The McKenzie's Official world tour site
Thursday, 24 December 2009
WE ARE HOME!!
Just a very quick Christmas Eve message to let everyone know that we are back home in Devon - ready for Christmas Day.
We arrived home on Saturday 19th to a fantastic welcome and it has been VERY busy with unpacking, sorting and trying to organise our Christmas,ever since!
We would like to thank Mayflower Transport in Follygate, Okehampton, for assisting us with the logistics of getting Nessie home.......and to everyone else involved in those final miles of our great adventures.....
A GREAT BIG THANK-YOU to EVERYONE who has helped in any way at all to help our travels to be SO enjoyable and successful on our MACSWAYROUND!
We will be back after the festive season - when our house is a bit more organised for more personal thankyou's and some final photos........
It is still very, very, strange for us to be home and so we are just being swept along by the festive season.......
We would like to thank everyone for your continued interest, comments and support in our journey and would like to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year....
Please check back again soon for the Grand Finale to the website and some final photos.....thank-you so much.....
We realise the financial climate is not good right now - but would like to make another bIG plee to you- to dig deep in your pockets and donate how-ever much you can -to our chosen charity -The DEVON AIR AMBULANCE -PLEASE help boost our success and help to keep our trip and the vital air ambulance services flying high......THANKYOU
Thursday, 24 December 2009 19:22:46 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) HOME
Saturday, 28 November 2009
Niagara Falls and beyond...................in pictures!
Saturday, 28 November 2009 22:06:43 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) Canada | USA
Niagara Falls and beyond...................
After leaving Stevensville, we continued Macswayround by passing through Albion and Sterling Heights on our way back across the borders and into Canada.
In Ontario we stayed at London Line at the Country View RV Park and then got to Niagara Falls to stay at Scotts Trailor Park. We arrived here on Phil’s birthday- the first of us to have a second birthday in the time we have been away on Macswayround!
Niagara Falls made a great setting for some birthday celebrations, as we took the tour to go behind the falls and into the virtual falls experience! The sheer power and thundering noise of the water was totally mind- blowing and we could never imagine that anybody has survived the mighty tumble over the edge of the falls. It was great to see the Canadian Horse-Shoe Falls and the American Falls – it bought back good memories of Phil and I seeing these about 16 years ago, on a previous visit to the States. This has to be another unforgettable experience on Macswayround.
The butterfly Conservatory was a most beautiful place to visit as there was a mass of spectacular butterflies of all shapes and colours, whichever direction you looked into........
We also spent some time at an old favourite of our families – the Bird Kingdom. This complex actually included the largest indoor walk- through aviary in the world! There was a wide variety of birds, once again, of all sizes and colours and the Rainbow Lorikeets reminded us of our time in Australia and New Zealand too!
After journeying on some more we reached Mississauga and had a great time catching up with our buddies that we met a year ago on this very trip – when we were in Portugal and Munir and Lisa were busy taking a Camper van trip of their very own! It was great to be able to see them again – we always intended to meet again when we got back along to Ontario – but for it to actually happen was brilliant! Even more brilliant was that since seeing them, Lisa and Munir have got married and had a baby boy!! Welcome to the world –LITTLE HANI! Moments like this make us realise just how long we have been out here on the road!
The Fifty Point Conservation Area made a beautiful place to camp while we were on our way there and if we had had longer, we would have liked to get some fishing in there too!
A few days later we all travelled up to almost Petersborough together and our family gate- crashed at Lisa’s parent’s house! We would like to thank Munir, Lisa, Dave and Pat, for all of their hospitality. We all had a great time there, including a walk through the bush and excellent tucker (food!) We loved the homemade maple syrup, which they have tapped from their own trees!
We enjoyed a visit to Petersborough to climb up and take a look at the tallest hydraulic lift lock in the world (19.8 metres high)! An amazing piece of engineering –we only wish we had been there at the right time to watch it in action!
After more goodbyes and thanks, our next stop was north to Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario. We were very happy to see another MOOSE and a fox too! We stayed at the only campsite still open at this time of year – Mew Lake Campground and set up what may well be our last campfire on Macswayround! We had chicken curry cooked on the campfire – even though it was getting very chilly!
Our last night in Canada, was spent in Kingston, at the Rideau Acres and this was very near to the U.S Border.
