Monday, July 14, 2008


Well, Chatham, it turns out, is not on the 403, but on 40...and for those who were looking for a picture of the escarpment, sadly, it is on the 403, beyond London, and we had barely passed through Sarnia when we had to turn off to head for Chatham.

What a trip!

We started out at 6, dropped into McDonald's and got breakfast, then we were on our way. I had wanted to buy a pair of sandals on the way, and we stopped a couple of times to look into different stores, but I didn't find anything I liked, so we moved on.

We got to the bridge, and were waved on through with no difficulties whatsoever. Very nice drive, so far...

Then we got to 40.

Miles and miles of roadway, stop and go, turn here, detour there--got lost twice. What a fiasco!

We stopped at a pet store in what we THOUGHT was Chatham, since the sign three miles back said "Welcome to Chatham", I mean

Who'd a thunk that it wasn't Chatham?

But, it wasn't Chatham. It was Wallyberg or something similar. I wanted to check out the puppies they had in the pet store. There was a real cutie Shitz Zhu that reminded me of my hubby's dog, Cindy (more on Cindy tomorrow), but she was $600.

And I'm thinking

"For a puppy?"

So we left and headed back on the road for Chatham, which was apparently another 15 minutes up the road.

More construction/road re-surfacing, and finally, CHATHAM!

Of course, since we hadn't seen a river yet, we stayed on 40, which ran around town to the East, and ended up nearly to the 401 (lost again, but found a cool restaurant, which we ate at afterward), before deciding to head back and go straight instead of that left turn at Alburquerque....

In any case, we finally ended up at the right place, and found a parking spot (not the easiest thing to do, by the way. It was 5 blocks from the fairgrounds!), gathered our gear and walked to the festival grounds. We got inside, and found a good place to sit, then I decided it was time for lunch. While underneath the tent for the food vendor that I'd chosen, I could see big black clouds gathering to the west and sound of the grounds. It was going to hit and hit hard. Ray was too far away for me to yell to him to take cover, and then the rain came.

Nah, it wasn't rain.

It was more like a waterfall! Everyone soaked to the skin within seconds--and Ray, standing there with two umbrellas, works himself into a frenzy trying to open the package of a pocket Rain Poncho. He brought mine around, and I put it on (of course, I'm under the tent yet), and put the food underneath it, and walk over to the beer tent with our food, find a place to sit, and just dropped all the wet things on the ground there and sat down to enjoy my meal. Ray sat down next to me and ate his meal too. Our food was nice and dry. I can't say that about most other's food!!!

After about a half hour, the sky lifted, and the sun came out. The rain left a nice breeze that boded well for the rest of the day (indeed, even though I'd heard it was supposed to rain off and on all day, it only rained the one time, but it was quite a RAIN!). So we finished our meal and then headed over to the festival grounds to find a good spot to set up our chairs and umbrellas to watch the grade 4 competition and the grade 1 competition thereafter.

Here's how I would have scored the preferential treatment here, either, folks...

1. Brighton
2. Pentanagore
3. Flint
4. Windsor
5. Hamilton

Windsor was first to play, and frankly, I figure, you never should give the highest score to the first band out--what if someone else down the way plays BETTER?????? But Windsor ended up taking first place in the competition, even when one of their tenors appeared to have a severe lack of confidence in what she was playing. Flint took second--which totally shocked me, because I thought I was being NICE by giving them third!!!

Brighton and Pentanagore took 3rd and 4th, maybe not in that order, but honestly, they had the best sound of all of the bands, so I was also shocked with their placings--I couldn't tell you what the judges had on their minds at the time, but it's possible that I haven't a clue about how judges do their judging. Even so, Ray ALSO gave kudos to Pentanagore and Brighton, so I thought I was pretty safe in my judging of the sound I was hearing.

Then Grade 1 came out to play.

It was 78th, Peel and Windsor in that order, and I was totally right all the way! So you know--I'm a good judge of sound. I can't believe that I was so wrong about Grade IV.

But after the closing ceremonies and massed bands, we folded up the chairs and headed back to the car--off to the restaurant.

How's that for a blow by blow?

At the restaurant, a little hole in the wall family eatery attached to a garden center with Left-Handed Gnomees (figurines) standing everywhere (pretty scarey) and a pub (no less!) we stopped and walked in, sat down, and ordered Chicken Parmesan.

The waitress/cook/chief bottle washer came out with 14" plates piled 3" high with spaghetti! And chicken parmesan. And garlic toast! And spaghetti, did I mention spaghetti?

There was so much food, we couldn't eat it all, so we got styrofoam boxes and paid the bill, left a large tip and headed for the car and the 401.

We passed this sign that said 401 was closing at 9pm.

How do you completely close a highway??? We lucked out, because we passed the construction well before 9pm, and ended up at the toll booth to the USA about 8:30pm. Entering the USA wasn't much of a problem, but the guard, who appeared to be of some Middle Eastern descent, didn't seem to be in a good mood, and didn't joke much with us like the guards at the Sarnia booth. So we answered the requisite questions, and were back on the road with no time lost.

We returned to my house about 10:30pm due to construction all around Detroit, which we knew was going to happen, but there was no detours and no stopped traffic--just a little slower than normal, but things moved along fairly well.

All in all, not a bad trip, although I'm not seriously looking to go back there anytime soon.

The next trip will be Detroit St. Andrews in August, and I'm trying to get my hubby to go to Stone Mountain with me in September. The next competition will be for Grade 5 in Detroit St. Andrews, which is a games I attend nearly every year, and I take along my spinning wheel and demo under the tent by the children's games with the Weaver's Guild of Detroit. Stone Mountain is a games that I've never been to, and have always wanted to go to, so it's chancey that I'll get to go, but I think it would be a VERY nice vacation. We'll see how things fall out.

I'm getting some backlash rumors from Ray regarding Flint. The information is pretty unsettling. There are things going on that make me feel uncomfortable--and we'll see how things filter down in the next few months. Otherwise, not much else to say except TADA! Back to work!


Becca said...

i just clicked on your blog from So the thing is and wild, you're talking about my home area. I grew up in Sarnia!

Tenna Draper said...

Sarnia is a great place, although I've really only seen it *in passing*--as in, *in passing by*, as it seems like when ever I go, I am going solely for a highland games (they used to have them in Sarnia, too, but that was before I started playing in bagpipe bands). I think I stopped at a restaurant once in Sarnia, but again, on the way to a games, and years ago--but it was a nice place. I remember I was actually able to talk to the waiter/aka garcon in French (even though most of the French are in Quebec...)