MORE THINGS ABOUT JOANNE……

One of the big appeals when we moved to our new area was the fact that we’d be able to do day trips to Canada for a spot of shopping and lunch. However, our first year here has been eventful to say the least so there hasn’t been much time to head across the border. However, that changed this past weekend. Finally, a day trip to Canada was arranged.

Of course, now we have a new friend in Canada. I wrote about our first meeting here. I e-mailed Joanne to let her know we were coming across the border to see if she’d have time to meet up. Thankfully, I caught her on one of her slower weekends and she took on the mantle of event planner for the day. Joanne took my piles of jumbled excitement and all the places I was contemplating and made it into a reasonable and interesting plan. We were to meet at 10.00a at the Welland Canal Lock No. 3 in St. Catharines, bringing with us a bit of hope that our timing might coincide with a ship going through the lock.

Being so excited, I had my guys up and on the road at 5.30a. Even with our usual stops and the dreaded border control, we still arrived 90 minutes early. Time enough to stop at Tim Horton’s for a bit of breakfast and then off to explore. We ended up at Port Dalhousie Marina and had a look around.

Empty slips, but a stunning view!

A new restaurant…perhaps for next time?

Some magnificent scrollwork at the entrance!

Finally, it was time to meet up with Joanne. We arrived at the stroke of 10 at the Lock where Joanne approached excitedly reporting that a ship had just gone through the lock and another was headed in now. Joanne has done an excellent job explaining about the history of the lock and providing a few pix on her blog.

After we had our fill of the lock (or rather after the lock was finally filled), we headed off for a bit of shopping. While my husband and I were browsing at the store I’d come across the border to get to, Joanne sat down with our son and got him talking about his swimming. It always amazes me when people know just the right questions to ask in any situation. A simple, “What is your stroke?” and he was pulled right in.

Shopping completed, it was agreed that I would ride with Joanne to our next destination about 20 minutes away where we planned to have some lunch.

Did you ever notice the difference between the first time you meet someone and the second? The first time is like that first date…..feeling out boundaries, asking the polite questions, sizing up the person in front of you. The second time you meet you’ve already covered all that. Plus, being bloggy buddies on here, we have that back-and-forth to further things along.

The drive over to Niagara on the Lake for lunch was MOST enlightening. I learned a lot about Joanne as we skipped across topics of politics and the new Canadian Prime Minister, the recent attacks in France, and life with her sons and husband. All these things just reaffirmed my opinion that Joanne and I have much in common.

But there are some things you have to experience first-hand that give you a whole new view to the person. Somewhere along the way, Joanne has recently lost her dash mount for her satnav unit. So, a lot of our trip to NOTL was spent with Joanne looking at the unit on her lap and yelling at “her” not to turn off when “she” apparently decided to from time to time. Indeed, it seems Joanne’s satnav has been imbued with quite a personality and she’s even given her a name which I won’t repeat here. From all appearances, their relationship is quite back and forth with the satnav just shutting down when things get too heated between them, or maybe it’s revenge for the name Joanne calls her. Either way, their jousting is most amusing to anyone else in the vehicle.

The other big thing I got from driving with Joanne is there isn’t any doubt that she lives in a city. Recently, I’ve begun to teach my son to drive. As we live in a suburban area, space is no problem. Teaching him to drive has been a lot about maintaining a very healthy distance between our vehicle and the next vehicle. It’s been about being relaxed behind the wheel and giving due consideration to both the vehicle’s occupants and the other vehicles on the road. When you live in the suburbs you can do that. Driving with my husband who conquered the Washington D.C. beltway for a year is a whole different experience.

Riding with Joanne isn’t as aggressive as my husband nor as terrifying as riding with my son, but I did lose count of the times I held my breath as she’d hurtle along in her sleek car and not slow down until she came within inches of a car stopped at a red light in front of her. ‘Tis true…I’m a nervous wreck from riding with my son while he learns, but even said son told me later he couldn’t believe how close she got to the other cars on the road. There was never any law broken or unsafe driving practice exhibited; she’s actually quite a good driver – very skilled, her car is unmarked by accident, and she kept up an ongoing repartee with both me and her satnav while driving. But this is definitely one of the places where we differ. She’s used to city driving. It’s in her bones. I’m not. It’s kind of like what Joanne told me over lunch when I was talking about riding with my son and how hard it was to sit there and keep my mouth shut. It isn’t just that he doesn’t have experience…it’s also that he has different driving style than mine. That different-driving-style comment is now one my son mimics back to me every time I try and persuade him to do something the way I would. Anyway, Joanne and I definitely differ in our driving styles.

After lunch, we headed down for one last scenic vista at the Gorge in Niagara Falls. Closed for the season, we still had some great views from the overlook. After that, our time was up and we went our separate ways.

After I got home, I chuckled to see Joanne’s e-mail relating the story of her trip home where her satnav once again got the best of her and took her on an unexplained side trip and got her lost for a bit. I, on the other hand, had the experience of a teen at the wheel so even getting up as early as I did there was definitely no napping for me on the way home. I’m not sure which is worse.

