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Monthly Archives: July 2012

2012 Roadtrip 2, Day 1

Thurs. July 19, 2012- London, ON:

Seeing as we left for London in the afternoon, it was inevitable that we were going to get stuck in traffic, trying to leave Toronto. Regardless, it sucked. Not helping matters was the fact that I was stuck wearing long sweat pants because my legs were covered in hives thanks to my sister’s pet rats running around them while we sat outside. It was really hot in the rental car and I could not get the air conditioner to function as it should, it was just blowing lukewarm air at us, even though I had it set to the maximum cold setting. The best I could get out of the manual was that it would not function if the temperature outside was below freezing, which it was not even close to.

We eventually got to Mike’s house, wherein we ordered a pizza. Apparently I was late in requesting my last topping of ham, so my pizza came with a plastic container of diced ham on the side. As we ate we stood around the kitchen debating the mysterious Dairy Queen pizza. When Mike mentioned it to me in a previous conversation, I thought he was joking about getting really bad pizza. Only after we ordered good pizza, the discussion turned to which DQ pizza to get, which confused me as I thought we had decided against it. They all stared at me; it was a dessert pizza they were contemplating. How was I to know? It sounded fake to me! Brent drove us to DQ where each of us chose a different flavoured pizza. It seemed we had a three way tie, so we played rock paper scissors for it… and ended up in a three way tie. We called Eric to break the tie, no luck. So we used the random number generator on my iPod and by alphabetical order Brent won. The number was 3, and the choices were: peanut butter fudge (Mike), Skor (me) and Smarties (Brent). There was no time to argue for we were next in line, Smarties TreatzzaPizza it was. It tasted better than I had expected, so much so that I ended up eating a second slice. We spent the rest of the time watched Weeds and Breaking Bad. Eventually it was just me and Mike, Eric had gone upstairs, Brent was asleep on the couch- we whipped out Cruis’n USA. I ended up winning in the end and my car sat atop the White House, spinning on a platform. It was fun to play it because I had been to most of the places featured in the game, or I was going to them soon enough. And then it dawned on me why my American geography is so flawed- the only time I really look at an American map is when I see the route map in Cruis’n USA.

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 

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Double Dose!

I recently landed an internship as a TV producer’s assistant. My first task on my first day was to research the restaurant scene in Toronto, needless to say that was a fun day. One of the first things I found out, which led to panicked texts and quick planning.. La Carnita finally had a bricks-n-mortar location!! We no longer had to be ready on the fly to go to a last-minute event to buy some art in order to receive “the best tacos” on the side as a free gift! I was thrilled. And paranoid. New place + having been said to at some point be the best tacos = paranoid. We walked by an hour before opening (which is 5pm-ish) and thankfully there was no line-up. Still I insisted we show up 10 minutes before open lest we have another Grand Electric situation on our hands (half hour before open, line-up around the block). We get there right at 5, no line-up so I saunter up to the door, Brent hesitates saying the place does not look open, I say there are people inside, he says they are staff. I try the door, it is unlocked so I walk in. Only to be told they are not open yet. This would be what they mean by 5ish on their website. So we sit outside on the patio, in the awful face-melting heat and wait. Thankfully the wait is no more than 5 minutes.

We sat in the middle of the restaurant with a good view of the bar and the kitchen, well Brent did anyways. He had a staring showdown with one of the chefs. By accident he claims, he thought he was looking at a mirror? For starters Brent ordered a beer, the server came back and said that it had just arrived and was not cold yet. Brent looks at me like :O and I shrug, he scans the beer list quickly, deciding on another beer. As soon as the server leaves Brent goes “OMG!” I shrug again. He says that the beer he had tried to order was one they talked about on a baseball podcast that because it is so thick it never gets cold. I ‘spose that worked out nicely for him. I on the other hand would be irate that I could not have my drink of choice. We decided to split an appetizer first, the guacamole and chips. The chips were better than Grand Electrics, the guacamole was almost as good, it is hard to say, it had a tad more lime flavour to it? What I can say is, it was a much more reasonable size because we managed to finish it.

