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Old 11-13-2012, 11:04 AM   #81
Jamie Z OP
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: on Walkabout
Oddometer: 7,790
Expecting a good night's sleep in a comfortable bed after the sauna, I hardly slept at all. I don't know what was wrong, but I drug myself out of bed when I heard activity in the house. I was greeted at the table with Rick and breakfast.

Hard to see, but the main dish sitting in front of Rick was what I'd call french toast casserole and it was delicious. There was also fresh sliced fruit and pastries. I asked Tuija when she had time to prepare all that. "This morning!" she chirped. Wow. She's awesome.

While we ate, Rick asked if I'd be interested in going up in his plane. What? Are you kidding? Rick's cabin sits on a lake and he has a floatplane docked out front.

Rick suggested we get on the ball because it was forecast to rain later in the day, so we headed down.

He made the necessary pre-flight checks and explained to me a little about the airplane.

Rick's son-in-law Eric took our photo just before we boarded.

And then a couple minutes later we were in the air!

We flew up around the town of Chapleau while Rick explained the controls to me.

And then he asked if I wanted to try it. No shit.

This made me far more nervous than I'm almost willing to admit. At one point while Rick was explaining how to bank and showing me the rudder controls, I was too timid to push on the pedal and was tempted to ask him to take the controls back, but he patiently talked me through it assuring me that we wouldn't fall out of the sky. After ten minutes of steady flight, Rick instructed me to turn back toward his house and I made the 180 turn successfully.

As we came in, he described how it's preferable to have a little wind to stir up some waves on the lake, otherwise it's very difficult to judge elevation when coming in to land. Today was perfectly calm. Here Rick is bringing us in to land.

We came into land on the glasslike surface, you can see the video here:

In reality, the landing was suprisingly smooth, not like the shaky video. What an awesome experience. Rick taxied the plane over to his dock and told me how important it was to pull up just right because as he explained it, "These things don't paddle very well."

Rick owns a company which makes logs to build log homes. We rode over in his truck to see the facility. As a mechanical engineer, I was fascinated with the big machinery.

He asked if I'd like to see it in action. Of course! He grabbed a couple of logs with a big tractor and dropped them into the hopper.

The first job is to strip the log and turn it into a uniform shape.

The best way to understand is this short video.

The machine cuts a tongue and groove in each log for more solid contruction, and then cuts the notch. Again, a short video shows the work.

Each log is cut to length according to the plans so when the kit arrives to the construction site, the contractors merely have to assemble and finish the home. He's looking to sell his business if you're interested.

The family keeps a couple of golden retrievers, one of whom likes to play.

The other, not so much.

And then there's the puppy.

All this and it wasn't yet noon! I figured I'd better head out, so I packed up my bike. Rick and Tuija had been better hosts than I could have imagined. I had a great time and learned a bunch and enjoyed two excellent meals. One last group shot with Rick, his daughter, and his wife.

Just as I rode into Chapleau, a light rain started. I did a bit of shopping in town, and sent out a couple of post cards.

I really should have eaten here. could hardly pass up that catchline.

I headed west, toward Wawa. I made a stop at Potholes Provincial park to find a geocache. Despite the name, it's a cool stop. The "potholes" were carved in the rock by water, apparently in just a very short time, according to the signs on display.

There's an easy hiking trail and the rain let up for a short time while I was there.

For past two days, traffic had been very light, and I most certainly hadn't seen any motorcycles.

Pulling into Wawa, the rain started coming down hard. To my astonishment, I also started seeing lots of bikes. I was looking for a motorcycle shop in town run by ADV inmate Finndian. I found it on the south end of town and parked my bike and walked inside, dripping everywhere.

Inside, the lady behind the counter told me Finndian was out of the shop for the day. Looks like I'd missed him. Nonetheless I stayed for a bit and chatted with the woman. She asked me if I'd seen a wrecked truck along the road from Chapleau. In fact I had. I also pet the big dog she'd brought to work with her. She also explained the reason for all the motorcycles in town. Wawa was a major intersection on the Great Circle route. Many bikes (and cars) who ride around Lake Superior stop in town for the night or for a meal. I waited for the rain to let up a bit and headed back outside.

I rode around the town while I decided what to do. Lake Wawa looked ominous.

The rain started again. While I don't mind the rain too much, it doesn't make for good sight-seeing. I debated stopping in town and calling it a day. In front of a local Subway, I spied two BMW bikes loaded up with an ADV sticker behind one of them. I pulled up beside the bikes and went inside.

I found Gene and Neda inside eating sandwiches. I went to the counter to order lunch, then joined them at their table. They were at the beginning of an open-ended ride through the western hemisphere. Minutes after we met, they both asked if I'd like to split a room with them in town, and though the cost was quite a bit more than I'd spent anywhere else on the ride, I decided to join them. After lunch, I stopped to pick up a 6-pack of beer then met them at the hotel.

Shortly after we arrived, I suggested a group shot, while we were all there and had our bikes in one place.

The Elvis pose is not on purpose. After aiming the mini-tripod and setting the timer on the camera, I tripped hard on the gravel parking lot running back to get in the shot. I got up and made it into the photo just in time. Neda thought I was trying to act silly, but trust me, I fell hard and it hurt.

In the evening, Gene showed me their maps and described where they'd been and where they plan to go. I could only listen in awe and envy and ask lots of questions.

For a day cut short by heavy rain, I sure felt like I'd done a lot. As I lay in bed that night, each time I moved, I could feel pain in my ribs.

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Budget Travel the Jamie Z Way
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