Monday, 29 April 2013

Marten River Drinking Game


Mike and Dustin Checking out the Big Fish
     A couple of years ago my friends and I had the most amazing campsite on the Shores of Marten River Provincial Park. The site was perfect with beautiful river views and a view of Highway 11. On our last night of camp we invented this drinking game. It turned out to be the most relaxing drinking game ever. All we had to do was sit around a wonderful campfire with ice cold drinks and watch the highway traffic go by as we reminisced about the past.

Amazing Campsite!  What a day!

WARNING! Drinking too much is silly. It is all fun and games, until your feeding the chipmunk’s at 3 am.

With that being said here are the rules for The Marten River Drinking Game :

Rule 1) if you see a car go by, it's one gulp of beer. 

Rule 2) if you see a transport truck pass by, then take 2 gulps of beer.

Rule 3) if a Motorcycle went by it was 5 gulps of beer. (This happened twice)

View of Highway 11 from campsite
     After an hour had passed I had drank 10 beers. Which happened to be way over my hourly limit of 3. I knew it was time for bed when I attempted to stand. I was a bit shaky and I had to sit back down.  I tried one more time this time making a few steps before I missed a step landed face down in the dirt.

   "Are you alright Willy?" My friends asked me while chuckling. "Yeah I'm good. Nothing damaged but my pride" I said as I picked myself up off the ground and started to stagger towards my travel trailer. Almost made it, when BAM! .. "Son of a @#@#@!!!" I walked right into the open window stabbing me in my right shoulder. My friend’s chuckles grew into hysterical laughter, so much that even I started to laugh. This drinking game was AWESOME.

     Maybe try it out sometime?


Monday, 22 April 2013

Making Dreams Come True at Disney World

 Making Dreams Come True At Disney World

Let me set the scene... BUZZ LIGHTYEAR.

 I  used  to hear "To infinity and beyond!" about 14 times a day on average. I would step on little aliens twice a week. The worst had to be when the toys would talk by themselves, at night in the dark, just to freak you out it seems.

My youngest daughter LOVED Buzz Lightyear! And when we went to Disney World we set up a chance for her to meet Buzz and hopefully have a classic moment that we could cherish forever.(like in the commercials) Check it out and tell me if you think that's what we got!


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

New York City

NYC Skyline taken from Hoboken NJ

    Have you been to New York City? Where did you stay? How did you get around?

    When I went to New York with my family we decided our legs were our best mode of transpotation, even though 6 of our 10 legs happened to be pretty small, but that was the way it was having 3 daughters under 5. After all walking is one of the best things you can do with your family and it was a good/cheap way to get around and see the sights on a budget.  I'll share with you how I spent a lovely afternoon with my family walking 37 blocks of New York's Concrete Jungle.

    It was a beautiful Saturday in May. We stayed in Hoboken NJ to save some money. After looking at all of our options of getting  to Manhattan, we took the Path transportation underneath the Hudson River to the very surprisingly busy and a little bit confusing streets of New York City, our plan was to walk as far as we could towards 5th Avenue and Central Park in hopes to take a carriage ride in Central Park

FDNY Crews in Times Square
     After we gathered our bearings and asked which direction to go, we took in the view, of the very tall Empire State Building (look wayyyyy up). We pointed our noses towards Times Square and walked in baby steps. We stopped at a souvenir shop so I could get a NYC Snow globe. Then Continued the trek of 36 more blocks. Sounds completely crazy I know, but that day my kids were great, they walked their little hearts out. When we finally reached Times Square there was so much to look at and take in all at once. There was a movie being filmed, there was FDNY Hazmat squad at one building, so many distractions but we stuck to our plan and kept moving, passing a gentlemen’s club with a large black man at the door. He seen that I had 3 daughters and gave me a sympathetic "how are you" head nod or the "man you are screwed in 10 years" head nod, I'm not sure which one it was, I get them mixed up all the time.

Time Square Banner Art
     All jokes aside we went down a side street just past the Disney Store, after spotting a Tim Horton’s! (O Canada!) this is no joke we grabbed some Coffee and Bagels, just like we were at home. We walked a block or 2 over to 5th avenue and much to my surprise we ended up walking right past Rockefeller Center and more important to me the place where Kevin finds his Mom in Home Alone 2!
      When we made it to 5th avenue we passed massive Churches that had weddings in progress (really neat).  We were nearly 2 blocks from Central Park and I thought that it was almost time to celebrate our journey was near its end and my feet were sore. I said to my daughters "Lets buy you guys a shirt from a 5th avenue shop!" with all the fancy stores around you might think I am nuts! Well no i am not fully nuts (just a little). We bought "I Love NYC" shirts right on the corner of 5th avenue, off of a street vendor for 10 bucks a shirt! (haha)
Girls Showing off their new Shirts
     When we made our way into the park the Movie scenes started flashing through my head. It was movie geek heaven! The kids who were very good the whole way had become tired of walking,  just in time for the long awaited carriage ride. The price for a Carriage Ride was $50 cash plus tip. It is a very unique thing to do, the weather was perfect and the kids loved it. For me I thought the movies make it look a lot more romantic and was a little dissapointed. However, I was still very happy we went on the ride and I will never forget it.

