At last the promised good weather has materialised. After a late morning and a somewhat frustrating walk which took us past a marsh only five minutes away before joining the path with the main road (!), we got ourselves together with the rest of the family to take the cruise on the lake. This is mostly a boat ride around the shores pointing out the other beaches and areas of summer habitation (there are no services in winter, so very few people are permanent inhabitants and the people in the restaurants and hotels who serve us are mostly college students and others on temporary summer jobs). We also witnessed people on various water sports, canoeing, fishing and variations on being pulled behind motor-boats - water-skis and inflatable dinghies which bounce across the wake of the motor-boat at incredible speeds, leaving nothing to roller-coasters. Shira made great friends with a little Mennonite girl and they ran together around the upper deck chatting away gaily, the contrast in their styles of dress and background hampering the relationship not at all.
Lunch in the cabin was followed by a quiet afternoon and a reading session for us by the pool while watching over Shira swimming.
She was very energetic and is close to really swimming (no waterwings are needed), and we just relaxed and read till dinner time before Shabbat came in (late). After Shabbat, with no electronic games allowed, dominoes, word games and others came to the fore and made for a sociable evening.
A: The lake shore itself evoked childhood memories since at our old cabin at a lake in Minnesota. the woods come right down to the shore.as is usual for Northland lakes. The exception we saw was Lake of the Woods that had interesting geology and basalt formations, some of them decorated with ancient First Nation petroglyphs that no one can decipher today. Here the narrator prattled on about man-made objects and promos for local business which we mostly ignored. The spruce forest is now undergoing a population explosion of beetles whose larvae decimate the foliage. We are told that this happens every 25 years or so and the forest survives. It is a bonanza for the avian population so I expect the prey-predator equilibrium will come about as it always does.Despite the insects, the forest is most impressive with birch along with the spruce and pines. The reward for summer rain is the greenery and the abundance of water.
YandA on the water:
Shabbat - Ode to a sock lost in a loony bin.
Shabbat, as was fitting, was a very quiet day. We arose late, had a skype chat with Maya and went to the Loondramat to launder. This is an institution situated behind a gift shop called after the local bird, the lady says she works in the Loony bin. Several socks were actually misplaced but retrieved later, however one has remained in limbo, for which Arkee continues to mourn.
Shabbat means no electronic toys or games so we were actually able to interact with the kids, play games and talk. While the mighty Hoults lay around their cabin and the washing machine turned we went out to the town and eventually had a late lunch at an oddly named Italian restaurant known as T.J. McKoy's (sic). The food was good and the waitresses very nice.
As evening approached, we got Hadass and the kids out to a playground. Among other things, we found a 3x3 meter checkerboard with pieces that you kick from place to place. Ari set up a tournament: In the first round Rafi defeated Shira and Saba won over Ari. In the thrilling finals, Saba won the family checkers crown by avoiding a Rafi trap and then jamming him so he eventually had no move despite having six pieces including a king on the board. Saba enjoys preening himself on his success.
Later at about 2230 Shabbat went out and Havdala was marked with due ceremony, albeit with grape juice since no one had brought wine. We went back to our cabin to pack and as Mr. Pepys would say and so to bed.
Sunday 18.7 Up (relatively) early to pack up and to retrieve the entropy of the eponymous Loondramat. Net loss, one Saba sock, c'est la vie, We checked out of Thunderbird Lodge . Wasagaming, Riding Mountain National Park and set off to Oak Lake in the so-named Provincial Park. We passed through a metropolis called Brandon, had lunch and restocked on food at a Safeway. We are now at Oak Lake after a few wrong turns etc. and are now settled, the Hoults in a huge fancy cabin with virtually no cupboard space and YandA in a large and comfortable house-trailer with innumerable cupboards, shelves, corner ledges and all mod. cons. including air-conditioning. There is a huge trailer-park next to and around us, a lake, mini-golf and bathing-pool and wi-fi(for a fee), restaurants, trees, mosquitoes and an anti-noise ordinance. All we could possible want. We hope to have a relaxing time here as well.
The trailer park is a resort where people bring their hotel-size caravans and park them for the summer, complete with electricity, gas, running water, extensible rooms and netted in porches for eating outdoors alone or with their families and/or neighbors. Some people obviously come back to the same slot year after year and have gravel paths, fences, and garden furniture and decorations that they bring with them. There seem to be hundreds of them. obviously brought to the spot by trucks and parked for the season. The smell of outdoor cooking pervades the area. Many people have boats, either parked next to the caravans or in the boat-car parking lots.
We went off to play golf, three kids and a Saba, with an audience of Hadass and Yosefa. It was a hilarious game full of wild events. Naturally no one kept score. The designers of this course were significantly more creative than those at Clear Lake and the obstacles were quite weird. In one case, we were called to drive our balls through a cannon pointed at a 45 degree angle at the sky. Rafi, who had been consistently hitting off the "fairway" into the environment shot through the cannon and his ball vanished totally. We thought it was stuck somewhere inside the cannon and peered in from both ends, but it was Shira who spotted it in the grass about ten meters away from the hole. It was great fun and the ladies will join us next time.
The next item of business was dinner which was resolved in favor of a take-out pizza. YandA drove to the local restaurant-cum-golf course to pick up a six-pack of (local) Kokanee beer which went very well with the pizza. We then walked back to the take out place for soft ice cream just as they were closing. We pleaded that we had spent time eating their pizzas and the manager relented and provided the ice cream, bless her buttons. We then walked down to the shore of Oak Lake for a lovely view and back to our housing units. Good night all.
Monday at Oak Lake, 19.7 waiting for hot water because they screwed up. We had brekker and a walk and a visit to the office. Y did anthropology and photographed the environment, the world of trailers and RV's. Walking past one of these houses, camera in hand, we were invited inside by the proud owner (after removing shoes) and shown the ship-shape arrangements including a well-set-up "dungeon" which could contain "up to eight kids" with sleeping accommodation, stairs and a platform, a basketball net and a close-off door...
When towing this 33ft. monster (which winters in a hired facility in the nearest town) the sliding extensible portions are closed up, to be used for extra seating, storage and sleeping space in the summer.And there are plenty larger ones than this on the lot, with small tents beside to be used as spare rooms or maybe doghouses!.
The hot water issue went unresolved and we showered at the Hoult cabin. Eventually the local staff gave up and called the service from Town. When we returned from our afternoon trip, all was well and we have hot water. In the afternoon, we visited a town named Souris about an hour's drive from here. It is famous for a swinging foot bridge, 177 meters long over a river. The bridge is anchored at each end but oscillates as you walk on it.
It was built by the town founder in 1904, destroyed in a flood in 1975 and rebuilt a few years later. It was quite an experience to cross the river and come back swinging to and fro. We then repaired to a Victorian tea house in a building that had once been a church. . The place is called "The Plum" after the Plum River and the colour in which it is painted and decorated.
The tiny cafe was full of mementos of the town and royal souvenirs - pictures and books - as well as local handicrafts for sale.
There too the colour plum was dominant, as well as in the offerings of jam and fruit tarts. Orders for baked goods were baked on the spot. We had tea and scones in the true English tradition.
We also saw an old caboose
in the middle of town standing as a memorial to the railroad history of Souris, full of old railroad documents and pictures. It made me think of Israel Rail who threw their last steam locomotive into the steel plant furnace. The history is raw and new by our standards, but this is indeed Western Canada that was really settled only late in the 19th century.The whole historic part of town is typical of old style life on the prairie with, of course, a pickup truck in every driveway. The weather is lovely--today was my first shorts and sandals day since arrival in Western Manitoba. We hope it will hold to the end of our stay