Thursday, August 30, 2012

Go Down Swing'n

Sorry teachers, but Bill C-115 is going to pass and it doesn't look too terribly great for the labour movement and workers in all public fields...  However, thousands of teachers, children support workers, and members of various labour unions met Tuesday at Queen's Park to voice our displeasure with what the Liberal gov't and Conservatives are up to - So if you are going to go down, you might as well go with a fight.  We did.  We are.  I hope it makes a difference in the long run.
So anyway - on the same subject, kind of - labour, the Huron District Labour Council is hosting its 12th annual Labour Day Parade this Saturday at 1:30.  It starts at South Street on the Square and we are just going to parade twice around the square.  It is simply a parade to recognize all workers, from all sectors, and the hard work and collective strength they represent.  No politics at this event.  No protesting or debating.  I mean we all work.  We all contribute.  So it is a day to celebrate that.  I have a poster for the event, but it is just in .pdf file and I don't know how to get it in here...  No big deal.  1:30 on Saturday.  Hope to see many of you....

These next few pictures were taken by Sally Wright a month ago.  I can't remember where Shelly was, perhaps at a softball tournament, but Molly and I were bouncing around and in our travels we made our way out to Dungannon, which isn't too uncommon anyway.

And in other good news, Shelly indicated that she got the hints in the last post about those X-Mas gifts which would be really nice.  Shelly would want something from this store I was in in Mackinaw City:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Trip Recap

My overall stats for the trip are:

Kilometrage - 2095km (Seems like too many klicks, but no, that is correct)
Fuel - 100L  (This makes sense because I usually average 5L per 100km)
Gas - $145 (This makes sense as gas is generally $1.45 for premium)
Tolls/Ferries - $17.50
Lodging - $23 (3 free nights @ friends....)

On the final day, Friday, I drove home from Liberty Village (CNE basically in Toronto to Goderich).  I gassed up in Stratford - so I still have 10 plus litres in the tank....  I didn't have to fight traffic which was nice.  The morning started with an hour run - I ran with Kites to work right near Queen's Park, then back to his place....  I stopped at my buddies Drew's in Kitchener because I bought a gift for him on the trip, but he wasn't home.  I wasn't about to leave it in the mailbox because it is mostly illegal!  You'll have to wait Drewski to find out what it is - Know that I think it is pretty rad.

The highlight of the trip is of course getting home safe and alive!  That is first priority with any such adventure. (A tire on a transport truck blew out about 100 feet in front of me by Milton and I dodged a good deal of rubber - It was thunderously loud too - Scared the hell out of me.)  It was terrific to get home and see my two beautiful girls.  Aside from that, just being on the road and having the opportunity was the second highlight - you know, just being out there.  Whiskey Lake was awesome!  The gravel road was such a fun ride.  A lastly just seeing my friends on the road and meeting new people was also a highlight.....

My regrets are not taking more pictures or video of the Whiskey Lake road...  Not taking pictures of Kites and Kaya -  not having more pictures....   I also sort of regret the week writing of the last few postings and not being as creative on the content and write up - Oh well.  I also regret and will try not to push or rush driving on the bike.  I need to relax more and just go with the flow, instead of leading the charge of  the flow. Not a regret, but I packed too much of course - but how do you know.  I also thought about who I didn't see and wished to visit as I had this time - but it was just impossible to do everything I wanted.  So I do regret not visiting with more of my fine friends out there....

The bike was amazing!!!  It has been having this habit of spitting out the coolant from its overflow tube - which means it is working properly because that is its function, but it is sort of annoying.  I am going to buy a few things though.  A proper GPS set-up for it.  I used one that was laid flat in a tank bag - That does not work at all because of the glares and such.  I am also going to get some flip up and down highway pegs.  Oh, and a set of additional halogen fog lights that the BMW has....  But the bike is awesome - I really endorse the KTM 990.  I get so many looks and questions about it.  Gloves = I need new gloves too for riding.

Anyhow - great to be back home, like I wrote, and being with the terrific family that I have.

And hopefully Shelly reads this so she has some ideas about what to get me for Christmas.

