Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bike Hike Parry Sound Style

Our newest Followers are:
Bill and Nancy
For that we say 'Thank You' and hope we hear from you all regularly!  Thanks for joining us!

Kelly joined me yesterday on another bike hike through Parry Sound.
Pam didn't go but gave us a good send off
We started out from the Parry Sound boat docks and marina and made our way onto a portion of the Rotary and Algonquin Fitness Trail.  Then we circled around to the top of Tower Hill and then wound down to the road near the town hospital and across Bowes St.  We went up into more residential neighborhoods before going along River Road.  We stopped on the Cascade Street Bridge over the Seguin River and took some pictures.

We rode up Williams Street along the river past the Hillcrest Cemetery and stopped for a snack and some water at the William Street Park.
From there we went along the sometimes busy Parry Sound Drive to the Parry Sound Mall and down to the Salt Dock Road area where we picked up the Fitness Trail again.
Along the Sound we rode past the Waubano Park which is the town beach and park on the Georgian Bay.  It was near this location that the steamer went down in 1879 on a trip from Collingswood, Ontario to Parry Sound.  All 30 on board perished. The anchor from the ship commemorates the loss.
We took another stop and enjoyed the beautiful day.  The Civic Day/Provincial long holiday weekend had not quite started yet so there was still plenty of room on the beach.
We picked up the Fitness Trail again and rode over to the boat docks.  

There were a couple of old ships and new boats in the harbor.
The route (Tour 3) is listed as a 15.9 km.  We decided not to do the portion that winds through the downtown area and probably went about 13 or 14 km which was a good ride.

Pam, who had gone to the grocery store while we were on our ride, met us at the harbor.  We loaded up and drove through town one last time.  We tried a different way and came across the Bobby Orr community center.  It is in various stages of remodeling.  Apparently they switched general contractors in May and the current one agrees to finish on time for the start of the 2010 hockey season.  A must for these townfolks!
That was the highlight of the day for us.  We returned to the KOA where we have spent the last 11 days and went swimming.  Next we did some packing up and had another dinner at the campsite picnic table. We love eating like this.  Reminds me of all the dinners we had outside at our 'sticks and bricks' place in Fairfax.  

It was another great summer day in Parry Sound.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 30, 2010

10 Steps to Adding the LinkWithin Blog Gadget

First,
I want to acknowledge and say 'Hi' to our newest Follower!
Kay Davis
Welcome and thanks for joining!

We are inching closer to 150 Followers ~ join us if you haven't done so yet!  Just click on the 'Follow button and go through the easy prompts...

--------------------------
Now...... for today's post I thought I'd give a tutorial so let me know if:
I can explain how to add a gadget to your blog.  

A couple of days ago Judy asked:
  • How do you chose 'You might also like' posts?
  • Do you actually have any way of knowing if people click on them?
  • Is that another one of those gadgets that you mentioned?
The answers are:
  • I don't chose them, the software in the gadget does it.
  • No way to find out who clicks on those as far as I know.  (Anyone else know how to check?)
  • Yes
See if I got the steps correct to add the gadget  (also called 'widget') to your blog.  Here we go:

1.  Find the gadget 'LinkWithin' at the bottom of the post and Click on it

2. The LinkWithin page comes up.  Go to the right side of the page and fill in
         - email
         - your blog web address
         - the blog platform you are using
         - how many icons(stories) you want at the bottom of your post (3 stories, 4 stories or 5 stories)
         - check the box if you have a dark background color for your blog

3.  The LinkWithin page come up.  Click on Edit Contents


Then Click where is says, 'Add Widget'

5. This Add Page Element view comes up.  Make sure the correct blog is listed in the 'Select a Blog' box.  I have selected my test blog here.
- copy the HTML code that is in the Edit Content box
6. While that is going on, open another tab and go to your design template dashboard page on blogger:
- Find the 'Add a Gadget' area at the bottom portion of the template and Click on it

7.  Find the HTML/Javascript line and Click on the +(add sign) 

8.  The next box that pops up is where you add the HTML code that you copied in step 3.
- Type in 'LinkWithin' in the Title box and
- Paste the HTML code in the Content box below.
- Make sure to click on Save

9.  If it works, you should see this page:

10.  If you go to View Blog, it will show up below your last post.
The only words I have in my post here 'test test test'.  This shows that it is successful.  If I add pictures, those will show up under the 'You might also like' section.

If you don't have the LinkWithin gadget on your blog ~ give it a try!
If you run into problems or have suggestions drop me a note or comment.  or......
go to the LinkWithin support site by clicking here.  I contacted them months ago when I added the gadget and they fixed my problem quickly.

That wraps it up for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!  

