Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for June, 2006

Nothing Runs Like It!

The weekend round-up…

Friday: My brother and I hopped in the car to drive up to Southwestern Quebec to visit our parents for Father’s Day. I opted to sleep down the road at our cottage, and was well-rewarded with a true Ottawa-Valley Thunderstorm. Rain came down like nails on the tin roof and the thunder made all the old glass panes shake in their loose fittings.

Saturday: I took my dad into Ottawa to get his birthday and Father’s Day presents. He introduced me to his new favourite store (and now it’s one of of mine); Lee Valley Tools. On our way back home, we picked up my grandma to bring her back for the rest of the weekend.

Again, I spent the night down at the cottage only this time it was the frogs who serenaded me all night. Despite the heat and humidity (or maybe because of it), I’ve never seen so many bugs around the house. Thousands of mosquitoes, black flies, moths and assorted winged things that either bite or crawl on you.

Rather than sit out enjoying the stars while the mosquitoes enjoyed me, I watched Edmonton rock Carolina. Game 7 is tonight!

Sunday: I did some cleaning and prep at the cottage for Canada Day Weekend, and headed to my parents to use their drying line to handwash my funky-smelling tent. Between washing the tent in the yard, and riding around on my dad’s new John Deere lawn-tractor, I got my first sweet back-sunburn of the 2006 season. It’s just a basecoat.

We held off on heading home until later in the afteroon in the hopes that things would cool off a little… but they didn’t. It was a toasty drive home. [I’m not awake yet, so I hope all this makes sense]


Algonquin Trip: Day Four

Porridge in a pot is a pretty good way to start a cool and overcast day (even if it is insanely early), and with our bellies full, we struck out on the water for our last portage. Easy as pie. When we hit the water again, we were back in Rain Lake right near the island where we camped the first night.

We headed to the island to take a group shot by the chimney ruins and we were back in the water in no time. Rain Lake turned out to be a longer paddle than any of us remembered, but the day was warming up, and the wind dying down, so it was one of our nicer paddles all weekend.

Nearly within sight of our cars… BAM… out comes the sun. What a jerk, eh?

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Zwei LinkenFuss’ Premiere Match

It appears as though the Catholic School heard we were coming, and turned the sprinklers on the field to keep away the riff-raff. Or… they’re just getting the field set for our games later in the season. Either way, we headed across the street to the field at Jarvis Collegiate to play.

I use the term ‘field’ loosely. It’s certainly not a soccer pitch, nor is it a football field. I’m sure at one time it was both, but now it’s just a dustbowl (I’ll avoid a Grapes of Wrath reference for the second post in a row). In the end we had seven ZLFs show up (me, Karim, Jared, Matt, Joel, Andrew and Kristina) and we played against a group of about 8 guys who were there looking for a game.

The played a pretty physical game, but we played far better than I would’ve expected. Once our lungs get used to dusty air and our legs get used to… doin’ stuff, I’m sure we’ll be kicking ass and taking names.

We might play these same guys each week, but if we can get enough people together, it’d be sweet to have a full game on our own. Come and check it out next week, and bring your friends! If you’re intimidated by our skill level, just come out and watch and you’ll see you have nothing to fear. Fans are always welcome too.

We’ll probably start a post-game tradition of heading to a local pub (there’s a place with a great patio on Jarvis) for some refreshments, so you could always get in on that too.

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Algonquin Trip: Day Three

We got up at a good time, ate some tasty pancakes and started to break camp in a very chilly light rain. Because of the forecast, we were quite confident it would be short-lived. We were wrong.

After a short paddle we hit our first portage. 65m with a bit of a grade wasn’t bad, but by now, the bugs were out in force. We were really hauling. This portage ended with steep decline on rock that was covered in wet pine needles. For some strange reason, not one person fell.

A quick paddle across a pond and we were at portage number two. 570m isn’t too bad… unless the first 100 metres are straight up. We just kept climbing and climbing and climbing… I was keeping my eyes peeled for the Von Trapps.

Another short paddle across a pond and we hit portage number three. This is the one that will go down in the record books. It’s not that it was 635m, because the terrain on the portage wasn’t so bad. It’s that it ended in a shallow bog. So we had to walk out about 250 yards on floating ‘land’ before it started to sink into mire and muck. It was still too shallow to float the canoe loaded with gear, so we had to wade out (keep in mind it’s still raining and FREEZING cold) up to our knees (some of us, higher) to get the canoes out. Even then, once you were in, you had to push the canoe out of the goop with your paddle. Hard bloody work.

Portage four came at the end of a short lake, in a swamp. It wasn’t too bad. There was a channel through the swamp, but we had to pull the canoes over some obstacles. The map claimed it was a 40m portage, but I think that’s just their smallest unit of measurement. It was about 40 feet.

