Beautiful Georgian Bay
Just a simple cottage
View from the Gazebo
Every night a canvass of perfection
Happy in Utopia!
Karen's Favourite Souvenir from Ontario!
MAPLE RIDGE A mother traveling with three children and a Japanese student set out on a once in a life time adventure across Canada. Guiding them on their trip was Karen's faithful truck Brock, and her not so faithful tent trailer. With high ideals and pure motives of developing a deeper relationship with her children, Karen's goal was to patiently solidify, create unity, harmony and mutual respect within her family. All this was to be done without aid of mood altering substances (an admirable goal, to say the least!).
The journey begins on June 29, 1998 with the first destination being Shuswap Lake. All previous goals being thwarted, as the children whined and complained, Karen succumbs to a glass of wine. (A pattern that was to be repeated throughout the duration of the trip.)
The next six days were spent traveling as much as possible to reach the first major crest of the expedition: a small community southwest of Toronto called Campbellville. Karen's longtime friend Colleen and her family live there on a 105 acre farm known as Brock Farm (no relation to Karen's truck!). A month prior to their arrival at Colleen's, Karen had called to let her know that after nine years of long distance phone calls, she was finally coming to visit. Colleen oddly responded, "You're coming to steal Ian." Taken aback, Karen recalled previous conversations with Colleen who told of this man who works for them. Having forgotten about the recounts of this "perfect man", Karen assured Colleen that she had more important objectives for this trip and that she was in no way interested in any more "perfect" men.
The Child family caravan arrived safely at the Brock farm on July 6, having made it that far with only one tent trailer tire blow out. Karen and the kids were quite happy to spend the next week relaxing and enjoying the company of Colleen, her husband Dan, their three boys and ... " the perfect man".
What a beautiful retreat! The farm was such a restful place, the kids were content and "happy hour" around the pool started about 3.00 p.m. every day. During this time, Colleen and Karen got caught up on their lives, while the Child children bonded with Ian, the "pool dude" aptly named because Colleen and Dan manufacture solar heat panels for pools and Ian did their service, sales and installations. After a heavenly week of relaxation, Karen was ready to resume their odyssey. (Please note dictionary describes odyssey as "a long wandering marked usually by many changes of fortune....)
With slight feelings of sadness, the caravan boarded Brock on July 14, to head for their next stop: Ottawa. There they enjoyed two wonderful days which included bus and boat tours and, of course, the parliament buildings. Their journey continues to Montreal and then Quebec City where Karen's cell phone started working again and she received a phone call from ... the "pool dude" aka Ian. He was requesting the pleasure of her and the Child children's company back in Ontario. Of course, chaperone Colleen and her family would also be in attendance at Ian's family cottage on Georgian Bay. Hmmm. No answer was given at this point. Karen, being a very cautious and non-trusting sort, needed time to ponder this invitation.
From Quebec City, the adventure continued down to Bar Harbor Maine. After another tent trailer tire blowout, the family decided to spend an extra day in Maine. They found a beautiful campsite on the Atlantic ocean and Graydon was thrilled to experience lobster in Maine. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed Bar Harbor, especially Karen, for it was in a small gift shop there that she found a potential business opportunity not to mention a possible write off for the trip!
Next stop, Deer Island New Brunswick. Yes, another adventure. Despite Karen's extensive supply of maps and itineraries, she took an alternate route along the coast of Maine. After several hours of driving, they realized there may have been a reason why this route was not one found on the preplanned itinerary! However, they stumbled across a small town in eastern Maine with a three car barge to transport them to New Brunswick.
From there they had to take another ferry to the mainland and then on to St. John.
Only one night was spent in St. John as the weather was rather uncooperative and at this juncture the children were given a choice as to turn around and head back home...or carry on. A radical improvement in the attitudes of the children lasted about ...one day. Nevertheless, they carried on to Peggy's Cove Nova Scotia where they found a beautiful campsite on the ocean. After leaving the campsite, they took the ferry to P.E.I. What a beautiful place! After two wonderful days they were off to drive the 13 km. Confederation Bridge back to New Brunswick and continuing down the scenic drive through the Bay of Fundy.
After traveling back over the three car barge and down to Maine, Karen realized that her original plan of traveling home through the U.S.A. was going to be a costly one and that maybe the more practical thing to do would be to go back through Ontario and possibly take Ian up on his offer. Of course, this was only because it was the more practical thing to do.
