Tag: hiking

Travel Swellness: Camping in Killarney with the GMC Terrain

Killarney with Billie Jean

At the end of the summer, I fit in one last camping trip up to Killarney (where I’ve been wanting to check out for camping for quite awhile). With a GMC Terrain (thank you for letting me test drive this, GM Canada!), we set out for the longish drive (I consider anything more then two hours long, especially for a weekend).

gmc terrain

The Terrain was spacious for the two of us plus Billie Jean plus so much stuff (no matter how much I try to minimize gear, camping calls for hauling a lot of stuff!), and it had all the features I’ve come to love about the GM vehicles I’ve had the opportunity to drive (that’d be the Apple Car Play, a great GPS system and the little light on the side mirror letting you know if someone’s in your blind spot). What was different about this car than any other car I’ve driven is that it was a diesel engine.

Thankfully, GM let me know when I picked up the car that it was diesel (although it is clearly marked on the tank), and I was instructed to only fill it with diesel or else the car would just shut down if I fllled it with regular gasoline.

What’s the difference between diesel and gas? I had to do a little research online about this: fuel mixes with air in the engine and it combusts, which is what makes the pistons move done and turn the crankshaft, which is connected to the transmission, which then makes the car’s wheels turn. The piston moves up into the cylinder, pushes out of the engine and the tailpipe the burnt gas. More cylinders in your engine, the smoother the engine runs and the more powerful it is.

Where diesel and gas differ is in how they’re ignited in the engine. With gas, the gas and air is compressed and a spark plug ignites the combo of the two. With diesel, there’s no spark plus but rather the diesel and air is squeezed tightly enough that it just combusts from that action of being compressed. Since it runs on this combustion system of no spark plugs, diesel engines are often more simply and solidly built in comparison to a gas engine. And while I always thought diesel equaled more pollution compared to gas, from what I understand technology has come a long way and diesel runs cleaner than ever before.

OK, and if you like me thought only loud big rig trucks use diesel, that is clearly not the case, and with regards to the noise, advancements mean that the noise level is no longer a factor.

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Diesel contains more energy per unit than gas. So it often costs more but you’re getting more energy out of it. But over time, the fuel cost will end up being close to the same.

Hopefully, I’ve got all that info right (car buffs, please let me know if I’ve misunderstood what I researched!). This is all new to me and I confess that this is the most I’ve ever read about how an engine works.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, driving a diesel car didn’t feel any different. Oh, and in case you’re wondering where you can fill up with diesel,even though I’d asked if diesel is available at all gas stations and was told yes, the first one we went to fill up at in downtown Toronto did not have diesel.

Our rugged Terrain got us safely up to Killarney to starry skies at night and beautiful hikes, and I learned a little bit about car engines and diesel and gas in the process. If you’re thinking of camping in Killarney, here are my 5 tips I gained from my camping trip there:

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Hike the Chikanishing Trail. This trail is far simpler and more beautiful than the Crack and it leads you to beautiful Georgian Bay. The terrain is mixed (I like variety!), including some smooth pink boulders and towards the end, the path is narrow and the trees tower over you.

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Eat the famous fish and chips at Herbert Fisheries. We stopped at Herbert’s for lunch before the drive back to Toronto, and there is outdoor seating by the water (which was great since we had Billie Jean with us). The batter is light and delicate and it was a satisfying meal that tided me over for the trek home.

Killarney the Crack

Hike The Crack and bring lots of water and snacks. The stunning views at the peak make the long hike and the rough,jagged rocks for much of the trail (not my personal fave) worth it. Note: I don’t find the path that clearly marked and in fact went way off course at one point and thought me and Billie Jean were going to have to have search and rescue come save us. This hike will take you about four hours, so bring plenty of water (I didn’t pack enough for me and Billie Jean and it was a very hot day and we’re lucky we didn’t pass out from dehydration).

camp food

Pack delicious foods for your trip. This goes for any camp trip but I truly appreciated having non-typical camp food for this trip (we kind of went OTT as you can see). Sure, you can survive on only hot dogs and trail mix, but I love camping because we always eat great meals. This time we brought burrata and champagne and charcuterie. And it was awesome. Do prep as much as you can in advance, though.

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Be kind to your fellow campers. At one point one our first night, we got lost in the dark making our way back from going to see the lake and ended up on someone’s campsite and a very furious woman was simply a really awful human to us (even though we were clearly lost and not purposely trespassing on her site for kicks). Having witnessed this woman’s horrid treatment, the people on the next campsite broke the tension when we encountered them and their kindness helped make up for this horrible encounter. Thank you, you kind campers. As for the beastly lady, I wish you are treated more kindly in life going forward so that you can learn some grace yourself.

Until next year for more camping adventures! If you have any camping recos (any sites you love or great camping recipes), let me know! Camping is pretty new to me (my first trips were last summer to Rondeau and Killbear!).

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Leave a Comment December 3, 2018

Travel Swellness: Pretty Portland

Columbia Gorge

Where did my KEEN hiking boots take me a few months ago? Portland! It was my second time in this city but I didn’t get much time to explore the city much (which was fine as I was exploring the Nike Lab at their HQ in Beaverton and getting to see Kobe Bryant speak at one of the Nike sessions, oh and the New York Knicks were staying at my hotel!).

KEEN

This time around, I got to go the KEEN headquarters and their factory, where we got up close to see how the boots are made (the machine’s noise is a little hard on the ears, my apologies!):

Plus, we factored in lots of time to walk around the city, eat (Voodoo Doughnuts, of course) and, hike, obvi. Portland’s got some gorgeous hiking not far from the city. For more on what you should do in Portland, check out my story on AmongMen.com.

Voodoo Doughnuts

 

Leave a Comment July 9, 2015

Travel Swellness: Back to Basics with Ford Canada

With Sasha as we hit the road with Ford Canada to Muskoka

It’s not often that I wished I owned a car, but a night away up north with Ford Canada made me wish I did.

Back in December, I headed up to the Sherwood Inn with Ford Canada with a small group, which included my friends Sasha and Kimberly (so I knew I’d be laughing up a storm no matter what, we always have fun together). Given it was still early in the season, I wasn’t quite drained by the brutal winter weather we had this year, but heading out of town to some fresh air and white snow always provides such a mental boost. Toronto gets so grey and dreary in the winter. Being up north with friends to hike and learn about nature provided a much needed mental refresh to my usual daily grind in the city.

at the beautiful Sherwood Inn

We learned about different trees and how to chop firewood (which I wanted to try, it looks like quite the workout — but I think they were afraid we’d hurt ourselves…), how to change a flat tire (I could maybe fumble my way through it if I had to now!), and I had a lesson in driving a stick shift. The first time I tried to learn, it was a nightmare and ended in many, many, many tears. Loads of tears. So I approached this lesson stressed out to the max. I stalled the car a few times, but at least there were no tears. We also got to try the Active Park Assist (which I love — parallel parking also stresses me out, so I’m more than happy to have the car handle it!).

I'm a parallel parking pro (when I'm using Active Park Assist!)

Along with a lesson from a survivalist (tip: carry some steel wool when hiking, it can help you start a fire), and some delicious s’mores by the campfire, a quick winter getaway getting back to basics is something I consider a must. It’ll help alleviate some of the blues Toronto winters can cause.

Leave a Comment March 25, 2015

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