2015 Trip 9: I really like this site...

Bonnechere PP - Aug 2015


From the amount of traffic, it feels like a long weekend, the roads are jammed up. Took us forever just to get a little outside the city. Oh well, at least the weather is good, and the weekend looks good. We may drive through a few isolated showers, but the forecast is lookin' fine.

Now that we have discovered the joys of the river front sites, Bonnechere has quickly climbed up the favourites list.
This weekend our friend Sandra is joining us, an annual event. We are heading to a new site, and we think it will be a dandy, with a little different view of the river.

Left work a little early, so we arrived at the park shortly after 6:00, at the same time that a black cloud passed over and decided a little shower would be a good idea, waiting just the right amount of time until I was nicely exposed filling the fresh water tank.  Refreshing, but still, unwanted. Naturally it passed by the time the tank was full and I hopped back into the car. Sandra has already arrived and is well on her way to setting up her camp. She has the site next to us, although it is a little down the road. The rain has left everything a bit damp, but it looks like it may have been the last of the cloud cover. Dropped into the Park Store to get a couple of bags of wood, and our bags hitched a ride back to the parking lot on a wood cart pulled by another couple of campers. It is a great way to meet fellow campers and we repaid them with an impromptu tour of the Alto, their keenness a dead giveaway.

I really like our site, and I said this about a hundred times over the course of the weekend.  Backing in put us parallel with the water, as the site takes a bit of a curve left downstream. This leaves us looking straight upriver.

a fabulous site...

and plenty of room for our fabulous camper
Good sized site, level, with what should be a good combo of sun and shade. Got set up, with the Barley man ensconced inside we then headed over to Sandra's for dinner. She has a big site, and a nice little beach on the river. Lots of room for a tent and the car. There is no electricity on the riverfront sites, so I brought over our 12v inverter so Sandra could power the inflator pump on her Aerobed. We ran an extension cord from the car to the bed and turned on the pump. Nothing. Tried it again and still nothing. A bit of concern washed over Sandra, the prospects of sleeping without a comfy mattress was unnerving. I figured the extension cord might be sucking all the guts out of the power that the inverter was producing, so we took it out of the equation and moved the bed right over to the car to plug the pump directly into the inverter. Success! In a few minutes the bed was ready to go and back in the tent.

Had a couple of beer while Sandra prepared her organic burgers. She brought along her baby Weber Q, and soon the burgers were sizzling nicely. A smoked cheddar slice added  nice bit of flavour, and there was also a Presidents Choice sauce that is similar to the famous McD special sauce. All this piled onto an Art-is-In bun, made for a very yummy dinner. We got a fire going after and then just relaxed and visited. After the sun went down, it got noticeably cooler, and the bit of dampness in the air added to the coolness of the evening. The three of us pulled in a little closer to the fire, absorbing as much of the heat as we could. Called it a night a bit later, heading back to our site and Barley, who was no doubt wondering where to hell we were.


Dropped down to 52F overnight, and it was damp, with lots of condensation coating everything. But being on the water we had an amazing panoramic view of the night sky, and Dale woke up at 3:00 in the morning and saw a shooting star!

It is one of those mornings where you just want to hunker down under the duvet a little longer. Even Barley was in no hurry to get going for the day, remaining tightly curled into my side. Dale and Barley have very similar outlooks when it comes to the cold...they both simply do not like it.

the gang arrives for a morning visit

Finally got going for the day, wandering over to Sandra's site for coffee and breakfast. When we camp together, we split the meals, Sandra takes care of Friday night and the following morning breakfast, we do the same Saturday and Sunday. Coffee was ready and a little fire was going to take off the chill. Sandra is making BLT's for breakfast...thick sliced bacon, a big slab of fresh tomato and some lettuce, with copious mayo and salt & pepper, all piled high on a piece of Art-is-In, their 'white dynamite' bread. A very tasty and filling sandwich that will keep us going long into the day.

can't beat thick sliced bacon

Relaxed around the fire and planned the day. The clouds have departed and left behind a clear blue sky, it looks to be a glorious summer day. A power walk and a swim will be the key activities today, followed by a BBQ over at our site tonight and let's not forget Dale's classic G & T to set the stage for dinner.

We headed towards the cabins that are upriver as our power walk destination. It is a bit of a hike to get there, although the trail leads us through a nice stand of pines, their fallen needles making a nice cushy carpet to walk on. Lots of action in the woods, chipmunks, birds, the occasional dragonfly, all enjoying a fine day, just like us.

pretty easy to spot this little guy on the road, he kinda stands out

loved the way the light shone through and illuminated a little patch

a tangle of something...

Sandra's ankle was giving her some grief, and about half way along she decided it best to head back to site. Dale and I forged ahead, exploring the cabins at the end of the road.

