Before I start Wednesday, here's a bit of Tuesday night...
…It was all about the mosquitos.
The bugs, the ravenous bloodsucking little pieces of aerial nastiness that found their way into the trailer every night. I think they came in attached to the dog, or me, when we returned from walks or drinks breaks, and then terrorised us inside while we were watching movies. The DW spent 20 minutes hunting them down last night, swatting them, then wiping up the blood that their engorged corpses released when hit with the 200mph fly swatter. Fast forward to Wednesday and I had the brainwave of setting up the little bug killing lantern inside the trailer; the little blighters just dropped dead and didn't leave a blood spatter - why didn't I think of it earlier? Doh!
So Wednesday was a quiet day. I managed to get out and take a few photographs of the park, I walked the hound a bit more than she wanted, and we made friends with 1 year old Irish Wolfhound (distantly related to the Greyhound). I mention Nula the Wolfhound because I don't think I've ever seen such a big dog. She was so tall! Willow is tall but Nula dwarfed her, and she's still growing. Gulp!
The weather was fabulous, too; sunny and warm, with emphasis on the warm and not the hot. Most pleasant, and perfect camping weather; what a shame this was to be our last day.
Rondeau Provincial Park is on a north/south peninsular of lake silt, covered in one of the last remaining bits of Carolinian Forest in Canada. On the west side is Rondeau Bay, a shallow lake landlocked except for the river filling it in the north and the exit into Lake Erie at Erieau at the south. On the eastern side of the peninsular is Lake Erie, the fourth largest Great Lake at 240 miles long and 57 miles wide. Over recent years, lake levels have been receding and the Rondeau peninsular growing. In the past two years, though, lake levels have increased and now parts of the peninsular are in real danger of being swamped. The broad beaches on the Erie side are no more than narrow strips of sand right now, and the lack of drainage caused by the high water has meant that the campground in the park has been under real threat. I tell you all this because if lake levels continue to rise, I doubt we'll be camping here for much longer. Of course, Mother Nature is a fickle creature and levels may start to recede in the longer term, but who knows? Global warming? Quite possibly, but only time will tell.
I hope you were paying attention there because there's a test at the end of this. ;)
Anyway, we packed up with the all the grace and precision of a well-oiled piece of machinery. No, really, we did, all packed, hitched and ready to roll in about 30 minutes - boy, we're getting good at this. One the pleasures of being a tow vehicle rebel is driving slowly though the campground, watching people stare at us, mouth the words "You can't tow that with that!", so I really milked it today.
An uneventful run home and we were parked up on the driveway again, clearing out the laundry and emptying the fridge. We have a couple of weeks until our next jaunt; a bit longer this time and, if the nice people on the border let us through, an International trip to boot. Stay tuned campers and see how we fare around Lake Ontario in August! Happy 'streaming.
There's not much to say about Tuesday. I had to go into work.
It was horrible getting up early and heading away from the trailer and Rondeau Park, knowing it was a work day. Mind you, it was a much better feeling leaving work knowing I was heading back down to Rondeau.
I shall use today's blog to do a bit of opinion writing.
Some of you will know that I'm a champion of the smaller tow vehicle, at least for Airstream travel trailers. I never did see the point of big and unnecessary pickup truck when a car, SUV or van would do the job. This trip to Rondeau, though, has had me realising why a lot of people never look beyond the ubiquitous truck.
Firstly, have you seen how much stuff people take camping? We travel light; a few campground accessories, a table and four lawn chairs, but I watched a group of other campers this week with THREE portable shelters (in addition to the monster trailer), three grills, a full-sized fridge (in one of the shelters) tote boxes piled high, firewood, bikes and kayaks. It's no wonder they had a big, shiny pickup truck parked on their site.
Secondly, and this is the controversial bit, I think some people use the trailer to justify buying the truck. Trucks are big, they sit high and I'm sure their drivers feel safe and powerful piloting the things, towing or not. They don't actually tick many boxes when it comes to towing safety, though; often too high, primitive suspension, too much un-sprung weight, far too much flex in the frame, and then some folks go and add a poor hitch setup. They're gas guzzlers, too. But trucks are big and beefy, and you can get a whole lot of stuff in the back, and that's precisely why the trailer world loves its trucks.
There, I've upset 98% of the Airstream community. It's only an opinion, people, and don't forget, we only have four lawn chairs!
Sunday night with the hound? Not good, not good at all.
I was awake at 5am, reading at 6am and feeding the little darling at 7am. Not exactly my ideal holiday sleeping regime but I guess it goes with the territory. The dog crate is too big to go in the trailer comfortably, and even if I could get her bony little butt inside the crate, she’s long since considered it an instrument of torture and would surely have created enough havoc for me to let her out anyway. Bed sharing it must be, then.
Oh, and we had a bit of rain in the night. It might have been a lot of rain, I don’t know, but I was determined to get some small amounts of sleep, so I did my best to ignore the sound of droplets on the trailer’s skin. It was still hot, too, although not as hot as it had been, so we left all the windows open as far as we dare when we knew it would rain. With the combination of open windows, the trailer’s extractor fans and the nice chrome tabletop fan we use to blow the air around, the temperature inside wasn’t too bad thankfully. Yes, we have air conditioning but, as it does a good impression of the Concorde taking off, we chose not use it. Strangely, I noticed that the chrome fan wasn’t running when I woke at 5am. I assumed the good Mrs. M had turned it off on one of her nocturnal forays, but the notion that the power was off in the trailer did cross my sleep-deprived mind. A trip to the loo unfortunately solidified that notion; no power.
