Day 1: Saturday, September 12

Time for the adventure to begin!

First Stop: Orillia

We brought our bags downstairs to the parking garage and stowed everything in the vehicle. We departed our place at 10:00AM, bound for Orillia. The gas tank was only about 1/3 full so we first had to gas up at the Esso Circle K on Parliament Street. From there we took the DVP up to Finch Avenue, then across Finch to Highway 400. As luck would have it, we hit MASSIVE construction on Finch Avenue West, bumper to bumper almost all the way across. We were still sitting in gridlocked traffic at 11:20 but it eventually started moving; it was about 11:30 before we did finally hit the 400 and make some time. The traffic was very heavy up the 400, with an accident on the southbound side and traffic bunching up for part of the route.

We reached Orillia at about 12:45. We found Carol’s place courtesy of the SUV’s GPS, and brought up some things we had for her. We embraced our good friend (still with our COVID masks on), and love-bombed Pippin and Abigail – so good to see all our dear friends again!! Vicki was not at home for our visit, though, as she was at a dog spa getting some much-needed exercise.

The three of us left Carol’s place at about 1:40 and went to Orillia’s Mariposa Market – what a wonderful place! We had a delicious lunch in the dining room there, complete with Texas Donuts! (in case you’ve never heard of a Texas Donut before, it’s basically a rich donut, roughly the size of Cleveland, which could feed a family of four for a week).

After lunch we went into the Market area and walked around taking everything in – quite crowded (given current COVID restrictions) but interesting:

While at Mariposa Market, Carol had to pick up a large order for Janet’s birthday later that day, so we helped her retrieve it and bring it back to the car.

Using the trusty GPS, we went from Mariposa Market to Matthew and Tina’s place. We met Matthew and Janet (with our masks on) at the curb, unloaded all the goodies, chatted for a while, then left Carol with her family (and social distancing bubble).

Again using the GPS, Vince and I left Matthew and Tina’s place and went to our hotel, the Stone Gate Inn, to check in. We found the place fairly easily and checked in… hhmmmm… definitely not like it was pictured on the web; it had kind of a tired air about the place. The room itself (#411) was not bad, though – it had a mini-kitchen with sink, microwave, fridge, coffee maker and king-size bed, so all was well [if you’d like to read my TripAdvisor review of the Stone Gate Inn, click here].

We unpacked a little, then walked down Laclie Street to the Couchiching lakefront. After exploring the harbour we sat for a long time, unwinding and taking in the view:

Earlier in the day, Matthew had recommended a lakefront restaurant called Studabakers, which happened to be opposite of where we were sitting, so we went there for our evening meal. Sitting outside we enjoyed some really delicious food combined with great service. Very nice:

Studabakers patio

At about 7:00PM we made our way back to the hotel via the lakefront, then up to Laclie Street, and back to the Stone Gate Inn, getting in about 7:45. We finished unpacking and generally sorted ourselves out. We each read and web surfed for a while and I got caught up on this journal. We were both pretty tired from our first day of travel, so it was off to bed at about 9:30.

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