Then it came to taco time. We were finally going to have La Carnita tacos. After a year of unsuccessful hunting… it all came down to this. We were going to split a chorizo taco and a fish taco. Fish taco first: it was better than Buster’s Sea Cove, but dwarfed by Grand Electric. Chorizo taco was better, alas not as good as El Trompo’s taco. It was still worth it to satiate my curiosity though. Being a sucker for dessert, I convinced Brent to split a churro with me. Not so much a churro, as three small ones. Served in a tiny bowl of the most delicious creamiest, milkiest, sweetest caramel sauce ever! I temporarily contemplated drinking the rest. What made La Carnita stand out (aside from the churros) was the service. That was one of  the best dining experiences I have had in the city. We were in and out in 30 minutes! That is 30 minutes for what amounted to a three course meal!

The next day’s dinner plans were rather last minute, so we decided to opt for something quick. We had been recently talking about my dislike of California Sandwiches. About a month ago my sisters and I went there for we had all heard from others that it was amazing. We split a less-than-stellar meat ball sub and dubbed it overrated. When Brent told his coworker about it he guffawed that we had ordered the worst sandwich on the menu. He said the sweet veal (their signature) or the steak were where it’s at. And so we had our dinner plans. The steak sandwich was nothing spectacular, it was better than Subway’s steak sandwich, which is not saying much really. The sweet veal was better, but still not outstanding for all the hype surrounding it. I don’t understand the appeal. The meat and sauce combo make the bun completely disintegrate and because it is the same sauce on all three sandwiches I have had, they all taste rather similar. California Sandwiches is overrated and overhyped. I much prefer higher quality sandwiches, such as Porchetta & Co.

 

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2012 Roadtrip 1, Day 11

Mon. July 2, 2012- Kingston, ON to home:

There was breakfast included with our stay; it was a buffet that outsiders could pay $12 to indulge. Indulge is not the right word. It was a very crappy buffet, I was stuck eating a peanut butter & jam toast. Imagine paying $12 for that?! There weren’t any pancakes, not even some Eggos you could throw in the toaster. There was also some awful diet yogurt. It was gross. I was ready to go home.

Along the way we had to stop at a highway plaza for some gas and right as we pulled into the station, Brent was getting out of the car and he pushed the car alarm, I was laughing so hard as he tried to turn it off and people stared (I am guessing, was laughing too hard to notice). Continuing his funny streak, he tried to make a joke that would be ended by a line in the song, he was waiting for the “ain’t seen nothing yet” chorus and it was not happening, so he tried again and again until he realized it was the wrong song.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2012 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 

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2012 Roadtrip 1, Day 10

Sun. July 1, 2012- Vermont to Upstate NY to Kingston, ON:

It’s Canada Day! Breakfast was subpar however, there was no milk for the coffee and the only good food was muffins so I grabbed a chocolate chip one because the only other appealing one had a crumble on top of it, a possible warning sign of banana. Back in our room I took a bite of it only to realize it was blueberry! Brent laughed; he had almost grabbed it but realized it was blueberry, so much for breakfast. As we drove, I did the usual, staring out the window, looking for interesting things and I hit the mother lode: someone had a camel on their farm! An actual living camel, as I took his picture he laid down. We had to drive over Lake Champlain to get to New York State but there was no sign of Champ, I guess even lake monsters get statutory holidays of neighbouring countries off. We stopped at a gas station to fill-up on gas, and American candy (no mint M&Ms but I did find Coconut Three Musketeers and a Triple Chocolate Snickers bar). There were signs all along the highway for the various trails through the Adirondack Mountains, as well as parking lots, it made finding out particular trail really easy. We hiked to the top of Cascade Mountain, the terrain here was different though, it was rockier and muddier but also easier. It was a popular trail with a lot of people. We got to the fake top but knew we had to keep going because there was no sign of all the people that had passed us (I am a slow hiker). To reach the very summit, you basically had to scale rocks; it was less than ideal for someone in running shoes and holding an expensive camera. It was worth it though, the views were outstanding, the sky was clear and you could see really far. I had to crabwalk and slide down on my butt to get down from the summit, kids were just zooming past me, which Brent tried to use as an argument for why I should not be worried and I replied that anything the kids do is something I don’t want to do. Kids are just plain nuts. I was starving at this point and ready to start going back, I was searching through the backpack for another water and I found a granola bar, never had I been so happy to see a granola bar. It did not satiate me for very long however. As we got closer to the end I could hear the cars in the distance, interspersed with grumblings from my stomach.

