More of our tale of unseasonal weather here in deepest Ontario.
Thursday had me waking up to dark, dank skies and a drizzle of rain. The lake out front had gone, thankfully, but the lower lying area was still covered in water, and everywhere else was just squelchy to walk on. This was not the carefree break we had been looking forward to.
Walking the hound was a necessary evil and, as there was the tiniest bit of watery sunshine breaking through and the drizzle had abated at least temporarily, we ambled around the campground, looking at the tree debris from the winds yesterday. I did find a storm drain just up at the top of the area that flooded; it had obviously been overwhelmed during the course of the storm but was now functioning as it should, hence the lack of a lake.
The day soon closed in again, though, and we were confined to barracks essentially. I guess we could have gone for a drive or something, but the prospect of wandering around St Mary's or Stratford in the rain really didn't appeal. The wind had died down at least, and changed direction, but the promised showers arrived with monotonous regularity. No matter, though; rest and relaxation is the name of the game.
I did break out the Sewer Solution, something we don't often get the chance to use. It's a water powered macerator that is used to drain the waste water holding tanks, if you have a handy sewer connection available. Most people will use the dreaded "Stinky Slinky", a four-inch wide flexible tube that relies on gravity to allow you to dump the holding tanks, but with our low-slung Airstream, we don't start with gravity on our side, and often the sewer connection ends up being higher than the outlet. That's no problem with the Sewer Solution as it uses a narrow jet of water to both break up the solids and to push it all along a pipe to the sewer, and uphill doesn't faze it. I'd cleaned the macerator and re-greased it to prevent leaks, and it worked beautifully. I also use a six-inch clear plastic extender at the holding tank outlet, which creates a bit of space to allow the tank valves to be pulled open, and you get to watch progress, which is fascinating if you like watching turds and toilet paper getting obliterated. Although it's a slow process, it works well, even to the extent that you can direct the jet of water back into the holding tank to give it a rinse around. All in all, the Sewer Solution was one of our better buys.
Fast forward to Friday morning and some very slightly better weather. It was packing up day so we were up and about a little earlier. My big concern for the day was getting the Toadmobile and Towed Haul off the sodden grass and onto some firmer ground. I'd parked in such a way as to have a slight downhill run to cover the ten feet or so to the roadway, but after the storm there was still a ton of water just sitting on the lower parts of the ground, and there were big puddles formed in trenches where earlier trailers had gone off the roadway. Just reversing the car back to the hitch had me slipping around, and I had no load to haul.
Applying myself to the problem, I thought if I tried to pull Towed Haul left and tackle a slight incline with good grass rather than roll down into the water and mud, I'd have a better chance of getting off the site without getting stuck. I'd have to move the fire ring, and fortunately it wasn't staked down, but going left looked the better prospect. People in the trailering world will tell you that front wheel drive tow vehicles are no good, but when you're in this potential bogging down situation, front wheel drive is the best because it's all pull rather than push and pull.
I repositioned the Toadmobile before hitching so that it faced to the left and up the incline. Hitching at an angle isn't easy but we did it without issue, and then prepared to haul. I'd already said to Mrs. T that once rolling I wasn't going to stop until I was properly on the roadway, then go back for all the stuff on the ground like the Lego blocks and the patio mat (which I had left out in case it was needed). The Toadmobile's right front wheel was in the ash of the fire ring, which was a good thing, and I put the doormat in front of the left front wheel, giving it a wee bit more traction. A little bit of power and off we rolled! No slipping at all. Mind you, the tire tracks the trailer left on the grass were horrible as they sank into the soaked ground. Thank goodness for grass roots.
We fished the packing and rolled out of the very wet Science Hill Country Club into the improving day. I took care to slow down before some of the steep downgrades this time so we weren't barrelling too fast down the hills. At the bottom of one hill was a river with a campground lined up along its banks. It was flooded out. I think had we been there we'd have hitched up and left early on Wednesday morning.
The run home was uneventful in that Towed Haul dutifully followed us home without any problems. Not using the GPS, I still managed to turn onto the wrong road in Strathroy and we ended up on a different, although no less direct route. I needed fuel and had decided to fill up as we went through Strathroy, but with my wrong turn I missed all the fuel stations I was looking for. Mrs. T used her phone to locate a gas station in Glencoe, which is on the way home, but there was road construction which made getting into a very tight forecourt just too difficult, so we pressed on. As it happened, we had enough gas to get us home; Highway Two is a good road but seriously lacking in gas stations.
So, four days and three nights of really nasty weather made for a trip that wasn't the best. We were forced into doing nothing, which can be a good thing, and we spent no money other than the campground fees and gas. Any day of camping is better than day of working, for sure.
One more trip is planned for this season; I'm hoping we've had the worst of the weather already!
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
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