Prepping for our final trip of the year, and only the second time we’ve camped this summer, I don’t think either Mrs. Toad or myself really had our heads in the right place. Yes, food was made ready last weekend, but neither of us had been in the trailer before Thursday and even then, I didn’t do any more than check that things were working.
I did head home at lunchtime today to load my clothes and wash bag, and to check the tyre pressures given that poor Towed Haul has sat on the driveway since the end of July.
After work, though, I finally found some enthusiasm and started the final loading of the car and hitching up, all on my own as Mrs. T was having a works' social event. It took me an hour but in the gathering gloom, I was all set to head out a little after six.
We’d decided to bring the hound this time, partly because she get’s really antsy at home when we’re not there, and partly because we thought she’d enjoy a day or two away. Boy, was she ever agitated? She positively leapt into the car, fearful that we’d go without her, and more canine shenanigans were to come.
A slight mishap occurred when one of the extended mirrors broke just as we were about to move. Fortunately, it was the one on the right, less important than the one of the left, so we looked a tiny bit lopsided as we made our way out onto the street.
As is always the case when you know that you have limited time before the daylight will be gone, we needed to fill the Toadmobile with gas; something I should have done before hitching up. Not that it was a big deal, but it was another ten minutes of light that we were losing. The bridge on Charing Cross Road was out, too, which mean a detour down to the Truck Stop and back again so that we could start our southerly drive to Rondeau.
Our normal routine on arriving at a campground is to visit the dump station to clear down the grey and black tanks (usually at least half full of water, part of the plan to keep them clean and functional), and to take on fresh water. This we did, but the water supply at this park isn’t exactly high pressure and it took an age to load up our 45 gallons, and we were only done just as the final light of the day disappeared.
Two surprises greeted us on arrival at our site. First was that the campground was surprisingly busy for a Friday in mid-October, and second was just how wet and muddy it was. We’re just a few hundred yards from Lake Erie here and this year, the lake’s level is very high. I think any ground water here takes an age to dissipate and there was certainly plenty in the campground.
Parking and setting up in the dark is never fun, especially as it was just five degrees Celsius and starting to rain. The dog decided that she didn’t like us leaving her in the car while we backed in and unhitched, going ballistic and trying to strangle herself in an attempt to get out and be with us, so she had to be brought into trailer as poor Mrs. Toad was doing the internal stuff and getting the supper on the stove.
That said, it didn’t take us too long and we soon had the furnace going to warm the place up. Have I mentioned how cold it gets in a metal skinned travel trailer? The insulation isn’t designed for anything but Summer camping, I think.
A great big bowl of vegan gumbo later and I was ready to take the hound out to do what she must do, then to collapse into bed. We didn’t even fire up the DVD player or crack open the beer, such was our joint exhaustion after a long (four day!) week at work. It’s always tough sharing your bed with a seventy-pound Greyhound, and she was making sure that she had her fair share of space, but we didn’t care; it was lights out and goodnight Vienna. Or Rondeau, anyway.
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