Posts categorized "Travels"

September Paddle

We started September with a relaxing cottage weekend and then jumped in to the craziness of back to school (Emma grade 12 and Xander grade 11). This year we decided to ease the transition from summer by taking the first Friday off and going on a canoe trip to Algonquin Park. While the kids do plenty of outdoor stuff we haven't been out in the woods as a family for years. Mostly it's hard to motivate the kids to want to camp when they've just returned from 10 days of backwoods canoeing or six weeks of being a camp counsellor. I think having Uncle Mike and Aunty Hannah join us was the deciding factor.

It was fantastic. We paddled from Canoe lake to Tom Thomson lake and set up camp. We saw a moose hanging out near the boggy shore. We ate food cooked over a fire. We had hilarious escapades trying to string up our bear barrel (how can there not be suitable trees in the bush?). Sleeping in a tent was even mostly okay.

Saturday we planned a day trip and there were 10 portages. There were supposed to be less but Vanishing Pond vanished so we had to take another route. Emma was amazing--she carried the canoe for 8 of those portages. Xander was sherpa carrying all the paddles and food bag. Hannah lead the pack--she was 7 months pregnant at the time so didn't have to carry anything. I snuck in a few minutes of knitting on our lunch break.

There was a lot of walking for a bit and then there was a lot of paddling. Big lakes, high winds and it was a bit less fun. Let's just say we slept REALLY well Saturday night. And it was pretty cold Sunday morning.

 Sunday was a comparatively easy paddle back the way we came in. 


I will admit that I was tired for a few days afterwards--that's more outside and exercise than I normally get--but it was also beautiful and quiet and a great way to hang out with my family and disconnect from the outside world. We're already talking about the next trip--perhaps with my soon-to-be-born niece or nephew! 


A last-minute decision to take a longer-long weekend was just the thing I needed. This summer has been a different one for me. Due to some obligations at home (teens need a lot of chauffeuring to their commitments) and work (where I'm filling in for someone on sick leave) I just didn't get to do the things I normally do: Like swimming in a lake, relaxing on the weekends and beating the heat by doing more than hiding in my air conditioned house.

When my brother and sister-in-law told me that no-one was going to be at their cottage Labour Day weekend, I leapt at the chance to be by the lake doing those things I love. I took the Thursday and Friday off and up we went to just do a whole lot of nothing. 

I drank beers with my legs in the lake. I sat watching the water with my coffee and reading in the morning. I read a whole book. Xander and I hunted Pokemon until we ran out of cell signal.


I finished the pieces on my summer sweater (which I wasn't rushing to finish because even a summer sweater was too much to wear this year) AND wove in all the ends on the baby blanket on the outside table with the lake in view to make the job easier.


We played board games at night and I discovered Xander is a kick-ass Scrabble player. I ate PopTarts and too many Oreo Thins (which are delicious). And I went paddle boarding and didn't fall in the lake.


Yesterday while I was in bobbing in the lake, it hit me. I feel good. I feel like my old self. It's been a while and I took a few seconds to lament how challenging the last few years have been and how much being in a bad work situation really messed with me. Now that I've been out of it for two months, I see how feeling down-trodden and angry all the time really colours everything including my time not at work. And while I'm fortunate to have a good-paying job in a great place, that's not enough to sustain me. 

Having this little rest (and another one coming very soon--we're taking a 3 day canoe trip in Algonquin Park next Friday) really have restored me. Now I need to work on my strategy to keep things this way.


Knitters, we have a problem

I have knit all my travel knitting.

I thought I brought ample supplies. I had two easy projects and a difficult one. Lots of yarn for a family trip to Ottawa with a short stop at the cottage in Tweed. Usually I don't have a lot of time to knit. In fact, I played a lot of Two Dots and didn't knit when I opportunities. My knitting was even confiscated during out tour of the Parliament building.

It should have been enough.

I finished Rickenbacker before we left Ottawa. It needs a solid blocking and then it will be a perfect little scarf.

I finished the second sleeve of my Rhinebeck sweater (Brandied Cherry) on the drive to Tweed and the first few hours at the cottage. Frankly, that was unexpected...I got into the groove of the stitch pattern and just chugged along.

So I started the front. The hard part. The cables for which I must follow a chart. I haven't knit cables in a long while and it was great. I sat on the deck, half watched the lake and knit. I almost ran out of battery on my ipad which has the chart. That would have bought me some later knitting time now that I think about it.

Then I ran out of the yarn so had to shelve that project. Totally surprised me.

I didn't knit again yesterday because I knew I only had one project left. My always-in-my-purse project. Socks. Almost done socks. Crap, why didn't I bring more knitting socks.

It was a lovely afternoon again on the deck. Interspersed with some Twitter and Two Dots and Netflix. Then they were done. The ends woven in.

