A piano in the park and a cha-cha-cha with the chickadees and chipmunks in Gananoque

No road trip is complete without inadvertently stumbling across the odd and the unusual or even the downright strange.  After all, one is almost guaranteed to come across – but, only if you keep your eyes wide open! – something that is so outrageous and out of place, you will end up doing a double-take, as well as give your head a disbelieving shake.

Quirky, quacky and downright wacky was the theme of the day as we trundled along in our spiffy new jalopy along routes unknown toward paths yet undiscovered.  On the road to somewhere but not really anywhere and who actually knows to exactly where, on a Pink Sneaker quest to track down the Runaways, who had buggered off to parts unknown on an impromptu adventure all of their own.

First stop was Gananoque (population 5,194, to be exact) where pianos in the park were apparently the norm.  Say what?  Or, was that, hear what?  A symphony, of course.  Classical melodies permeated the air, Chopin and Mozart were alive and well and my pink sneaker clad feet found themselves itching to waltz the afternoon away, not at a fancy Viennese ball, but right here and now, outdoors, in the park.  Even autumn was eager to put on a show and shake, rattle and roll, merlot hued leaves twirling and swirling in a frenzied dance to whistling October winds.

After all, what else is a cuckoo ol’ Auntie to do if she happens to inadvertently stumble across a piano in the park?  Wait for an invitation to the ball?  Might as well lace up her beat up old sneakers and Cha-Cha-Cha the night away with the chipmunks, chickadees and squirrels.

Gananoque is an aboriginal name and translates to “the town on two rivers”.  The Gateway to the 1,000 Islands and the St. Lawrence River, this charming eastern Ontario hamlet offers old-fashioned elegance and more than enough activities to check off your bucket list.  Whether building sandcastles on the beach or hiking and cycling along picturesque trails, the options are endless and the memories beyond priceless.  Whatever your interest, Gananoque has something for both the old and young at heart. 

Love the outdoors?  Sailing, kayaking and helicoptering adventures await. 

Love culture, art and the finer things in life?  Antiques, teashops, book nooks and galleries beckon.  No further need to elaborate!

Love classical music?  Just hang out in the park and listen to the piano man play.

Just another day in the life of enchanting Gananoque…

Come play in the park and boogie with the best of them, where a piano is the star attraction, beckoning visitors from far and wide to chill and listen to the sound of music.  Had Sidekick Oz and I not been on a mission to track down the Runaways, we never would have ventured far from home and found ourselves in the quaintest of towns by the St. Lawrence River – out on a lark to hunt down the wayward trio, our sojourn en route to Quebec City instead led us to a piano in the park.

Next blog – In 4 weeks!  Wednesday, May 10th!!

Stay tuned for the continuation of the adventures of cuckoo ol’ Auntie Nora and Travel Bud Oz.  So, do we ever catch up with Inspiration, Creativity and Imagination?  Only one way to find out – Catch up in four weeks!

Cell-Phone on the Go via a detour to the US of A!

You know that there’s a slight “problem” when your cell phone inadvertently ends up “visiting” the United States, while your pink sneaker clad tootsies have remained planted on firma terra on the other side of the border.  And, to further complicate matters, I had forgotten to take along my passport.

Confused?  So am I.  So, let me just backtrack and start at the beginning.  Or, better yet, speed the entire process up and instead highlight snippets of the events that led up to that oh so pesky and unsettling cross-border issue.  After all, Imagination and Inspiration had flown the coop and so why even attempt to embellish the situation with a whole lot of superfluous words and phrases.  Creativity would be having a ball partying it up on the other side of town, doubling over in laughter at my pathetic attempts at explanation, as I struggled to come up with a theme and string a few measly sentences together.  

Yep.  Exactly why we were on a road trip to track down the wayward trio.

Jamming to golden oldies, belting out one off-tune Karaoke hit after another, Travel Bud and I were having the time of our lives, practically bona-fide rock stars on the road to super stardom.  Or not.  Nonetheless, we were in our glory, crooning with Sinatra, Cher and Adele, trundling along in our jalopy on routes unknown and paths yet undiscovered.  The autumn foliage was a kaleidoscope of crimson hued orange and merlots, a National Geographic cover shot showcasing the splendour of a Canadian October.

Even overcast skies and a light drizzle couldn’t dampen our spirits, as the scenery was a picture perfect postcard and the company, superb.

What could go wrong?

And then.  The unthinkable.

