Typing this on Highway 17 as Don drives. Will probably have to upload it at a later time, since -- wonder of wonders -- we aren't getting any signal.
Dare I tell you about my fun experience with Rogers this week? (This would be the B.S. portion of the post.)
It started when we returned from Red Rock. I sent a request to Customer Service, saying I hadn't been able to get any signal for the cell phone or internet stick all that week, despite the Rogers map clearly showing that there was signal to be had. I had heard rumour of updated codes to download and/or buying a new SIM card that would recognize the recently-installed towers, but needed to know how to go about it, before returning to the area this month. I was, of course, told there was probably something wrong with my phone, or I was just stupid and didn't know how to use it properly (not their exact words, of course, just the general gist of the tone). I then informed him that we had been travelling with quite a large group of musicians, and that NONE of the Rogers customers had been able to get service (unlike those with other cell providers). I was then told that the only way to diagnose the problem was for me to call them from the problem phone in the problem area. Um... you folks are with me, right? HOW CAN I PHONE FROM AN AREA WHERE I'M GETTING NO PHONE SERVICE?!?!
Long story short, four e-mail responses later and Customer Service (term used loosely) was still trying to convince me that the area was full of service, I should contact them again when I was actually having problems, and by the way, there were a few areas to the north of my route that didn't claim to have service.
I tried to be nice. Believe me, I tried really hard to be nice. But... yes, folks, I was forced to go Air Canada on their arses.
The last e-mail I got before we left internet signal land was that perhaps they had been undergoing maintenance on the day (day??? WEEK!) I couldn't get service, but was assured that all the areas depicted on the Rogers coverage map were, indeed, areas that got coverage, and no, they would never tell a lie. I must just be stupid... and perhaps have some anger-management issues. :-)
I'LL GIVE YOU ANGER MANAGEMENT ISSUES!!!...
But I'm skipping ahead. Back to Monday evening.
After a nice dinner at Casey's in Sault Ste. Marie, we headed up the road to Goulais River. I had just finished calling back the folks at The Haven (where the "Spirit in the Song" workshop will be taking place in the first week of September), when we lost signal. Oops... did I mention the Rogers Customer Service guy promised signal and insisted I didn't know how to use a cell phone?
Let it go, Lyssy...
Driving into Bellevue Valley Lodge, we first saw their big, beautiful garden (with sunflowers, my favourite!) and were greeted by two big, beautiful, golden dogs, who obviously hadn't seen human company in at least thirty seconds. Oh, how I love dog welcomes! Their humans, Robin and Enn, came out to great us as well, though with perhaps a little less drool involved. They led us back to show us our "room" -- what a room! It's too bad we only had about 12 hours to enjoy it, but we'll definitely have to come back when we have a bit more time. We were on the second floor of the cabin (built by Robin and Enn, using mostly wood from their property, including a big tree that fell several years ago and inspired the new build), which was in fact a two-bedroom apartment, complete with kitchen. The main floor is also used for guests, but with the furniture cleared out is their house concert venue and occasional recording studio. Don, of course, was jealous as heck.
We headed back to the main house for tea and a visit, complete with the dogs and a very friendly cat. Then we all headed out with the flashlights to give the dogs a last walk down the road, and give ourselves a bit of a stretch, too. The hills around there are lovely -- probably even better by daylight. The lodge is apparently busiest in winter, as they've got lots of ski trails connected to the property. It was nice and chilly, the perfect August night, and we headed back to the cabin to check on e-mail (Bellevue has wireless, yay!), read a couple of chapters, then collapse into one of the best sleeps either of us has had for a very long time. We love Bellevue Valley Lodge!
A chilly "music camp morning", but we were brave and headed down to the house for breakfast. Yes, Mom, I ate breakfast. Fruit, muffins, and hot oatmeal with wild cherries. Our kind of road food!
And so, we've spent the day meandering up Highway 17, poking in and out of small towns and beautiful vistas. And we just passed the turn off for Red Rock, which means...
We are currently driving further west than I've ever driven before. Everything from here on in is brand new.
Which means I'm signing off, folks -- gotta go "oooh" and "ahhh" a little. :-)