2012 Trip 9: it ain't no double bubble...

Bonnechere PP - Sept 2012

Certainly going to rain. Heading out a little early this afternoon, and the dark clouds are rolling in. The race to get hitched up before the rain will be a close one. Pretty much done and sure enough it started to pour. We waited a bit for it to subside, then headed out.
Not bad driving, but once we were past the city we could see that we would be driving into a huge band of dark rain clouds. Just before Arnprior it started to rain quite a lot. Slow going up Hwy 17, with a long wait on this side of Renfrew because of bridge repairs. It rained the whole way to Round Lake, but was only a drizzle by the time we started to back in and set up.

Sandra arrived earlier and had her tent all set up. We put up the awning to provide us with a little bit of dry space outside. Sandra was getting dinner together while Dale and I finished our setup. Dinner was chicken salad sandwiches, veggies with taziki, and chips and fritos. Keibasa sausage also made an appearance. All very yummy. We ate inside, enjoying the warmth of the heat pump. It did stop raining, and by the time we turned in, the sky was clear with lots of stars.

Saturday
Slept in a bit, being a dull overcast morning. A little cool, as it went down to 45F last night. At least the rain has passed, but the clouds sure look ike there will be more. Sandra was up and about before us, getting the fire going and a pot of coffee on, using her propane Coleman. Lots of warmth by the fire, and I think it will be a regular feature this weekend. Pretty relaxing morning, lots of coffee, paper reading and just staring at the fire. Sandra made crepes with maple syrup and massive raspberries, along with peameal bacon for breakfast.
 As we arrived after the ranger station closed, I scooted up to check in, then headed down the road to the local store to pick up a paper. Our neighbours stopped to say hello. Joe and Suzanne are both archeologists, soon to retire from Parks Canada. Suzanne was actually giving a talk at the camp house, on pottery that was found on various digs. Very interesting folks. Pulled out some keilbassa sausage and roasted them over the fire. A simply awesome little snack... tasty, smokey morsels of yummy.
 Finally got motivated for a walk around the park, not a hike, just a nice saunter. Fair number of campers out this weekend, truly the die hards. Checked out the sites along the river and took down a few numbers. Although not electrical, these sites offer nice surroundings with good privacy. Being on the water is nice as well, not beach nice, but nice just the same.
Came across a large pine tree that had recently been cut down. It was still oozing a lot of clear pine gum.
could you resist this???
Apparently many years ago, this pine gum had been chewed for flavour much like we do now with regular chewing gum. Being curious, and the fact that the gum was so clear and clean looking, I decided to sample just a bit. Now don't think I'm chewing up a storm with a big wad, more like the size of a matchhead. It was quite interesting. Very subtle at first, then grew to a serious pine flavour. Real serious. As well, it stayed with you...stuck to your lips like glue. Fortunately my sample was small, I cannot imagine how this chewed back in the day. I would have to say that the pine taste stayed with me most of the day, more than can be said for today's Double Bubble.
Dale carried around this little red leaf for the longest time...
 Had a nice chat with a couple out for a walk the same as us. Then we ran into a very Russian sounding guy, who true to his heritage, was clearly well on his way to being in the bag. The smell wafting from him was very noticeable. He and his buddy were here fishing for the weekend. My spidey senses were picking up a bit of an odd vibe from him, so we slowly and casually continued on our way. Funny how that works... something just sets the radar off...always important to pay attention to that.

The couple we met, Steven and Kim, stopped in for a nice visit. They are from Pembroke and camp at Bonnechere quite a bit as it is so close. Both grew up in the Valley, and Steve perked up when Dale mentioned Ocseola. Turns out the farm beside his parents was owned by a Gerald Mulligan. Not sure of any relation to my Mom's family, but I recall hearing the name over the years. Small world indeed. They were a lot of fun and just full of life. We chatted with them, and Joe and Suzanne for the longest time.

Dinner this evening is rib eye steaks with grilled mixed vegetables and goats cheese. Dale picked up the steaks from a local butcher in Cloyne on our Bon Echo weekend. They were quite nice and flavourful. Dessert was butter tarts picked up at the same spot. Although the minature versions, they were almost perfect. Nothing like a well made butter tart. We set up inside as it was starting to cool off outside. Apparently there is supposed to be frost overnight, and considering the day, it could happen. We went outside around the fire for a bit, then wandered down to the beach to look at the stars. There is no comparison to looking at the stars in the country to the city. The light pollution in the city really blocks a lot. In the country, the sky is amazing. The stars just jump right out... and there are billions of them. The Milky Way is quite visible as well. The other thing visible is our breath. It is getting colder. Back to the fire, then turned in. We set Sandra up with our portable electric heater, so her tent was toasty warm.

Sunday
Definitely a cold one last night. As we tend to leave heaters off overnight, it got pretty chilly. Dale had her hoodie pulled up over her head and was totally covered with the duvet. The thermometer told us the temp went down to 39F, and only 40F inside. Perfect conditions to test the new furnace. Turned it on, adjusted the temp gauge, then waited to see how it performed. Sandra was up early again and had the coffee and fire going. Sat around the fire once again. I checked in on the furnace as I wanted to track just how long it took to raise the temp in the Alto. It took 20 minutes to raise the Alto 10F. Not bad. I checked again after an hour, and the temp had raised another 10F. So it wet from 40F to 60F in an hour. Exactly the sort of performance I expected, given the size and BTU output. This will be perfect for those times when we are off electricity. Although it was a lot of tedious work to install, I think the payoff will be huge.

Up and around slowly, Sandra up before us and getting the coffee on. She had the fire going and we sat around outside for the longest time. Breakfast was eggs sort of omeolate style with cheese and hot capicolla ham, all piled onto a croissant. We also topped them with leftover buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatos and Kenzoil.
Steven and Kim wandered over and we decided to all have breakfast together. They brought over eggs on bagels, and between us all we had quite the feast. And of course, plenty of coffee flowed all morning. Sat around the fire and chatted until easily 1:30. New campers pulled in across from us, and it was only then that we realized we should start packing up and vacate our site. We did though take a walk over to see their trailer, a nice hybrid pop-out unit with dual axles. Looked to be a comfortable setup.

Got everything squared away, but it was almost 3:00 before we pulled away. Little traffic on the way home, so it was smooth sailing.

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