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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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2012 Roadtrip 1, Day 6

Wed. June 27, 2012- New Hampshire to Quebec:

Our hotel did not have a coffee-maker in the room, or free breakfast, and the coffee downstairs was way too expensive so we just left. Except that, as soon as we opened the door we looked down and there was a tray with coffee cups, a canister of coffee and a copy of the morning newspaper! At this point Brent mentioned that there was a light tap at the door around 7am, but he figured it was room-service to the wrong room, so he ignored it. So while he express checked out (instructions were included with the coffee) I chugged a cup of coffee, which was easy because at this point it was lukewarm, for it had been sitting out there close to two hours. I was finally reunited with my purse and wallet! As we drove I saw a turkey couple on the side of the road, the wife did not look happy, it was raining and she looked soggy and miserable. No one likes soggy turkey. We were leaving New Hampshire and all its rain for (hopefully) sunny Quebec. Along the way we finally passed a welcome sign! Not to Quebec, to Vermont (we had to pass through). There were so many moose crossing signs, one every few miles. It was driving me nuts, it made me want to see a moose all the more (albeit over in the forest, not on the road in front of us). We reached the highest elevation of the interstate, a paltry 1856 feet elevation; Bear Mountain in Connecticut has a higher elevation.

I excitedly yelped because I saw something interesting, and Brent got all excited thinking I had seen a moose. He was very disappointed that I had seen a grey heron sitting in a marsh. I had such a good laugh at psyching Brent out so good, only to then be psyched by some tree branches and a giant rock. This only made me want to see a moose all the more. We passed a nifty sign informing us that we were at the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole. And then all of a sudden we were at the border, no signs or anything warning us of it. Every other time there were always tones of signs, as if to last minute discourage you from leaving the country. It was our fastest border crossing time yet, it would have been even faster had I not listed off one by one all the stuff I had bought in the States (soap, shaving cream, a purse… the list just went on), the guard seemed mildly irritated so said Brent. All the signs were now in French, which was just wonderful for our elementary school French educations. In total I would guess that we understood maybe a quarter of it? Even that might be a generous guess, it would have been higher if all the signs just said pamplemousse. We did amuse ourselves quite a bit with trying to understand what was written on signs and what people were saying to us, but in the end we resorted to singing the French song that teaches kids about over, under, in and out. When out in public however, we were forced to reply to bonjour with hello, and sometimes followed by “we are Anglophones”.

 

We drove through the small (OK, super small) town of Ayre’s Cliff, but there was nothing there to even stop and look at. We did stop however at a roadside rest stop, the scariest one yet. It was a parking lot with a little shack that had two bathrooms in it. I swear, this is where people get murdered in horror movies. Our next stop was in North Hatley, here we actually got out of the car and wandered around a bit, in the rain. It was still raining. Other than the coffee shop and a gazebo on the lake, there was not much to see. Off to our main destination: Sherbrooke for the scenic train ride! As we drove there were signs for a detour however the road was not closed, so we just kept driving and driving and driving for what seemed like forever and then, only then, half an hour after the first detour sign- the road was closed. We had to back track all the way back, to cheer ourselves up we went off on a side road to go over a covered bridge, it was real fun, especially because we had to turn around and go over it again to get back on the main road. Along our detour route there was another detour. I kid you not, our detour had a detour. The traffic lights were very weird, they are horizontal (not vertical as your see everywhere else) and each colour was a different shape as well, plus a very confusing extra yellow arrow.

We parked in a random parking lot that was supposedly near the train station and we took off in a random direction, after about 15 minutes of walking we realized we had to turn back, we were going to get the GPS to get us. Only as we approached the car i saw what looked like a train station in the other direction. Sure enough it was across the street from us. We still had some time to kill however, so we walked around the Lac Du Nations, eventually though the rain was really starting to irritate me so we just went to line-up for the train, the Orford Express. We were the youngest people in line (save for a few kids) and also the only Anglophones. This was no ordinary scenic train ride for it came complete with a three course lunch, bonus that it was really fast service (it had been pre-cooked before the train ride). Unfortunately for me the starter was a salad, which I only got halfway through because quite frankly: I hate salad. For our mains we did not get a choice, but it still worked out well because we each got a different dish. We split the mushroom-stuffed chicken and trout & cod, the chicken was better though. For dessert we also did not get a choice, but we also got two different ones so it again worked out well. Really well in fact, one dessert was a chocolate cake and the other a lemon meringue cake. We were also served tea with our dessert. Not exactly the most ideal drink to have on a mildly shaky train ride, but it would have been worse on the Cog Train when it was going up the steep incline. It was during dessert that I found out that in fact Earl Grey tea is not disgusting as I had previously thought, but in fact rather delightful, my bad. The train ride itself was as promised, really scenic with views of farmland, forests, rivers and lakes. The best view however was a gang of wild turkeys roaming about at the edge of farmland bordered by a forest. Brent did not believe me the first time; I think he was jealous that he did not see them. On the way back he said he saw them, but I am not sure if I believe him.

