Canada- Part 1: Sudbury

I wrote a little each day while we were in Canada so that I would be sure to have a post. Here is the beginning of our trip.

Friday, June 10th-Nashville/Toronto
We finally got in to Toronto tonight. Our flight was scheduled for 10:45 this morning. So we loaded up and left from Bowling Green with Ashley, Brock, and Brody at 7:30. After checking in and going through security, we waited at the gate. We heard on the loud speaker that the flight was overbooked and they needed 3 volunteers to get on a later flight. The offer: $800 cash each. We took the deal. We could only get it for the 3 of us, but we all got on the later flight and we will split it equally. They also gave us lunch vouchers, so we ate and spent 6 hours in the Nashville airport. It wasn’t too bad. I took my iPad and downloaded some games. Brody was really good. He didn’t fuss hardly at all, even on the plane.
This is mine and Brody’s first time in Canada. It will be nice to meet all the family that I’ve heard about and be in a country I’ve never been to before. We are staying in a hotel in Toronto tonight and then we will hit the road tomorrow morning. Jerry and Peggy drove up early with our bags and rented a car for us. Basically, all I am seeing in Toronto is the airport and the back of my eyelids.

Saturday, June 11th- Sudbury
This morning we got on the road and I got to experience 2 Canadian treats- Tim Hortons and poutine! We got breakfast at Tim Hortons and I only got a bagel, but I did try Chad’s breakfast sandwich. Later, I got a taste of the doughnuts by trying a timbit (like a donut hole) or 2. I’m a fan. I can see why they are everywhere here. I’m sure we’ll go a few more times before we leave. On the road trip from Toronto to Sudbury, we stopped at a fishing shop and grabbed a snack. Chad and I shared some poutine. I had heard of it, but this was my first time trying this interesting dish. It is French fries with gravy and cheese. It was good!

Poutine

In Sudbury, I met Paavo and Monique at their home and I also got to meet Matti, Gillian, Leah, Brendan, and Richard. We ate (a lot) and visited. They were all so nice and it was a lot of fun. Leah loved playing with Brody, and I think he loved the attention and energy. We are staying in a hotel here for the next 2 nights. The first room they gave already had someone in it. I’m glad that’s never happened to me! It’s a nice hotel, which is good because we all need to get some rest.

Sunday, June 12th- Sudbury 59 degrees (rainy in the morning)
Today, Monique and Paavo took us to see the Big Nickel. I’ve heard about it from Chad, Ashley, and Brock. It was exactly what it sounds like… A big nickel. It was very chilly- high of 59 degrees and rainy. Later we went to a farmers market and the mall. We didn’t get anything but some food. We must have been tired because we then went back and Chad and I took a nap for a couple hours.
For dinner, we went out with Paavo, Monique, Gillian, Richard, Leah, and Brendan. Then we went to their house for yummy cake and ice cream. We visited and watched Leah and Brendan play with Brody. Leah even sang to us. She has a beautiful voice! We took some pictures (just not with our camera) and said our goodbyes. It was a great visit!

Ashley, Monique, and Chad at the Big Nickel

 

Jennie and Chad at the Big Nickel

Cumberland Falls

On the way home from Gatlinburg, our GPS took us north on I75, which allowed for a perfect little stop along the way.  I have to mention that it was the most gorgeous day on Wednesday.  The sun was bright, not a cloud in the sky, and a cool crisp air.  The drive was beautiful, but we knew we didn’t have to rush home, so we thought we would take a short detour to Cumberland Falls.  It was not very far off course at all.

We parked and walked to the falls.  It was so pretty with the bright sun causing a rainbow.  The whole park was beautiful, and we saw more fall colors in the leaves than we did in Gatlinburg.  The only eyesore was all the trash that had been collected along the banks.  We read that it had all come from people in the park throwing trash in the water and it catching up stream.  They do clean-ups throughout the year and it still collects that much trash.  It’s just crazy to think about.  I hope it was all just an accident because I would hate to think people just throw trash into a river whenever they are done with it.  We walked and took pictures, toured the gift shop, and then sat on some rocks by the water.  It was so gorgeous and a nice way to enjoy the beautiful fall weather.  Here are some pictures from that gorgeous day.