Our next destination was Lake Placid; we were going hunting for a giant crocodile. Fine, I kid, we were going there for lunch and canoeing on the lake.  We drove along Main Street looking for parking and the canoe rental place. Neither was anywhere to be found, so we circled the lake and tried again. This time I saw that the rental place was under construction. We were starving so we drove to a nearby McDonald’s for lunch. There was some confusion as to my ordering a happy meal (for the Pokemon toy, for Brent). The cashier did not seem to understand, she also did not understand that there are different chicken nugget sauces. Full of food, we got a second wind and we circled again, looking for any rental place. No luck, there were only resorts, private clubs and a public launch for people who owned water craft. For the first time ever I actually understood why my sisters want to buy a canoe. Lucky for me there was also a Dunkin’ Donuts on our way, before which we had stopped at a pharmacy for candy (selection was subpar) and I had to settle for Mallo Cups. When I went into to Dunkin’ Donuts I did not realize I had marshmallow goop on my chin, oops. I also solved the mystery of iced versus hot coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. On the menu it said that iced medium coffee is 20 oz while a hot medium coffee is 14 oz, a huge size difference.

Google Maps had said it would be 3.5 hours to Kingston, the GPS said 5 hours and took us a different route, along the Adirondack Scenic Highway. It was indeed scenic, with wild turkeys, a loon sitting in a pond and mountains. At one point Brent pulled over so he could go pee in the woods, but he scared off a pheasant or quail, some fancy delicious looking bird, but I didn’t care, I got to push the red triangle button in the car!!! Eventually the scenic byway ended and we were in native territory, this was evident because all we passed were casinos and cigarette shops and ads for said places. Again there were no signs warning of the border crossing and the first border into Canada wasn’t even operational, it seemed as if we got in freely. As we drove over a horribly bumpy bridge though we got a real border and at some point here the iPod cable broke. We were so far east in Canada that we were in Cornwall, which is apparently east (I had no idea where Cornwall was until then). We were actually picking up Ottawa radio stations. But we were close enough to the US that we were also picking up NPR.

We got to our hotel just as it started to rain, but it was just a strip of rain cloud over us, you could see the edges of it near the horizon where it was sunny. The GPS promised a Pizza Pizza nearby but the internet confirmed that it was a lie. So our Canada Day dinner was had at Wendy’s, a cheeseburger sort of half filled my pizza craving. The upside was that we grabbed plastic spoons for our royal dessert: Ben & Jerry’s and Swedish Fish (the cashier asked if we were going to put them in the ice cream). This time we had a Canadian flavour: Barenaked Ladies If I had A 1,000 Flavours (chocolate & vanilla swirl, chocolate covered almonds and pieces of white chocolate and peanut butter cups), it was amazing. And what else goes better with ice cream than really bad TV: My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding marathon! It was nice because we had a fireplace in the room as well. In total we were only wished a Happy Canada Day once, by a sign outside of the hotel.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2012 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 

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2012 Roadtrip 1, Day 9

Sat. June 30, 2012- Vermont:

I woke up really early and decided to photograph the Green Mountains, which you could see from our balcony, only it was an epic fail because that is where the sun rises and it was too bright, which also explained why I woke up so damn early. Another mystery, Brent could not find his glasses in the morning, they had “mysteriously” moved to the lower shelf of the bedside table. We went around the grounds, exploring and came upon the family graveyard, it is mildly creepy that it was on the property right next door to the lodge itself, not too far from the outdoor pool. Mysteries solved, it was a ghost moving my earrings and Brent’s glasses, and it is the only logical explanation. We went looking for the highland cattle but they were hiding from the already blazing heat (it was not even 9am yet) and the cow tour was not until later in the afternoon, as in too late for us. On our way from the Concert Meadow (there is a stage that proved a great vantage point to look out for cows) to the trailhead we saw a white owl fly by overhead, or a sea gull. We’re still not quite sure. We disregarded the rules that you needed a trail pass from the Rec Lodge because it was not open yet and we took off on a trail that promised to lead us to a Chapel In The Trees. The trail was marked with a diamond for difficult, but there is no way that referred to it as a hiking trail unless these people are total wimps, it most likely meant as a cross-country skiing or mountain biking trail. Regardless I was not doing too well on this trail, I had not had my coffee or any food and if that was not bad enough, the elastics in my socks had worn out and they kept sliding down past my ankle. At one point I had to stop, take my shoes off and fish my socks out, for they were almost off my foot entirely. We did make it to the chapel, and it was as promised, a small stone chapel surrounded by tonnes of trees.

