AUGUST 26th, 2018
By LANA CARBON & JOHN LILIES
[John] Okay, so apparently for close to a year I’ve been thinking that we wrote this article and published it already. Today, sitting in a coffee shop to do some writing with my guy, Lana informs me that in fact he wrote all of his parts a long time ago and has just been waiting for me to write mine so we could post it (and now that we are actually posting it, it’s another 20 days later!). He then proceeded to show me other pieces he has written that are awaiting my contributions – articles I was also thinking we had already posted. WOW. Clearly, I have been out of the loop for quite some time. So sorry friends… the good news is that we can now stockpile some articles to release over the next while and hopefully prevent the months-long lulls you have grown well too accustomed to. (So… yay?) (… Again… it’s now 20 days later and we have been so absorbed by a lovely summer that we haven’t posted anything yet! Please enjoy this one and know that more are coming…)
On that note, would you like to read about our epic day trip in the summer of 2017? Woohoo! Let’s go!!
[Lana] After our road trip to Creemore turned into an epic journey that led us all the way to Tobermory (for a 20-minute walkabout), we had caught the most recent travel bug that was floating around. When we were deciding where to go after John's cousin wasn't at the farmer's market that day, one of the options that had popped into our minds had been Burk's Falls (and to think, we thought it would have been too far to travel to that day). From that moment though, we had somewhat been obsessed with getting to the little town and our favourite little mystical shop, the Circling Hawks Centre. We were so excited that we told our long-time online friend who lives near the area, Ellie Michaelson, that we were going to be there and we set up our first face-to-face meet-up.
[John] If you don’t remember our Creemore/Tobermory trip, click here to give the article a read again now and then come back to this one… it will help! And, we don’t blame you for not remembering that trip because apparently, we posted that one back in the fall of 2017 and now it’s much later.
[Lana] Back to Burk’s Falls… with a limited framework of a plan in place, we got up early on a Saturday morning and left our place around 7:30 a.m. We hit the highways and didn't stop except for gas and coffee (both very important refueling stations for a Carbon Lilies road trip). We made brief stops in Barrie and Huntsville before reaching our destination of Burk's Falls.
Since we aren't used to taking highways directly to places and making only limited stops, we were well early for our meeting with Ellie. Luckily for us, we had an amazing store to pass the time in as we waited. I'm not sure how long we were in the store just taking everything in but we looked at everything in the store before we selected those few items we knew we were going to allow ourselves to splurge on (for anyone interested in the metaphysical, spiritual, or energy work, this is not the kind of store you can leave empty-handed). John was drawn to the Mookaite crystals and I suggested the particular stone she ended up purchasing. John also selected a Himalayan Salt candle holder. Together we picked out a Singing Bowl, which is something that we have been wanting for quite a while and finally felt the time was right.
I was also thinking I would get a tarot deck and went over to look at their large selection of cards; they had so many beautiful sets but none of them "spoke" to me. After probably 40 minutes of scrutinizing, I decided that if it didn't feel right, it probably wasn't meant to be.
[John] Lana spent 95% of our time in the store, staring at the Tarot section deliberating. I have never seen him so torn over a potential purchase and so I reminded him of my daily rule-of-thumb, “When in doubt, don’t.”
[Lana] *UPDATE* I have since purchased the Deviant Moon Tarot deck by Patrick Valenza. Since seeing a friend post some photos of their own deck on Twitter, I was intrigued by the unique art. Shortly after returning home from this trip, my Pinterest feed was plastered with images of this fantastic set of cards so I took it as a sign and ordered it right away.
You cannot visit Circling Hawks without going out behind the store and into their gardens. Whatever your belief system, they likely have something there for you. For us personally, we walked around the meditation garden soaking in the peaceful energy. I rang the gong, allowing the sound to wash over us in a surprisingly soothing way. We then left our desires on the "Before I Die" chalkboard while focussing our thoughts of those intentions into prayer flags which we then tied to a wall designated for these empowered pieces of cloth. We followed this up with further contemplation sitting inside the "tipi" for what felt like only a few minutes but turned out to be much longer. We took an incredibly quick glance at the fairy garden, not wanting to get too close to the plants due to John's allergies.
[John] Yes, sadly the girl who loves to garden and get up close and personal with nature, is allergic to practically everything and I had not taken any allergy pills that day so we had to play it safe and not get too involved with the pretty things.
[Lana] At this point, we received a text that Ellie was on her way to meet up with us, so we finalized our purchases and went to wait for her in the designated spot. Although we have many social media groups in common we hadn’t interacted all that often but whenever we did, everything felt so natural and familiar. You know that feeling you get when you haven't seen an old friend for a long time? That has always been the feeling with every interaction with Ellie despite having never met in person; that is why we were so excited about being able to get together finally.