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Gatlinburg

After leaving Atlanta, Chad and I drove to Gatlinburg for a few days of fun.  We both had been before, but this was the first time going together.  It was a great fall trip.  We got to our condo where we were staying.  It was Bent Creek Golf Village.  The place was nice, but we don’t really golf and it was about 11 miles from the town.  The condo was, however, very spacious and cute.  Best of all, it had a fireplace that we really took advantage of.

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That Sunday night, we didn’t do much.  After we checked out the condo, we headed to the main street in Gatlinburg and drove for a bit looking at everything.  We drove to Pigeon Forge and had dinner at the Smokey Mountain Brewery, which had been recommended to us by a couple different people.  Chad had the buffalo chicken pizza and liked it a lot.  I had a calzone that was pretty good too.  It was rainy when we left there, but we looked around the Christmas Place and picked up a few things from Kroger.  At Kroger, we talked to a lady who we thought was in an information booth.  We mentioned we were interested in going to the Dixie Stampede, so she told us that we could get tickets for free if we go to a presentation for a resort.  We talked about it, and decided that 2 hours of our time was worth the $90 it would cost to buy the tickets, so we signed up for the next morning.

At 9:30 the next morning, we were at the presentation, ready to say no thank you as much as we needed to.  I was surprised to find out that the sales people meet with us by ourselves and not in a large group.  I thought I could play on my phone during a presentation, but this was more like an interview or a friendly chat.  We ended up staying there for 3 hours, but we got our tickets.  I didn’t find the experience all that bad until it started to get to hour 2, then I was ready to go.  We toured one of the resorts, and I felt like we were walking way too slow.  Then, at the end, we had to wait for a manager for a while because they were all busy.  It was interesting to find out about timeshares and how they work with the point system.  We are actually looking to find out more about them.  There was just no way that we were going to commit to something that day.

After we left there, we had lunch at McAllister’s and headed to Cade’s Cove.  This was a trail that you drive around to see historic buildings, beautiful landscape, and wild animals.  The hopes were that we would get to see a bear, but no such luck.  The animals that we saw were squirrels, a dear, chipmunks, and turkeys that trotted in front of our car as they crossed the street.  It was a lovely day and the tour was pretty fun.

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Next, we headed back to town and stopped at Laurel Falls.  This was suggested by my dad as a place that we should go, so we decided to check it out.  We had to hike 1.3 miles up to the falls, but it wasn’t too bad, and we had some lovely chats along the way.  I was surprised how close you could actually get to the waterfalls.  You could take a shower in it if you wanted.

falls

As we got back in town, we parked so that we could walk around and enjoy all the things to see and shops to go in.  We had dinner at No Way Jose’s, which was pretty good and fast.  We walked around and shopped, not really buying anything except for a few candy treats.  We also rode the Sky Lift.  It was fun to see from such a high point, and it was cute how nervous Chad was at first.  At the top, they take your picture.  Chad and I kissed for our picture, and it was really cute, but we didn’t spend the $14  it cost to get it.  You’ll just have to imagine how cute it was.  We walked what we felt was the entire strip and then headed back to the car.  Ober Gatlinburg was closed, but we talked about going back so we could ride the Alpine Slide.  That would have been fun, but I actually forgot about it until just now.

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The next day, we went to the Tanger Outlet to shop around.  There were so many stores, we were there for hours.  We took a break for lunch at the Chop House.  It was good food, but I think I ate too much.  We probably should have split something.  While shopping, I purchased 3 sweaters and a couple of sportswear items.  I think I got a good deal on them.  Chad didn’t find anything that was worth his money, but then again, he doesn’t like to spend money on clothes.  I actually found plenty of things that I wanted, but there weren’t as many good buys as I had hoped for.

That evening, Chad and I went to the Dixie Stampede.  I had been before when I was in high school, and I remembered it as being kind of fun, but Chad had never been.  So, with our free tickets, we went.  We weren’t supposed to take pictures, but we got a few before the show began.  It was a fun experience.  All of the food (a whole chicken, a slice of pork tenderloin, corn on the cob, creamy vegetable soup, a cheddar biscuit, and an apple turnover) had to be eaten without any silverware.  They sat us on the South side of the arena and we were in competition with the North side.  There was a show with horses and pigs and chickens to watch as we ate.  There was music too, but I was disappointed that not all of it was live.  I thought it was very obvious that most of the people were lip syncing.  There were goofy things that they did and we cheered on the south.  It was a good, fun time- right up our alley.