Back at the lodge there was free coffee on offer but no sign of the promised pastries, so we browsed the gift shop (I was secretly hoping the gift shop sold candy). After that we had some time to kill so we drove to an outlet mall I had found a brochure for in the lodge. I did not think we would actually go, it was a nice surprise. Plus we got to see a sign outside of a pet grooming place that promoted dog beer (which is apparently a real thing!). Shopping was only half successful. Between three sports stores (Reebok, PUMA and Under Armour) I found one decent pair of shorts with pockets and no waterproof jackets. On our way we passed by two Dunkin’ Donuts which was just cruel torture to me, for I could not grab a coffee, we were going to a museum and gallery, the last thing I wanted to do was chug hot coffee on a hot day.

We arrived at the Shelburne Museum just before noon and I joked that we only had just over 5hrs to explore the museum. We went in bought our tickets, took one look at the map and hightailed it back to the car. The “museum” was really a series of small buildings of collections scattered around a huge expanse of property, namely a lot of walking outdoors at high noon. We needed sunscreen and water if we were to make it out of there. It turned out that things we had seen from the road, a ship and a covered bridge were actually parts of the museum, which only made the museum seem that much bigger. At the museum we learned about Champ the monster of Lake Champlain (does every lake have a monster?). We also saw an unending amount of: snowmobiles, carriages, dolls, tools, plates, and wooden ducks. They also featured a collection of old toys, some of which moved, one of which was the world’s scariest clown. There was video of them in action, but I was afraid to watch for fear of seeing the horrid clown. There is a reason this place is called the Smithsonian of the North, because it is just a huge collection of anything and everything. They are even expanding to make room for more. Just how much stuff is there? Well we were there for over four hours and we saw it all, that is how much stuff. Looking back I now understand why the cashier told us that our tickets were also valid the next day. We had not anticipated being there for so long and the snack bar food looked as old as the collections, we were starving but that not that badly. We drove to McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, which were nearby both the museum and our hotel. Due to the heat I went for an iced coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, and due to tiredness I opted for medium. Apparently a medium iced coffee is not the same as a medium regular coffee or I was given the wrong size, it was monstrously huge. We also caved in to temptation and split an Oreo donut, it was amazing. At McDonalds we had to show restraint (we had dinner reservation in two hours) and ordered a box of spicy chicken McBites (being advertised everywhere in the US) with a spicy sauce. It was funny because the cashier was like “I have to warn you, they are actually spicy” and we laughed. They were not in fact all that spicy and now Brent agreed with me: too much bread, not enough chicken. For dessert (as if the Oreo donut was not dessert enough) we split a s’mores pie (graham cracker crust with marshmallow and chocolate goop inside), it was much better than I had expected.

(highland cattle grazing)

Our dinner reservations were at the Shelburne Inn (where we could not stay because on weekends they demand you stay two nights). We had wanted to go to the working farm (that provides for the restaurant) but it was only open until 5:30 and we would’ve been stuck for half an hour having nothing to do. Regardless we were still stuck for a bit, the service at the restaurant was incredibly slow. We were stuck waiting near the bar to be seated, surrounded by annoying people including a barefoot guy having the world’s worst conversation about ginger ale with the bar tender, it was awful. We were eventually seated near the window, with a nice breeze coming off Lake Champlain. The menu was rather small and there was not a lot on offer from their working farm, so I went with the stuffed rabbit leg. The rabbit leg came with a pile of mush that I thought was potatoes and after eating almost half of it did I remember that it in fact was goat cheese curds. Halfway through we switched plates and I was more than thrilled to give up having to saw meat off a leg bone and opt for the much easier to cut roast beef. I look over at Brent and one swift move with his knife and all the meat perfectly fell off the bone. The only thing other than the cheese and beef that was farm-fresh was the artisan bread and butter brought to the table before our meals arrived. We did not stay for dessert, there was nothing appetizing or outstanding on the menu and the service was slow. After dinner we walked around the Inn and the grounds, looking at the views of the lake and such, but it got boring rather quick. Driving back we went really slowly so that we could see the farm animals (dairy cows and some sheep) as well as a white-tailed deer grazing. We got to see the farm without having to pay admission. When we were driving to the Shelburne Inn we had made a wrong turn and ended up near a field of highland cattle, so after dinner we drove back to look at them some more. A few of them were intrigued by us and stared back.

