In Search of Big Joe Mufferwa

So we set off to the nation’s capital of Ottawa June 23rd in search of the elusive Big Joe Mufferwa of Stompin Tom Connors fame.  Despite the odds of a sighting, DD and the Captain felt an obligation to provide our American Cousins, Busty Barb the Believer (yes she believes there is a Big Joe) and Lonesome Larry an opportunity to see this Canadian Legend. As a backup plan there would also be some other illustrious attractions to visit such as the Parliament Buildings, Canadian War Museum, Supreme Court etc. etc.

Another exhausting drive (2 ½ hours) found us parked at the Rideau Carlton Raceway just south of Ottawa that we would use as our home base. Yes another casino, and yes another opportunity for CC to contribute to the Ontario economy, and yes DD suffers another loss while LL pockets another cash withdrawal. As a diversion, we were able to take in a few harness races at the adjacent track. No bets were placed however, had CC wagered a meager Toonie on his pick (#4 in the 3rd race) a cool $1500 would have fattened his wallet.  In all likelihood had the bet been placed #4 he would have probably stumbled out of the starting gate and quit the race.

Hits and Misses – June 24th

The Big Plan for the day was to head downtown and take in the Parliament Buildings and whatever other famous landmarks we could and finish the day at the RCMP Sunset Ceremony and Musical Ride. Unfortunately by the time we arrived downtown the free tour tickets for the Parliament Buildings were gone for the day.

For those who had never seen the Parliament Buildings (LL and BBB) before a bit of disappointment was in store, as much of the area was under construction and along with the large stage set up for the Canada day celebrations did an admirable job reducing the grandeur of Parliament Hill.

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the Captain on Sparks Street

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this shirts for LL and BBB

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DDs Art deco of the week

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old and new melded together

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Alternative number 2, the Supreme Court, held the same result so we toodled down to the Canadian War Museum. Toodled is really a misnomer as we actually scurried as best as possible in the oppressive heat and humidity to the Museum.

The Canadian War Museum by no stretch of the imagination should be seen as a 3rd choice as it stands out as a magnificent tribute to the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country. Regardless of whether one believes wars are or are not necessary evils, the Museum exhibits and in particular the recorded words of our veterans, will touch you and stay with you.

Unfortunately most of the pictures taken at the Museum did not turn out well due to lighting and camera ISSUES. The Camera Issue arose after the captain inadvertently dropped it on the concrete. Bad Boy.

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Hitler’s car

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from the Berlin Wall

Our time at the Museum was far too short as we had to catch a bus to the other end of Ottawa for the RCMP Sunset Ceremony Musical Ride. This event which also included exhibitions of service dogs and horses was not only a real delight but also free.

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fans of all ages

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the “puppies” perform

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Titan ready to take his bow

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the Musical Ride

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After a long day we settled in back at Camp Casino to the heavy reverberating beat from the Escapade Musical Festival at the racetrack before hitting the sack.

Parliament and Supreme Court Tours – June 25th

Having learned our lesson from the previous day we arrived downtown fairly early and joined the already long and growing line for free tickets for the Parliament Buildings Tour. Our tour time allowed for us to take in the Supreme Court Tour (another freebie) in the interim and the schedule worked out just fine.

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Supreme Court Building

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the old style robes

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up to the Supreme Court courtroom

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the courtroom

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Federal Court of Appeal courtroom

The hour long guided tour of the Parliament Buildings was really insufficient to provide an opportunity to take the time to appreciate the stunning architecture and history of the buildings and its historical figures. Tours were started every 10 minutes and lingering was not encouraged. Also for those of us old enough to remember being in the Parliament Buildings in times past; when the only security required was that which was provided by the Corps of Commissioners, would likely be dismayed by the heavy presence of the Parliament Protection Services.  Arguments can be made pro and con but in this writers opinion armed camps are not great representations of a free and open society. Despite the excellent view from the Peace Tower we were unable to obtain a sighting of Big Joe Mufferwa.

