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And so begins a 10 day vacation to the Manitoulin island in Ontario, Canada.
It's the largest freshwater island in the world, but that's not why we went there. We're going there because "everyone else was going"...at least one side of the family.

We left Pensacola on the 17th and we flew to Toronto...via Miami. If you know your geography, that's really flying in the wrong direction. But we arrived at Toronto (YYZ...any fans of the band Rush out there?) without incident. It was after we got to the car rental place that things started to go south quickly. Which come to think of it, relative to Canada, going south would be heading to the US, but I digress.

We arrived at the Avis car rental desk only to realize that we had left the car seat on the conveyor belt inside the secure area of the airport. So, my pregnant wife walked back to get it while I sorted out the car situation, juggling our two large bags and trying to keep an eye on our currently car-seatless toddler. We had pre-paid for a car that would seat the four adults and two car seats which we knew we'd be travelling around the island with. I'm not sure if the car they reserved for us had that capability. Why? Well, that's when the fun began.

I walked up to the car that was supposed to have the keys in it, only to find the car locked. Are the keys inside? I don't know...but I do know that I don't have them. They were supposed to be inside, but it was one of those key-less systems that just needed the key fob in the proximity of the car to activate the ignition. And, perhaps more importantly, lock/unlock the car when you walk away from the vehicle. Which is what I'm guessing the previous renter or Avis attendant did.

So I waited for 30-45 minutes for a locksmith to come out and he jimmied the door open, only to set off the alarm. And in case you were wondering, toddlers really don't like to be standing next to the alarm when it goes off. So I've got a blaring car alarm echoing throughout the parking garage in one ear and a screaming toddler in the other. And then, for whatever reason, the *locksmith* turns to me and asks me if I have the keys to turn off the alarm. Of course not...that's why you are here. Just then, my wife returned with the car seat only to find all hell unfolding in the garage.

So, I left the now three or four Avis workers to figure out how to get into the car to turn off the alarm while I went back to the service desk to get another vehicle. I did hear the alarm stop, followed by a sarcastic "Thank you!" coming from somewhere in the garage...only to have the alarm spitefully start up again. That little bit of humor bolstered my spirits enough to accept that the Victoria Day long weekend in Canada had drained all reasonably sized vehicles from the Avis inventory. The replacement vehicle we got was a beastly Chevy Suburban which we had to wait at least another 45 minutes for them to drive in from another location. This Canyonero-esque monster gets maybe 15 liters/100km (15.6 mpg) if  you drive very efficiently. Unfortunately, our plans called for us to driving for hours up to North Bay and then down to the Manitoulin and then back to Toronto. The gas bill's going to be the largest one I've ever seen. Great way to start the vacation, eh?

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