There was a pharmacy two doors down from our Days Inn so we went there for an impromptu dessert, and what a feast we had! Cherry Coke Zero (I actually grabbed two, this was the first time the whole trip that I had found it) and two mini-pints of Ben & Jerry’s, we decided we would try the top two flavours, which we found out at the factory are Cherry Garcia and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Mike & Ikes and a PayDay. The Cherry Garcia was surprisingly good, I was afraid of giant chunks of cherry skins and an overpowering cherry taste, but there was none of that. The Cookie Dough was just that, cookie dough bits in vanilla ice cream. It is impossible to comprehend why those two are the most popular when Phish Food exists. We settled in and streamed South Park because we could, normally it is only for US IP addresses and now we had one!

We also discovered that the mini-pints of Ben & Jerry’s come with little spoons under the lids! That right there is innovation, no more stealing plastic spoons from McDonald’s or asking the hotel front desk if you can borrow a spoon (Brent did that, she laughed and said we could keep them).

NOTE: Looking back over my pictures from Shelburne Museum there is a weird light refraction in the lens in pictures from the apothecary, or maybe it is a ghost. But there is only building at Shelburne that is haunted, and that isn’t it.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2012 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 

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2012 Roadtrip 1, Day 8

Fri. June 29, 2012- Vermont:

I woke up just past 7am and decided it was too early and I went back to sleep. Alas, that is not what the universe had in store for me. In an hour I was awake again, this time I was awoken by my drooling on the pillow. Again, breakfast was served in the main dining room. Except this time there was no buffet, the buffet was brought to our table! We were brought an enormous plate of fruits, zucchini bread, a danish and a muffin. We also had the option of ordering off of a breakfast menu; alas that menu did not feature pancakes! And my usual back-up breakfast food item of French toast was sullied with bananas!! I made do with the muffin and fruit. For once I had just the right amount of food without overeating. At breakfast we also learned a little more about the other couple from the previous night. It might not be such a bad thing that she is not engaged to him, because from what we heard, he is weird. She was saying that he has every American sports team’s jersey and he wears them based on who is playing that day.

We tried to go on a nature walk nearby but the ground was too slippery (it had, not surprisingly, rained in the night) and we turned back. Before leaving we wandered around the Inn and looked at all the empty rooms, one even had a piano in it! There was also a cat bumming around. Despite the early morning greyness and rain there was… BLUE SKY AND SUN! (Note: it is actually written like that in book, underlined and all). In addition to the great weather, our drive was full of anticipation, for we were driving to a few fun places: Ben & Jerry’s factory, a cider mill that promised a bounty of apple cider donuts, a gold-capped capitol building and Frisbee golf!!! Our first stop, after an agonizingly slow construction-filled drive was Montepelier, the smallest capitol city in America. We got out of the car and for the first time in what seemed like forever, we actually had to put on sunscreen. We found some bathrooms in City Hall and then set off exploring the town. There were a lot of nice buildings to gawk at, some across the river on a cliffside, but other than that there was not a lot to see. Because we were there at noon the bells rang out and the sun reflected off the golden dome. We decided not to go inside the State Capitol building for fear that the bored gift shop attendants would all jump on us at once, trying to help us, for sake of alleviating their boredom. Besides, it was really hot outside and our next stop was none other than an ice cream factory. In the meantime, we had the air conditioner on full blast, for while we had wandered the town the car sat in the parking lot becoming a blazing oven.

Ben & Jerry’s was so much fun! Easily one of the best places I have been to, even though there is not a heck of a whole lot to see. It never occurred to me that most of it is contained to containers and tubes. Alas, while we were there they were inexplicably (it is summer after all) not making ice cream, so we missed out on seeing people walking around the factory floor. There was a free tasting afterwards but it threw a wrench in my plans for the flavour was the one I had decided (Chocolate Nougat Crunch) I was going to get after the tour! Now I had to choose a new flavour! I puzzled over the list of flavours for a while and finally settled on Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz. It was good, but not as good as the Chocolate Nougat Crunch. During the tour we watched a movie about Ben & Jerry’s, in it they had a clip of Jimmy Fallon talking about his ice cream (it has chocolate covered potato chips in it) and people kept laughing at his terrible jokes, Brent and I (the only people with a sense of humour) sat there stone-faced and just looking at each other as in “what the hell is going on?!” it was hilarious. The ice cream fell as flat as his jokes, it was nothing special. Unfortunately Phish Food created a super high standard for me, and everything was falling flat. There was a graveyard in back for all the dead flavours, having only recently been introduced to ben & Jerry’s I did not know any of them, except Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz (or Coffee Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz, unconfirmed which one) which I had at the scoop shop. In behind the factory there are large silos. The ones containing cream are about a third smaller than the ones containing sugar. To commemorate the momentous trip I bought a souvenir shirt, a tank top that says Body By Ben & Jerry’s (I giggle every time I wear it). The selection was very small, they had one women’s t-shirt design and one women’s tank top, whereas for men they had an entire wall, I call that discrimination. Why is there no women’s shirt with the Ben & Jerry’s cows in a field?! I want that as a shirt!

