Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A LIFETIME OF OLD CLUNKERS (& some nice ones too)

I'm really stuck for a blog to-night so decided to reach back into my blog archives & see if I could find something older but current. Came up with this blog I wrote in September of 2007. And yup that's really me in the Triumph above & sitting atop the Carman Ghia in bottom picture:))

This article was in response to some postings on the 50+ forum one time by some guys talking about all the different cars they've had over the years. It got me thinking back to seemingly simpler times & ways of doing things. Once I sat down with a pencil & paper & began putting to-gether a list of remembered vehicles, I was truly surprised at the sheer number of vehicles that have passed through my hands & it sure has been a great exercise for clearing the aging cobwebs out of my brain. Hard to remember exact years of the vehicles but I think most of them are right, or very close.

One of the reasons for so many vehicles was that years ago you could buy a used car from a buddy for fifty bucks or off a lot for a couple of hundred. Sometimes you just traded stuff. All my vehicles were used except for a 73 Mazda 808 & an 85 Pontiac Fiero. Didn't need expensive insurance (if any) back in the 60's, no costly safety checks, & sometimes ya got away with an expired drivers license for awhile too. And sometimes you didn't even bother changing over the ownership before you sold it again. Oh dear!! To the best of my knowledge here are the vehicles I've had. I probably have forgot a couple VW Beetles here & there......loved those things, ya could take em anywhere.....& I did!! Here is the blog & I've dug up a few old pics to go with it too.............................

1.- 1961 Volkswagon Beetle (my very first car. but being a smart-alec teen-age male, I totalled it:((

2.- 55 Ford (red & white with big rust holes in the floor))

3.- ?? Ford Falcon (blue....hit a parked car with it & that was the end of that!!)

4.- 62 Mini-minor (red & the starter button was under the drivers seat)

5.- 59 Triumph TR3 2 seater sports car (burgundy with racing stripes) Picture at top.

6.- 61 Mini-minor (red)

7.- 64 VW Beetle (white & bought it in Halifax)

8.- 59 Vauxhall (creamy beige & was owned by a quiet little old Mennonite lady)

9.- ?? VW Carman Ghia (red & white but a friend run into a telephone post with it...no injuries)

10.- 58 Jaguar sedan (dark blue & what a wreck)

11.- 62 VW Beetle (no first gear & red)

12.- 59 VW Camper Van (pink & white & had the word, "VanGo" painted on it)

13.- 64 MGB (red with big paste-on hippy flowers covering all the rust holes in it)

14.- 62 Ford Falcon (gray & primer) Yup, I sprayed the whole bottom half with cans of primer!!

15.- 56 Austin Healy 2 seater sports car (red) Because of alcohol I foolishly wrecked this car too.

16.- 60 Pontiac Parisian (robins egg blue & what a tank)

17.- 59 Volvo Coupe (black) Nice car but could never get it running right.

18.- 61 Chevy Biscayne (brown/tan)

19.- 63 VW Beetle (beige) Rolled this one down an embankment because of black ice in Vernon, British Columbia.

20.- 73 Mazda 808 (new & lime green) Nice car but Al's drinking shortened it's life too:((

21.-85 Pontiac Fiero (new & red) Took this car back to the dealer after 6 months!!

22.-62 Volkswagon Camper Van (orange) Toured Canada's east coast in 86 with this wonderful old blister:))

23.- ?? Mazda pick up truck (brown & a hard to steer vehicle)

24.- 73 Oldsmobile Cutlass (super sharp car & burgundy)

25.- 74 Ford Econoline Van (beige & brown with a big bed in the back)

26.- 84 Pontiac Firebird complete with T-bar sunroof (sharp car & white)

27.- ?? Chevy Malibu (maroon) Just had it painted, sold it to a neighbor & she rolled it over:((

28.- 82 Honda Civic (gray & one of the best running little cars I ever had)

29.-89-? Mazda pick up truck (white) Took this one to Arizona to have a look at the Grand Canyon in 1992)

30.- 79 Dodge Converted Camper Van (brown & not one of my better deals)

31.- 74 Mazda Rotary Engine....Wagon (gray & a total bust...never did get it running)

32.- 85 Honda Civic (gray & another great Honda product)

33.- 92 Dodge Caravan (burgundy. nice van but it had some issues)

34.-97 Dodge Ram pick up (really nice truck & burgundy) Bought for us by my Uncle Harry:))

35.- 93 Ford Ranger pick up (silver gray, bit of a beater but I liked it)

36.- 79 Dodge Centurion Class C RV (white & old but it was our first RV)

37.- 95 Ford Gulf Stream Class C RV (white & took this to Big Bend in Texas but it had some problems)