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After the show, we went back to our condo and went swimming and hot-tubbing.  We had lots of fun playing around in the pool and then relaxing in the hot tub.

The next morning was check out and time to leave.  All of the garbage cans outside had been overturned, and a guy cleaning up told me that they had 3 little bears who got into them.  I’m sad we missed our chance to see a bear, but I’m glad we didn’t run into them on the way back from the pool.  It was wonderful to get away with Chad for a while and really spend some good time together.  We enjoyed our time in Gatlinburg so much, and I’m sure we will be back again.

Top Ten Reasons I Think my Husband is the Cutest

#10 He times how long we cook our meat at The Melting Pot to ensure it has been exactly 2 minutes.

#9 He tucks me in with a kiss EVERY night and answers when I call for my “tucker.”

#8 To appease me, he wears his snowman pajama pants at Christmas time.

#7 He takes his Harry Potter book with him everywhere “just in case” there is a chance he can read it.

#6 When he knows how my sentence is going to end, he mouths along with my words without realizing it.

#5 He throws a little hissy fit when he has to go back to work after lunch.

#4 He gave me this t-square to help with Uppercase Living.

#3 He says, “Look, my socks match my outfit.”

#2 He actually believed that it was me under the covers and told the pillows, “wakey, wakey.”

#1 Just look at that face.

I love you, cutie!

Kine and Kaka in Hawaii

While in Hawaii, we discovered that our names in Hawaiian are Kaka (Chad) and Kine (Jennie).  Here are all the details about our trip!

On Friday, June 12th, Kaka and I, along with Kaka’s sister and brother-in-law, Ashley and Brock, left for vacation in Hawaii.  (I don’t know anyone else’s Hawaiian names).  We flew to Dallas, and after missing our connecting flight, got on standby for the next flight, which we eventually made it on.  It was kind of fun running through the airport trying to make our original flight.  We finally took the 7 and a half hour flight to Oahu.

We got there and headed for our hotel in Waikiki, where we met up with Kaka’s dad, Jerry, his step mom, Peggy, and her children, Laura and Brad.  Jerry and Peggy had already been there a week, and Laura and Brad had only been there for a day.  We didn’t do much that first day because we were pretty tired.  Hawaii is 5 hours behind our time, so we ended up going to bed at 7:30 that night.

The next day, we headed to our ship, The Pride of America, for our cruise to the Hawaiian islands.  On the way to the cruise, our driver let us stop by Da Kine Bail Bonds where Dog the Bounty Hunter works.

Here we are in our cute little cabin.

We spent 1-2 days on each of the islands we went to.  It was a lot of fun!  I’ll give you a recap of the things we did each day.

Sunday-Maui:

First, we went to the Iao Valley and saw the Iao Needle.


We went to a beach that I can’t remember the name of.  It was very pretty, but hot.  We didn’t want to get too gross because we were going to a luau that night and wouldn’t have time to go back to the ship.

That night, we went to a luau in Old Lahaina.  It was beautiful there, right on the beach.  We received leis as we arrived, and we had all the food and drinks we wanted.

We got to see them take the pig out of the ground, and they later served it in the buffet.  I had low expectations for the food because I just didn’t know what to expect.  I knew they would have pork and spam (yuck!), but I didn’t know if I would like anything else.  To my surprise, I really liked a lot of the food.  I was glad because it really made the luau one of my favorite things.  They also had a show with dancers as they shared the history of Hawaii.

Monday-still in Maui:

Jerry drove us up to a lookout of the Haleakala crater.  We went 10,000 feet in elevation on winding roads.  It was not a very fun drive, but I think Brad had it worst.  He road on a cooler in between 2 seats in the van.  These pictures are on the way up to the crater.

When we got to the top, it was pretty cold and windy, so Laura and I covered up with our beach towels.  There was a wedding going on while we were there.  It was very pretty, but it looked like the bride was going to lose her veil at any moment.

