The Grand Canyon

Well, I did it!  I made it to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on the back of a mule.  Yes, I rode a mule down to Phantom Ranch, along with Wynn and a good friend of ours, Jake.  My mule was called "Sassy", Wynn's was called "Able" and Jake's was called "Charlotte". 

We rode the Bright Angel trail on the way down.  It is 5 1/2 miles long and took us about 5  1/2 hours to do.  We stopped at a place called "Indian Gardens" on the way down and were given a simple box lunch.  There were also several other stops to quickly dismount and either go to the bathroom or just stretch our legs; but not for very long. Our trail guides, Mattie and Alison kept us moving.

The scenery was just as you would imagine, fantastic.  It was a little scary for people who were afraid of heights; but I loved it.  To add to my excitement, Sassy liked to walk on the outer edge of the trail.  We didn't take pictures on the way down as they told us there would be lots of opportunities when we travelled back up, the next day.  The reason we were given was that the mules would be needing to stop and catch their breath a lot.  The mules are very well trained and fit but it is quite a workout, nonetheless.

When we reached the bottom of the canyon, we had to cross the Colorado river.  We went through a tunnel first and then across the bridge.  On the other side we rode another 10 minutes to Phantom Ranch.


We stayed in a cozy, little cabin, complete with a bathroom. 


We arrived about 2:30 p.m. and were told to walk a lot, enjoy the scenery, etc.  They did not want us to be stiff the next morning.  We were all a little saddle sore, to be sure.  But Wynn and I did walk, when we got our land legs back.  LOL!!  This was one of the walking trails at Phantom Ranch.  It follows the    River that runs into the Colorado River.



In the evening, we were fed a steak dinner complete with all the trimmings and chocolate cake.  Breakfast the next morning was at 7:00 a.m., and we had the works, bacon and eggs, sausage, toast, waffles, orange juice, coffee, etc.

We were saddled up and ready to go at 8:00 a.m. on the journey back up, this time following the Kaibob trail.  This trail is 7 1/2 miles long and it takes 5 1/2 hours with the many stops for the mules, no lunch this time.  Each stop gave us plenty of opportunity to take pictures.  Here are a few for you to enjoy.  You will see the Colrado river and some of the trails that we travelled.








Our trail guide, Alyson, leading the pack of 7.


At the end is Mattie, our other trail guide.  I am behind Alyson and Wynn (with just his nose showing, LOL) was behind me; then, our friend, Jake.


On our way back up to the top, we saw a pack of mules taking supplies down to Phantom Ranch.  Everything that the ranch needs is taken in by mules and all garbage, recycling, etc, is brought back out by mules.  Take a look at the dust and you can just imagine how fast they were travelling.  We just couldn't believe how those mules could stay on the trail at that speed; but they do.  Everyday, there make a trip down and a trip back up.  Trust me, our mules did not do anything but walk.  Thank goodness!



This was just the grandest ride ever, the benefit being that you get to see the Grand Canyon from a very unique perpective - astride a mule!  We are now official members of the renowned "Order of the Master Mule Skinners of the Grand Canyon Trails".



I just realized that I have mentioned Uganda in one or two of my posts; but have not explained what is happening.  I am taking the opportunity to go a 3rd world country and bless the people there. I am traveling with another couple and will be joined by a second couple in the new year, Jan 2nd.

We are leaving on Dec. 24th and I will be returning on Jan. 21st.  We will be spending a day in London, England on the way over, Christmas day, in fact.  Then, we will arrive at Entebbe airport in Uganda on the 26th and spend the night and next day in Kampala, to buy supplies for the school and to bless the people.  Then, we will drive to Mityana, Uganda where we will be staying for the next 2 weeks.  I will be visiting the children of King's Kids school and will most likely be assisting the teachers.  I have been given permission to come into the classrooms and teach whenever. 

Then, we will be traveling to South Sudan, where we will spend a week among the people in a little village called Wakatujong.   We will also be visiting a leper colony and taking much needed supplies to them as well.  The last week will be spend back in Mityana and then I return home.

