Continuing the recap of my half a month vacation to visit my family in Ontario.

Mom and I went to the Dublin cemetery to meet some family for a visit. I stopped to visit my Grandpa Stock’s grave. Can’t believe how long he’s been gone now.

There is so many of my relatives and ancestors in this Dublin, Ontario cemetery behind the Catholic church. We went to visit my Grandma Stock’s parents and grandparents stones too:

Afterwards we went to my mom’s cousin’s place for a visit out back on the lawn. Mom’s aunt and uncle lived here before and everyone has so many memories of the lawn and house. Grandma grew up on a farm nearby and remembers who lived where on all the neighbouring farms decades and decades ago.

Grandma Stock was able to come with my uncle Joe and aunt Patricia who were also home visiting from PEI. Must have been so nice for Grandma to get out of her retirement home for a day, with a nice drive. And I got to see her again!

We had a little picnic with cookies and drinks under a big maple tree.

The entire time I was visiting Ontario it was incredibly hot and humid. Kinda appropriate for a visit to Ontario in summer I suppose!

Julie and Selinah joined us at Mom’s house for a few days. Here I am with little Selinah napping on me.

Selinah’s loves animals, especially goats! A farm out on Highway 23 has a little parking lot and benches for people to stop by and visit their goats and alpacas. Selinah brought her goat to show the goats!

Knowing goats will eat anything, I was pretty sure a goat was going to take her toy, but no, instead a goat was eating my shorts while I was so busy worrying about Selinah’s toy and fingers. I had to pry my shorts out of his teeth!

Back at Mom’s we had some nice relaxing time between all our visits. One morning we sat out on her back porch while Selinah played with her water toys. She’s got the cutest little side eye squint.

We walked to the park later that day and all played Pokemon Go. Well except Selinah who looks left out in this shot!

But then she had her fun! She’s not even 2 yet, but still ran around the playground, and up the stairs, and down the slide, over and over and over and over again!

Jeff flew in late that night and joined us in Listowel. The next day we spent with Dad. We went back to the St. Jacob’s farmers market. It was almost the same temperature as the surface of the sun, and hundreds and hundreds of people were there. We picked up more produce, including some peaches and cucumbers for Jeff’s parents, but it was too hot to walk up and down all the isles. We ducked inside for a bit and got some hot fresh apple fritters, and Jeff taste tested some summer sausage and bought one to take home. Jeff also found some smoked pork chops!

After a lunch at Dad’s, Julie and Selinah went to nap and Dad, Jeff and I went shopping a bit. We went to SAIL, the outdoor gear store. I tried on a couple winter’ish coats but didn’t find one I liked. I’m looking to replace my pink down coat that is getting too big.

Then we drove all the way to Shakespeare to buy the best fresh peach pies anywhere at Shakespeare Pies. I bought a peach pie and a strawberry rhubarb to take back to Mom’s to have with those smoked pork chops.

After our shopping spree, we went back to Dad’s and he fired up the barbeque for a steak dinner. It was plenty hot in the shade.

The next day we went to Jeff’s parent’s place and Jeff’s brother Brian joined us. I didn’t even take a picture of all of us! I’m slipping! So I’ll share this accidental photo I took on my phone between taking pictures of their lovely gardens and colourful flowers. We had a nice visit and Jeff’s mom gave us a couple of beautiful knit afghans she made. I’d show you a photo, but I mailed them home right away, along with a couple of hard cover books my Dad passed on to me, some dried hash browns from Brian, some Wellesley apple butter, and everything else that was pushing my suitcase over Air Canada’s 50 pound limit. They’ll get here in a couple of weeks.

That night we had the smoked pork chops, fresh Ontario corn on the cob, and the pies. Selinah loves corn on the cob!

I was tagged for bedtime story time too!

The next day we went to Stratford to do some banking, and visited an RV dealership. We’re pulling the trigger on a switch to a truck camper (that goes in the back of a truck) and selling our pull behind trailer (our ‘cottage’ on wheels). We looked at one, for reference, and picked up a brochure on the brand we’re leaning towards.

Later that afternoon, I had planned to meet a couple girlfriends in the Listowel park. One had a last minute emergency, but Becky and I, and her partner Will, walked around the Listowel park for awhile, and then headed back to their place to hang out.

There’s been lots of work on the Maitland River in the last 20 years to keep it healthy. That was nice to see. But I’ll rant later about how crazy Listowel is in other ways. (They have always been so green lawn obsessed, cutting grass to the roadside everywhere, no dandelions, no weeds, no natural ditch wetlands, spraying roundup around every post because we can’t have long grass or weeds! No the horror!)