Up next was Cold Hollow Cider Mill, as if I was not on a high enough sugar rush, I indulged in some apple cider donuts, I guess it is a Vermont thing? This one was not sugar-coated and was slightly greasier, but still good. At the mill we found a brochure for the Green Mountain Coffee Company, which we were supposed to have passed on our way from Ben & Jerry’s to Cold Hollow, and as it turns out, it was south of the highway we were on. No use backtracking half an hour each way for a cup of coffee so we continued on to the Stowe Resort. Somehow Frisbee golf on a stomach full of donuts and ice cream did not seem like the best idea. And I was wrong. We were going to Stowe Resort for a race track down the mountain and to go up to the top of Mt. Mansfield. I was wary of the track; basically you ride down the mountain in a little plastic car with brakes in what is like a cement waterslide, keeping you in place. I had read before about people getting hurt on these things, and the girl taking our ticket sternly asked if we had read the instructions and disclaimers, it was mildly disconcerting that she was in a back brace from a serious injury. The ski lift to the top was mildly scary (I had not been on one in almost 15 years). The ride down was also mildly scary to begin with but I slowly started having fun. Slowly being the key word, I rarely let go of the brakes to go full speed. So much so that a woman and her child eventually caught up to me and were stuck behind me. I do not care; I came out of it in one piece, and that is all I am concerned with. I was using the brakes so much that I kept getting a mild static shock through the brake handle.

We wandered around the grounds for a bit looking for the gondola that was to take us to the top. We gave up and went to ask someone. It turns out we were supposed to drive a little bit down the road, but she made a drama out of it by saying “you’re so close”, I was so sure I had just made an ass of myself and it was like right around the corner. Before boarding the gondola I grabbed a map of the trails in hopes that it would illustrate what it is I would be looking at from the top. Instead I found out we were not going to the summit, to get to the summit we had two options: go back to the bottom, get in the car, pay to go on a small sketchy dirt road and drive and then hike the last easy bit or hike from the gondola place. Sounds easy right? Not so much, the trail was marked as DDD as in the most difficult trail there. We decided to go have a look at the trailhead, just for kicks. It was entertaining to look at; it was a narrow and insanely steep rocky staircase that twisted upwards. We had no water, no food and I was in sandals. We wandered around the top, looking at the scenic views, but the gondola place was in the way of where Quebec could be seen from. We did see the White Mountains in New Hampshire and a lake. On the way down my ears popped.

From there we drove to the Von Trapp Family Lodge, our hotel for the night and the actual location of Frisbee golf. I was finally going to play Frisbee golf after having chickened out of it years ago in Asheville, NC. We checked in and unpacked only to find out that Frisbee golf was down the road! Back in the car we went. The guy let us play for free, he seemed genuinely surprised that anyone wanted to play, must not be very popular. He gave us three Frisbees (one was lighter, to be used as a putter) and a map and that is it, we were on our own in a giant field. It took us a while to find the first basket, only that was the practice basket. We threw the Frisbees a few times and deemed ourselves ready, seemed easy enough. Then it took a bit of map reading to find the first hole. It was a lot farther of a throw than either of us had anticipated. And the epic fails ensued. We were scoring 6, 8, and sometimes 10 on a par 3 hole, I tossed the Frisbee from close up and it bounced off the edge. Our worst fail happened at the 4th hole. Brent threw his Frisbee and like a boomerang it came back around and landed behind him, further from the basket than where he started. I stepped up, threw mine and it went quite a distance, over to the left as well. We took off in opposite directions and a mad search ensued, neither of us could find our Frisbees in the tall grasses. As we were about to give up I found mine, so I went over to help Brent and after much stomping around we finally found it. At the 6th hole we found out we were aiming for the 8th hole’s basket and rather than figuring out the confusing layout we gave up and just went for the final hole, the 9th one. We were tired, scratched up, itchy and still covered in sunscreen. There were times when it felt more like a scavenger hunt than a game of Frisbee golf and now I understand why no one ever plays it.