We met in a parking lot, intending to suggest a coffee shop but from the moment she pulled in and we started talking, we didn’t stop. The words to suggest a sit-down spot never made it out of our mouths... and they are about the only ones that didn't. We stood between our vehicles for over three hours in the blazing sun just chatting away about life, family, business, local attractions, ghosts, hauntings, the spiritual, and everything else under the sun (yes, pun intended). John could easily tell that I felt comfortable with Ellie when I was a willing participant in the conversation. I may have a slight issue when it comes to interacting in public. Even if I like people, I usually stay quiet and push John to handle most of the discussion, answering only when asked direct questions. It takes a long time, over several meet-ups, for me to loosen up enough to feel ready to share my two cents-worth. When I started to add to the dialogue on this day, I think John was nearly as surprised as she was happy (she enjoys not being the one to talk all the time and frequently tells me that the only reason she’s good at conversing is because she usually doesn’t have a choice). I myself was incredulous after I realized what had happened (once we returned to the safety of our car, of course). Not that I regret the situation at all... I was simply shocked by it. Thank you, Ellie, for apparently making it easy for me. However, like all other good things, our time together was about to come to an end. With a couple of big hugs and promises to do this again, we parted ways.
[John] It wasn’t until just before we said our good-byes that we realized the time and that we had been talking for three hours. It wasn’t until we were in the car again that we realized we had been in the sun that entire time and we were a little bit, or a lot, red and sore.
[Lana] We continued a short way north to Trout Creek so we could then head west and then south to Pointe au Baril where the Moose Lake Trading Post could be found (unfortunately, the summer of 2017 was their last and they have since packed up and closed down). We always found it fun to see the items that were available at this amazing trading post. We didn't spend any major cash this time around but had to get a couple of drinks and some delicious Kawartha Dairy ice cream for the road. While we ate our ice cream (sloppy Lana does not eat stuff like that in the car), I tried to convince John to climb into the giant Muskoka chair (they are also known as Adirondack chairs and even by other names, depending on where you are from) for a great photo opportunity, but alas it was not to be.
[John] A known fact about me… I am ridiculously clumsy and pathetically chronically injured, thus imagining myself climbing up into a gigantic Muskoka chair (big enough that I would have looked like a wee child sitting in it) provided me with vivid imagery of a tumble and a call for emergency medical assistance. Not really the adventure I was looking for.
[Lana] So, with all limbs intact and no emergencies experienced, our next stop as we continued heading south, was Parry Sound and the shores of Georgian Bay. We sat for a few minutes looking out over the water, sipping our coffees, watching the boats sail by yet still slightly distracted by a potential government cover-up sitting right there next to us, disguised as something possibly much more mundane. A large black tarp covering something that vaguely looked like the shape of a stereotypical alien spaceship was right there at the water’s edge. Take a close look at the photo and you decide if it is something extra-terrestrial or something a lot more common.
[John] Lana and I had a lot of laughs over the jokes we came up with while discussing the numerous ridiculous possibilities of this mound. We had stories of the people in the area and the marine workers. It was a great time talking about it as we pushed on from here, and we wondered how many people would legitimately think something was really going on there.
[Lana] We hated to leave the scenic area after only being there for such a short and quick period but it was time to be moving on. We had gotten somewhat turned around while finding our little parking spot so it was my job to find our way out and get to a road that would lead us to our next town. There may have been a slight blip in my navigation skills while we were preparing to leave.
[John] Lana’s slight navigational blips are fairly common, just so you know.
[Lana] I don't recall exactly what occurred during this blip but I'm certainly not denying it. I have lived through MANY of these blips previously. I am, however, going to blame this one on the possible UFO.
[John] The powers of the mound leading to a mini-misadventure. Surely that could be a sci-fi book manuscript.
[Lana] Once we did get oriented to the correct direction, we headed to Barrie... and more frighteningly, THE HANGRY!!!
We debated, and strongly at that, where we should grab supper. We finally landed upon (not literally as I'm afraid of heights) Moose Winooski's. We could not pass up a restaurant with such a cool name.
[John] If you have read other articles by us, you likely are well aware that Lana works hard to keep me fed and not let me go hungry because it can be dangerous as I am well-acquainted with The Hangry. I try to control it, but sometimes it beats me and this turned out to be one of those times. Also, Lana is not immune to The Hangry and sadly this turned out to be one of those situations when we both hit it hard – coincidentally while trying to figure out where to eat and realizing it was getting fairly late and most places with a kitchen were closing or already closed. Decisions are not easily made when under the control of The Hangry. Arguments, however, are really easy to have and even easier to escalate. “Just tell me where we are going and how to get there… we just need food! I don’t care if it’s fast food or a sit-down restaurant, just get us to food now!” Yep. Sorry about that Lana… and thanks for finding us a restaurant. Also, thanks for hitting The Hangry with me so I could feel slightly less bad about it myself. (We have since learned to always have sandwiches and snacks in the car with us for the long trips… it has definitely improved things.)
