WOW! What a weekend! Thursday was incredibly busy day as I was put on a mission to backup the entire office, so I did. I brought Cricket to work with me because we were leaving for our Random Act of Camping right after work. We got to Brianne’s office, picked her up and then the power went out. We figured that that was just a simple power outtage because the power’s gone out at her office before. We hit the road and noticed that intersection after intersection didn’t have signal lights. I said that this looked odd, then turned up the radio to find that 102.1 The Edge was practically inaudible because I guess their big transmission tower lost power too. Scanned through the stations and ended up on the CBC. They were doing their call-in thing and people were calling in with “it’s pretty crazy out here” reactions. There weren’t many people obeying the four-way stop rule at outted lights, so it was crazy indeed.

     We headed out of the city and listened further to find out that this blackout was spanning from Ohio, New York, Windsor, Toronto, Ottawa, Sudbury, etc… Traffic was really really thick up the 400 and with no A/C, it was pretty damn hot in there. Finally we got going and then pulled in at Barrie because we needed to find some gas if we were to make it up to somewhere near the French River which was our attempted destination for the day’s driving. We ended up driving towards Midland because Brianne’s Mom has a friend that lives there and we prepared to camp out on her lawn. We didn’t make it that far before we tried to camp at a site called Orr Lake Campground which is full of senile old crazies that wouldn’t let us camp there. Then we tried a B&B on McDonald Road off of Hwy 93, just past Hillsdale. They were full and if we didn’t have Cricket with us, they would have let us camp on their lawn. They had a big dog that doesn’t like other dogs, so it was a no go. But the lady of the house did call around town to find out if any of her friends that owned B&B’s had vacancies.

     She called her neighbours in Hillsdale (whose place we’d already passed) and they were empty and were prepared to make an allowance for little Cricket. It turns out that she used to be a Nun and he used to be a Catholic Preist. Ain’t that funny? So we stayed there for the night and in the morning, I tried to call work, but the phones were completely down there. We listened to the radio and heard that there were gas stations about 12 km away that had gas and power to serve it up. So we bolted down Hwy 93 towards Midland and then got in line for a Sunoco station on Hwy 12. While we were in line, I noticed that the station that we were listening to had it’s studios accross the street. So I walked on in and asked if they could get online, perhaps see if my web sites were online, when they weren’t, I tried to make a phone call to the office, no such luck, some main line to Toronto was completely out. But just then the phone rang and then we found out that Penetangueshene came back from the dark. So I ran out to the car, jumped in, got us out of the line and did a u-Turn and headed towards Penetang. We got to a Sunny’s station and they just got their power back so there wasn’t much of a line (maybe three cars?) but their credit and debit stuff wasn’t working. Fortunately we had rummaged through the car and found enough cash to pay for the tank. We got some more cash, groceries and we were on our way.

     We got to Eunice’s cottage on the north channel of the French River in the afternoon. Eunice wasn’t supposed to arrive until about 8pm, so we “checked in”, slapped on the bathing suits and jumped in the river. Cricket really seemed to enjoy the cottage life. Her parents have a cottage two cottages down so once we were dried off we took the dog for a walk over there and she wasn’t so scared of the water there because she had a much lower grade to wade in.

     The next day we drove through Sudbury and Timmins to the Kettle Lakes. On the way, way up north, a black bear jumped out of the forest and “jogged” accross the road and walked into the forest. It was pretty cool to see! We ate at Casey’s because it was getting kinda late and then we arrived at the campground. We set up camp, then we had a little fire and went to bed. In the morning it was really chilly out. We packed up everything and kept going accross Hwy 101 and then we went through Kirkland Lake and into Quebec. We saw some great scenery and stopped for some official french Poutine.

     Much after dark we arrived at our friend (Mary) Beth’s cottage. We got settled in and then a bunch of her friends arrived. We had to camp outside (which was probably for the better, much quietier than inside). Her cottage is on Hay Lake which is really quiet considering how big it is. Part of the lake is in Algonquin, so a large portion of the land is protected. The starry sky was great that night (and the night before too) and that night we saw the northern lights while lying out on the dock. It’s so incredible to see that many stars so easily compared to down here, where you don’t get nearly the awe inspiring view.

     We came home and it was nice to be back. Brianne’s Mom and our neighbour Michelle took care of the fishes and the kitties, and since we had stayed up really late on the Wednesday night cleaning, we came home to a spic-‘n-span home. It was nice. We decided to close the weekend with a nice big platter of Sushi and then we scuttled our tired selves off to bed.

     It’s kinda nice to be back at work. Things are happening here, very exciting, I’ll tell more when I’m allowed to do so. Now the only concern is that my servers won’t come back online again if they go down again. I think I’ve ironed out all of the bugs though and I guess we’ll just have to wait for the next blackout to find out. Sounds like if people aren’t careful with their power usage this week we might find out sooner than later.

Author: Ian

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