Another day with no real plans, but with a few things to do tomorrow and a limitation on when we ought to go to Tobermory, I thought we should go west today and dip our toes in the waters of Lake Huron.
On the way, though, I thought a trip to Inglis Falls would be in order.
Impressing Mrs. T with my navigational skills, we hauled it over to the falls. Then I had a senior moment that my mother would have been proud of; I saw the notice saying that there was a $6 parking charge, so I aborted my turn into the place and carried on down the hill. Mrs. T snorted, out of humour or derision I’m not sure, and I spent the next two minutes babbling about $6 being too much for a 10 minute visit to a small waterfall. In truth, $6 is a scandalous amount, especially given that we haven’t paid a cent for parking all trip. Am I cheap? Certainly. Is $6 too much for a parking charge? You bet!
So, at the bottom of the hill I took an executive decision and turned left, mostly on the grounds that it was westbound and west was the direction we needed to be going. Those arrow straight roads took us though undulating farmland (mixed farming, mind, arable and cattle) until the road took an unexpected 90 degree turn left, which meant we were now heading south. Before I could correct that by taking a convenient right turn, we hit another closed road, and we were forced into a second left turn. Two lefts from west means east, so we were now coming back the way we came! Our map was not the greatest, with print so small our aged eyes couldn’t cope, so it was onto Google Maps on the cell phones. All that told us, though, was that we needed to make two right turns to go west. We managed the first right turn OK but, and you’ll laugh at this; we did in a strangulated sort of way, the next right turn was another closed road! At least we were able to go straight on this time, down a gravel road, and search for the next right turn; if we’d have been forced to go left we’d have been back to going east again. Keep up now, it’s not that complicated.
Given that all the roads hereabouts are on a north, south, east, west grid, it really is a case of going to the next turn and travelling along that country block to correct your direction of travel. Fortunately, all roads in the grid join up, so you never end up stuck down a “blind” road, as they’re known here.
Eventually, we found our way to the County Line, which conveniently turned out to be a full sized, non-gravel, north-south road and we were able to head south (a left turn) for one country block, then go west (a right turn) to continue on to our eventual destination which was Lake Huron, or more accurately Port Elgin, on the shore of Lake Huron.
We did get to see a lot of cattle on our travels, a lot of corn and a lot of beans. We saw plenty of Turkey Vultures and we also saw a horse-drawn cart with a fully complemented and finely attired Amish (or something similar) family, who gave us confused looking tourists a cheery wave. Don’t we have all the fun?
So, Port Elgin is home to Lord Elgin’s Fish and Chip Restaurant, into which we made a hasty entrance. The dining room was massive, low ceilinged and very noisy, which was a surprise; the crowds were there, apparently, for the “All The Haddock You Can Eat Tuesday” promotion, and it was very popular. We also lowered the average age a bit as we entered.
Actually, the fish and chips were good, and reasonably priced, and the din in the dining room did go down a little as the early diners left. There wasn’t much on the menu for the vegan Mrs. T, I’m afraid, but chips and onion rings made do.
After feeding, we made our way down to the beach to have a little wander around. It’s a nice beach in Port Elgin and, despite the wind coming off the lake, it was crowded with young families enjoying the sun and the protection of the breakwater a couple of hundred metres off the beach. We’d have liked a walk along the breakwater, but it had been fenced off as being in a dangerous state, but that didn’t deter many people, though, as they just waded through the shallow water and circumvented the fence. Not us, though, we’re law abiding sorts who didn't want to our feet too wet.
You will be pleased to know that the regulation paddle in the lake was achieved (on the beach and not on the mission to get to the breakwater) and we can report that the water in Lake Huron is considerably warmer than the water in Georgian Bay.
We took the long, although less convoluted, route back to Owen Sound, this time via Southampton and Sauble Beach. We rounded out the day’s excursion with a scouting session in Owen Sound for a place to watch the football tomorrow, and a quick stop in at the grocery store for the next few day’s lunch supplies.
What happens tomorrow is in the lap of the Gods, or Gareth Southgate. I don’t have high hopes, I’ve been following England too long for that, but I didn’t think they’d get this far, so you never know.
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
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