What I do know is we managed to pack quite a bit into five hours thanks to Joanne’s excellent planning skills. I’m recommending Joanne for Canadian Concierge. She’s full of great ideas, the ability to make a plan from a pile of unrelated information, she’s interesting, interested, and embraces the chance to make a difference to someone anywhere she can. In the words of Darth Vader, “The force is strong with this one.” She definitely gets my vote!

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62 thoughts on “MORE THINGS ABOUT JOANNE……

  1. AGNES says:

    I would say Mame and my drive was a slower pace today. and she, also, is an excellent driver, whipping around curves with ease. Thanks for the trip.

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  2. Sounds like you and Joanne are developing a fast friendship. She sounds like my kind of driver. So, now that we are out of the public eye, can you tell me what she calls her satnav? Or at least initials?

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  3. Poor Torrie! I’m sooooo sorry! I had no idea my driving was freaking you out! As far as city drivers go, I’m really quite tame …. but I’ll remember to tone it down a few notches in the future 🙂

    … and yes, that stupid GPS and I are history. I refuse to allow her back in my car.

    Your pictures from Port Dalhousie are gorgeous and I really enjoyed our time together. Thanks again … who knows what we’ll get into the next time! 🙂

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    • Hah! Joanne, I’m quickly becoming immune to people with “different driving styles.” No worries at all. Just to be clear…never once did I feel unsafe with you at the wheel….it was just more a difficult thing to not try and intervene and make you drive with “my style” as I would with my son. You are a wonderful driver and an even better Canadian concierge. Besides….any nerves I had were worth it just to see you and Ms. Satnav going at it! LOL!

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  4. Miriam says:

    Very cool that you’ve made a real-life blogging friend. I enjoyed reading this- I admire your intrepidness! The description of your visit was great, as were the pictures. And I liked your observations about driving- so true about city drivers vs. the rest of us. I live near Boston and won’t drive in that city- they’re insane. My husband has to drive a lot when he travels for work so he definitely takes the wheel when we go to cities.

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    • Same here, Miriam…husbands were made to drive in the city! Am not so sure about my intrepidness though…..I just seem to follow along and end up where I’m meant to be somehow…..quite fun sometimes…other times..not so much! LOL.

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  5. The Joanne I knew was cool, calm, polite and a very quiet executive, as executives go. ( We used to work together at one time.) So this version of Joanne is a surprise. Goes to show. It is true that the team I led did not support the services Joanne managed so did not work with her directly. Maybe she yelled in her team meetings too 🙂 🙂 I very much doubt that… I do!

    Blue turned out to be the theme of the pictures, then. Lovely pictures. You have a real eye for colour and composition, Torrie. I don’t have any pictures as lovely as these from my 2 years living in the Falls and scoping around NOTL, Welland ( there’s a story in there!! ) the rest of the Niagara region. I’m glad I follow your blog. I’m seeing the world from a very different perspective.

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    • Yes, I’m always impressed with the blues in any of my shots when I’m in the Niagara region….it’s something very different from anywhere else I shoot pix. Definitely love it. I would love to hear that story! Sounds like a new post to me.

      Glad to see you back on here, Ajesh….You are feeling better I hope!

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  6. A very entertaining account of your trip, especially the driving bit. I’m a very nervous passenger, so perhaps I’d better give Joanne a swerve. My son drives just like that, and hasn’t had any accidents, but I still hold my breath and always opt to sit in the back seat if I can get away with it. 🙂 Love the turquoise and white lighthouse.

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  7. Funny…I just read Joanne’s account yesterday. Both unique. How could you not eat at the Riverboat Mexican Restaurant??? I’m craving Mexican food right now. Eating it out of a river boat…that would be cool! Loved this story.

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  8. Sounds like you guys had a blast and great photo’s as always. My favourite, the one of the lighthouse, love the colours. It reminds me of a scene from the game Alan Wake, only thankfully there is no mad man with a torch in your pictures 🙂

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  9. Sounds like such a great time in Canada – and I miss the days when the US currency was worth more – instead – Canadians now get more bang for their buck by shopping here! Also – had the best espresso of my life in St Catherine’s – it was early 90s (my sis lives in that area in Ontario so it was extra fun to read this post) anyhow – it was very early 90s and the small cafe served it with a lemon rind slice- better than in France – and speaking of coffee – Remember when Tim Hortons was coffee and donuts? In the 80’s this was a huge treat – we’d go to Canada for gasoline (cheaper back then for a season) and then get Tim Hortons – mmmm – and now they have them in the States – still not in Va – anyhow also lived your artsy photos – quite a blue sky!

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  10. Oh meeting up with blogging friends is so much fun! An hour from the border and you would have been at my place, lol. It is wonderful that the two of you get on so well, the Internet has opened up a whole new world for us.

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    • You are SO right……the very best thing about the Internet is exactly that.
      As far as your location, another hour would’ve done us in, I’m afraid. Three hours each way for a day trip is about the limit, but I actually did think of you and a couple others I “know” up there…..maybe next time, we’ll make a longer trek! Hope so!

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  11. What a lovely trip. Soooo? When are you coming to Montreal? I promise, though I made a comment above on your conversation with Joanne, I am not a scary Montreal driver!

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