Archive | July, 2012

Day 20 – I’m off the Park… 60 Second Tent…. Challenge Accepted!

31 Jul

From the camp it is about an hour drive into the Soo.  It turned out perfectly that Emily was awake super early and was able to join me for breakfast.  We then headed to the Canadian Tire to meet with CTV.  I’m really stoked because the news piece looks great (you can watch it here starts at 8:15).  In this video you get to meet Emily too!  What a star!

After the CTV interview, I was back in the car on the way through Huntsville to Algonquin Park.

About halfway through the day my plans changed and my friend Martine decided to come camping with me.  By the time we got to the park it was quite late.  We needed to use the flashlight (one of the ones with a lantern built in)  to quickly read the instructions.  This is one of the Coleman Insta-tents that are said to be able to be put up in 60 seconds flat.

This was obviously a challenge I was stoked to face.  I figured on the first try it would take longer to set-up.  I used to be a boy scout so I am fairly good with tents, but nothing as sophisticated as the insta-tent.

After reading the 2 step instructions then tent was up in 30 seconds flat, leaving me a good 30 uninterrupted seconds to gawk at how amazing this tent is.  I post a photo below to show you how big it is.  You can legit stand inside this tent.  It is easily the coolest tent I have ever seen.

I also had picked up a Roots air mattress with a built-in, battery operated pump.  Best purchase so far at Canadian Tire because after attempting to blow my other one up, I conceded to using the electric pump and the bed was useable in seconds!

There is still a fire ban on in the park, so no fire for now.  Hopefully we will have some rain before my next camping adventure…. OH I almost forgot.  This tent also DOES NOT require a fly.  For those of you who are campers you are either shocked or skeptical (or maybe both).  I have yet to try it in the rain but I promise I will let you know as soon as I do.  The tent was super well vented and the stars are amazing!

I’ll write again tomorrow!

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Day 19 – The Soo Welcomes The Great Canadian Roadtrip

31 Jul

So first off, I’m sorry it has been so long since I posted.  I have been without internet for some time.  So let me flashback to day 19 and my drive to the Soo.

This morning I woke up fairly early to leave my friend Alyssa’s house in Fort Frances to drive all the way to Sault Ste. Marie (aka the Soo).  This drive I know is going to be one of the longest yet. but it is along Lake Superior so I know it should be a fun drive.  Today during my breaks I planned out my epic camping adventure that is planned for day 20 and drove to stay at my new friend Jen’s Camp on the lake outside of the Soo.

I got lost today, not because of Dorthy, but because I didn’t know where I was going to get to this camp.  This caused a bit of a fight between Dorthy and me… but we soon got over it and life is good again.

Today I spent a lot of time thinking about how stoked I am to be back in Ontario and to be soon back home in Peterborough.  This adventure has been so amazing and I think I’m mostly excited to be home to tell some great stories.

I even got to see the place where the Winnie the Pooh stories began.  Having been a fairly big fan of the Pooh as a child, I was pretty stoked to read all about the purchasing of THE Black Bear in White River who would later be named Winnie the Pooh.  Cool story!

Right before I lost Cell reception (which is basically nonexistent during this whole leg of the trip) I got a message from my friend Emily who is currently living in the Soo.  I am stoked to get to spend some time hanging out with Emily in the morning.

I am hitting the hay relatively early, knowing that I have a substantial drive day tomorrow too. There aren’t too many photos from today but I will do my best to add some later.

Day 18 – Fort Frances…. Big Day for News!

29 Jul

So in case you didn’t guess, I stayed today in Fort Frances, ON with my friend Alyssa and her amazing family.  We woke up at the cabin and had a wonderful breakfast before helping out a bit on the construction of their new cabin just next door.  The cabin is on the lake, so after a bit we ended up in the water.  Alyssa has several younger cousins so we spent some time playing marco polo and really fun other water games.  Alyssa’s uncle Mike took us out on the boat to see the famous Mermaid of Fort Frances.

The Mermaid has several different stories.  For the purposes of this blog I thought I would write three options and let you decide.  One I will create here on the spot, one is real, and one is a commonly told false story.  Before reading the options take a look at the photos of the Mermaid.

