One Final Hurrah for Al and Matt

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Okay, so the title isn’t really all that fair. In all honesty, I’m quite sure that when they get married later this week, it won’t necessarily mean the end of the fun that Alix and Matt will be able to have. However, I’m sure there will be some difference once they have that hardware on their fingers, wouldn’t you agree? Hee hee . In all honestly, I have no doubt that they will continue to have awesome adventures together, and will hopefully let us join them now and again for said fun. The latest little fun was a road trip that we decided to embark on this past Sunday to Vankleek Hill, and specifically to Beau’s Brewery. Alix and Matt invited Jody and I, as well as Rob and Anna for the fun. One of the reasons was because Rob and Anna would unfortunately be unable to join us at the wedding, so we wanted them to be a part of some of the fun 😉 This seemingly innocent trip had a few surprises and didn’t really happen the way Alix had intended it, so read on to find out more about that. You can also check out the pictures that Jody snapped along the way.

Before we get to the road trip, it’s important to look at the night before. While I had no real plans, Jody and I ended up heading to Al and Matt’s for a quick BBQ, then a wander down to Westfest to catch some of the free shows. Rather than getting into all the details, let’s just say that Matt and I a) got into some good rum early b) the beer garden at WestFest was virtually deserted, enabling rapid beer delivery c) we didn’t love Buffy St. Marie (not enough vampire slaying) so retreated to his basement for more of said rum! I ended up sleeping in the La-Z-Boy chair in the basement that night, which made the day of the road trip, and specifically a road trip to a brewery rather difficult! Matt didn’t fare much better, and in fact slept most of the way to and from our destinations. Silly Matt. Unfortunately, I had to drive, which I hadn’t anticipated, which is a good place to segue into why that is….

The Alix plan was devilishly simple. Rent a van, and load the 6 of us into it to head to Beau’s Brewery to grab some ‘party favours’ for later on. First off, we headed to Al’s Diner by Al and Matt’s house for a greasy breakfast. From there, it was off to get the van. On the way, I learned we were going to U-Haul.Hmm, that’s odd. I asked what she had rented, and she replied ‘a cargo van’. Ummm, that’s odd too. “Are you sure there are seats?” I asked. “There were in the pictures.” Hmmm, first I heard of Uhaul renting passenger vans. I just mentioned my past weekend renting experiences, and the fact that there are generally two van types, a ‘cargo van’ with no seats, and a ‘passenger van’ with seats. However, I left my faith in Alix for now. Perhaps that faith was misplaced 😉

Upon arrival at U-Haul, I had Alix sufficiently concerned that the first question out of her mouth to the agent was ‘Do you have seats in the van?’. “Yes, two in the front”. “Oh.” “How many were you looking for?” “Six” “Cargo vans don’t have extra seats.”.Nuff said on that. I will hold back from any more mockery at this point, as Alix was sufficiently embarrassed and ridiculed at that point! But ha ha ha ha is in order, don’t you think? Poor Alix then started trying to call around for a van, with no luck. By then, it just made sense that we’d have to either car-pool, or not do the trip as we’d planned. As we were finally pulling out of Uhaul , and on our way downtown to let Rob and Anna know the situation, Alix did allow that there was a reason she had hired a wedding planner! Too funny.

Once at Rob and Annas, we talked about our options, and finally landed on the idea that we might as well carry on in two cars, and still go for our trip. I hesitated for a moment, as I was actually slated to fly out later that day for the conference I’m at in Toronto, but was convinced by Jody, as it was going to be fun. Also, there was the suggestion of having a boy car and a girl car. What could be more fun, right? Well, as I mentioned, Matt was pretty much dead to the world, but at least Rob and I had fun with the music and with the GPS system’s seemingly random routing decisions 😉

The brewery itself, when we finally got there, was a pretty fun little stop. I’d actually never even tried Beau’s before, so I was definitely interested in a couple samplers, as well as the brewery tour. Several jugs of the delicious mead were purchased by several people as souvenirs, and we also enjoyed a brief yet informative tour, as well as sampling the beer in the warm sunshine outside, where it was licensed. Add to that some delicious meat sticks which were made from pigs that were raised on beer, and you can imagine what a nice relaxing stop it was. We mused over how fun it would be to do a weekend roadtrip, and camp on site while enjoying beer straight from their giant vats. Someday I’m sure.

After the brewery, we tried to do a little tour of Vankleek Hill, which really was pretty small, as there isn’t that much there. I was trying to find a tower that exists there, and we drove right by it the first time, as it was less than 5 stories. Ha ha. It was built a long time ago to act as a windmill and had a grist stone for crushing wheat, but it turns out the project was quickly scrapped as it turned out that there wasn’t enough wind up there! You’d think they might have done a little testing before commencing a large-scale project, non? Regardless, they did a wonderful job of restoring the tower and turning it into a little tourist attraction. Right next to it was a little gallery as well, so we popped in and took the $2 self-guided tour there as well. It was pretty quaint, but no art was purchased by any of us.

After the gallery, we decided to try and do some antiquing, and find some ice cream. The most obvious route was to head down the road to Hawkesbury , which would then allow us to take the old highway back into Ottawa when we finished. The tourist map showed an antique shop along the road, but it turned out to be more of a B&B which happened to have antiques, some of which may (or may not) have been for sale. The ladies were a little disappointed, but that’s what random road trips are all about anyway, you have to take what you can get. Luckily, we had it on good authority from the proprietor there that we would indeed find an ice cream parlor in Hawkesbury to fill our hot bellies with ice cream. So off we went.

It was just a short hop into Hawkesbury, and in no time we found our ice cream store. They had a very wide range of novelties as well as home-made frozen treats for sale. Personally, I went with the ‘Fiesta’, which is a lot like a banana split, only without the banana, and walnuts on top. This was served with soft serve, as well as chocolate sauce and butterscotch. Tasty, but not the best ice cream I’ve ever had. On the plus side, the view was pretty nice, and everyone else was happy too. We did notice however that the grey skies were definitely starting to roll in, and the threat of rain was imminent. Luckily, the squall waited until we got back into the cars and hit the road.

By the time we got back to Rob and Anna’s, the skies were pretty much dumping buckets on us. This resulted in a surprise wet T-shirt contest for Al and Jody as the sprinted between Rob and Anna’s car and our car. And no Kev, there are no pictures, and they protected themselves admirably 😉 The overall timing worked out quite well, as I had time to get home, do a quick freshen up, and head to the airport. We had a great day on our impromptu road trip, and it was a great way to spend a Sunday when you had nothing else to do. Thanks for inviting us Al, but next time, you could just ask us to drive in the first place, rather than feign a ‘blond moment’ 😉 Just kidding, you know we love ya!

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