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BBB and LL at the gates

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the provinces and territorial Coats of Arms (BC front and centre of course)

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the east Wing

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LL sees a familiar flag

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Parliament Hill and Peace Tower

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the “green” chamber – House of Commons

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the Library – unbelievably stunning – best room in the place

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views from the Peace Tower

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roof of the Library

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Afterwards, a quick stop at the Sparks Street Rib Fest for LL and BBB to devour what they would describe as some very tasty ribs before heading south to meet with CC’s brother Jim for coffee at one of the innumerable Timmies coffee shops. A short but enjoyable visit was had with Jim as he regaled us with stories of thrifty garage sale shopping and adventures of his 14 years of life on the road as a semi pro hockey player.

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brothers CC and Jimmie – sometime in the 60’s and

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the modern day version – only the flag has changed??

Back to the Casino for another quiet evening and good night’s sleep but this time in addition to the music we were rocked out of bed around 11:00 pm by a fireworks show that seemed to explode just outside the RVs.

Sleepy Cedars – June 26th

 Moved just down the road today to the Sleepy Cedars Family Campground to hookup and replenish. Another overnight stop on the 27th in Cornwall, Ontario and the eastward journey for an overnight visit with friends Andre and Danielle in Quebec  signifies the unofficial start of the MMM (Maritime Madness Marathon).

By stubbs99

Many Days – Not So Many Miles – Part Two

Arrived at the Napanee Camp Walmart early afternoon and after setting up camp and did a tour of the town including the walking trail along the Napanee River downtown.

Saturday headed into Bath to visit the Coach and the Aud One. Happy to report that the Coach’s face has healed up nicely from his recent fall except for a slight bent to the nose. We then headed into Kingston to visit some of the sights and as luck would have it a number of attractions were available for free. Not ones to argue with free  we took the opportunity to visit the Penitentiary Museum, an old Pharmacy, the Murney Tower and the recently renovated St. Mary’s Cathedral which is absolutely stunning. We had wanted to take a tour of the infamous Kingston Penitentiary but all the tours for June were booked. Will have to try again for September.

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LL snaps the end of the Pride Parade

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Penitentiary Museum

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CC poses for booking photo

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water “torture” device for men only

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the Box for the women

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prisoner made crossbow – made from toothbrushes and other odds and ends

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City Hall

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St. Marys Cathederal

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the Old Fire Hall

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downtown harbour

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Sir John A. MacDonald in the park

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Murney Tower

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Tower did not have a roof until recently

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now we know why LL wants to take up paddle boarding

Fathers Day lunch with the Coach/Aud One, Lonesome Larry/Busty Barb the Believer, Don/Sylvie, Pedro/Kayla at the Mandarin Buffett.  So much food (lots of desserts) was devoured that waddling out is the best way to describe our exit after 2 hours of over indulgence. Oh well at least we didn’t need to prepare supper after that.

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CC, the Aud One and Don

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the Coach piling up the desserts

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the Coach with his hand made quilt – Fathers Day gift from DD’s talented hands

As penance for our Fathers Day over indulgences a bicycle ride around Amherst Island the next day would set us right. And it did for a few hours anyway but more cake was on order at Kayla’s Birthday Party and barbecue at brother Dons later in the day. The party was really lit up as a monstrous thunder, lightning and wind storm blew through during the festivities. Thankfully the storm also somewhat broke the draining humidity that’s plagued us for the past week.

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on the ferry to Amherst Island

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CC letting his hair blow in the breeze

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along the southern shore

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halfway rest stop

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surfs up

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I see CC

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the Birthday Girl

 

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the Coach eating more desserts

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LL, Don, Sylvie and CC

A short trip back to US soil for LL and BBB to pick up some necessary supplies was the extent of our activities unless you throw in other mundane things like laundry and blogging.

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heading over the Ivy Lea Bridge

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old home in Ganaoque

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Old Fort Henry and Jones Falls Lockstation – June 22, 2016

Before heading out to Old Fort Henry today we finally got around to booking our ferry to and from Newfoundland in July. Departure date is July 6, 2016 returning July 21, 2016. Contrary to the horror stories we had heard about fares the cost for the 4 of us and our 5th wheel was `just` $1777.00.

