Canada, Eh? – Canada Adventure Day 1

Ontario Welcome Center It is not very often that our whole family is together in the same place at the same time. So, to make the most of this occasion, we decided to take a family vacation to visit the VanEssen family in Ontario, Canada.

Passing by typical southern New York countryside Waking at 4:30 in the morning on Friday, August 15, we drove all the way from Salem WV, to Kawartha Lakes ON, a leisurely 13 hour drive. On the way, we stopped for a short time at Lake Erie. Some of us had never traveled along the Great Lakes, so to feel the unceasing lakeside breeze Skipping rocks across Lake Erie?!Gazing out over the lakeand see the vast, unending expanse of water was a new experience. The road-side pullover was not exactly extraordinary in appearance; but with family, it became a very memorable place indeed, especially when we identified a Bald Eagle soaring nearby.

Family portrait beside Lake Erie

A Buffalo NY skyline snapshot

We really didn’t know what to expect when we arrived in Canada. With 7 drivers, the 13 hour drive wasn't very difficultMost of us had never been outside the US. We cruised into this “foreign” country with eyes and ears open to taking in the new surroundings. That little km/h at the bottom really makes a difference!  Here are some of the things we noticed: First was the traffic! We hit Toronto at rush-hour and experienced first hand the fact that 3/4 of the Canadian population live Can you translate this French roadsign? within 90 miles of the US border.  We noticed that road signs were in both English and French. It was also strange seeingWaiting to cross into Canadian territory  signs reading speed limit 100; we quickly learned to  translate from miles to kilometers. As we continued north out of the densely populated areas, we began to notice the striking  geographical changes. A glimps of Ontario countryside near Kawartha LakesThe countryside was broad, rolling and forested. Farms and fields were scattered through the coniferous forests. The setting sun reflected off of countless lakes and obscure marshes.

Finally we arrived at our destination at the northeastern tip of Stony Lake where Greetings!the VanEssen’s greeted us with warm, Canadian hospitality.  God had pro-tected us on our journey on the first day of our vacation and we were excited to see how the Lord would continue to work in the next few days, for indeed, He did!


  1. Allen P. August 21, 2008 at 1:09 pm #

    Hey – why didn’t you tell us you were going to be near Buffalo? We (about 50 people from our church) go there every Thursday night in the summer for witnessing, and we’ll be there tonight. It is neat to see that you were near enough to get a picture! Shouldn’t James be looking at the road to drive? (That is James, isn’t it?) Where in NY was the vineyard photo taken? That is a neat photo. We have lots of vineyards over here.

    Tell Robert to call me! 🙂

  2. Allen P. August 21, 2008 at 1:59 pm #

    It was good talking to you guys on the phone this evening. I’ll pray for you to be refreshed and ready to go back to Chicago on Monday. God bless!

  3. James August 23, 2008 at 5:55 am #

    Allen, thanks for your comments! Yeah, that is me driving and we really are going 65 (like the speedometer reads), but the roads are so straight that I could take a glance at the camera when Robert said to.

    The vineyard photo was just a random shot out the window that happened to be blurred just perfectly. It is somewhere south of Buffalo along Route 90.

    Hope your work in Buffalo is effective! And thanks for your prayers! I’m praying for you too.

  4. Daniel September 1, 2008 at 3:14 pm #

    It definitely was a fascinating and memorable experience traveling to a different country for the first time. What a great trip the Lord had planned ahead!

    P.S. I think I’m looking the wrong way in picture 4! 🙂

  5. Michael May 4, 2009 at 5:37 pm #

    We were amazed at the number of vineyards along the road in New York! They seemed to never end, almost reminding me of the cornfields in Ohio.
    Skipping rocks at the lake reminded us of skipping rocks at the Rio Grande a couple years ago. We had been able to skip them clear across into Mexico – but here the only way we got a good skip was to throw it horizontally (parallel with the waves); otherwise the waves would mess it up. 🙂

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