Wednesday, 17 June, 2009 - Not much new or exciting since my last report. Probably the most interesting thing we did was later that day after I posted the entry below, we went for a drive around some of the back roads in the region, roads we hadn’t traveled before. And I do mean back roads, as in unpaved and narrow, which accounts for why we had previously avoided them. However, I was feeling adventurous and thought I’d see what they were like and except for the dust that gets stirred up by the truck and tires, the roads were actually nicer and smoother than many of the paved secondary roads.
We didn’t see much that was notable, but the countryside was pretty. It’s mostly rolling terrain west of here with farms and trees. We ended up in the town of Perth, called by some, "the prettiest town in Ontario," and might well be. It is quite distinctive and we like to visit there from time to time.
We’ve also had a few sunrises lately worth photographing, with some gorgeous days following. This is the kind of weather we’re supposed to have up here at this time of year. About time.
Otherwise, the most exciting thing I did was yesterday when I ripped apart my old laptop computer to salvage the hard drive out of it and ripping the unit apart is not an overstatement. Apple buried it inside the guts of the computer, requiring about a zillion tiny little screws be removed and, of course, three of them refused to cooperate and had to be drilled out. End result was destruction beyond repair, so it’s a good thing it was scrap anyway and a good thing the hard drive had never needed replacing. The new models offer just the opposite, insanely easy access to the hard drive.
The one I extracted yesterday is now in a little external enclosure and has been working without fail for hours now, so once I make sure I’ve gotten all the files off of it (the laptop would run for a short while, but never long enough to get all the files copied off of it), I’ll reformat it and will have another 80GB of data storage.
The photo above is a closeup of an iris that's in one of the flower beds here. As always, Tranquil Acres has quite an assortment of flowers growing here and there, so I never have to go far to find a photo waiting to be taken.
For Sandra's account of the last few days and her photos, click here.
For the photos I've posted so far from our return to Ontario, click here.
We Do Morris Island
Friday, 12 June, 2009 - Yesterday midmorning the clouds started to clear, so we decided to take advantage of having a sunny break and headed for the Morris Island Conservation Area, a very scenic group of islands along the south bank of the Ottawa River, 45 minutes north of here.
However, we were about halfway there when, of course, it started to cloud up again, but we went on anyway and for most of the time at Morris Island had a dense upper atmospheric haze with scattered clouds below it, so at best we had a grey sky with weak watery sunlight filtering through.
My main interest was in photographing dragonflies, something we've usually found in abundance there, and to also try carrying both cameras with me as we hiked the trails. It is this kind of photo op that requires a lot of lens swapping and that creates the risk of getting dust on the sensor of a digital single lens reflex camera which is something best avoided and having the wide angle zoom lens on one camera and the telephoto zoom lens on the other does just that.
We arrived at Morris Island around noon, had the picnic lunch Sandra packed for us, and walked along the causeway where dragonflies can usually be found, and yesterday was no exception, and then hiked a trail we hadn't been on before that gave some good views of the islands and river.
Although the light was less than ideal for photography, the temperature was about as good as it gets (mid 70sF, mid 20sC), so it ended up being quite an enjoyable outing.
Click here for a map of the drive.
For Sandra's account of the day and her photos, click here.
For the photos I've posted so far from our return to Ontario, click here.
An Eventful Week In Eastern Ontario
Sunday, 7 June, 2009 - By our standards, the week since my last report was fairly eventful and not all of the events were good ones.
A Real Letdown
It actually all started the evening before posting that report when coming back from the hot dog social I noticed the truck's left rear tire was almost flat. I managed to get it pumped back up to a drivable inflation by using the little air compressor we carry just for such occasions and then bright and early the next morning took it into the nearby Canadian Tire store to have them look at it and as I suspected they would, they found a screw had punctured the tire and was causing a fairly slow leak.
They successfully plugged the tire and got us back on the road and I thought that was the end of it until later that day while barreling down the freeway driving into Ottawa to visit Margie and John, the front left tire went flat! Two flats in two days! I was not happy. Flat tires are such a letdown.
I managed to safely get the truck through traffic and over onto the shoulder of the road where we called Emergency Road Service (ERS) and then waited more than an hour for the ERS truck to arrive. I suppose if it had been a life or death situation I could have fumbled around and managed to get the spare tire mounted, but such a thing isn't as easy on a one-ton truck as it is on a car, I mean I can’t even get the truck’s hub caps off, so not wanting to risk damaging anything, we waited.
