Horizon’s Unlimited Ontario – Part Four


I slept pretty well in the cabin. There were no sheets, so I was just in my sleeping bag on the mattress. Morning had the small disappointment of no hot water, but I hadn’t really been expecting it. Apparently, there was supposed to be hot water, but some of the cabins had their water heaters turned off for the season.

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I’m not going to say it wasn’t chilly in the morning. I could see my breath once I left the cabin, and Curiosity had a heavy coat of dew that was probably frost earlier. But it was already warming up. Breakfast was in the food lodge, with a mass of sleepy high schoolers who were leaving in a couple hours. There were a line of buses for them by the time they were done eating, and by noon they were gone.

Grant and Susan had those of us where were there at work before then, so I actually missed the buses leaving. I wanted to walk around the camp and see where things were, so I signed up for posting signs. Grant had a map –

 

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and laminated signs and posts. It took a bit over an hour to get everything labels, trying to make things clear and wondering where people would actually wander. With a group of wanderers arriving this was a tall order.

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Riders were arriving before we were finished setting up (of course, why shouldn’t they? I had). Lunch was just us, and the quality of the food jumped several notches over what the high schoolers had been getting. In fact, the food for the whole weekend was simply amazing. I had been concerned over it, and still had food incase I felt like I was on my own, but in the end I think I gained weight.

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I had also scoped out a spot for the hammock while I was out and about in the morning. Susan pointed out they had way, way more cabins than they were going to need and offered me one, but by then I was excited about my spot and passed.

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I would have a view of the lake every morning when I woke up.

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By evening there was a pretty large crowd. I had a presentation that night, getting to help trouble shoot the sound (which I still don’t think I needed) to a packed out. I think most of them were there because it was warmer inside, or waiting for Emily (who was after me).

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It got cold that night, but I was perfectly comfortable in my sleeping bag. Getting out of the bag in the morning was – difficult.

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The dining hall had coffee, cocoa, and hot water available all weekend. It was nice for first thing in the morning, but by afternoon it warmed up considerably. There was hot breakfast too, and they knew to always include bacon. Not Canadian Bacon – the regular kind.

It was Friday the 13th, and I was at a campground with a lake, but no one seemed to notice so I played it cool. There were presentations to watch and give, and people to talk to. I am always impressed with some of the stories I hear from other people at these events. I wonder why they aren’t talking in front of a crowd with me listening along with. I’ve slowly (very slowly) come to accept that my travels have a certain degree of coolness, but I’m not the only one with stories to tell.

Other riders drifted in as Friday went on, then a large group in the early evening as people who’d had to work arrived. The camping areas filled up and Friday night’s dinner had a lot of people. The food was still excellent and plentiful.

It was colder on Friday night than it had been on Thursday, and it was harder to get out of the sleeping bag. The frost was heavy on the ground and motorcycles.

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I resolved to get actual insulation for my hammock over the winter. I used a sleeping pad, which I carried for when I had to set the hammock up on the ground. It provided some insulation from the cold on the bottom on the hammock, but not as much as a proper underquilt would. Still, I was okay until I had to get out of the sleeping bag.

Seriously – if you are going to buy something expensive for your trip – get the best sleeping bag/pad you can. It’s the most expensive stuff I travel with.

Saturday had a full schedule of presentations, since it was the day with the largest attendance. There were a lot of people at lunch, breakfast they kind of wandered in and out.

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It was the warmest afternoon as well, really a beautiful day. People are concerned about the overnight lows, since it was also going to be  the coldest of the nights.

I didn’t take that many pictures, since I was listening to people, or talking myself, hanging out at the massive fire pit. That night I ‘cheated’ and slept in one of the lounges, which was heated and had couches. Yeah, I probably could have slept in the hammock and been okay, but I don’t have anything to prove.

I had one of the last presentations on Sunday, a writer’s round table. Around that I helped with taking down the signs I’d put up at the start of the weekend. Riders were packing up and leaving as well, the last few classes had only a few people. Some had a long way to go and work the next day, so it there wasn’t anything to feel bad over.

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I had wanted to leave around 1230, but stayed for lunch and vague planning for next years event. I don’t think I helped much, but there was lunch.

Once I was on the road and headed south I was suddenly very, very tired. I’d wanted to reach the USA on Sunday, but with the late start I had decided just to get through Toronto (since it was Sunday and I didn’t know what traffic was like there on Mondays). At a fuel stop in Barrie I realized I was just being dumb and found somewhere to stay. Five minutes after checking into a hotel the skies opened, a massive downpour that would have blinded me on Curiosity.

I ordered a pizza and updates some social media I’d neglected over the weekend, and went to sleep early. I set an alarm and was up and through Toronto by 8am. After that it was just driving home, the weather getting sunnier and warmer as I headed for the southern end of Lake Michigan, already planning on which route I was going to take to Ontario in 2014. I was thinking something from the Southeast.

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