A bit of visiting and chit-chat, a fair bit of arguing about him paying us back for dinner the night before -- what can we say?: we're stubborn, and greatly appreciative of having a place to stay. Don loaded the suitcases in the trunk, and then we prepared to load the instruments. "Where are your suitcases?" asked John.
"Already in the trunk!"
"Well, how am I supposed to sneak money into your suitcase when you're not looking?"
OK, we were sneaky, but he was even sneakier -- later that night, when we got back to our room, there was an e-mail from John to check the glove compartment. Grrrr...
Hey, I know you've got a PayPal account, buddy! ;-)
As previously mentioned, it was the first grey, low-ceilinged, drizzly day of fall. I was finally wearing knits. Getting ready to cocoon, but not yet... just a little longer.
Don still had to get his nails done, as he was making the type of crackly sounds with them that make my teeth sweat and my spine go fizzledy -- and not in a good way. So he dropped me at the closest Starbucks and went in search of a nail place. I enjoyed a pumpkin loaf and grande bold and did some blogging and e-mails. My battery started to limp just as a table next to a receptacle freed up -- but where the heck was my husband? He had been stuck in traffic, went to the first mall where there was no nail place, but a hairdresser sent him to another place who sent him to another place and then he got stuck in traffic again.
Oh well, at least we weren't in a hurry this time. Only a two-hours-and-a-bit drive today. He finally got back and grabbed his own breakfast -- bringing me a second grande bold. Don checked his e-mails for a sec, and then we got ready to hit the road, with Don saying he needed to fill up the gas tank on his way out of town.
Twenty minutes out of town, he remembered this statement, just as the yellow light started flickering on and off...
What starts with 4 and rhymes with more sight?
I pulled up MapQuest -- no gas station listed for an hour and a half. We headed back to Thunder Bay.
Gas in car and tongue firmly bitten down, we got back on the highway.
Oh well, at least we weren't in a hurry this time...
The drive was incredibly windy, but incredibly beautiful. The hills, the rocks, the lake, the waves... the fall colours! The reds and oranges had been shocked into display, and the yellows just brilliant.
Big sweater / roaring fire / hot chocolate kind of day. We settled for fleece / grande bold / turn the heat up in the car. Soon, soon...
We got to the turnoff for the Rossport loop. Quickly found the Serendipity Gardens Guest House, with a sign to check in at the Cafe, about 400 metres ahead. Sure enough, there was the cafe -- a cute spot from the outside, with colourful Muskoka chairs laid out along the grounds and a big staircase leading up the hill into the main building.
There was nobody eating there, but it was late afternoon. Roger was the first to come out and greet us, and called his wife Mary shortly after. We signed in to the guest house (complimentary, as part of our payment for the night), and he brought out our "breakfast box" to take back to the room for morning -- a cute blue and white thermos purse, filled with juice, yogourt and muffins.
They showed us the corner where we'd be playing, so we decided to set up before the dinner folks showed up. They directed us to the alley and parking lot out back, so we didn't have to haul all our stuff up those stairs! We loaded everything in and started to set up.
Mary offered us a glass of wine, which we declined for now, but told her we'd take her up on it after we were finished singing. She also told us dinner was also on the house -- a pleasant surprise. It was easiest for her to serve us before the regular guests came in, and that would give us time to digest before we sang, too. She gave us a couple of menus and set us up at a table.
The menu looked fabulous, and there was also a fresh-caught fish entree. But my eyes had already been caught by the spanakopita and greek salad. Don ordered the mediterranean chicken. Both these came with the soup of the day, which was a bean soup. Mary started us off with a basket of hot bread and little bowl of spicy olives. I hadn't realized I was so hungry...
Out came the soup, in big platter-like bowls. Good thing I was hungry, because it was a meal in itself -- nice and hearty, more like a bean stew than a bean soup! We ate it all. :-)
And then, Mary brought out an armload of food. We looked around the room -- no, that big group of ten hadn't arrived yet, this was all for us! A platter of THREE spanakopita slices for me, plus a separate dinner-plate sized greek salad. Don had a giant platter with rice, vegetables, mediterranean chicken and greek salad. Good thing we still had a few hours before showtime!
I dove into the first triangle -- and perhaps burnt my mouth a bit in my enthusiasm. It was worth it. :-) I realized, though, that if I ate everything in front of me, it would take more than a few hours to digest! So I aimed to finish the salad and just the first triangle -- the other two would be nice as a midnight snack or car picnic.
