MEET YOUR NEIGHBOURS!

Don’t we all grumble occasionally about getting to the cottage?  It could be the stop and go Ottawa traffic on a Friday night or the knuckle whitening traverse through Toronto.  Think about the long drive and hassle of Customs crossings for our American cottagers.  I know that our family has never been crazy about the commute from Windsor.   We all do it because of the glorious final destination…our beloved Farren Lake cottages.

This past summer, my husband Gord, and I embarked on an especially laborious, but unusually memorable trip to the cottage.  We rode our bicycles from Comox, B.C. to our cottage door…a total of 5,200 kilometers!  The journey lasted 70 days with 56 days on the bicycles.  We carried all our gear, cooking up oatmeal each morning, snacking on peanut butter sandwiches along the road and chowing down Ramen noodles and any available veggies at our campsite in the evening.  Each day was a new adventure with an unknown destination, new challenges and amazing surprises.

We coasted down Vancouver Island, earned our climbing legs across southern B.C., sweated through the Okanagan, and powered over the Rockies.  The prairies of Alberta, Sask. and Manitoba offered up endless vistas and excessive heat. We dropped down to the States crossing northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan to travel under Lake Superior before re-entering Canada at Sault Ste. Marie.  We savoured the pine forests and beautiful lakes of northern Ontario but cursed the unending hills.  We experienced mixed feelings as we zigzagged down to Lanark County.   This had been an epic journey.  We were proud to have reached our goal, but sad to let the adventure go.  Our spirits were lifted by a warm welcome from our Farren Lake friends as we cycled to Featherston Lane.  It took awhile to get there, but Farren Lake was where we wanted to be!

Many people have asked what part of the trip was most memorable.  All of us are aware of the awe-inspiring beauty of Canada and the U.S.  The scenery we enjoyed along the way was picture postcard perfect, but it was the kindnesses of strangers that will remain engrained in our hearts.  Helping hands appeared in a multitude of forms, from waking up to a fresh baked loaf of bread on our campsite picnic table to being invited for a delicious home cooked meal by a lady we met in the grocery store parking lot.  We were offered refuge (twice!) from inclement weather by a lovely Dutch couple touring B.C.   A hearty dinner, much needed laundry and a warm bed were provided by a retired couple we met for two minutes at the Michigan Welcome Centre.  To top it off, a fellow cottager allowed us to stay as long as we wanted at his Talon Lake retreat while he and his wife flew out to Edmonton…”enjoy and lock the doors when you leave”…amazing!

This particular trip to the cottage was long and challenging, but also a heartening testament to the goodness of every day folks.  Each day revealed another opportunity to give and receive.  Although we did most of the receiving on this journey, we are determined to “pay it forward”.

Kris & Gord McDonald

310 Featherston Lane


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