Tuesday, September 19, 2017

It wasn't a motorcycle, but it was a pretty cool ride -Temagami

:Houseboating -Unplugged in Temagami Ontario Sept 5 – 7, 2017

My BF’s mom and sister were visiting from Germany and my BF came up with the idea of renting a houseboat. It would certainly be something different to experience and none of us had ever been on one. I admit that I was skeptical about going on a houseboat, especially this time of year after having a summer of cold temperatures and massive amounts of rain. Personally, I am not a boat fan, I prefer two wheels on the ground, but you probably have guessed that. (wink) None the less I was on-board with the plan. 

Temagami, Ontario – Leisure Island Houseboats
Temagami is about a 2 ½ hour drive from us, making it a perfect location that wasn’t too far to travel to. We booked the 3-day, 2-night trip for the day after Labour day. 

We rented the houseboat from Leisure Island Houseboat Rentals The owners Mike & Gwen Drenth were very friendly and helpful. I highly recommend them!

My BF’s sister also wanted to try her luck at fishing, so we ended up having to go back into Temagami to get a fishing license. It was just a short drive back onto the main street and gave me a chance to snap a few pics of the area. 
Temagami Information Center

Cute Moose!

By the way, having to get a fishing license is a rip off, because she was not from Ontario (which would be only slightly cheaper) they charged $25 for 1 day! 

Heading Out On Our Voyage
Docked at Leisure Island Houseboat Rentals
By the time we loaded up the boat with our gear it was around 2 pm. The first thing I noticed was that the houseboat was very clean. It also had pretty much everything you needed, except for a shower. We all missed not having a shower, but we made due with wet wipes and boiling a kettle of water to clean up in a basin. This probably wouldn’t be a big deal in the warm summer months where a dip in the lake could have refreshed one’s body. But hey, it is to be expected to “rough” it a little when you go camping.  The cabin was comfortable enough for the four of us, even though it was somewhat ‘close quarters’.  I had no complaints and found the coziness just added to the ambiance. 

 We actually arrived a lot later than we had planned and the overcast sky didn’t look very promising. As we headed out, to our delight the sky began to clear. It actually turned out to be quite a nice afternoon. There wasn’t much boat traffic either. With the kids all back to school, it was the perfect time for our little trip. I was prepared with my Gravol, (motion sickness pills) but I soon realized that houseboats are not like a regular boat at all. Not only are they slow with only a 9 hp motor, they are very steady with minimal rocking on the water. Sure, if a boat passed there was a slight heave back and forth, but for the most part we chugged along gliding smoothly across the water.

1st Night Campsite

The scenery was breathtaking and dozens of little tiny islands poked out along the way. The buoys marked a clear path where to maneuver around any potential hazards. We had our choice of campsites to dock at, however finding them along the shores proved very challenging. I recommend bringing binoculars! Thankfully we did, but we still had to creep up fairly close along the shores to actually spot those tiny orange diamond shaped markers that were posted on the trees. 

It was going on 5 pm before we pulled up to our first campsite, it was in a slight cove and provided shelter from any wake that a passing boat would make. 

After docking we went on land to get a campfire started. There was plenty of dead wood nearby in the thick bush to get one started. We managed to get a nice fire going and were enjoying the spectacular views from the elevated vantage point. 

Spectacular views

Nestled in a cove

He was happy to keep to his side of the rock
The Campfire

Soon the dark clouds moved in and opened up, driving us to the shelter of the houseboat. The downpour didn’t dampen our spirits and we fired up the BBQ and had supper. 
After supper we watched the beautiful moon on the horizon
I had visions of my teeth chattering and shivering myself silly all night, but surprisingly the houseboat was well insulated and we didn’t even need to light the furnace. 

The next morning brought an amazing sunrise with mist that shimmered off the lake.


Temagami Island Hike
Temagami Island
After breakfast, we headed out again. We were on the hunt to find Temagami Island where there is a hiking trail. We managed to pass the island the first time around but eventually got back on track and found the ‘landing’ site. Keep in mind that you won’t find any sandy beaches here, the shorelines are rugged and rocky. 

Docked at Temagami Island

The trail was not really marked as well as the brochure lead us to believe, and our 3-km hike turned into 6 km. In some places, there was a hint of other trails but we kept to what looked like a road instead. Even on this well groomed portion of the trail the markers were sparse and it appeared that we had started the trail backward when we actually encountered one. 