On the way back we stopped in the town of Magog by the Lake Memphe-something (Lake Memphremagog). There was a tower you could climb up to get a better look of the lake, to watch for Memphe the lake monster. Alas, she was not out, and neither would I, the weather was awful: cold, windy and rainy. On our way back down a French woman started to talk to me and I started saying no… but she misunderstood it as non, as in an answer to her question, but i was trying to say no, I don’t speak French. It was awkward, even more so when Brent stepped in with “oui” the women must’ve thought we were nuts, or just plain rude. Walking back to the train we were attacked by a swarm of bugs and we had to spend a few minutes picking them off each other before boarding the train, I apparently had four of them on my back. For the last part of the train ride there was a woman walking up and down the aisle singing in French, with one or two English phrases such as “I love you” sung in a thick French accent peppered in here and there, it was not the very entertaining, it was just weird. It was still raining when we left the train. Not helping was the fact that upon leaving the parking lot we drove in an entire circle ending up back at the parking lot, all for trying to avoid the traffic-jammed detour. Thankfully I figured out how to make the GPS program an alternate route, and the sun came out! The sky was blue! And somehow, somehow, it was still raining!!!

From the train we had seen a big fancy building atop a hill and we had been guessing what it could be, Brent said it was a retirement home, I guessed a resort. We were both wrong, it was the University of Sherbrooke. Brent waved to another driver for letting us in, I mistook it for a high five attempt and went in for it, only to have it turn into a face-palm incident. We had a good laugh about it though. That night we were staying at the Manor Hovey on Lake Massawippi, so we wandered around and took in the sights before dinner in the Main Dining room. We were treated to a super fancy prix fixe menu, how fancy was it? The whole ordeal took over two hours, that is how fancy. The waiter pulled my chair out for me and put my napkin on my lap, it was very weird and awkward. To go with the complimentary “artisan baked” bread there were three different types of salt to try: a fancy Italian salt, a salt made with Bordeaux (the best one) and a salt made with Hawaiian volcanic ash. Every person who came to our table, we had to explain that we were Anglophones, which sometimes resulted in them leaving and finding someone else who spoke English. The amuse bouche was a haddock mousse with mushroom paper and Seychelles. It was delicious but the mushroom paper proved difficult to eat when it fell off the mouse and onto the serving platter, it would lay flat and stick to it, no amount of scraping at it (loudly I might add) with my fork helped. Up next was the appetizer, Brent had the venison tartare while I had the lobster with lobster roe (we never did figure out what in my dish was the roe) and some other garnishes. Brent won this round, the venison tartare was amazing. For mains we stuck with the meat dishes. There was no unanimous decision however on who won Round 2, I did not like the lamb shoulder (Brent’s) at all. The filet mignon on parmesan risotto was way better. I did however come to the conclusion that I do not in fact like lamb, the only times I ever liked it were when it was drenched in sauce, pretty much the actual flavour of it was covered up. The dessert amuse bouche was outstanding and just plain cute: mini strawberry shortcake topped with whipped cream and a mint leaf, served in a snap-top jam jar that was chilled. It was a good indicator of what was to come for dessert; between the two of us we had a whole smorgasbord of goodies. There was the main dessert in the middle with stuff around it, sesame seed ice cream (tasted like halva) surrounded by banana fritters. The stand-out was the roasted marshmallow from Brent’s dessert. For dessert Brent also had a glass of mead, ordering it however caused some confusion. It must not be very popular because he had to point to it on the wine list. It was well worth the confusion however, it was amazing. Stuffed full of food, we headed back to the room to watch… more America’s Got Talent!!

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

 

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2012 Roadtrip 1, Day 5

Tues. June 26, 2012- New Hampshire:

The morning started off great, I powered up for our hike with a delicious breakfast of Cap’n Crunch and Froot Loops topped with a chocolate covered mini-donut and a muffin with crumble on top. Then I bit into the muffin and yelped, it was banana. Things got better with the promise of breath-taking views along the Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountains on our way to the second hike of the vacation. Alas, the weather had other plans. At the first stop (one of many thankfully) we got out, complained that our ears had popped/were about to pop and stared out into the vast expanse of cloud cover. Only after we got to the third scenic stop did the clouds start to clear up, affording us scenic views of the mountains all around. The scenic pit stops were not just limited to mountain views; there was also a view of a gorge and a waterfall. At this point the previous days kayaking had started to kick in; I was slowly starting to hurt more and more. Thankfully I was distracted by the curvy road and the new set of mountains topped with clouds that popped up around every corner. As we drove back down out of the National Park we also stopped at the Lower Falls, which made sense given earlier and further up we had seen a river. Driving along we passed my favourite, a covered bridge, only this one was turned into a gift shop!