After the Carriage Ride I spotted an empty cab and paid the driver 25 bucks to get us back to the PATH station. Talk about an adventure! That cab ride was wild! We spotted 3 cool things during the cab ride. 1. Broadway Ave. lit up like a circus. 2. A S.W.A.T. Team running into a building. 3. A NYPD cop directing traffic with Aviator Sunglasses on. (Classic)

Overall we had a great day in NYC. Here is a look at what we spent - What we spent for the day - $20, path tokens Hoboken to NYC. $10, Snow Globe. $10, Tim Hortons. $30, I LOVE NYC kids shirts. $50 plus tip, Horse and Carriage Ride at Central Park. $25 Thrilling Cab Ride from Central Park to Path Station. Overall $150 spent.

If you decide to walk - Tips for Walking distances with kids - A few things you will need are Sense of humor, Patience,  A Plan, A Backup Plan in case of bad weather, Water, food, sunscreen and lots of breaks, dont make it seem like work. Keep them busy by pointing out different things.

A little fun fact - What took us 3 hours to walk took 12 minutes by cab. 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Coolest Email I Have Ever Received

Thats Hopefully Me With My New Tilley Hat! Can't Wait

   Last week I received the best email I have ever received it was a letter from the TBEX Press trips and tours group explaining that I had been accepted for A World Class Fly Fishing Trip in Sault Ste Marie and Algoma Ontario Canada. I thought I was reading it wrong, as most applications sent out returned with a thank you, then they would let you down easy. This one thanked me and had great news. Right after TBEX in Toronto, I’ll be flying via Porter Airlines to the "Soo". Here Is the Description they gave me and what the start of June looks like for Real Man Travels.

  After you land in beautiful Sault Ste Marie, your heart will be captured by the small
community feel of this urban centre. Located at the heart of two of the greatest Great
Lakes, Huron and Superior, this pivotal location has given Sault Ste Marie the immense
pleasure of being home to one of the best fly fishing areas in the rapids under the
International Bridge to the U.S.

  After a full day of fishing, you can enjoy all of the amenities this urban centre has to offer,
wonderful cuisine, and accommodations fit for a king! But your fly fishing adventure has only
just begun! A day will be spent in Algoma, one of the most pristine and beautiful regions in our
province. Upon departing from the "Sault" you will be met with the sights, sounds and smells of
this great tourism landscape. Highway 17 from Sault Ste Marie to Wawa, has the
designation of one of the top ten drives in Canada as the highway follows the beautiful coastline
of Lake Superior.

  You will meet your guide, today in one of the bays on Lake Superior and your guide will take you
to fish in one of the many streams that feed into the big lake. Two fly fishing experiences; urban
where you can walk from a shopping centre to your fishing spot in ten minutes, then a full day
enjoying the majesty of Lake Superior. Don't miss out on the Algoma Fly Fishing Adventure

DAY 1 Monday June 3, 2013
Depart Toronto via Porter on the 3:45 PM flight to Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. Enjoy an evening in
Sault Ste Marie by visiting the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, a world class museum
where you can learn the importance of aviation to Northern Ontario history.
Overnight Sault Ste Marie
DAY 2 Tuesday June 4, 2013 Spend the day fly fishing under the International Bridge in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. This world class fishery is only a short walk from our largest mall!
Overnight Sault Ste Marie
DAY 3 Wednesday June 5, 2013 Travel by vehicle along the beautiful shores of Lake Superior, where you can see the sights that have given this drive the acclamation of being one of the top ten drives in Canada.
Stop along the shores of Lake Superior for your guided trip to fly fish in the streams that flow into Lake Superior.
Overnight in Batchawana Bay
The Next day I will fly back to Toronto, should be fun considering I haven't Fly fished in a while! I'll keep you up to date with more fun stuff happening this year! Stay tuned!

