Mostly harmless (corto) wrote,
Mostly harmless

Vacation Post - Cottage Time 2008

Summer Adventure 2008
Family Style...
... Scottsman Point, Buckhorn Ontario

This year's "Summer Vacation" was a return trip to the cottage resort we stayed at last year. [ :: Last Years Vacation Post :: ]. This year, however, we brought more family. :) My parents stayed in the cottage beside ours and this made for a truly wonderful vacation... bursting with simple moments that will no doubt be memories that last a lifetime.

Here is our day-by-day journal... with a few pictures.
Note: our camera fell in the lake... dried off... worked a bit... then died completely. So we're a bit light on pictures this time. :)
(but I did get it to work long enough for a you-tube video on day seven :D)

Day One:
Saturday, July 26
Our trip-away was planned for 11 AM and we were on the road by 12... so not bad by our usual standards. My proposed detour to get to Starbucks was vetoed and we ended up settling for crummy Tims. (I’m really no fan of Tim Horton coffee... but contrary to popular belief, I get to keep my passport). We drove through truly stunning amounts of rain from a system that delivered a rare Ontario Tornado... and all the stuff in the car-topper stayed dry! :)

We made "cabin" at the Scottsman Point cottage resort before 4:00. This place began life as a fishing camp eighty-plus years ago, and ended up with a summer-following-of-families – so they are very family friendly. At our invitation, my parents joined us and rented the cottage next door. The "Six Foot Bay Golf Resort" is literally 2 ½ minutes away, so my folks will golf (and if I’m lucky... I’ll golf too... I brought my clubs. :D) And I know my mom will sketch and paint... (

My stunningly ill-equipped miniature fishing tackle – used last summer on our trip here for the first time in two decades – has been formally retired and replaced by a Canadian Tire tool box chocked full of fun and interesting gear. Um... fake plastic yellow grubs packaged in this "smells like worm" (or something) seasoning mix called "power bait". Wohoo... Oh, and I remembered to bring needle nose pliers!!! So... bottom line... we intend to fish!

Now it’s up to Mother Nature to give us a little sugar. :)

Today’s moment: So, you’re on a two lane highway, with the same cars in front and behind for miles, loaded for the cottage, cruising along at ... say 80 – 100 kms... and then go from dry to completely-blind in-a-deluge-of-rain in two seconds. Wow!

Day Two:
Sunday, July 27
Beautiful weather... despite the dire predictions of the know-it-all-weather-Aces.

A nice "no plans" day... We got out little fishing boat... a 14 foot sloop with a little merc engine to get us from the dock out front to any of the (apparently) famous fishing holes on this waterway. (Three rivers join in a lake area pretty much out-front of our cabin.). We went into town and got some groceries... we went fishing... (perch and black crappies) and did nice lazy things like read in big chairs by the river, BBQ chicken, make giant salads, play Frisbee... being transported to a 1960’s family cottage-camp as familiar faces from "this week last summer" show up to share moments and everyone notices how much bigger the assorted children are. :)

Tonight is the first of the nightly camp fires... easily Edward’s favorite parts of the trip. There’s a big fire pit by the beach and the main building. They have a "Tea Room", water-craft gas bar, little store, ice cream, fishing gear, on and on and on and on and on... Several young’ens are employed for the summer to tend to the various jobs... and most of them are foreign exchange students. They set up a camp fire every night and light it at 9:00.... Drawing every kid, from all 20 cabins, out to ring the fire roasting marshmallows and poking the flames. Moms and dads sit in adirondack chairs in an outer ring and share war stories (fishing and parenting stories) and lots of the "where are you from" and "how was the drive" stuff. :)

Today’s moment: Walk to the beach, sit down on a big chair overlooking the kidlettes playing on the beach... and say hi to the man and woman next to me. And after much laughter and double takes realize that we were two-doors-away-neighbors for eight years on the street we moved from two years ago.