Our hike up Mt. Webster (second highest peak in New Hampshire at an elevation of 3911 feet, in my book I have it written down as “3000 ft-sih” ). We started our hike from Willey House Historic Site  and it was fairly easy, we were on an easy trail. The only downside was the cold and the light rain. I had borrowed the inner shell of Brent’s waterproof jacket and I was amused for a while at the fact that I looked and felt like the Michelin Man. Michelin Man or not, I was warm and toasty (eventually too warm). From that trail we connected to a mildly harder one. And then on to one that pretty much wrecked me. First there were the giant, slick, 35 degree angled rocks that apparently people just climb right over, people like Brent, people in proper hiking shoes, which I was not. Running shoes sometimes are not enough. I tried; I made it to about the second rock, where in a manner reminiscent of playing Twister, I could not figure out how to turn or where to put my foot to get to the next rock. And then my foot slipped. I grumbled in a mild panic and headed back to solid ground. I refused to traverse the scary rock segment of trail and we turned back. In my defense, we did not have enough time to reach the summit anyways; we were near the time when we would have to turn back around anyways. And to add on to my misadventure I then slipped on some wet brush and slammed my thigh into a short tree branch jutting out (I had a swollen bruised lump on my thigh the size of a loonie for a week after). In total I had seen: a giant butterfly (easily the size of my hand), 2 chipmunks and a toad.

Thanks to our earlier than planned turn-around we actually had time to eat lunch! We ate at Fabyan’s restaurant (which is connected by shuttle bus to the hotel where we would be staying that night) where we were also considering eating dinner that night. I asked how big the bread bowl for the clam chowder was; the waitress mimicked the size of a hamburger bun. Perfect I thought, just the right size! What was plunked down in front of me was at least three times as big. And not only did I have more clam chowder to eat; I also had to eat the bowl. Needless, to say it was a battle I lost halfway through. Halfway through eating the bowl, I did manage to eat all the clam chowder. Admittedly it was one of the most fun meals I have ever had and it warmed me up all nice. The menu however was lacking in appeal. There was nothing that looked very appetizing for dinner. The plan for the afternoon was to ride the Cog Railroad Train to the top of Mt. Washington (the highest peak in New Hampshire). Before we boarded the train we piled on layers of clothes in the car. I had learned my lesson from the Lake Winnipesaukee cruise, it sucks being cold. From what I could see during the train ride, it must be very pretty on a clear day. It was however raining, so I only got to see the stuff close to the train, namely trees. Only when we got to the very top did we learn that Mt. Washington has the worst weather. And it was on full display that day, with horrible cold winds whipping the rain sideways. I shivered the whole way back down, my pants soaked from standing outside waiting while Brent climbed to the peak (was paranoid that he might fall and die, had to stay and make sure). The weather had worsened as our little train puttered along slowly back down the mountain, you could not see anything, just grey. At least on the way up at some point the trees were almost sideways, this was because the train was on such a steep incline (we were invited to try and stand up, and you would almost be parallel to the floor in an attempt to stand up straight).

Driving to the hotel, the Mt. Washington Resort, a wild turkey ran across the street (insert chicken’s day off joke here). This was a posh resort, because there was no self-serve parking lot, they only had valet. This threw us through a loop as we quickly scrambled to grab what we could. So much for driving somewhere for dinner, we were trapped in what looked like the Overlook Hotel from The Shining. We were trapped (it says this in notebook in all caps letters)!! Rain soaked and tired, we wandered around the hotel in our socks (our shoes were also soaked) looking at this and that. The Mt. Washington Resort really needs a map with a handy little “you are here” sticker. It took us forever to find most of the things written about in the binder. The wrap-around porch would have been great were it not for the rain, you couldn’t even see Mt. Washington from it. We went back to our room to discuss dinner options. The hotel was mysteriously devoid of candy vending machines and the soda machines left much to be desired. There was an overpriced candy store in the basement, but even their selection was subpar. Our only options were to not eat or to eat at one of the restaurants. The problem lay in the fact that half of Brent’s dress close was locked away in the car and we could not get to it. So we had to improvise. In the end I was overdressed and Brent was wearing smelly running shoes. Thankfully the tapas bar where we ate was empty. We split a bruschetta and cheese plate, chicken Caesar sliders and a tomato bruschetta pizza while Brent watched the Blue Jays game (it was weird because they were playing against the Boston Red Sox and we were in New England, as in Red Sox turf). It was a real kick to split three very messy tapas items while dressed up so fancy, but with Brent’s destroyed running shoes hidden by the table. It kept making me giggle. I was still craving sweets, but Brent was too full to split a tapas pie plate (three different types of pie!) so I caved and went to the candy store downstairs. Only I had to bum money off Brent, my wallet was also trapped in the car. Here again they did not have an extra-small, but a “kiddie” size and then a “small”, they may as well keep it consistent and call the small something like teenager. Again I ended the night enthralled by America’s Got Talent.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 

