It's been six days since a blog post. We have covered some serious miles, lots of locks, and are having a great time. I actually planned to get a post out in Peterborough this past Sunday, but I decided to clean all of the strainers on the boat which should have been about a one-hour project, but as most projects on boats go, there is usually a complication. In this case, I stripped a bolt putting one of the 4 strainers back together and spent the rest of the day making a new one from scratch. You've got to be able to improvise when traveling by boat!
Anyhow, for a quick update we are in Orillia, Canada. I'm going to put the Trent-Severn map back up so you can see the progress we have made the last few days. Since the last post in Hastings, we've made stops in Peterborough (3 days), spent one night on the wall at Lovesick Lock (in the middle of nowhere and on an island), one night in Fenelon Falls (just before Rosedale on the map), and we are docked tonight in Orillia.
And for a refresher, here's the general Great Loop Cruise route again. We are one travel day away from entering Georgian Bay which is the body of water NE of Lake Huron. For those of you who struggled with geography (or just didn't care), Lake Huron is the one on the east side of the state of Michigan.
Back to the trip from Hastings to Peterborough. We left Hastings on 7/12 and had a good bit of time on open water. This is Rice Lake with lots of islands along the way.
We are still traveling together with "Mooring Dove." I keep trying to get Galen to lead, but he says he's lazy - just too easy to follow us. It actually works out best this way since we are the slower boat. Galen tends to want to go fast, which we can't do as a trawler. We keep reminding them of how much money they are saving on fuel at our speed! Hey, Clint and Linda - that looks like you guys back there! (Their boat is a Silverton also, and they followed us from Muskogee, OK to Galveston, TX, and then Galveston, TX to Orange Beach, AL.)
After you exit Rice Lake with an abrupt 90 degree turn to the right back into a narrow waterway, there are plenty of nice homes to check out at the standard 10 kilometers/hour - remember you are in Canada. For those of you who struggled with math (or just didn't care), they use the metric system here. A quick way to convert to MPH and be in the ballpark, multiply the KM speed by 2 and divide by 3, about 6.5 in this case.
Pretty nice classic wooden boat here.
We kept thinking we would see some moose, but these fake ones are the best we could do.
This golden retriever is hoping for a boat ride from the owners not too far away. By the way, golden retrievers seem to be the most popular dog in Canada. We sure enjoyed ours (actually Adam's) for the 14 years she was around.
There was an unusually high number of trees that had fallen in the water along the bank. We believe it was because of the very shallow root system they seem to have.
Lots more farmland, silos, etc. in this stretch.
Just before you arrive in Peterborough, you transit Scott's Mills lock, the last remaining limestone lock from the original canal construction. The limestone blocks were cut by stone masons more than 150 years ago. The walls are in a slight "V" shape and the lockmaster said they occasionally have trouble when they put too many boats in the lock when they are locking DOWN. Now that there is funny! (Sorry, I'm still reading Larry The Cable Guy's book). For those of you who didn't do well in physics (or just didn't care), there is less space in the lock as you descend lower into the "V." I didn't get a picture of the limestone blocks or the "V" but they had nice flowers just starting to bloom in the planters on the gates.
We got docked at Little Lake Marina in Peterborough, and Rhonda took off on her standard walking tour. She found the art gallery close by and a pretty neat fireman sculpture.
As I mentioned on a quick Facebook post, Peterborough is a hoppin' little town and we picked a great weekend to be there. An all-weekend rib-fest began on Friday in Memorial Park a short walking distance away with bands and more bands all-day-every-day, Farmers Market on Saturday morning, and a huge concert in the park on Saturday evening. We went up to hear the music at the rib-fest on Friday evening - pretty good. Later in the evening, I walked over to the Holiday Inn close to the marina and listened to a great blues band that was playing outside along the lake. Then there was another band playing across the street from the marina when the blues band finished up at 10:30. These folks seem to love their music and they darn sure love their boats. I'd say at least 80% of the boats in the marina had people on them all weekend, but you have to remember - they only get to enjoy theirs a few months of the year so they have to get while the gettin' is good. (Sorry Larry - "Git while the gittin' is good).