We entered back into the USA at New York State and travelled into Pennsylvania where we found the Shady Rest Campground at South Gibson. This had a beautiful setting in the woods and as the weather here is still unbelievably mild, the children collected more firewood! We were able to fit in one more campfire and some songs with the guitar, as we reminisce our journey and friends that we have met along our way.
The next day or so was spent packing our Nessie up, as we will soon have to leave her at the docks to begin her adventure home, to England. We drove through more of Pennsylvania and stayed in Lancaster County at Flory’s camping. This area is very interesting Amish Countryside and we would like to have had more time to discover more about this very traditional way of life – maybe next time! We did see a young lad working the land with horse drawn machinery, as we drove along.
We took Nessie to the docks in Baltimore and left her there for the few days before she sets sail homeward bound! Many thanks to Mike, in the Sea bridge Office for helping to make this part of our trip much less stressful! However - we were now left ‘homeless’ and it felt very strange!
We booked ourselves into a motel in Baltimore, just to take some breathing space and to decide upon our next moves!
It seemed to be quite tricky to rent a car for a one way journey across different States and so it was during the night in this motel, where Phil had an inspiration for us to fly from Baltimore to Boston! So – after waking up around 7am and finding out about this new idea – we were on a flight by 12.30pm the very same day! Typical of us – all very hot off the cuff actions and you just don’t know where we may end up next! Those best ideas always seem to blossom in the middle of the night too! The flight took just over one hour and got us to Boston safely. Ben says that this was his favourite flight so far, as it was a daytime flight, over interesting land and short enough to enjoy, rather than just being a means of transport from A to B.
We hired a car, easily in Boston, as we intend to return it to the Boston Airport just before we begin our flight journey homeward bound, also. We drove up through some more States – Massachusetts, New Hampshire and into Maine, to see some more of the country before our time is up. We found great accommodation in Old Orchard Beach, at the Grand Beach Inn (many thanks to Munir for taking the time to help us search this place out!)
This seaside town is extremely busy during the summer season. From approximately 10,000 people here at the moment – there may be around 70,000 people here in the mid season! This suits us just fine – a seaside town approaching winter......but Jemma and Ben are not so impressed to see all the waterslides and attractions- closed for the season!
Never mind- hey – we are exploring the area and have enjoyed some footy and basketball in the park with our new Wilson ball!
Time is catching us up now and we shall soon have to wrap up Macswayround, just ready for Christmas 2009. We are using this time to reflect on the journey that we have all been a part of, tie up some loose ends and to reminisce on the priceless messages that we have learnt about life and our world, along our way......
We are all trying to sort out our mixed emotions about returning home and to the world that has become a world away from our current way of life.......we are obviously greatly looking forward to meeting up with everyone again, family and friends, and to see our ‘home’- but Nessie has been our home on the road and it will take an unknown amount of time for us all to re-adjust and re-enter our lives. It is very easy to suffer from itchy feet syndrome – and this is the part that we are trying to get a head- start in – during these final few weeks!!
We were very happy on Thanksgiving Day this year, as we got ourselves organised and booked in for a special meal at the restaurant, here at the Grand Beach Inn. We had a beautiful traditional meal and enjoyed the friendly Christmas atmosphere. It seems very early to us but in the States the run-up to Christmas begins from now onwards. This brought us back memories of this time last year when we were in Philadelphia and were not aware of the traditions of Thanksgiving Day...when we were hungry later on in the day – no food place was open as most people were celebrating the day with family and friends. We were waiting for Nessie to arrive back then and so after much searching we did find a Vietnamese Soup Kitchen – which was, incidentally, very tasty too!
A special thank-you to STEVE WRIGHT on BBC RADIO 2 – for reading out our email message and giving us a mention on Thanksgiving Day.
We have, once again, met some friendly people in and around Old Orchard Beach....and we thank everyone for their time and interest in our story and travels.
Saturday, 28 November 2009 21:57:08 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) Canada | USA
Niagara Falls and beyond...................
* Canadian Horse shoe falls- Length of brink – 2,600 feet
- Height – between 54-58 metres (176-188 feet)
-Volume of Water – 600,000 U.S gallons per second.........
* The Maid of the Mist Pool at the foot of these falls is as deep as the fall is high.
* American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls:
-Length of Brink: 1,060 feet
-Height: 176 feet
* -Volume of Water: 150,000 U.S gallons per second..............
