This blog is about our travels in our solar powered "Airstream" and living off grid, in our passive solar home, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.

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Wednesday, 31 October 2012


If your wife is into sewing or quilting you know part of any holiday will be spent in the nearest fabric store. Today was such a day. Fortunately the weather co-operated, the back country roads were scenic and enjoyable to drive and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day.

First stop was Patchwork Plus. After an hour I went in search of the ladies fearing they maybe were kidnapped and smuggled out the back door. Not the case .......................... just undecided about which fabrics to combine to make the blanket of choice.

This shop is so popular even the Mennonites shop here.

Back on the road we decided to get off the turnpike and explore some back roads in the area. We were not disappointed .............

The rolling countryside is fertile and farms dominate the landscape. 

Farms here look very prosperous and cattle production seems to be the major type of farming

Time for lunch so we selected the "Depot Cafe"in Stauton as our choice for food and enjoyed the ribs and burgers they served.

Not very busy today.

Mary had tuna, Carol had back ribs, both were delicious.

Filled up and ready to get back on the road. Must find more fabric.

Happy Halloween and I hope you get lots of treats.

Our grandson Owen is going as a milk bottle ........ so creative.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


We are fine and enjoying some relaxing time here at Massanutten Resort. Our accommodations are very comfortable and our meals have been excellent. (thanks to Mary and Carol)

The storm was mostly light rain and some wind. We saw no signs of destruction  on the resort or in town. We went grocery shopping this morning and all business seemed to be operating as usual.

It is overcast and raining as I type so no pictures today.  If the sun shines tomorrow we plan to do some tripping around.

Thanks for stopping by. 

Monday, 29 October 2012


We are safe and sound in our time-share at Massanutten Resort. Outside it is raining and windy but no signs of damage or trees down. We haven't lost electricity and enjoyed a movie this evening. The resort is keeping us informed and will look after us if an emergency occurs. Don't worry about us, we seem to be missing the brunt of this storm. Hope all is well where you are.  Write and let us know how things are back in Ontario. 

Thanks for writing Ad and Gertie. I'm sure you enjoyed this area when you were here last year.


We bought our time-share in Vegas in 2004. We hadn't planned on owning a time-share, knew very little about time-shares but are happy it happened. We find lately the specials they offer as "Extra Vacations"  have been excellent deals.

Today we are staying at the Massanutten RCI resort in the beautiful Shenandoah valley of Virginia. It is a sprawling complex focusing on golf, skiing, and outdoor activities.

Because of the sale last summer we were able to get a two bedroom unit for $208.00 Since there are four of us here that works out to a little over $7.00 a day per person for our accommodation ........... now if I could just find a cruise for that price.

The resort is built around a golf course and up a mountainside giving skiers easy access to the slopes.

We have a bottom unit close to the welcome centre.

The accommodations are very comfortable, clean, and well maintained. The living room has a gas fireplace and there are BBQs outside one can cook on if so desired.

It has a fully equipped kitchen complete with all appliances including a dishwasher. The units share a washing machine and dryer located just inside the front landing of each unit. No extra charge for this service or for the internet service.

On our walk yesterday we spotted this heron so there is wildlife to see for those who like to get a little closer to nature.

Here we are enjoying the great outdoors, dressed for the weather and happy to have a break from construction. So far we've missed the brunt of hurricane "Sandy" just getting a light sprinkle late in the afternoon. 

We did go shopping yesterday and while at Costco  Don and I had to have the "Doug" special. How does it look Doug?

Time-shares are a great way for us to get a vacation and when we can travel with family it is an added bonus. We did this last winter with Carol and Don and had such a good time decided to do it again when the sale came up. We will be here a week then on to  Daytona Beach for another time-share holiday.

Thanks for stopping by and let us know if Sandy is creating problems back in Ontario. Any news from Haliburton Pat?

Sunday, 28 October 2012


Much of our drive yesterday was spent in the state of Pennsylvania.The roads were good, traffic light and we encountered very little rain. I think as the week progresses we will see more of the impact of hurricane Sandy as she moves north along the coast.