After the crater, we had a picnic at a beach.  Jerry, Brock, and Kaka went to walk around a little town while the rest of us tried to lay out.  It was very windy and we kept getting pelted with sand.  We had to move 3 times before we found a tolerable spot.  Peggy’s hat flew off and went pretty far down the beach before Ashley caught up with it.  Once we got settled, it was nice and very pretty.  If you look close in this first picture, you can see the sand blowing.


Tuesday-Hilo (on the Big Island):

The first place we visited was Punalu’u Beach, a black sand beach-very cool!  It was really neat to see all this sand created from volcano lava and some of the rocks that looked like flowing lava.  It’s something you don’t see many places in this world.  This was also the first place we saw a sea turtle.  It looked very ill and almost dead except for when it blinked.

Next, we went to Volcano National Park and saw Kīlauea Volcano from afar.  You could see the gases coming up from this active volcano.  Naturally, we couldn’t get that close for safety reasons.  We also went in a lava tube, through which lava used to flow.  It looked a lot like a cave.

Next, we saw Rainbow Falls-pretty.

Wednesday-Kona (on the Big Island):

All Kaka and I did this day was go to Turtle Bay where we went snorkeling.  It was very cool… and free. One of the crew told us about this place that you could see lots, and we only had to pay for our snorkel equipment.  Turtles would swim right up to the shore.  There were lots of pretty fish, even prettier than in Jamaica.

Thursday-Kauai:

Went to Waimea Canyon.  It’s not what you would picture when you think of Hawaii.  There is a waterfall in the distance that you can see.

Went to Poipu Beach to see Spouting Horn, a lava tube that shoots water into the air whenever a wave comes in.  This area of Hawaii was beautiful!  I thought this was the most gorgeous area we saw.  Spouting Horn was pretty cool too, and we saw more sea turtles swimming near the rocks.

Next, we went to the Kauai Coffee Company.  I don’t like coffee, but it was so beautiful there and smelled great.  They gave away free samples of the different types of coffee to try.

Friday-still in Kauai:

This was our last full day on the cruise.  We were still in Kauai, but we didn’t have a car, so we didn’t get off the ship.  There weren’t anymore places that we really wanted to see, so we went to the pool, drank some fruity drinks served in pineapples, ate lunch, played BINGO, went to an art auction (hoping to win a raffle), and played water volleyball.  The water volleyball was so much fun!  Kaka, Brock, Ashley, Brad, and I all played with others against the crew.  We were awesome and won.  It was a blast.

That evening, the shipped sailed past the beautiful Napali coastline.  It was very pretty at sunset, and there had been a rainbow earlier.  It was nice to look at, but also fun because it was very windy on the deck of the ship.  I had a hard time keeping my dress down and my hair out of my face.

Saturday-Back to Honolulu:

Disembarked the ship and went back to our hotel in Waikiki.  We walked around and checked out the shops and the International Market Place.

Later that night, we took our family picture on the beach and said goodbye to Laura and Brad, who headed home.

Sunday-Waikiki:

We took a bus to Pearl Harbor to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.  It was very beautiful there, and it was interesting that the memorial was built right over the ship.  Most of the men are still there where they died, and the ship still leaks oil to this day.

When we got back, we had lunch at Duke’s and tried the famous hula pie.  It was good, but I’m not a huge fan of Macadamia nuts (which are very high in calories).

Later that afternoon, we went to Waikiki beach, which was only two blocks away, to lay out and swim.  You could see Diamond Head from the beach.  The ocean was great.  You could go out very far and still touch the bottom.  The water was super clear and the waves were kind of big.  We wished we knew how to surf or at least had a boogie board.

Monday- Waikiki:

Our last day 🙁

We did our last minute shopping and headed to the airport to go home.

After the long flight, we were so glad to be back.  It took quite a while to get back on the Bowling Green schedule.  Hawaii is 5 hours earlier than us.  So, when we got back, we couldn’t fall asleep until 2, 3, or 4 in the morning.  I think we are finally getting back on track.

We had such a great time, but it’s good to be home.  I really hope to go back again.  It sounds like my parents are up for a trip, so maybe there will be another visit in the future.

We’re back!

We made it home from Hawaii safely.  We had a wonderful time and hope to share our pictures and experiences with you soon! While in Honolulu, Chad was told, once again, that he looks like Ben Affleck.  How many times do you have to be told you look like someone before you quit your job and become an official celebrity impersonator?

More about the trip to come…

Chad Affleck