Thursday, July 7, 2011

Life, Love, and Laughter in Canada

About an hour outside of Chicago the roads turned to Hell.  There were construction cones as far as the eye could see.  Instead of a two-lane highway, the road was split into two single lanes divided by paving equipment.  The sign above read, “Welcome to Pure Michigan.”  It fit.

The Grotto
Construction zones aside, I had a nice trip to Canada with my girlfriend Amy.  We made our annual 12-hour drive up to Barrow Bay to spend time with her family.  The weekend was full of good food, great laughs, and new memories with old friends.  

John and I swimming across the bay.
To kick it all off, Amy’s cousin John and I decided we would swim across the bay.  We never got a straight answer on what the exact distance is.  The best guess anyone had was that it’s “about a thumb length on the map.”  We never found said map.  Anyway, it took us about 45 minutes to swim it. Amy, her brother Trevor, and her cousin Scott followed along in canoes. 

“We’ll sing some motivational songs,” Amy said.  Trevor started into Under the Sea.  Amy was quick to remind him that the goal was to stay above the sea (or lake in our case). We all laughed.

The water had to be around 60 degrees.  I didn’t think we would make it further than 100 yards before getting too cold and turning back.  We made it though and it felt great!  About halfway through we had worked up a sweat and the water just seemed refreshing.  Once we reached the other side it was a different story.  We were so numb that we could barely walk up the slippery limestone sheets that line the shore.  We hitched a ride back to where we started.  Everyone hit the sauna after dinner.

Making a splash at The Grotto.
The following day we played a few group games ala Minute To Win It.  I learned that I could place a cookie on my forehead and get it into my mouth without using my hands.  That’s my kinda summer school. We also got in a few games of bags and ladder golf.  After that we were back on the water – this time in a speedboat.  A few of the cousins took turns water skiing, wakeboarding, and kneeboarding.  I had never been kneeboarding before and gave it a shot.  Getting up and into the glide was harder than I thought it would be, but I managed to get a couple of spins in.  Joey stole the show though, blowing kisses and waving to the crowd on the shore.  He'll work in entertainment someday.  The water was still freezing.  After my turn I was back in the boat with a drink in hand, cuddling close with Amy as we headed back for the harbor.  She's my best friend.  Time with her, a little music, and a quick adrenaline rush is all I need.

On the third day we all went cliff jumping at The Grotto in one of Canada’s National Parks.  Some people took the boat up and anchored offshore.  The other group drove up and hiked out to it after parking.  We had been to The Grotto once before and I knew I had to bring my GoPro Hero if we ever went out there again.  Unfortunately I neglected to charge the battery before leaving and could only shoot the first few jumps.  Oh well, another reason to go back I suppose :-)


(Right: swallowed by cold water after taking a dive.
 Below: Joe swims up for air and warm sunlight.)

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