Friday, August 28, 2009


On Saturday Rudi and I went downtown and checked out Algonquin Outfitters, a well known chain of outdoor stores. The store is chock full of anything and everything, including camping gear, clothing, shoes, books, bikes, and whatever else you can think of. Downstairs there is a small bike repair area, and it was there that I ran into someone I recognized from Waterloo. Randy was one of the employees of Bent's Camera in Uptown Waterloo, and about 7 years ago he moved to a business in Stratford, and after that didn't work out (not his doing, Randy is a great guy!) he and his wife decided to move to the Muskokas, and he started working for Algonquin Outfitters, where he is now the Marketing Manager, and his wife is in charge of Rental Operations. On monday I phoned Randy, thinking that if they had an available canoe, I would like to take Rudi out for a quick trip down the river and back. He said I was welcome to have one of the rentals for a little trip, which was very much appreciated, as a great way to spend time while we waited for the van to get fixed. We borrowed a kevlar Swift Canoe Algonquin 16, a nice stable boat that liked to hold a line fairly well, similar to the H2O Composites Canadian 16-6. The first photo is leaving the Huntsville 'Harbour', a long linear dock behind part of the downtown. Katherine chatted with the lady seated on the dock by the red canoe, who spends six months a year in Huntsville, and the other six months in the States. Apparently her Grandson is now old enough to take the stern, and she loves being his bow paddler for the trips they take!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Replacement wheel hub, wheel and tire, including labour: $1024.75

Two nights accommodation at the Rainbow Inn: $197.50

Family dinner at Louis II Restaurant, highly recommended by Dan from Independent Taxi: $56.30 including tip

Turning an exasperating breakdown into a fun little family holiday weekend: Priceless

Some things money can't buy, for everthing else, there's Mastercard.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Well it is about 10pm now, and we are at the Rainbow Inn in beautiful Huntsville Ontario, far from our destination of the cottage in Barry's Bay! I find it a bit ridiculous that we are smack dab in the middle of cottage country without a canoe on the top of the van!

In any event the day started uneventfully, leaving North York just after 7:30am with the van packed full and two gorgeous new Alchemist boats on the roof. An easy almost 2 hour drive got us to the Paddleshack store just outside of Gravenhurst to drop the boats off, and then we were on the road again to Barry's Bay via Huntsville, Highway 60 through the park, and on to Carson Lake. Only we didn't make it quite that far!

A minor ticking in the brakes on the drive up, which I attributed to the sound brake pads make signalling the end of their service life turned into a terrible sounding clunking just as we pulled off Highway 11 onto 60 at Huntsville. I hobbled into the Walmart Lube shop parking, with the van continuing to make horrible clunks, and as soon as I stopped, the left rear wheel nearly twisted off the van, held on by the last remaining lug nut of five originals.

Two hours later, after being towed to Midas, the news came in. Seems one or more wheel nuts were loose, and the four eventually backed off completely. How this happens 5 months and 6000km after the wheels were off for a brake job is a bit beyond me, as if my shop had left them loose the wheel would probably have dropped off within a few hundred kilomtres. Which then makes me wonder, did someone loosen one or more of the nuts within the last week or so? I would love to find out, but probably never will!

Fortunately Midas is close to downtown Huntsville, on a commercial strip with 3 motels within walking distance, and Katherine, Rudi, and Alexander went off in search of a room, and finding a decent rate at the Rainbow Inn we booked in. An hour later I had walked up all our luggage and we got settled in.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


After visiting SlipStream Yokes, Rudi and I headed West from Palmer Rapids on Burnt Bridge Road to the bridge over the Little Mississippi River. From the bridge the Little Mississippi flows North two kilometres to enter the Conroy Marsh and meet the York River, and South it meanders upstream toward MacArthur Mills on highway 28, about 20 kilometres away. This time we had our H2O Composites Prospector 16 in fibreglass, a nice boat that turns on a dime compared to the Canadian 16-6. We put in at the boat ramp on the West bank of the river North of the bridge (top photo) then paddled under the bridge, and headed upstream. Not that there was any particularly noticeable flow, I am guessing the river is pretty much flat for miles in any given direction, until it hits a series of rapids, chutes, or falls. We played leapfrog with a Great Blue Heron, who followed us up the river a way.

Monday, August 10, 2009


On the way back from the cottage I decided to stop in on one of our suppliers in Quadeville, SlipStream Yokes. I had no idea of their location, so I found the General Store in the village, and walked in, finding two lady customers (one with a cute baby) and the storekeeper. They were in conversation (about babies, a friend of theirs having twins - my comment was although very happy with 'number first' and 'number last', the ideal number of kids in my opinion was anywhere between zero and seven!) and when we had finished, the storekeeper asked if I needed help. I told her I was looking for a gentleman locally who was known to manufacture the world's finest canoe yokes, and at that the lady with the baby laughed, and exclaimed: "That's my dad!".

Although most H20 Composites canoes are fitted with high quality Teal yokes, a retailer in Nova Scotia has requested all H2O canoes delivered to his store be fitted with SlipStream Yokes. They are more expensive of course, but then again, isn't a Lexus more expensive than a Toyota? And that's the difference, the Teal yokes are high quality, durable, with a great finish... The SlipStream Yokes are extremely high quality, durable, with a finish that doesn't just approach, but rather redefines perfection! If you want the most beautiful and comfortable canoe yoke in the world, they are available at select outfitters, or online if your local outfitter doesn't carry them.


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