Trail ride Birthday

On our way back home Ginette had been planning on bringing Josie on a trail ride for her birthday. “I think we’ll be around Owen Sound, tomorrow at noon”, said Ginette.  Matthew had done research the day before.  He found a great place called Windsong Ranch.

We had to leave Cypress Lake campground by 11AM and drive about two hours to Owen Sound from Tobermory.  Pulling a trailer really screws up travelling time and everything takes longer.

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We arrived at Windsong Ranch. Gord, the rancher says   “Oh you are all wearing shorts. “(he wasn’t very impressed.)   Then he looks at our feet and says “I see you’re wearing running shoes”  I said, “I thought were better than crocks.   I thought we did good.”  We had jump into the trailer to change into pants and rubber boots.

Not all of the Party Caravan crew were keen on horseback riding.  Gord said Leave it up to me and sure enough he got everybody on a horse whether they liked it or not.

While we were cleaning and brushing the horses, Charlie was getting really nervous.  Heather, the lady rancher, said not to worry.  They will put her on the calmest horse they have:  Magic.  Well Magic was the tallest black horse I have ever seen.  Charlie ended up trading horses with Arthur.  He was supposed to ride Alladin, the pony.  Magic was so big his poops could be Arthur’s size!  Josie turned to her dad and said, “You’re in my house now Daddy.”

We got a lesson and started on the trail.  Charlie really relaxed and ended up having a wonderful ride, thanks to the ranchers.  Lily and Ruby were so competitive and kept trying to pass each other.  They were comparing passing each other with all the Mario Kart they played.

The views were gorgeous and we had an amazing afternoon.  Still feel the pain I tell ya!

Rod and I were so ready to have one last night of camping before ending the trip.  It would be nice to have a dinner swim after horseback riding.  But the kids were decided.  The girls voted us down.   Arthur was on our side. But majority wins.  So Blue Moon we went.


Camping Meals, keeping it tasty and easy

Food was really a non issue.  We have shared meals for many years.  Rod and I cook for ten plus people very often.  As long as we had some food for 6 year old Arthur things rolled smoothly.  We had pizza twice (20$ each) and an amazing fish and chip meal(30$!).  one McDonalds meal(35$) and a giant diner meal with all of us in Marmora (60$).

We cooked everything on a two burner coleman stove.  There was a total fire ban almost our entire trip so not too many cooking over fire meals. We only went through three bags of firewood the entire trip.   We also had a big cast-iron pan.  Can’t live without that camping! We also had a lot of fresh corn.


We stopped at fresh farm stands every other day for peaches, and berries and plums.  Even kids love almost anything when it is this fresh.
Every stand usually had some kind of berry loaf.  I kept a knife in the front seat and we all had a yummy treat.  Of course we had good old trail mix granola bars.




Here was our menu:

  • Spatchcock chicken, with potatoes and salad.

I just cut my chicken on the backbone, threw it in a ziplock with oil, lemon pepper and garlic.  I cut up a second one and added oil and paprika.  Fried it skinside down for 15 minutes with the potatoes, turned it over and covered with foil.  Cook for 45-60 minutes and a yummy smelling easy dinner.

  • Rotini pasta with mushroom soup, left over chicken and pesto.
  • Manwich from a can with ground beef and cheese: good old Sloppy joes
  • Ravioli from a can
  • Spaghetti with tomato sauce with garlic and basil.
  • Corned beef hash with potatoes
  • Chili from a can with sour cream and nachos chips
  • Fresh perch and trout with farm stand green beans
  • good old Kraft dinner, and hot dogs
  • Ginnie gave Rod a salami of the month club membership for Father’s day so we had a beautiful big smoky beef salami.  Lots of salami sandwiches!
  • Peanut butter and Jam sandwiches
  • more salami sandwiches

I really discovered the joy of a simple camping kitchen.  Damn Canadian Tire with the fold out kitchen and portable hot water heater.  Why leave your kitchen to care for another kitchen in the dirt?  I have always looked at camping cooking as a break from my everyday life.  Keeping it simple is what it is all about.

Last but not least, good coffee made in my little two cup espresso maker.

Merchants of Green coffee coffee.

How can you afford this trip?!


My mom asked me, “How can you afford this trip?!”

And what stay in the city? The heat, the boredom. We don’t have air conditioning, air flow or even the shade from a tree on our house!

Every other kid is in day camp somewhere. At 200 bucks a week it really adds up. The girls have no friends around in the summer. The parks are empty of tweens.

It costs $75 for us all to go see a movie.

Heck these kids spend 10 bucks a day at 7/11.

The wading pools and splash pads are a good thing, if you’re a penguin!

That leaves us with more iCarly reruns.

No, we leave the city, Mom.

It can be so crazy here that we actually think this three week trailer tour will be easier. ’nuff said

The work it takes to make it through this trip.

Rod is a workhorse.  You need a workhorse to do this.  He is a man who just gets it done.
I have done my fair share as well.  I try to keep all of our stuff organized, so we can get going quickly when we need to.. Sadly I have a horrible memory, so I keep forgetting where I put everything…  At least the trailer is small enough, that I do eventually find the stuff.

We had all good intentions on getting the kids to do some of the work.  Every kid would have their task when it came to packing up the trailer or setting up camp.  There all had a specific blog to keep up with.

