Another dog-infested night, and a cold one, led to sleep deprivation again. It wasn't a sleepless night or anything, just broken sleep as the hound fidgets about. We’d left the bedroom windows open, too, and with early morning temperatures of around 10C, that probably wasn’t wise. Still, nothing on the agenda for today so no harm done.
A long hot shower was followed by some breakfast, some blogging and much lazing about. It’s really nice to be away but without having anything specific to do.
Eventually we decided upon a trip out into Alliston, with a view getting some more bug repellent, and then onto the town of Barrie, on the shore of Lake Simcoe, just because we’d never been there. Alliston turned out to be an affluent little town complete with a strip mall and a busy Main Street. Whereas Chatham’s Main Street is all but dead, Alliston’s was positively vibrant. It’s due, I think, to being within an hour or so of Toronto, and the presence of a humungous Honda car plant just down the road; work is everything.
Having stocked up on goodies at The Bulk Barn, we drove to Barrie. A section of the trip took us on Highway 400, the original Ontario motorway; like the M1 for my English readers. Also like the M1, the traffic was stationary, at least on the southbound side, so we thought it best to use alternative route on the way back. Thank goodness for not having to be somewhere.
Barrie itself is a nice little town. It fronts Lake Simcoe, quite a large body of water to the north of Toronto. Barrie was once quite industrial but the harbour is now fronted with high-rise apartment blocks rather than factories and warehouses. Lake Simcoe isn’t part of the Great Lakes chain, or the St Lawrence Seaway, so it was never going to be a port like Hamilton on Lake Ontario or Montreal on the St Lawrence. It does form part of the Trent-Severn Waterway, though, a series of canals linking Trenton on the St Lawrence with Port Severn on Georgian Bay. It was, at one time, the only route for ships to get past the Niagara Falls that sit between lakes Ontario and Erie, and onto lakes Huron, Superior and Michigan, so Barrie could have been a bigger port than it actually became. However, the Welland Canal, directly by-passing Niagara Falls, was built before the Trent-Severn was able to get a hold and Barrie become more of a backwater quite quickly. The Trent-Severn system is now for pleasure craft, and Barrie’s harbour, now a Marina, was stuffed full of such boats; sleek and expensive-looking they were, too.
We had a stroll down the boardwalk onto on towards the beach, which was very nice and very empty. It being midweek and the somewhat unsettled weather had combined to make it look deserted. Talking of unsettled weather, as we walked the showers began, so our run into Barrie was curtailed a little.
We made our way back to Alliston via Borden which is, like the Borden in England (or was that Bordon?), a Garrison Town. I’m not sure why it’s located there but there’s still a big, active military base.
Back in Alliston, we singularly failed to get any fresh bug repellent supplies, probably because even though it’s still only the first week in August, the shops have either run out of it or are clearing their shelves for their Autumn lines. It seems to be a feature here that you have to stock up on seasonal goods at least two months before you actually need them because if you don’t, they’re simply not available at the appropriate time. It’s hard to buy winter clothes in February, the coldest month, because all the warm clothes have had to make way for the spring stuff. Retail madness. Tsk.
By way of recompense, to ourselves of course, we stopped at Just Judy’s chip truck, just down the road from the Park’s gate. It was going to be Just Chips, but I was talked into the accompanying cod, so that was either a late lunch or an early supper. The chips very good, by the way.
To follow our lazy morning, we had a lazy evening. Normal activities were slightly curtailed when we were informed that we’d racked up some “overage” charges on our mobile Internet deal, so tooling around on Facebook was no longer deemed economically viable. The reason we’d gone over our download limit was that I’d connected up my laptop and in one day, or rather an hour or two, had used up half of our monthly allowance. I hadn’t been doing much on the laptop but I’d guess that Windows had decided to do a heap of updates, no doubt in preparation for the imminent Windows 10 upgrade. Whilst it’s probably good to put Facebook and other Internet things down when camping, it’s frustrating to think that our provider, Rogers, gets a good deal from us as through ten months of the year we get nowhere near our monthly allowance, but during the camping months we go over by a small amount and get dicked for charges. It’s not right I tell you (moan, moan, moan).
We also had a system failure with the DVD player in that it refused to link to the TV. It’s a car-based system, built into the Airstream, and whilst I was able to check connections at either end of things, cables buried in the workings of the trailer are inaccessible. I don’t know if it’s the TV, the player or the cabling that’s at fault. All I know is that it was reading time last night and not DVD time! Like the Internet, though, we shouldn’t be watching TV when camping. That said, I may just pick a cheap HDMI cable today so that we can link the laptop to the TV and play DVDs through that. It’s the electronic age, eh?
And so to bed. Another cool evening and we’ll no doubt get dogged in the night, but it is very peaceful here. Peaceful except for the people on site who insist on having very loud conversations in the road and burn very powerful electric lights on their site that illuminate the entire corner of this campground. Tut. Mind you, they were dragging fallen branches out of the woods to build a fire, too, and that’s a complete no-no at Provincial Parks. Bad people!
We do have an agenda for tomorrow so, if it’s not too boring, keep an eye out for Earl Rowe – Day Three.
PS Because of the limitations on our Internet access, this may not get published until we get home. *sad face*
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
The Old Blog