Road Trippin’ to the Capital

27 Apr

Ottawa was home to Kay and myself for many years and it’s a place I miss more than not, so we both found it appropriate to take the new van and head to the capital for a little birthday fun with the homies.

Since buying the van, the weather here in Ajax has been inconsistent to say the least, 17’C and sunny one day and 2’C and snowy the next, winter has been playing games with me all season. But luckily, the Friday before heading to Ottawa, the weather improved and allowed me to get outside and do some work on the new vehicle. The van prior to being ours, was owned by Hydro One, they had a variety of metal shelving bolted to the sub-floor, leaving multiple holes in the floor once removed and there was a bit of surface rust present as well, but on the positive side, the interior siding and parts of the floor we’re spray coated to prevent damage, and major rust issues. It is key to have the floor fully sealed for when it’s time to insulate and start the initial build, any way for moisture to appear in the cabin is never good, and will only lead to more rust and mold issues. I headed to Canadian Tire (aka Crappy Tire, only the best store to come out of Canada), bought the Bondo Body Patching Kit, a face mask, rust brush and some heavy duty sandpaper! Now that I had all the necessary goods, I was determined to get the floor looking like new. After hours of scrubbing chipped paint, inhaling what I believe are toxic fumes through my face mask and getting hardener all over my pants, the holes we’re fully patched, which evidently ended up being a lot easier than I envisioned. Once the Bondo was dry, I gave the floor one last sand to smooth everything out and grabbed some non-toxic sealant my dad had left over from his multiple projects. If you are ever dealing with surface rust issues, attack it at the source and seal it as best as possible to prevent it from spreading, even though we will be insulating the floor and fully covering it, it’s better to have everything freshly sealed!

IMG_2638With a fresh new floor, Kay and I we’re ready for a little road trip to Ottawa and spend a couple first nights in the van!

We got a late start on the drive due to both of us working Sunday, leaving majority of the drive in the dark, we made sure to keep the tunes loud and to keep the conversation going or else our eyes started to feel mighty heavy.

The sign for Ottawa appeared around 11:30pm, and we made some calls to see where the homies we’re at. After playing phone tag, we picked up our good friends, Molly and Arija at a local bar, drove to their place, parked the van, stretched the legs, and enjoyed some beers, and their company (along with Aaron) until the early hours of the morning.

It may of just been the excitement of spending a night in the van but we both slept great, or it could of been our MEC Reactor 6.5 Sleeping Pad and our new Big Agnes Dream Island 15 Sleeping Bag, since our Van isn’t fully insulated yet, these made for a comfy warm night.

Enjoying breakfast public park style.

Enjoying breakfast public park style.


Once the crew was awake, we enjoyed some caffeine, filled our backpacks, picked up my brother, grabbed beers from a local Depanneur and headed to Gatineau Park for an afternoon of hiking. Molly and Aaron navigated us to a trail that we somehow had never encountered, but then again Gatineau Park is full of hidden gems. The Carbide Wilson Ruins Hike was one of those hidden gems, the moderate trail leads to an old mill that is open to explore and provides an insane view of the neighbouring rapids. The mill was built by Canadian inventor Thomas Wilson in 1911. Originally from Princeton, Ontario, Wilson discovered a process for creating calcium carbide, which is used in the production of acetylene gas, the mill was closed in the 1960’s and turned into a monument for the public’s viewing pleasure.

The crew

The crew

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The excitement was real.

The excitement was real.

Proud of this shot.

Proud of this shot.

Arija the resting Buddha

Arija the resting Buddha

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Airja performing her nature calls

Airja getting that pro shot.

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Who’s down to Kayak this thing?!

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Beer sippin’ & Snowball tossin’

This picture has a lot going on.

This picture has a lot going on.

Matt's new modeling photo for the upcoming Twilight movie haha

Matt’s new modeling photo for the upcoming Twilight movie haha.

Views from above

Views from above.

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Nature is neat.

 

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Deciding the best way to get down the rapid.

Deciding the best way to get down the rapid.

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Most of the time was spent in awe of the rapidly flowing water, throwing snowballs through the mill’s old windows, taking photos, polishing off some cold beers and just enjoying being outside with the homies! Also, if you ever find yourself in the park wandering around, once you’re feeling hungry, I urge you to check out the Chelsea Pub, they feature their own brewed beer which is unbelievable and the food is spot on!