Thursday, July 29, 2010

10 Things I Like About a Campground

We were counting the other day and we have stayed in something like 50 campgrounds since we got the Roadrunner in May 2009.  On my run yesterday I was thinking about things that make for a good campground or camping spot.

Here are 10 in no particular order:

  1. Full hookups.  Or a free tank pumping service at the campground like we have here at the Parry Sound KOA.  It is usually inconvenient to have to unhook and drive over to the dump station at the campground but we have done that a few times.  
  2. Friendly, helpful camp hosts and registration people.  It is so nice to get started on the right foot at a place with people that are glad you chose their campground. 
  3. Scenic locations.  We have stayed at a few places that have the 'it' factor but most fall into the 'average category'.  It is nice to run across some beautiful places and we usually do.
  4. Good wifi and/or internet connection.  For the most part, campground wifi is not great.  Most of the time it is slow.  I think in a couple of years that may change as technology improves.  My Autonet system works great in the States but not here this far north in Canada.
  5. Low price.  We look for places that are under $25/night.  It obviously helps to stay a week, month or longer because the rates are lower.  There are plenty of campgrounds that have those kind of rates and one can usually save 10% or more by having a camp club membership of some sort like Escapees, Good Sam, Family Motor Coach Association, etc.
  6. Space at the campsite.  Ten or twelve feet between sites is nice 25 feet or more is better.
  7. No outside music.  Last year was the first time we heard this rule and we love it.  
  8. People who pick up after their dogs.  
  9. Well maintained campgrounds.  I love to see the mower out at least once a week.  And showers and laundry rooms that are clean.  And buildings and signs that have a fresh coat of paint.   
  10. Quiet neighbors.  Again, we usually have good neighbors but now and then you don't and appreciate the many times you did.
  11. Level campsites.  Even though we have HWH automatic leveling jacks, if the angle is more that 4" difference in a corner, it can lift a wheel off the ground which we don't like.
  12. Easy entrance/exit at the campground and campsite.  We have had our share of iffy turns and maneuvers to get into and out of places.  We prefer the pullthroughs or campsites that have a lot of room to turn.  A couple of times we have had to ask people to move their vehicle for a few minutes to get into or out of a site.
How about you?  What are some of the things you look for in a campground?

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thanks for your comments!  and 

We love those new Followers!  But haven't seen some for a few days ~ click on the Follow button on the right.  
I can't see any down side to doing this and its a great encouragement to us as we close in on #150.  Will you be next?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On The Trails

Yesterday I was determined to hit the trails.  I don't like it to skip days running and wanted to get back to it.  About mid morning I went for a run on the trail near our Parry Sound KOA campground.  A portion of the trail is on the Seguin Trail.  In the summer time the trail is mostly used for ATVs, trail bikes, hikers and runners.  In the winter time, it is a trail for snow mobilers.

Our neighbors hit the trail before I did.  
I didn't know they made trail bikes for tikes...

We continue to have wifi problems at the campground and the owner was at it early to see if he could improve things.
Pretty scary ladder.  And sadly, after about 8:00 AM yesterday no one could get back on the network for more than 2 or 3 minutes.  Frustrating.

Since I don't carry a camera when I run, I didn't take any photos.  But it was a beautiful day for a run.  There were no clouds for the most part and not real hot.  So it made for a great run.  I am feeling like I am able to go a little longer each time and hopefully will be able to continue without injury.  That has been my issue since I hit 'middle age'.  

Pam did some laundry, we all ate lunch and then left for downtown Parry Sound.  We started at the Stockey Centre where the Rotary - Algonquian Fitness Trail runs adjacent to it.

Pam, Kelly and Ed started in one direction and I went in the other.  The Bike Trail goes along the Rotary - Algonquian Trail for a few hundred yards 
across the Seguin River, then takes a sharp uphill turn.  I went back behind the city hospital and through some neighborhoods.    It was a nice ride for as long as it lasted.
The plan was to go on the trail for an hour and meet back up with Pam and Kelly in an hour.  I miscalculated on my map and turned back a little early.  I went back by the car which was parked near the water and didn't see Pam or Kelly so I went up the trail to meet them.  I did see some sail boats in the harbor.

They were only 50 yards away.  They turned back early too.  Ed (at 77 dog years) had enough walking so he wandered over to some shade and sat down.  He let them know he was done and that was the end of that.  When he was ready, they made their way back to the car.  So we both ended up nearby about the same time.

We returned for the campground and had a quiet evening.  That was about it for the Roadrunner Chronicles yesterday.  Thanks for viewing!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Barrie Lunch Sights

We arranged to set up a lunch date in Barrie, Ontario with Brad and Christine.  We are going to their wedding in three weeks near Petrolia but thought it would be great to see them again before their big day.  It was a 90 minute drive to Barrie and it was a beautiful day for it!