Big Smoke

Whiskey Lake - Toronto

Kilometrage - 560km
Gas - $34
Litres - 24L
Tolls/Ferry $7.00 

I started the 50 km out of camp excited.  But I will tell you - I was not warmed up whatsoever on the bike and as a result I felt as if I wasn't driving with my "A" game - You just can't push yourself cold whether it is in sport, driving, writing, drinking, cleaning, laundry, (all of those things I regularly do) and expect to start off with any gusto.  So, I was shaky and quite nervous to tell you the truth - It was the exact opposite of driving in.  Any - I made it out without dumping, and was happy for it.

I ripped to Sudbury no problem, and started off down the highway to Parry Sound.  I had only driven about 200km or so with the gas I had, and figured I would just get some petrol outside of Canada's nickel capital when I saw a good spot.  50km went by, nothing - then another 40 or so - nothing.  Parry Sound was another 60km and I thought there would be no way I would make it there on what gas I had left.  (I don't have a fuel gauge/indicator on the bike - I just reset my tack and figure I can drive about 330 km or so on the less then 20L it holds....)  Anyway - I stopped at Grundy's Landing I think it is called....  Not a great story....  It has no significance to the trip.

I was driving pretty fast actually - I was going to be a bit tight for time to get to Front and Bay Streets in Toronto to meet up with Kites and Kaya and jump on the ferry.  And I kept looking at the time, and looking at the gas, and I thought I would get to Toronto perfectly at 300km of driving - but I thought I should get once more gas stop in so that I don't have to find it in Toronto on |Friday morning.....  I ended up stopping again past Innisfill, to refuel, and would have lots of juice in the tank.

It was hot, and of course the traffic was nasty.  From York University basically the traffic was backed up all the way to the 401, and of course it was then backed up on the the 401 - I went west, then south down the 427 to get me downtown - That was an hour - The bike was smoking hot, I was hot, I was a bit nervous too I suppose....  All of those things.  Anyway, I parked my bike where a group of 6 or 7 other motorcycles parked their rides off a walkway path.  There was a feller there getting off of work and onto his motorbike and was really interested as to where I have been and where I was going....  We made chit-chat and said he parks his bike here all of the time and has never been hassled.  That was good enough for me.

So I was waiting for Kites and within 2 minutes I spot Dennis and Janet Fairall.  We said hello and how's it going - They were off to a play, but I will see Dennis in September when he brings the Lancer Men & Women's XC teams to Goderich for their trainning camp.  I was really surprised to see them....

Anyhow - the 3 of us; Kites, Kaya, and I went over to Toronto Island because their was a 4 mile fun run...  Kites and Kaya raced, I watched and cheered.  We scooted back to the mainland and went out for some beer and wings in Liberty Village where they live.  And by then it was 10:30 or so and we were all ready for bed. 

I just think my friends Mark and Kaya are superb and they also hosted me in wonderful form - I will see them next in November at their wedding - Congrats guys.

Not one picture taken - Shame.  I know.  It happens some times.

Friday, August 24, 2012

3rd Day of Trip

On the third day, Wednesday, I wasn't on the bike, but rather fooling around up at the cottage with the owners Brad & April Schumacker, as well as their kids.  The lake is basically 36 square km big (6km x 6km) so there is lots of exploring and things to check out. 

We started the day with a fantastic cottage breakfast scoff after 10 in the morning...  We back up the pontoon boat with a few hours worth of supplies, and set off.  We started trolling for lake trout.  We could have went bass fishing, but I can do that anytime here, and really was set on catching a foot long, 2 or 3 pound lake trout.  To make a long story short - nothing.  We caught one, but it was me.  The day before they had caught something like 8, the boat beside us caught 5 nice ones, us, me, nothing...  Oh well.

Then we went to an isolated beach and had a picnic lunch.  Since there was about 10 of us, we all had something on the go; some played Frisbee, the younger two kids went frog hunting, some of the ladies just sunned themselves.  April and Brad's eldest and I hiked a few hundred metres and went cliff diving.  Okay - it was more like jumping off 8 - 10 foot rock outcrops...  But we jumped off of them a few times and were proud of our bravery since we had no clue about how deep the water was - We could just tell it was deep though.....

