Posts tagged ‘landscape’

Side 1: 

Let me tell you, living in Canada is not all about playing with white stuff or feeling like the incredible hulk as you add a 5th layer of clothing.

Southern Ontario was hit this week with a major ice storm, and I was reminded how foreign winter phenomena’s are to many people.

An ice storm consists of freezing rain. This is not hail, but instead it’s rain that falls at or just below zero degrees. As it falls it becomes supercooled, which helps it freeze on impact with roads, trees, cars, and powerlines.

Ice storms are much less frequent than the typical snow storm, but have a tendency to wreak havoc. Since the freezing rain causes ice to form on the trees and powerlines, it adds a considerable amount of weight, so it’s common for tree branches to come down on powerlines and cause power outages.

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We got a call at 10pm, “The back up generator hasn’t kicked in, the basement is starting to flood”.

When the power goes out in the country, there’s one main issue … so let me introduce you to a sump pump.

A sump pump is probably the most important machine to operate at all times in a rural property. You will generally find a sump pump submerged in a basement, particularly in townships which have a high water table level. It pumps as needed to remove water from the basement drainage system to avoid overflowing and flooding.

When the power goes out in the country, the sump pump stops working.

When your back-up generator doesn’t kick in… any guesses? Yep, your right. The basement starts flooding, and during a snow melt and/or heavy rain, it doesn’t take long.

We asked, “How much water?” 

“I’m treading in water, and it’s only been five minutes.”

“Really?” (Or perhaps some other words to express surprise and immediate concern.) “We’ll be there as soon as we can.”

When we arrived at the property, the water level on the lower half of our basement was now a solid 4 inches underwater. Most things in this room sit on crates to avoid too much damage in this exact situation. However, we probably had only an inch or so before it would move into the higher (and finished) half of our basement, which was full of belongings.

Outside with torches we checked the generator. Maybe the battery was dead, causing it not to start? Well, there was only one way to find out. After finding the manual override button, this was the moment of truth. Would everything be lost in the basement, or would we avoid this by the narrowest of margins?

As we held down the button, it tried to start. It kept trying to start, and a few seconds later it turned over. The sump pump came to life and the water started receding immediately.

A very close call. Phew!

Side 2.

It was a beautiful storm.

There’s two sides to every storm.

Happy living

Roaming Days

 

 

 

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A poem for my daughter.

Painted shores

As the night descends upon us,
with a soft sun kissed goodbye,
reds and oranges a plenty,
an artist paints the sky.

When the night finally settles,
darkness covers the ocean floor.
I’ll dream of dancing moonlit seas
I’ll dream of painted shores.

Ben Gray
October 2014

Painted shores

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Do you have a place that you want to go to, just because of its name? I’ve always liked the idea of visiting Moose Factory. It just sent my mind wandering. There’s some obvious questions. Do moose live there? Are there any factories? Do moose work in the factories, or are moose the number one delicacy served in local restaurants?

The answer to these questions is no, no, no, and no. Yet still I’m not disappointed with our visit to Moose Factory.

If you were to look at Trip Advisor for ideas on things to do in Moose Factory, there’s not much. St. Thomas’ Anglican Church is listed, it has no rating, and it has no reviews. I don’t recall seeing it (unless it was the boarded up church). So here our top things to do in Moose Factory:

1. Getting to Moose Factory

The number one attraction of Moose Factory is actually getting there. Assuming you are somewhere in Canada, there’s still a highly likelihood that you’re nowhere near this place. So the first thing is “road trip!” You could fly, but it would probably cost you less to fly to Australia. Instead, pack some snacks and drive a crazy number of hours to the little town of Cochrane, Ontario. Rooms at The Station Inn are cozy and do the trick, as you will likely stay overnight before boarding the Polar Bear Express at around 9am the following morning.

At the station, there is 7 day parking for RV’s, or you can park for free (with power) for up to 48 hours, which we used before and after our train trip. The station is surprisingly busy as it has a number of buses arriving and departing, and the train engines/carriages often get moved around. The evening we were there, two engines moved back and forth for hours.

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Moose Factory

Moose Factory

Once on the train, it’s a good 5 hours to Moosonee. It could be one hour if the train moved quicker than walking pace, so there’s no need to panic if you miss the train. A leisurely jog will have you caught up in no time.

Otherwise, the leg room is good, and depending on your carriage, you will have a power supply for your electronic addictions. There’s no internet however, and no phone service. You will be able to control your itch to be connected by loading yourself up with a good movie or opt instead for a book, and settle in for the very pleasant and scenic ride.

Welcome to Moosonee!

Moose Factory

At Moonsonee, you will unload from the train and then wait for the next available taxi.