Day Three:
Monday, July 28
Ah the bliss of sleeping in. Mother Nature continues to cooperate although she rained on us for a brief bit. We enjoyed a lot of fishing, playing games and getting sorted to go out to a dinner with my folks at a nice restaurant by the local town’s Lock. (Lock #31 Trent Severn Water Way – all the way to Georgian Bay!) We had a massive feed. :D LOL...

More fire in the evening and we’ve started a bit of a family thing with playing "Wizards" (standard card deck with eight additional cards, played with trumps, tricks and lots of careful thinking... exceptional game to get a youngster into... due mostly to the amount of math and analytical thinking that’s required.

You know those 2 liter pop bottles? Big plastic jobs? So cut the bottom off of an empty one (duh), and slip it over your bare foot. Now put a piece of tape behind your ankle to hold it on. Repeat for the other foot... Now walk around. There. Now you know what it’s like to wear "crocks". Stupid things.

Today’s moment: holy lightening freak-out... We got a late night show of outstanding proportions as these high altitude and I-guess-very-distant clouds exchanged huge forks and balls of lightening. Just awesome. :)

Day Four:
Tuesday, July 29
Ok... so today has been a long one. My mom, dad and I got up early and played nine-holes at he Six Foot Bay club. Our fourth was a very nice ol’guy with lots of good-will and stories about the club. It is handily the nicest golf club I’ve ever played on ... "nice" in terms of very thoughtful holes, the appearance of perfect grounds-maintenance and simply an outstanding collection of swells, mounds, gullies, hills and swales that make up the course. :)

We were back by lunch and joined Suz and the boys in a mid day feed and – of course – fishing. Geo is pretty keen about the fishing but I know he’s also highly motivated by my letting him operate the boat. :) (and he’s doing a fine job). We (Geo and I) signed up for "tubing" and then packed our own rented boat to go fishing...but not before dropping my camera off the dock. Well, we dropped it on the dock, but it totally bounced right into the water. I got it out and we’re trying to dry out the bits. But it owes us nothing... it’s several years old and it’s been having issues (going into movie mode when you try to go to review images... etc.). So, a new camera is in the offing.

The tubing... omg... Geo got tossed around like a rag doll... and he had much fun. :) I managed to try it... sitting in the tube first, holding on for dear life... and after the u-boat commanders executed some sharp turning thing and set up a wave nightmare, they zoooooooomed me through it. Needless to say, I completely fell apart about twelve feet in the air when I realized there was no possible way to "stick the landing". Then I tried laying down on my chest and proceeded to smack my face into the tube. (Back to sitting.:D). It was much fun... but I know my body will be a little angry with me tomorrow.
We had another big feed for dinner... more corn-on-the-cub, angel hair pasta, bbq sausages, fresh yellow beans. :D and we fished again after dinner. !!! and we caught a big enough perch that we are going to eat it.. Translation: We have to go chop it’s head off... it’s tail off... and then hack it to pieces. Very gross stuff. Yes, I know ... people have been doing this for ever!! But not me. :)
Now I’m so darn tired that I will pass out the very moment my head hits the pillow. :)

See you tomorrow. (and I wonder if the camera will work tomorrow?).

Today’s Moment: An ant crawled into zee’s toothbrush... deep. She found it the hard way.

Day Five: Wednesday, July 30
Wake up... get up... see clouds, hear the giant truck twenty feet away pumping out the septic tank of another cottage, go back to bed.
Wake up... get up... see my mother sneaking into the cottage and putting a muffin pan of fresh-from-the-oven muffins on the table and sneaking out again. Still cloudy... go back to bed.
Wake up... get up... notice that it’s like 10:00 AM... so zee and I both stay up. We eat muffins. :)