Rhonda and I headed to the Farmers Market on Saturday morning. It was the largest one we've found on the trip thus far. I had an awesome pastry of some sort. Most of the vendors had vegetables, fruit, soap, woodwork, rugs, honey, jams/jellies, etc. - you know, typical Farmers Market stuff. I was intrigued by "Emu Oil" which professed to cure about everything, but Rhonda thought it was too expensive. Here's a pretty good spread of vegetables and fresh fruit.
We couldn't resist the ribs for lunch on Saturday. I sure hope my cardiologist in Houston is not reading this.
There were four main rib vendors and I think their signs are worth posting. Boss Hog's.
Crabby's BBQ Shack
And Jack The Ribber.
All were pretty clever and it all looked good which made the choice a little difficult. I guess the tie-breaker for me was the challenge presented by Boss Hogg's...
Sorry, but remember, I've been reading Larry The Cable Guy. BTW, Canada does not seem to be quite as PC as the USA - their TV commercials are really funny, stuff that would bring out the PC Police, ACLU, and who knows who else in the states to shut it down. Anyhow, I accepted the challenge and the full rack was outstanding. Yes, they were, outstanding, you know, the ribs.
There was some serious face-painting going on for lots of the kids. Yes, we got permission from the parents to take this picture.
The really big event of the weekend was a country music concert by Deric Ruttan, from Canada who lives and works in Nashville. The marina raved about this guy when we were trying to decide where to dock. We had never heard of him, so I Facebooked one of my high school friend's son - Hal Melton's son, Keithan. Keithan works for Mustang Music in Nashville and I knew he would have the inside scoop. He said Ruttan was an excellent songwriter with several big hits for folks like Blake Shelton/Dierks Bentley/others, but he had never heard him sing! Well, it turns out that he certainly can sing, has tons of energy, plays a mean guitar, and puts on a great show. He performed a song he just wrote for Blake Shelton which Shelton will be releasing this next week. Ruttan's the one in the white T-shirt.
Here's the whole group and the park was packed with a crowd of thousands. The marina staff set up our chairs for us right behind the VIP section, very close to the stage.
We attended church on Sunday at United Church. It turns out that Ken (aboard Satisfaction) had mentioned that his brother-in-law, Donavan, was a member there, so we gave him a call and he picked the four of us up and saved us a lengthy walk or bike ride.
These historic churches are just beautiful and this particular stained glass window caught my eye inside.
Even with all we've noted above, the really big deal about Peterborough is the lift lock. Here's the short version. Two huge tubs of water are side-by-side, mounted on hydraulic pedestals. One is high, one is low. In our case, we were going up so we drove into the lower tub, tied to the wall, and they closed the gate behind us. They put enough water (an extra foot) in the tub up high to exceed the weight in our tub, and that weight raised us to the top (in a couple of minutes) so we could exit the lock at the higher level. You are literally hanging in the air in a tub of water. It is super cool. I hope it makes sense with the pictures - an engineering marvel. Here's approaching the lock from a distance.
Closer in. By the way, three other boats were in the tub with us.
As you can see, we'll be taking the aft port corner, THE FARTHEST POINT HANGING OUT THE BACK END OF THE TUB! In the picture below, I think Rhonda is asking the lockmaster if it's too late at this point for her to get off of the boat.
Here's looking up from inside our tub before the trip up. The lock was constructed in 1904, and raises you 65 feet. It's the highest lift lock in the world, and each tub holds 1300 tons of water (plus the extra in the one going down).
Here's the view from out the back of "Help Me Rhonda" from 65 feet up hanging in mid air floating in a tub of water - Rhonda was thinking it was a very appropriate name at that point, at least the "HELP" part. She's a little skittish of heights, but I thought it was pretty cool. Rhonda's pretty cool also - she has tried lots of things over the years that she probably didn't want to try, this being one of them. She's a real trooper.
And here we are at the top, ready to exit the lock 65 feet higher than we were a couple of minutes prior.
Now that there is some exciting stuff. I'll try and cover Peterborough to Orillia tomorrow.