Destination Kingsville

53604772_2361225210789730_7622770010628292608_nAfter retiring I worked for Niagara Wine Tours, a company who was trying to expand into the Lake Erie North Shore region. They were already tapped into the Toronto market and thought the wine industry in Essex County was ripe for the picking. Unfortunately the company couldn’t garner enough interest to keep them afloat. The main complaint from out-of-town tourists was our lack of places to stay.

Fast-forward about ten years and we have fifteen wineries and almost as many breweries or brew-pubs. Existing estates expanded to accommodate tour buses and gatherings such as wedding receptions. Bars and restaurants got in on the action by offering local vintages and brews.

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Somellier & Master Taster – Gary Killops

18953059_10155212855547184_4466112519350421392_nMeet Gary Killops, jack of many trades, master of one. Wine. Well, perhaps beer too. I met Gary in another life, back when we were both mere civil servants. In his pursuit of fine wines and robust beers, instead of thieves and burglars, Mister Killops has become a Master Taster and Somellier, accredited by the Niagara College.

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The Two Bill’s – Part 2

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This story appears in my first book, A Casual Traveler

 The Way Back 

            Usually, going somewhere is more fun than coming back. Whenever I plan a trip I try to take that into account. I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I hate covering the same ground twice. I’d much rather make a loop and go out of my way, than drive down the same road more than once. Unless something is worth seeing again, from a different perspective.

            Cathryn and I had a great ride getting to Vancouver, but I knew I had my work cut out for me, trying to find an eventful and scenic way back home. The whole idea of the trip was to cover new ground, since both of us had been out west before. Seattle came to mind. Although I’d been there twice, I never had time to see more than a few token attractions on the waterfront.

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The Two Bill’s – Part 1

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This story appears in my first book, A Casual Traveler

 Westward Ho

Cathryn’s big question was, “How do I pack for a whole month?” She was faced with the dilemma of how to get her clothes, shoes, and toiletries into one small suitcase, that fit into the trunk portion of our Harley Davidson motorcycle. I had laid out a plan to ride all the way to Vancouver, and back, within a month…or so.

“You only need to pack for five to seven days,” I offered, “We can do our laundry along the way when we stop for more than a day.” I broke the trip into segments, staying in a few different places for more than one night at a time, so we could take a rest from the bike, and not have to be on it every day of the trip.

We met with our friends Greg and Brenda, to discuss the first leg of the trip. They changed their final destination, deciding to only ride as far as Milwaukee with us. It didn’t matter, we were going on with or without them. Figuring traffic would be lighter, and a hotel in downtown Milwaukee cheaper, we left at 9 am on Sunday, July 3rd.

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3,200 Miles to Granville

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So far, Ruby has carried us (Ed, Cathryn and Axle) over 3,200 miles…that’s about 5,000 Kanadian miles, from Windsor, Ontario, to Surrey, British Columbia. She’s resting in the garage as I write this, but has an appointment at the hawg  dealership tomorrow, for a new front tire, oil change, and minor damage repair from a hitting a bad pot hole somewhere out there. Yes, Tim, the Harley made it all the way across  the country…just follow my oil slick.

Although it’s been nice to get off the bike for a few days, we’ll be back on her soon enough, heading to Seattle next, to visit an old friend. We’ve had a mixed bag of weather, but none of it bad enough to stop us. A couple of close lightening strikes did give me pause.

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