A screech.  And.  Then.  Another.  A scream so hair-raisingly frightful, it had the capability of waking the dead on both sides of the Atlantic.  The crazed woman’s pitch was an earth-shattering howl so gut-wrenchingly piercing I actually thought that my eardrums would burst.

Impending crash?  Did our vehicle just run over some stinky ol’ trash?  Had a herd of caribou bashed head first into our trusty ol’ clunker? 

Nope.  Nada.  Zilch.  Nothing of the sort.

A simple ping.  That’s all it took to send me over the edge.

A text message from my cell phone provider welcoming me to the US of A!

HELLO??????   Who’s calling??  You’re texting me from WHERE????

But I’m still in Canada and haven’t stepped foot into the States!!

Yikes!!  Now what? 

Addendum:  Apparently my cell phone had inadvertently picked up an American signal, for we were about 8 or 9 miles away from the border.  Nothing like being slapped with unplanned roaming charges and the astronomically high rates charged by out of country cell phone providers. 

Let the screaming commence!

Oh, and did I happen to mention that Travel Bud was none too pleased with you know who, as I did cause quite the ruckus howling and shrieking about my new state of poverty, as I now had to dish out mega bucks for my Cell Phone on the Go. 

And, let’s not even get into the near fender bender or screeching to a halt on the side of the road and the near miss of that ever so messy ditch, all because of a certain someone’s ear-splitting screech.

Let the squabbling begin…

Come hang out with Travel Bud and I as we sing, screech and squabble our way to Quebec City.  And, remember, don’t freak out if your cell phone pings or picks up an American signal if you’re a few miles away from the border.  You won’t get charged, as I found out a few weeks later when I received that month’s invoice.  I was in quite the traumatized state, unsure if I would end up owing hundreds or thousands of dollars for my cell phone bill.  All is well that ends well and the extra cash that I had stashed away is accumulating in my piggy bank for my next adventure on the Go!

Next blog post -  In four weeks!  Wednesday, March 22nd!!  Catch up with the adventures of Cuckoo ol’ Auntie Nora and Sidekick Oz on the road to somewhere but who really knows where - wish we had a map - guess it will take us that much longer to meander along paths unknown to Quebec City.  The sojourn continues....

A kaleidoscope of crimson, merlot and orange en route to Quebec City

Racking my brain for what seemed like the zillionth time, I was stumped, at a loss for Inspiration as well as for words.  The deadline for this week’s blog post was fast approaching and I found myself – yes, once again! – staring at a blank and empty page.  I frankly shouldn’t have been caught off guard, for it’s not like I didn’t have the heads up or an inkling of a clue that scribbling was going to be quite the chore this time round, as Creativity and Imagination had gone missing.  Yup, the wayward trio were still on the lam, living it up and jet-setting around the world, while I sat glumly at home struggling to string a few measly sentences together.

And it’s not like I hadn’t already laced up my sneakers and gone on the hunt for my sidekicks in rhyme, for I had a smidgen of an idea as where to kick-start my search, for the few clues they had inadvertently left behind gave me a glimmer of hope as to where they could possibly be hiding on out.  A dog-eared book on French Canadian cuisine, a colour coded map of scenic routes along the Chemin du Roy and a glossy pic of the Chateau Frontenac lay strewn about, all telltale clues pointing me in the direction of Quebec City.

Persuading Travel Bud Oz to tag along was a piece of cake and so lickety-split we threw our gear into the jalopy and off we trundled.   Might as well look at the bright side, treat our quest as a mini holiday and explore our own backyard.  In retrospect, it was the ideal time of year to embark on a road trip, for the foliage had just started to turn and Mr. Photographer Extra-ordinaire was eager to capture the magnificent splendour of our Canadian wilderness.

The kaleidoscope of crimson and burnt orange hues did not disappoint, a picture perfect postcard of autumn in all her glory.  Set against a backdrop of sapphire skies, merlot tinted leaves danced and twirled, swirling in one last hurrah before the onset of November gales ushered in inclement weather.  Beams of luminescent light peeked through the tree lined roads while golden rays bounced playfully on our windshield, guiding us along paths yet undiscovered.  And, undiscovered they were, but more on that later…

And so on we drove, on the road to somewhere or possibly to nowhere, clocking up countless kilometres on a mid October venture like none other…

After all, what could go wrong?

Well, for starters, in our haste to jump-start the trip, we had inadvertently neglected to pack our guidebooks and trusty ol’ map….

After all, it wouldn’t be much of a pink sneaker adventure without encountering a bump or two in the road – with a few roadblocks thrown in for good measure.

