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Autumn in Toronto 1 comment

I’m only just getting around to off-loading some pics from my camera. These were from mid-October, when I had my dog, Freddie, for a fair chunk of time. These are of her favourite park – well, MY favourite park really. It is in Rosedale, a few blocks north of where I live.

Notice her stealth technique.

Notice her stealth technique.

Gotta admire a tree with flare.

Gotta admire a tree with flare.

This is like the big finish.

This is like the big finish.

Road Trip, With Indulgences 5 comments

There is something in the blood about autumn in Ontario. The weather turns from hot to nippy pretty quickly. The air gets crisp and demanding in the nose. We rural transplants to urban settings yearn for opportunities to get out to the country where evidence of change is everywhere.

This past weekend offered just such an opportunity as J and I drove north to a special cottage birthday visit with ragdoll’s mom. It was a surprise and the look on RM's face when she got out of the car was worth every moment of the quite long drive north.

But I'm skipping ahead … first came the drive north on a sunny Friday with blue skies, puffy white clouds, still green rolling hills and trees of every colour dotting the wooded landscapes and roadways. The endless rolling countryside of Southern Ontario, in this case north up Highway 6 from Guelph almost all the way to Tobermory, is – for me – a sure-fire way to calm my mind and re-charge my batteries. It is all I can do not to stop the car every 100 metres or so and look at a farm, or admire the view, talk to some sheep, or just take in the landscape. We'd never get there if I had my way.

The small towns along the way are equally picturesque … Fergus … Arthur … Mount Forest … Kenilworth … Chatsworth … some of them have magnificent stone buildings on the main "drag" (as my Mom would have said) and beautiful Southern Ontario brick (both red and yellow) homes on the side streets, with tall maples, pines and cedars surrounding. There is usually water – a river,a creek, a small pond or resevoir – that one drives by, or over. The entry into downtown Guelph, over the bridge from the University, is just about the prettiest "gateway" to a downtown there is. Well, except for the small matter of that strip mall to the east and the muffler shop to the west. And the fact that the intersection is almost ALWAYS torn up in construction … but I digress.

Each of these towns features one or more Chinese food restaurants (Cantonese) which lay at the root of my occasional yearnings for really good, but really bad, Cantonese Chinese food.  Almost every small town in Ontario of a population of more than 500 people will have a Chinese restaurant, including every small town near the farm where I grew up. This Wikipedia entry talks about the phenomenon of the rural Chinese restaurant belonging to Western Canada, but it is totally present in EVERY small town in Ontario, as well.

You can keep your chicken balls, egg rolls and fried rice … all I'm really interested in is any main dish that features bean sprouts. Love 'em. We stopped at one such place for lunch on Friday and I indulged my bean sprout yearnings.

This wasn't really what I had in mind, but it tasted better than it looks. I'm not used to chow mein it looking quite so … red … or having so many egg noodles. The bean sprouts were fresh, crunchy and slightly undercooked, which was perfect.

Also somewhere along Highway 6, I spotted this beauty and felt compelled to swing back to capture her for posterity.

I like how someone has replaced the hub caps with really shiny ones, but hasn't gone any further than that! 🙂

The drive carried on in this rolling, up/down, curvy, picturesque way for 4.5 hours until we found the cottage, near Dyer's Bay. This was our view.

I wrote about this shirt in a blog entry about gender a while back. It is a bit big on me now, but still cosy.

Freddie enjoyed exploring completely new territory and never ever tires of looking for dead fish on the beach – so she can roll in them, of course!

The night sky, around midnight Friday, totally blew us away and is almost impossible to describe. Just as you think your eyes have adjusted to the dark, this band of diamonds, some seemingly closer than others, appears. Then, as your eyes adjust to that reality, you notice that the entire sky is encrusted with twinkling, sparkling light. You just can't take it all in … almost overwhelming.

We went for a walk on Saturday, mid-day, along the shore road and then the "beach". Georgian Bay is not known for its sandy beaches. Instead, it offers miles and miles of rocky, pebbled beaches that have a odd seductive beauty to them. 

Love this patio / fire pit. I can so see sitting out here with guitars, friends, and laughter.

The four of us had a lovely 24 hours together. I brought my mini-guitar and we sang songs together for hours. We ate all the things we weren't supposed to … like bacon, sausage, cheese, bread and ice cream. 🙂 I think I was more indulgent this 24 hours than I was over my birthday! In any case, I think we celebrated ragdoll’s mom's birthday in a special and memorable way, and that was the desired outcome. I just wish we could have stayed longer, but life makes strong demands sometimes.

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