Compared with people spending Christmas in unheated, unlit homes or stuck in airports, I can’t really complain about our Christmas travel.
We had more time this year, and therefore decided to drive north, figuring we could then adjust our own itinerary as weather demanded rather than be dependent on the airline’s.
We left the weekend of the ice storm, after the smaller Friday night one ended, before the bigger Saturday one started. The roads weren’t fantastic at the start of that trip, and some bits were quite foggy. So it was slow, but we didn’t really have any problems. Eventually we drove out of the storm zone and were driving on bare pavement. We even got a bit of sun.
We decided to lay over in North Bay despite their predicted 25 cm of snow the next day. The usual 4.5 hour drive took us 6 hours, so it was nice to have a break. We also quite enjoyed our first dinner at Churchill’s, a restaurant listed in Where to Eat in Canada. It’s an older place with a warm atmosphere and an impressive wine list. We enjoyed a bottle of Malbec with appetizers of gnochi and asparagus, and calamari and tomato, both excellent. For mains I had the roast duck with potatoes and salad, while Jean had wagu (a type of beef) ribs. I found the duck a little overdone, but everything else was good. For dessert, I had three tastings of creme brulee (coconut, chocolate and sambuca, and maple), while Jean had a Greek-style dessert.
The next day it was back on the road, indeed in snow. It was fairly blowy not long after taking off, but it gradually lessened as we moved north, and finally ended completely. Back to driving on pavement.
Timmins was cold this year. Highs of -20C, maybe -18C most of the time we were there. Dropping to -30 something overnight. Nevertheless, we did get out to do stuff. We went snow shoeing one day; by far the worst part was putting on the snowshoes in the windy parking lot. Once on the trails, it was actually fine. (Of course, we were well bundled up.) We went for a decent length walk the next day, and survived.
It finally warmed up some on Christmas day, to -11 or so—balmy! But with the hustle and bustle of visitors that day, I barely got outside.
Mostly anyway, we were spending time with family indoors, at somebody’s house or another’s. Always nice to celebrate together.
Part of the indoor entertainment at my parents’ is watching the activity at the outdoor bird feeder. Northern birds have such nice colors! Jean spent one morning gathering pictures of them. I wish I could remember all of their names, as Dad reported them to me. (Even when it comes to birds, I’m bad with names.)
(Our drive back was largely unremarkable, weather-wise. One brief bit of blowing snow, and that’s all.)