy, bushes and plants. We may have a new thing going. We got to have the fun of planting, but don’t have to worry about watering and weeding. Bummer part is that we don’t get to enjoy much of the growing and blooming.

As we relaxed after our gardening efforts, Danielle entertained and surprised us as she managed for the first time to turn from her back to front as she lay on her blanket on the floor. It’s fun to see how rapidly she’s developing.

Fog smothered wind and sounds as we headed out onto Lake Ontario. Visibility was a quarter mile at best. Radar let us confirm our distance off shore and added an extra check as we watched carefully ahead for boats, buoys, and racing marks to emerge from the fog. At Oak Orchard we diverted and idled up the river to see what had changed from our last visit 12 years ago. Familiar landmarks were still there almost lost among all the added docks. We pushed on deciding to go on to Niagara-On-The-Lake for a reunion with Tom and Marilyn who joined us for an overnight visit.

The man was the peacock of the pair, but we noticed the woman first. He wore a brightly beaded vest, beaded cap and bright pants. She was draped completely in black. A black head covering and veil covering her nose and mouth framed dark shining eyes. That was all we could see of her. We tried not to stare, but it was hard not to as they walked toward us. We all turned to enter a restaurant for breakfast and as luck would have it they followed. The four of us sat at a table, they took a booth. We became engrossed in ordering and enjoying Tom and Marilyn’s company and lost interest in the Muslim couple in the booth. As our meals came, I glanced to see how a veiled lady handled breakfast. She had changed location and now sat in a chair facing the booth wall with her back to the rest of the restaurant. Now her black veil was down and hands had appeared from out of the long black sleeves as she enjoyed her breakfast. Two cultures, one in tee shirts and shorts, the other in ornate beads and a black drapes enjoyed breakfast and went their unique ways.

Grimsby and Bronte became new stops for us as we headed around Lake Ontario. In our twenty years of cruising the lake, we’d always skipped them. Grimsby was always off limits because our sailboat draft was too deep. Bronte we always skipped because it would have been going further west into the wind. Now we explored both towns and had the fun of discovering new places in familiar territory.

Ontario Place, Toronto Island, and Ashbridge Bay became stops within the city limits of Toronto. We walked Ontario Place enjoying the kids playing in the water park, riding the log flume and rested by watching Imax films at the Cinisphere. The next day for exercise we walked into Toronto proper putting10 miles on the pedometer and our tired feet.

Early in the morning we slipped into Toronto’s inner harbor and found a spot to tie up in the Toronto Islands. Here we were just over a mile from the CN Tower and the heart of downtown Toronto but in a beautiful park reachable only by boat or ferry. We got a kick out of the number of people who warned us a clothing optional beach is now on the island. We enjoyed walking the island (skipped the beach) and took the ferry to continue exploring downtown. Once we’d returned from the city we explored many of the island passages by dinghy. As evening settled in entertainment became watching a procession of 20 plus tour boats pass by us as they slowly moved through the islands with their partying guests.

Ashbridge Bay is another park in the heart of the city, but out near a residential area called the Beaches. We walked the area following one of the city’s Discovery Trails that wound up beautiful neighborhood streets. The streets twisted and turned up the steep lakeside embankment revealing at each twist another home with unique character on the cool shady street. The trail arrow pointed to a path that quickly lead to a steps taking us down into the ravine the neighborhood had tucked itself around. No tour boats this evening, just an interesting variety of rollerbladers, bikers and people out for an evening walk.

An hour after starting for Cobourg the weather forecast changed from a chance of thunderstorms to a severe thunderstorm watch. We continued on, but kept looking over our shoulder and checking radar for signs of a storm. A few squalls showed up and moved safely on out into the lake behind us. Then at the edge of our radar range the main storm appeared and began turning more of our radar screen black as it crept up from behind. We sped up and beat the storm to Cobourg by a half-hour.

The warmth of our reunion with Peter and Sandra displaced the cool dampness of the rain. Since our last meeting in Hope Town, Abaco Peter and Sandra have sold Heeling Hands and are reestablishing their chiropractic careers. We swapped stories as they graciously provided a tour of Prince Edward County and a wonderful dinner that evening. In the fading light of evening we dodged drips from the trees to walk Belleville streets and parks enjoying the unique character of town.

Late Sunday afternoon we pulled into Kingston expecting the quiet typical on Sunday evenings. Instead we caught the end of the Busker’s Festival. All over town clusters of people pressed in tightly to enjoy street performers doing their thing. We caught one performer doing card tricks and the shell game.

A foggy morning provided the perfect excuse to stay one additional day and enjoy the sights of Kingston. We rode the tour trolley listening to the commentary about Kingston’s history while enjoying the limestone architecture of the town. Evening entertainment was the marina dock crew scrambling to assist all the arriving boats in the rising wind. It was tempting to stay and enjoy the city for another day or two, but the urge to see what was around the next bend and explore new territory pulled at us. Early the next morning we headed for the Rideau Canal.

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