Today was another one of those days when I would have liked to be in two places at once. Tonight was the first night for the Action Sudbury/Impact 621/Freedom Riders team to work for Operation Red Nose, plus I was supposed to do the newby orientation again. The team lists had been drawn up and submitted and Tom, a longstanding Red Nose volunteer, would cover my training responsibilities. It would have been nice to be, there but a granddaughter's birthday party comes first. Since it was going to be a double party (Robyn was born in October and Jolene in December but Kim and Mike hold one official party so people can travel and celebrate both), that is twice the reason to head south.
Before we could leave, there were a couple of chores that needed doing. First off, there is a sump along the outside wall inside the garage. It is almost six feet deep and handles drainage from weeping tiles along that wall by means of a submersible pump. For the last few days, the float switch on the pump has been sticking, causing it to continue running after the sump is dry. This is a surefire way to chew up a lot of electricity and, before long, burn out the pump. I thought I had it fixed but the switch failed again so I headed over to Lowes and bought a replacement. And a spare. Climbing down in the sump is a nasty job but I have a system now and had the switch changed in about ten minutes. It looks like the service life of the magnetic switch is about two years.
I checked the oil in the truck, topped up one tire with a slow leak and hooked up the trailer. The trailer ramp padlocks were frozen so I attacked them with a blow dryer. That did the trick in short order. I dropped the ramp, loaded the old (OK, it is 2012 vintage so I guess I should say "older") snow blower and tied it down. We were almost ready to go. Then I hooked up the GPS and found that the car mount wasn't getting any power. Murphy was in high gear today. No big deal, I knew my way.
We were on our way south at 10:28 AM. It was -2C under grey skies and the roads were slippery due to lightly falling snow, but the forecast in Cambridge was for 10C so I expected that conditions would improve somewhere down the road. I am not a big fan of towing on slick surfaces, but I put the truck in 4WD Auto and third gear and let it roll along while avoiding making any sudden moves.
Traffic was light as we moved along carefully. We were listening to the Red Neck Comedy Channel on XM and I made note of two things that resonated. The first was a comedian named Henrickson who was talking about erectile dysfunction. He described it as trying to stuff a marshmallow into a piggy bank. The second item was a few words of wisdom from the late Brother Dave: "Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." Sounds close to my own philosophy.
I gave the GPS another try around Still River and, wonder of wonders, it worked. This car mount has been a little flaky since North Carolina in August and, now that one of the button has fallen off the actual GPS, I will need to consider replacing it with a refurbished Zumo 550 (if they are still available) or perhaps an upgraded unit of some kind. Another winter project.
We stopped for McNuggets in Parry Sound and Sandy got a smoothie to wash hers down. South of Waubaushene, the temperature moved above freezing but the winds got stronger. On the plus side, the roads were clear. There were skiers on the hill at Mt. St. Louis but the snow looked pretty thin. Still, this was an early start for them so they must have been smiling. South of Barrie, we noted that the southbound service centre that had been closed at Highway 89 was not being rebuilt at that location. Instead, an On Route facility was being constructed on open ground a few miles north. This looks like a good spot and stopping won't run afoul of the interchange traffic.
It was off again at the King Service Centre for fuel. I scoped out the trailer parking in the back and determined you can't really get there from the pumps. No problem because we weren't stopping but it was still confusing. North of Toronto, I decided to splurge and take the 407 Toll Road. This is outrageously expensive but, with the trailer, it is the easiest route. When we turned west, the tail wind pushed the fuel mileage from 10 MP(US)G to 14. There was no snow down here.
Strange clouds and no snow near Toronto
Near Milton, we saw some confused Canada geese flying north. I wasn't sure what this meant. The rest of the trip was uneventful. Upon arriving in Cambridge, I noted that the gas price at the Shell on Franklin was $1.089 per liter, compared to the $1.136 we had paid in Sudbury. Still, both prices were a welcome relief from the $1.35 range we had grown accustomed to. I know this international price war is going to hurt our economy but, in the short term, it was sure helping my wallet.
We arrived at Kim and Mike's at 4:25 PM. I unloaded the snowblower and fired it up, giving Mike a crash course on the basics of its operation. Then I backed the trailer into their driveway and unhooked it. We visited for a while and then decided to go to Lone Star for supper. Sandy and I stopped by the Super 8 to register and get our keys on the way. While we were there, Kim called to say that Lone Star was too busy and we should meet them at the Thai Coconut Island
on Hespeler Road instead. I have never had Thai food before so this would be a new experience.
We were the only customers at the Thai Island. I had Pad Thai with beef and found it quite tasty. The had several types of Koi in a tank, which kept the girls amused while we waited for our food. Our server took a photo so, for once, I got to be in one of my pictures.
Coconut Thai Palace - Cambridge Ontario
When we finished supper, we headed back to the house and I had the pleasure of reading Dr. Seuss to the kids. The Cat In The Hat Came Back, to be precise. I love the rhythm that the good doctor used in his stories. About 10:00 PM, Sandy and I headed back to the Super 8. I had reserved a suite which turned out to be two rooms where the wall between them had been knocked down. It was an odd setup and I wasn't too impressed with the accommodations. Still, it was a bed. I read a book on my Kindle until I ran out of steam and finally went to sleep.
Today's Route (281 Avalanche miles):