July 2, 2016

Starting Mileage: 540.2

The morning in the KOA seemed to be a little less hectic which is good because my sleep had been far from restful.  I wanted to find the couple who’s amorous activities had woken me up at 3:00 am and give them a high five.  Unfortunately there were a number of suspects around me, so I just broke camp and rolled out of there.

We headed into Owen Sound and stumbled across a farmer’s market.  I love farmer’s markets but this was considerably larger than the ones I am used to, actually closing down a stretch of downtown.  I circled the vicinity looking for a parking spot but there were none to be found within a decent hike.  And with a crowd that large I decided to continue on, looking longingly in the rearview mirror.

I stopped at the Dragonfly Cafe just outside of town.  Not only is it a restaurant but they also make over 30 different kinds of bread there. I ordered the french toast made with cinnamon nut bread and bacon which we devoured on the patio. The french toast wasn’t pretty but what it lacked in looks it made up in flavour.  There was a steady stream of people and the small dining room was packed.  Always a good sign.  And the coffee was decent.

Cinnamon nut bread french toast and bacon. What a great way to start the day.

I had two destinations that I had identified after studying the map the previous night and I soon found myself parking in the lot at Beaver Valley Orchard and Cidery just outside of Kimberly.  The barn had been converted into a tasting room and if I didn’t have a car load of canine waiting for me, it would have nice to belly up to the bar and enjoy samples.  Since that wasn’t an option, I just grabbed a bottle of each of the ciders they had: their plain cider, a ginger cider, and a bumbleberry cider.  With my purchases safely stored in the car, I took the dogs for a walk.  A patio was near the barn and some gardens with a small stream flowed towards the back of the property.  Of course the dogs had to get right in the water.  We sat in the shade for a while and it would have been easy to stretch out on the grass and just let the day pass.  But I never really was one for easy and we had one more stop I wanted to make.

Jack contemplating life at Beaver Valley Orchard and Cidery.

As we were driving through Markdale there something about one storefront that caught my eye and I nearly twisted my head right around to see…yes…a roastery!  I quickly parked the car and bounded into Fire & Ice for a much needed americano before we were back on the road.  It’s a cafe, roastery, and bar all rolled into one.  Piper seemed to give me the dirty eye since I didn’t take them for a walk.  Well I had plans for that and we went to Eugenia Falls Conservation Area.

The conservation area is on the edge of Flesherton and it was very busy.  The trails are easy to walk, well marked, and there’s even a stretch of the Bruce Trail so we were able to hike a bit more of it.  There’s one place right near to the top of the falls where you can walk across the rocks and get to the other side, which we did and then after stepping into the shade, we found a stone arch.  Just an arch.  It was kind of haunting.  With the crowds of people and dogs, and heat, we didn’t stay long and were soon back on the road.

Fortunately my second destination was in Flesherton: Leslieville Cheese Market.  After sampling and more sampling, I left with a Hungarian paprika cheddar dip, three very different cheeses, and a grilled cheese sandwich.  I sat on the curb with the dogs and shared my sandwich as the people driving by stared at us.

We went for a short walk and when we crossed the street we found Highland Grounds.  I looked around for a place to tie the dogs but couldn’t find anything.  I stood on the sidewalk, looked back at the car, at the cafe, at the car, at the cafe, at the car, at the cafe then walked back to the car.  They piled in, I drove the 200 metres to the cafe, and parked the car.  When I went inside, what I can only assume was the owner seemed to have been waiting for me and asked if he could give the dogs treats.  I didn’t think they would mind so I told him they would like that.  I offered to get them out but he declined, saying this would be easier.  I couldn’t argue with his logic on that one.  I left armed with an iced coffee, somehow leaving all the baked goods in the display cases.

I drove the back roads, slowly making my way south east, not really planning to stop anywhere.  Then we came into Brechin and I saw the Sweet Tooth Caboose.  Well, I have a sweet tooth and I must admit the sign proclaiming world famous butter tarts piqued my interest.  Of course, the menu for ice cream piqued it even more and when I stepped back from the caboose I was clutching a cone of salted caramel truffle ice cream and a butter tart for the road.  Anything that can combine ice cream, caramel, and chocolate is good in my books.  The dogs wanted to help me with the ice cream but they made due with little tiny bits of plain cone.

In less than an hour, we were back home.  It was one of our shorter trips and the impromptu Canada Day trip was not something that I would normally have done.  But it somehow seemed so right.  We were greeted by strangers with shouts of “Happy Canada Day!”, Canadian flags flying everywhere, listening to coverage of celebrations in Ottawa on the radio.  It wasn’t just that people were happy to have a long weekend but they seemed happy to be HERE and experiencing the beauty that can be found in the wilderness that is inherently Canada.  There were none of the majestic mountains of the Rockies or the dramatic coastline of the Maritimes but there was something different and something very special.

Finishing mileage: 814.2