Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Aug 12-14 - and we’re off

Flights and baggage went like clockwork, amazingly enough. With only a half hour to spare baggage was rechecked and we were through security and at our gate. JAL loaded 300 people in 15 minutes and we flew to Hokkaido.

The distance to Obihiro from the airport was a surprise and so was the price but oh well. Hamid was waiting for us and then went to bed. Shab came to dinner with us. Great sushi at half the price. Love it.

Yesterday we made our way to the start hotel, Hamid and I rode our bikes; Shab and Sandy by taxi. Sandy left for her hotel later; Shab is volunteering.

It's going to be a rain-a-thon; perhaps clear on the last day. Ugh. Ugh.

Oh well.


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Monday, August 13, 2018

Aug 12 - so far, so ... ?

About to land in Tokyo. Here's hoping that our luggage lands with us and makes it onto the next flight. We've got just under 2:25 to collect bags, do customs & immigration, check in for the next flight, go through security ... the whole deal. It's not a connecting flight per se.

I have no idea whether there are multiple terminals involved or other logistical issues. I can only hope that they are as efficient as I would expect them to be.

Whoops. We're in a holding pattern over Tokyo. Weather. Our cushion is quickly eroding.

We're starting to descend. Time will tell.

Downward ...

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Aug 11/12 - and we’re off ... again

Sandy spent much of the day cleaning, after the rest of the gang left. Emma, Zoe and Matthew were amazingly good at 5:30 am, but this isn't their first rodeo.

I was intending to go for a short ride but intermittent rain ruined that. I did get one chore done, X5 oil change. I was reminded by the pike in the workbench that I've got new brakes for Sandy's car. Later ... maybe next spring !

Packed and loaded, we said farewell to Cassie, Amanda and Gavin and left for Toronto.

It was an easy drive; we got to the airport comfort inn just after 8pm. What a disappointment. The price is right but the hotel hasn't been refreshed in years. We had a crummy meal in the pub. It can only get better ! Just down the road was the Sheraton Four Points for not much more money. Ok. Time to put that CI in the past.

We are at the airport now waiting. We've had a glass of wine - it's 13 hours later in Tokyo. We're entitled.

A 13 hour flight awaits us soon and the time difference is 13 hours. So ... add 26 hours and we miss Monday. It's going to be a scramble when we get there as our next flight leaves 2:25 later. I hope Tokyo Haneda is efficient !

Upward ! East or west ?

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Aug 9 - another family day in paradise

A brief bit of rain in the morning, before everyone really got going; threatening at times during the day; one brief downpour in the afternoon ... it was a flip flop day.  Warm and sunny most of the time, the weather cooperated with everything that we wanted to do -- SUP-ing for Aaron and Stef; boating with the Bayliner later in the afternoon; 4-wheeler'ing; 3-wheeler'ing, adjusting the idle and gradually getting that machine running smoother (another trip to the dealership averted); no complaints !

Early in the day I was called to a driveway on Osprey where a homeowner was complaining about some work that the MTO was doing at our behest.  Costs too much, not necessary, will block my guests, yes ... I'll be at the meeting and will volunteer ... oh wait, I'll have guests, no, I won't be there (absolutely typical). 

Let's see if anyone else sticks up their hand today.  Pat is stepping down.  Bob is going to take his place.  Randy is going to stick with it.  I'll stay on but would happily step off/down. 

Today is supposed to be another beautiful day.  Stef, Aaron, Lauren and Mya will leave at some point.  Jeffrey's gang and David's gang will both be leaving tomorrow a.m.  We'll be left with some quick cleanup and then we leave, staying overnight close to Toronto airport and flying on Sunday.

I did catch up with Arlene yesterday.  We both have fires in the distance but aren't threatened.  That's good.

Onward ... !

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Aug 4-7 - more catch-up

This blog is really getting irregular !  Days are slipping by so quickly !

Well, we have a gang at the cottage.  David and Jeffrey arrived on Saturday; Stef arrived yesterday.  We're missing Sara, recovering from Surgery, and Kylie, visiting the Hobbits in New Zealand.  We won't see pictures of Sara with a walker or Kylie with a black eye from a paddle ...

The weather has been glorious here with one part day of rain but otherwise hot & sunny.  Jason and Gavin have added a diving board and deck beside the board and both are getting a lot of use.  The gazebo is also getting a lot of use although there are few, if any, flies.  Whether the smoke or the hot dry weather cleared them out, we'll never know.

