Bon Echo Provincial Park
May 31 - June 2
We weren’t super prepared to get away this weekend, even though I was determined to be better prepared than our last trip! Last time, our fridge was too full of condiments, so this time I wanted to put them into smaller containers so we had space for the actual food. This took WAY longer than I hoped it would! Chris likes a lot of different types of sauces…
After our last trip, we arrived home only to find that one of the locks on our back storage compartment was jammed. Regardless of what we did, we could not get it to work. I eventually crawled under the bed and, using the light from my iPhone, jimmied it open from the inside. I was then able to remove the lock completely (I even needed to buy a special piece for the socket set to get it off!) and took it to a locksmith, who was also unsuccessful at unlocking it. We bought our Holly at Can-Am RV and they have been great with little things like this. They mailed me two new locks, right away, but they only arrived after we came back from this weekend. I put the lock back on as it was and we just didn’t use the storage compartment at all for the trip. Luckily, we don’t actually have anything packed in our car, so we were able to move some of the things we normally stow under the bed (electrical cords, water hoses and dumping stuff, mostly), to the car. Just getting the lock back on, though, was a little more time consuming than I planned for…
Chris got home from work later than he hoped, but earlier than I expected, so we were actually able to get on the road by about 5 pm. Thank goodness for longer days and more daylight, allowing us to arrive before dusk, with a bit of time to spare.
We had heard about a food truck (The Spud Box) in Kaladar, so were hoping to stop for burgers on our way to Bon Echo, but I think we were a little early in the season and they were closed. Darn! Instead, we had snacks and salad once we arrived at our campsite.
With the benefit of longer days, we arrived at the park in the daylight. There were about 7 other parties waiting to check in before me, so the hut was full and as I stood outside, I realized that it was Full. On. Bug. Season. I’m moderately more tolerant of the bugs than Chris is, so was glad I was the one waiting. If it had been him, he may have just turned us around and gone home! Thankfully, I was able to get into the hut pretty quickly (although there were still mosquitos in there, they weren’t quite as bad). It seemed unusual, but only one guy was working in the hut. He was super efficient and very good at his job, so we were all checked in quickly.
Set up was easy - our site was pretty level so we didn’t need to do anything much to level things. It’s getting easier and faster to set up when we arrive, now that we have a better idea of what we’re doing! We initially thought we would sit outside to eat, but the mosquitos were SO bad that we went in and watched a movie instead:)
The Saturday morning 5:30 am wake up call wasn’t what we were hoping for (especially after going to bed later than we should have!) We thought those early morning days were over now that the kids have grown up, but then we got a dog and she seems to like them! Chris took her out for a quick walk and then we all went back to bed.
After some coffee and breakfast, we decided to go for a walk. We were excited to hear that not only is there a beach area where dogs can go, but there’s 1.4 km trail where you can walk them off-leash! We found what we thought was the beach (still not quite sure:), but didn’t find the trail (nor did we try very hard). There weren’t many people out, not because the campground wasn’t busy, but more likely because if you stopped you were swarmed with bugs and mosquitos! (Also, some of the trails were closed - it was early in the season and there had been quite a large amount of flooding in the spring, so water levels were quite a bit higher than usual).
We headed back more quickly than we normally would have and decided to make some lunch and take a drive to see the scenery from behind our closed car windows. We found a place to stop and eat lunch (on Marble Lake - HWY 506) where the bugs weren’t terrible and then we found ice cream at The Maz in Cloyne. Chris had Heavenly Hash with Pralines and Cream and I had Mocha Moose. Delicious!!
Once we returned from ice cream, I went out for a walk around the campground. We’ve only camped here once, many years ago (just after our son turned one we came with 4 other families - we all had our first babies within a two month timeframe, so the trip was fun, but tiring:). We also rented a cottage near by a few years back and brought our bikes to Bon Echo to spend an afternoon. Other than that, we didn’t really know much about the park. It’s quite a large provincial park, with a few different camping loops and can accommodate A LOT of campers! As such, it attracts all different types of camping and people. The rock wall makes it very unique and many people seek out Bon Echo for the excellent kayaking and canoeing. There are some great hikes with beautiful look outs on the other side of water, but we didn’t do them (dogs aren’t allowed on the boat rides but we could canoe or kayak over, if we wanted). During my walk I saw loads of people out on their sites enjoying themselves, sometimes wearing the full on bug gear (including the hat - we weren’t so well prepared!) and some of them seeming completely oblivious to the bugs. There were lots of families, young couples and empty nesters, but there were also lots of groups of younger people as well. Despite the number of full campsites, most campers were very respectful of the others around them. I did come across one group that was having something like a dance party. They had their music playing quite loudly - more loudly than was probably necessary, which wasn't a huge issue for me, seeing it was at dinnertime, but they were in the RADIO-FREE section. I scratched my head on this one - if you WANT to play loud music, the radio-free section is probably not the one for you?