* Twenty percent of the world’s freshwater lie in the Great Lakes, and most flows over the falls.
* Old Orchard Beach is a VERY popular seaside vacation destination for Canadians in the summer and the town’s population rises dramatically through
the summer months.
* Algonquin is Ontario’s first Provincial Park, established in 1893.
* The area of Algonquin is 7,630 square kilometres.
* There are 2,456 lakes found in Algonquin: 1,099 are named and 1,357 are unnamed.
* On average, the west side of Algonquin has 84 frost-free days and the east side has 105 frost-free days.
* In 1782, then President Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey as the USA National Symbol – however it was pipped to the post by the Bald Headed .
* Over Thanksgiving, an estimated 46-50 million turkeys will be eaten in the USA!
* The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in the USA in 1621, and Abraham Lincoln declared it an annual event in 1863. However, Congress did not
declare that this would be a National Holiday until 1941.
* The first Thanksgiving Parade to take place at Macey’s in New York was in 1924. Now an estimated 44 million people watch the parade, both in
New- York and World-Wide.
Saturday, 28 November 2009 21:46:53 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) Canada | USA
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Wildlife around Stevensville.....
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 14:20:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) USA
STEVENSVILLE IN PICTURES
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 14:06:35 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) USA
Stevensville and beyond.......
We are sorry for the lack of blog updates recently-we hope to be able to catch up shortly........
We had a fantastic time in Stevensville, Michigan, catching up with family and friends there. Phil’s brother Steve, even managed to squeeze in a wedding while we were there-and so we would like to send our congratulations and welcome Penny to the McKenzie Clan! Friends in Stevensville came together and did them proud - A Halloween wedding – so no excuse with forgetting the ‘ole wedding anniversary!
Unfortunately we all spent a while of our time in Stevensville being ill – coughs, colds, fevers – we all seemed to get the works......this is the ONLY time on Macswayround that the bugs have managed to catch us up – usually we have been able to out-run them, as we usually do not spend long in any one place!!
During our time around Stevensville, we also spent time at the Love Creek Country Park and the Sarett Nature Centre, where we enjoyed a wide range of autumnal scenery and wildlife. We would also like to thank these brave souls who let Jemma and Ben spend some time with them during our time in Stevensville - Steve, Penny, Alex, Anita, Jack, Judy and hubbie and Vic!
After the wedding we said our fond farewells to everybody and Nessie was back on the road again! At least it was not as chilly for her, as last year’s visit to Michigan!!
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 13:56:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) USA
Stevensville and beyond.......
• Michigan is first in the United States production of peat and
Magnesium compounds and second in gypsum and iron ore.
• Although Michigan is often called the Wolverine State,
there are no longer any wolverines in Michigan.
(However, one was spotted in 2007, so there are some.)
• The Packard Motor Car Company in Detroit manufactured the first Air-conditioned car in 1939
• Michigan State University has the largest single campus student body of any Michigan university. It is the largest institution of higher learning in the state and one of the largest universities in the country.
• The Mackinac Bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. Connecting the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. It spans 5 miles over the Straits of Mackinac, which is where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet. The Mighty Mac took 3 years to complete and was opened to traffic in 1957.
• Michigan has the longest freshwater shoreline in the world.
• Michigan has more shoreline than any other state except Alaska.
• Michigan has more than 11,000 inland lakes and more than 36,000 miles of streams.
• Standing anywhere in the state a person is within 85 miles of one of the Great Lakes.
• Michigan includes 56,954 square miles of land area; 1,194 square miles of Inland waters; and 38,575 square miles of Great Lakes water area.
• Four flags have flown over Michigan -- French, English, Spanish and United States.
• In 1929, the Michigan State Police established the first state police radio system in the world.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 13:55:05 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) USA
Stevensville and beyond.......
• American Robins
• Blue Jays
• White Brest Nuthatches
• Male and female Northern Cardinals
• Tufted Tit-Mice
• American Goldfinches
• Male and female Downy Woodpeckers
• Carolina Chickadees
• Females Purple Finches
• Black Capped Chickadees
• Mourning Doves
• Black Squirrels
• Red Bellied Woodpeckers
• Red Squirrels
• Northern Yellow Shafted Flicker
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 13:53:46 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00) USA
Saturday, 24 October 2009