Opening Weekend

In the trenches

The May long weekend is the traditional weekend to open the cottage at beautiful Lake of the Woods and this year was no exception. After driving down Friday night we a relaxed and enjoyed the quiteness of the lake compared to the city and the sounds of the waves on the lake. Saturday mornings first order of business was to get the water running. Things went fairly smoothly except a part that I bought to repair the water line from a mishap last fall was the wrong size. No problem however, because there is always a way given the number of spare parts the cottage has acquired over almost 30 years. But the intake line did look a littel funny with a 90° elbow in the normally straight line. Oh well, something to fix another day. the pump primed the first time and there were no leaks or breaks in the system, so we were up and running. Time for a coffee break and some breakfast. It rained off and on most of the day but even a rainy day at the lake is better that any day in the city.  The rest of the day was spent completing a multitude of opening activities like getting the septic system operational, hooking up all the outside hoses, taking 2 kayaks down to the dock, rolling over the aluminium boat an putting on the outboard as well as launching the swim platform out to its anchorage. All that and a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff and we’re open for the season!

Sunday was a little more relaxed, at least in the morning with a little sleeping in, and several cups of coffee before entertaining any additional work projects. Shirley’s brother Roy & wife Meryl are coming over for a visit and I’m sure I can tackle a something before they arrive. The project is to replace the retaining wall at the top of the driveway. We’d used untreated timber just about 30 years go and nature had reclaimed her own. All of the timbers had disintegrated and many roots had grown along the path of the timbers, and some even inside the timbers, so they all had to go.

Tic Tac

During the dig I made the Tic Tac discovery. Probably doesn’t seem like much to you but it brought back memories for me. My Dad had been a smoker for a lot of years. He’d tried a couple of time to stop, but relapsed. When he finally was successful in stopping, a major part of the success was Tic Tacs. Instead of reaching for the cigarette pack, he’d reach for the Tic Tacs. Only person I’ve ever know who bought them by the case. The Grandkids benefited as well, as there were always a handy treat that he’d dole out on a moments notice. My Dad and I spent a lot of time together building the cottage, so when my shovel unearthed the empty Tic Tac container, it was a bit of a “moment”.

After the visit with company, it was back to some more little projects that always seem to be waiting for some attention. This one was fixing the umbrella for the patio set we have at the dock. Late last year the string that cranks it up & down snapped and I’d bought some nice nylon cord for the repair a while back so into the shop it goes. I’m sure that when they put these things together in the factory it’s way easier to get that rope threaded up the tube etc. but it took a little creativity to get the old stuff out an the new one in but I got it in there and all back together. While I was working on the repair the umbrella was open so I could get access the the various parts, so to get it out the door and down to the dock I’d need to wind it down to close it up. So cranking away, I was very satisfied with my repair as the umbrella began to close, and then, to my horror, when it was half way down, it started to open again! The proverbial lightbulb goes on and I realize I’ve made the rope too short! Not to mention that when I cut it to length with the umbrella open, the remaining piece was now also too short. After taking the thing apart again, and tying the two pieces together, something I hated to do, and reassembling the whole thing again, we have an operational umbrella. I think I’ll be replacing that cord again in the near future.

Monday involves even more sleeping it. It’s a little cloudy and I’m thinking about going cycling, but at 7am after assessing the weather, I decide another few minutes in bed are in order. Well at about 10:30, it seems like the weather is a little better and I roll out of bed and my lovely wife has prepared an awesome breakfast. Eventually, the biking gear gets put on and I’m out for the first Ride Around Kenora of the year.

Ducks at Starbucks

My route is counter clockwise around Kenora on the Hwy 17A Bypass and back on Hwy 17 with a stop at 57km for the Starbucks where I meet up with my duck buddies playing by the docks. After the Grande, it’s off for the final leg othe ride back to the cottage all the while looming in the back of my head is the Col du Branch Road #3. This Hors Catégorie  climb assents from the bottom of the swamp the the pinacle of Branch road #3 complete with a brief reprieve half way up that lulls you into a false sense of security. As it approaches I summon my “inner Lance” and begin the climb. I’m feeling burn but I’m not letting this mountain get the better of me. Even after a brief wheel spin on some leftover winter sand, I forge on up, victorious! Actually, by the time I’m back at the cottage after 75km, I’m a little spent so a shower and a snack are in order.

After putting stuff away at the dock and loading the truck, the weekend is over and we’re on our way back to Winnipeg, but not without the traditional stop at DQ for a little reward. Good weekend, thanks cottage.

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