1.  Like the peninsula in Lorelei, Germany where ships are lured in too close by the tempting sounds of the beautiful mermaids, this statue now represents the treacherous rocks that summon lost sailors.  In the middle of the Lake just outside of Fort Frances, many a fisherman has gone missing or a boat turned to shreds by the pointed edges of the Mermaid rock.  In warning this statue was made to forever warn newcomers that the rock is a very dangerous place during the day and at night.

2.  A student studying architecture decided to make a statue of a Mermaid, it ended up in the middle of the lake.  Some people don’t get the same kind of cool summer job that I got.

3.  A very rich American man lived on the lake many years ago, he had daughter who loved the lake more than anything.  Every day she would spend as much time as possible swimming and enjoying the water.  The family would often joke that this girl may soon grow gills because she spent so much time underwater at the lake.  One day, the girl decided to swim further than ever before.  Her family was not worried when she did not return for lunch, by dinner time the warning bells started to ring, when the sun set on the river there was still no sign of her.  The young girl drowned.  In memory of his daughter, the rich man had a statue of a mermaid made and placed in the centre of her favourite place.  To this day the locals still venture out to the mermaid and pay their respects to the girl lost to the sea.

After seeing the mermaid, we headed down to the Bass tournament to meet some of Alyssa’s friends and have a really good time.  What a great night!!!

Oh… I forgot to explain the title…  The Bass tournament is the biggest event in Fort Frances, so it was a big day for news with me being in town too!  Whoot!  It was awesome!

Day 17 – Goodbye Prairies, HELLO Sunshine

28 Jul

I know I shouldn’t be happy to be moving back into dryer area, and I’m sure my father will not appreciate the title, but wow, it’s nice to be wearing shorts again!

This morning I met with one of my professors from my degree.  She now works at the University of Winnipeg so we had a really great breakfast and a chance to catch up.  The cool thing with a degree at Trent is that you genuinely get to know your professors.  I really appreciated today’s chat.  Afterwards Adina took me to the U Winnipeg bookstore to buy me a mug. “Tu as besoin de quelque chose comme objet d’ici.”  (You need some kind of object from here).

After that I hoped in the car on the way to visit Alyssa in Fort Frances!

The drive from Winnipeg is very… uneventful.  There were some great lake views, but otherwise a lot fo the same trees in a very similar fashion along the highway.

When I got to Alyssa’s we headed straight for the cabin (aka cottage), that is about a 15 minute drive from her house and on this amazing lake.  Basically her whole family was up and it was really cool to get to meet them all.  We played cards and…. I learned a new card game…. and I won…. it was super exciting!

We built a camp fire and hung out for hours.  I think tonight I started to reflect a lot on what I have been doing up until this point and how this trip/adventure has/will effect my life.  In talking with Alyssa I realized that this trip is way more about friendship than I could have imagined.  Yes, I’ve been driving across the country,  yes, I have seen some amazing things and learned a lot, but in the end what Canadian Tire has allowed me to do is to strengthen friendships that I am so excited to be able to have for years to come.  It is typical after school ends for people to go their separate ways; life changes.  With Facebook we have been able to stay connected in some ways but overall, many friendships fade over time.  It has happened to all of us (if you’re thinking, “not to me” be prepared, it’s coming).  I don’t mean this in a cynical way but more in a realistic way.  This trip has allowed me to understand where people are in their lives, who they are becoming, and where they’d like to be.  It has allowed me the opportunity to grow as a person but also to understand how to be a “long-distance friend”.

At the campfire we tried out the new Off-Fans!  They worked better than most of the other bug repellant things I have used!  Way to go Canadian Tire.  Stellar product.

For those of you whom I’ve met already on this trip, I hope you have a similar feeling.  For those of you I have not made it to yet…. please be prepared for some amazing memories!

That’s all for today,

Goodnight

(photos will come soon, I’ve lost my camera in the piles of Canadian Tire awesomeness in my car)

Day 16 – Today I Woke up and said… it’s 4:30 I better Start Driving

26 Jul

So the title kind of gives away the beginning but I’m sure you are asking yourself why I did that.  Well Jac and Ayad needed to grab a flight in the morning at 6 am, so we were up and out.

Today was mostly a driving day… not a lot to tell.  I decided to take the long way to Winnipeg in order to see some new countryside and to see “Dog River” from Corner Gas (aka Rouleau, SK).

