2015 Trip 1: season 6 begins...

Cedar Cove, White Lake, May 2015

The opening weekend, one of our favourite times of the year. Again we are headed to Cedar Cove, as it is a nice campground, and offers the services we like to have when opening or closing. We always try to snag our favourite spot down by the water.

 For the beginning of May, quite a heat spell this week, every day around 30C or above 80F. A welcome change after the long cold winter we just experienced.
We have heard that it is the warmest May since 1989.  Although great weather today, the forecast is a little iffy for the weekend. Traffic was light and we pulled in around 7:00, as it is only a short distance from Ottawa.

A lovely variety of mosquitoes and blackflys greeted us while we got set up, typical for this time of year. It's interesting the hesitation you experience when out for the first trip of the season, remembering how you do things and in what order. There were a few moments of pause, while the brain searched for the next step. By next trip, I think we will be back on autopilot.

As we have full hookups, we drained the tanks of their antifreeze, and flushed the pipes. Tomorrow we will bleach the system. Not much else to do this evening so we just chilled inside. We have a few new additions this year that we are anxious to put into use. Over the winter we changed the fabric on the benches. When we ordered our Alto 5 years ago the fabric options were more limited, so we chose what we thought to be the more conservative fabric. We chose a new light coloured pattern, to brighten up the Alto, and to help hide the cat hair that Barley seems to shed continually. We were due for a change as we were starting to grow tired of the original look. We hired a local seamstress named Mira who has a home-based business. It was a very complex project for her to create the new cushion covers with zippers and she did an excellent job. We love the new look, it is definitely brighter and brings a nice freshness to the Alto.

Another winter project was the addition of a memory foam mattress topper. Over the years we have tried a variety of things to solve the firmness of the benches, but all of them seemed to be only band-aid solutions. We recognize that having firm foam in the bench seats helps them stand up to many years of use, but we also wanted to find a solution for sleeping.  Especially for a few years from now when we take the lengthly months long trips we want the bed to be as comfortable as possible.  We knew that a good memory foam topper was required, but never knew what to do with it during the day, as they can be a heavy slab of unwieldy foam. It was not until Lissa from the Facebook group shared her own solution that the light bulb came on for us. Lissa created a comforter with a built in memory foam topper, that when not in use during the days rolls into a bolster up against the back window. After looking at her photos, we knew that was the solution for us too. We found the right topper, a 2-1/2 inch thick version, and a nice duvet cover which we sewed to fit it that coordinates with the new bench seating fabric. We use it with a separate quilt or duvet on top. In the mornings the topper rolls up nicely. To get it as small a circumference as possible it takes a bit of work to scrunch it well. It covers about 1/2 the height of the back window, which is not too bad.

rolled up as a bolster it makes a great backrest
Another little addition was a JBL bluetooth speaker. Now that we are using an iPad, for the blogging and music, we will stream music from it to the speaker, whether it is indoors or out on a picnic table. Gotta love technology.

this little guy really fills the Alto with tunes
Also, we installed the overhead sliding door cabinet that goes at the front of the Alto. Over the years we hesitated to order it, thinking we needed it and liking the idea of not having something above my head while sitting there. From seeing other Alto owner's trailers that have it we could see the benefits of having the additional storage, especially for items like clothing that are easy to reach when the bed is set-up.

glad we asked for the aluminum doors...gives that blended in look we were hoping for

Great sleep last night on our new topper. It was much more comfortable, as we had hoped it would be. Although it was a hot day, it cooled down nicely overnight, and there was a nice breeze coming in the window. Being his first night in the trailer since last summer Barley was up all night, scooting from window to window to try and catch sight of that was making all those new interesting sounds he was hearing. I suspect he will be having a few naps today. A little overcast this morning, and there is a chance of rain, but hopefully it will pass us by.

Nice to be away from the house on the weekend. The past few we have been quite busy getting the outdoors cleaned up after the winter, raking the lawn, painting the deck and furniture, all those little tasks to do, so that come Sunday evening, you are kinda tired and sore. Getting away helps stop that work routine, sort of like forced relaxation...one of the reasons we got the Alto in the first place. Got the coffee going, then I headed outside to start sanitizing the water system. A pretty easy task actually, a little bleach in the fresh water tank, fill it up, then pump it through all the pipes and let it sit for a few hours. We don't drink from our fresh tank, but it is still a good idea to give it a nice sanitize at the start of every season. A regular RV maintenance thing to do.

The next little task was to apply rubber conditioner to the seals. Safari Condo recommends using Thetford Rubber Conditioner, which I apply using a small shop towel. I give anything rubber a good cleaning and coating with this stuff, usually at the start, middle and end of the season. This stuff must work, as after more that 5 years the seals remain very soft and pliable. A few minutes of effort can go a long way. Then I clean the windows, as inevitably, some of the rubber conditioner makes it way onto the glass, and we can't have that! All this poking around has earned me a nice cold beer and some chillaxin time.

Dales parents came by for dinner, which was hamburgers on the Q. As there is a nice little restaurant here, we also ordered some sweet potato fries and regular fries as a takeout. With the chipolte mayonnaise I mixed up, they made for a nice side to the burgers. We got a few little showers during dinner, but they quickly passed.

An overcast morning, but I think it will not rain. Just the same, we pulled down the awning and got it put away in case some showers made an appearance. Slowly got things sorted to pack up and head out. No rush, but as the sky darkens, we kept working away. As we have services, I emptied the tanks, hitched up and then we headed out. although the weather was a little spotty, we enjoyed getting the Alto all ready for another camping season.


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