Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Maiden Trip Part 2 - August 10 to 14

Tuesday, August 10:
Brad and I go to Six Mile Lake Dam to swim.  There is a very strong current and warning signs all over that say no swimming or boating, but the area is full of swimmers of all ages from 4 to 74!  I must admit the current freaks me out - it`s like a rip tide that you can`t swim against and have to swim with or beside.  There`s also a whirlpool in which people are floating around, especially the kids.  The rocks are very slippery though, and it makes getting back out of the water quite challenging.  Some people have brought their dogs and even the dogs slide in on the slippery rocks.  It`s hard to believe no one gets hurt; or maybe they do but not today.
Six Mile Falls - Brad on rock on far left

It`s a beautiful, sunny day today, with a lot less humidity than yesterday.  Back at the trailer later in the afternoon, I dare to put Grady`s harness and leash on him and take him outside.  He`s very nervous, with his tail tucked down between his legs and his belly on the ground.  I pick him up and move him into the woods a bit where there`s some long grass (which he loves to `wash`), and he finally starts walking around a bit, wanting to go further away from the campsite.  There must be many smells he`s never smelled at home, like chipmunks and red squirrels perhaps.  Since our path ends at a large rock outcrop, I move him over to another path.  Grady doesn`t notice it, but he is being watched by a chipmunk who is sitting perfectly immobile on a log near his burrow hole.  Grady is simply intent on rubbing his face in the long grass and continuing to lick it.

Unfortunately, as I try to steer Grady around using a bit of a tug on the leash (to which he isn`t accustomed, nor the harness), he goes squirrelly and wriggles out of the harness in one second.  Fortunately, I anticipate this and grab him before he runs off (hard to say where he might go) and I put him - still squirming with all claws extended - into the trailer.

So I think he needs to be an indoor cat when we`re away, secure from the dangers of squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, poison ivy, or even bears, or worse down south in the winter scorpions and tarantulas!

Wednesday, August 11:

Moving Day - heading further north to Killbear Provincial Park today.  Grady knows something is going down, so he`s hiding under the bed, from under which it is impossible to retrieve him.  The bed is part of the bedroom `slideout` and it moves hydraulically, so I start moving it a bit at a time to scare him out, which it does.  I still have to catch him from under and behind chairs, and put him in his carrier to get him into the truck.

More howling for the first 5-10 minutes of the drive, but once we get going on the highway, I pull Grady onto my lap and he settles down and sleeps.  Luckily it`s only a one-hour drive between the two parks.

We stop in Parry Sound (home of hockey legend Bobby Orr) to purchase an exhaust hose for our generator, something that the dealer had failed to install even though the generator clearly states on it that it`s illegal to operate it without a tailpipe!  We also purchase a few groceries and have lunch - in the trailer, with the generator going to run the air conditioner since it`s a really hot day.  All in the parking lot at the Sobey`s in Parry Sound!  Very romantic!  At least Grady`s happy to be out of the truck - well for the hour we`re here.

At Killbear, we have a huge campsite, but it`s awkward, and getting our trailer into it is no small feat!  Our neighbours across the `road` (Paul and Paul) help (thanks goodness) and it takes us about 1/2 hour to position the trailer.  At one point the bottom of the trailer that hangs over the truck bed was actually pushing down on the top of the truck sides as Brad was making a turn.  That could have ruined the aluminum on the trailer had I not noticed it.  That causes Brad to have to reposition and almost start over, pulling into Paul`s site and making a really sharp turn as he backs up into our spot; but he does it and this time we are level.  Brad`s an amazing trailer backer-upper.  My job telling him when to go left or right and watching all sides and the back to make sure he doesn`t hit any trees is almost as nerve-racking.  And we`re not divorced yet - Brad just keeps asking me if I want to drive.  NO!
Trailer showing bedroom and living room slideouts at Killbear

We have a fire tonight, the first one of the trip.  Since we`ve had electrical hookup at Six Mile Lake, we`ve been bad and watched DVDs (the trailer has two TVs and surround sound!).  But here at Killbear, we are only on battery power as we couldn`t get a site with electrical hookup.  Can we survive?

Thursday, August 12:
Sleep late - until 10am!  Big breakfast today.  Show neighbour Paul our trailer.  He is very impressed.  He also has a Jayco - Jay Feather.  Ours is a Designer which is the premium model made by the Jayco manufacturer.  Brad runs our generator for the first time today, hoping it wouldn`t be too noisy.  Paul says he thought we were running our truck to recharge our batteries.  That`s what he does.  Brad rides his bike around our campsite area and says that about three campsites away you can`t even hear our genny.  Good!  Noise restrictions in the park prevent ANY loud noises, so if anyone complains, we can`t use our generator.  This particular campground area doesn`t even allow radios!