It was pretty cool to see the set of the show, but mostly I went so that I can say that I was there whenever the show comes on.

I posted some photos of the drive and some of the great “Giant” things that I found along the way.

When I arrived in Winnipeg at 4:30 pm, I went straight to the CTV Winnipeg office for an interview.  Then I checked in at the hostel, and am currently sitting at the table with some new friends.

Hostels are the coolest places.  The people I just met range in age from 20 to 60 and all have an interesting story to tell.  In Winnipeg, most of these stories involve traveling across the country.  Some people by bike, some for work, and some to meet up with family.  It is an interesting experience sharing a house with so many different people.  I can’t help remembering my favourite part of my friends speaking a language that I id not understand in my presence.  In response I would tell them, “you have beautiful eyes” (A phrase I now now in 24 different languages).  I will always remember how they would laugh and then remember that I did not understand what they were saying.

It is interesting that this trip has allowed me to create new memories with many friends and remember how much I cherish the memories of my best international friends!  If you guys are reading this, you are awesome and I miss you.  For now, I will enjoy the amazing memories that have just happened and the ones that are yet to come.  Ontario and out EAST be prepared!

Day 15 – Turns Out I’m Not the Only one on the Road

26 Jul

Waking up in Edmonton was amazing.  I felt refreshed and good to go.  What a great city, and some of the most amazing people I know.

As I hit the road on the way to Saskatoon I only just got the feeling that I was on the return journey.   I can’t believe I’ve been on the road for two weeks.  Mind-blowing!

Saw some Buffalo on the drive.  It was awesome to be able to see them in the “wild” rather than in a zoo.  I think I have come to appreciate Canadian wildlife far more as this trip has gone on (and by appreciate, I mean that I appreciate them not being on the road… just kidding).

The live interview from yesterday was reposted and the link now works (here).  Please remember if you are going to watch it that I have no idea which camera is on me or when it is, the interview is live and … yeah.

Anyways today I got back to Saskatoon and had the most amazing opportunity to go to my first ever NASCAR event.  If I had to put it into one word I’d probably chose LOUD, but it was pretty epic too.  The event gave proceeds to Jumpstart which is this awesome charity that Canadian Tire works with to help sponsor children to be able to play recreational sports in Canada.  It is a really worthy cause and as someone who played many sports as a child it is something that I believe highly in.  I mean I didn’t turn out too bad….

Before we left I got to meet some of the lovely ladies tht were representing Canadian Tire at the event.

Tonight Jac, Ayad and I are heading out for dinner and going to enjoy some of the entertainment  that Saskatoon has to offer.  I am stoked!

Day 14 – Winning the Lottery Could Not Buy the Amazing Day that was Today!

25 Jul

Intense does not even begin to describe today.

I have been looking forward to today for quite some time.  Today was going to be my adventure in Edmonton with my friend Desi from Trent.  Desi has since moved out to Edmonton and now shares her amazing home with her two children, and for the night… me.  I only had the chance to meet her daughter, but it is safe to say that they are super good people.  Michelle (Desi’s daughter) works at this amazing restaurant that we went to called Joey’s.  Apparently they may be expanding so look out East Coast.

On that note, it is important to note that where in Ontario every town first has a Tim Horton’s then other things, out west A&W is the “hip and trendy” fast-food location.  This has made getting my daily intake of tea difficult…. but doable.

Anyways so today Desi and I went on this amazing Helicopter ride over the city.  I can legitimately say that I have seen ALL of Edmonton.  Close to the end of the ride I started to feel very woozy and was very close to loosing my cool.  Instead I just sweat a lot….

After that we went to see the West Edmonton Mall, which is amazing.  Waterpark, mini-put, ice rink, sea animals, arcade, games, and the other cool things that regular malls have, all in one place….

I then got to do a Primetime Interview with CTV Edmonton LIVE!  It was intense, but they were super nice and the interview went REALLY well.  I haven’t been able to see it yet, but the link is here.

As if the day couldn’t get better, Desi takes me for a ride on her hog… aka her motorcycle.  It was so cool!

What an awesome day!  Tomorrow on to Saskatoon.  I’m stoked to be going, but I wish I could spend WAY more time here.  Desi is one of the most inspiring people I have met!