A few hours later we went to this really fun swimming hole near the cottage, but you still have to boat there.  I think it was called Bear Creek Falls.  The water was plenty warm and fun to play around in.  They have a rope so that the current doesn't drag you about haphazardly - It was a neat spot to be at.  In the spring it is absolutely rage'n with all of the extra water, but it really wasn't that tough to be at or in this time of year.
I just can't say enough about how great it was to get up to this place.  The hospitality of my hosts, the comforts of the surroundings, and so on were just superb!  I helped out Brad a bit on Thursday at a few of his bear baiting locations as he doubles as a bear hunting guide throughout September.  We had to blaze and clear some trails, drop of a four wheeler, and set up a great spot where one of his clients might get them self a black bear.  Brad got attacked by bees in the process of cutting some trees with his chainsaw - But I managed to escape without being bit - My fast running I suppose.

More pictures would certainly be appropriate, as well as more detailed explanations - but I will leave you to explore more about this great area if you are so inclined.

Whiskey Lake

Alpena, MI - Whiskey Lake, ON

Kilometrage - 680 km
Gas - $51.50
Litres - 33L
Tolls - $7.25

I had a decent night camping - although the Holiday Inn would have been nice, and got up by 7:30.  I took my time gathering my things and was officially on the road by 9:00 or so heading north along M-23.

In places the road really hugs the eastern shore of Lake Huron.  And of course in places it doesn’t.  But when it does, it is a nice ride.  The nicest area I remember was a dead ringer for the sand dunes around Sauble Beach.  The beaches were sandy, but could tell the first 50 feet of water was rock however.  They were sticking up out of the water noticeably.  The cottagers had all of their water crafts on elevated steel or wooden hoists. 

Eventually I got up to Mackinaw City and was off the bike for a 60 minute walk around town - and I will tell you it is a really nice place.  There was just a lot of neat stores and bakeries and things of that nature.  Of course the big draw is the ferry shuttling over to Mackinaw Island.  Apparently they have banned cars and motorized vehicle there for pretty much ever.  I left there thinking it would be a great spot to go back to and spend more time exploring its many options.

I gassed up, crossed the Mackinaw Bridge for the 3rd time in my life, and headed up Tehq. Falls up near Paridise, MI.  The spot really isn’t called “Tehq.”, but rather a short form for a seventeen letter native American name that I can’t spell correctly without looking it up.  It rhymes with phenomenon, anyway....  It is one of, or the biggest falls east of the Mississippi (except Niagara...)  It has a 50 foot drop and is a bit less than spectacular.  There is an upper Tehq. Falls, as well as a lower separated by 4 miles.  I just sussed out the Upper and got the main idea, so I didn’t venture down to the lower section.  However it was quite the popular spot with plenty of tourists.

Onto the Sault.

Into the Soo.

Soo Saint Marie was a busy, busy place.  It took about 50 minutes to get out to Hwy. 17.  But I got out and was thankful for it.  It was now close to half past four, and I knew I would be 2 hrs or more to get to Massey, ON, so I made quick work on the road going much faster then I should have.

The road into Whiskey Lake was amazing.  It was 50km of the twistiest and curviest gravel I have ever been on.  The gravel was in great condition, but the technical difficulties driving on it was difficult.  Plus, I was going much, much too fast in spots.  Pictures would be suitable and appropriate now, but all I have to show are the road signs - I wanted to take video and pictures, but didn't of the actual road.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Alpena, Michigan

Kilometrage - 630km
Fuel - $49
Litres - 36L
Tolls - $3.25
Lodging - $23

Wow!  Back on the road on a bit of a trip around the perimetre of Lake Huron.  I made it to Alpena, MI today taking the shoreline around.  I ripped down to Sarnia - crossed the border which there was more traffic and congestion then I thought...  And got up to this awesome campground that is simply called "Summer Campground" or something like that.  It is a busy spot and the amenities are straight from the 80s, as one would expect.  Except for the free WiFi....  It is great to be here!  (I almost caved and went to the Holiday Inn, but no, I brought my camping stuff...)

So anyway - the perimetre of Lake Huron seems to be the exact same on both shores.  The first 100k up here I was surprised that there was very little farming and agriculture.  I was also shocked what a hole Harbor Beach was - I thought it would be like Goderich cloned, but no, it was like crap cloned....  So I basically kept on the gas through there.

I took a bit of a break for a Timmies in Bay City - And I got gas in a neat spot before there.  But nothing jumped out at me so I just kept on up M-25, then the M-23.

