There are Costcos in Canada!


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.)

img_4338Rice 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.)

003a1426Along 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.

img_4345When 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.

img_4346A 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.


Flowers and singers

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.

img_4326We’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?

003a1391Even 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.  003a1409We 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.

img_4317We 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.

img_4329When 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.






I want to buy some cheese


img_4287Another 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.  img_4292We 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.  003a1368For 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.

img_4301We 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.”


Lock 7 or bust


img_4263Off we go on the Trent River north into Canada, on our way to Washington D.C.   But first, we had to kill another day in Trenton because of wind.  This was quite disappointing for Jim Blomo, who arrived on Sunday anticipating a week of non-stop cruising action.   He doesn’t seem to get the whole slow-down-and-enjoy-life thing.  But then—at least according to criminal defendants in his courtroom—he didn’t really get the whole judge thing either.

Canadian Forces Base Trenton is a significant military base and home to Canada’s CC-177 Globemaster IIIs, which we understand are the largest planes in the Royal Canadian Air Force.  A dude on the dock next to us sent his buddy—who was piloting a Globemaster—a pin drop to mark his boat location.  The pilot then flew over the dock multiple times.  That was pretty neat.

The concert along the river featured three old guys who probably were something back in ‘60 but a bit past their prime.  The drummer had a walker, bless his heart.  We stayed for the first set and then moved on.

img_4252After accusing us of being wimps for not  traveling in the wind, Blomo went with Doug over to the National Air Force Museum, where they admired the impressive history of Canadian military aviation.  The crown jewel was this Halifax bomber—one of only three remaining in the world—which was pulled from the 750-foot depths of a Norwegian lake where it dropped after being shot down in WWII.  The restoration project was impressive.

img_4268The morning cruise saw us pass the first 6 TSW locks before docking up along the wall.  We probably could’ve walked to Frankford faster, but we got there.  The boys enjoyed the picnic and we enjoyed the company.  We also enjoyed the sunset from Misty Pearl’s foredeck.


Someone should invent a cruise-through boatwash

img_4217Yesterday was supposed to take us to Trenton, which is the western point of The Bay of Quinte and eastern terminus of the Trent-Severn Waterway.  The day was perfect for traveling.  Except for the 15- to 18-knot winds.  So basically the day was horrible for traveling.

At least it was cool enough to walk around Belleville, which didn’t take very long but long enough to photograph the scenic Moira River as it passes through.  img_4215Also Canada Geese.  We’re used to seeing these guys flying overhead so it’s weird to realize that this is where they head for the summer.  Mostly here they just swim around, often with babies.  They also put their butts in the air a lot.

Once in a while, even beautiful days turn rotten.  Those are the days one of us (usually not Doug) thinks we should deep clean.  The other one of us may or may not respond with something that sounds like “waaaaa” but with a sprinkle of light profanity.  img_4222Yesterday was one of those days.   Most of our crusty-bug collection came off with some heavy scrubbing and another dash of light profanity, but despite the huge volume it seems unlikely that in the past week we finished our year’s allotment.  So basically we will have to do it all again in a week or two.  That said, Misty Pearl did seem happier.  We also were happier after a taco picnic with Brent and Karen, although our joy ended when Matthew was killed in a freak motorcar crash moments after Mary gave birth to his son and heir.

Today was a bit warmer but much less windy, so off we went through the unmowed forest of aquatic growth surrounding our slip.  The boys barely had time to settle into cruising position before we reached Trenton.  10.2 nm is our shortest day yet but we need to stage for the Waterway.

86651F42-6211-4F3C-A4A0-408BA57B2AA9A couple of days ago Crossroads posted a photo of tight docking.  But Barry and Robin are pros.  Ignoring our rank amateurism, the Trent Port folks decided we should shoe-horn up beside scared-to-death owners of a sailboat that Misty Pearl outweighs by 18 tons.  They and we hastily started adding fenders before we squeaked in.  Any time two boats are rubbing fenders it’s not a good thing.

44969F40-16AF-4499-94C7-E443B239F108Since we are staying here for another day, we hiked up to TSW Lock no. 1.  Beautiful trail along the Trent River to get there.

The Canadians don’t need modern conveniences like mules or steam engines to power the gates on the lock.  No siree.  2A7813FD-658F-4B1D-BA59-C39D889D1E01They do it just like they have since the lock was built in 1910 – with college kids pushing a turnstile.

In any event, we greatly look forward to this stretch of the Loop.