Before returning to Ontario one more dream had to be fulfilled. So through New Hampshire they jaunted ending up at an Inn in Stolk Vermont. Although the circumstances weren't quite the way Karen had imagined, it was still a beautiful romantic spot shared with her three children and Japanese student.
Anxious to return to Colleen's they drove for twelve hours arriving just in time for "Happy Hour."
Unknown to our road weary travelers, a message had been left on Karen's unreliable cell phone advising her of a change in plans for the weekend. Unfortunately, the cottage wouldn't be available until the following Monday. Hmmm.. What to do? For the original plan had been to spend the weekend and be on the way back to B.C. by the Monday morning.
After careful consideration and calls home to defer the responsibilities awaiting her, Karen decided to be uncharacteristically spontaneous and "Go for it!" Sadly, as fate would have it, Dan and Colleen would be unable to join them. Colleen, being somewhat concerned, was reassured that Ian would indeed be back for work the following Monday.
As preparations were made to go to Georgian Bay, Ian responsibly had some service work done on his truck. Being a brand new truck, one would assume this should have been a simple procedure. But alas, as fate would have it, there was some major transmission problems and his truck would not be available until the following Thursday. Enter "Plan B"... Ian's mother offered her standard car to him , thus fulfilling another detail to this predestined event....
After the three-hour journey to beautiful Georgian Bay, the group moved all their supplies to the boat awaiting at a nearby marina and headed off to the secluded island .
Never had they experienced such a beautiful and tranquil place. The island consisted of the main cottage done in pine with a huge stone fireplace; a quaint guest cottage, where Karen stayed, with yet another stone fireplace and windows opening onto the bay; and a small bunk house for two of the kids. And who could resist the beautiful screened-in pavilion perched on the rocks?
Yes indeed, the Child family were to spend the next week in Utopia!
After three days of swimming, eating , drinking, and having the time of their lives, a strange thing happened ....
The children decided that Ian was the "perfect" suitor for their mother. The eldest child planned a romantic first date on the boat watching the sunset, to be followed by a candlelight dinner for the two in the pavilion the next evening. There was piano music wafting through the air twenty four hours a day and Karen's cold, detached, unemotional wall was crumbling read another outburst of spontaneity. Colleen, being a perceptive sort, sensed a change in Karen's voice when she called the next morning. One again, Karen reassured her that although they were indeed having a wonderful time, she was well aware of the remoteness of this incredible week progressing into anything more. The conversation ended with Karen promising that Ian would still be back to work the following Monday, but Colleen was not convinced.
The morning of the fourth day: As fate would have it, Ian was about to have his usual morning swim. He took a running start from the top of the boardwalk, only to lose his footing and come crashing down on his left knee, he attributed this accident to that of a lesson for the children as to why you don't run on the dock.
Within a short time after, his knee swelled up like a football and he was confined to the sofa with his leg elevated. Naturally, he down-played the extent of his injury, but by the next day it was decided a visit to the hospital was in order. So, off they went.
After seven hours in the emergency room, Ian, Karen and Stephanie felt as though they had been participants in a Twilight Zone episode but that's a whole other story.
The days that followed were just as wonderful as the first ones, except for the fact that Ian was immobilized. With each day, they realized that real life and responsibility would soon rear their ugly heads. In fact, in two days it would be time for everyone to say their good-byes and return to their respective commitments.
It is uncertain which members of the group first acknowledged the predicament they were in. It was soon very apparent that Ian would be unable to work for quite sometime and that be-cause of some weird twist of fate, he was unable to drive his mother's standard car. The obvious practical thing to do was to help Karen drive back to B.C.
So on August 10, with fear and trepidation, Karen phoned Dan and Colleen. As you can well imagine, this was a difficult call to make, but after explaining the situation they both under-stood the practicality of the decision made. At this time it was brought to Colleen's attention that really there was no alternative. She had prophesied this whole incredible outcome before Karen and Ian had ever met.
For the next five days, Karen, Ian, the Child children and their Japanese student drove day and night to get home. Karen and Ian spent hours talking and laughing in utter amazement at their similarities. They recounted the events that led to where they were and they quietly thanked Colleen and the "intervention" that had brought them together.
You can meet this pool dude and hear other amazing stories by attending Ian and Karen's summer bash.