Trip to Canada

mia_mcdavid and I joined colgaffneyis expedition to Fort William in Thunder Bay, Ontario, for the
Celtic Festival there July 23-24. It is a great place. The staff there was
always pleasant, thoroughly competent, and anxious to please.

We had only 8 members there, but it was a perfect team. Everybody was cheerful,
cooperative, and worked hard. There were no slackers. I wish all colgaffneyis events could be like that. It was the best time I have had with
the organization in years. I took a few pictures of
our camp and its activities.

It is an amazing site for people interested in traditional
woodworking. Not only is there a carpenter’s shop, but there is also a canoe maker,
a cooper, and a gunsmith actively working there. I saw several shaving horses, at
least one of which was 8 feet long (Shaving Clydesdale?). The canoemaker had two
well used workbenches, each at least 24 feet long. There was a treadle lathe on
which you could turn 6 foot spindles. I took a few pictures at the cooper’s and
canoe maker’s shops, which you can see here.

The only issue we had with the whole event was at the
on-site bar. On Saturday we found that the most prominently featured beer was Coors
Light, which is like making love in a canoe. No Guinness. There was one blended
Scotch. No single malts. No Irish whiskey. This is no way to slake the thirst of a
Celtic festival. mia_mcdavid complained loudly. The caterer said he
would bring in some Guinness the next day just for us. The manager of the festival
delivered more Guinness and a bottle of 15 year old Glenfiddich to our camp.
Everybody was very good-humored about the situation.

On Sunday mia_mcdavid, vitamin_g_prime, and I brought our
lunches from colgaffneyis camp to the bar and enjoyed them with Guinness.
We weren’t sure we would drink all the Guinness, so Mia walked over to the next
table, where a group from the Thunder Bay Police Pipe Band was sitting. She told
them that thanks to colgaffneyis the bar had some Guinness in stock and
they were welcome to partake. The response was enthusiastic. One female member of
the band said, “It takes a woman to get something done!” All the Guinness in the bar was

Because Thunder Bay is a long way from the Twin Cities we stayed in camp through
Sunday night. We got up early Monday morning, packed up our gear, and helped the
other members who had also stayed over. We were on the road by 7:30 EDT. At the
Pigeon River border crossing the U.S. Customs officer was very polite. When asked if
we had anything to declare we duly mentioned the whisky and the remaining Guinness.
I explained that we know the cost since they were gifts. He said, “You have some
really good friends,” and waved us through. Indeed we do.

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