Pinery's Sandy Beaches

campingI've returned from a three day escape to Pinery, a Provincial Park on Lake Huron near Grand Bend, Ontario.

I've camped at Pinery before, but not in 16 years. It was even better than I remembered it. The sandy beaches at Pinery beat the crap out of anything you'll find at Wasaga and there's no tacky strip to compete with the landscape. The swimming was outstanding, the trails were fun and the nightly campfires were the icing on the cake. Here's a photoset of pics I took throughout the extended weekend.

This was the first time in quite a while I totally unplugged. For three whole days I didn't hear a single news report on the radio, I didn't read a single newspaper, I didn't catch a millisecond of television or stumble upon a single computer. It's nice to see everything is where I left it and nothing of significance happened in my absence. The cosmic ballet continues...

P7085946 P7085910 P7085949

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Good Time Had By All

campingWe're back. Did we miss anything? I heard there was a big soccer game yesterday. I'm sure I'll find something about it online.

Last year, James and I went to my favourite camping spot. This time, we went somewhere more suitable for four year olds. We headed 45 minutes west to Bronte Creek.

The rain didn't hit until we were nicely tucked away in our tent last night, so we were blessed with a couple of days of fantastic weather. In addition to traditional camping rituals like having a campfire and roasting marshmallows, Bronte Creek has a petting zoo, killer kids playgrounds, some surprisingly extensive trails and a cool old farmhouse that has been maintained in its 1899 state. I won't even mention the mammoth swimming pool, which was about as natural as a three legged dog.

On the bright side, it was only a forty-five minute drive, it was geared towards families and there was never any danger we'd be mauled by a bear. On the negative side, it was only a forty-five minute drive, it was geared towards families and there was never any danger we'd be mauled by a bear. Next year I'm eyeing Pinery, where I haven't been in fifteen years.

It was a muddy Monday morning pack up, but we had a blast. Here's the obligatory photoset.

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Gone Fishing

campingOk, I'm going to unplug for a few days. Consider this an excellent opportunity to peruse the archives and catch up on what you've missed. Feel free to leave comments, they'll go live as soon as I return and confirm you're not a nasty ol' comment spammer. If you have a few minutes to burn, I'd check out My YouTube Favourites which I just updated to include even more Canadian goodness.

Before I depart, I should probably review the checklist:

  • tent
  • air mattress
  • propane stove
  • sleeping bags
  • cooler full of food and drink
  • insect repellant
  • sunscreen
  • bathing suit
  • radio
  • camera
  • toiletries

Ok, we're ready. Take care of yourself, and each other.

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Camping in Canada

campingIn the early 80s, I thoroughly enjoyed "Camping in Canada". "Camping in Canada" was a Sesame Street album that was released in 1981 and featured Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch as they attended a summer camp right here in Toronto, Canada.

It was great fun with plenty of sing-a-long songs and local references thrown in the mix. We knew all the words and I've still got plenty of the songs memorized. A few years ago, I searched high and low for this rare album that was discontinued long ago and was only released in Canada. I found a vinyl copy in a little shop in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and dubbed it to cassette to share with my brothers. The next step is digitizing these files.

Here's the track listing for "Camping in Canada".

  1. Aerodynamic
  2. Holiday in Canada
  3. Busy Bee
  4. Going On a Picnic
  5. Soup Song
  6. Nature's Family
  7. Pitch In and Help
  8. What Do You Do On a Rainy Day
  9. The Three Bears
  10. Creatures in the Pond
  11. Sleeping Under the Stars
  12. J'ai Sommeil
  13. Start the Day Off Right
  14. Ham and Eggs
  15. We're Having a Wonderful Time
  16. Homesick
  17. I've Got the Lonesome, Wanna Be Back on Sesame Street, Blues
  18. Sad, Mad, Glad
  19. The Treasure Hunt
  20. Campfire
  21. I Can Do It
  22. Need a Friend
  23. Happy Place

Speaking of camping in Canada, that's the plan this weekend. It would be sweet to have those 23 tracks along for the ride. Does anyone wanna help me convert an album or cassette to MP3?

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Regional News From Killarney

RadioJames and I just spent three days and two nights camping under the stars in Killarney Provincial Park. We swam, caught frogs, hiked the Cranberry Bog Trail and took in Mother Nature during one of the sunniest and hottest weekends in Killarney history. Most importantly, I didn't have access to a computer or a television, forcing me to actually unplug for an entire weekend. This was good.

I did, however, bring along my MP3 player which has an FM tuner. At night, with James sound asleep in his little Hot Wheels sleeping bag, I'd tune in CBC radio from Sudbury and listen to the news. I just wanted to ensure everything would be where we left it when we returned. From the moment we left our driveway in Toronto to the moment we pulled into our camp site in Killarney, I drove exactly 398 kilometres. 398 kilometres North West, listening to a feed from Sudbury, and guess what regional news I heard? That's right, they're getting Toronto regional news up there. In addition to national and international updates, I was being fed details of life in the big smoke, including updates on the garbage strike and local crimes.

I was grateful for the Toronto news as it kept me in the loop, but you've got to wonder what Sudbury natives feel about their news being bogged down by that shooting at Jane and Finch or the possibility of a garbage strike in a city 398 kilometres away.

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Gone Camping

CampingJames and I are heading North for a little rest and relaxation. We'll be nowhere near a computer, so this will be the last update for a few days.

Consider this an excellent opportunity to visit the archives and catch up on what you've missed. Take care of yourself, and each other.

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HitchhikingI saw something this morning I haven't seen in a long time. Someone was on the shoulder of a 400 series highway with his thumb extended trying to hitchhike.

People don't hitchhike any more. In fact, people haven't really hitchhiked since the 70s. With all the sickos and weirdos about, it's simply not worth the risk. I don't think I'd pick up a hitchhiker for fear they'd steal my car, wallet or slaughter me for sport.

I hitchhiked on exactly two occasions in my life. I was camping just outside of Grand Bend, Ontario with a couple of friends Ed and Chris and we were too young to be licensed drivers. To get back to the camp ground from Grand Bend we hitchhiked on the highway. Eventually a guy did stop to give us a ride which we appreciated. This was probably the summer of 1990 and I haven't hitchhiked since.

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