The perception is that Barrie (population 128,000) is a bedroom community of Toronto which is 55 miles away.  In fact, about 1/3 of Barrie residents work outside Barrie and it is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Canada.  Brad is an environmental inspection/scientist and Christine is a Grade 11 high school teacher.

Barrie was named in 1833 after Sir Robert Barrie who was in charge of Canadian Naval Forces.  The site near Barrie was where he had to portage between the Kempenfelt Bay/Simcoe Bay and the Georgian Bay during his adventures.  It is on the direct route to points north from Toronto and has a number of busy highways passing through.  We first went through Barrie two years ago returned from time at our friends cabin at Talon Lake.

We met Brad and Christine at Brad's office then walked a couple of blocks to Shirley's Bayside Grille which is very nice restaurant on the main street.  Crossing streets I saw my first motion detection crosswalk button.
There is no button.  I don't think I have seen that before.

We arrived at Shirley's and found a table.  We  had a great time together as we waited for our tasty selections.  This place is not your average fast food lunch deli.  It was nice!  We all had a sandwich or a wrap and a salad except Brad who chose soup.  Christine made an excellent selection for a lunch spot.
I tried a couple of times to get a good shot of everyone at the table but was thwarted in my attempt.
After lunch, Brad went back to work while Christine showed us the nearby city park along the water.
The ladies.
The sidewalk took us within sight of the Spirit Catcher which is a sculpture by artist Ron Baird.
It was on display in Vancouver, BC as part of Expo '86 and was moved here in 1987.

We passed by the Barrie Town Docks where the 265 passenger paddler wheeler Serendipity Princess was getting underway with a load of tourists.
On our way back to parking we passed one of many Tim Horton's and a interestingly shaped building at an intersection.
It was a beautiful day for a day trip and a nice time with Brad and Christine.  We are happy it worked out to spend a little time with them and see some of Barrie.

Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Please join us again.  And keep those comments coming!  We appreciate those greatly!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Roadrunner Reflections on Blogs

My blog buddies Al (of the Bayfield Bunch) and Rick (Rick&Paulette's RV Travels) have offered some thoughts on Do's and Don'ts of writing a blog.  I thought I'd offer some as well.

  1. Write what you can and don't worry about it.  Most people will give you a break and appreciate the effort.  Very few will be other than encouraging. 
  2. Keep it fairly short and break up long sentences or long paragraphs.  There are a few blogs I will wade through that have long paragraphs with no breaks, but not many.  They are just too hard to read for me.
  3. I like Al's ideas on being creative.  I have very few of those creative genes but I try from time to time.  It is easy to get into a rut and say the same thing day after day or say it the same way.  But I think readers appreciate a variety.
  4. Change your pictures and header information from time to time.  Again ~ it shows you are maintaining things and trying to keep an interest which is appreciated.
  5. Be as honest as you can.  If you don't like something, say so, but remember that most people don't want to listen to a moaner, complainer and generally negative person.  But sometimes it is what it is and that is ok. You don't have to be upbeat and cheery all the time.  Life is not like that.
  6. Don't bother with a rant on politics or get into religious views unless you don't care about your readership.  I would rather not read about the back and forth of someone who doesn't agree with you.  Unless your blog is a political and/or religious blog.  I'd say most RVers reading this are not.Most readers are accepting if you are a religious person and have a comment from time to time, just be careful so it doesn't seem too pushy.
  7. Throw in some pictures.  I like to see photos if there are not more than 20 on a page.  If so, put them in a slideshow.  I guess that goes back to my briefing days and they were real big on graphics and emphasized how important visuals are to support the message.
  8. Provide some personal thoughts from time to time.  People who read about you are interested in who you are.
  9. Always try to improve.  Change things up some on your blog and see if you like it.  Banners, side bars, widgets, photos, colors ~ dabble with it and see what you like.
  10. I agree with Rick and Al:  stay away from music unless the off button is handy. 
  11. Reference other peoples blogs and copy a link to their site.  It's one of the best compliments you can give someone and it is an encouragement to them also.
  12. Add comments to other peoples blogs.  After a while I began to look at it as my 'price of reading' ~ if that makes any sense.  These people have put time into communicating their thoughts and I like that fact that they did it, so instead of 'paying', I like to drop a note and say a few words.  It doesn't even have to be a lot of words.  I marvel at statistics that tell me 216 readers viewed my site and I had only 3 comments.  On the other hand I write for many reasons, not just numbers and Followers.
  13. There must be some protocol about asking for people to 'Follow' but it must be unwritten.  Few people actually ask people to 'Follow' their blog but I see nothing wrong with it.  Almost everyone says, 'Please leave a comment' which seems fine too.
  14. Short.  Keep your posts short for the most part.  If people read like I do, they skim through them so they can get on to the next blog...
  15. Some blogs have no pictures and I find those difficult to read sometimes.  But not always. Nick of the Gypsy Journal is a very good writer and sometimes doesn't use pictures.  I think Adam is a good writer and seldom uses pictures.  Kelly is both a good writer and used to use more pictures than she does now.  Rick usually posts pictures to have pictures and sometimes are not related to the post.  That works too.
  16. If we visit a museum or park or monument, I like to have a few facts and specifics.  But as Al said, don't go overboard, provide a link so I can go there and read about it myself.
  17. Ask questions.  If you have a question about something you read on a person's blog, ask them about it.  Usually, they appreciate the question and maybe your question will turn into a blog subject all by itself.  And bloggers would rather have too many ideas for a post than not enough.
  18. That is all I could think of for now and I have violated my own guidelines in keeping posts short...
Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles today!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hiking and Christmas in July