I guess I can wear them home in the car. Where I have a 2 1/2 hour drive and NO KNITTING.



Worst Rhinebeck Post Ever

I finished my Rhinebeck sweater, with a bit of time to spare, and this much yarn:

I wore it at the fair, where the weather was perfect, but didn't remember to do a proper set of photos, so I have no evidence.

I stayed in a beautiful place with fantastic friends, excellent wine and food and I didn't think to get even one group shot.

I went to the Custom Fit meet up and did get a photo of Amy measuring people, but we didn't get a chance to chat.

I bought some pretty yarn and fibre, which will turn into lovely things later, but assed up all my festival knitting because of lively conversation and aforementioned wine. Most of it is fixed now that I'm home.

I did get a photo of Keri taking a photo of sheep!

Really the whole weekend was perfect. We drive down in record time, my friends are fabulous women who do great things in their lives (from which Rhinebeck provides a perfect reward/escape), and it's so great to go to the fair and fondle the yarns and talk to the knitters and eat the fair food and play.

I just forgot to take pictures.


Epic Roadtrip Day Fourteen: Home

It's a short and uneventful drive.  The only thing epic about today is the laundry.

We bid a last goodbye to summer at Lake Stocco and now reality starts creeping in.

Last look of summer. Going home. #epicroadtrip

I'm a metrics girl so here's the numbers (I should do up an inforgraphic!)

4700km driven--Canada is frickin' big.

We slept in eight places: 

  1. Quebec City, 
  2. Fredericton, 
  3. Summerside, 
  4. Charlottetown, 
  5. Halifax, 
  6. Moncton, 
  7. Edmundston, 
  8. Tweed

We saw four provincial legislatures.

We ate far too many French fries but not enough seafood.

Best place visited: I vote for North Rustico, Clam Harbour also rates high.

Where we'll return to: Need to do a proper vacation in Nova Scotia.  I've never been to Cape Breton.  I could totally go to Quebec City again.  A week on the ocean in PEI would also be perfect.

What I learned: I was really nervous about being the only driver for this trip (long unblogable story--but everything was resolved by Halifax) so I am super proud of myself for deciding not to cancel the trip and push myself.  I drove over 3500km!  I am awesome.

My family is fantastic. We travel together well.  We have fun and Emma and Alexander get along really well, even for teenagers. We crammed ourselves into our tiny Jetta and we had a great time. The kids were away for most of the summer and it was great to end it all together exploring part of our country.

At North Rustico beach

We're already plotting next year's trip.  I think we'll go West.

Epic Roadtrip Day Thirteen: Purgatory

No one wants to do anything.  

Instead, we all sit around and enjoy the fact that we're not moving.  

I knit a ton on my Eden Prairie.  I might even finish it for the Accessoregatta deadline (here it is at Peggy's Cove, I now have the last green stripe finished).


We all nap.  The kids check in on their Little Free Library.  

Little Library

We eat delicious ribs.  Grampy makes the best ribs.

We relax but everyone is anxious to be home.

Epic Roadtrip Day Twelve: The Long Drive

This is the part where road trips get rather uneventful...

We woke up, showered, packed, checked out and drove.

We crossed into Quebec (forgot how close Edmundston is to the border).

We charted a route that gave us a wide berth around Montreal.  It is the Friday before the long weekend, and I'm not going anywhere near that traffic/chaos den.

We were successful.  We hit some traffic due to construction, but nothing as bad as on the way there.

We drive more.

We cross into Ontario.

We drive.

We arrive in Tweed eleven hours later.  Time for a quick visit with family so the kids can visit their grampy.

While this was pretty boring to read, it was mighty boring to experience.  Next road trip I plan a route home with some stops along the way (or maybe I continue on my less planning is more fun roadtrip experience!)

So close to home, but not quite there yet.

Day Eleven: Hopewell Rocks and the Bay of Fundy

I had every intention of getting out of bed early and getting the day started, but the bed in the hotel had the whitest, smoothest sheets, and it was cozy and warm and Craig dropped a Globe and Mail beside me and told me he was off to scavenge breakfast for I stayed and bed and read the paper. It was gloriously vacationy.

He returned with strong coffee, croissants, strawberries, orange juice and dark chocolate toblerone.

I love him.

Then we all took a swim in the pool, had a steam (it was like a warm Clam Harbour--without the awesome waves) and got ready for the last big adventure of our trip.

I had no real knowledge of the tides at the Bay of Fundy or the Hopewell Rocks until I started thinking about this trip and then it became something I needed to see. The underwhelming tidal bore the night before also made me want to see the "real thing" and so off we went.