Here we are driving through the Allegheny Mountains. We missed all the beautiful fall colours by a few weeks but the drive was still enjoyable and since Don was driving relaxing for me.

The towns were an interesting mix of stately old homes, manicured lawns, and beautiful old churches. Reminded me of a Norman Rockwell painting with folks out raking leaves on a cloudy fall Saturday.

Their main streets of old ornate buildings and unique individual shops made us want to stop but we had miles to cover and our time was disappearing too quickly. 

The clapboard homes were huge and all well cared for. Painting this house would be a full time summer job. 

Today we will explore the area and relax in our "time-share". I'll post some pictures of our accommodations so you can see what we got for $208/week.

Saturday, 27 October 2012


We arrived here this evening about 5 pm. Don did most of the driving, I took pictures and enjoyed the journey. Before we left Toronto we stopped to visit with Sherri, Owen and Rob. Of course when Owen is around we take an abundance of pictures as you can see from above.

Owen checking out the camera .............

in his Jolly-Jumper ....................

and spending time with grandpa.

Don drove and ate and let me take pictures. It took us about 11 hours to get down here. We will be here for a week then on to Daytona Beach for two weeks if "Sandy" doesn't do too much damage.

Carol was our navigator and did a fantastic job. Mary made sure we had lots to eat. No weight loss on this trip.

Thanks for keeping an eye on us. Safe travels everyone.

Thursday, 25 October 2012


You know when I'm late posting that I must be super busy. We are trying to get as much done as physically possible before we head south for a few weeks. Ben is here today and we are doing the drywall in the hall and mechanical room. Peter and Ben will hopefully find time when we are away to finish the drywall and then we can mud and paint when we get back.

Yesterday Mike and his brother were here to install the last of our solar panels. Our batteries were down to 72% this morning but the sun is out and they are now back at 81% as of 1 pm with another 3 hours of good solar exposure.

With the additional 6 panels we can now fill our batteries twice as fast and take advantage of the low sun days to still get some power into our system.

While our solar panels were being installed the guys arrived to work on our HRV system. This is the Heat Recovery system that exchanges the air in the house. It warms the cold air coming in from the warm air going out.

This morning we cleaned up the entrance and are now working on putting some drywall down the hall. The mechanical room has been insulated and drywalled so that was good to get completed.

Tomorrow we head south but Mike just called from the west coast to let us know there is a hurricane coming up through Florida the next few days. We could have an interesting drive south. Stay tuned and check back in a few days.

Update 6:30 pm

Our batteries dipped to 72% today as we've had a lot of cloudy days lately and Mary has done a wash I think every day this week By 4 pm our batteries had climbed back to 95% so we are happy with our system.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Today our kitchen counters were installed and we are delighted. The guys were very fussy about the installation and took their time to make sure everything was level. They even cleaned up after themselves which is always appreciated.

Our kitchen is coming together. Now we need the range hood and wall tile.

Our island is ready for guests. We look forward to having you visit.

Mary chose stainless steel sinks to match the fridge and stove. The black counter also pulls it all together.

Tomorrow the plumber comes and we will finally have water to our kitchen. Also the HRV guys will be here so another job will be completed. 

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels Tony.


We've had everything in storage for two years and have been slowly unpacking the storage container this month. Yesterday we succeeded in getting the last box out and now we need to find a place for everything in the house.

First we filled the bunkie, then my tool shed now I think we will use one of the guest bedrooms to hold the boxes until we have time to unpack them and see what they hold. Everything is labelled but there's always a few surprises inside.

Not everything we do up here is related to the house. Mary has been drying herbs that Connie gave her and using them in .................. 

......... home made soup. This is the perfect lunch when the days are cool and we need a quick meal between jobs.

Our batteries reached 79% yesterday the lowest we've seen them. It was cloudy for most of the day but about 2:30 we did see the sun for about two hours. Mary did a load of laundry and we used our computers and the internet throughout the day. By 5 pm our batteries were reading 81%. So far we haven't had to use our generator to charge them. 