Monday, 1 April 2013

The Number 1 Craziest thing I Have Ever Done

                        #1 Becoming a Volunteer Firefighter

That's me #28 and Yes that fire was HOT!
        Many of you already may know this about me. But for those of you who don't, I am a Volunteer Firefighter going into my 13th year of service, I am a proud second generation firefighter with My Dad having 32 years of service and is my Stations District Chief. I am also lucky to have my brother Sam on the department as well. We have a very busy station, on average we run 365 plus fire calls a year, plus weekly training, public education and equipment maintenance(Then our full time jobs and families ). Our emergency calls ranging from Medical Emergencies and Motor Vehicle collisions to full blown structure fires. In my 13 years I have seen and done a lot of crazy things. One thing stands out to me, one memory so vivid and haunting I can actually feel the adrenaline rush as pride starts to tingle throughout my body.

     I felt like I was on top of the world everything had worked out right, the adrenaline was pumping so fast in my veins. I started to get undressed to go check on my partner as another guy started to help me get my gear off, he had a huge smile on his face as I told him what had happened up in the apartment, then as I took off my mask his smile changed to a look of concern. He said, "Chris, you took on smoke" Stunned by what I just heard I replied "What!? I did?." I said as I looked in a mirror. I grabbed a bottle of water and splashed it on my face and rubbed the soot marks from around my face and nose, as if to pretend it didn't happen. I felt sick to my stomach, I wanted to throw up...                    
                                                               Twenty Minutes Earlier

   Long Weekend Monday in September about 4:00 in the afternoon, our station received a call for a structure fire with occupants still inside, just off the main street. I made it to the station to make the Aerial, it happened to be the last truck leaving the hall. My heart was pumping big time as I grabbed my gear and hopped into the tight back seat space. I knew it was going to be tough to get dressed quickly but that day for some reason it went smooth and I was fully dressed by the time the 5 minute drive was over. I hopped out of the truck to a 3 story Apartment building with Heavy Black smoke coming from the second story apartment. I quickly made my way to entry control. One of the firefighters was undressing he had forgotten to put his balaclava on and was stopped at the stairs, I came up fully dressed and just like that I was the new Senior Firefighter on the first entry team. I felt like I was in the Foo Fighters video for "My hero" going up the 2 sets of stairs to the apartment.

     Reports from other building residents was that they heard a scream and a thud come from this apartment. We busted down the door that entered in to the kitchen. On our left was the oven and it had a radio on it that was on fire, giving off the blackest thickest smoke I have ever seen, we proceeded with a primary(quick) search and left the fire for the next crew in,so we could search for the possible victims, we went with a left hand search which means we followed the left side of the kitchen to look for this person. We found ourselves at a small door entrance. It lead into the bathroom it was 4ftx8ft with a tub and a small linen closet on the left. The smoke was really thick and black I could barely see and it got worse as I stuck my hand in a kitty litter box.(YUCK!) . All of a sudden, my partner in front of me stopped at the bath tub and starts yelling to me "I got a body! I got a body!" In disbelief I jumped over to help him. We grab on to this person (A Male) to get rescue him, until he started attacking us!(That wasn't in the training manual!) That's when I got my first clear look at the victim, as my partner and I grabbed his arms and his legs and we lifted him up and started for the door, those seconds went by so slow, I remember still not believing what was happening. I also remember this guys eyes were very very white and his skin was filthy black from the smoke and soot. Things took a turn for the worse when we were steps from the door, my partner tripped over a vacuum that was in the middle of the floor. All 3 of us were on the ground. We had bumped both of our face masks pretty hard and my partner was no longer calm, he had taken in a deep breath of the black smoke and had begin to panic. I yelled at him to calm down. Thankfully by that time help had reached him and our as other firefighters were waiting to help us at the door.  They grabbed my partner and pulled him out, as I stood up and grabbed the victim with two hands and ever so gently placed him into the arms of the other awaiting firefighters. I felt like I had just won 1 million dollars, my training had paid off. I had a smile from ear to ear. My partner and I with some help had just saved that mans life.

Article from Alliston Herald.
Pictures From Flashover Training. 
     After realizing I had took on toxic smoke,the adrenaline wore off. I had developed more of a cough and was worried. So I went to the hospital to get checked out by a Doctor just like my partner did. Thankfully both my partner and I were treated and released from the hospital that day.

   The pride I feel re-telling this story far outweighs the concern I had for my own well being following the incident. They say to be a volunteer firefighter you have to be a mix of brave and crazy. I can proudly say volunteers everywhere serve their communities in ways people will never understand or even know about. This call is 1 of near 5000 we have responded to, and luckily a life does not hang in the balance everytime we respond, but when it does this is how we like to see it end, "everyone goes home".

Score one for the good guys