I know that this trip will be a stretch for me, emotionally, spiritually and physically.  But, I am looking forward to the challenge and growing in my awareness of what the great commission is really all about, to go into all the world and spread the message of God's love through Jesus.

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Southern Ontario

Southern Ontario is such a lovely place to visit.  The weather has been super this summer for riding motorcycles.  This past weekend we were riding with some good friends from Bright, Ontario - Dunc & Diane.  We were riding north and came through the little village of Wellsely when Wynn spied an adult sized tricycle. Now, this was something!  You see, prior to this day, we had been searching everywhere, to no avail, to try and find one for my 83 year old mother.  It was in pretty rough shape but when told it was only $10.00, Wynn said, "Sold!"  Wynn is pretty good at fixing things up, so we made arrangements to pick it up the next day. 

Continuing on, we rode to Mount Forest where they had a summer festival going on.  There were lots of old cars to see and a display of motorcycles as well.  I found some wonderful cream that is all natural called "Bee By the Sea" with Sea Buckthorn.  It is supposedly good for radiation burn (& age spots.)  I bought some for my brother Bill who is taking radiation treatment for rectal cancer.  I'll have to get some when I get home and try it for my 'spots' later.  I found it on the website and there is a distributor in Victoria.

There was also a fair as part of this festival, so we decided to check it out. The big drawing card was a square dance, and before you think I am square, it was with tractors.  That's right!  I said tractors!  If you have never seen this, you really should check it out.  There are 4 tractor pairs, (8 in total).  One of the drivers in each pair is dressed like a girl and both are in regular square dancing attire.  A lady is on stage calling out the moves and they drive around to the music.  It is truly fun and something the whole family would enjoy.  How they can move those tractors so quickly and turn so sharply is amazing.

After the 'square dancing', we took in a beef barbecue and decided to head on home.  It was a good idea, too, as there were lots of detours along the way.  All in all, it was a very fun and profitable day.




I am never bothered by mosquitos in Sidney; but here, in Ontario they are a nuisance.  The question then becomes, what do you do to avoid being a bug's dinner?  Most insect repellants are loaded with toxic chemicals, of which DEET is one.  I do not wish to purposely put any known chemical on my body. 

Years ago, when we were travelling across Canada on our motorcycle, we came upon a campground that was making and selling an insect repellant by the name of "Bite Me!"  It was made from essential oils and it worked.  I have never been able to find it again.

But the good news is there is a spray called Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellant that contains essential oils.  There is also a push-up stick that you rub on your skin called Badger Anti-Bug Balm which contains 100% USDA organic essential oils.  Even better news is that both are completely safe even for children and pets.  They are also paraben free, phthalate free and ph balanced.   Now, I need to find these products here in London, Ont

However, if I can't find either of these, I just might make my own.  Here is an all natural recipe that I found.

Combine the following essential oils:

1/2 ounce citronella oil or peppermint oil
1/4 ounce lavender oil 
1/8 ounce tea tree oil
1/8 ounce jojoba oil or almond oil – preferably organic

Dilute in 16 ounces of  witch hazel and pour in a squirt or spray bottle. As a general rule, do not use essential oils undiluted.

Have fun and don't let the bugs bite!

Catching Up

Wow!  Where has the time gone?  I can't believe it has been two months since I have posted anything on my blog.  I must say I have been very busy.  I work Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the preschool and for the last 2 months have been babysitting all day Tuesday and Thursday for Tricia.  Wynn and I have been driving the grandchildren to piano lessons (Tyler) and ballet lessons (Tava).  As well I prepare family meals on Tuesday and Thursday.  Is it no wonder that I have not been on my blog.

Anyway, retirement is coming up very soon for me, the end of June.  Wynn called it quits the end of April.  He has been doing a lot of work around the yard.  He put in 4 fruit trees, only to have one snapped off by a stray dog yesterday.  We have 1 apple, 1 plum and 1 (used to be 2) pear tree.  He has also planted a full garden; plus we have our raspberry and blueberry bushes and a grape vine.  I'm still trying to figure out where to put a strawberry patch. Wynn power washed the fence around our yard and I have been busy staining it.  He is also painting our front door a deep burgundy colour.  When the door is finished, he is going to put tile at the entrance.  We also have plans to put a cement pathway to our sheds in the back yard.

