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Vacation #1 on the books

Posted: July 10, 2006 in House & Garden

Jessica and I spent the last week (plus both weekends) on vacation, at her parents' island on Lake Temagami in northern Ontario Canada. Due to the astronomical cost of airfare, we decided to drive the new Mini rather than fly. Our trip took us from MD to Guelph, ON CA for her niece's birthday, and then to Temagami. The return trip saw us stop over in Toronto, where we caught an Elevation gig, and then back home. Total driving time was something like 30 hrs altogether. I think I've had it for driving for a while, but unfortunately we're planning a trip to Syracuse next weekend, and that's another 6-1/2 hrs each way. Sheesh!

Temagami was nice. Very nice. Like it always is. For me, it was a rough time to go, because 1) I'd be losing 2 weekends (three if you count next weekend) of prime cycling season, and 2) the Tour de France started on the first, and there's a HUGE shamozzle over doping, and thus almost all of the front-runners will not be competing. The latter wasn't as big of a deal, because the cottage has some limited Internet access. Or at least it did. More on that later.

The drive up was pretty nice, and the Mini actually turned out to be a great road car. We pulled over 30mpg with mixed driving, some traffic, and the AC blasting. The mileage will go up as the engine breaks in, according to everyone on the Mini forums. I used the "Plus" grade gas, and the car was fine with that. The amazing part was that we were able to fit all of our luggage for a the trip, plus sleeping bags for both of us, PLUS groceries for the whole trip (for us and Jess's parents) with plenty of room left. The car is like a bottomless pit when it comes to holding stuff. You'd never know it by looking at it either. I picked up an FM radio adapter for Jess's iPod, so we had a wide musical selection available.

When we got to the cottage, we got to see (and ride in) Jess's parents' new boat. They used to just have an outboard, steel-hulled boat that was totally open, so each trip on the lake meant getting at least a little wet. Not so anymore, as the new boat is not only much larger, it's also completely covered.

It's also a LOT faster, and the ride out to the island took around 10-15 minutes less than it used to.

Here are a few pics from the trip:


The lake


The cottage


Merganser duck with chics


All in all the trip was very relaxing. We did some canoeing, and Jess did some swimming. We also played various card games, Monopoly, Chinese checkers, and I played my first ever game of Scrabble. I thought I'd hate it, but it actually wasn't bad. Jess pretty much hated it, period.

As far as the Tour de France went, I had to resort to going into town and getting a newspaper, because Jess's parent's have an iMac, which promptly crashed and was rendered useless. A stupid blinking folder with a giant "?" on it was all we could get out of it, and of course there are NO Mac repair people within 100 miles of the cottage. What a useless piece of iCrap. And of course, the manual was absolutely useless. We'll probably take Jess's old Dell PC up the next time we go up. At least if that crashed there'll be something that can be done about it.

Other than the iMac, the only really bad thing about the cottage was the mosquitos, which were out in force after dark. While the mosquitos were to be expected, the huge plague of Deer flies were not. They were apparently a month early. In fact, according to Jess and her parents, a LOT of things were early (and they've been at the cottage every summer for the past 42 years), which just lends more weight to the whole global warming thing. The ideal time to visit the cottage used to be mid-July. At the rate things are going, it'll be mid-April soon.

But despite the bugs and dead computers, the cottage really is a relaxing place to be. At night it's dead quiet, except for the occasional Loon, and you can see a bazillion stars, with no "light pollution" to obscure your view. It's even quiet in the day time, and the water is so clean, you can reach down and scoop some out of the lake and drink it as-is. It's one of the most relaxing ways to spend a week that I can think of.

Here's a pic of the Mini after the trip down the dusty mine road that leads to the boat dock.

Filthy Mini

That's all for now.

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It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.

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