The last legs of our cross-Canada trip came at a slower pace. After skirting the northern shores of Lakes Superior and Huron (lots of trees) in a series of one-night stops, we landed for two nights in one place and four nights in the next. We had a whole apartment near Heather’s sister Alison’s house. The place was OK, since the wooden stairs to the bedroom was so slippery that Heather had to carry me up and down like I was Queen Nefertiti. (Heather slipped once, though, which wasn’t so funny.) One day many people from Heather’s family came over, which was cool with me because there were a lot of leftovers and more plates to lick, not to mention random chips falling on the floor.
My visit to meet Alison’s new puppy Sadie didn’t go nearly as well. She was only six months old and not very socialized to other dogs, so she was all over me and didn’t know how to set limits. After we rolled around for a minute and she wouldn’t back off, cooler heads decided to keep us apart on this trip; Sadie was in the yard and I was in the house, or vice-versa. That worked a lot better. It was pretty hot while we were there, too, so we took our daily walks mostly around the neighborhood in the early morning, but we did get to complete another leg of the Thornton-Cookstown Trans-Canada Trail before we left. We still have a ways to go.
Our final stop before reaching Syracuse rated No. 1 on my list of favorite places on this journey to the East. We stayed at a house being rented by Heather’s sister, my Aunt Robin, and her partner Barry in Cobourg, Ontario, about an hour east of Toronto on the shore of Lake Ontario. Thankfully, there was a fence and tall hedge between their back yard and the beach, so I wasn’t constantly subjected to the sight and sound of waves lapping up the shoreline. Ever since Heather took me down to the beach on Puget Sound during a storm many years ago, just the thought of water rushing toward me gives me the creeps. Rivers and boats are OK, but not lakes and oceans.
Other than that big lake in front of it, this house had everything I’m looking for in a quality back yard It was totally fenced in, mostly flat and full of lush, green lawn and pockmarked with the dens of squirrels and chipmunks. For me, this was like going to a relaxing health spa with unlimited buffets dining and top-line entertainment. I got to chase my ball for the first time since we left Seattle, and I was allowed off leash to explore the yard and flop anywhere I wanted to — at least until I dug a hole in the middle of the lawn while in pursuit of a burrowing chipmunk. Aunt Robin wasn’t smiling when she took a shovelful of dirt from a garden and filled in the hole I dug. I was on a strict “no dig” policy after that.
Frankly, I could have stayed there in that back yard for the rest of the summer, but duty called: We had to get back to the good ol’ U.S.A. Each one of us had discovered something we missed. For Mike, it was ESPN. For Heather, it was a good cup of coffee and NCIS marathons. And for me, Peanut Butter Boneys that are frozen in a hollow marrow bone instead of the tiny plastic cups I’ve been getting on the road. I want my PBB!