This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Tuesday 17 April 2018

A look at the devastation after the water receded

Today Benno and I went on foot along the Lakeshore Drive and its extension, Cotterie Park, in our neighborhood. It was cold, 2C/35F with occasional snow flurries. A 27km/16 mph wind from the west bit into our faces as we walked. This is a reversal wind from the devastating storm we had from the east that had caused the flood. Actually, it was the combination of the extreme high water level of Lake Erie and the prolonged strong winds from the east that created those damaging waves.

Lake Erie to the left where it broke through the shore

Along the stretch we met up with our friends who live on a raised property across the road overlooking the Lake Erie. They also were spared any damage but we all feel terrible about the destruction we observed in the neighborhood. While looking at the rubble left everywhere, Rich Garton, a News Reporter from CTV Windsor joined us to take pictures and together we climbed the dislocated boulders and rubble to view what an impact the waves had along the shore. Paul, our friend, volunteered to be interviewed about the flood and that footage will be aired tonight at 6 pm and 11 pm on CTV Windsor. 

Our friends and me along Cotterie Park

There used to be a large porch/deck behind this house. There was no trace of it anywhere, only pieces of wood strewn everywhere, and broken windows where the Lake Erie had entered the house and caused major destruction inside and on the roof as well.

Porch and deck are gone, broken windows and flooding inside the house

One property had chickens picking at something on the driveway. These you could call free range chickens, as their coop must have been destroyed as well.

Chicken have to defend for themselves

Backhoes and frontend loaders were at work in various areas to push large amounts of beach sand and rocks off the road, cut down trees that had fallen onto the road and relocating large boulders onto the shore where the lake had broken through.  Our town’s mayor estimated the damage in the millions and it will be a long time for the area to be restored to its former beauty.

At one time we were interested in this property but decided against it

The trailer got damaged and this property had a nice lawn, no rocks there before

Still some standing water and behind on the field

The shed is totally destroyed

The large concrete blocks on the right were in the water not on shore

Sand on the right has been pushed off the road

large puddles and muck everywhere

This house was in the process of getting new vinyl siding
but the water pushed out the wall

Water can't run off and also seen on the field beyond the houses

There is a lot more damage along the shore and on Pulley Rd. toward Wheatley Harbor, but we had seen enough and hope that relief funds will be provided by the various government agencies to the people in need.

On a positive note, the flat screen TV that had fallen off the bedroom wall in the camper while driving home is not a casualty of the I-75 and it is now hanging in Benno’s shop and working fine. 

Sunday 15 April 2018

Oh my oh my, so much water!

It’s been a few days since my last posting and so much has happened. I am torn if I want to start writing from the past, last week, or the present, today Sunday the 15th. Either way, you get a set of pictures capturing the beauty and the nasty.

We are home! Yes, we cut our stay short in Alabama by a week. While the southern states only had some rain in the forecast, the northern states and especially here in Canada, we have to battle far worse conditions with heavy and above normal rainfalls, ice rain and even sleet in addition to very strong winds.  Our area had a major flood warning and we thought it to be prudent to get home in case that would happen. We made it just in the nick of time.

When we arrived everything seemed to be still ok in our area but overnight the Lake Erie came onshore as well the heavy rain flooded all drainage pipes and the fields around us look like they are part of Lake Erie. Our camper is parked high and dry and the house and the garage are on dry ground too.  Benno’s shed is dry inside although it doesn’t look like it from afar. My shed is waterlogged and I’m hoping the John Deere lawn mower plus everything else in there will be ok. It is a mess everywhere you look. 

picture is courtesy of Teresa Warren

We are not done yet because it is still raining and the wind that is blowing 45 km/28miles per hour from the East, is pushing the waves of Lake Erie with the high water level from the snow melt of the upper Great Lakes over the break walls destroying waterfront properties and flooding basements and homes. Debris, trash cans, whole porches and fences I have seen afloat in the neighborhood.  We have a reverse flow of water from the Lake Erie coming out of the road storm drain in our area. I went outside donning my new pair of high rubber boots (which I bought this morning in a hurry at the TSC store) to take a few pictures.  There were ducks swimming on the submerged lawn of our neighbors. We now own a waterfront property!!

So, now that you’ve seen the nasty, here are some nicer and funny pictures of better times. On my to do and see agenda I had a day on the beach planned and we were waiting for the right day to go.  Finally last week it looked to be the perfect time. Not all beaches allow dogs, but the Gulf Shores along the way to Fort Morgan are pet friendly and that is where we went. At this time of year the area is mostly deserted and 90% of all houses had a “For Rent” sign posted. There are public beach access roads in-between the developments but we discovered there were no public parking areas for our truck to park. After driving parallel to the beach for several miles without seeing anywhere to park, Benno decided to pull the truck next to the road on a bare spot. He got out to test the ground condition and thought it was packed pretty hard. Well, it had seemed that way. The moment our tires left the paved road we knew we were in trouble. Nope, the ground was not firm it had only a hard crust over very soft sand and you guessed it, the more we tried to get out, the more we dug in. Actually, it was funny. 

Five minutes after burrowing the truck deeper and deeper, rescue arrived in the form of three friendly construction guys on their way to lunch with their 4x4 pickup truck and a chain. It was no big deal to them and after a few laughs all around in no time at all we were back on firm ground. 

We then got smart and parked the truck on the grass at a side road and walked up to the beach to have some fun.  It turned out to be a lot of fun for the dogs. I had thought we would take the dogs by the leash and walk nicely along the water. Well, both dogs discovered that it was more exciting to get totally wet and then to run off into the sand. Oh man, Benno and I ended up carrying each a pitch wet and sand covered dog back to the truck. 

