So here’s a map of our stops, right down to our actual slips. We’ll keep it pinned to the top and hopefully fairly current.
This post was going to start with a bunch of interesting stuff about the people who tortured us yesterday, but the kinder and gentler one of us was reluctant to call a spade a spade. So we’ll leave it as one photo.
The highlight of the day, of course, was the Peterborough Lift Lock. Did we mention that this is The World’s Highest Lift Lock? Some folks who just completed the Loop were on top of the lock and sent a picture of us on the way up. The first time.
Big fun the lift lock, although perhaps we didn’t exactly share the same level of enthusiasm for doing it 3 times. But since this was The World’s Highest Lift Lock, we really had no choice, right? In any event, up and down and up we went.
The thunder rolled while were were in Lock 24. No reason for us to travel between locks when they are closed, so we hunkered down on the wall with Second Wave to hope the lightening was over and we weren’t stuck there all night.
After the storm passed, we made our way with Second Wave to the wall at Lakefield. No shore power, but a solid meal at the Canoe & Paddle. Our waitress reminded us of Grace Appelbe. Unfortunately we had very limited cell service, so no blog post.
Today we got up and out to catch the first passage through lock 27. Most of the morning we felt squeezed like we were in some sort of giant squeezy thing, but the scenery was fantastic.
As we passed through Clear Lake, we shared a moment of silence for Buddy Holly and Richie Valens and the day the music died. Of course we weren’t in Iowa—or heaven with Shoeless Joe Jackson—but still.
We planned to stop at Buckhorn, but there were houseboats crashing around all over the place and no room on the wall. Three companies rent houseboats out of Buckhorn Lake. The lock guys hate them and try to “flush” them through the locks as fast as possible. A bit of panic set in until Dana landed us two spots at Gordon’s in Bobcaygeon, a town on the north end of Pidgeon Lake. The women who run the joint assured us there was deep water. We currently sit in barely enough water to float a canoe, but we are very happy to be here to enjoy what turned out to be a cool marina and town.
As noted yesterday, we were docked right next to Island Princess III, which ferries tourists up and down the Peterborough lift lock. By right next to we mean right next to. Maybe 20 feet away at the most. By the end of the weekend’s 200 boat trips, we knew by rote the first 10-minute script of the jokes used by Jody—who assured each group that “Jody is a boy’s name”—to entertain the passengers. The passengers dutifully laughed. We dutifully cringed.
But nothing can be more cringe-worthy than “new wave” synth-pop. Like the patrons at Bob’s Country Bunker, we enjoy both kinds of music: country AND western. And ABBA. So obviously we’re pretty open-minded. Yet we had never heard of synth-pop. Good thing, because synth-pop doesn’t count as music. In fact, we figure that the sounds emanating from the Howard Jones concert at the marina Saturday night are to blame for global warming, political unrest, and the fly plague we encontered in the middle of Lake Ontario. Despite thunderstorms during the day, however, several thousand people sat in the wet field to see this dude. These are the real Canadian looneys, although we allow for the possibility that they were there as part of some kind of diversion program to avoid hard jail time. We would have done the time. At least the prisoners at Folsom got Johnny Cash.
Looping mostly is a quiet sport, best done alone or in small groups. The places we stop generally have been on the smallish side, with few people to molest us. Not so in Peterborough. In addition to the mess that is Howard Jones, RibFest drew folks from all over the region. Just on our dock alone, 11 boats full of merry-makers from Stoney Lake pulled in and partied until literally 3:30 am. This is a photo of the calm before the pot-smoking crowd-storm that hit as sundown arrived. Everyone surprisingly survived the night, however, and they all took off en masse Sunday morning for their trip home.
About a kilometer—since we are in a metric country after all—from the dock was a Zagster Bike Share rack. For the quite-reasonable price of $2—Canadian—per hour, the Misty Pearl and Second Wave crews rode over to check out the lift lock. It’s just as cool as we imagined. Note the same tour boat in the descending pan. The lock attendants know Jody’s 15-minute script for the lift ride so between us we pieced the whole thing together without needing to pay. Whoopeee!
This is the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world. In fact, that’s exactly what the lock attendant suggested should be used as the argument to be an “up downer”—a boat that loops the lock rather than just passing one way—if one spouse is reluctant. The one of us who wants to go through it 3 times instead of just once has been using that line with some regularity in preparation for tomorrow. If all works out, we’ll have some video along with some other interesting tidbits.
After the lock visit, we took off on the bikes with far too little thought about the heat and humidity. Things started off wonderfully on a tree-lined path that was reasonably cool. By the time we reached Trent University, however, old age had set in. We made it back to the boats but just barely.
The plan had been to go bowling at the joint across the street. Brent took a bowling class in college so had an obvious advantage, but we were confident that we could win the more important Big Lebowski-quote competition even without any contribution by Dana. But alas, the lanes were closed. It looked a bit sketchy when we got over there anyway so maybe it’s for the best.
Dinner with Second Wave on the boat, with a solid plan for tomorrow. We’ll drone over to check out the blue line at lock 20. If it’s clear, we’ll head out. If it’s jammed up, maybe we can go back to bed. Either way, we’re up downers all the way.
In small part because we’ve been getting late starts on short travel days and in large part because up here the sun seemingly comes up in the morning only minutes after it sets the evening before, we haven’t seen many sunrises recently. This morning, however, we wanted to get across Rice Lake before the wind and the crazy weekenders arrived so we caught a good one. (Incidentally, all photos we post are un-edited. We don’t know how to use filters or otherwise modify the appearance even if we wanted, which we don’t.)
