Monday, 23 April 2018

Mezzanine DIY project

This 2018 Ford F150 Lariat Supercrew comes equipped with the Pro Trailer Backup Assist perfect for precise trailer parking, simply use the knob to steer the trailer in the direction you want it to go.

This post is in partnership with Ford Canada

As Canadians, the winter thickening of our blood primes us for spring. Now, as the 96th of January passes and the mercury rises out of the negatives, we begin our spring traditions such as cursing Wiarton Willie for perpetually being wrong about when spring will arrive, greeting the warm weather by trying to be the first person in town to wear shorts and a t-shirt, and, of course, spring cleaning.

Spring has always represented the perfect time to start fresh, clean-up around the house and make plans for any household projects. I don't know about you, but I am guilty of having my fair share of projects that have been put on the "never, never" plan.

As you can see from my well-drawn sketch above, storage in my garage was at a premium. I have just recently moved in with my new bride, and with that two houses became one. We needed a solution and I had a plan. You can watch my vision become reality through the Instagram story about this weekend project, below.

The tools needed to complete the job
  • 2018 Ford F150 Lariat Supercrew (very handy to move tools and supplies with it's very large cargo bed. The 360 camera is very useful when trying to squeeze into those tight spots and let's not forget about it's great looks and powerful 2.7L Ecoboost V6 engine)
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Saw (Skill, chop or hand)
  • Drill
  • Hammer drill (for concrete)
  • Impact driver
  • Deck screws (short ones for the plywood, long ones for framing)
  • Six joist hangers for 2x6 joists
  • No. 10 nails
  • Hammer
  • Six 10ft 2x6's
  • Two pieces of half inch plywood

Step 1 - Take gratuitous photo of 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat Supercrew (supplied by our friends at Ford Canada) Not shown but equally as beautiful are two of my favourite features, the air conditioned seats and steering wheel, perfect for those hot and cold days, and the twin panel moonroof that extends over the entire interior bringing the outside in.

Step 2 - Clean the garage and make room for the work to be done. No easy task as we had created quite the little hazard over the winter months.

Step 3 - Pick up lumber from your local lumber yard. I chose 2x6 studs and half inch plywood.

Step 4- Secure the first 2x6 to set the height and secure it to the wall with 3.5 inch deck screws, 4 inch lag bolts and quite a few concrete screws for the concrete block.

Tip: Before securing to the wall check to ensure the board is level.

Step 5 - Attach the joist hangers on the outside (rim) board. Slide 2x6 in the hanger and secure both ends. Make sure the plywood will sit flat on top of the joists,

Tip: It is recommended that you secure the joist hangers with no. 10 nails.  

Step 6 - Complete the framing by attaching the final rim board with 3.5 inch deck screws. 

Step 7 - Measure and cut the plywood. Once the framing is complete, gently toss a sheet of plywood on the frame and make sure it fits as tight to the walls as possible. Run your pencil along the plywood that is overhanging the frame, bring the plywood back down and cut it on the line.

Tip: Don't forget to secure the plywood to the frame with small deck screws once cut to size.

Step 8 - Stand in awe of the wizardry you have performed. We here at Real Man Travels suggest holding a beer while performing this step, now that all the power tools and sharp objects are out of the picture. Remember, if the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Real Man Travels

Sitting around a campfire telling stories is where the first notions of broadcasting our manly stories on the interwebs first occurred. My cheeks hurt as I laughed at another story, I blurted out "We should write a book! Or something like that". I tried to sell the guys on the idea. I knew that we each had our own unique way of telling a story and I knew that people would connect with all of us. The idea was heard but no motion was passed and the night carried on, but the idea never left my head.

In September of 2012 I decided to get the idea out of my head and turn it into something I could build on. I dreamed up the name Real Man Travels, and from there I decided to write and share stories about my past travels and life experiences.

In June 2013, after a few months of proving the idea of a blog not to be a crazy one, I caught a bit of success and it snowballed into Scott, Ed and Sam deciding to join in on the adventure. After we joined forces we became unstoppable and today on September 12, 2017 we will celebrate our 5 year Manniversary.

