In May 2012, my mother-in-law gave us her old car - but we live in Halifax and the car was in Edmonton. So we flew there and drove it all the way back to Halifax. We had great weather and I had a new camera. This is the last part of a series of blog posts about the trip.
(All of the photos are hosted on Flickr - click on any to see bigger versions and browse the full set.)
After several weeks and several thousand kilometres, we were ready to get back home to Halifax. Our campsite in New Brunswick was only a few hours' drive away.
But first I needed coffee.
All through this trip, I had been trying to find the best way to have decent coffee while camping - little Nescafé packets with pre-mixed sugar and milk powder were nifty but not exactly gourmet. I had picked up some nice Italian Illy coffee in Alberta and had used it in a little coffee filter cone over a cup - but I could only pour a little bit of water at a time, and it was difficult to clean properly. I finally found the best solution for camping coffee - or for any coffee, for that matter: Aeropress.
I had been hearing coffee snobs raving about Aeropress, and I liked how simple and elegant it seemed to be. While in Toronto, Shannon had found one for me in the St. Lawrence Market, and this morning was my first opportunity to try it out:
We had been camping for years, but had mostly tried cooking on a campfire, which was fun, but time-consuming and messy and smoky. Our whole experience improved once we started using little alcohol-based camp stoves. They're portable, clean, and easy to set up - and they can boil a pot of water quite quickly.
The Aeropress is an unbelievably simple device - it's essentially a human-powered espresso press. Here are all of the parts:
You screw the cap on the big cylinder, put the big cylinder over your cup, put the coffee grounds in, pour in water, stir, wait, and then press the water and coffee through the filter by pushing down with the small cylinder:
Everything is better with a good hot coffee.
Cleanup? The squeegee pressing action cleans the inside automatically. Just unscrew the cap and pop the filter and grounds 'puck' into the nearest garbage or compost bin. So simple and elegant!
This was my first Aeropress, so I just followed the official instructions. Since this is a favourite device for coffee snobs, there are all sorts of different 'recipes' for how to make the best Aeropress coffee. I now use the Aeropress every morning (although I prefer to use the "inverted" method myself).
Anyhow - properly caffeinated, we packed up and drove south towards Nova Scotia. We stopped in Sackville New Brunswick and stretched our legs by walking around the Tantramar Marsh bird sanctuary. We were welcomed back to Nova Scotia by the giant turbines of the Amherst Wind Farm:
As we finally neared Halifax, we noticed billowing dark smoke on the horizon.
Had they gone and blown up the North End again? Would we even have a house to come home to? Well, it turned out to be a large forest fire near Spryfield - making the whole city smell a bit like a camp-fire.
Quite a way to be welcomed home!