July 2012

How to Hillside

Were you there? If not, I’m sorry – you missed a whole lotta awesome. In addition to Plaskett returning to his rocking roots with the Emergency Band, my mind was blown (as it always is at Hillside) by some new bands.

First up, my fave of the whole weekend was Elephant Revival from Colorado. Holy. Hell. They are amazing. This first song puts Bonnie Paine’s incredible voice on display and the second gives you some action from the entire ensemble.


The Bright Light Social Hour was also a rocking good time. Straight up from Austin and into your head on repeat.

Can you believe these voices? This is the kind of thing that spoils you for most other music forever after. It was a bit of a theme this year, as you’ll learn from Montreal’s Canailles.

I think Jane summed it up best when she said you have to eat knives and smoke cigarettes for breakfast to get this kind of voice. Seriously. This lady sounds like an old record you might find in a Paris open air market and I looooooooooooooove it. I was pretty bummed that these guys played in Hamilton last night when we were still in Guelph, but hopefully they’ll come back. If not, road trip to Quebec!

And for fun – they cover Backstreet Boys…

Finally, Halifax’s Tanya Davis on the Sun Stage. Bonus here – if you missed her in Guelph, she’s going to be appearing at Supercrawl this September along with C.R. Avery (a Hillside discovery from another year). PSYCHED? YES.

Till 2013, Hillside!

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Manitoulin is awesome – and I’m not Manifoolin’ (chapter 3)

There’s a bit of a gap as far as interesting photos for the next couple nights, which is a shame because we stayed at Mindemoya Caottages and Campground and it was fantastic, not just because of the sie, but because we met Troy, who was biking from Sarnia around Manitoulin.

We rode together for a couple days and also met up with Ashley and Julia from Victoria, who were going cross-country. The five of us had a camp dinner party at Black Creek (kind of lopsidedly below)…

In the morning we rode in Sauble Beach where surf was up and this hippie scored his grandparents awesome car (I am assuming) to cruise the beach for bunnies and break (again, I’m inventing this narrative).

If you see these two between here and Newfoundland in the coming weeks, give them a cold drink, a snack or a bed! This is where we said our goodbyes and kicked it back to the car.

Success! Now on the next adventure – Hillside! Some of my stuff will be sold at the Peep Design vendor booth this year if you’re looking for leather. See you on Guelph Lake.

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Manitoulin is awesome – and I’m not Manifoolin’ (chapter 2)

Most of the lighthouse shots are of items in the lighthouse rather than the lighthouse itself, but let’s take a gander…

This sweet junk shed was behind the lighthouse – presumbly full of everything you need to run a lighthouse!

I am fully aware of the work that goes into owning stoves like these (we cooked food and showers on many cast-iron stoves during the Yukon bike trip) but I still want one in my kitchen.

There was quite a bit of era-mixing and matching, but since I am a huge fan of both the 20s and 70s, this was fine by me. Authenticity be damned!

Guess which one of these guys fell off the roof while shingling the lighthouse when no one was home and had to drag himself back up the bluff with two broken legs? I don’t know, but one of them and isn’t that crazy?

Oh gray and desolate landscape! You remind me of CanLit – my third true love behind Sean and Memphis!

Let’s make falafal and rice to eat with our sunset, ok? Ok.

Moving right along, we spent the next night on Erwin’s lawn – he’s another awesome guy we met in that same diner in Silver Water. Can I just say we have never had such widespread hospitality on a bike trip? Oh, we’ve had top-notch hosts who started out complete strangers and blew our minds with their care of us, but we’ve never had every single person we run into offer us a bed before. Manitoulin is soooooo friendly!

Swimming in Bridal Veil Falls was pretty glorious.

And on the last night of our eight, we stayed back at Black Creek with a cast of characters you’ll meet tomorrow!

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Manitoulin is awesome – and I’m not Manifoolin’ (chapter 1)

Well hi! We just got back from eight days of riding around the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island and I am in love with Huron all over again.

I don’t think I’ve ever said the word “awesome” so many times in my life. Mostly it was related to miners’ cabins on beautiful bluffs and wooden shacks in woods where I wanted to live, but it was also frequently a reaction to lighthouses, turquoise water and its temperature, people, food, Orange Crush (the pop, not the pop) amd once to a family named “Aussem” which I can only assume is pronounced the same way.

I’m going to do this in three stages because uploading photos takes forever and I have no other content for the rest of the week!

So here are the first few days…

Whew! Driving to MacGregor Point was so tough, we had to re-fuel with greasy spoon.

Aaaaand let’s wash that down with some water.

But let’s not get carried away on the health kick. Not when this little shop has popped up!

Hands off, ladies – this stallion is taken.

Black Creek Provincial Park at Myles Bay. An unmanned, unsigned beach down a dusty side road and it was the highlight of the trip. Water so cool and clear it was like a backyard pool, but with a beauty view of islands and horizon and we had it all to ourselves! This is one of the many joys of bike trip – the world is reduced to very simple pleasures and basic impulses. You feel hot, cold, hungry or tired. You thrill to things like breeze, sun, a good piece of toast or solid sleep.

When I tentatively dipped my toe in this water and found it warm and welcoming, I thought I might explode. It was one of the great joys of my life to fall into the lake in my sweat-stained clothes and salt-stiffened hair and just soak.

So much so I did it again the next day with similar results. This gem is smack at the end of highway six and through some trees near Little Tub Harbour and it was the perfect temperature. Freezing, but not so much that you didn’t want to jump in again and again and again and lap up mouthfuls of water even though you knew it might give you the fever.

I like to think all the litres of milk I drank (by the litre, at a time) fended off any illness. PS – that Manitoulin cow is standing on Manitoulin Island, see?

On this night in Silver Water an awesome stranger we met at a diner gave us directions to camp on the lawn at his cottage. He apologized for the mess it might be since he hadn’t been there in weeks. Oh my, said I as soon as we arrived – THIS IS MY DREAM CABIN FROM THE LOGS TO THE 70S FURNITURE…

…TO THE WINE BAR IN THE YARD…oh wait, we brought that.

Next up we rode to Meldrum Bay and cruised around its alvars and rocky ledges.

And swam. Of course we swam.

Check back tomorrow for a look through the Mississagi Strait Lighthouse Museum!

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A little heads-up for the summer. If you don’t already know, this is what poison ivy looks like:

Yep, just like everything else in the bush. Another useful tip might be to tell you that the signs suggesting you should stay on the walking paths running  around Hamilton Harbour? They’re not kidding.

Using Colombo skills, I deduced that the rash covering parts of my arms, legs, ear, chin and stomach came from longboarding down there last Saturday night, when the board sailed off the path under the high-level bridge and landed in a pile of green.

Two days later, I’m itchy as hell in the spots where I lifted my shirt to wipe sweat off my face and where my right hand was sitting on my right leg as I was cruising around.Plus various bonus locations.


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