I'm not sure what's in our future but I am sure that it will be fun.  Cheers to the next 5 years.

Thanks to everyone for following along with our 150 of our favourite Canadian things.

What are 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Maple Taffy and Cheese

Maple taffy on snow instantly reminds me of school trips to the sugar bush, sweet sticky maple goodness wrapped on a stick was our reward for braving the cold days learning about maple syrup production. 

photo credit 
Since my childhood I had always thought that it could not get any better than maple taffy by itself. Those thoughts changed one night at a party in Toronto, it was there that I was offered Canadian cheese wrapped in maple taffy. The sound of it intrigued my curiosity and the salty sweet taste life changing and it left me wanting more. 

Use the recipe below to make your own maple taffy and pick your favourite cheese and serve it up to yourself or at a party. You will not regret it.

photo from

What is 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Beattie's Vodka

The Beattie Family runs their vodka distillery on the same land they have been farming for over 100 years in Alliston, Ontario. Known as Ontario's first farm crafted potato vodka, Beattie's Vodka is unlike any other vodka that I have ever tried, it is silky on the tongue, finishes smoothly and tastes absolutely amazing by itself or with a little splash of cranberry juice.

Why potatoes? The potatoes offer a traditional source of starch which helps to start crafting a classic vodka. Used for centuries in the production of spirits throughout Europe, potatoes produce a most excellent vodka yet requires unique attention to the crafting process. Unlike grain based starch sources, the potato does not release its starches and sugars easily. The results speak for themselves, Beattie's vodka crafting techniques produce one of the most unique vodkas you will ever have tasted.

Fun Fact: For every bottle of Beattie's Vodka sold a portion of sales goes back in to the Beattie's hometown community of Alliston. They have handpicked a few of their favourite local charities and have no plans to ever stop giving back. 

150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Friday, 25 August 2017

Canadian Money

100 Dollar BillThe 100-dollar note was put into circulation through major banks in November 2011, made of a durable polymer instead of the traditional paper notes. The notes are dominantly brown in colour; the front design on the note features former prime minister Sir Robert Borden and the design on the back depicts the discovery of insulin.

50 Dollar Bill  - The 50-dollar note is predominantly red in colour and is printed on polymer. The front features a portrait of former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and the back depicts a research icebreaker from the Canadian Coast Guard,  Amundsen.

20 Dollar Bill The 20-dollar bank is predominantly green in colour and is prrinted on polymer. The front features Queen Elizabeth II and the Vimy Ridge memorial is displayed on the back. 

10 Dollar Bill -The current 2017 ten-dollar note is to commemorate 150 years of our confederacy dominantly purple in colour. The Front of the note features Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir George-√Čtienne Cartier, Agnes Macphail and James Gladstone –  four parliamentarians that played significant roles in Canada’s history. The back of the note tells the story of Canada’s landscapes with images from coast to coast.

5 Dollar Bill - The five-Canadian dollar note, is predominantly blue.The bill features a portrait of Canada's seventh prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier on the front; the back features an astronaut working with Dextre attached to the Canadarm2.

photo from
ToonieThe Canadian two-dollar coin, commonly called the toonie, is the most valuable of the Canadian coins. The toonie is a bimetallic coin which on the reverse side bears an image of a polar bear. The flip side, like all other current Canadian circulation coins, has a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

Loonie - The Canadian one dollar coin, commonly called the loonie, is a gold-coloured one-dollar coin introduced in 1987. It bears images of a common loon, a bird which is common and well known in Canada

Quarter - Short for quarter dollar this coin usually features a Caribou on it's face.

Dime - In Canada, a dime is a coin worth ten cents. The front displays a representation of the Bluenose, a famous Canadian schooner

NickelThe Canadian five-cent coin, commonly called a nickelhad been introduced in 1858 as a small, thin sterling silver coin, that was colloquially known as a "fish scale," not a nickel. Since 1937 the nickel has proudly showcased a beaver sitting on a rock.

photo from
Fun Fact: To Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada, The 2017 Toonie's design is titled 'Dance of the Spirits', and shows a pair of paddlers dwarfed by a night sky alive with the ever-shifting movement of the Aurora Borealis. Thanks to the addition of luminescent material in the ink covering the Aurora, the coin glows in the dark.

