2010 Trip 10 - Campfire = Heat...

Bonnechere Provincial Park - Sept 2010

Headed out Friday afternoon. On the road by 4:30, and as usual, the traffic was heavy. Took us a while to just get outside the city. We are going to Bonnechere this weekend, and our friend Sandra is coming along to pitch a tent on our site. She is waiting for us to go by her while she sits on the side of the Hwy 17. She will then follow us up. Pretty hard to miss us. It is about a 2 1/2 hour drive up there, so we are hoping some daylight will be left. Given the time of year, it will probably be dark. Staying on the same site we had in June, a good spot, being close to both the beach and the comfort station.

Arrived around 7:30, and it already dark, which was compounded by all the trees and a somewhat overcast evening. Not many campers now, mostly trailers and a few tents.  Set up as normal, almost autopilot now, and Sandra got her tent all set up as well. Sandra is all outfitted for camping, and knowing that we had electricity on the site, she brought along an inflatable bed she uses for guests in her house. It is quite nice, having a built in "box spring" that inflates along with the main mattress. It was just like a normal double bed. Her tent is quite large and roomy, and it fit just fine. Her whole setup looked quite comfy and luxurious with a plushy duvet, pillows and side chair. 
After getting everything squared away, Sandra then assembled our Friday night meal. We split the meals up between us, Sandra Fri. night and Sat. breakfast and us the other meals. She called it a cold plate meal, something her Mother used to do when she was a kid. She had homemade ham and chicken salad sandwiches on ciabatta bread, veggies and dip, pickles and olives, as well as a side of Fritos, and also Sandra's homemade decadent brownies! Very tasty indeed, especially with a nice cold beer. One small benefit to it being out in the colder air, one's beer stays cool longer...

Being a big fan of the campfire, Sandra got a nice fire going to warm us up, as it is certainly cooler in the evenings now. See your breath sort of temps. Sat around the fire and chatted, then we walked down to the beach to look at the stars. As there is no light pollution like in the city, you can see the stars quite well. We were lucky that the sky cleared a bit from earlier, and there were quite a lot of stars out. There was a planet that was very bright, and the moon was casting a lot of light itself. we were lucky to see a shooting star, as well as an odd cluster of stars that seemed to be flickering colourfully. Wandered back to the site and called it a night.

Slept in a bit...actually trying to avoid getting up since it was pretty cool morning,43 degrees inside the Alto, a new low for us. Turned on the heat pump, but as I suspected, it was clearly outside its operating parameters, which we became very aware of last May. Our backup plan, a small oscillating space heater, was then called upon to step up to the plate. Although not as powerful as the heat pump (when working), it did an admirable job of warming the Alto. Dale found this particular model recently, an improvement over the last one as it throws a lot more air, along with oscillating. A byproduct of the cold is that it inevitably gets me back to thinking about the whole propane furnace decision...which can be mentally frustrating...need to let that one go for the time being, as in the long run, there is always a way to figure out an alternate solution.

Put on numerous pots of coffee to get us going, then set up the BBQ and grill plate, as Sandra was making the breakfast. French toast stuffed with cream cheese and apricot jam, she lamented forgetting to bring the Cointreau but it was not missed. Massive raspberries on the side, as well as numerous slices of pea meal bacon, all grilled of course. Now this is camp food!

Went for a hike along the Bonnechere River, which forms part of the park. It is a nice trail and an easy hike.
 The trail heads up towards some rustic cabins that are also available for people who want a less rustic experience than a tent or trailer. They are quite nice, board & batten siding, very roomy and will accommodate a big family. Being right on the river, each cabin has a dock and a canoe, a good idea. Now this is by no means a big river, but certainly a nice paddle. Not cheap though, and evening in one of these will set you back $107 bucks.