Don ate the whole darned thing. :-)
The dinner guests were coming in, so we grabbed a to-go box from Mary before she got too busy, and took it and our breakfast box to the guest house.
From the outside, it's a bright and cheery aquamarine-painted building, looking a bit like two tall and skinny barns or perhaps fat church arches glued together. Inside are four separate guest rooms. We were in room 4, which is on the second floor. We let ourselves in the front door, and walked up the wooden staircase, taking a peek at all the local art on the walls, and the bookcases at each landing. Let ourselves into room #4 and... WOW!
The four trusses rise up from the corners, curving up to meet in the centre of the ceiling -- the walls and ceiling are a mixture of red cedar, spruce and pine. More like a cathedral than a hotel room. And a beautiful room! Very large, with a bed area, a living room area, kitchenette / dining area, and a huge bathroom with big bathtub -- I promise myself a bubble bath after the show (but never make it...).
I settle down on the couch with the laptop. Don lies on the bed "to look at the ceiling". Yeah, whatever... I type to the sound of snoring. :-)
Almost showtime! I wake up sleeping beauty, and we head back to the cafe. We pop in the back door and Mary tells us that Liz, Kathy and Tim are here from Red Rock. We head over to their table and enjoy a nice round of hugs. This is the first time we've seen Liz in a while -- she was in China when we were at the festival this summer, and is full of interesting stories about her work and travels. Kathy is the hospitality co-ordinator for Live From The Rock, so doesn't get much chance to visit or listen during the festival, so she was looking forward to being able to sit down and finally hear a full show with us. We enjoyed a nice visit with the three of them, and then Roger said it was time to get started.
We headed to our "stage" and tuned up. The party of ten stood up and made a hasty retreat. Ah well, not music lovers... they were soon replaced by a number of people who were coming in just for the show -- including some more friends from the festival, and a bunch of total strangers (otherwise known as future friends!).
We're working without a P.A., but the acoustics are so good, we don't really need one -- once the table of ten makes it out the door and the grannies in the corner get the "sshhhh" hints aimed their way. It's kind of like a house concert, but in a really big living room overlooking Lake Superior. :-)
Roger has built the cafe, as well as the guest house -- quite a master, in our opinion! He and Mary are obviously music lovers, too, and Roger is often asking Don about various tunings he's using, etc. The audience -- even the grannies, eventually -- is attentive and appreciative, and we're having a great time.
We take what's supposed to be a short break, as our start time was delayed with the large business group that left, but everyone's wanting to chat, so... we chat back (surprise!). But we know Mary wanted to put her feet up by 11:00 (she's been working solo tonight, as her scheduled staffer's mother was in hospital), so we ease our way back to the stage for our second set.
We're finished. The tour is over. Wow, we did it -- just one 13-1/2 hour drive to go! (Just?!?)
Some more visiting with friends new and old, and then folks gradually trickle out to their cars (nobody in the audience was actually from Rossport, everyone had a bit of a drive still). Big hugs from our Red Rock crew.
Roger brought us each a glass of Merlot (he pours like my sister -- right to the top, yeah!), and we started to pack up.
Mary had a quandry -- only one piece of chocolate cake left, what to do, what to do? ;-) Don opted for the cake, and I went for the cheesecake. She disappeared in the back for a moment and came out with two GINORMOUS plates of dessert, all artistically drizzled in chocolate sauce and raspberry syrup.
We sat down to eat, drink and chat with our ever-so-generous hosts. As well as running the cafe and guest house, Mary is a parole officer for youth in the area -- and a very wide area it is. Roger came to Canada in '68 from Ohio, and his design and construction expertise is self-taught. They both love music of all sorts of varieties, although seem to have a leaning towards the rootsy side. And they've got strong pouring arms -- Mary refilled our Merlot with a Tarah-pour, to help us digest those giant desserts (Don finished, I left the last few bites).
More big hugs good-bye, and an invitation for us to return anytime -- they loved it when someone of our quality came to their venue!
We headed back to our beautiful room at the guest house, just leaving the instruments in the car -- there are only 35 households in Rossport, and the parking spot was right under our window, and it hadn't yet gotten TOO cold outside.
I decided to forego the bubble bath, as it was after midnight and we were setting the alarm for 6:00 -- yes, really. We signed the guest book and settled down for a very short sleep.
It was a great way to end the tour, though -- a fun concert, a fabulous meal and a great place to stay. When the last memory of the tour is a good one, it's more likely we'll go on another one sometime. :-)