Mo & Terry Smedley


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Muskoka Lake, RMS Segwun

Today, we explored the Muskoka Lake region about three hours North of Toronto with a cruise on the RMS Segwun, a restored coal-fired steamer.  Originally built in 1887 as a side-wheeler, it was converted in 1924 to twin screws.  It's as genuine as they come as you can see from the pictures below.   The cruise included a lunch at the Delta Sherwood Inn, located in the heart of "cottage country" near Port Carling.  After our cruise, we re-boarded our bus for the three-hour trip to Sudbury for the night.   

We're in the heart of Canadian Shield territory.  There is a very thin layer of soil on top of a solid granite core.  Driving along the highway, you can clearly see the exposed underlying rock everywhere.  We passed through an area where the highway was being relocated, and the equipment being used to drill, blast, and move the rock was pretty impressive!  Building a foundation must be very tricky in this area - we passed numerous businesses advertising rock foundations as their specialty.

If Minnesota is the "Land of 10,000 Lakes", Ontario must be the "Land of 10,000 Islands".   I did a quick scan to see if I could get an official island count in the province, but that will require a little more research.  The "cottage country" area around Lake Muskoka is characterized by hundreds, probably thousands, of islands, ranging in size from tiny to substantial.   Our voyage on the RMS Segwun took us past many private islands with just one residence.

Tomorrow, we're traveling on a Budd RDC from Sudbury to White River through some very remote country.

Links of interest: 
    RMS Segwun tours
    Delta Sherwood Inn

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Toronto Union Station is right across the street from our Toronto hotel, the Royal York.  There's an underground walkway that connects the two, although Mo pointed out that it would have been easier just to walk across the street.  This is a picture of the station from our room. This is for Jessica, and she will know why. This interesting pond was adjacent to the place we stopped for a morning coffee break.  What's so interesting about it is.... ...that the (animal) inhabitants of the shelter in the middle of the pond must have good TV!
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Look carefully at this mural in Port Carling.  Can you tell what makes it so unusual? Here's a closer view...can you tell what it's made of? And here you can see what really makes up the mural.  These are all historical photographs of the area.  9,028 pictures made from 905 original photographic images make up the mural. A very graphic sign, with a rather embarrassed dog.
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The RMS Segwun steams into the locks that join Lake Muskoka and Lake Rosseau.  The locks have a small lift - maybe 2-1/2 feet. Mo enjoys viewing the thousands of islands and "cottages" that dot the lake.  Cottages is a bit of a misnomer - most of these appear to be very high ticket houses. The engine room. More engine room.  The Segwun has twin screws, and the twin steam engines make very satisfying noises!
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Reflections in the polished brass cylinder head. (We thought Betsy would like this picture!) The engine control panel. A schematic of the steam propulsion system on the RMS Segwun. The crew has to do the dirty work - shoveling coal into the boiler.  "When men were steel and ships were wood..."
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Picture of the boiler interior, proclaiming this to be the last "coal fueled, hand fired marine boiler in North America". One of the "cottages".  Most of these looked pretty expensive to me! Me on the ship. A moose greets visitors at this tie-up.
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The crew from the Delta Sherwood Inn greets our ship for lunch.  We have always received terrific Canadian hospitality on our travels. The RMS Segwun docked at the Sherwood Inn. The First Mate keeps an eye out from the wheelhouse deck.  The engine controls were the original chains and bells - you could hear (and watch!) the engineman respond to the Captain's changes. Entering the locks on our way back from lunch.