Next stop:  Gananoque and the 1000 Islands.

Stay tuned for the continuation of the adventures of Miss Pink Sneakers and Travel Bud Oz in Quebec City, with a couple of stops along the way – Gananoque, Kingston and Trois-Rivieres, just to name a few.

Next post:  In four weeks!!  Catch up on Wednesday, February 22nd.

Just wanted to wish my dear readers a very Happy New Year!  Thank you so much for keeping up with my blog posts and for following me on Twitter!  Can you believe it’s been almost 5 years??  I’m now also on Instagram but have absolutely no idea on how to add the link to my blog.  Yikes!!  Cuckoo ol’ Auntie Nora just might have to take a course or two on all of this technical mumbo jumbo…

Check-check double-check spell check. A Pink Sneakers on the Go dilemma. Or was that dilemna?

Still missing.  It’s been more than three weeks.  Almost a month, but then again, who’s counting?  Unless, of course, you are a travel blogger on the go, with nary a snippet of neither an idea nor a sprinkling of an inkling of how to jump-start your opening narrative.   The Runaways were nowhere to be seen.  Imagination had flown the coop.  Creativity was missing in action and Inspiration had buggered off to anywhere but here.

Inspiration leading a life of leisure in Capri?

Or, was that Imagination contemplating life on a magical Italian eve?

And where oh where is Creativty?  Always reaching for the skies....
Just contemplating life along the banks of the Seine...

Hanging out with the aristocracy in Versailles

Could it get any worse?

You have no idea.  I was in quite the dilemma.  Or, was that dilemna? 

Say what?  Or how do you spell that?

My conundrum began with an innocuous text from The Kid.

“Auntie Nora, how do you spell the word dilemma?  Dilemma with a double “m” or dilemna with a silent “n”?”  Simple enough, non? 

Trick question, I thought.  Surely there are dictionaries out there to consult and I have more pressing issues currently at hand, like tracking down the wayward trio.  Who has the time to double-check spell-check when I’m in a crunch of my own, furiously scrambling to beat the clock and get tomorrow’s blog post up and running?

Might as well placate The Kid and sound out the letters and get her off my back.  After all, her cuckoo ol’ Auntie Nora was Queen Bee in her heyday and linguistics was just right up her pink sneakered alley. 

D. I. L. E. M. N. A.

And don’t forget to pronounce the silent “N”. 

And just because I’m that type of triple-checking sort of gal, thought I’d also look it up in the dictionary just to prove that I’m always right. 

D. I. L. E. M. M. A.

There’s a double MM?  Since when?  More like double vision actually.  Like, am I losing my mind or even worse, my sight?  WHERE is the silent “N”?  Or, is it so silent that it’s forever disappeared, never to be heard from ever again??

What is going on?  WHO changed the spelling and why wasn’t I informed of this monumental shake-up of the placement of these two consonants?  Should I just chalk it up to an ill-placed typo?  Perhaps Webster’s has already figured out their gaffe, re-ignited the presses and churned out truckloads of re-prints, discretely re-stocking the shelves of bookstores and libraries worldwide.

Like seriously?  Did those mischievous gremlins of Travel Disruption expand their horizons and purposely jumble the letters of the alphabet just to trip me up?  I wouldn’t put it past them as their crazy ol’ shenanigans have road-blocked me time and time again, hurling me off the beaten path towards uncharted destinations along miles of unplanned routes.

And so dear reader, that is how I ended up squandering my scribbling hours away, obsessively foraging for the truth with regards to the correct spelling of DILEMNA (DILEMMA?) thus temporarily suspending my quest to track down the elusive Runaways.

The adventure somewhere continues....

I therefore leave it up to you to decipher which is the correct spelling.  Either you belong to the double M school of thought or veer off the path of dictionaries worldwide, subscribing to the theory of a conspiracy to eradicate any trace of this alternate spelling of where the N follows the M.  Just like the alphabet.

How could I be so wrong?   Or, am I?

On that note, might as well catch up with my reading and get back to the ever so fascinating and informative issues as discussed in the Mandela Effect.

And, don’t even get me started on the correct spelling of the Berenstein Bears.

Catch up with the adventures of cuckoo ol’ Auntie Nora in just a couple of weeks, where my pink-sneaker clad feet find themselves traipsing along the cobblestone rues of Quebec City or was that Lisbon?  Or Porto?  Or perhaps even somewhere else?  And, most importantly, do I track down the Runaways?  Stay tuned!!

Next post – In four weeks!  Wednesday, January 25th, 2017!!