After the ERS guy eventually arrived, the first thing he said was that he hoped he had the right tool to get the hub cap off, which made me glad I hadn’t tried it myself. He did have the proper tool and in fairly short order had the spare mounted, which was soft but still had enough air in it to get us to the nearest air pump.
Having canceled our visit with Margie and John, we returned home and the next morning I took the truck into the Dodge dealer in nearby Smiths Falls where our second punctured tire was deemed safe to drive on and was plugged. However, the service personnel pointed out that the tires were not the correct ones for a heavy duty pickup truck but were rated only for passenger vehicles such as SUVs! It just amazes me that in the two years we've had those tires no other Dodge dealer (and we've been to a lot of them) had pointed this out.
When the tires had been replaced two years ago by a Dodge dealer in Kingston, Ontario, I had told them to put the same kind on the truck as had been there because I was quite happy with those tires until their tread had worn down over a three year period. I never checked exactly what was there and assumed the dealer had done as I had asked. Bad assumption. At a casual glance, the tires had looked the same, however the Dodge dealer in Smiths Falls said the replacement tires were ‘P’ tires (Passenger) and the truck needed ‘LT’ tires (Light Truck). What a difference a letter or two makes.
As it turns out, I had been considering having the tires replaced anyway because not only would we now be driving on two plugged tires, but they were also worn down to the point I had already been getting concerned about them since we have a long trip to Lake Superior planned and I didn’t like the thought of tire problems developing in a remote area like that when such problems are bad enough in a heavily populated area, so we ordered new tires on Tuesday and they were installed on Thursday.
However, the day before the new tires were installed we had to go into Ottawa to run some errands and a final blood test for me and while in the city I decided we should drop by Henry’s Camera Store to check out the Canon Rebel T1i, a recently released 15 megapixel DSLR camera that I’ve been keeping my eye on, but didn’t want to be one of its early adopters, people who just have to have the latest and greatest and usually end up being the ones who suffer from the design bugs that all too often appear in new models.
However, few problems have been showing up with the T1i and since Henry’s has a 14-day no-questions-asked return policy and we would be leaving for Lake Superior in a couple of weeks, it occurred to me that buying a T1i on that day would be the prudent thing to do. If the camera did have a problem, I could simply return it before we left for Lake Superior and if it worked as advertised, then I would have a better camera for what I’m hoping will be a worthwhile photo excursion.
So we did stop at Henry’s and did buy a T1i, so now I have two decent cameras (a still very good older one and a new better one) and on occasions when a lot of lens swapping will likely to be needed, instead I’ll just put lenses on both cameras and carry them both and have no need to change lenses, which would make me a two-fisted shooter.
And, of course, that evening we had to go out for an evening drive so I could try out the new camera and all went well with it. The photo above left of a red-winged blackbird in flight was taken with it.
However, two weeks isn’t a long time to wring out a sophisticated, albeit entry level DSLR, so I decided to waste no time putting it to a real test by going on a serious photoshoot and thought the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum would be a suitable place for just such a thing. So I contacted my friend Jim, a fellow photographer who now lives near Ottawa and who I had been talking with about going on a photoshoot together, and he agreed to meet me there Friday at opening time. Actually, we met early at a coffee shop and got to the heritage village shortly after they opened.
The village proved to be quite interesting and I was glad to have finally seen it. It is near the first RV park we stayed at on our return to Ontario in April, but circumstances at that time never allowed me to see the place before we moved to Carleton Place.
The new camera performed well and so far I see no reason to return it.
We Hit The Trail
Saturday we finally made it to Margie and John’s where we had lunch and were pleased that both Nick and Danica were able to show up as well.
From there it was off to see the doctor for the results of the blood test taken earlier in the week, the results of which were all fine, and after that we stopped at the Jack Pine Trail for a hike and weren’t disappointed with the wildlife we saw there, actually having a deer walk across the trail in front of us. We saw few birds of any real interest (just the usual robins, red-winged blackbirds, and a blue jay), but in addition to the deer we did see countless red squirrels, quite a few chipmunks, a muskrat, a cooperative butterfly, and a number of mallards, including a family of their ducklings. No rare wildlife, but still wildlife and enough of it to give the new camera its second real workout.
For Sandra's account of the week and her photos, click here.
For the photos I've posted so far from this year's stay in Ontario, click here.
For Older News
To read details of our previous stops and camps, visit the News Archives.
Updated Monday, June 29, 2009
Copyright © 2009 by Gordon L Wolford .
All rights reserved.