2011 Trip 6: Back to our favourite County...

Sandbanks PP - July 2011

Thursday...
The yearly trip to Sandbanks is one of our camping season highlights, not only for the beach but because it is our yearly trip with our long time friends, Helen & Paul, and also our yearly reunion with long time friends Geoff and Joey who live in the area. The plan is for the six of us to meet on Saturday night at a local gourmet restaurant for dinner.  Turned this trip into a long weekend by taking the Thursday and Friday off work. Always a good plan as it is a bit of a drive and the extra time is nice as there is lots to do in the County.
Took Hwy 15 down to Kingston instead of the 416 as it is such a nicer drive. There is just something about the big 4 laner's that simply does not appeal to us. Fine if you have to get somewhere fast, but to start chillin on a weekend, a secondary road can't be beat. Not much difference in time either. Traffic was light and we just cruised along.

Rolled in to our site around 2:30. This site was not our first choice, but will do just fine. Nice and level, fairly large, private on the sides, but really open at the back, where the neighbours are. No biggie though.

Got set up quick, ate the lunch we brought, then grabbed the swim trunks and headed for the beach. Sandbanks is renowned for its massive white sand beach and dunes. Weather is excellent, sunny and hot, but not a stinker. Beach was pretty busy, but not like a Saturday. Water was calm and fairly warm. Noodled around for quite a while, then relaxed on the beach and people watched.

Back at the site, Dale set up her new hammock. She spotted this in the General Store at Rollins Pond, and was quite interested in having one, and being all the right colours certainly helped the sale.
Nothing fancy for dinner tonight, just some sausages on the Q. Pre dinner G&T of course, followed by a cold Rolling Rock. Bugs are pretty intense tonight, obviously a new crop, and very pesky. It was really still, so there was no breeze to blow away some of the skitters. Ended up eating inside.

Friday...
Sun was beaming in the windows this morning, sure sign of a good day ahead. As there is no one on either side of us, we generally leave the curtains open all night. This is great during the night as the moonlight coming through the trees and into the Alto is really quite nice. Relaxed in the morning, I prepped the chicken for dinner, Dale got the outdoors set up. Went to the wood lot and got some firewood for a fire tonight. Headed to the beach around 2:00. Lots of people there, but I suspect nothing like tomorrow. The water was awesome. Not surprising given it is about 30C today, even the sand was super hot. Floated in the water for the longest time, it was very warm, with the occasional refreshing cool patch.

A very interesting air show today in full view of Sandbanks beach, put on by the Canadian Military. There is a huge air base near by at Trenton, where my Dad was posted when I was a kid. They were doing search and rescue training out over the water. They were using a Huey helicopter, which I think our military calls Griffens(?), all painted up bright yellow and red, and they were dropping rescue swimmers into the water just off the beach. The helicopter would hover real low to the water, a guy would drop out,the helicopter would make a big low circle around, taking them right over the length of the beach, then they would end up back over the guy in the water, and the line would come down, the guy would get hitched up, and up he came. This went on about 5 or 6 times. It was really neat to see. Of course, if you happen to love helicopters, it is pretty darn cool. We heard later from our camping neighbours that the day before they were practicing parachute drops into the water. Big audience for them to, probably good PR, as everyone on the beach was facinated with what was going on. Really good to see those boys training and learning that stuff...I'm sure they help out a lot of people every year...definitely what I would call money well spent. 

Helen and Paul arrived around 6:00 at our campsite, sat around outside for a visit, then I fired up the Q. Chicken breasts stuffed with ricotta, goat cheese, procuitto, balsamic and green onions, liberally coated with Bone Dust. Side of pesto linguine and a light salad. Very tasty. Made a nice fire and sat around chatting. It was excellent, as the fire also drove away the skitters. They headed out around 11:00 and we tidied up a bit then called it a day.

Saturday...
Met Helen & Paul in Bloomfield and walked the main street, in and out of the shops. Bloomfield is quite the thriving spot, with many funky boutiques and little shops. Afterwards we drove past Wellington to a winery called Sandbanks. Really nice setup, and it all looks pretty new. They had a Latin style band playing on the outdoor patio, with a long wine tasting bar and tables scattered around the garden areas. Very California feeling. Wines were quite nice, and we bought a few bottles.

Dropped off Helen & Paul, with plans to head to the beach later in the afternoon. The beach was packed with people due to it being a Saturday and a hot 32 degree day. Had good swims, Helen and Dale floated on noodles.

Paul and I swam out to see just how far one can go before the bottom drops off. Perhaps easily 200 yards off the beach to the point where our toes were just touching bottom. We swam in a bit and were just chatting about how nice it was...the water, the beach, everything. Off to my right I spotted something in the water, but just could not make it out. By the time it got closer, I was able to realize that we had been approached by a rarely seen (thankfully) Lake Ontario Stoolfish. Definitely a mature one. As the tranquility of the moment had be broken, we decided it best to vacate the area and give it plenty of room.

For dinner the four of us went to Inn of the Mountain restaurant to meet our friends Joey and Geoff.  Geoff invited three of their friends Brian & Deborah, who he sold a house to on Pinhey's Cove, and their friend Anne. Very nice interesting people, they are from the Finger's Lake area of NY, they are in love with The County as much as we all are.  They spend the entire summer here and come every 3 weeks in the winter.  They have a large 34' sailboat which they offered to take us all out tomorrow on.  Since we have to leave the campsite in the early afternoon and have a lot of packing-up to do, we declined. Helen and Paul are going to go, one of those once in a lifetime experiences.

Sunday...
We pack up and head home today. The weather is still amazing today, so we are going to get almost totally ready to go, then throw on the trunks and head to the beach for one last swim. Got to the beach about noon, and floated in the water for the longest time. It was packed with people once again. everyone enjoying a great summer day.
Hitched up and pulled out just before 2:00. Took the Glenora ferry over to Hwy 33, and made our way along the lakeshore to Kingston. Pretty hot on the road, so we closed up the windows and cranked on the A/C. We have not had to do this very often, but sure makes a difference in the drive. Kept an eye on the gas needle, given that a trailer and A/C can be a thirsty combination, but quite frankly, it seems not too bad. Pulled in around 6:00, still very hot outside. Around 7:30 a wild storm blew through area, not a lot of rain, but some very serious wind and very dark skies. No damage around our place, but other areas were not so fortunate.

Overall, another great trip to Sandbanks. See you next year.

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