F 1 D 0 - 2003 02 06 at 0030


My most recent adventure involves trying to 
visit a breeder of Great Danes in Wroxeter

We started by getting up early Tuesday morning.
We wanted to get to the Thrifty Car Rental by
10am for an early day out.  What actually happened
was an 11am arrival there. So far so good.

I wanted to take my time driving because I
wasn't used to the small sized Nissan Sentra.
We drove along Danforth to Victoria Park, and
then would go north to the highway, making a
stop for coffee at Tim Horton's just before we

So far so good. The weather was clear and safe.

As we proceed westbound toward Waterloo, things
get chilly. Flurries begin for us.

And as we junction with Highway 8, the weather
begins to show its teeth. It gets a little

I keep reminding myself that I can handle some
snowfall. I'll just continue to keep a safe
distance between myself and the next car.

I tested the brakes, and look!, they don't do
anything. I don't seem to turn left nor right,
but I'm also just going. Wow, straight ahead.

I can still handle this; remain far enough behind
people so I can stop by decelerating. There were
a couple of frights, but they amounted to nothing.

We watched as the road got narrow.

Our wide highway became county highway, became
a county road, became a side road. Signs were
clear, so that part was okay. We were on Road 116.
That was nice. It wasn't on our map (later we found
that it was, but we were far from where we thought).

Our speed kept dropping. 

On a clear road, I can go as fast as I please.
Once engaged by snow, I drop to the limit. And
with the dropping visibility, we'd go (km) 60,
then 40, then 20. I just didn't have the nerve
to go faster than 20 when I couldn't see a thing.

Too many cooks, but I didn't feel like arguing.

You see, there are three of us, and everyone
had some idea about how to steer in the snow.
"Go left, go left! No No No, Stop."

In this kind of weather, turning isn't very
effective. But my ideas weren't much better.
I recognized I was stuck.

The weather when we left the car was like it
came from some movie set. It was severe, so
much so, it was unbelievable, even when right
in it.  I'd go outside the car, hoping to see
exactly where I should drive it when I got back
in. Couldn't see a thing. I'd look at my feet,
and found a clue to suggest I was turned 45
degrees from the correct direction. 

I'd get back to the car, but it was now covered
with blown on snow, and so I'd clear it off, but
that didn't really last.

Once exasperated with rocking, pushing and digging,
I went to the Mr Weber's home, and asked to use the
telephone. I called the Ontario Provincial Police
(we call them OPP). The communications centre is
in Orillia, and we were northwest of Toronto. They
would not have personal experience about whether 
we should stay put or keep driving. Sigh.

I called 911. That was better.

I told them we were driving to Listowel. "Listowel?
Our system says you might be somewhere else." Then
Mr Weber says "You are in Dorking right now." And
when I repeated that, the 911 lady confirmed it.

I asked about what I should do. Should I call for
police? Should I drive? Should we wait? 

"We are closing the roads. We can't afford to have
emergency personnel driving into the ditch because
of bad visibility. If your car is safe, stay inside
it. If the xxxx"

"I think we only have three or four hours of gasoline
to keep it warm. A short half tank," I said.

"That won't keep you through the night. Find somewhere
to stay."

We were directed to the General Store at the corner.
I thought it was miles and miles away. "No, it is
actually quite close." Okay, I thought now, just
one mile, or maybe half a mile."

We began walking. No visibility. Just snow everywhere.
About a minute of walking blind, and we see a stop sign.
Once we are at the stop sign, we see the store we have
been directed to. A 90 second walk, at slow pace, and
we couldn't see it from where we were.

We went inside.

Diane was talking on the phone, and she says to
whoever, "There are some folks who've just come
in. I think they just want to get warm before they
go back into the storm."

This was when our adventure changed from heading
for dying by freezing to something very pleasant.

Even during the situation, I was of two minds. I
felt like a burden to this woman and her family.
I also knew this was pretty much the only way to
get back home again. So I stopped emotionally 
fighting it, and just let her kindness wash over

I learned how they've tried to make ends meet
without taking jobs in the city. 

On this site, Diane manages her end of the installed
vacuum business. Yes, she still sells some drinks and
snacks for people who stop by, but this is now a
place to talk about Beam built in vacuum systems.

Her husband does the same thing in Stratford, a
town not too far away.

I hope I can convey the friendly nature and warmth
of the whole thing. I was stuck, beyond a doubt,
and all of my concerns were swept aside with words
like "don't worry. This happens around here sometimes."

I liked being able to play her piano and old guitar.
These needed a visit, and they played well.

The next morning we rose early, so we could be
on the way to continue fighting the white-out

After a lot of driving, we arrived at the breeder's
home around 1230pm. Her name was Danielle.

She ran this whole farm herself. Her husband
was a chemist for the paint industry.

She had four big Great Danes, one black
Greyhound, and a lot of horses there. I'm
thinking the dogs were HUGE. They loved Tom
and Cindy, but were nervous about me.

Cindy was prepared. She brought a tupperware
container with Rollover. This is a special
Dog Salami. I think all animals love this
stuff Far Far Too Much. They will do Anything
to get a taste of this.

So we all just talked together.

Essentially, if you are buying a puppy, you
should make sure your breeder has some other
line of work. If not, she's probably running
a puppy mill, not giving the dogs the personal
love they need from people.

And the breeder should want to make certain her
pups are going to a good home, and not just take
the $1200 and stop caring. 

Cindy had many questions, and I forget most of
them. But everyone felt secure after the long 

[feb 13: the dog had puppies by caesarian section.
Only three of them. So Tom and Cindy will have
to wait until next litter, probably from a different
dog altogether]

Going back home was bad, but somehow it was pleasant.

You see, the closer we got to civilization, the
better the conditions became, and this was Very 

We were talking about lunch, and where we should
go. I was in a mood for Wendy's, as I can get a
baked potato from them. The kids wanted Harvey's,
as they prefer the hamburger condiments on demand.

But we decided in the end to visit Mongolian Grill.
I've never been.

This place is a buffet, with everything raw. 

Raw beef, raw chicken, raw pork, raw ground beef,
raw chicken, raw fish (you get the idea).

Also the usual compliment of vegetables.

Not the usual collections of noodles. Wheat,
rice, buckwheat, Udon, and who knows what else.

The table is kept full with steamed rice and

There are flavoured sauces, and many oils. These
help the finished product have the character you

Spices are there as well. Just spoon them on.

You take you finished bowl to a staff person in
the middle of the place. There is a huge round
grill, where they toss your selection. 

These people seem to like to cook things Well
Done. But after some pressure from me, I was
able to get them to just warm things lightly.

Broccoli need not be overdone. Neither should
the beef, nor fish. 

Once I got used to the routine, I decided to
have them warm up a tortilla! This was new
for them, but turned the flat thing into a real

I like how the billing happens at the Mongolian
Grill. The hostess explains how the place works,
much as I did above.

One bowl: 6.99;
One bowl plus salad bar: 8.99;
Unlimited: 10.49

Everything was fresh. In the end, I got
exactly what I wanted.

That's all I know.