Friday, August 27, 2010

O Canada...

This day finds me in the province of Ontario, specifically in a fishing "camp" on a lake named Roderick. L's friend P owns this camp and also the float planes (yes, plural) that bring folks like us to this site. L and I will have free lodging, as he will be looking at some generator glitches that this site has sometimes. P converted to solar power last year, but cloudy days sometimes makes the use of one or both generators for backup electrical power.

First, some comments on Canada -- and these are NOT criticisms, because God knows, those of us who live in the U.S. of A. have plenty to criticize in our OWN country. These are just observations.

Crossing the border was uneventful, altho' I did get the feeling that the Canadian border agent just plain ol' had "nose trouble". How else do you account for the following dialogue? We were asked what we did for employment. L replied that he had his own company, manufacturing cleaners. And I in turn replied that I was retired. He wanted to know from where. What bearing does that have on my crossing the border?! He already had our passports and drivers licenses, BTW. And we had already responded to questions about alcohol, tobacco, pets - in a truthful manner. Natch.

The liquor stores here are government (national, that is) run. So I believe that
means that the prices are set without input by local citizenry. And the hours? Well, you don't have time to reinforce your alcohol input on a late-night whim. At least not in Red Lake, the place where we spent last night. The blinkin' LCBO (not sure what those letters stand for) closed at 6 PM! We arrived at the door at, like, 1 or 2 minutes AFTER that hour. Frizzle-frazzle! I had one bottle of wine that was supposed to last me until at least Sunday?! And I do enjoy a glass or two with the evening meal or in the early evening. So we'd brought a bottle across the border with us, anticipating purchasing another one to pack into the fish camp. L is a beer drinker, and the fish camp apparently stocks that (I am sure we will pay for any he will consume), and he had 6 cans that he'd brought with him.

As usual... off on a tangent, I am. Returning to the subject (which was...) of finding a bottle of wine to purchase. We ate at a local restaurant called Howey's (the bay on Red Lake where this eatery is situated is called Howey's Bay) and L asked the waitress if any other place was open later than 6 PM for liquor sales. And she very nicely told us about a place called Village Variety, about a couple of miles away (she said the distance in kilometers, which is what our metric-using neighbors-to-the-north use for distances) in the Balmertown area. So after dinner we drove there and purchased a second bottle. L made the comment - after we had exited this little store - that he knew just WHAT the focus was (for sales) in that little "variety" store, and liquor was definitely IT. Case in point: the 2-liter bottles of Coke and other non-alcoholic beverages were HEAVY with dust. But not so, with the wine and other alcohol bottles.

L said that Balmertown has a gold mine on the outskirts of town. Said it was one of the richest (as far as production goes) gold mines in the world and is owned by Goldcorp. So the town has a good-sized population of men who work in this industry and probably entertain themselves after work with a drink or several. Thus, the variety store fills a need, I guess. And it sure did for ME!

L is currently perusing (hey, I know a coupla BIG words!) manuals on the generators while I am keying up this blog. It is SO peaceful, quiet, beautiful here. P does not live here - he resides in Red Lake - but has graciously allowed us to stay at "his" cabin. We brought some food with us - bread, milk, bacon, eggs and some sliced deli meats for quick sandwiches. And L hopes to have some luck fishing, maybe get a walleye or trout or two for at least one meal. There are others here, too - a group of six young guys headed here before us, in a larger plane - DeHaviland Otter - as they had a LOT of gear PLUS a lot of groceries. Hey, they're young and probably burn more calories than we old fogies do. And who knows how much beer was included in that cargo? L tells me that the Otter burns 45 gallons of jet fuel an hour. Our little float plane was a Cessna 180 - burns aviation gas.

The flight into this site was great -- albeit noisy. And somewhat bumpy, considering that we were flying into a stiff wind at times. I want to have the camera ready for the flight back. A novel experience that I really enjoyed!

The weekend before this one was L's 50-year high school reunion. Fun times, nice folks. That was on Saturday. On Sunday, there was a small gathering of some of MY classmates, as one gal was in town visiting from Arizona. We contributed one or two side dish-y type things, and brought something to throw on the barbecue, as well. The weather was beautiful for those days, and this one is promising similar weather. When August rolls around in northern MN, it can get suddenly QUITE cool/cold. I am enjoying each warm day, trust me.

1 comment:

The Retired One said...

Sounds like such an adventure! I remember Canada, our family lived there for a year, remember? My dad was stationed at Armstrong AF Base, one of the few U.S. Air Force bases there in Ontario. We'd hear wolves howling at night, it was that rural..but pretty. The winters were brutal though, often getting -40 or -50 BEFORE the windchill was factored in.