Met a group of people on the trail who had two Iqaluit Husky puppies. Seriously cute little guys, very affectionate and wired for sound. Lots of nice sites in this campground, although for us, we think the one we have been using is ideal. Picked up some extra wood for tonight's fire, these really help to take the chill off when sitting out. Lounged around a bit with a G&T, then grabbed a quick nap in the late afternoon.
classic Dale...
better than marshmallows?
the headless minesweeper finds a TBC (tossed beer cap)
It was starting to cloud over, and rain is on the way. We put the awning up as I am BBQ'ing this evening and it makes it that much more comfortable to be out in it.

Dinner is rib eye's with roquefort butter and stir fried veggies with Bone Dust. this seems to be our go to meal when we want to make something a little more fancy...thanks Bill! The rib eyes were awesome. That is a really nice cut of meat, and taken to the next level by the roquefort. Dessert was more of the yummy brownies that Sandra made up. Sure enough, right when the barbie started up, so did the rain. Not very hard though, which was nice as I was back and forth outside a lot minding the Q.
Ate inside of course, we moved the table to the back area, lots of room for us. Put on some tunes... we are still excited about the sound coming out of that little Tivoli. With the playlist flexibility the Nano gives us, we can cover all sorts of listening preferences. I suspect this winter will see a push to import a lot more tunes into the Dalebook, further expanding the playlist options. One of my fall mods on the Alto will be to run some power to where the Tivoli sits on the counter, to eliminate the adapter wires laying about. Another one of those little projects I have no problem dreaming up, although, I've already got it all figured out.

After dinner we played a card game that Sandra brought us. It is called Phase 10, does not use the standard card deck and has it's own set of unique numbered and coloured cards. The object is to assemble a series of cards based on set patterns, of which there are 10 patterns, or phases, as you progress each phase gets sequentially harder.  Easier said than done, and throw in some play strategy and you have a bit of a competitive game. As usual, Dale was a reluctant player but agreed to play and did moderately get into it. Once you pick up the mechanics of the game, then you work on the strategy. A pretty fun game, which now resides in the Alto.

Slept in again Sunday morning, although it was only 46F...almost balmy! Once again, the little heater made it quite comfortable. We tend not to leave anything like that running overnight, which is fine given the vast assortment of duvets and throws that Dale has managed to store in the Alto. We are ready for most every weather condition. I made breakfast this morning on the Q. Pulled out the grill pan and made up english muffins with egg, cheese and hot calabrese sausage. Not quite as fancy as Sandra's breakfast, but it hit the spot. Nicer day Sunday, isn't that always the way when it is the day to leave. Wandered down to the beach to sit in the sun a bit. A brave soul went for a quick dip, he was not in too long. Little wonder, as there was a lot of heat coming off the water the other night.
no martinis on the beach??
Started to pack up around noon. We are going to stop in Killaloe to check it out before hitting the highway. Got all packed up, then headed into Killaloe...bound for Afelskie's. A nice little shop which is an institution in Killaloe, has been around forever, with great prices on all sorts of stuff. Big selection of outdoor cammo clothes, for both men and women, as well as an assortment of work clothes, including the flourescent orange hunting apparel. Picked up a pair of work gloves to keep in the trailer, I always seem to be able to pick up some sort of scrape or cut while working the hitch. Dale, who is always on the lookout for Ottawa Valley 'Sticky Buns', found a bag in Fresh Mart which we devoured before jumping in our cars for the drive home. Drive home was uneventful, and we were able to resist the lure of Wes's, which was a good idea considering the whole weekend was heavily gastronomic.

So a good time. Camping at this time of year adds the temperature factor into the equation. We are pretty prepared mind you, and campfires really helps. We realized this weekend that the season is drawing to a close. We are hoping to get out a couple of more times before we call it quits, this will hinge a lot on the weather. It would be nice to just hitch up and head out on the spur of the moment one of these upcoming Saturdays...we shall see.

Oh, forgot to mention what arrived in the mail before we left on Friday...another postcard from Mr. Fox. Seems he is now in Montreal and heading our way.

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