The things we passed along the trail were not what any of us expected to see.
We caught a glimpse of Rust-aptor 

And then passed by a Rust-o-saurus
Nestled deep in the wood we later came across this rare VW-chameleon 
However, there were some spectacular views and more natural backdrops to enjoy along the way.

I have no idea what plant this is, but it is interesting

When we arrived at a deserted Summer Camp along the water’s edge we rested on the dock and enjoyed the views. 
Amazing crystal clear waters
We tried to find another marker that would lead us back in a loop like the map had described but it became clear that none existed. After following a trail that just led further into the camp we decided it best to go back the way we came to guarantee that we find the houseboat again. 

Leaving Temagami Island

A Poor Choice for a Campsite
Looks can be deceiving and this spot was too busy to stay the night

Back on-board we chugged along again to search out our next campsite for the night. Navigating was a little tricky, we were told that most cottages would have a ‘T’ number and by identifying these numbers you could judge on the map where you were. Even with binoculars it was hard to read the tiny number signs if you were far from the shoreline. Most docks we passed didn’t even have a number, or at least we never saw one. It became a team effort and in a way, it actually made our journey challenging and fun.
We finally spotted a campsite and shortly after we tied off we realized this spot was a big mistake. We happened to be directly in a major route for boat traffic. (Gwen had warned us about this) We hardly saw any boats up until this point. However, in this spot boats were whizzing by us steadily and our poor little houseboat was being tossed around like a beanbag.  At times, it felt like I was riding a roller coaster. It didn’t take long for all of us to agree that we better move along and find somewhere less travelled. 
Off to find a better spot
2nd Night Campsite
Can you find the orange marker on the tree?
Close to shore using the zoom feature!
Shortly afterwards we found another campsite that was across from Bear Island. Again, the orange marker wasn’t so easy to see, but we managed. Unfortunately, the rain came quicker than we thought, even thunder rumbled around our heads. At least before the rain came I managed to get some nice pictures of the surrounding landscape. 

Campfire area

The BF collected some birch bark laying around and lit a small fire just to say that we had a little campfire before it started to rain.  

All snug on-board we fired up the BBQ once again and had a nice meal. I didn’t think this spot was as nice as the first night’s campsite. The location had awesome views, but that night I was startled awake by the houseboat banging against the rocky shore. 
Breakfast with the Ducks
The next morning was on the chilly side and the sky was threatening more rain. My BF and I sat on the front deck drinking our morning caffeine fix and three ducks came by to visit. He tossed them a bun for their breakfast.  (For the record, I was bundled up and had gloves on) 

The Picnic Spot that never was

After our own breakfast, we started to head back as our trip was nearing an end. The plan was to have picnic at another campsite and roast sausages over a campfire. We found a nice spot that we had actually noticed on our way up the lake the first day and docked. As we climbed up to the campfire spot the wind had picked up and had gotten quite chilly. Even a fire wouldn’t keep us warm enough in the elevated open area and we headed back to the houseboat.
It would have made for a nice picnic spot, even came with a hammock
More awesome views

Amenities at this campsite included a Public Washroom Tree!

There was no actual building that was found…just a tree

Journeys End
As we headed back it continued to drizzle on and off and I mostly stayed in the cabin to keep warm. By the time we docked back at Leisure Island Houseboats the sun came out long enough for us to unload our gear. I can’t complain, the weather cooperated somewhat and we were lucky to have had that one full day of sunshine and warm temperatures for our hike. Even the rain we encountered in a way was timed perfectly. 

I was surprised that I actually liked it as much as I did, I even managed to be totally unplugged for three whole days! No cell phone, no laptop, I hardly missed having communication with the outside world, I did say ‘hardly’.  I didn’t even have a radio! (In retrospect, it would have been nice to listen to a radio, the silence at times left my ears buzzing). We all agreed that the three-day trip was plenty for us.  The first thing we did when we got home, we all took a turn in the shower!

Oh, and no fish were harmed or even caught during this trip. 

Even though this adventure wasn’t on a motorcycle, I have to admit, it turned out to be a pretty cool ride. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

What Is Happening In My World

It has been about four months since getting back from Florida and leaving my Harley behind. (Brings a tear to my eye) I thought I should at least write something just to let you all know what has been happening in my world, in case you are curious. Also, I wouldn’t want you to think that I fell off the face of the earth. It is hard to find the time to write for myself this time of year, between working a ‘day’ job and my other writing jobs. Which reminds me, I just finished an article, Custom Crystal Harley Davidson Softail is a Shining Star. Please take some time to read it. I had a blast getting to know Venus and Her Shining Star. 

