Made pretty good time, under ninety minutes to Hartford, under two hours to the Blandford rest area on the Mass Pike, where I ran into Marnie and family on their way to Ontario. Freaky coincidence. Made it to Albany by 10:15. Up to this point, it was all familiar territory from my trips to Martz Mountain. The NY Thruway between Albany and Utica parllels the Erie Canal, which is kind of neat. Never saw it before. Got to Utica by 11:30, and headed north on Rt. 12 towards Watertown. Eighty-six miles worth of single-lane blacktop, going though towns like Boonville and Lowville. Actually, there was zero traffic, so I was still able to make good time. Stopped for lunch in Watertown, and then headed up I-81 to the border. Longish line to clear customs, about a half hour to get through.
Drove along the St. Lawrence on the Thousand Island Parkway for a bit, looking for the Mallorytown exit Marnie mentioned in her directions. Very pretty river. Missed the exit, though. Figured it out a couple of miles down the road, so not much harm done. Turns out the the word 'exit' in Canadian means just hang a left at the Mallorytown sign. Adding to the confusion was Marnie's instruction to turn right at the exit, which would have put me into the St. Lawrence. (Turns out everyone else missed the exit, too.) Still, got it all sorted out and headed in the proper direction, traveling along single-lane county roads. Rolled into Murphy's Point Park at about 4:00, nine hours start to finish.
Got my site permit, and discovered that I was almost the last to arrive. The only folks to get there after me were Rick and Christina. The other three sites were already set up, and their occupants had gone off into town in search of beer, food, and currency. Got my tent set up just as Rick and Chris arrived. The sites were very nice. Very secluded compared to where we usually camp in Maine. The only sites I could actually see from my site were the other three in our group, and I had the best view because my little site was on a little hill above the others. In Maine, you can see sites two roads over from yours.
When the others returned, I went into town with Rick and Chris to get food and stuff, and then we all headed over to Marnie's brother Tom's house on Otty Lake for a cookout. Wonderful spot. People were swimming, and after it got dark Tom took us for a ride around the lake on his boat. Much fun was had by all. Got back to the camp about midnight, and took a much needed shower.
Even with the three hours of sleep I had the night before, and even having cooled off somewhat with the shower, I still had problems falling asleep because it was still wicked hot and humid out. Plus, it started sprinkling a bit when I got back to the site, so I had all the window flaps zipped up, so no air movement in the tent. Did fall asleep, only to be woken up at four by the sound of thunder. Being in a tent in the woods during an intense thunderstorm at four in the morning is not quite as much fun as one would think. The only good part was the wind picked up a LOT, so it seemed cooler.
When I got up, I found out I had slept right through an earlier (3 a.m.) thunderstorm. Jim had slept through them both. Friday was still wickedly hot, although much less humid, so we decided to take advantage of the heat to go into town for some tennis and volleyball at one of the local parks. Still trying to figure out whose bright idea that was, but we did have fun. Played tennis for the first time in years, and didn't completely embarrass myself. Went back to Tom's house for more water fun. This time we took the boat out to one of the islands out in the lake for more swimming and sunning. There was a breeze on the lake, so it wasn't quite so bad as the last couple of days.
After dinner, we went to an honest-to-God drive-in movie theatre. For $6 Canadian, we saw Crocodile Hunter and MIBII. Both were fun, good outdoor summery movies, and you can't beat the price.
Played golf Saturday at the Perth Country Club, the oldest golf course in North America. Marnie's brother Rob got us a tee time at 7:15, so we were up bright and early. I didn't play especially well. Shot a 108. In the group, Blake had a 101, Jim a 106, and Rick a 107. Topher had a 122, and Jeff a 136, but it was only the second time he'd ever golfed. I was bummed, because I could jave beaten both Jim and Rick if I hadn't gotten a ten on the 17th. Jeez! I did win three of the four closest to the pin competitions (to the sum of $8 cdn) on the par threes, so it wasn't a complete washout.
We all went out for dinner at a buffet place in Smith's Falls, and then sat aroud a campfire for the rest of the night. Topher had his guitar. Around ten, a guy from one of the neighboring sites came over, and mentioned that he had just put his wife and 3 month old daughter to bed. We were all expecting him to ask us to quiet down, but instead he asked if he could join us! Totally floored us. People are always telling us to shut up when we camp. He was actually better on the guitar than Topher, and a pretty decent singer.
Sunday was the Blues Cruise at Tom's house. For the last ten years, he's invited live bands to play at his place as a celebration of the blues. It was a great party. They barbeque two huge slabs of beef, guests else brings pot luck, and everyone listens and dances to live music. Wow, what a party!
That's about it. Got up Monday morning, broke down the site, and was on the road by 10:30. Made it back home by 6:30 p.m., dead tired.
Some Canadian wildlife notes - The squirrels in the park were jet black, which none of us had seen before. They like cheetos a lot. Oh, and raccoons will eat playdoh in a pinch. There are also many, MANY mosquitos...
There is a chain of stores in Canada called 'The Beer Store.' They're like the Burger King of beer. You walk into a vestibule, tell them what beer you want from their list, they speak into a microphone, and your beer magically appears on a conveyor belt. It's the perfect marketing concept. Side note - our group cleaned out every single bottle of Molson XXX from no less than three different Beer Stores.