We’ve been to this park many times and never lost power and, being of good analytical mind, I thought I’d first check the power supply pillar at the edge of the site, just in case our little palace on wheels was playing tricks on us. There was no little light on the connector plug, and the pillar’s fuses were set to On, so it could only be a park-wide outage, and that is what it proved to be. Indeed, as I walked the hound around the site after her breakfast, no lights were visible and there were a few very sad looking campers wandering about muttering “Is your power out, too?”
So, we sat in all morning while the rain cleared up, reading and mooching about on our phones, speculating as to when the power might come back. It’s no biggie for us really, because we do have battery power, but we felt that during the day that we could do without electricity and had an enforced time out. I’m not sure the fridge and freezer were not too happy about the situation, but we haven’t died from food poisoning yet so it can’t have been that bad. We later found out that the previous night’s storm had brought a tree down, along with an inconveniently sited power line, and it had taken all morning to get things back up and running. The odd thing was that I had been reading about the need, or otherwise, of having a generator when camping. Never need it, I thought. Oh, the irony.
On Monday afternoon we drove out to Ridgetown, that Mecca of fine living. Our first stop was Pinnell’s Bakery for some sausage rolls and a Custard Slice, our second stop was Little Britain (British Imports) for Britain’s finest snack food. I was minding the hound outside while the good Mrs. M made the transactions inside when I was accosted by a fairly well-dressed woman asking first about the dog, then asking if I was Mark. She wanted the Mark who was running Little Britain, not the Steve who wasn’t, but she picked up on my accent, put two and two together to make sixty-three and thought I was he. I was still deep in conversation when the DW appeared and I wondered what she though of me chatting with strange women in the street. Being a sensible cove, her two and two made four and she thought “dog”.
After lunch, all three of use spent a happy few hours catching up on the previous night’s lost sleep, such is our level of non-stop action when we camp.
Post-supper (home made vegan gumbo) Monday evening was film night and I set the TV and Blu-ray player up to watch Inception. I’m not so sure what the movie was about but it had a lot of guns and bombs and things and was very noisy, especially as we were feeding the sound through the excellent Bose speaker. Pish to the neighbours. The film may have been easier to follow had I not fallen asleep through long sections of it, but I guess that being holiday is a sort of semi-excuse.
The temperature had fallen significantly during the day, and we went to bed feeling much happier. Well, I say happier, but I had to go to work on Tuesday and of course the Greyhound who gets bigger at night was looking longingly at our bed…
I’m not sure if you could say that we were excited to be going camping, we’re a couple of cold-blooded old fogeys, but it was nice to be putting stuff inside the trailer ready for a few days down at Rondeau.
It had been hot enough to boil a monkey’s bum all week, but the weather broke a bit on Saturday night, and we set off on Sunday afternoon in warm sunshine, not the thirty-plus degrees of earlier, which was a great relief to all. Why Sunday? Well, Mr. Organisation here had left booking anything a bit late and a Sunday start was the only time we could get a span of three nights at the Park. In the eight years we’ve had this trailer, the booking of sites has just gone crazy and, if you want a summer weekend then you’d better be booking six months in advance. I was thinking that I’d have to do something to reduce the appeal of camping at Rondeau, you know like committing some grizzly murders or something, but maybe I should get my life sorted out and book a bit earlier in future.
So, into our routine at the campground, we dumped the tanks first (that was the residue from cleaning operations rather than some historic 2018 poops) and filled up with fresh water, then headed over to the site. We’re on a corner plot and there’s an emergency escape road just opposite, so I drove into that ready to back up on to the site without having to make too much of a turn. No sooner had I started in than a woman on a bicycle came up, gesticulating wildly that I couldn’t get out that way. She meant well, but those grizzly murders came to mind again.
Anyway, we backed up, positioned, and I went to put the wheel chocks in. Bug City or what? I was pounced upon by hoards of blood-thirsty critters, all intent on draining me of my lifeblood, the little bastards. Deb leapt into action by liberally dousing me in bug repellent as I worked, brushing the little swine from my clothes and adding more spray when I was least expecting it, but they were persistent. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but the bugs were out to get me! It’s true! I’m getting really worried that I’m becoming paranoid, believe it or not.
Throughout our preparations for this trip, the hound was getting ever more anxious. She sat patiently in the air-conditioned car while we set up, but once out, she was a mass of panting and drooling, not sure if she was going to be abandoned in this god forsaken place by her heartless pack. I fed her, walked her and generally fussed around her, but it was some hours before she really settled down. I don’t think she’s much of a camper, she really doesn’t not like her sleep patterns, sorry, her daily routine, disturbed.
So, a quiet afternoon and evening was spent inside, hiding from the bugs. I’ll own up to having a bit of a doze, but that’s what being on your holidays is all about, isn’t it? Once the sun had gone behind the trees, we opened the windows on the trailer for bit of a through breeze, and just relaxed. The weather reports had the Park slated for storms all afternoon, but none arrived, which was nice. I did put the awning away before we turned in, though, just in case the storms turned up late; I didn’t want to wake up to a mass of tangled metal and canvas in the morning. I know, I lack that spirit of adventure, but Zip Dee awnings are expensive and I’m not a rich man.
While moaning about mosquitos and other bitey things, I do have to mention the fireflies, of which there were hundreds in and around the trees. They put on quite a light show; it's just a pity they share their airspace with crazed and vicious things wot bite.
We had a night of sharing the bed with a fidgety 70-pound Greyhound to look forward to, but with the windows open and the fireflies banging their heads on the window screens, I could think of worse places to be.
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
The Old Blog