A surprisingly good night’s sleep had me awake at about six, really needing the loo more than anything else. The hound had been reasonably well behaved in the night and the furnace had dutifully kicked in from time to time to stop us all from freezing to death.
Dozing for a while longer, I finally surfaced so that Willow could have her breakfast and get out for her version of the loo. It wasn’t raining but the outside temperature on the heating console showed just three degrees (Mrs. T asked when she would see me again – think about it), so it was only going to be a swift walk to the garbage bins and back. Talking of garbage bins, Willow has a dread fear of them at this park and I have to drop her leash about ten feet away if I want to make a deposit in the big, blue dumpsters. I think it might be because there are often Raccoons lurking in them, although not today, and I think she can hear and smell them way before I can. What a strange/clever dog.
In the daylight, the extent of the wet and mud, not just on our site but the whole campground, was evident. It’s no wonder the Park authorities delayed opening in the spring; early use would have trashed the place in Spring and made it worse than it is now. Naturally, I had parked the car last night right in the muddiest place on our site, so I shall be approaching from the passenger side when I need to get in it later.
The busy campground is getting busier, with people arriving early, given that check-in is usually at 2pm. In among all the monstrous Fifth Wheelers and giant, brightly coloured bumper-pulls, we do have an Argosy parked a couple of sites away, although I haven’t seen any other Airstreams yet. One of the reasons for the number of people here this weekend might be that today is the annual Rondeau Chili Cook Off. I don’t think it’s an official Park event, but the authorities seem to be endorsing it. Now, I’m famous in these parts for NOT liking Chili, so I don’t think I’ll be wandering over there any time soon. I also noticed that the Visitor Centre’s snake is due to be fed at 1pm today and we’re all invited; the attractions here are wonderful.
I was delaying heading over to the Comfort Block for a shower because of the cold and dank weather. Yes, we have a shower in the Airstream, but the Park’s facilities are pretty good, and I usually avail myself of their hot water rather than using up our limited resources. Before I went, though, I fired up our hot water heater, or at least I tried to. The darned thing did fire, but went straight out again. This wasn’t entirely unexpected, though, especially after we haven’t used the system in a while. For some strange reason, spiders seem to love propane, and are apt to build small but dense nests in the gas/air mixture tube. It’s happened before and ever since then I’ve carried a spare thermal fuse and the right tools to dismantle the bits of the water heater assembly I can see in order to clean it up. So, sitting on a deck chair in the cold and damp, I disassembled the necessary bits. That mixture tube was certainly the problem because after I’d cleaned the nest out and re-assembled everything, the heater fired into life, and I didn’t even need to replace the fuse this time. I was a happy camper!
I did go and use the Park’s facilities in the end and, despite it being a bit of a mud-fest in the outer area, the shower itself supplied copious amounts of lavishly hot water, from which I really didn’t feel like emerging. Well done Rondeau for having such excellent facilities.
These short, weekend trips are really just a means of recharging ourselves a bit, to get away from the routine and do something a little different. With it being so cold, our alternative Saturday morning consisted of reading, and reading, and a bit more reading. It’s something we both love to do but don’t always get the chance to indulge. But here in the Park, with no one to bother us, we set the furnace to a comfortable level and opened our books (Kindle, in my case), and set to. A great way to unwind.
We did manage a quick jaunt out to Ridgetown in the afternoon. It’s not the closest centre of population, but the easiest to get to, given that the little town of Erieau may only be a few kilometres away, but there’s a strip of unbridged water to cross, and we didn’t feel like swimming it.
A quick call into the baker’s shop had Mrs. T making some excellent purchases, including some apple dumplings and a custard slice; well worth the trip just for that, I’d say. Then we walked the hound around a couple of blocks, admiring the old, and the not so old, buildings. In Ridgetown, many of the houses are faced in wood, or would have been before aluminium and vinyl siding had been invented, and it’s interesting to see the difference between that and the houses in Chatham. We finished our walk with a run into Subway, not a favourite fast food joint for us, but a quick means of obtaining a very late lunch.
Back at the Park, it was a bit more reading, a snooze and then some DVD watching. Veronica Geurin (a bit superficial but starring the sainted Cate Blanchette, which made it eminently watchable) and The Untouchables (way too gory and full of cartoon characters – brainy man with glasses, puffy Italian gangster and grizzled Irish cop, who of course is Sean Connery and he can only do a Scottish accent so, despite the official dialogue, a grizzled Scottish cop). Fortunately I slept through most of it.
I’m always struck how we tend to hide away inside on these trips at either end of the season, and most other campers are outside, gathered around necessarily roaring campfires. Each to their own, I suppose, but we weren’t going sit outside being choked with wood smoke, burning hot on our faces and with freezing cold backs. Oh yes, we’ve done the campfire thing, but it really didn’t look like a relaxing evening when the temperature outside is just five degrees Celsius.
And so to bed, complete with the hound acting as a great big fidgety bolster. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
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