A highlight from yesterday was meeting Canadiens Rick and Marie
They have been here about a week and are from the Sudbury area which is a little north of here.  They have been RVing for years.  They took a 3 month trip last year west to Vancouver and then east from Washington over to North Dakota and back home.  They will be going to Fort Meyers, Florida this winter for 5 months and are seriously considering full-timing.

We talked for a while and they had a few questions.  When people talk about full-timing, I always refer them to RV-Dreams.com and have them read about Howard and Linda's story.  Howard has done a fabulous job with lots of information for those that are considering full-timing.  We found (and continue to find) it to be a wealth of useful information.

Earlier, Pam, Kelly and I spent some time on the Fitness Trail that winds through Parry Sound.  It was overcast but a very pleasant afternoon for a hike.  We started out not far from the marina.
Not sure what kind of berries these were but they are very common here.
This bridge was built in 1915 and is way up there.  We took the foot bridge not far from it.
Down near the marina and harbor there were some more flowers and markers along the way.
The trail went along the bay and near the Stockey Centre and the Bobby Orr Museum.
It was a nice hike and we may continue the trail at the point we turned around on another day.

Back at the campground we got ready for the big 'Christmas in July' happenings.  I pulled out the lights from our storage in the basement.  With Kelly's help those got hung.
She added the stringers and bows to the front.

Then we waited for Santa.  About 7:30 PM he came out of the woods shouting 'Ho Ho Ho' and led the dog parade through the campground.  It was a great turnout!
A little later, I spotted him on the wagon with a lot of folks who joined him for a ride around the campground.

There were more campers who joined in the fun and also put out decorations.

As I was walking around taking pictures, I stopped and took one of Dean and Donna's campsite.  They decorated their rig and ATV which added to the atmosphere.  
It was a fun day ~ thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Hope you are having a great weekend.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Not so busy Friday

It rained all day yesterday so we didn't feel like doing much.  Mostly we read and read and read.
A little after 9:00 AM, Don came over and dumped our tanks.  What a great service!
Don is the owner of the KOA here in Parry Sound and he didn't think the 'free' service was a big deal.  He said, "We can't have campsites with full hookups, so just sign up when you need your tanks dumped and we will come around and do it."
I like the idea and especially like the fact that he doesn't charge extra for it.  The prices here are among he highest we have paid anywhere, so it is nice that dumping isn't an added charge.  Don has been the owner for seven years and he said it has been interesting.  Seems like a hard way to make a living.  It's one thing to be a workamper, quite another being the owner.  Right now he said he was dealing with kids plugging toilets with reems of toilet paper....

About mid afternoon, the drizzly rain let up and Pam and I drove over to the truck stop/fast food/information center.
It had Lick's Hamburgers, DQ and Tim Horton's.  
And we found our information center.
We were looking for some ideas on how to spend a few days in Toronto next month.  No luck on that one, but the lady said maybe we'd find something in Northbay.  We will be near there next weekend.

After dinner of chicken and dumplings, we went into town to check out the Canadian Tire store.  It is a little like a Wal-Mart.  This one had a lot of camping gear which we checked out.  Next it was over to McDonald's for some ice cream.  And then downtown to see what was happening at the harbor on a Friday nite.  Not much...

So we returned to the Roadrunner and prepared for tomorrow.  Saturday is 'Christmas in July' at the campground here.  We got our decorations out and will put them up on Saturday morning.

That was it for us on a slow Friday.  Hope your weekend is a great one.  And thanks for viewing ~ and thanks in advance to you future Followers!