Thanks to the fine upstanding guardians of our border, we hit the road considerably later than we wanted to. We were bound for my cousin Andy’s place just north of Toronto, near a little town called Glencairn. It is about 600 km from Kim’s, but the most direct route was the 401 into Toronto, then north on the 400. We lost all hope of getting through before the afternoon rush hour(s), and hoped we would arrive after it was over. We were tempted to try the backroads, but its impossible to read a map on a bike, and really hard to convince a GPS that neither the fastest, shortest, or scenic routes are the one you want.
We bit the bullet and rode bravely into Toronto. It even rained a little, and we got to break out our rain gear, and make sure it still works. Then of course, it got dark. Then, we stopped moving, and got to enjoy 6 lanes of parked traffic. What a great reminder of why I don’t live here. Like Barbie said “why do they call this rush hour; no one is even moving”. We did about 10 km of stop and go traffic in the next hour. Finally we turned north on the 400, and things started moving, but the asphalt was black, and wet; and deer crossing signs every few ckicks. I honestly have to say that this is about as close to unpleasant as a bike ride can be.
We were really happy to get to Andy’s. He lives on about 20 acres out in the country. More important to us at the moment though, he had the wood stove roaring, and a cold beer (or two) in the fridge. Before it got too late, Andy opened up the basement doors, and I rode the bike inside. Then we sat down to the finest lamb stew I think I have ever eaten. When I was finished, even the dessert part of my tummy was full!!
The next morning, we awoke to the sound of chickadees and nuthatches squabbling at the feeder. It was wonderful. We spent 5 years on an acreage, and have missed many aspects of it; this was one of them. We thought we'd spend a few nights with Andy; then move on. Thats when the weather turned. Motorcycles and snow don’t mix all that well, and thankfully Andy was gracious enough to let us spend couple of more nights.
We had a wonderful time there. We did manage to take Andy’s truck into Toronto one day while he was at work and visit my cousin Robert. I called my cousin Billy, but no answer. I really need to spend a couple of weeks in the Toronto area sometime. I have a lot of family there that I have not seen in a lot of years.
Andy is a host extraordinaire. He shared a lot of things with us, that are very important to him. He took us walking around his property. He is extremely knowledgeable about his woodland, and is actively managing a portion of it that had been planted. The remainder is a natural mixed forest, and he keeps it that way; well, he does selective pruning to help those trees that are special friends. He has about a dozen sugar maples that he taps in the spring, and makes his own maple syrup. There is even a little creek running through the property that has trout living in it. Deer come in the evenings to eat at the apple tree; I saw a massive buck there that just about made me cry. This is the first deer season I’ll miss since about 1985!
Another interest Andy and I share is aviation. He is a little more hands on than I am. He not only repairs aircraft, he also fly’s them. He belongs to a club that has several beautiful, and historic aircraft that he helps maintain, and fly. He took me up in an older (not their really old one) 2 seater; a Fleet Canuck! It was really a thrill. Barbie thought it best that due to her cold, she stay on the ground, and eat strawberry/rhubarb pie in the warm clubhouse. Some day I would love to go for a ride in the open cockpit Tiger Moth that the club has! Another reason to come back.
I’ll let the pictures do most (OK, some) of the talking, but I have to get an Andy Special Recipe down on paper - Dirty Steak. Actually he had told us about it a couple of years ago, but we had never tried it. First you build a good hardwood (maple is great) fire. Then when the fire has burned down, you fan the coals really well, to blow away the ash. Then you take good, thick New York strip, or Sirloin steak, and put them directly on the hot coals. About 4 minutes on each side; only one flip. Serve with locally made cold beer, and red wine, and perhaps something on the side, like veggies. Unbelievable!!! I have it on good authority that it really goes best with a beer and campfire afterwards!
Andy has a party in September, and invites all the extended family in the area. One day, we WILL make it!