The beach sure was beautiful and clean. Note to self, next time going to the beach with dogs bring more towels.  Since we left Alabama earlier than planned, I did not get everything crossed off my list of things to see and do, hopefully there’ll be a next time.

On our drive back home to Canada we took the I-65 North passing through Birmingham, AL. We were thinking about Bill from "On Our Way"  and his road rating of 1-10, when we hit a section of the I-65 in need of serious fixing. A real shock absorber and tire killer. I mentioned to Benno that I would give this section a number 5 rating. Benno said he was leaning more to a #4 rating. However, it was pretty bad. Actually we like Bill’s road rating, it is a great help and one knows what to expect! We overnighted at Camping World’s parking lot in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Next day we followed the I-65 to Louisville, Kentucky, then the I-71 to Cincinnati, Ohio, merging onto the I-75N. For a leg stretch and lunch of Swedish Meatballs, we stopped for an hour and a half at IKEA, which is located right beside the highway at Exit 19. Afterwards we continued on I-75 to Wapakoneta where we made a coffee stop at McDonalds and used their wifi to reset our home thermostat to jiggle the heat up for our later arrival.  Past Toledo right at the Ohio-Michigan state line we hit the worse road section of the whole travel. We bounced and hopped so that our dogs had to hang on not to get airborne. I personally would give this section of the I-75 which is screaming for improvement a #3-minus rating and this is where our 29” flat screen TV fell off the bedroom wall complete with mount. Thank goodness the soft carpet saved it. The motion had pulled the screws right out of the thin wall with Jayco backing. We drove 1655 km, a bit over 1000 miles to get home.

We hope everyone had a good week and weekend. Thanks for stopping by and please stay tuned for more news.

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Apple Fritter Heaven

If there were such a thing, we are in it. This morning our nice neighbor, Michael, gifted us with a box containing 4 of the very best apple fritters you can just imagine. They are loaded with real juicy apple chunks, the dough is light and fluffy with a light coating of icing and they smell heavenly. For all the apple fritter fans in Canada, eat your heart out. 

You know we used to have very delicious apple fritters in Canada that visitors from the States would rave about and make a stopover to buy them. They were from the doughnut chain “Tim Hortons.” Let me explain:

“Timmy’s, or Tim” affectionately called is our national pride with more than 4600 franchise stores all over Canada and 9 countries. Tim Horton was a famous hockey player who started a donut shop in Hamilton, Ontario in 1964, which developed over the years into the huge donut outlet chain. When Tim and Lori, his wife, where scouting for the best donut and coffee to start the donut store in Hamilton, they came to the conclusion to sell the best apple fritter and the best dutchie (a glazed donut with raisins and without the hole in the middle, which was their own creation) and the best tasting coffee ever to their customers. Hey, the apple fritter, the dutchie and the coffee became the backbone of the business. We know all this, because Lori Horton had the apartment across the hallway from our apartment in the nineties. Benno is an apple fritter and dutchie fan and a sucker for them. (Forget about calories and carbs, just indulge) 

So why are we apple fritter fans so agonized? Last spring at the end of our trek home from Ocala, FL, after crossing the US/Canada border at the “Ambassador Bridge” Detroit/Windsor we stopped at a Tim Horton’s just a mile past the bridge to purchase a couple of coffees and two apple fritters. Just imagine our disappointment when we discovered that there are no longer any apples in the apple fritter and the dutchie has been discontinued!! If there is not enough profit in it, then for goodness sakes why didn’t they raise the price instead of omitting the apple? 

Although we have lost Tim’s icon, most Canadian grocery stores offer their own versions of apple fritters and some of them a pretty good, but they cannot compete with what we got here.

On top an apple fritter from Simply Donuts
bottom row a chocolate glazed donut and apple fritter from the supermarket

So these nice apple fritters that appeared at our doorstep this morning came from the donut store: "Simply Donuts" located in Brewton, Alabama.  It is quite a distance from our RV Park, but Michael’s girlfriend, Melissa, works as a nurse in Brewton and got them for us this morning after her shift. Thank you both.

Monday 2 April 2018

Another Mega Store – Story!

With a daytime temp of 32C/89F and lots of blossoming flowers in the RV Park my mind is starting to focus on my garden back home and what I want to plant this year. I like garden ornaments and have made some myself for the simple satisfaction of creating something. The garden centers are all in full swing around here and the colorful displays always draw me in because I like to be inspired. 

Richard, our next-door neighbor here in the RV Park has some very nice roses in large pots at his site that could win an award in a competition. In addition there are several garden ornaments and solar powered garden lights that illuminate his place at night. He said he buys everything for the garden at the “Old Time Pottery” store in Foley. We had not heard of that store so thought we pay them a visit.

OMG, that place is huge. The entranceway to the building is already very majestic and I had the impression of driving into a golf course. As soon as we stepped though the doors we were totally overwhelmed by the sheer size of the building. This store is situated in a warehouse the size of 2 acres and you will find tons of things for the garden, almost real looking artificial flowers, home d├ęcor and outdoor furniture. 

For a while Benno and I just wandered the aisles in utter amazement. Think of a large Walmart store filled just with garden stuff. After seeing so much, I could not decide anymore what I wanted so walked out empty handed, can you believe it?

However, after admiring the nicely made birdhouse the other day at the German Sausage Festival and comparing it to the very weathered one here in the RV Park, that has already feathered occupants, I think a homemade one would do fine. That is I am hoping that Benno will tackle that job.

The rest of the afternoon we enjoyed being back at our site. After all, we have air-conditioning, thank goodness. Thanks for stopping by again.