We go to Harold Point Beach today.  This is where the cliffs are where everyone jumps into the water.  Brad does some snorkelling while I read in the shade (it was a good hair day so why ruin it?).  We both go for a swim later, the water is so warm (by Georgian Bay standards) and clear, and the weather is hot and sunny, but dry.
Marilyn on Harold Point Beach - jumpers on cliff in background

No fire tonight.  Brad says he`s all worn out from the swimming.  Grady is fine alone in the trailer all day, which is sheltered in the trees plus we leave the windows and roof vents open so it stays nice and cool.

Friday, August 13:
Sleep til 10am again!  Lounge around this morning.  We`re pretty sure we`ll need a fresh water fill again before we leave, so we attempt to fill our tank from the tap since almost no one is around.  This isn`t following camper etiquette, and it doesn`t really work anyway since there are no threads on the tap to allow this.  One guy comes by with a couple of water jugs and when Brad offers to remove the hose, he gets pissed off and walks away murmuring some obscenities.  Since we can`t get a proper seal and almost nothing is actually going into the tank, we give up.

We don`t need water right now, but will in a few days although we`re trying to conserve water as best we can.  The gauges don`t seem to be reading accurately as we dumped our grey and black water tanks before we left Six Mile Lake Provincial Park and filled with fresh water when we got to Killbear on Wednesday.  The tanks are now reading all full for both grey tanks and the black water tank and only 1/3 full for the fresh water tank.  I think that`s impossible since we went for three full days at Six Mile Lake PP and didn`t fill the two grey and one black water tanks and didn`t use all of the fresh water tank (85 gallons) and both Brad and I were showering every day.  Here we`ve been just washing instead of having a full shower, and Brad went to the shower house today instead of showering here.  More trailer experience required, or something may be plugging the indicators in the tanks - but all four of them?

We go to the day use beach today, and walk in the shallow water to a rocky point where the Twin Cedar Trail is.  It`s a beautiful view and there are some spectacular boats moored in the harbour here.  We also play frizbee and swim.  Another gorgeous, sunny, warm day with no humidity.  Grady is still very content inside the trailer.  He doesn`t try to get out, but does love to look outside.  We have another fire tonight.

The campers here are much nosier than at Six Mile Lake.  Lots of singing (perhaps a result of the radio-free campground restriction), kids yelling and riding their bikes and ringing bells, cars coming and going; but all seems to settle down by 11:00.

Saturday, August 14:
Sleep until 10am again - at least we`re consistent.  Grady only comes to bed with us after our dawn pee and he`s had his morning jog around the trailer.

After breakfast as we are deciding what to do today (hike the park`s longest trail perhaps), it starts to sprinkle.  Today`s forecast is thunderstorms later and a 60% chance of rain tomorrow.  We don`t want to go home on Sunday because of the traffic on the 400, 401 and QEW, and if the weather is supposed to be crappy today and tomorrow, why hang around all weekend?  We`re not really due to leave until Monday, but we decide to pack up and go today.  Between the possibility of running out of water (and we`re not taking the trailer out of here to go to the fill station and bringing it back into this site given how long it took us to get it into this position), and the fact that we have to run the generator for 1/2 hour every morning to recharge the batteries so we have lights and the water pump, who needs the added inconvenience of rain?

So we pack up in less than an hour, this time keeping the cat locked out of the bedroom so he can`t hide under the bed.  We develop a plan for how to get the trailer OUT of this site given the position of the trees.  Even though it`s a pull-through site, we can`t pull the trailer out forwards because there`s a tree in the way.  So we have to pull it forward as far as possible, then back it out to the roadway from whence we came, then go all the way around.  Brad and I plan out the moves, and do it on the first try - him driving and me guiding.  New neighbours are watching, and we get a standing ovation.

Grady spends the drive either in his carrier, asleep on the passenger`s lap, or under the back seat.  Once home, he checks everything out like he's forgotten where he used to live.  He's happy once again.

Maiden voyage a success for everyone.  Trailer requires repair already.


  1. Excellent writing Marilyn. Keep it going, enjoyed reading it. - Jim

  2. Looks like your Maiden Voyage was great... The 5th wheel from the outside looks very big. Is this the biggest vehicle that Brad has driven? Did he need a new license to haul it? Will you learn to do it in the case of an emergency? Looking forward to other postings over time!


  3. This IS the biggest vehicle we've BOTH ever pulled, although we practiced in 1987 when we rented a 27 foot RV out west. The trailer is 31 feet (interior length - exterior length is 35 feet). When you're driving it doesn't really feel like you're pulling anything, but you do have to remember your stopping distance is very limited! And you don't need a special license to haul it, but there is a learning curve for turning and backing up!
    Emergencies? Well - cell phones and the truck is equipped with OnStar although we haven't activated yet but are thinking of doing so for the long trip down south in the winter.
    Thanks for reading!