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2012 Roadtrip 1, Day 4

Mon. June 25, 2012- New Hampshire:

I woke up early in anticipation of breakfast, so early in fact that I was up before breakfast was even being served, so I opted for having coffee in bed while watching Boy Meets World. Once again we were the only ones in the Dining Room, we had the buffet of granola and fruits and amazing maple pecan strudels all to ourselves. There was also a menu you could order off of, that is what I was excited about. Nothing beats a stack of pancakes first thing in the morning, especially if they are topped with pieces of apple and drizzled with pomegranate syrup. Needless to say, it was a tie at breakfast, pancakes were amazing, but so was Brent’s maple walnut French toast. There was a break in the rain and no sign of thunderclouds so we decided to brave it and go kayaking, alone, on a lake, just the two of us, inexperienced kayakers, when storms were called for later in the day. We survived!! We lasted close to an hour out on the lake, paddled around a small island and learned that I veer right when I kayak. No matter what we did, somehow we were always going right. Except when it was decided we should go right, then I inexplicably veered left. We heard a loon off in the distance, as well as some scary thunder. Also scary was the few times when I almost tipped us over with my fidgeting. Towards the end it started raining, you could see the drops hitting the lake. As for us, we could not feel it, because I also splash a lot when I paddle. Again, it is amazing we made it back. Alas, to get out of the kayak we had to step in the lake again (as when getting in) so much for my shoes having started to dry.

Driving to Weir’s Beach for a cruise around the lake, we passed a pirate-themed mini golf with a hilarious sign: We Aargh Open. We arrived at the cruise an hour and a half early so we wandered around the small beach town and boardwalk in the rain. Yup, the rain finally caught up to us. There is a train route running along the beach and it is geared towards tourists/children called Hobo Railroad (it even has an ice cream parlour car), we saw kids getting off carrying toy bindles, it was at once cute and weird. Were it not for the rain I would have spent that hour lounging on the beach, instead I was stuck gawking at a tacky arcade that didn’t even have Cruis’n USA. The cruise around Lake Winnipesaukee was 2.5 hours long. The views were gorgeous, until the rain really started falling hard and the wind got really strong and cold. I went back inside only to be annoyed by kids. So I went back up to the top deck. Too cold and windy. Back downstairs. Before the boat had departed there was a loon on the lake.

 

The Days Inn where we were staying was the in the middle of nowhere, it was a 15 minute drive to McDonald’s! I thought we were staying in America, the land of McDonald’s?! What I knew for sure was that I could always count on one of a few shows to be on: Jersey Shore, Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, or Spongebob. Luckily for us there was a Spongebob marathon. The McDinner was the first “real American” meal of the entire trip. On Brent’s McCup there was a McCoupon for $1 off a cherry berry chiller. Seeing as we were in need of spoons (Ben & Jerry’s was to be had for dessert) I went up and ordered one, using the coupon. It was great, I paid 75 cents. We drove to Wal-Mart to restock on granola bars for hiking, as well as grab some dessert, the aforementioned Ben & Jerry’s as well as some Swedish Fish, our go-to combination. The Wal-Mart was atop a hill with a beautiful backdrop of the White Mountains behind it, it was a rather weird site to see this scene of nature from a parking lot. Also Wal-Mart sells alcohol for dirt cheap, they had California Zinfandel’s for $3 a bottle, I was floored. On the way back to the hotel, not worried that the ice cream would melt, we drove through/over a covered bridge beside the hotel, much to my giddy joy!

 

 

Back at the hotel it was time for America’s Got Talent- or so I thought. It was not in fact on for another hour. So we watched Spongebob and gorged ourselves on Swedish Fish and Phish Food, the best Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor I have had thus far. It was chocolate ice cream with a ribbon of marshmallow goo, caramel swirls and fish-shaped fudge!

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2012 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 

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