Last October, we bought a Roadtrek camper van. It was already winterized so we immediately put it into storage. Over the winter I made some modifications, including converting all the lighting over to LED, adding 12 volt outlets (cigarette lighter receptacles), USB charger outlets, and an EMS (electrical management system) which analyses shore (campsite post) power before feeding the van electronics. All this planning and thinking kept me up many a night over the winter.
But then spring came and the provincial park online booking system opened up! But, unfortunately, due to the pandemic and lockdowns, sites were limited and availability filled up fast… too fast. We had one reservation in May cancelled due to lockdown.
Finally, in June, we made our escape â€“ to Niagara Falls, which was mainly a test drive for us. But we no sooner got onto the QEW, when an engine light came on. I figured it was probably only an emission sensor, but didnâ€™t want to take a chance so we doubled back to our trusted mechanic on Lakeshore Road in Port Credit. I tightened the gas cap, he plugged in the analyzer, shut off the light and we were good to go. But had to keep our eye on the light to see if it came back on.
We drove to Campark on Lundyâ€™s Lane, just on the edge of Niagara Falls, plugged in and we were up and running. Everything worked. This is a very clean and friendly campground in a comfortable park setting. Itâ€™s a little far from the Niagara Parkway by bicycle, about 10 km, but not a problem, as the streets were quite quiet. We cycled to the Parkway, then headed south one day and north the next.
I usually get up earlier than Chantal and I need my coffee right away, so I rediscovered my old back-packing single burner butane stove, which was perfect for boiling water outside the van. Lots of birds here and it was a real pleasure to just sit with my coffee â€“ alone, no internet and no computer, and just listen to them singing and squawking. This is one of the pleasures of camping â€“ the tranquility. More bird posts atÂ Am I a birdwatcher? andÂ The Bird Whisperer.
Leaving Campark, we travelled south through Fort Erie and over to Crystal Beach. I was reminiscing my childhood of family picnics with my parents, grandparents and cousins. I remember the fabulous beach and the amusement park with the hotdogs, fries and cotton-candy. At one time the Comet was the largest wooden roller coaster in the world. But thatâ€™s all gone and most everything else, and it costs $5 to go on the beach.
I went looking for nostalgia and couldnâ€™t find it anywhere.
We returned home for a couple of days to re-stock and then off to Sauble Falls Provincial Park. The thing about a van â€“ once itâ€™s parked and plugged it, everything is out and laying about, so itâ€™s difficult to just drive away. But this was not a problem because we had the bikes. We used them for our excursion trips for groceries, liquor store, the beach and even to get firewood. Didnâ€™t have to move the van once all week. But on the other hand, the easy getaway feature of a van is a real benefit on a road trip, which is what we’ll be doing later this summer.
Not the best weather this week â€“ cold and windy. Not much beach time, but thatâ€™s ok, weâ€™ll be back later in the summer for real beach time. It went down to 8Â°C one night but not a problem in the van. We were warm and cozy.
Next trip? Yes, there will be one later this summer, where weâ€™ll be travelling almost every day to points east.
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