Zee leaves with my mom to go into town and shop... The boys and I go on another fishing adventure. Ed catches a blue-gill and a pumpkin-seed... both of which I would have called "sun fish" except there’s this big poster in the fishing office... Oh and the perch we caught and "cleaned" (euphemism for "chop off it’s head, pull it and all the fish innards out and toss it all, twitching, into the garbage, the cut off the tail, split the body, and cut relatively small fillets off the spine"... hell of a euphemism eh?)... was fried up in a pan with some butter and salt. It was good... and according to that poster... it was also a small-mouth bass. :)
It tried to get nice out but remained "iffy"... so after playing catch, eating and reading... we decided to go to my parents friends cottage (relatively near-by) instead of having them over to our "rustic setting" for a BBQ. They have one of those fifty year old cottages with three different additions, beautiful location, beamed-ceilings, big spaces, satellite dish and a gorgeous huge bbq. We had burgers and good conversation ... and birthday cake. :) There were enough diabetics at the table to ensure we ended up taking half the cake back to our cottage. :) AND I got to show off the iPhone a whole bunch. I’m a walking advertisement for Apple. Stunning torrential downpour on the drive back to our cottage at 8:00ish... and we arrived just a couple of minutes before the storm. It was pretty wow to look out over the lake during the storm from our big window (Buckhorn Lake).

A little Dancing With The Stars... some Wizards – it’s kind of cool how well Edward "gets" this game... and how much strategy Geo brings to his game... (like choosing to win zero tricks with 14 cards). Now it’s late and I’m s’posed to be up at 7:45 to go golfing. :)

Today’s Moment: Zee sees our boat drift past the docks and head down river... on it’s own... only... it’s not our boat... ack! I’m off getting a new aerial for our TV from the office, so she calls Geo and they head out in our boat – glad that Geo has learned to drive the boat effectively (it was plenty windy). They chased the run-away and all ended up stuck in 2 feet of weedy shore water. After much paddling... Geo teaches Zee how to drive one and they both drive ‘em back to the docks and moor up in the wind. It was our neighbor’s boat. As a thank you... neighbor dude gave me a small bucket full of (ick) Leeches!!! (to use as bass bate! – totally ick but apparently quite effective).

Day Six:
Thursday, July 31
Again with the crack of dawn thing... well, not exactly but still up early.
More golf. :)

This time my da and I were there for an 8:30 tee off... and we following a foursome with two duffers (and power to them... but "duffer" is the term), and chased by two single golfers that paired up behind us... and the marshal let us go on as a twosome. So we had some good fun with all eighteen holes. The back nine were all holes straight out of Links386... back in the day. Water everywhere... even a par 3 you tee off from an island across nothing but water to a green with water behind it as well. I’m using one of those ginormous drivers... like a big-mac on a graphite shaft... and manage to smack off 250 yard tee shots without trying too hard. (I’m also big on the slice so life on a golf tee is all about compensating). I get some grand fairway irons and make good two and three’s to the green but I putt for crap especially when the greens are all "golf course designer owns a bong collection" fun zones of curves and hazards. :D (no really... Six Foot Bay is a great golf course). Zee went into a town called Bobcaygen (sounds like Bob Cajun) with my ma and they had themselves a shoe shopping bonanza. It’s kinda groove station the way this little cottage country town has developed this rep as a hot-spot-to-shop for shoes.

The afternoon was spent coming up with things for the boys to do that didn’t include game-boys. We fished... we swam... we played catch, Frisbee and card games... :D Dinner was a grand affair with my parents joining us at a big outdoor feed, down by the docks in front of the cottages. The night... again filled out with fire at the communal camp-fire pit, and a game of wizards afterwords. We set about putting the kids to bed and I figured "ok... some 30 Rock on my laptop and a little pot of coffee..." but I was out cold twelve seconds after putting the kids to bed.