Today we are expecting our kitchen counters so watch for those pictures tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 22 October 2012


Can you guess from looking at the pictures what we were up to this morning?

First clue:

Any Ideas? 

Clue Two:

Still not sure?

Clue Three:

You got it. Our first bath (pioneer style). We had to heat the water on the stove. Refill the containers from our pressure tank and finally have enough warm water to fill the tub.  (well enough water to cover our toes) That little procedure took most of the morning. I can see why the pioneers only took a bath once a week; too much effort, but it sure felt good to soak in the tub and enjoy the view out the window.

Tomorrow the HRV guys will be here and Wednesday we are expecting our kitchen counters to arrive and be installed. Jobs are getting done and we will soon be heading south for a few weeks. We will take our American modem so we can continue updating our blog as we travel.

Thanks for keeping an eye on us and we will soon be ready for company.

Sunday, 21 October 2012


Spent most of yesterday visiting neighbours and friends in the area. Decided we would go out for breakfast but first  ............ 

.... had to stop and see Ted and Sharon's progress on their log cabin. Back porch is looking great and will be a welcome addition this winter.

Next we drove up to Bird's Creek for breakfast then home to work on the house. Mary did some mudding, I worked on installing the wall sconces in our bedroom. It is nice  to have lights at the flick of the switch now.

After lunch we headed out to try and find a "pioneer" celebration being held at Boulter. No luck finding the location but we did have a lovely drive and enjoyed the last of the fall colours.

Late fall colours looking across Bay Lake. 

Our  next stop was unplanned but when we got a call from Paul and lost connection as we drove decided to pop in and meet the family. Paul will be tiling our bathroom when we are away in November.

This is Paul's house he and Megan built last year. I really like the timber frame accents on the front and side entry to the house.

Of course any drive up here usually yields some wild animal sightings and we saw a fisher, 10 deer and two large gatherings of wild turkeys.

Here is one group out for a late afternoon stroll across someone's yard. We counted 30 in this group. Guess they know the Canadian Thanksgiving is over and they can come out of hiding now.

Finally it was off to see Marvin and Annie who are also getting ready to build their retirement home near Flinton, Ontario. They have been busy clearing land and putting in a driveway and soon will be heading south to escape the cold Canadian winter.

Since it will be several months before we see each other again it was a good excuse to go out for supper. Off to KELLYS where we enjoyed back ribs and fish and chips.

The ladies look over the dessert menu then decided we had eaten enough.

It was a wonderful day of a little work, visiting friends and enjoying the last of the fall colours. This is really one of the best times of the year to visit Ontario.

Hope to see you up our way next year. By then we should have all facilities fully working.

Thanks for stopping by and safe travels Bob and Tony.

Friday, 19 October 2012


It's always good to have help on this project and we've appreciated Ben's help all summer. Now that school is back in full swing we miss seeing Ben every day. When he is able to come and help it is extra special. Today was one of the extra special days.

We start the morning with this view, looking down the path that leads back through the woods to the beaver pond. Although the best of autumn has passed there is still some colour as the last few leaves cling to the trees and refuse to make way for winter.

When Ben arrives we decide what we need to get done for the day and divide the jobs up. Ben takes the ones that need the most pending or lifting. I take the ones that require a simple application of the drywall gun or drill.

First job on today's agenda was to add more bracing to the back of the shower walls. Our tile guy recommended the extra braces to keep the cement board from flexing and causing the tile to crack. Ben measured and cut the braces, I added the extra screws to the drywall.

After lunch it was just too nice to stay indoors so Ben used the "bobcat" to dig a trench and bury the Big O pipe for rainwater drainage. This will help water Mary's garden next summer and allow us to drive over it without damaging the pipe.

This is the way we move our firewood up here. Ben brought this skid up close to our back door as we are into cooler temperatures and burning wood every day now.

Our day ended with a delicious meal prepared by Mary and shared with our neighbours Ted and Sharon. It was good to see them and spend some time together. They built themselves a beautiful log cabin all from scratch. It wasn't a kit it was Ted's skill and Sharon's assistance that went together to build their "cabin in the woods".

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Birthday Mike!