Rice Lake—supposedly named such because it was a rice paddy until someone who valued water travel more than food installed the Hastings Dam—was the end of the Trent River for us, although the river actually starts there. The lake is dotted with islands that have a couple of houses but no roads. Margaret Island is a good example. Margaret Islanders have no need to worry about crime or having fun. During our crossing we encountered dudes out fishing but not much else.
Just past Rice Lake we turned north on the Otonabee River, which is unlike anything we’ve seen so far.
The swamps and the buildings along the shoreline reminded us both of Louisiana, but without alligators. And without voodoo queens. And—fortunately for all of the wonderful citizens of Canada—without Ed Orgeron. (To celebrate the northern bayou, we later had dinner with Brent and Karen at a Cajun restaurant called Hot Belly Mama’s.)
Along the way, Dana photographed a mother loon with her cubs or puppies or whatever baby loons are called. The Canadian dollar sports a loon and thus is called—rather logically—a loonie. That’s what they also should call the babies but probably don’t. She later spotted a Belted Kingfisher. Basically she is trying for a Big Year, made semi-famous in the grossly-underrated movie of the same name starring Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, and Jack Black. You can’t go wrong with a movie starring Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, and Jack Black so we can’t figure out why it wasn’t a hit.
When we reached Peterborough we docked up next to a boat that takes tourists up and down the lift lock, which is TSW Lock 21. Before we get there on Monday, we have the city to explore. Tomorrow promises a visit to RibFest, which is the reason we were waitlisted for dock space. The Peterborougheans have access to a Costco, two Walmarts, and similar places typical of an advanced civilization, so some provisioning also is in order.
A bunch of boats left the marina and crossed the river to hear the blues band, which is playing long past our bedtime. Despite strict open container laws, these folks will not be in any condition to get back safely, particularly in the dark. Hopefully anyone coming near us has plenty of liability insurance.
The first lock today was Lock 14. The college girl working there said the cheese place was her favorite thing about Campbellford. Except of course she really said it was her “favourite” thing, because up here they spell those kinds of words that way. Either way, we missed it.
Since (1) we couldn’t drone over the last double lock and (2) we didn’t have the camera ready in time when we went through it, the second double lock gave us a chance for minor redemption in the form of another time-lapse video.
We know, we know, the video is too jerky. This was an experiment with 10-second intervals, done as a test before the super-awesome-we-can’t-wait Peterborough Lift Lock. That spectacle comes in a few days since we are staying in Peterborough until Monday morning.
Our buddy Blomo left this afternoon. We probably enjoyed his company more than he enjoyed the slow pace Looper lifestyle, but we think he at least understands why we find it so awesome. We hope he returns with his wife.
We’ve learned and observed a few things about Canada during the short time we’ve been here. For example, daylight on summer days last about 18 hours. No joke. There are morning rays at 4 am and it’s light enough to walk around at 10 pm. This apparently makes it easy to grow flowers. Also, they tell us summer only lasts about 4 days. Which means everybody wants flowers whenever possible. The Parks Canada folks tend flowers at the locks, usually in boats. Clever, eh?
Even when nobody is looking, flowers pop up. This one was growing out of a concrete lock wall. Poor little thing likely is unaware that its struggles to bloom will be for nothing come the impending ice and snow.
Of course, there always is a thorn amidst the beauty. We wonder if the dude who thought this sign was funny is related to the guy who put his leather recliner on a float in the river. Dana wanted to drop an anchor and wait awhile, but we needed to get to Hastings so Blomo could catch his evening shuttle to Toronto.
We docked at Hastings Village Marina and promptly did what we always do—look for lunch. For some reason there is a statue of a big fish and a little fish just past the marina, perhaps to show fishermen what size fish they can catch and what size fish they can claim they caught.
When Shannon was a Blackhawk, she played with a girl named Anna Hess. Anna’s double was a singer at karaoke night. Turns out the biggest thing all week in Hastings—population 1,200—is karaoke night at McGillicafey’s Pub. According to the bartendress, the locals practice all week. It was way cool. One of us was tempted to sing Rocky Top, but they probably didn’t have it on the machine. Glad we went.
Another glorious day to be on a boat rather than in an office. The TSW narrowed, shallowed, and weeded as we left the Frankford wall. Blomo proved to be quite usable in the locks, although these locks were so easy he almost went to sleep. The only lock of real consequence was the double at 11 and 12. We were dismayed to learn that the DJI Phantom buzzing us was being operated by Parks Canada, so as to not be evidence that droning over the locks in fact is legal. We had to settle for some iPhone photos from the top instead.
Coming from Tennessee and Texas, we’ve seen our share of bizzarre hillbilly. On this trip we’ve determined that the same things can be found everywhere. For example, some people want to be comfortable when they fish or watch the kids swim. If you have an extra couch sitting around, why not make it useful? This one even looks like a recliner. Nice.
Campbellford is deep in the heart of river country, according to the sign. Plus the stars at night, are big and bright. The town park also almost certainly sports the largest replica of a Canadian $2 coin—aka a Toonie—in the world.
Campbellford also has a famous cheese shop, recommended by several lockmasters along the route. One of us really wanted to go, mostly to tell the clerk “I thought to myself a little fermented curd will do the trick, so I curtailed my Walpoling activities, sallied forth, and infiltrated your place of purveyance to negotiate the conveyance of some cheesy comestibles.” The other one doesn’t think Monty Python sketches are funny, however, and saw no reason to take a 3-mile taxi ride. Opportunity lost, but at least we found some of the local product at the grocery store.
We finally hit the right timing, as the Campbellford concert in the park featured an oldies country band. It almost sort-of was passable, although Canada does country redneck better than country accents. “Here’s some Johnny Cash, eh.”