Since we got back, we've smelled smoke twice, both times for a short duration.  We may have a west wind today, changing to north, so we might get another whiff ... hopefully nothing long lasting. 

The kayaks are getting a lot of use; Emma and Lauren are doing front flips off the diving board; Zoe is swimming with a life jacket; Matthew loves playing in the cove.  Stef and Aaron had their boards out yesterday, both getting a good workout.

The Bayliner has been in the water.  I took the kids out for a ride to the dam the other day but no one had shoes to go exploring.  I need to get them to Lost Channel and do some tubing.

The pine tree is producing a bumper crop of sap.  It's all over the deck, chairs, table and Cassie.  You'd think in dry weather the tree would hold that back but it probably has the lake as its source of water.

I went out for a ride to highway 69 on Monday, a good leg stretcher.  Grundy Lake is still closed due to the smoke & fire potential.  That will mess up many vacations.  The bike is now packed, ready for Japan.  If the weather cooperates, I'll get out today or tomorrow on the Litespeed; likely the same route.  I don't need to do a long ride.  I've also packed some of my clothes.  It shouldn't take much time to finish.  We'll stay near the airport on Saturday night.

That's it ...

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Aug 3 - with a little help from my friends ...

It was a productive day.  The morning was occupied with getting the carburetor clear enough of the 4-wheeler that I could do some dismantling and cleaning.  As with most things of this nature there's a) a technique and b) someone with tiny hands.  I have neither.  However, I did manage to get it free and apart and cleaned out some accumulated gunk that's probably varnish / gas deposits over time and voila, it's running again.  That saved a) paying someone and b) two trips to Parry Sound.

I wandered down to the waterfront and thought about moving the old dock somewhere out of the way and oh well, let's just cut it up and be done with it.  I was part-way through that when Gav came over and decided to bring the saw over and cut up the decking into campfire sized pieces.  Once the decking was off, I pulled the undercarriage into the cove and finished the job, piling everything neatly, maybe.  Jason then volunteered himself and Gavin, since they were already using their 4-wheeler to haul away the campfire wood, to help move the crap up out of the way.  So ... the styrofoam is now beside the garage out of the way and the crappy wood by the burn pile. 

This morning I took the travel bike out to 522 at the ESS Narrows and ride it a km, checking the brakes and shifting.  The brakes could use a little tweaking so that they aren't squeaking :) but everything else is ok, AFAIK.  I guess that I'll have to get out for a few hours in a day or so.  It's hard to believe that a week ago I was winging my way back to Montreal, the Stelvio in the past. 

I also used the DR trimmer a bit.  I need to do some roundup-ing to beat back the grass and weeds growing on the driveway.

Clear this morning and then for about 1/2 hour we had a faint campfire smell, the first since the day after our arrival.  The lake was dead calm so I can only guess that some downdraft moved a little smoke our way.  It didn't last long and we now have a gentle breeze that is going the correct way to keep the smoke away. 

David & Vanda pick up Megan in an hour or so; Jeffrey is on his way with Zoe and Matthew.  Take a deep breath .... :).

Onward !

Friday, August 3, 2018

Aug 2 - what now ...

They were working on the road.  It's time for the gravel haul and most of the work this year is on Osprey.  I wanted to go up and check it out.  I opened the barn, started the 4-wheeler ... nope.  It wouldn't start.  I used quick-start; it fired up and died.  Long story short, playing and playing and playing, including changing the plug ... no go.  Damn.

This has happened before and I ended up taking it into Parry Sound, the Bobcat/Stihl/Honda dealer just north of the 4-lane. I don't have time for this.

I'll look at it some more today but the carb on these things is quite complicated.  Jason suggested youtube ...

The girls are having a blast.  They're both doing front flips off the Davies' diving board.  Jason and Gavin are building a deck around said board, ignoring the swimmer and dog traffic. 

The weather is beautiful, sunny and hot.  We haven't had a whiff of smoke from Parry Sound 33 and I hope that it stays that way.

Sandy plans to head to Parry Sound today ... perhaps she should take the 4-wheeler !

I spent a chunk of time yesterday catching up with the motels involved with the Sunshine 1200k that I'm running next Spring. 

Onward ...