On my walk, I also came across another older, but beautifully shiny, Airstream. I later had a FB exchange with the owners! Super fun. At another site, there was a group of young people who had a massive and delicious looking spread, and they invited me to join in because they thought they had way too much food (they probably did!). They seemed quite fun and I would have loved to join them, but I’d been gone for a bit and knew Chris might be wondering where I was, so I declined their invitation. Too bad - we had to make our own dinner instead! I was actually on a bit of a mission during my walk. I wanted to find out which sites we’d like to stay at in the future. There were some gorgeous sites overlooking the water, that I have my eye on for future trips to this park:)
Our meals when we camp are pretty simple and we tend to stick to the same types of things - hamburgers (homemade and frozen ahead of time), chicken roll ups (kind of like fajitas but with slightly more nutritious toppings), salads, sandwiches for lunch and eggs for breakfast, seem to be our staples. We tend to supplement this with a meal out every so often (we did this on our trip to Oka National Park), when we find a place that we think we’d like (and lets us bring Daisy:). I’m sure that when we take longer trips, we’ll expand our repertoire, but for now, we’ll probably just stick to things we know and love!
We’ve also enjoyed watching movies or shows while camping. We’ve been on the go for so many years with kids playing multiple sports that seeing movies has been a rarity. Now that we have a bit more time, we’ve been enjoying watching movies together again. On this night, we watched a documentary movie about a guy who tried more than 30 times to be a contestant on The Price is Right before he was finally called to “Come on Down!” (he attended tapings a whopping 37 times over 30 years!!). I grew up watching The Price is Right and enjoyed catching it while feeding my babies back when I was on maternity leave (still in the Bob Barker days). It was definitely a favourite show of mine and I very much enjoyed the movie! The movie was actually called Perfect Bid: The Contestant who Knew too Much (if you’d like to watch it, you can find it on Netflix).
On Sunday morning, after coffee and breakfast, Chris, Daisy and I took a walk to some of the places I had seen the previous afternoon. The mosquitos weren’t bad as long as we kept moving!
It was time to leave, so we prepared everything to hitch up. We had some trouble getting the holes to line up when we dropped the hitch on the ball, which was compounded 100 times over by the swarming mosquitos. Really, Chris was the lucky one backing up, I was directing him standing outside. He got to close the windows, mostly (I can see where the walkie talkies other RVers talk about, might come in handy in an situation like this!!) and I got to stand in a wall of mosquitos, each one trying to get their share of my blood! We finally solved our problem (we’ve since had the same problem a few times and need to figure out what we’re doing wrong and how to adjust for it) and started to head home. First things first… we needed to dump. And then we were on our way!
Again, this trip, we booked an electrical site, but then didn’t have a cord long enough to use it. Oh well. It was actually good to test out our dry camping abilities this season! We left with batteries at 11.9, we had a little less than half a tank of water left and our black tank was about 70% full. We used the toilet often enough, washed our dishes daily and used water for other regular daily tasks as well. I think one of the things that helped was that I did our prelim black tank fill and then topped off the water. We haven’t yet flushed the black tank or sanitized the water tank/lines. We plan do these things sometime this season.
We DID get to try out the Spud Box on our way home - we had the fries. They were reasonable chip wagon type fries, but I like mine a little crispier than these were. We still didn’t have any trouble polishing them off!
Most of our camping trips seem to bring us through the little town of Perth and today was no different. We stopped for a picnic lunch at Stewart Park and then picked up coffee and dessert at Coutes Coffee Shop on the main drag. If you ever get there, their pecan tarts are especially delicious. And, they have no raisins in them!
We arrived home around dinner time and Chris was able to get the trailer into our driveway easily in two tries. He’s gotten so good at backing it up in such a short amount of time!
Next up: Back to Murphy’s Point Provincial Park!
Ottawa - Bon Echo Provinicial Park - Cloyne - Bon Echo - Perth - Ottawa
Towing: 389 km
Fresh Water Tank: 60% used
Combined Grey/Black Water Tank: 70% Full