We are looking forward to this summer; it should be very interesting.  To begin with, we bought a double seated kayak and plan to see more of the beauty of Vancouver Island this way.  As well, Wynn plans to go fishing in it.  We also bought a side car for the motorcycle to haul the kayak around, all 14 feet of it.

Our plans include coming to Ontario for the month of August on the motorcyle with kayak in tow.  The last time we rode across the country on our motorcycle, we tented and we plan to do the same this time.  The only difference will be that we will be able to bring a little more, like a lawn chair.  How I missed not having a chair to sit on at the campsites. 

Just Cruising

 My husband and I have just returned from a cruise to Alaska aboard the Celebrity Infinity and it was fabulous.  The weather could have been a little more cooperative as we had a couple of rough days at sea and rain in Alaska.  I also experienced a bit of sea sickness; but otherwise the trip was fantastic.  This was my first time ever on a cruise ship and I was impressed to say the least.  Whatever you think you may need or want to do, it is probably available.  They even had my favourite game, Sudoko, available everyday in the library.  The food was excellent and the service was second to none.  We had staterooms with a balcony.  Fresh fruit and flowers were delivered everyday. Our bed was turned down for us every night and a light turned on and I mustn't forget the chocolate put on my pillow.  I took my new hydration bottle and everyday it was filled for me with fresh water.  We had a complimentary bottle of champagne to greet us and also a large tote bag with leather straps and a zipper.  The entertainment on the ship was top-notch. There were so many things going on everyday to occupy your time. My sister and her husband accompanied us on this trip and we were all  amazed at the amount and variety of activities available each and every day.  We watched a master carver make birds and flowers from fruits and vegetables; we made oragami birds and learned some new dance moves.  Wynn took in a few computer classes and I went to a stretching class every day as well as visited the spa a few times.  For those who have never cruised before and are thinking about it; don't wait.  You will have a fantastic time. 

Punta Cana

Have you ever been to an all inclusive resort?  If you have, you already know what we experienced on our vacation.  However, this was my first time and I was impressed.  It was a 5 star and we had purchased an upgrade.  We had private check-in service, complete with a welcome drink and snacks, which was most appreciated after a long day of traveling.  Our room was great and situated right near the ocean.  It had a huge bed and was completely stocked with everything we would need, robes, slippers, beach towels, a well stocked fridge and fresh flowers every day.  We even had access to free internet service.  We could have our breakfast, lunch and/or dinner delivered to our room at no charge.  But, who would want to?   There were so many places to eat and such a variety of food available everywhere.  The staff were wonderful and were definitely there to please and entertain you.  The maid service was top notch.  The weather was fantastic.

It was a very large resort and it took us a little while to find our way around.  It was actually quite funny at first.  We didn't understand the map we were given and were actually walking circles around where we needed to go, which was the buffet. 

After several days, we were totally surprised that with the availabity of free alcoholic drinks everywhere, we did not see anyone out of line in their behaviour.  Everyone was there to have a good time and have a good time, we did.  I took advantage of all the dance and aerobic classes, in and out of the water.  I believe I am pretty good at the Salsa, now.  We took advantage of the many water sports and games available.  We walked up and down the beach for many hours and yes, I do have a tan.  I even sported a bikini on this trip.  However, by the end of the week, I had to resort to my one piece bathing suit.  Why?  The food, food and more food and possibly the Bahama Mamas and Pina Coladas did me in.  M-m-m, they were good.   

As it turned out, just my husband and I went to Punta Cana.  My daughter and her family were not able to go at the last minute, due to the children having ear infections and a touch of pneumonia.  Although, we missed spending time with our grandchildren, the trip became a much needed R and R for us.  When I return to B.C., I will post a few pictures for all to see. 

Just as a final note, we are time share holders and have enjoyed traveling to many different places via  this avenue.  But after this experience, I believe I will sell it.  If you are interested, contact me.  For those who understand, it is a ski week in Canada in a red time zone.  It seems as we get older, we like the warm weather and being wined, dined and entertained.