38.- ?? Dodge Dynasty (maroon & my Mother's car)

39.- 2000 Chevy Silverado p/u truck (really sharp white truck but only owned it for about 2 months)

40.- 2004 GMC Sierra p/u truck (tan colored & loaded with way too many options)

41 - 03 Damon Challenger Motor Home 33' & present RV

42.- 03 Hyundai Santa Fe (present vehicle & silver gray)

43.- 99 Dodge Caravan (present vehicle & blue)

?? Suzuki 650cc motorcycle (black, but totalled it in an accident)
84 Yamaha Virago 750 motorcycle (red) Traded it in the following Honda
02 Honda Shadow Aero 1100 motorcycle (present bike - purple & gray)

96 Prowler travel trailer... 24' Nice clean unit
05 Rockwood 5th wheel.... 28' Nice clean unit

Wished I had the Austin Healy back :((

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Sometimes we men can be fooled soooooooooo easily & it just happened to me!! When I put the guestbook on this site a week ago I was encouraged to see that someone by the name of Cheyene Tulula had promptly responded & signed it. A favorable comment about the site & a nice compliment to my wife Kelly. That was a week ago. At supper to-night I expressed my doubts as to whether the guestbook was actually working or not because no one else had signed it besides this Cheyene Tulula person. I had already changed the design of it & was trying to figure out if it just wasn't working. Then came....... the confession!! It was Kelly herself (aka Cheyene Tulula) who had actually signed it last week in hopes of encouraging me not to get discouraged with the website, & that yes, it really was working. Now, about that stunning wife part............................ Cheyene Tulula indeed!!!!

Friday, September 21, 2007


I've been doing a little reading about blogging & one of the suggestions was to keep your blog current by constantly adding new content. So between now & when we leave next month I've been scratching my head as to what I can put in here to keep it from reaching maximum boredom. I've had to look back a bit & dust off a few more articles I had posted on 50+ a few years ago. Here's one that is still current to this very day. It's called...... Sounds Yukky - Tastes Yummy!!

One 5 cup blender required

Add: 1 banana
1 heaping tablespoon of soy or whey powder
1 small tablespoon of ground flax seeds
1 small tablespoon of ground raw sunflower
1 small tablespoon of oatbran
1 small tablespoon of wheat germ
1 small tablespoon of large flake oatmeal
Are you still with me?? I usually combine the flax, sunflower & oatbran together after mixing them in a coffee bean grinder.

Now comes the veggies................

1 big lettuce leaf. (romaine is best)
1 medium carrot
1 medium celery stick
1 cored apple including peelings

Your blender by now is about two thirds full. To all this I add skim milk to about the half way point. Hit the "on" switch, buzzzzzzzz, & "WALLAAA" I have myself one mighty fine tasting soy/whey shake every morning. There are variables here & it doesn't hurt to experiment by adding or subtracting things. Apricot juice instead of milk works great as does orange or apple juice. If strawberries, raspberries or clemantines are in season, I throw a handful of them in as well. Green grapes work. If you want to slant the taste towards carrots, just add more carrots etc. The core ingredients for the soy shake though are the banana & the soy or whey powder. From there you can build whatever masterpiece you wish. Throw in some brocolli, etc. (think outside the box:)) Someone suggested apple cider vinegar once so I tried it......didn't work, but I might try that one again someday. You can see now why I call it, "Sounds yukky-Tastes yummy!!" I know it's going to be hard for someone to get past the fact that your mixing milk & lettuce to-gether for example, but you've got so many other ingredients in there that you don't even notice the lettuce/milk factor. To me it simply tastes along the lines of a vanilla milkshake. I'm not kidding about all this, I really do drink one of these concoctions of mine every single morning & have been doing so for about 8 years now. Really?? Yes really:)) Good luck & happy yummy yukking:))

Thursday, September 20, 2007


It's the end of another summer as empty chairs await the sunset with no one to fill them. The bustling playground has settled down as it slips quietly into winter's hibernation until the tiny voices & squeals re-kindle much excitement in the far away days of spring. Deerpark Lodge.

Kelly & Max basking in twilight's glow. Checkers is down by the water's edge playing with a stick & little Cora is under a chair having a big snooze.......... A nice way to end a day:))

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I think it was sometime just after supper to-night when Kelly said, "Well, if you can have a picture on our website with your 2 wheeler, how about a picture of me & mine." "Poof" no sooner said than done. The bike is a Sedona model made by Giant. No, those aren't lights in the wheels, just the reflectors reflecting back the flash on the camera.
No great long winded bicycle stories for me to tell you. Whewwww!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007


It's mid September, the days are cooling off & the nights are getting downright cold. Not too many biking days left. Back in the spring I traded my 1984 Yamaha Virago 750 for this 2002 Honda Shadow Aero 1100. A really nice bike, & my third. I had never ridden a motorcycle until I was 49 when I enrolled in a motorcycle training course at Conestogo College in Doon, Ontario.
I wrote a little blurb about my first time on the road with my 650 Suzuki shortly after that & posted it on a site called 50+ that I used to belong to. The subject word was "Excite." This is the little blurb I wrote using the topic......Excite!!