[Lana] Luckily the food was quite good, which isn't always the case when you go for uniquely named establishments, and it came at the perfect time to avert the full-on consequences of the dreaded Hangry. When we left the restaurant, we felt invigorated so we decided to take the back roads for the remainder of the trip, having had enough of the direct highway routes that we had been on for the majority of the day. We are much more the scenic route type of people, as you probably already know.
Things remained mainly uneventful until we were about 30 minutes from the end of our trip. It was roughly 11:30 p.m. and, as is customary as we get close to our home, I did my "Wanna go to Niagara Falls?" line, which is often ignored. Much to my surprise, John responded with, "Why don't you text the Bonus Mommy and see what she is doing right now... see if she would like to go."
I did just that and even more shocking to me was her answer.
"What? Really? If you're serious, I'm in."
[John] Every time we are almost home from a weekend trip to visit our families, Lana asks me if I want to continue on to Niagara and I always say, “Not today.” This night however, though we had been on the road since 7:30 a.m., I was actually up for it and I knew the Bonus Mommy would be awake. After Lana texted her, he asked me what we would do if she answered that she wanted to go. “Well then, I guess we go to Niagara.” I laughed so hard when the Bonus Mommy replied that she was up for it and I psyched myself up for another few hours on the road.
[Lana] By midnight, we were at the Bonus Mommy's apartment and roughly an hour or so later we arrived in Niagara (the Canadian side), making a pass through the complete and utter commercialization of such an amazing natural wonder before heading to the actual Falls. After only about 15 passes (that may be a slight exaggeration) trying to find parking that was close enough for the Bonus Mommy to easily walk and yet not pay $22 for the short amount of time we were actually going to be there, we eventually found a small lot across the street that was a little more reasonable. We enjoyed the Falls for about 15-20 minutes before they turned off the coloured spotlights, making it quite difficult to see the rushing water and nearly impossible to take any photos of it.
[John] Yes, for anyone who may have been wondering, they actually do turn off the lights – around 2:00 a.m.
[Lana] The brief time we were there was magical however, and we did manage to get some cool shots before the lights went out; a great one with a set of those pay-to-view binocular things that line the walkway and look like a robot from that movie Short Circuit from the '80s, and some selfies in front of the Falls after the lights went out and you can't even tell that they are there. (Sorry folks, you don't get to see the selfies but I’m sure you all have your own ideas of what we look like by now.)
Around 2:15 a.m., we thought we should continue on our way. We followed the Niagara River and, while the Bonus Mommy and I had the chance to see the large Floral Clock as we slowly drove by; John was too busy avoiding the family of deer that decided to cross the road at a very inopportune time. We only saw four deer on the entire trip this day and they were really cute. I tried to get John to go on to Niagara-on-the-Lake but, having been awake for 22 1/2 hours, she figured it was probably time to go home and get some sleep. I know... I also questioned why she was tired.
[John] I honestly did consider venturing on to Niagara-on-the-Lake and even began to head in that direction but suddenly realized how tired I was and decided it just wouldn’t be safe to keep going on this great adventure. I didn’t want to stop, but I needed to be somewhat responsible.
[Lana] At this point, it was even a struggle not to accidentally cross the border into the U.S.
[John] Yes, I was unfamiliar with the road we had taken and realized (as large trucks whizzed by us on the other side of an almost invisible chain-link fence next to us) that we were right beside one of the border crossings in the area and one wrong turn would have had us explaining to Border Security why we were there without our passports. I think it was at this point when I realized that I was fading fast and needed some caffeine to safely get us home as quickly as possible.
[Lana] So, we made a stop in St. Catharines for a coffee and a stretch to help keep John alert and then continued on our way home. It was fairly uneventful for the remainder of the trip (though still enjoyable as we didn’t at all feel any let-down from the day ending). We dropped the Bonus Mommy off at her apartment, thanking her profusely for a great night, and we walked through our own door at 4:15 a.m., totally exhausted but oh, so happy.
[John] This was such a cool day and I am so grateful for having the opportunity to share it with my guy and Ellie and the Bonus Mommy. What a great way to enjoy a summer day.
[Lana] 1000+ kilometres and 21 hours on the road... now that is a day trip.