Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back From Ontario

Well, by the Grace of God, we have arrived safely back home from our trip to Ontario. Georgian Bay is a beautiful area. It reminded us very much of the coast of Maine, except with fresh water. A fun time was had by all.

The kids had a great time in particular, especially in being reunited with their Canadian friends. We had a wonderful time swimming, canoeing, kayaking (something I've always wanted to do. I loved it, although I looked a little comical trying to get out of it), tubing, cooking hot dogs and marshmallows over open fires, exploring our host's private island, and exploring "crown" (public) islands.

A few thoughts..

We stopped at Niagara Falls on the Way. If you ever get a chance to visit the Falls, do take a ride on the Maid of the Mist. The Falls are a wonder to behold, and the boat-ride is the best way to see them.

My advice on driving through Toronto: Don't, if you can possibly help it. It's white-knuckle driving most of the way, about the worst I've ever seen, and that includes NYC, the Garden State Parkway, Boston's Southeast Expressway, and the Capital Beltway.

Our hosts got a big kick out of me falling out of the canoe on my first attempt at climbing in. They claimed they had never seen anyone do that before. The truth is, I'm about 15-20 pounds over my fighting weight around the middle these days. I really feel like I can't do things quite like I used to. Then again, maybe I'm just getting old. Embarassing moment number 1.

The cry of a loon on a lake in the middle of the night is one of the most beautiful sounds there is.

There are rattlesnakes indigenous to that part of Canada. Who knew?

Embarassing moment number 2... At the end of our stay, our hosts had dropped us off by motorboat at the marina. We had driven about halfway through the Ojibway Reservation at Parry Sound before we realized that Anne's purse was missing. It turned out that we had left it back at the cottage on the island. We had to ask our hosts to make the trip all the way back to the marina again with the purse. Good provocation for a donnybrook of a fight between Anne and I. It was probably the closest to divorce we've ever come. :-)

Embarassing moment number 3... On the way home, we stopped in Syracuse to visit some friends and to have a meal. We said our goodbyes and started driving away, only to have our 10-year old daughter Tess come rushing out of the house shouting at us not to leave without her. It's a good thing Anne and I each have a self-deprecating sense of humor. We need it.

With the kids at Niagara Falls

I'm getting around to catching up with you all. I see that Liam has tagged me for the book meme. I'll have to get busy with that.



friar minor said...

Sounds like a great trip; though I find it hard to imagine a place where people drive worse than in Boston :;

Liam said...

Welcome back, Jeff.

I heard that statistically some of the worst drivers in the country are from Massachusetts. My experience driving up there this summer confirmed that.

Utah drivers are pretty bad too, in a different way.

Jeff said...

Hi Friar and Liam,

Long time no see, Friar. I hope you’ve been well. :-)

Yes, we Massachusetts drivers have quite a reputation. Our signage and street layouts make no sense, so neither does the driving. Who needs signs that make sense anyway? If you don’t already know where you’re going, you shouldn’t be here anyhow. :-) I don’t know if it is lack of skill so much as general rudeness.

Directionals are for wimps.

When the light turns yellow, that means floor it.

When the light turns red, you’ve still got a second or two to go.

When the light turns green, if you’re not rolling already, the guy behind you will lay on his horn in about .003 seconds.

When you come onto the highway from a ramp, never glance at the oncoming traffic. It will be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

The breakdown lane on the highway is the high-speed lane that is used by motorists who wish to pass all of the laggards in the left-hand lanes.

I hear what you’re saying, but still, there are stereotypes about Canadian truckers that ring true. When you see an 18-wheeler cross two or three highway lanes at a time, it is daunting. I was driving a 12-passenger van that handled like a saltine box.

crystal said...

Welcome back, Jeff. Great pictures! I've been to Niagra Falls before, but didn't get to see it from the boat, still it was very impressive!

Jeff said...

Hi Crystal!

Glad to hear from you. :-) Niagara Falls is really something, isn't it? As one of my friends described it, he was all of a wreck watching his kids run around the tour site, because if any of them ever fell into the rushing current, he knew he'd have to jump in too... Not because he would ever have a chance of saving anyone, but just to make it look like he tried. "If one of them goes in, I have to go in too..."