It’s an efficient service because it seems that anyone in town can be a taxi driver should they choose to be so. If you need $30 for a case a beer, it only takes a cardboard sign in the front windscreen/windshield reading Taxi, and you are a few short trips away from a two four (case of beer).

Moose Factory

Since an aqua duck taxi is not available in Moosonee, you’ll need to catch a water taxi to the island of Moose Factory. The boats are old but sturdy, and with our suitcases and backpacks loaded in the front, Moose Factory was a short 5 to 10 minutes away. In the case of rain, you will be undercover, however your suitcases will not share the same luxury!

Moose Factory

2. Leave Moose Factory

The second attraction is leaving. Nothing against Moose Factory, but if the ride to Moose Factory is a great experience, then the journey home should be too, since its basically completing ‘Getting to Moose Factory” in reverse.

3. GG’s

You will be forgiven if you miss this place. Because literally, if you don’t know exactly where it is, you will definitely miss it. The outside of the store looks like a factory, there is a GG sign on the building – but no description of what the store is, and no ‘open’ sign on the solid closed door. But, inside you will be pleasantly surprised. It’s a very mini Walmart, with a little bit of everything. There’s no prices on most things, so you take a gamble with anything you pick up. Chance are, all goods are imported via the ‘Getting to Moose Factory’ route, so don’t expect to pick up any food bargins. For example, a bag of red apples was $12. Our highlight of this store was the winter jackets. Most were 50% of good winter brands like Columbia and North Face, so we all purchased a new winter jacket. It was probably the biggest splurge of our trip, but based on last winter it will be money well spent!

4. EcoLodge

I will say two things about this place. Dinner. Ribs. That is all.

5. Bears

I’ve had a few opportunities to see bears in the wild, and there’s something exhilarating about it. In Moose Factory, there’s a few local bears that hang out at the local dump. It’s obviously not as much fun seeing bears truly in the wild, but as a friend of mine commented on Facebook ‘I’m guilty of getting takeout sometimes too’. Nonetheless, it’s a sight that I’ve never seen before, and even the locals seem to take an evening drive to the dump to see if their friends are out to play.

The bears generally seemed to be disinterested in their audience, but did occasionally stop to sniff the air. I felt like we locked eyes a couple of time, but funnily enough I was the only one backing away. Never take for granted that these are still wild animals.

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6. Take a walk, a boat ride, or a paddle.

I never expected to find 6 things to do in Moose Factory, but here we are. We took a paddle on the lake in a canoe, but if you don’t know someone with a canoe you may opt for a walk or a boat ride.

Walking around parts of Moose Factory is fascinating. Some of the town operates on steam heat, and there are tons of old buildings and factories that have loads of character. And of course, Moose Factory is on the water, so play on the sanding shores or walk along side the water and enjoy the scenery.

Moose Factory

Moose Factory

Moose Factory

Moose Factory

Moose Factory

Moose Factory

Moose Factory

You can also organise a boat ride to James Bay. If you are really adventurous you could make your way all the way up to Hudson Bay!

During your stay, it’s likely that you will see the emergency helicopter flying locals from the mainland to Moose Factory, since this is the home of the local hospital.

Moose Factory

Overall, Moose Factory is an experience. And now I need to find a new place with a cool name, so I can visit there too 🙂 Maybe Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan? Maybe Intercourse, in Pennsylvania? Or a town that we recently passed in Quebec, Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! I know I don’t understand much French, but I think they’re taking the piss? Ha Ha!

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Sightseeing comes in many forms and, after a run of downtowns, it was time to get back to nature.

We’d just spent a night in a hotel after a tornado warning for the Georgian State, so we were bustling out of Atlanta with Nashville in sight. But we couldn’t resist stopping at a little place called Rock City, and we were ever so glad that we did.

Rock City is in Chattanooga, a couple of hours north of Atlanta. At first I questioned the admission fee (approx. $27 US) to ‘see some rocks’, but the issue of cost quickly faded as we stepped into an enchanted world. We weaved through some beautiful rock formations, and were mesmerised by the natural beauty of our surroundings.

Having a 4 and an almost 2-year-old, I was worried about how suitable the trails would be, but both kids walked almost the entire way. The first trail ended at a landing where we could see 7 states. We then started the second trail, and the kids were excited by the hope of seeing fairies in Fairyland Caverns. Who knew that they would see a whole lot more!

We stepped into the world of nursery rhymes in ‘Mother Goose Village,’ and the effort spent on the displays was remarkable.

There are some places that just deliver so much more than what you’re expecting and Rock City was one of them. The kids absolutely loved it, and so did we. What else can I say, if you’re in the area… don’t miss it!

Click on any photo below to view the gallery.

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