What are 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Canadian Fishing TV Shows

I cannot recall anything more relaxing than waking up at a respectable time on Saturday morning grabbing a coffee and sitting down to watch a couple hours of fishing shows in the television. I mean if you can't get out on the water you might as well watch someone else enjoying it

Canadian Sportfishing - Airing for over 3 decades with Fishing Technician host Italo Labignan, Canadian Sportfishing continues to set the standard with our unique show format that educates and entertains viewers both young and old alike.

Bob Izumi's Real Fishing show -  Having your father initiate the first ever Canadian bass tournament is a good way to get introduced into fishing at a young age. That's what happened to Bob Izumi and  in 1983 at a family picnic, a family member brought up the possibility of him starting a fishing television show. The thought of a television show intrigued him. He filmed a pilot episode, and the rest is history

Fish'n Canada - Angelo Viola and Pete Bowman host one of Canada's longest-running fishing shows, Fish'n Canada travels from coast to coast in search of trophy fishing opportunities.

Going Fishing - The reason for the success of Darryl Chororonzey's popular Going Fishing Television Series? The topics he covered each week on Going Fishing - where to go, what to catch, how to catch them - are the topics that interest our viewers. We even instruct our viewers on how to cook a few.

What are 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Grundy Lake Provincial Park

Grundy Lake Provincial Park was established in 1959 to provide some of the best outdoor recreation activities in the popular Georgian Bay tourist area. The park designation has protected the natural values of glacial terrain, dotted with innumerable lakes, a wicked jumping rock, ponds and bogs while retaining its tranquility and solitude. In the early days motorboats were allowed along the waterways, but park visitors now enjoy the quiet natural beauty of the seven lakes within the park boundaries which are off-limits to motorboats.

Grundy Lake is also the birthplace of our our annual "Man of the Year" competition, 5 years of backcountry camping at the park 5 totally different experiences making for some amazing stories. 

What is 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Canada, the Land of Infinite Winter

It has happened to us all, you travel somewhere warm and sunny and someone local asks you where you are from. You proudly tell them you're Canadian.  "Canada!? That must be cold! Do you have snow there?" They ask as they start to shiver, like the word Canada chills them to their core and makes their body temperature drop a degree or two. You try to explain that Canada does see it's fair share of snow but that it is not a land of perpetual winter, despite our horrific ice storms and the odd September snowstorm we do have a summer and it does get hot. Your explanation will not change their mind, but that won't stop you from explaining it to the next person that asks where you are from.

What are 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Monday, 21 August 2017


Promo photo for Letterkenny
It doesn’t get more Canadian than this: six of the actors who co-star in CraveTV’s Canadian comedy Letterkenny met star and creator Jared Keeso in a beer hockey leagueThe show embellishes Canadian small town life in the town of Letterkenny, dividing the town into 4 different social groups. The Hicks, Skids, Hockey Players and Christians. Put those four groups together and you have  a TV show for Canadians that like to laugh at themselves.

photo from

The Hicks have little patience for people who aren't like them, especially the Skids an Hockey players. They generally like to keep to themselves. 

The Hockey Players No one can chirp like a hockey player. They speak exclusively in hockey player slang and are constantly taking the piss out of anyone who crosses their path.

Completely inspired but entirely unmotivated, The Skids are smart but spend their time doing meth and dancing outside the local convenience store. 

There are also The Christians but nobody pays them much mind.

What are 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Tofino, British Columbia

Tofino, British Columbia
By martin bell - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

A popular resort town in the summer, Tofino is Vancouver Island's favorite outdoorsy retreat. It's not surprising that surf fans, families and nature seeking Vancouverites keep coming: packed with activities and blessed with marvelous local beaches, it sits on Clayoquot Sound, where forested mounds rise from roiling, breathtaking waves

What are 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here