Monday, August 25, 2008

Hitting the Highway

Hi and hope you had a good one. Thats a phrase you get used to here. On Friday, everyone says...Have a good one.(They are talking about your weekend), and on Monday....everyone talks about what they did to have a 'Good One'.

We decided on the spur of the moment to drive out to a place called Sauble Beach, a good three hour drive from where we live. We called the hotel, and luckily because of a last minute cancellation we managed to get a room. People normally book weeks ahead for hotel rooms, so it is better to plan these things rather than trying your luck at the last minute.

At the end of this post, I've written down basic prices of everything so that you get some idea of what prices are like.

Entering the address of the hotel in our GPS system, we left after lunch on Friday. The GPS system immediately tells you when to turn, how much longer you have and along the way any gas station, restaurant or store you are going to drive past. (I talked about the GPS system in an earlier post)

What was amazing, was that when we came across a sudden roadblock the gps system actually found an alternate route in five seconds and got us to our destination at the same estimated time. Also, on our way back when we needed petrol, (they say Gas here), we 'told' the gps to tell us where the closet gas station en route was, and it guided us there. If you are a person who can't read maps for nuts, then this is something you must pick up if/when you come here. The GPS system works across the whole of North America.

We reached Sauble beach at about 6pm, and after checking in to the hotel, we left for the beach. Since the sun goes down only after eight, we got to spend a good hour there. We took sand toys for the kids, so they really had a good time.

One thing you notice here is that for most families the beach trip is a big production of sorts. They come with beach umbrellas, beach towels, toys, food, sun screen, folding chairs, all kinds of balls, frisbees, floaters and even boats, kayaks, wave runners and surf boards.

Now picture the above, while reading this: The next day we spent the morning at a nearby waterfall (whoever called it a waterfall obviously had never seen one), and had fun walking in the freezing cold water for a couple of hours. Our feet were frozen while the rest of our body burnt in the hot sun.........what an odd feeling that was!

Then we went to a nearby amusement park, where we went go-karting, driving these little buggies around a 1/2 mile track. That was fun too! To be able to drive by yourself, you have to be 54 inches or taller. Our son made it, but our daughter was too small. They have double seaters so that smaller kids can sit on one side, and the parent or taller person actually steer and drive the go-kart.

After lunch, we went back to the room as it was too hot to do anything outdoors. At around 5 in the evening we headed for the beach. The beach was packed with hundreds of holidaying families, a bunch of Indian guys playing volleyball on the beach and what looked like honeymooners.

At around 7.30 or so, we noticed these huge dark clouds coming towards us. They were moving fast,were very low and looked pretty ominous. My husband decided that it was a good time to start packing our stuff to get out of there!

It's a good thing we did because before we knew it, the clouds were over our heads and the wind had picked up to an incredible force. We noticed many familes were caught unaware, as they tried to pack their things with sand blowing in their faces and all their possessions literally blowing away. Beach balls, tissue boxes (??), beach umbrellas and plastic bags blew past us as we bent our heads down to avoid sand getting into our eyes. The sudden force of the wind was unbelievable and as the sand hit the back of our legs really hard, we somehow made it to the car. I am not exaggerating! By the time we reached the car, it had started to rain and there was major thunder and lightning. The funny thing was that the four of us sat in the car and burst out laughing because the whole thing was suddenly so funny and had been a very exciting experience. Yes, I couldn't wait to write about it here!! It poured all night, and the next morning when we went out for a drive to the beach...........everything was back to normal! The land was dry, the beach was full of people and anyone driving in would never had guessed what had happened the evening before!

We drove back home on Sunday after breakfast. It was not very tiring, and as soon as we got home, we cleaned the car out, did the laundry and watered our lawn.

The hotel rooms cost anywhere from 130 dollars up per day. This does not include any meals. Some hotels/motels give a free boat ride. Parking the car near the beach during the day between 9 to 5pm was ten dollars. Before nine and after five it was free. For most of us who go to the beach and want to avoid the sun...this is perfect. Most Canadians who want to get tanned go to the beach before 5pm, which is why the timings for paid parking. To park away from the beach, they charged 2 dollars per hour. For parking near the waterfall it was 4 dollars for two hours minimum. The Go-kart rides cost ten dollars for three laps and 3.50 dollars for one lap. Meals on an average cost around 27 to 30 dollars for the four of us.

Driving on the highway is an adventure by itself. We saw some quaint country houses, lots of dead hedgehogs on the road (run over during the nights by trucks I presume because we never saw any live ones the entire drive there and back), horse farms and many homes having yard and garage sales with cute signs inviting people to come and have a look. The roads are broad with clear signs marking every turn, bend and road ahead. Speed limits are 100 km on six lane highways, 80km per hour max on four lane highways, and 50km whenever you are driving past a town. Speed limits near schools are even slower. They follow the metric system here, but most cars have the km and the miles figures for people who want to drive into the United States and vice versa.

That is a lot of info for now.................tomorrow will fill you in on the school admission process.

Bye from me to all of you in cyberspace!

No comments: