On Thursday twelve members of the Driedger family went on a bicycle trip over to Bob-Lo Island in the Detroit River. We had to say “Bob-Lo” instead of “cheese” for the photographer which explains the open mouths on some Driedgers in this picture. Bob-Lo is a derivative of the French phrase “Bois Blanc” which translated means “White Woods” and references the many birch trees on Bob-Lo Island.
You catch the ferry-boat to Bob-Lo in the town of Amherstburg and so we drove down to Amherstburg in three pick up trucks loaded up with our bikes. Bob-Lo Island, which is now an upscale residential development, served as the site of a French Catholic Mission to the Huron in the 1700s. It was the headquarters of Shawnee Chief Tecumseh during the war of 1812 between Canada and the United States, and was the invasion point for a group of patriots during the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1838.
Uncle Dave does a little seat adjustment as we wait for the ferry-boat to take us to the historic island.
The Bob-Lo Island ferry was at the centre of a Supreme Court case in 1948 when the ferry coming to Bob-Lo from the Michigan side of the Detroit River refused service to a young black woman and claimed the state of Michigan did not have the right to order them to serve the woman. The ferry company lost their suit and could no longer practice racial discrimination.
The trip over to Bob-Lo was quick and it was a lovely day to be out on the water. The Bob-Lo ferry which used to have routes between Ontario, the island, and Michigan was used by draft dodgers during the Vietnam War as a way to get into Canada. It took a little organizing to get everyone settled on the proper bikes but then we were off on our adventure. Bob-Lo Island which had a lighthouse for ships traveling upriver from Lake Erie in the early 1800s is only 2.5 miles long and .5 miles wide. So it doesn’t take long to drive around the whole island.
Bob-Lo Island was an amusement park from 1898 to 1993 and we visited several times with our older son and his cousins on our family trips to Ontario. There are still a few artifacts and buildings remaining from the island’s amusement park days including the abandoned Space Needle ride.
The dance hall on the island built in the early 1900s was financed by Henry Ford and was rumored to be the second largest in the world holding 5000 dancers. Bob-Lo Island is now owned by a residential development corporation and has huge homes. I’m sure it looks very different then it did between 1834 and 1860 when it was a stop on the Underground Railroad for slaves escaping to Canada. We stopped for a break at the ice cream stand and restaurant near the marina but were disappointed to find they were only open evenings and weekends.
Some people did walk to the end of the marina pier. Once two huge ferries the SS St. Clair and the SS Columbia which each could carry 2,500 passengers sailed into Bob-Lo Island many times each day. Now the boats that dock there are mostly pleasure-seeking craft. When both kids and adults were getting hungry we took the ferry back to Amherstburg and walked the streets to find a restaurant. We finally settled on an Italian place that suited everyone’s fancy and reminisced about our Bob-Lo Island adventure over some good food. Bob-Lo Island was nice place for a family biking adventure. Not a lot of traffic, paved roads, Canada geese to race after, stones for skipping on the water and a fun ferry ride.
Canada Day in Leamington
The Tomato Capital of the World
Visiting a Greenhouse in Leamington
Dave and his brothers with their Dad
We are in Leamington Ontario visiting Dave’s family. We had a busy, fun Canada Day. I started the morning with a walk down to Lake Erie with my sister-in-law Shirley. We are staying with Dave’s brother Paul and my sister-in-law Shirley, who made us a lovely dinner our first night here.
After our walk we had some of Shirley’s delicious muffins and a special smoothie for breakfast and then Dave’s brother John popped in for coffee before we all headed off to a Canada Day picnic at the Leamington Mennonite Home where Dave’s Dad is a resident.
Dave gets a hug from his Aunt Aggie while his Aunt Margaret looks on
There was a band playing, short speeches by dignitaries, lots of great food and a chance to visit with friends and relatives. Several of Dave’s aunts were there too and we met a number of Dave’s highschool friends whose parents are also residents of the home.Then we were off to the Erie Shores Golf and Country Club where Dave’s brother Paul is a member for a round of golf.
Dave listens to his sister-in-law Linda tell a story
For supper our nephew Tim had invited everyone in the family over to his new house. He and Penny provided a delicious meal, the kids had fun in the pool, there was lots of visiting
Michael announcing the teams for Friday’s golf family golf tourney
and teams were made for an upcoming family golf tournament later in the week organized by our nephew Michael.
We’d had such a busy day we didn’t stay up for the fireworks. Happy Canada Day everyone!
He Hasn’t Lost His Sense of Humour
Spring Training in Arizona
Treking to the Tip of Canada
Filed under Canada, Family
Our friends Bryan and Emily just adopted a little girl named Rose. This was our first time meeting her. We sat behind her at the wedding we attended in Kansas City. At first Rose was a little shy. But Dave’s magic touch with children quickly won her over.
Tad and Wendy’s Wedding
All that Jazz in Kansas City
The House with the Obama Chair
Southern Barbeque in Kansas City
One night during our stay in Kansas City we decided we wanted to go and hear some jazz. A number of our Hong Kong friends’ group were at the wedding rehearsal dinner, others were golfing, so those of us who’d been left behind hopped in the car and went out in search of a great jazz band and a good meal.
Our first stop was The Knucklehead which had received rave reviews. The wall decorated with caricatures of lots of music greats was appealing but the $30 cover charge was not, nor the comment from the man taking the money for the cover charge that “the food wasn’t great.”
A bit of online searching led us to The Phoenix.
We figured it had to be a fun place since it was located on Scamps’ Alley. Interesting wall murals outside and inside intrigued us and the music sounded great.
Dave and Jon arrived from their golf game about halfway through the evening.
Our waitress was so friendly and fun. I decided I should have my first mint julep and it was very refreshing, each sip a little sweeter. The food was also good. I had lamb sliders with spicy cole slaw.
We had a fun evening, although some people took their jazz a little more seriously than others.
The House with the Obama Chair
Southern Barbeque in Kansas City
We are in Kansas City for our friend Tad’s wedding.
Together with ten friends we have rented this historic old house that once belonged to a former mayor of Kansas City Mark Funkhouser. We have an extremely friendly neighbor, Tim across the street who comes over every day bearing gifts of all sorts and he has told us all kinds of stories about our historic house. It was our neighbor, Tim who told us that before he was the American president Barack Obama visited Mark Funkhouser in this house and they had a beer in the livingroom. Tim said Barack Obama sat in front of the fireplace. Even though this is probably not the chair Obama sat in we’ve dubbed it The Obama Chair. People who don’t agree with Obama politically say they get a weird vibe sitting in the chair, while others are enjoying basking vicariously in the President’s aura of power.
The house would be a lovely place to stay except that on our first night here in Kansas City there was a horrible storm and the electricity to thousands of homes in the city was cut off. During the rest of our stay we’ve had no power. So we’ve managed with these lanterns our neighbour brought over for light and a large cooler to keep our perishables in. Luckily the stove is gas as is the hot water tank so we can still shower comfortably and boil water for coffee in the morning. We go to the local coffee shop to use the internet and before the wedding a couple of us even curled our hair in the coffee shop with our curling irons. It’s been a bit of an adventure.
Luckily the weather hasn’t been too hot so we’ve managed without the air conditioning. The house is big but with eleven people we need to use almost every room for sleeping accommodations.We eat breakfast out on the deck, since the diningroom is someone’s bedroom.
Being without power hasn’t been ideal but what has been ideal is having plenty of time to spend with old friends and catch up on one another’s lives.
Going for Barbeque in Kansas City