July 1 2011, The Camping Trip!

P’kah seems to be the only word that really means anything to Elyse. Well, that and abdiggy abdiggy which seems to be an expression of delight. Spending time with Marianna and Violet this weekend has shown that kids develop so differently, even being so close in age. Their temperaments are already coming out and of course with that the parents’ associated predictions of their future personalities. The weekend was very enjoyable despite the drive, I was dreading the drive home the whole time we were there but luckily for us I think leaving at 10:30 got us about 30 minutes ahead of the big slowdown.

We left on Friday morning at some ungodly hour (7:30 I think) because it was July 1 and we had the day off for Canada Day. The early start meant that Elyse wasn’t going to sleep right off the bat but she was pretty well behaved until after she had her first nap on the far side of Barrie. As we got onto the 400 there was already a huge line of traffic, fortunately there had been a problem which had cleared and by Canal Road we were free and clear. Even going through Barrie there was no slowdown. Once we got to Huntsville we decided to go and see if Isabel was working at the Farmer’s Daughter however unfortunately we missed her by just a few minutes. We had coffee, let Elyse stretch her little legs and got back on the road knowing that as far as we were, we were less than half way.

The drive up to North Bay was not bad, mostly for the fact I had never been up there before (why would I??) and the scenery was pretty. The traffic had tailed off to nothing until we rolled into and through North Bay coming out the far side into what is the small town of Sturgeon Falls. On the way up Nicole had found that there was a culinary battle of chip trucks going on in Sturgeon Falls between Larry’s and The Riv both located on the same small street directly opposite one another. As we cruised through town we noticed that the traffic lights were out and once we were out of the car we were informed that the power to the whole town was out. That unfortunately meant that Larry’s couldn’t cut chips so we went across to the Riv and had poutine and a pogo, both standards and the flagship items of both stores. The poutine was amazing, beefy, cheesy and the gravy and curds were all the way through the box of fries not just poured on top like most places do.

After our fill, we took the side road down to Glenrock camp ground and were greeted by what I can only describe as a gypsy site, children running around barefoot, tents and makeshift caravans parked with apparent abandon everywhere, dogs on the loose and people sitting out on their garden chairs surveying their neighbours. It was a rather disturbing site to be honest. We had a hard time finding our “cabin” or shack as I think it deserves to be called but once inside I was pleasantly surprised to find flushing toilets, hot water and electricity. Elyse immediately set about investigating the cabin as we unpacked the car and filled the fridge. I was wiped after the drive so I opted for a short nap, waking in time to be joined by the other couples and their two daughters.

The space was cramped, there is no escaping that, but since we had planned to spend most of the time outdoors, it really didn’t matter that much. We set up the chairs outside and let the girls loose to go and play in the grass and the kids playground outside our back door. They were good to each other, but as kids do they eventually upset each other, stole toys from each other and made up by feeding floorios to each other, it was really very cute! The rest of the day was spent at the shack, hanging out and doing very little. I did manage to get my kettlebell workout done much to the amusement and interest of the surrounding campers. As the evening rolled in we fired up the BBQ and got to work making dinner and getting the kids ready for bed. I was very surprised that the girls were able to sleep through each other’s crying and didn’t seem to mind the change  in their bed locations from home. The site was pretty noisy but the kids slept well in any case. Because it was Canada Day, there was a small but occasionally noisy fireworks display which was in reality was more like some guy letting off a box of costco fireworks over the lake. We participated with sparklers and spent the rest of the night making s’mores, fire grilled hot dogs and debating the possibility of pulling a sparkler out of the fire with your butt cheeks. Needless to say, it was a regular campers night.

The rest of the weekend passed quickly, one of the couples left to spend time with family on Saturday leaving the rest of us to play with the girls and hang out at the site. We did return for more poutine and pogos with Larry’s failing to impress as much as The Riv did. I did manage to get another workout done since the fries were going to sit in my stomach all night if I didn’t. The evening was another BBQ, another fire and a Bingo night provided by the camp site. One of our group won $40 which was a bonus while her husband and I spent our time ridiculing the game the same way you would make fun of someone saying shuffleboard is a sport. The weekly dance was on Saturday night and provided hours of entertainment for us watching the pre-teens dancing in the bandstand, doing cartwheels and handstands to bad 80’s soft rock. Nicole and I had already done our share of cartwheels and handstands but when Party Rockers came on we delighted our travelling companions with our snappy dance moves! Some scrabble, more music and a good cigar later and I retired feeling a little under the weather.

As delightful as the weekend was, I was concerned about the drive home being very long so we opted for  a very early departure with coffees in hand trying to make it to Huntsville area before 1130 when I had projected people would start to leave. The timing was good, and the traffic was not all that bad although we spent at least 30 minutes in a jam where the 400 and 11 meet. One of the other couples was about an hour behind us and spent their whole afternoon in traffic. It was so bad, they stopped at McDonalds just to get out of the throng of vacationers. Nicole, Elyse and I made it home around 2pm and spent the majority of the rest of the day recovering from the drive. As I had imagined, Sunday was a complete bust.

Although I enjoyed the weekend the drive was completely unnecessary. There are places just as nice close to home but since one of the couples was visiting family, we went along for the trip. I wouldn’t get roped into going up there again. Whatever Sudbury has to offer, I don’t need it. I enjoyed the weekend, and even the drive back didn’t dampen my spirits too much, although timing was everything! Elyse made it through none the worse for wear and managed to experience her first camping trip, her first exposure to French Canadians and of course her first almost 10 hour car trip.

P’kah. P’kahhhhh indeed!


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