2011 Trip 1 - Opening the cottage...

Cedar Cove, White Lake - May 2011

Certainly much easier than the old days...although opening the cottage was an exciting event that started the summer season, it did involve a large degree of work to get it all going. From raking leaves to starting the water system to putting in the dock, a lot of work.
And every spring brought its own unique suprise...perhaps mice wintered inside, which meant a lot of cleaning mouse turds and washing absolutely everything.  Mice explore pretty much everywhere, leaving behind memories of their forays.  Of course the discovery of mice in the spring meant that Jim would be crawling under the cottage to find where they got in, and block the hole up. Or perhaps the water system would be stubborn and require an excessive amount of water to get prime...I remember countless trips to the lake with two pails to fetch water for priming...hours of fun sometimes.  Then, generally the next day it was raking the leaves and pine needles...billions and billions of them.  All this activity to opening up the cottage always led to many more hours of fun throughout the summer...fishing, water skiing, you name it, it happened. Which made all the work opening up the cottage so worth the effort.

However, I have not forgotten the work, and I think this always swayed me from getting our own cottage. Work all week, work around the house in the evenings, then work at a cottage on the weekend. No thanks...especially if there are no little ones around to enjoy it all. It's a huge experience for them. To each their own I guess.

Opening the Alto is much easier.  We pick a spot close to home that offers full hookups, 3 way in RV talk, hydro, water, sewer.  The water system is full of RV antifreeze that has to be flushed out.  Now if you are thinking it is the bright green toxic stuff that is in your car, it's not. It is a totally non-toxic, environment friendly product...which it has to be considering it is in the water system, from which you may have a drink and brush your teeth with.  Flushing is easy, just fill up the fresh water tank and let it drain, hook up the water and let the taps flow to flush the pipes. Also run the pump a while to clear it out.  Having the sewer hookup means you can drain the tanks anytime. As well, I generally check everything for leaks, check the electrics, the various alarms, smoke, CO2, LP, make sure the fridge and water heater run OK, little stuff like that.

The other big thing is the wheel bearings. From what I have read, these can be a bit of an Achilles Heel on trailers.  The bearings need to be inspected and repacked every year. Not sure why this is, when was the last time you had to do anything with the bearings on your car, probably never. So why are trailer bearing different? So this is an upcoming job for me, not a biggie, but I may decide just to take the Alto into a trailer shop and have it done for me.

The weather has held off, the forecast call for rain all weekend, but this evening has been clear so far, which is great as we can get in and set up in nice conditions. Nice spot here. The place seems to offer a lot, a pretty well stocked camp store, a restaurant, and a bunch of boat rentals.  We have a great site right down by the water, so the view from our windows is awesome. Reasonably private as well.

Fair amount of seasonals here, which is not surprising as it is only a little over an hour from Ottawa.  We think this could very well become our open/close destination. We got set up pretty quick, then started to flush the tanks.  Lots of bugs this time of year, but nothing a little spray couldn't take care of.

Dinner was a couple of sandwiches Dale picked up from a good lunch spot at her work.  Often we do this as once you get to your destination and then get set up, preparing a dinner is the last thing you want to do.  Once night fell, we just chilled and hit the pit early.  The rain started around 10 pm.

Rainy and very overcast this morning.  Pot of coffee got us somewhat moving.  Perfect day for a project.  The plan is to install an extra electrical outlet on the door side of the Alto.  there is no outlet there, and we found last year that when running the TV, the AC adaptor cord had to be stretched across the trailer to the other side, just waiting to be tripped over.  There is a perfect spot for an outlet on the back wall of the toilet enclosure.  I will install it up high, even with the TV that is mounted on the wall. This way, the AC adaptor, or anything else, can be plugged right in.  Carefully measured where the outlet box is to go, as well as the sizing.  This is truly a one shot deal, no room for error. Drilled a couple of pilot holes on the corners, then drew an outline of the box.  Drilled some larger holes in each corner where the box is to go, then using a fine toothed hacksaw, connected the holes. Some minor adjustments, and the box fit perfectly.  Then I drilled a hole below for the electrical wire to feed through, with a grommet clamp. The power will be tapped off the outside outlet, which is on a seperate circuit and rarely used. As you can see, it went very well, and looks like it was always there.

The rain settled down a bit so we explored the campground.  there are 270 seasonal sites here, and 30 short term sites. Really, this is a seasonal campground.  Many of the trailers have been here a long time.  there are a number of small cottages they rent and a few "park" model trailers, which are made to sort of look like cottages.  The place is huge. Well maintained though, and seems pretty organized. Bought a couple of things at the camp store, then headed back to the Alto.  i was going to start my next project, which is the installation of a 12v outlet behind where we sit the Tivoli, our funky radio. This will eliminate having the AC adaptor cord stretching across on of the eating table benches.  Looking at the part I had already picked up, I decided I wanted to look for some different plug jacks...a trip to an electronics part store is in order. This project will have to wait.

Dinner this evening is a classic...rib eye steaks and baked potatos with butter and sour cream. Awesome.  And to top it off, tunes from Ronnie Woods radio show.  Good show he puts on...and occasionally he grabs his guitar and throws in a few riffs...excellent!

Still raining, all day in fact, but really just a steady drizzle that picks up at times. An excellent evening to watch a vid. Watched one called Happy Go Lucky, a quirky light British film. Then we put on a Tragically Hip concert vid, filmed in Toronto in 2004. Same tour I saw in Ottawa. Sound was not great through our little TV/DVD combo, but still good to see Gord Downie's antics on stage...pretty animated guy.

Woke up Sunday and it is still raining, that incessant drizzle. Going to get the coffee on and a bite to eat, then we are going to bleach the tanks. Bleaching the tanks every year helps freshen them up, well, at least the fresh water tank, not really to concerned about freshening up the other tanks!  A lot of people use the fresh water tank to drink from, not something we do. Although it would probably be fine, considering it is mostly filled with City water, which is already clorinated, that fact that is sits dormant between trips, we are more comfortable with bringing water from home. We have a container which we fill before every trip, and it easily lasts us a weekend. Still a good idea to bleach everything though, can't hurt. So a little bleach goes in every tank, we run it though all the lines, then let it sit for an hour or so. Drain, then rinse, and you are good to go.

Steak and eggs for breakfast this morning, then we started to get organized to head out. Still a little drizzle happening, but not too bad. Slowly got things squared away then headed out. Stopped on the way in Pakenham to check out the shops, a funky little town. The General Store there is classic.  There is a bakery in the store and they sell some great baked goods. The sticky buns were just that...and to an extreme degree. They come in a 4 square, and are literally swimming in a sea of carmelly goodness. There also had little loafs of desserts like lemon/cranberry loaf and orange loaf. An assortment of goodness travelled home with us.

Overall, a good weekend...got the "cottage" opened, crossed a little project off my list, and chilled. Perfect.


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