It's not often we get a child and dog free weekend, but last week we had just that.
Knackered from some heavyweight working at the bus yard, we packed up Towed Haul and headed east to St Marys, or to be specific, Science Hill Country Club for a couple of days R&R. It's actually a golf course, reclaimed I think from agricultural land, that has a rather nice full hookup camp ground.
Because it's a bit out of the way, Science Hill is rarely busy. The sites are neat and grass covered and, while you're quite close to your neighbours, the tall trees do give you feeling of being in the woods, albeit a very well tended wood. Anyway, this trip we weren't planning on being at the campground much.
We've visited before and now, as then, we were struck by the lovely, informal manner of the owners; the "park anywhere" instruction was nice to receive. The $40 per night charge was also very encouraging.
Our run up there was uneventful, which is always good, even if the lady in the SatNav took us a quite unusual route north of London. That was no problem, of course, as we just dawdled along and enjoyed the evening drive through the Southern Ontario landscape. It's beans and corn in the fields, so it was a two hour drive through the ripening greenery; very bucolic.
The Toadmobile seemed to be a bit heavy on the fuel, as it was on our last trip. I'm not sure why that should be as the wind was fairly light and there were precious few hills to climb. We had new tires fitted to the Airstream and that's about the only change we've made; perhaps I need to investigate some more.
We arrived a little later than we'd hoped, picked a site and unhitched. The only problem was that we'd not levelled Towed Haul from side to side and she was on a bit of a tilt. There was no option but to hitch up again so we could drag the old girl up onto the plastic Lego blocks we keep for such instances. Even seasoned campers like us get it wrong sometimes, eh?
So, once levelled, we settled into our traditional first evening meal of vegan Gumbo, washed down with some Chatham craft beer; all very civilized. We did fire up the BluRay player but I think I fell asleep quite quickly so only managed to see about three of the Magnificent Seven.
Saturday dawned, quite late for us thanks to the handy dandy covers Mrs Toad had stitched and Velcro'd to the underside of the Fantastic Fans, and a dog-free night. I couldn't quite face breakfast outside under the awning as it was so cozy inside with the sunshine streaming in, so we ate indoors and revelled in being able to use the shower in the trailer as we knew we could dump the waste tanks without moving her, what with the sewer connection and all.
Saturday morning and early afternoon was spent browsing and lunching in Stratford, enjoying a particularly nice meal at Keystone Alley, a new restaurant just off the town's main square. Home of the famous Stratford Theatre Festival, the place was fair buzzing with visitors and it all seemed quite vibrant in the summer sunshine.
Our evening's entertainment was to be at a theatre, but this was in the small town of Blyth, about an hour north of Stratford. Blyth, too, has an annual theatre festival but it's not nearly on the same scale as Stratford. The town's little playhouse puts on a season of plays each summer and they attract visitors from all over Canada. The theatre's company is professional but the entire event is not-for-profit and has a lovely small town feel. We had a fabulous evening in the tiny, but perfectly formed, theatre, watching a play called Ipperwash, a story about real events around a First Nations stand off near Sarnia a few years ago. I'm not sure that I fully "got it", but it's always nice to have a cultural evening every now and again.
Driving back to Science Hill in the dark was fun, and I'm very grateful that we have a SatNav, because even in the daylight, one field of corn looks very like the next. We did pass through Brussels and Dublin (complete with The Liffey Drain) on the way, though, which was exciting.
Sunday was cooler and we did the sum of bugger all in the morning before packing up to leave. We did get to use the rather excellent Sewer Solution to drain our waste tanks. Essentially, you connect it up to the trailer, the sewer and to a water source. You open up the valve to the poo tank and the water supply sends a narrow jet into a chamber where the solids get mashed to bits and sent down a two inch hose to the sewer. It's slower than just using the usual 'slinky' pipe but it has the advantage of working up gentle slopes, rendering gravity unnecessary in the waste disposal process; handy when our waste tanks are so low down.
Our return trip to Chatham was a nice run across country again, although a different route again thanks to Mrs SatNav. The ToadMobile was much better on fuel this time, so it must have been all downhill or something. We're still a bit heavy on gas but getting better.
We'll probably get one more weekend run out this season, which we'll look forward to. This weekend, though, was a very pleasant outing and I'm very happy to recount it here.
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
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