Where has the summer gone 
A rare sunny day in August.
A butterfly enjoying one of my
favorite flowers in my backyard.
It is hard to believe that in a week we will be in September and autumn will soon be upon us. My teeth start to chatter just thinking about it. Believe it or not, some of the leaves have even started to change. The summer has not been ideal here this year, especially for me. A lot of rain, and at times I found it down right cold. 

Sometime in July I remember wearing shorts, but that was only once. Then by late afternoon I had changed back into jeans and put on a hoodie. We were lucky to see the sun two days in a row. I am dreading the inevitable winter, which around here can start in October.

I was also truly set on getting another motorcycle to ride here, but that fell through yet again and I have remained bike-less for another year. Sad but true. I probably sound like a broken record, I have been talking about it for a couple of years now. Next year, I swear that is definitely going to change. Even if I have to beg, borrow or steal, okay I would never steal. But I am not above begging and borrowing.

The Times Are A Changing
The BF and I have been discussing selling the house in Florida. It has been eight years since we bought the house and we feel it is time to go somewhere different. It would at least give us a chance to experience new things and see more of the world while we are still ‘young’ enough to travel.  Although, it would be bitter sweet for me to give it up, and there is something to be said for the familiar. I love Florida and really love having a home away from home to escape the cold winters, but the problem with having a vacation house is you are always stuck in the same spot. Not to mention, you also end up seeing and doing the same things over and over again. 

There would be another upside, I might get a chance to bring my Harley home to Canada. I have done a little bit of research on importing a motorcycle from the United States and it is doable. Obviously, it will end up costing a few bucks, doesn’t everything though. However, compared to buying a new or even used Harley it might be worth it. One of the mandatory requirements is that the speedometer must be changed over from miles per hour to kilometers. Everything else on our bikes is stock, so I don’t think there will be a problem with the exhaust or tail lights. They give you 45 days after importing the bike to make any necessary changes.  It is something to consider, and it would solve my bike-less predicament here. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens when we head south this winter. 

Nikon L340 Bundle
Taken with my Kodak Z740.
I have never considered myself a photographer, instead I refer to myself as an avid picture taker. Lately I am finding that my Kodak digital camera just isn’t performing as it should. After all it is over ten years old and was once caught in a torrential downpour in the Caribbean. Albeit ever since its unfortunate shower it has had a “hit and miss” tendency with the zoom feature. Even so, it still works when it is in the mood and can take great pictures for being a 5-meg pixel camera. However, I am upset that I have missed some great photo ops when on my motorcycle tours because the picture was too blurry when using the zoom mode. 

For over a year now I had been researching different brands looking to replace my Kodak. I even had set aside some money for it, yeah, I amazed myself on that one. I recently found a great deal on Amazon.ca for a Nikon Coolpix L340 (20 meg pixel). It is not the newest model available and it is still another ‘point and shoot’ camera like my old Kodak, but I wanted a camera that was super simple to use. I like simple. None the less, it is perfect for someone like me, who openly admits that most of the pictures I take turn out purely by coincidence.

The Camera included the lens cap and strap, but it also came with some handy accessories; camera case, a tripod, tabletop tripod, 32 GB SD card, SD card holder, USB storage stick, lens cloth, battery charger with batteries, and cables to attach direct to a computer. All that for $319.95 Canadian!  Please refrain from letting me know where I could have gotten a better deal. Now if it would only stop raining long enough for me to test it out!

An Upcoming Ride
In a couple of weeks, I may get the chance to see how well my new camera preforms and I will actually have something of interest to write about. It won’t be about a motorcycle trip (sniff), but I think it will be a cool experience, one which could also be in the literal sense too. I am praying for an “Indian Summer” that week. 

My BF’s mom and sister are coming to visit us from Germany and we have rented a houseboat for a few days to travel along Lake Temagami. The area is located 80 km north of North Bay and is about a 2 ½ hour drive from us. I have never been on a houseboat before, let alone camped out on one. I am not what you would call very sea worthy either, so I will be sure to bring my Gravol. Stay tuned, there will be an upcoming story!

In Closing…
Well that is what has been going on with me and why I have been so elusive on my blog. I really don’t lead a very interesting life in the summer but I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t forgotten about my faithful readers. See you soon.