One thing that was noticeable was all the stuff for sale along the way.  Every mile there was a boat, RV, motorcycle, trucks, four-wheelers, and the like with "For Sale" signs on them - Although not too much land, houses, or farms.  Some, but not many on the shoreline.

Another thing I noticed was going through communities with "Sauble" in the name....  It has to be purposeful and significant since "Sauble Beach", ON is also on the Lake Huron Shoreline.

Anyhow - all is good and there was a lot of crazy drivers.  I witnessed one very-near miss, and a few other misses.....  Michigan drivers never yield right on multi-laned highways to allow faster traffic through.  I piggy-backed with a Goldwing motorcyclist with a trailer from Alberta for 60 miles, and he was livid at the lack on respect on the road.  Me - I have had my wits on tight and given plenty of room to all on the road.  I saw one fairly large doe in the ditch within a telephone pole from me and it looked like she was itch'n to run across directly in my path...  Thankfully she didn't.

Unfortunately my pictures down seem to be coming up - I will sign off before I loose everything I have typed and will try again another time....

So I am going to keep making my way north and cross into Ontario at Soo Sault Marie...  Over to Massey, On, up to Whiskey Lake, and then back to Goderich...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wreck'n Shelly's House

A high-ho was put to the house today and it made light work out of the concrete and wood.  There was so much more wood then I expected - So a match was put to it.  Long story short = house is down, and will be buried in the next day....

All in all the feller on the controls was there for about 4 hours.  The hole he dug was about 12 - 15 feet deep and 20 feet wide.  It didn't see all that big, but the basement of the house will hold a bit of rubble, and then of course the rest goes in the hole - The hole was filled with wood, so I sparked it up and it got lit faster then you would believe.  As a result of course, it burns down to literally no ash whatsoever, and there will be plenty of room for all of the concrete. 

We will refill the hole with the soil that was dug out - and viola, hopefully one will not even notice any evidence of our construction project.

I was thinking there would be a lot of animals scurrying from the house, but there wasn't.  Only 25 - 30 bats flew very quickly from the destruction out from the attic.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I have lost most to all of my July pictures due to computer failure.  Oh well - my little Toshiba lasted just one month shy of two years.  But alas, it bit the dust and I can't (or Jeff Bakker can't) get it to load back up.  No matter - I just had my July pictures on it.  Everything else had little to no importance.

Anyhow - I just thought I would put on a few new pictures.  Molly is really keen on sitting up all of the time and enjoys to be toted around by the neighbours.
I just can't believe how much bigger she is getting and long - although we haven't measured her in quite sometime.  I would estimate she is in between 80 - 90 centimetres?  I will put a tape on her when she is calmed down and not so skirmy. She weighs around 17 pounds these days as well - I don't know how that relates to 9 months of age, but to me it seems big especially considering how she started.

And just another picture of Alex Barisdale and I.  Alex's dad, Drew, is a very dear friend of mine and they were in Goderich the other day for a swim at the beach and just a hang-out day.  We had a few beers, playing the guitars too - What a terrific day!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Crush'n The Final Few Tires

So I wrangled up 40 tires or so the other day.  I searched here and there, and that was about all I saw.  Yes, there are still a few kicking around.  So I had them organized and the crusher was hooked up and ready for a light workout. 

The crusher has been working terrific!  It has done all she has been asked to do and more of late; from 1 tonne truck tires, to the doughnuts, it squeezes casters like a teenager on a zit.  Pop.  Out comes the rubber.  I will be sad to let the thing go - After all we've been through (4,000 crushed tires +/- 100) I feel like we have a great relationship and we understand one another. 
When you have been sore and injured, I have taken you to the machinist to be welded.  When you were rusty and stiff, I have greased your chassis.  I have  treated you with lots of respect and dignity.  I never asked you to crush a tire that was too big or difficult.  I saw how I could make your job easier by adding guides and implementations, and did so.  I love you tire crusher and I will find the very best home for you in the near future.

Now tire crusher - I love you quite a lot.  Not as much as Shelly or Molly.  Not as much as family or friends even.  You are somewhere in that category between my old pet dog B.J., yet higher then Mango the cat.

Alas, I was a bit sad to think that we will inevitably go our separate ways very soon.  So I went for a solo walk to gather my feelings on this issue.  And what did I see?  15 more tires to crush!

Hurray tire crusher!  Hurray!  We stay together.