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  • Writer's pictureThe Roving Route


The Adventures of The Roving Route #36

Well, it's official! The ice road is in and we made it through isolation! What a change this week has brought. Snowmobiles and vehicles are now roaming the lake at all hours of the day and the peace and quiet we talked about last week is gone. The ice road will last until about March when the weather warms and the ice becomes a lake again.

So it's December 31st, and like you have heard a million times already, 2020 wasn't the year everyone thought it would be. As we all reflect back, remember that whether you know it or not you learned new skills, became more flexible, and viewed the world through new eyes. Years from now when you talk about this year, you might not recall each individual struggle you had to overcome, however the changes you were forced to make allowed you to adapt and carve a new path.

At the start of 2020, we had already been on the road for 2 months and were not planning on returning any time soon. The Roving Route was rolling and we started to see how we could make an impact within the industry. Once Covid-19 was classified a pandemic, we had to cut our travel plans short and return back to Canada. Having to adapt we decided to try to obtain as many skills as we could both professionally and personally while we worked from home. Like everyone and especially those who try to veer from the regular 9-5, we faced all sorts of hiccups but we are trying to look back on this experience with a positive mindset. While we prepared for our isolation we knew hiccups were going to continue as we wouldn't be able to master or prepare for all the dozens of systems that support us. Luckily we are optimistic and live in today's society where we don't have to find and read through dusty manuals and we can just research our exact system and all the walkthrough Youtube videos we want.

There is no way that we could have taken on an adventure like this without this positive mindset. If we focus on every little thing that has gone wrong or taken uptime, we would leave this thinking we had an awful experience. Almost immediately after we took the boat out of the water for the season our heat started to act up. After a day of living in a dry sauna in one room and an ice hotel in another, we knew we needed to learn about our heating system. With some short-term solutions in place (turning off one set of radiators and bleeding the others), it has been working but deep winter temperatures are around the corner so time will tell.

Thanks to a duck falling down the chimney during the winter a few years ago and causing quite the mess in the cottage as it flew around trying to find its way out, there is now a grill and two bricks on top of our chimney stack. Since then years of on and off burning and weeks of constant fires- by then our only source of heat in the main room- caused the space between the bricks to fill with soot forcing the smoke to flood back inside. With some effort, rope, duct tape, and a hockey stick, we were able to get up on the snow-covered roof and temporarily fix our issue but it did take away a few good days of s'more making! The lesson of that week - learn how to check when a chimney sweep is required. Guess what we are buying once we get into town.

Last week's hiccup was not a huge shock to us as we knew it was going to be a constant battle we would never win. Since we are trying to heat our house efficiently, we sealed up all the windows and doors as best as we could. Unfortunately, this causes moisture from breathing, washing dishes, and showering to stay inside and if not properly dealt with can cause mold and decay. To help combat this, the cottage has an HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator) which works, as we quickly learned, by pulling stale air from inside through an exchanger where it heats fresh air coming in from outside. However, they are not very efficient (often running at about 70% of the heat exchanged) so we were only selectively using it when a sudden 20 degree overnight drop caused a layer of ice to take over our windows! After flipping it on, it was clear our HRV was not heating properly when the intake into the room read just +3°. After becoming a temporary HRV technician, we were able to clean out the system, fix the exchanger, and are hoping to have learned how to properly manage excess humidity!

When we were celebrating the New Year in Bangkok one year ago, this was not our vision for 2020 but, the few hiccups we have shared ended up being great learning experiences. With the likely possibility of owning a house in the future, our isolation forced us to fully immerse ourselves into the systems that power our homes. Bottom line no matter what path you take whether that be one you made or you were forced to choose, there will always be hiccups to overcome. But with some preparation, research, and support the outcome can be whatever you put your mind to!

So we leave you with this quote "The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty" - Winston Churchill

Cheers from ice road-friendly Lake of the Woods,

The Roving Route

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