While waiting for our dinner reservation we sat around watching, what else, Diners Drive-Ins and Dives which only made me hungrier, even more than usual because he was in a Polish restaurant talking about perogies. I would periodically moan about how hungry I was. I could not watch any more so we went downstairs to browse through the gift shop, alas it was closed so we just wandered looking at old (sort of creepy) photos. What was also creepy was that before I went to shower I put my earrings in the paper lid from the glasses in the bathroom, but when I got out of the shower, one had moved onto my manicure kit case! Dinner was not a price fixe this time, so we learned from all our previous days of overeating and decided to skip appetizers and go straight for the main courses. I was set on having some delicious Vienna sausage, only to be disappointed by the lack of it on the menu, so I settled for applewood smoked pork loin at the very last minute. Up until then I was considering chicken, but that same type of chicken had been on so many menus during the week that I thought it was something fishy (turns out it’s a small Vermont farm). Brent got the real deal, ordering schnitzel. At least for dessert we had something kind of more Austrian: lindsertorte with apple streudel ice cream for me and apple streudel with lindsertorte ice cream for Brent. And what goes better with that than an Italian coffee. The only downsides were that the service was unbelievably slow and the items offered on the tasting menu (highland cattle beef, they keep highland cattle on the land there) were not on the regular menu.

Now it was back to flipping channels, our options were The Real World or Diners Drive-Ins and Dives (yup, we left for dinner, came back and it was still on). We settled on a (sometimes) hilarious special edition of 20/20 about cheaters.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 

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Roadtrip 1, Day 7

Thurs. June 28, 2012- Quebec to Vermont:

All that food led to a semi-sleepless night but I awoke in a good mood regardless. There were the prospects of breakfast (also in the Main Dining room), and a fancy coffee maker in room. The coffee maker was limited however, each guest was allowed on coffee per day and a cost of $3 per each one after. It was those little packets of coffee for individual cups and I had no idea what I was doing but it all worked out. And afterwards I found the instructions. Flipping through the channels, there was not a lot on offer, the combination of a tonne of French channels and it being early morning and my options were: French shows or Matthew McCounnaghey interview, not a difficult choice at all. Breakfast consisted of a buffet of cereals, pastries, bread, cheeses, fruits and coffee as well as ordering a hot item off the menu. I went for the pancakes because there is nothing better for breakfast, and ham on the side (Brent’s recommendation). We did the usual, swap plates halfway through, so now I had pecan French toast. The French toast sounded better than it tasted, while the pancakes were hands-down the best I have ever had. EVER. We quickly traded back, both insisting that the other was nuts, arguing that our own plate was in fact the better of the two. The weather had cleared up a bit so we went for a dip in the pool, but that did not last very long it was too cold. And there was a giant dead green moth; it was the size of my palm. We checked out and started back towards Vermont. We ended up in the slowest line at the border, but even still it was faster than most of our crossing in Niagara Falls. Right after we crossed however, there was another sign overhead saying Canadian vehicles must pass inspection at the border, after a moment of confusion and seeing that no one else was going there, we realized it was a historic site, and old border. Embarrassment was averted thankfully. Weirder still was a house we passed by that had a reindeer pen beside it, who keeps reindeer?! It only adds to the Christmas-crazy character of small towns.

(trap door)

As we neared our destination the clouds started to gather and the rain started up again. Worse still we could not find the parking lot for the trail head to climb Mt. Pisgah, we were about to give up and back track to another one we had seen along the road but just then we found it. The hike started out easy, save for the tip-toe dance we had to around a million (at least tens of thousands) tiny little frogs hopping all over the entrance to the trail. It was unbelievable how many of them there were, and they blended in with the ground. The hike started out fairly easy but got progressively more difficult, but not unbearably so. It even started to clear up a bit as well as warm up, and then it got hotter. Towards the end I was complaining that I should have worn a tank top. There was a lookout point along the way from which we could see some birds soaring down below, we spent days debating what kind of birds they were (Black vultures? Peregrine falcons? Red tail hawks? We still don’t know), and there was an adorable little snake sleeping on the rock. From the perch we also had a gorgeous view of Lake Willoughby and the mountains across the lake. From the top however the lake was not visible as had been promised, so we walked a little bit further, for about 5 minutes but the trail started heading back down so we turned back. In total we saw: 3 woodpeckers (one was hiding inside a hole in the tree and pecking from in there), 1 snake, 4 soaring birds (possibly birds of prey), a million little frogs, a bird of prey soared over us along the trail, Brent claimed he startled a deer that took off running, a bear poo, a trapdoor in the ground and we possibly heard a rattlesnake attacking a squirrel. We also met three weirdoes on our way back down. The first guy muttered something but was too hell bent on getting to the top, the second was trailing behind him, amused by everything and barefoot. The third guy was slowly lumbering along, trying to catch his breath, soaked with sweat. Our conclusion was that these three friends all took different drugs (speed, mushrooms, and pot) and decided to climb a mountain. To amuse ourselves on our way back to the car we thought up fun headlines that would appear in the evening news about them. Getting back to the car took forever as we tiptoed around the tiny frogs, which were still all over the beginning of the trail. Brent would sidestep around them; they would jump out of his way… and right into my path. It was agonizing because I had to pee really badly.