I love how happy Becky is – it was great to catch up!

The next day was our annual Verkley picnic. For decades we had them on Grandma Verkley birthday in August. Now that she’s gone, the date fluctuates, but the gist is the same. Get the family together.

Uncle Paul hosted the picnic. He’s a great host! Jeff and I were the first to arrive. Shortly after, Uncle Paul tossed me the keys to his quad and I told me where to find his new big figure 8 trail network in his woods. It rained the night before and I got nicely muddy.

Then Uncle Paul backed out his Slingshot and let me take it for a spin too! Have you ever seen one of these? It sits low, is a stick shift, and has just one wheel in the back!

My cousin’s wife Adina jumped in and we went around a country block. Paul had warned it wasn’t great on the gravel, and it did like to fish tail a bit, but on the pavement, the acceleration is amazing! It was up to 70 in a second or two, before I was out of 3rd gear! He drove this thing all the way out to British Columbia, pulling a little custom trailer to sleep in.

My cousin Wes and his husband Ted have a new little puppy Penny who was so cute, and soft, and little, and quiet. She was carried and hugged all day.

We had a great turn out to the picnic. It was incredibly hot and humid and rain was threatening. Most people spent the afternoon inside in the air conditioning, but I stayed outside most of the time, walking around the ponds, looking for gold fish, taking another spin on the quad, walked his maze in the tall grass, and caught up with everyone. Got a nice sunburn on my chest from my v-neck t-shirt. Here’s a couple pictures from my uncle Frank’s Facebook:

And some more of my candid phone shots:

Penny was so popular!

Uncle Paul fired up his barbeque for supper.

I made some rice krispie squares, Mom made a cherry cheesecake, and Dad brought a peach pie. There was also taco salad and a jello salad – all the regular fixings for a good Verkley picnic!

I brought home 25 Dawson City caps, so if your eye was sharp, you will notice almost everyone was wearing one! I think I could have even brought more!

Uncle Paul built a spectacular new shop since I was last visiting. It’s awesome!

And as Uncle Paul has been doing for every newcomer to the family since I was born, Selinah had her first beer!

Jeff headed for Toronto after the party. He changed his flight so he could fly to Edmonton and pick up his new used truck and get a head start so he could meet me in Whitehorse the next night when my plane landed.

I spent the next couple of days with Mom and Julie and Selinah before Dad picked me up to take me to the airport.

I had so much fun with Selinah. Here’s hoping she remembers her fun cool auntie!

Back at the airport, I put my Air Canada provided face mask for 29384729387 hours to fly to Vancouver, and then onto Whitehorse. It’s a long hot time with a big face mask. My glasses fell off so many times.

Reflecting on my trip, I’m so glad I got to see so many people. There were many more on my list to see, like my godparents! But I was also a bit conscious of not wanting to be some super Covid spreader at the same time. So I found a happy medium, had some good quality visits, and am likely travelling back again in December and can see more friends and family.

Back in the Yukon – well it is fall. The colours are popping all over, I’ve missed frosts, and the fireweed is long gone.

My truck was in Whitehorse where Jeff left it, so he headed out first for home, to pick up Hank from boarding, and I stuck around in Whitehorse for a few hours. I was able to find a new coat! It’s a nice long North Face down coat. Super warm feeling, at least in August! Black though. I prefer colour, but it’ll do.

The drive went well, and I was fortunate to not even have to stop and wait for pilot cars in the construction areas on the North Klondike. I somehow timed it right to join the pilot car line each time. In one of the long sections, the pilot car (truck) led us right into freshly graded loose sand. I saw the truck ahead of me start sinking a foot into the sand, with the weight of his truck camper. I switched into four wheel drive.

Shortly after, the line of traffic slowed. Everyone was getting stuck!! Those of us who could passed them to keep moving, but that didn’t last long and we were all stopped.

These folks weren’t so happy their car was sunk in sand up to the front bumper. The transport truck behind it seemed stuck too.

The temperature here was oddly hot. The rest of the trip was a beautiful 20 degrees. Sitting here it was 31C.

After a bit, those of us who weren’t stuck found a way out, and around the rest of the vehicles, including the pilot car.

I didn’t realize how tired I was until I got home. A few days of limited sleep and so much travel, and I was dead last night. My ear was ringing (maybe because I was driving with my window open?), my head was spinning, and I crashed hard without unpacking a thing.

Today – back to work! I was pretty proud of myself for staying off my laptop the entire trip – but now it is catch up time!

I also very reluctantly stepped on the scale to see how bad my vacation damage was. And I’m 4 pounds down from the day I left my house! Impressive.