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the end of the Hip Trip in August

We had a guided tour of the Fort with the Assistant Curator who passed along all kinds of fascinating information and finished it off with a demonstration firing of one of the cannons.

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entry to the Fort

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on parade

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the sin bin

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CC tries out the women`s latrine

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our Host

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under the Fort

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a familiar name in the wine cellar

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the bakery – very wonderful smelling fresh bread and cookies

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the kitchen

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overlooking the lake

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getting ready to fire the cannon

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signature of a fairly well known visitor in 1959

Video of the firing of the Cannon.

Our afternoon drive led us to Jones Falls Lockstation, one of the 45 working locks on the Rideau Canal, where we just in time to see 2 boats lifted up 2 levels of the river.

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Video of boats leaving top of the Lock

By stubbs99

Many Days Not So Many Miles – Part One

How time flies when you are having fun. Two weeks since my last post and now another massive picture upload to catch up on. In the past 2 weeks we have only managed to put in about 285 kilometers (as the crow flies) but our circuitous route (still a miserly 540) has taken us north to Orillia and Huntsville, then east to Algonquin Park and Bancroft and then southeast to Kingston.

DD burdened me with over 350 photos taken over this time and although I did manage to remove over half of these from the collection there are far too many for one post so will be doing 2 posts to cover these 2 weeks.

This post will run from June 7th to June 16th and could have conceivably been called the “Call of the Casinos”.

One last day in Newmarket (June 7, 2016) with a hike along the Tom Taylor Trail for good measure before hitting the road. LL claimed he needed a day of rest before the gruelling daily drives we would undertake in the next couple of weeks.  If this hectic pace keeps up we may have to put LL on a Geritol infused diet.

DISCLAIMER – DD advises that she has not been retained to edit this blog post and hereby accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for the contents herin.

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at the Alter of the Oggorfian God on the Tom Taylor Trail

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none shall pass

Georgian Downs – June 8, 9, 2016

Definitely as a precursor to the next 2 weeks was the 90 minute morning jaunt to Georgina Downs Casino which set out a gruelling standard we will be hard pressed to maintain. After a much needed afternoon nap to recover the refreshed travellers headed to the Casino for an evening of high stakes gambling where we were joined by DD’s brother Jim and wife Anna. Their trip was in vain however as on this evening  only LL escaped unscathed from the evil electronic eviscerating slot machines.

LL was also the recipient of a sizable scalp wound during our stay here. Although there was one witness to the “accident” the witness (BBB) may also have been the causative factor and as a US citizen she quickly plead the 5th so the whole truth may never be known. Pictures of the wound have been deemed too graphic for some audiences so have not been reproduced herein.

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LL in need of medical attention

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CC arrives with his medical gear

In aid of recovery the next day a bicycle trip from the Casino down to DD’s Cookstown and back was on order. One would think that the fresh air would have brought us to our senses but alas no as a second round that night also went to the Casino.

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BBB’s Bike Gang

Casino Rama – June 10, 11, 12, 2016

So let’s try to figure out this logic. Lose money at Casino 1; so we’ll just move on to Casino 2 and everything will be just fine. Well maybe not!! However the real reason for moving to Casino Rama was to catch a concert by the legendary Eric Burdon and some very much younger Animals. A great, albeit short show, that we really enjoyed even though it didn’t start until well past our normal 9:00 pm bedtime. Thanks to Mario (DD’s brother in law) for the tickets.

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a sign from the past

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a not too successful gambler near Casa Rama

Once again the slots were generous to LL and while the Captain did manage to break even DD’s seems to be having some slot machine ISSUES lately.

We tried to enjoy a hike along the shore of Lake Couchiching in Orillia the next day but were set upon by gale force winds and cold temperatures that made short work of this venture. Along the trail we did discover a sculpture honouring Orillia’s own son and Canadian folk singer legend Gordon Lightfoot. Given the weather the additional tribute to Lightfoot’s Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald seemed quite fitting.

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time for a morning dip??