That night Aaron took us to his new place of employment, Mulligans Golf Bar, a pub filled with golf simulators, that’s my kind of bar! After consuming a ton of alcohol, performing thousands of golf swings and a sore stomach from the continual laughter, we headed home, ordered some food and hit the hay!

The following morning Kayley and I said our good-byes, and took advantage of the beautiful day to enjoy the drive ahead. If you are ever driving from the Toronto area to Ottawa or vice-versa, we recommend taking HWY 7, it’s filled with rad views, small little towns and tons of places to get food and taking pee breaks.

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Silver Lake Picnic Area

Getting those feet wet.

Getting those feet wet.

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Thanks to Kayley, Arija, Aaron, Molly and Matt for an awesome birthday, you guys are the best and it’s always the best of times, sorry I missed everyone else but we will back soon! I can never be away from Ottawa for very long.

-Chris

Caving Tripping With the Forever Cool In-Laws!

17 Aug

This past weekend, Kayley and I had the pleasure of having her Mom, Carol and Step-Dad, Dennis come visit us in Ottawa before we bid farewell to the city. After coming to check out our place of rest on Thursday night, they decided to spend the weekend camping up at Lac Philippe in Gatineau Park with their very cool camper truck! Since Kay and I had never officially camped out in the park we thought it would be an awesome way to spend our weekend. We arrived at their site late Friday night, pitched the tent, enjoyed a couple beers (even though they aren’t allowed in the park, but who follows rules anyways…haha), caught up, and roasted up a fire.

The following morning we decided to take a hike along Lac Philippe toward the Lusk Caves. Luckily the heat held off for the majority of the first half of the adventure and we arrived at the caves just before the masses started appearing.

My stoked adventurer :)

My stoked adventurer 🙂


The cave exploration starts up at this deep dark mouth, head lamps are a must if you want to get that truly rad experience! Once you begin to enter the mouth the cave you can feel the cool air take over and the refreshing water soaking your feet, if you weren’t already awake, at this point you for sure are now!

Here goes nothing!


Once inside, the first half of the cave is quite open with little light pouring in, feeling like you are in some other world. The water at this point in history is very low but you can clearly see how the water shaped most of the cave after the glaciers melted away around 10,000 years ago, really giving you an idea of how insane nature can be.

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Thank you nature for giving us a rad place to adventure!


At one point you think you’ve come to a dead end, the natural light inside is officially gone and you begin to wonder if it’s time to head back but luckily Kay and I had done this before. We guided Dennis and Carol through this interesting section where the water is much higher (around waist height) and the ceiling much lower, leaving you to duck and maneuver through, also did I mention it’s pitch black!!  Once out the other side you come to the half-way point of the cave which is this open fish bowl basin, giving you a moment to recoup, take a drink and get ready for round two!

The second half of the cave is a bit gnarlier than the first section, it’s a lot darker, larger obstacles, and faster rushing water, but hey, the challenge is what makes it worth it!

Everyone ready for section two!!

Everyone ready for section two!!


It was much harder to take pictures in this half, a bit too dark and other things to worry about such as not falling down a waterfall haha. Once making our way down, we come across a similar but a bit more brave hearted situation as the one before. To reach the end of the cave, we had to practically swim under the low, stalactite riddled ceiling (I’d say it’s a good test for those scared of the dark and/or claustrophobic), probably the coolest way to end a cave adventure in any of my experiences.

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We made it!

We made it!


It was time for a break! We all munched on some granola bars as a reward, high-fived and got back on our feet to hike back to camp and grab some well-deserved lunch! The rest of the hike is pretty mellow, filled with awesome natural scenery, and over-growth that provided much needed shade in the blistering heat.

Blame the beavers for this stellar scene!

Blame the beavers for this stellar scene!


The rest of the day we lounged, the girls took their needed naps, Dennis and I biked around the park, drank some beers, had a great feast for dinner, Kay and I checked out the beach during sunset, went star gazing and finally hit the hay after a jam-packed day!

Smoke on the water....

Smoke on the water….


The next morning, we had quick breakfast, fuelled up on some coffee, and said our good-byes. Carol and Dennis continued onto their next adventure and Kay and I headed home since I had to work at 11am Sunday Morning. All in all it was an another rad weekend, thanks Carol/Dennis for letting us invade your campsite, good times per usual!

-Chris

Deer-crossing!

Deer-crossing!


 

A foggy ride.

A foggy ride.