(fake top)

(view from the perch)

(ssssssnake)

Thankfully we were not on the road for very long before those wonderful golden arches appeared on the horizon. This McDonald’s was very well designed with a side door that first led to the bathrooms, so I did not even have to pass by the counter. I came back to the car only to be informed that next door the gas station was also a Dunkin’ Donuts, I took off running and almost fell down a small hill. I finally got my first Dunkin’ Donuts fix of the trip. I also found out that the latest donut is an Oreo donut with cream in the middle and cookie crumbs on top, and they also list the caloric info on the tray label. Talk about a deterrent. We drove to St. Johnsbury, the main town in North-Eastern Vermont. Once again it was McDonald’s to the rescue with their wonderful parking lot. We wandered around town a bit, bought some candy from the Hobo Candy Shoppe for a quick late lunch. We also stopped at the pharmacy for a soda chaser only I was shocked to see that they had no Cherry Coke Zero! I had to resort to drinking Cherry Pepsi, it was awful. On our way out of town we passed by House of Pizza, which would have made for a better lunch, instead we made jokes about the walls being made of pizza. We passed by a gas station with really creepy advertisements for iced drinks featuring David Hasselhoff. We arrived at the Rabbit Hill Inn just after 5pm and were given a grand tour of the place. After that we settled in and went for a walk along the road. There was a lot of noise coming out a tree so went to look and it was a chipmunk. We thought he might be stuck so we threw something near it, and it moved. On our way back he was still there, making a racket. Only this time there was another chipmunk nearby also making noise and they started chasing each other. It was a weird noisy courtship apparently.

Another fancy multi-course meal awaited us that evening. Before dinner we sat around in the lounge and started working on a puzzle before they came to get us. The amuse bouche consisted of goat, coconut and mushrooms, which tasted much better than it sounds. For the main I had the rabbit pasta, it only seemed fitting given we were staying at the Rabbit Hill Inn. There was confusion however because our orders got mixed up with the table next to us (the girl there had also ordered the rabbit though). We pretended we didn’t know what happened, it was awkward. Not as awkward however as when the newly engaged waitress asked the other couple how long they had been together and if they were engaged. The girl of the couple laughed awkwardly and said rather aggressively that he had not asked her yet. It was just awful. For dessert Brent had lemon meringue ice cream, only he was so full he could barely eat it. Before dessert we were again served an amuse bouche dessert (mini cheesecake garnished with oatmeal). I was given dinner and a show as he desperately tried to eat it. He gave up and because it was being billed to our room, he got up to leave. I was still finishing my water and the waitress came over with caramels as an after-dessert and said I could have his because he left, everyone laughed. At dinner we also found out that we had not in fact made it to the top of Mt. Pisgah, we had fallen prey to the fake summit (that almost got us a few times in previous hikes such as Bear Mountain, CT) and that there is in fact a view of the lake from the summit.

We sat back down at our puzzle and finished it. There being no television set in the room, we opted for another puzzle. Brent chose a baseball one in a large box. Before we even started it, the owner came over, saw and warned us we had chosen the hardest puzzle they had. Scared by this, we grabbed a medium sized box and got to it. An hour later we barely had anything done, the puzzle had us beat. Why? These puzzles we not like regular puzzles where all the pieces are somewhat the same. The pieces were all really awkward shapes, the harder ones even more so.

We returned to our room to find chocolates in little envelopes that said Sweet Dreams on the bed. There was also a guest book with a stuffed bunny rabbit on the bed, it was unbearably cute.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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