Today’s moment: As abhorrently sickening as this may sound, leeches is some mighty great mutha fish bait and plenty better to work with than disgusting disgusting disgusting worms and all their oozing guts. The little stump-of-a-dark-brown-nugget-slug (inch long max) thing expands to six, even eight inches long in the water... wicked. And they only try to sucker-onto-you from this tiny spot on it’s face... and these are not those trippy leeches you get fused to your leg in stagnant water... you just push it’s sucker off and it’s off. Of course getting it to cooperate while you ram a hook through this spot just behind its head is a trick... but the thing is like a little wiggly piece of uncooked liver. It’s solid. And nothing oozes out of it. !! :)

Day Seven:
Friday, August 1
Well I woke up – for no good reason – at seven in the morning. There was talk last night of getting up early to go fishing... but there was no waking the boys up. Not a chance. I watched neighbor dudes pack themselves into their little boat and put-put-put away. They came back a half-hour later for both of the young boys in the boat to come home for a pee... the explanation of this carried nicely across the still water and cool morning air. They left again, I considered going out alone... totally thought better of it... and went back to bed until like 10:30. :D :D

We grazed through breakfast... took a giant long boat ride... and found ourselves staring at this shack constructed on this little inaccessible island. It was just Suz, Geo and I on the boat... so we motored over to the dock in front of this place. !! oh geez was this place a cliché or what!!! Little shack with a steel door and re-enforced plexi-glass windows. A fish-gutting shed, beside a little boat house and several hard-used bits of furniture. Nobody was home. Signs told us a) Debbie and Lionel lived here and b) This was Indian land and trespassers will eat lead. (A whole section of land on this waterway is an Indian reservation). Well Deb and Leo might as well have been characters in a Steven King book... Oh and the camera came back to life for a little while today! I took pics of the scary shack and a little video... and imagined the camera being found in a Blair Witch kind of scenario. "All they ever found was his Gay Head baseball cap and this camera..." Creepy city... Geo was pretty much beside himself and only got his colour back when we pulled away from Amityville Island.

We took a small road trip to get gas and then spent part of the afternoon at this public beach area on "Sandy Lake". Wow. Big land-locked lake... parceled up to very fortunate land owners (some with breathtaking mansions... most with stunning cottages). The water is turquoise blue and the beach area is one of those "shallow forever" deals with soft sand... hundred-and-fifty-yards out... it’s still only up to my shoulders. Very nice place. Too many people but still...

Suz and I dropped the kids back at the cottage and went back to town to look at some antique-type shops and mostly just wasted some time... :) And for dinner we cooked up everything in the fridge and made a banquet again outside with my folks. I fished some more... caught the only descent fish – bass - we bagged all week (although both boys did catch fish... just a lot of "toss ‘em backs".) and then we made our way to the camp fire for the fishing derby trophies and stuff. A young lad Ed’s age won the derby with a 20 inch walleye catch. (leeches on a hook!!). More cards and lots of packing things up. We’re off for home tomorrow. This is the first summer vacay in quite a few years that didn’t end with a trip to some hotel for one night of luxury... but we kinda want the luxury our own home gives us. :D (and we miss our kitty).

We’ve had a great time... although the boys were less "involved" in the activities this year. We really didn’t push them very hard to get into stuff. Maybe we should have but things seemed to go nicely with them setting their own pace. They’re both off to their first "overnight camp" experience for two weeks starting a week after we get back from here... so that is going to be a big big deal. :)

Today’s moment: Look... I don’t really care how old you are and how tanned and whatever you are... there really is absolutely no reason for a speed-o on a guy at a public beach. Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time it’s on an overweight late-middle age guy with a deep tan and just because you’ve worn it for twenty two years... you have no excuse for wearing it now. No. No, look... don’t even start with me... It is officially against international law for adult males to wear speed-o bathing suits from the 1980’s on public beaches. You will be tried in the same court as war criminals...

Skimmers... this is not the cottage we stayed at. This is a weird-ass steven king book on a secluded island... :D

(This should be a you-tube video ... unless there's another problem with copyrites on the soundtrack. :D)

Day Eight:
Saturday, August 2
Today is all about driving home...
Tonight is all about doing laundry. J

Having my parents spend a week with us, in such a relaxed setting, made every moment of the trip worth it’s weight in gold. The boys are getting older and with the experience of camp looming, I’m not sure how many more summer-cottage-rentals there are before they’re a bunch older... I’m not sure what was more wonderful... sharing time with my dad on the golf course or watching him play catch with the boys. J It has been a simple, peaceful and happily memorable summer vacation.

(home again... :D)
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