Oh my, what a much improved night on the previous two! It helped that the temperature was down a bit but the lack of a dog was probably the clincher.
We'd brought in the awning just before we went to bed as the wind was up and lifting the darned thing up and down. ZipDee awnings are very nice, very expensive but not too brilliant in the wind. The arms that hold it up are aluminium and necessarily have bends and and holes in them. This makes them a touch on the feeble side when things get blowy and, as any good Airstream owner will tell you, they're best brought in to save any catastrophic damage. I think the people who design these things only ever camp at the height of summer in the most benign places; in the real world, awning supports need to be a bit stronger. Still, the awning does roll up nicely, is pole-free and is transported safely on the outside of the trailer, all good plus points when camping.
So, a good night's sleep was followed by a leisurely breakfast and a slow pack up of the site. The sun was creeping up, as was the temperature, so the good Mrs T swept the inside of the tent after I'd removed all the gear. The fly-sheet was still a little wet but we hauled it off, gave it a shake and put it to dry in the sun. Actually dismantling the tent is quite easy and in no time at all I was folding in the floor, exposing a section at a time to the sun and brushing it off as it dried. I must have looked quite fussy getting it all brushed and folded so neatly but it's such a rare thing to be able to do that; it's normally pouring with rain at this point in the proceedings.
I've said before that the lack of tadpoles makes the whole camping atmosphere so much less stressful. We had Towed Haul secure and everything stowed in the car in double-quick time without their "help" and were hitched and heading to the dump station well ahead of schedule. Not that we have a schedule really, but we're supposed to be off the site by 2pm.
Talking of vacating the site, how is it that new campers can be arriving on site at 11.30 in the morning and yet you don't have to be off the site until 2pm? I've never had anyone sitting waiting for us to vacate a site but I'm equally sure that if I tried to get onto a site before 2pm I'd be sent on my way. If anyone from the Parks organization is reading this, perhaps they can enlighten me?
Of course getting moving relatively early was a good thing in order minimize the bug-fest. I was trying to get the hitch sorted out and was being bitten to bits as I worked, and the air temperature was rising sharply, too. I love the warm weather but it's sometimes difficult to work in.
So, hitched and rolling, we made our way out to dump the tanks (such a sweet-smelling task in the current weather) and to make our way home. The wind had really picked up, unnoticed by us in the wooded campground, and I could feel the trailer being resisted by it was we drove northwards towards Chatham. People talk about coping with steep hills when towing but it's wind-resistance that's the real killer; trying to drive for hours at a time into a strong headwind really tests the mettle of the tow vehicle. The fuel consumption rates gave the game away as it was running at about 20 litres per 100Km when we'd normally be at 17 or 18. Still, it's not a long run home so no real issue there.
Back on the driveway, we set about clearing things out in preparation for the next trip. Sometimes this camping lark can seem to be quite a lot of work, but when you've reached your destination and are sipping beer in some quiet country campground, all the effort is worthwhile. That said, this years crop of biting bugs at Rondeau really took the shine off this visit.
We're off again soon, slightly further afield this time. Watch this space if you'd like to see how we fare.
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
The Old Blog