Hopewell Rocks-Bay of Fundy. #epicroadtrip 

By the time we arrived, the tide was out and we could walk on the ocean floor.  The way the rocks have morphed with the types was spectacular.  I loved it.


I took a majillion photos with Emma's DSLR, but haven't gotten to those yet.  You'll have to enjoy my Iphone photography instead.



It was quite rainy and cold so it took us a while to get into the spirit of wandering, but the weather improved and we just hung out in nature.


The green stuff is some kind of seaweed.  It was everywhere.  It was sorta nifty.


We spent a bit of time to watch the tide come in--it's both fast and slow.  Apparently it rises 6 inches an hour which is fast, but not when you're obsessively watching it.

Then it was time to start towards home.  No one wanted to do the journey, but it was time and we were all a bit ready.  After an easy drive to Edmundston, we had a hurried dinner (poor staff were so nice to serve us at almost 10) and a great sleep.

One little extra revelation: Booking a hotel on my Ipad powered by the personal hotspot on my Iphone using travel points rocks!


Epic Roadtrip Day Ten: Peggy's Cove

I remember my first and only visit to Peggy's Cove in 1994. It was late spring and it was quiet and serene.

Emma said it looks like the swamp before Mordor. Yep.

Turns out that while it remains a beautiful place, it's a busy place in late August. And we came early.

It is amazing. All those rocks being pushed by glaciers into this craggy shore.

The fog giving it this gloomy cool feel. The waves crashing scarily on the rocks--a dangerous place.

It was fun to boulder along, inspect the rocks and sea. I even saw a seal in the water.

And it's so different from anywhere we saw this vacation.

We explored the village a bit.

Then we headed back to Halifax for a super-short visit. A proper tour of Nova Scotia is another vacation.

Our visit to the fourth provincial capital would not be complete without a tour of the Nova Scotia Legislature.

Emma tries being the angry politician.

I loved the little library.

The chamber is bigger than PEI's!

We had time for a quick walk on the tourist trap pier (which I'm sure has another name) where I sampled another lobster roll and Emma confirmed that poutine is a life sustaining food.

We had a hotel booked in Moncton so back in the car for us. It is a shorter drive so I got it in my head that we should do something along the way. We were right at the end of the Bay of Fundy and the timing was just about right so we drove to the end of Tidal Bore Road outside of Truro and waited.

And waited.

This is a time when knitting is a very good thing.

Turns out that this tidal bore thing isn't all that exciting. But watching the water current change direction as the river filled in was pretty interesting. At least for Craig and I.

What it looked like as we left:

The evening capped off nicely with dinner at a local brew-pub--Pump House Brewery. They made a good stone oven pizza and we sampled the local New Brunswick offerings. The car was too jammed to bring any home though.

Epic Roadtrip Day Nine: Nova Scotia

Time to leave PEI and see some more of the Maritimes. We were mean parents and made the kids get up really early so we could catch the ferry to Nova Scotia. We thought it would be fun to get to the Island by bridge but leave by boat even though the ferry takes a bit longer. I haven't been on a ferry to anywhere since I was ten years old (and it was the ferry to Manitoulin Island).

The Woods Island ferry area gave us a chance to see a few more things. It's the southern most tip of PEI.

The ferry ride itself was neat. Not much to see but I liked being out on the ocean. I think the kids were more impressed with the Ms Pacman and Galaga games on the boat. Must be original ones from the eighties--they still only cost a quarter.

Instead of driving straight to Halifax, we drove through the middle of the province on a windy highway to the ocean so we could see the little places along the coast. That was a great idea. The landscape is so different from PEI. Everything was rugged and forested. Craig scoped out a beach for us so we could put our feet in the ocean; it was the big find of the trip.

Clam Harbour Beach. It was super foggy and eerie and when we parked the car we could hear was the surf. It was noisy. We walked to the beach and it was made of epic awesomeness. Soft white sand (turns out the National Sandcastle Competition was held there two weeks before), clear cold water and huge crashing waves. The fog made everything seem ethereal--you couldn't see more than a few feet in any direction.

The waves were amazing. Even though no one had swimsuits on, we all ended up in the waves trying to keep dry. When that failed the kids (and Craig) stripped down to their underwear and went body surfing in the waves. The water was freezing. I decided to stay sort of dry and watched them swim and crash and have a great time. This is one of those remember it forever afternoons. Fantastic.

When Xander started to look like he was going to turn blue, we got everyone out of the water and got changed. The air was so heavy with fog that we were totally damp even when "dry". I tried to knit for a bit on the beach and yarn just stuck to my fingers.

It was still an hour to our hotel in Halifax and the fog cleared less than 15 minutes from the beach. I wonder if it's always foggy out there. It was amazing.

The night was spent together at the hotel. There was Much bragging about wave surfing and some pretty tired swimmers.