"Excite"....My little Webster's Dictionary here tells me the word excite means, "to call into action, to rouse, to stimulate." What it doesn't tell me is that it is something mostly encountered in early youth. The days as a child, when everything was new, exciting, & full of wonderment. Excitement is an elusive quarry now at age 62 but it can still occasionally be had. Excitement can take on many forms for different people & I have always found that fear is an important part of excitement. I had never ridden a motorcycle in my entire life until I was 49. A financial opportunity presented itself & I walked into a Stratford motorcycle shop one day in October of 1993 & bought a used Suzuki 4 cyl 650cc motorcycle. (can't recall the year) http://www.stratfordcycle.ca/ That was exciting for me, but then it got better. The bike remained in storage at the motorcycle shop for the winter & by spring the excitement, anticipation, & fear were all well in place. I signed up at a local college for a full week-end motorcycle training program. The course supplied the small Honda bikes & for two days we wobbled & jerked our way around the college parking lot on those noisy smoke sputtering machines. That whole week-end was an adventure in excitement all by itself. The day following the course I phoned the motorcycle shop back in my home town & asked them to bring the bike to my place of employment & leave it in the parking lot, which they did. I didn't want anyone around to laugh at me if I fell off the motorcycle & that's why I didn't go & pick it up at the bike shop.
After work when no one was around & everyone had gone home I donned my spanking new helmet, gloves, leather jacket, and approached the bike. Excitement began to escalate, but so did the fear. I swung my leg over the seat, straightened the front wheel, turned the key & pressed the start button. "VaRoooommm!!!!" Now, the fear really took over!!!! This bike was much bigger & more powerful than those wobbly little things we had been practicing on at the course. Just ahead of me was the street with lots of big huge noisy cars whizzing by. The fear & excitement was almost overwhelming (especially the fear). Decisions, decisions!! Maybe I should have taken up basket weaving. I put the motorcycle into first gear, took a deep breath, eased out the clutch & bounced unceremoniously out the driveway into the traffic, missed second gear, lurched into third, made a mind wobbling left turn & I was off. The cars all around me seemed close enough to touch. (because they were) Made it to the first intersection without getting run over & for the first time felt the teensiest bit of confidence. I had made it half a block & I was still upright, & alive. But, I think my legs were shaking worse than the motorcycle.

Before starting out that day I had already pre-planned my route so that I knew exactly where I was headed.....the cemetery. Yes, the cemetery!! In Stratford they have a big cemetery with lots of winding roads & no traffic. What better place for me to get to know how to handle my 500 pound motorcycle. And no one to notice any embarrassing mistakes on my part (and there were a few). The main emotion I was experiencing from the work parking lot to that cemetery was fear, but after reaching the quiet roads of the cemetery the true excitement of what I was really doing began to take over & the fear started to ebb away. (a little bit) It was scary but I managed to lurch my way around the roads getting used to the gears, shifting, & braking. Corners were shaky at first & some stops were nearly abrupt enough to throw me over the handlebars. But, slowly I began to develop a bit more confidence & actually felt a twinge of enjoyment squeak through that wall of fear. I was doing OK despite myself:)) Well, at least until it was time to get the motorcycle back home through all that traffic again. But, I made it alright & I was a pretty excited little boy when I went to bed later that night.

There were more exciting, hair raising, & fearful things awaiting me down the road on that motorcycle but for the time being I had completed phase one of an exciting adventure that had begun 6 months earlier when I had walked into that motorcycle shop & bought the bike. I had actually done my first ride in real traffic. And for me, that was exciting. Scary, but exciting. Four short months later I had a bone busting motorcycle crash that landed me in the hospital, but that's another "exciting" story for another time......... AL (Mr. Blabberfingers)
(Picture taken by Kelly....................... Sunday afternoon September 16th 2007)
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"WHY AN RV?? (Recreational Vehicle)

Although we haven't been asked this question directly, I'm sure there are some friends & family members who have wondered. First, a little background on Al......