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Gordon Lightfoot sculpture

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Huntsville – June 13, 2016

Another short drive this time to Huntsville. Not really sure why we decided to go to Huntsville but we did. It is a beautiful area in the midst of cottage country but one would need the time to do some fishing or boating to really take advantage of the area. Enjoyed a walking tour of the old downtown area.

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downtown harbour

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DD and BBB all  decked out

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perhaps the best Boston Pizza location

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City Hall

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Bancroft – June 14, 15, 16, 2016

Leaving Huntsville we would endure our longest day of travel as we made our way towards Bancroft. Bancroft would be our trail head for a few days of sightseeing and in particular a visit to world renowned Algonquin Park. We broke down here and ponied up for an overnight stay in a private RV Park on Marble Lake and the opportunity to fill and empty our tanks and to and enjoy the relative luxury of a real shower.  While DD and BBB caught up on laundry duty the Captain and LL set out to locate a more modest campsite (no Walmart in Bancroft). Several hours of driving dusty back roads netted little success. Where Crown land was available for free camping it was overly occupied by what appeared to be permanent squatters despite the posted 21 day limit. Not to be deterred lodging was found in the parking lot of the local Foodland grocery store.

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along Highway 118

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CC thought we were going to California

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Marble Lake

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With dreams of magnificent pieces of quartz dancing in our heads the group headed out in search of the abandoned MacDonald Quartz Mine. The Captains usually reliable sense of direction failed miserably on this day as he piloted the group through miles and miles of back country despite DD’s insistence we headed in the wrong direction. A Google search quickly confirmed this and what might have been a short outing turned into a somewhat lengthy excursion. We ultimately did find the trail into the mine however the entrances had been sealed in 2013 and there was little to show for our efforts other than a few small pieces of quartz and of course the opportunity for DD to say I told you so. DD and the Captain had visited the mine in 2011 when the entrances were still open and were quite disappointed that LL and BBB missed out.

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MacDonald Mine 2011

Another repeat adventure for DD and CC was the climb to the Eagles Nest Lookout over Bancroft.

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we didn’t see Harley Hawk Hickman here

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view from the Eagles Nest

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CC marks the spot

Algonquin Park

We headed out early for a full day trip to Algonquin Park. Breakfast at Timmies and we were on our way. A quick pit stop at Del-Mar Cottages at Lake St. Peter on the way to the Park. The same cottages where the Coach and Aud One took the Cowell Kids on summer vacation over 50 years ago still stand and are in use to this day. The Cowell Clan had rented 2 of the cottages in 2011 for a mini family reunion as seen in the pictures below.

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Lake St. Peter 2016

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Lake St. Peter 2011

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the Cowell’s Lake St. Peter 2011

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the Aud One and the at Coach Lake St. Peter 20111

We drove the Park from east to west and back again with numerous stops along the way. BBB had been led to believe that she was guaranteed to see her favourite animal (the moose) during a visit to the park but sadly the moose must have been playing shy as none were sighted. We ate our lunch in the same picnic area at Lake of Two Rivers the Captain remembers form his childhood.

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LL provides nourishment to CC on the long drive

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Totem at east entrance to the Park

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Beaver dam – beaver in water (middle right)

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in the entrance of the Visitors Centre

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look BBB its a moose

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DD claimed to have seen a moose out there – no verification provided

June just may not be the best time of the year to visit the park unless you really, really like black flies and mosquitoes. Seems BBB, LL, and DD don’t but the little pests certainly enjoyed their fill from these three.  One good thing about June though is that the tourist hordes haven’t arrived yet which makes for leisurely viewing of the sites and exhibits.

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picnic at Lake of Two Rivers

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water nymphs ???

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family swim time

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DD got a bit too close for this guys liking

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in front of old lodge site

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nothing much left to see of the lodge

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DD’s Art Deco shot of the week

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The Algonquin Logging Museum

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DD misbehaving

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old bunhhouse

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when men were men??

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an old log squared

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relics along the trail

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log chute

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newer dining hall

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and bunkhouse – one to a bunk

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By stubbs99