Travels have been sparse this year, for various reasons, but we wanted to get one final trip in before putting Towed Haul into hibernation. Despite the lateness of the season, this is a busy camping weekend; three days available, fall colours and the last of the year for those of us confined to these northern climes. It was no surprise, then, that the Provincial Parks were booked solid and we had to look elsewhere.
We settled on Science Hill Country Club, at St. Marys, just a little to the north of London. It's a golf course with a campground, really, which seems an odd choice for a family of non-golfers, but it is located within easy striking distance of Stratford, a town we love to visit. Not only did Science Hill have vacancies, all the sites have full hookup facilities and are a tad cheaper than those in the Provincial Parks. Result!
I'd prepped Towed Haul the previous weekend because I thought I'd be working on the Friday. The work didn't happen so I had a full day to get everything prepared and we were hitched and ready to hit the road a little after four o'clock, which is a real bonus when the nights draw in so quickly these days. The weather was set fine, if cold, and we made our way up to the motorway in good spirits.
I should explain that whilst the Tadpoles and the hound were with us in the car, the small toads were being whisked off to places further north by their father, who was collecting them from Science Hill. They were fractious as we travelled, but we knew that our weekend was going to be fractious-free. Result! Again!
The drive up the highway was fine, although I don't think I've ever seen that section so busy; that's what long weekends will do. About 20 minutes into the trip and bowling along at 100 km/hr, we heard nasty metallic clang; Mrs T looked at me and I looked at Mrs T and we both said "Breaker Bar". The breaker bar is a length of steel tube that is used a lever, in this case to lift the weight distribution load bars into place, and the clang we heard was it falling off the battery box where I'd left it and it hitting the road. There was nothing we could do so we carried on, resolved to get a new breaker bar in the morning. Not a result.
We turned off the motorway just to the east of London and made our way north, through that city's outlying sprawl, annoyingly cheap gas ($1.11 a litre compared to the $1.26 I'd paid in Chatham a few hours earlier) and its traffic, before getting into the rolling countryside that typifies the country on London's northern flank. It's not hilly really, but compared to the billiard table topography around Chatham, the hills look more daunting than they really are. The fields around about were being being harvested of their soya and corn and the Fall colours made for a very rural scene in the late afternoon sun.
We made Science Hill after about two and a quarter hour's driving and found the clubhouse locked and bolted for the night. We were about to head off to the campground when a nice friendly fellow appeared, as if from nowhere. He opened up the clubhouse, showed us where we could set up and waved away my attempts to pay. It would be nice to think that he was giving us the weekend for free but I think it was because he'd closed the till for the night. We agreed to catch up in the morning and off we went to set camp. Informality at its best.
We had a host of sites to choose from, all reasonably level and grass-covered. We chose one, did a drive through operation rather than backing in and proceeded to set the trailer up for occupation. As I sit here and write this now, I see that we should be in on an angle, rather than being at right angles to the road, which would explain why I have electricity cables and water pipes connected to one pillar and sewer hose to another. Not that it makes any difference and the place is largely empty, but in the bright sunlight today, I see how I should have parked. Ho hum.
Plumbed and plugged in, Mrs T set about heating up the vegan Gumbo we were all having before the Tadpole's father showed up to whisk them away. It was a fabulous meal for a cold evening, despite the grumbling kids, and I had seconds. Greedy? Oh yes! Once they's departed, Mrs T and I revelled in the peace and quiet; even the hound looked calmer. We only made it until about 10.30 before sleep got the better of us and we clambered into bed. In the cold, of course, the furnace kicks in (noisily) and pumps out some very warm air for a while which is pretty good, except that it heats quickly and cools quickly so you're alternately boiling hot or freezing cold. These metal skinned trailers are not really made for the cold, despite the insulation provided.
So, Saturday promises a new breaker bar and a visit to Stratford. Catch tomorrow's installment for more Toad adventures.
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
The Old Blog