My Dad was in the Canadian Air Force stationed on Canada's east coast during the second world war. When he came home he worked at various things such as driving trucks & motorcoach buses. He enjoyed doing the bus tours down into the States, especially The Grand Old Opry. He also worked for the Stratford Parks Department in Stratford Ontario for many years until his retirement. Some of my Dad's hobbies were fishing, camping, & traveling. From these things my Dad did & enjoyed, I feel I've inherited some of the interests & traits I have to-day. For example, my love of driving the highways & bi-ways like my Dad did, my Dad's sense of adventure when he was in the Air Force. (I was in the Navy) His love of the outdoors has been passed on to me as well, except for fishing. I always felt sorry for the poor little worms.

From my Mother I received the gift of love for animals & a genuine appreciation of music. She played piano by ear & we always had music playing on the radio when I was growing up. Although I can't play any musical instruments, that musical talent has passed through me to my son Sean who is now a talented musician.

Thanks to some of my parents interests plus my own, I have been able to tie them all to-gether & interest myself with the RV bug. The driving, the sense of adventure, & the love of the outdoors all have things in common. When you throw in some great traveling music with my love of photography & writing, it all begins to take shape.

Kelly comes from an RV family from way back. She remembers her 2 sisters & brother all loaded up in the station wagon heading down the road to various campgrounds here & there. She is from Spencerport NY & her Dad was an avid fisherman who liked to bring the whole family up to Canada on fishing & camping adventures. They later moved from station wagons to Class C RV's & finally Class A motorhomes. Kelly's Dad was a U.S. Marine during the second world war & fought on the Island of Iwo Jima. Kelly gets her sense of adventure, determination, & love for the outdoors from her Dad!! Her Mother worked in the school system & I think it's here where she has inherited her academic smarts, patience, & easy going manner. All very conducive to the RV lifestyle, so it was a natural progression for Kelly to one day gravitate to-wards the adventures of the open road.

From the first day Kelly & I met, it was apparent that we had a lot of things in common. Over the years we talked more & more of someday owning a motorhome & traveling around this big beautiful land of ours & in 1997 the dream began to take shape. We bought our first rig, an old 17 foot 1979 Dodge Centurion Class C. It was kinda beat up but it was a start. Next came a 24 foot Prowler travel trailer in 1999. From there, we shifted back to a 23 foot 19?? Gulf Stream Class C . Went all the way down to Big Bend in Texas during the winter of 2003 with the Gulf Stream but sold it when we got back because it was too small. Somewhere between then & 2006 we acquired a couple of extra doggy pals so when we decided to get another RV we had to think bigger. After waffling back & forth between a Motorhome or truck & trailer we decided on the truck & trailer combination & headed off for New Mexico & Arizona in the winter of 06/07. The 2004 GMC Sierra 6.0 & the 2005 Rockwood fifth wheel worked well to-gether but it didn't take us long to realize we should have decided on the Motorhome!! Nothing against trucks & fifth wheels but it just wasn't the right set up for us, especially traveling with 3 dogs. When we arrived home in the spring we traded the truck & fifth wheel in on a 33' 2003 Damon Challenger 329 motorhome. And, that's where we're at to-day.

Now. what does all this have to do with, "Why an RV!!" (they don't call me Mr. Blabberfingers for nothing you know:))

For a number of years I drove an Airports transportation van based in Stratford Ontario taking people to & from Pearson International Airport in Toronto. I would quite often hear conversations amongst passengers & the one common thread I picked up over the years from people heading off or coming home from vacations, was........... "I wished we had done this when we were younger & still had our health." Women travelers outnumbered men travelers almost two to one because the husbands had died & now the ladies had to travel on their own. I saw this over & over again. In the last 3 years I have been driving a mobility van part time in our area & the people I transport are all in wheelchairs & mostly elderly. I am frequently in & out of various nursing home facilities so I see first hand what the latter years of person's life can unfortunately be like. Not good!!!!
Kelly & I made the decision a long time ago that if we were ever in a financial position to get out & see the country, hike the canyons & trails, walk the desert floors, travel the mountain passes & enjoy the outdoors we love so much, we had better get at it while we were both still in reasonably good health. The financial opportunity presented itself in the late summer of 2006 & we set our plans in motion.

We know it's a big gamble & a risk but we've seen tooooooooo many people who have waited toooooooo long to live their dreams only to end up sick, incapacitated, in a care facility, or deceased too early............. and, THAT is WHY we made our decision to travel now while we can!! We may one day regret our decision or we may not. Only time will tell, so stay tuned, wish us luck, & ride along with The Bayfield Bunch as we chase our dream around the next bend, over the next hill & into the sunrises & sunsets of this beautiful land of ours ...................

And............to whoever you are, if you have read this far you are to be commended for your patience, perserverance, & determination!! Toodles............... AL. (aka Mr. Blabberfingers)