September 5, 2003

It was a lazy day in Winnipeg .... well, even lazier than others days of our retirement.   We went through our belongings and sorted between what would stay with the car and what items would make the trip back home with us - laundry, books, brochures and borrowed library CDs.  We have a renewed appreciation for our local library.  When the grandchildren were visiting for Michael and Tracey's wedding, we went to the library with them and selected 16 books and eight videos - we could have selected 50 assorted items.  They got to watch and read age appropriate material at no charge to us and we had the luxury of returning them after two weeks.  When we began this trip we selected from the library two audio books, two music tapes to round out our own music CD collection and two videos that could be played on our lap top computer.   We listened to the music tapes, enjoyed one of the audio books and part of another .... but didn't use the videos.   We will have to return them during our visit back and because we will be on such an extended trip will use our own collection for the balance of the time.

In the evening we went to the thoroughbred horse races at Assiniboine Downs race track.  We arrived early and picked out an excellent table in the Club House, bet on each race, sipped on drinks and nibbled on hors d'oeuvres.  We had a fun evening - won some - lost some - and when the evening was over the cost for our night out was relatively low.

September 6, 2003

A good portion of today was spent in the air or at airports, as we made our way home to BC.  

As we flew over the interior of B.C.  the space between clouds filled with smoke and on the fringe we could see spot fires still taking root.

Angela, Stephen's fiancée along with their friend Loren, came to pick us up from the airport and then .... suddenly, it seemed .... we were home.  

September 7, 2003

Congratulations Stephen and Angela Thorne !

Sunday and Monday flowed together and were focused on Stephen and Angela ... their wedding and departure.

 

Stephen came home in the morning while Angela went home to Chilliwack.  Michael, Tracey and Grandpa (Les Bryan) arrived to share some family time before we all left for Chilliwack together.
Stephen changed into his tux and both Terry and Michael had input into his tie.
 
Since our cupboards were bare (from the cleaning out we did before our "North America Drive" departure) Michael kindly made a quick trip to the deli for some sandwich materials and Terry uncorked a special bottle of wine.

At 1:00 we departed.

 

Stephen made a quick stop at the bank and we all arrived at Angela's Nana and Papa's place with time to spare. 

Their home was the perfect setting for this intimate wedding and was further enhanced by beautiful flowers..

Then for a little while things got a little blurry ... Stephen paced the floor and watched soulfully out the window as Angela was fashionably late arriving.  As Angela arrived on the arm of her father and saw Stephen, she hurried to his side.

The ceremony was short and tasteful and, as with most weddings, happy tears were shed.

Angela and Stephen have saved their personal vows and the exchanging of rings for a special moment the two will share on the isle of Crete.

Above: Mary Baxter guides Angela and Stephen through the ceremony.  Below: They pose with Angela's family.

A hug from Dad and a kiss from husband.

 
Above: Angela watches as her Nana witnesses the registry.  Below: Stephen takes the videos as Devon signs the registry. 

A pose with Stephen's family.

In celebration of their union and the coming together of two families, Stephen and Angela ~ the new Mr. and Mrs. Thorne ~ treated their families to a Greek Dinner.  An excellent beginning to a three month honeymoon trip to Europe focusing on the eastern European countries and particularly Greece.

 

Congratulations ... Mr. and Mrs. Thorne !

September 8, 2003
We met Angela and Stephen in a restaurant near their hotel and had brunch.  We talked about the wedding and more about their European trip.  Today would be another big day for them.  The beginning of a new life as husband and wife and the beginning of a fabulous three month back-packing vacation.  Angela showed her nervousness just a bit ... she hasn't been in an airplane since she was four years old ... and such a big plane to be getting on (747) and such a long trip ... she was apprehensive and excited at the same time.  

We drove them to Metro Town Mall in Burnaby where we said "good bye".  Her parents would be seeing them off at the airport along with friends, Greg and Loren.

A few chores later, we went to Dad's for a visit and to present him with our Neufeld, Sask findings ... pictures of the church and documents from his parent's wedding.  Very exciting.  He will be able to share the information with his sister, Ada, next weekend.

Back home we packed for our return trip to Winnipeg looking at the clock often and thinking about what Stephen and Angela were doing.

September 9, 2003 

After running around in the morning, it was a travel day for us.  Flew out of Abbotsford into Calgary and then on to Winnipeg.   West Jet's public relations is so laid back.  On our earlier trip from Winnipeg to Calgary a unmarried stewardess sang us a song to the music of "This Old Man".   It went:

"We love you .... You love us ..... West Jet's faster than the bus.  We have spunk and per-son-al-ity. ... Marry me ... and you fly for free. "

September 10, 2003

We woke up to rain ... and thought about the forest fires in BC ... wondering if they were getting any relief.

Driving south-east from Winnipeg we stopped in Steinbach to visited the Mennonite Heritage Village.  It was very well presented.  Using a guide map we made our way through the houses, churches, schools and shops, along with the centre piece a replica of an original windmill. 

In 1873 eight townships in the Steinbach area were set aside by the Canadian government for exclusive use by Mennonite setters from southern Russia.  

From 1874 to 1878 about 3000 Mennonites settled here, the first large group migration into the recently formed province of Manitoba.  They introduced an age-old European system of farming in which fields were arranged in long strips around the villages.  Over 50 villages were founded.  

The church (the white building shown in center picture below right) has no steeple, bell or stained glass windows and is typical of the early Mennonite churches in Europe and North America.  
The church is constructed of squared oak logs fitted and secured with wooden dowels.  The heavy beams support the ceiling which was build to support the weight of grain stored in the attic.  At harvest time in the fall, each farmer donated a portion of his crop to the church for distribution to the needy members of the congregation.  It was one of the earliest social welfare systems in Western Canada.

After having a delicious typical Mennonite meal we drove across the border into Minnesota. 

We drove on after sunset and arrived late into Eveleth -  home of the US Hockey Hall of Fame.

September 11, 2003

Flags flew at half-mast on most public and business buildings in remembrance of the victims of 9-11 two years ago.  We crossed into Wisconsin at Duluth and followed Highway 2 at times skirting Lake Superior.  For a hoot, we stopped into one of the numerous Casinos we passed.  $20 dollars each would be our limit.  Sherrie spent $10 ... and had fun doing so ... and Terry spent his but walked away with a $125 (US) jackpot!  Well .... that was fun!

As we continued east on Highway 2 into Michigan we took the time to memorized all the states and their capitals.  Retaining the information may be another matter!

Our stop for the night was Marquette on the banks of Lake Superior.

 

September 12, 2003

A traveling day.   We drove from Marquette, Michigan to Blind River, Ontario with a stop along the way at Au Train Bay.

It was windy but warm  and the bay was accented by golden sand beaches looking over to Au Train Island.  

We crossed over the bridge from Sault Ste Marie Michigan to Sault Ste Marie Ontario

Au Train Island breaks the horizon line on Au Train Bay on Superior.

September 13, 2003

We took a pleasant stroll where the Blind River flows into  Lake Huron before we left our accommodations, but for the most part it was another major traveling day as we made our way from Blind River to Pembroke along Hwy 17.
One stop we did make was to a Chapters book store, in Sudbury, to select a book that would help us learn French traveling phrases.  Being strong Rick Steve's followers (author of "Europe Through the Back Door" which we recommend very highly), we selected his French translator and began our awkward attempts to speak the language.
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