At first, the endless driving seemed like work to Rod.  Now that he is used to it, It is  a vacation from the work.  It is an opportunity to look at the sights and get some fresh air.  The kids are buckled in.

The work really starts when we get to the campground.   Just pulling onto a site is a project in itself with the trailer, where you want to park the trailer, where you want the door of trailer, how you will back in or pull through the site.  If you do not give it enough thought, you will scratch the fender off.  

Then there is the levelling.  Travelling with little water in the tank, the trailer has to be levelled just right or the taps will not work.  Travelling with too much water, you can increase your load by a thousand pounds.  If do not stabilize it right, it feels like you are sleeping in a canoe.

Then, you let the kids of out of the car.  Crap falls out of the car, crap follows them around the site for you to pick up later, and the worthwhile crap gets lost in the crap in the car.  So much effort is put into charging all the electronics.  We are four laptops, three smart phones and a dumb phone.  Cords are constantly being mixed up and all you here, is That is my cord, No it’s mine!  Who cares?  Let’s just charge your itouch!

Charging station.

When the kids are at their best, 40%0of the time, one opens all the windows in the trailer and a couple take out the camping chairs.  But if we are stopping to camp, inevitably, it’s dinner time.  I laugh to think of what the other campers are thinking as we pull up in this old trailer with writing all over it.  The doors open, out come seven people and within 12 minutes, the kids are making noise sitting on chairs, Rod has removed the propane tank and set-up the outside stove and something is already cooking and we each have a beer in our hand.

sidebar: after tasting so many microbrewery craft beers, Id like to say one thing:  ENOUGH WITH THE HOPPS ALREADY.  We both like the hoppy beer, but hopps doesn’t make the beer.

Packing up takes a steady one hour.  Dishes, putting away the beds and laundry.

Always laundry, no matter where you go!

Laundry.  Our first weekend at Auntie Mo’s House, she did all of our laundry.  Bliss.   I have had to do laundry twice this trip.  If we were close to a comfort station with laundry, I took advantage of it.  I never had enough quarters.  My loads were always too big.  The first time we almost drove away from the campground leaving the clothes in the dryer!  What a save that was.  Three nights ago, we were folding laundry, a little drunk, at 11 pm.  We have a little sorting to through at the end of this trip with all those girlie underwear!

Then we have the blog.  I know we would boot have taken so many pictures had it  not been for the blog.  After twelve years and all these kids, we are a little lazy about taking shots any more.  The kids were good about taking pictures.  I overheated my lap in the car, uploading pics from my camera, Rod’s and the Nikon camera.  I have to admit, we missed a few turns because I was busy editing.  Rod says the first priority is figuring out where you need to go before you blog.  I tried, I really tried.

Our final day: Cypress Lake Grotto


Having walked the 3km hike to the Grotto from our campsite and back last night, we knew we needed a serious plan of attack to get the kids to do the hike.   Rod was really pumped, since I had told him to hold back from climbing down at Indian Head cove last night. We sold it as a day long adventure!  Pack awesome lunch and snacks!  Lots of points of interest on the way!  Ignore the grey skies, put your bathing suits on anyway! but bring a sweater.

So 5 PB&J and 3 salami sandwiches later, with three backpacks on our persons, we started on the hike.  The girls were having a rough morning and people were not getting along, so we just kept our spirits up and light and pointed our the rock shelves on Cypress lake, the dwarf cedars and bizarre root systems.  Are we there yet?  Are we half way there?  Are we a quarter of the second half way there?

We did get there.  And all the problems and fights and long hikes were forgotten.

It was so different from the evening before when Rod and I went.  Last night there was not a soul and the water still.  Today it was full of people on very piece of cliff, just looking out at Georgian Bay.  There were six foot swells hitting the rocks.  Even though the skies were grey the colour of the water was beautiful.  Apparently, it is only in this bay that you will find this colour on the entire planet.  The algea only grows in our waters.  Cold waters.

Of course, we had to swim in it.  Ruby was right in there.  Stay away from the rocks!!  The waves will knock you right into them.  She was tiny on the big rocks and crashing waves.  Rod got in, and Josie and I followed him.  It was co-old, people. Cold and super clean.  The water felt incredible and Josie and I waded on the rocky bottom in the waves for like 15 minutes.  You just didn’t want to get out, the view was so beautiful.

We then hiked the cliff up and then down the face of the grotto.  The kids found a cave deeper in side and they all climbed in it.  The only light we had was the flash so they took the camera and flashed to peek inside.

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We then climbed out and higher and down again through tight rocks into this gorgeous little grotto with a pool inside.  It was magical.  A tunnel came into the cave and shone light into the pool.  A good swimmer might be able to swim from the grotto to the outside on Georgian Bay if it weren’t for the waves.  Ruby and Josie jumped in.  They were the only ones who still had their bathing suits on.  DANG!  Ruby jumped off her second cliff of the vacation.

We then climbed around across the rock onto Boulder beach.  That is what it is.  A beach of boulders.  Thousands of boulders, big and small just lying there, with pretty purple flowers growing out between them.

When we finally reached the campsite, everyone was tired but satisfied.  Rod went to get us a fabo steak, played a few rounds of cards with the kids, made tacos and took it easy.

Rod also bought his souvenir for the trip:  his very own pair of wooly moccasins.

We watched the sun set over Cypress Lake.  It was nice but what was cool were the two sun dogs(mini rainbows) in the clouds on either side.

Amazing way to end our adventure.