So here we are, wiped out from the bog, soaked to the bone, and shivering but we landed on a good site, and after I rigged a makeshift molotov cocktail out of my socks and some Coleman fuel, we had a roaring fire in the pouring rain. Some of the more enterprising (I guess that means ‘dry’) guys took down a standing dead tree and we cut it up for dry firewood.

Finally, we got all the tents up and started drying out our clothes and gear by the fire when the rain subsided and we got a few brief peeks of sun. We spent most of the evening kicking around our site, or sitting painfully close to the firepit for warmth and dryness. We had rigged some makeshift drying lines all around our firepit and kitchen, and it was starting to look like a makeshift ‘Okie’ camp from The Grapes of Wrath.

After some cigars and fireworks, we all went to bed hoping our last day would finally be sunny and warm.


The Beautiful Game

It’s Soccer Night in Canada! If you’ve been watching the World Cup and thinking “Phbbt, I can do that!” then tonight is your chance to prove it! I’ve updated the official Zwei LinkenFuss FC website with directions to our top secret field (which, I guess is no longer top secret).

The Crest

If you’re in TO, you should drop by and play for a while. It might be a good idea to bring some water and a spare soccer ball if you have one. We’ll play with the best ball that shows up.

NOTE: The crest and images on the site are all courtesy of Karim and Big Time Design. You should hire them for all your design needs!


Algonquin Trip: Day Two

At 5:30 I was stirred awake by people talking a few feet from my tent. Being the lightest sleeper on earth, I was forced out of bed to find Daniel and Duncan shivering by the fire trying to block themselves from the wind. They had spent the night in a large tent with a broken main door flap, so the wind had been buffeting them all night. Poor guys.

For the next few hours, we chatted around the fire and waited for the sun in the hopes that it would kill off the cold. When it finally showed up, it was still bloody cold, so we all ate breakfast, broke camp and headed off down the lake to our only portage for the day.

1810 metres from Rain Lake to Little McCraney Lake. I could probably make the portage sound really dramatic (because it was so long), but it was a breeze. Almost perfectly flat and straight. Mind you, this was where the mosquitoes had been hiding. In no time at all, we’d hit the water and after a brief paddle through the lake and a small channel, we hit the whitecaps of McCraney Lake.

Six canoes all latched together, and thanks to a tailwind and a little UW ingenuity, a large tarp became a surprisingly functional sail. They wouldn’t have won The America’s Cup, but it beat paddling all the way down the lake to our island.

When we hit shore, we opted to set up camp on the lee side to get out of the wind, and what a great decision that was. All afternoon we bathed and napped in the sun without the icy wind howling at us.

For dinner, we had pasta and garlic bread flavoured with TEN bulbs of garlic. Not cloves… bulbs. I think I’m still burping it up. The food was great, and we spent the evening sitting around the fire singing, talking and making fun of David Suzuki.

We all went to bed warm and with full bellies and had a great night’s sleep… which was a good thing, because the worst was yet to come…

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Algonquin Trip: Day One

After hauling my gear from Union Station to Yorkdale Mall, I had a little nap while I waited for my ride. With two full backpacks, a paddle and two drybags, going to the washroom is trickier than you’d think, so I paid a kid a dollar to watch my gear. Thanks, kid.

Fast forward to arriving at so-called Rain Lake in the dark. Four of us with two canoes were meeting another 12 guys on an island somewhere up-lake. The sky was crazy overcast, but the moon was so full that we had a TONNE of ambient light. It turns out that we needed it. We had a wicked strong headwind and a strong current fighting us all the way out to the windiest island that has ever been windy.

The island site was large with a giant chimney on it (from a former cabin) and the firepit was nicely situated in the windiest part of the site. I met most of the guys whom I hadn’t met before, set up my tent, sat by the water for a bit enjoying being out of the city, and when I went to bed at 2am, there were flurries.

Cold air + down sleeping bag = a good night’s sleep… usually. I would sleep only three and a half hours.


These Are the People in my Neighbourhood

When you have a lawn and driveway, you sometimes find yourself in the awkward position of having to tell someone not to do something on either of them. For example, maybe kids play soccer on your lawn and trample your petunias, or perhaps a neighbour uses your driveway to practice burnouts with his motorcycle.

These are not the types of things that happen in our neighbourhood. Not by a longshot. Last night after poker, I had to politely ask an older gentlemen with his pants around his ankles not to to defecate on our driveway. Still, it’s not like monday when I was portaging my camping gear from the streetcar to my house and I passed the alley two doors down from our place. Standing in the alley was a man in his twenties wearing a jacket, some tighty-whities and black socks lighting up his crackpipe.

I wonder how Norman Rockwell would have painted the kingdom around Pembroke Castle…


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