As we headed back along the trail we came upon a large group of partridges crossing the path. A couple of them scooted across the path, then I heard a low rustle just to my left. Sure enough, another 4 were following, barely visible to us in the undergrowth, they blend in to the surroundings remarkably well. They crossed head of us as well, and wandered over to join their buddies. They did not have to move very far off the path before we could not even make them out against the backdrop of foliage.

quick little guys, and damn near invisible in the brush

We got our act together and headed to the beach, chairs and noodles in tow. The beach was packed with campers, but we found a nice spot in the sun for our chairs. We sat and chatted for a while, letting the sun get us nice and toasty before we headed for the water. In the past we have been here in late September, so we have never really been sunning on the beach or swimming...too damn cold for that. I find the sand on the beach a little different than most, it is coarse, almost the consistency of Kosher salt. Much coarser than one would normally expect a beach to be made of. It also has a very pink hue. My theory is that it is coarsely ground granite, like the pink islands found in Georgean Bay, very Canadian Shield. The beach is deep, and the roped off swimming area is massive, and little wonder considering the distance I was able to walk offshore, without the water even reaching my waist. I swam beyond the rope to see just how far I could get before I could no longer touch bottom...and eventually gave up. I must have been at least 150 yards out, and the bottom was still touchable...easily.

The water was like last weekend, lovely and warm. Did a lot of swimming, well at least I did, then floated for the longest time. Lots of people doing the same. We spotted a few fellow noodle users, as Dale and I have been wondering to ourselves if we were perhaps the last of a dying breed of noodle aficionados. Quite a few SUP's (stand up paddleboards) are gliding by us. One, piloted by a young woman, paused close to me as I was floating aimlessly. I started chatting to her, as she was literally just standing right there, about how she liked the paddleboard. She seemed semi-friendly, so I floated a couple more questions her way, part of me hoping that she would throw out an offer for me to give it a try. I was clearly dreaming, as she soon dipped her paddle and slowly glided away. Tables turned, I would have offered. Oh well...

After a while we started to feel a bit of the water's chill, so we headed to the beach to warm in the sun. Nothing like soaking up the sun and watching the goings on of a beach. When we started to feel a little crispy, it was time to head back to camp. We relaxed a bit around our site, just chillin'. A bit of prep for dinner, and it was soon G & T time.

Dinner tonight is salmon and quinoa salad...our 'go to' meal this summer. Quick and easy. Lots of people cruising by on the river in front of our site, taking lazy jaunts in their canoes or kayaks. Many stop and chat a bit while they go by. One couple we chatted with, Roger & Suzanne, dropped in after dinner for a little visit. They were interested in the Alto, so Dale gave them a quick tour. Roger had just finished restoring an older Prowler trailer, that resides on a family cottage property. He totally gutted it and rebuilt the entire interior, using funky colours and finishes. He has done a fantastic job.   It is not really a towable trailer any longer, and this is something the two of them want to do more of. We got talking about pets, as their dog Smoky was with them, and Suzanne showed us photos of a ginger cat they had recently rescued. It had appeared on their doorstep, in really bad shape, and they have nursed it back to health. Frankie is now a big part of their household, a lovely looking cat...as all gingers are!

looking for scraps

Dale made a very yummy strawberry shortcake for dessert, so we sat around the fire and finished them off.
just a few campfires going

Sandra brought over a bag of marshmallows and a few of them got toasted nicely. A traditional fireside treat. The sky is clear, and as the sun set deeper, the stars made themselves known. The Big Dipper was front and centre above our site. We watched for shooting stars, but none appeared. Dale saw one late Friday night, shooting across the sky, and our big crescent windows.


Another coolish evening, with lots of condensation outside, and inside the Alto which tends to happen in late summer. We put on the furnace for a bit to take the chill off, it is so nice to have multiple sources of heat, ready for any occasion. I wandered outside, and seeing some wood left over from last night, I got the axe and split it up into smaller chunks, and started a fire. It just seemed the thing to do. Sandra came over with a pot of coffee, always a welcome addition, and I started to rustle up the breakfast. A few years back we visited with Kim & Steven, a couple who stopped by our site while out for a stroll. We spent a few hours just laughing and scratching with them.  Guess who wandered by with their coffee...yup. We had another nice visit, chatting and catching up. While they were here, Skip zoomed by on his 4 wheeler. Our last time at Bonnechere we talked with a great guy named Skip, who works at the park. He was most interested in the Alto for he and his wife, and we had a great visit. Dale has been keeping her eye open all weekend for Skip, and when she saw him, she took off and caught up with him a bit down the road. He dropped by and all of us had a great visit. He is very keen about the Park and loves his job. He is full of enthusiasm and spreads it to everyone he meets. He truly wants visitors to the Park to have the best time they can. The Park is definitely better having him on staff. We see improvements in the Park over the last few years, and we can't help but think he has had a big part in them. Such a nice guy!

Breakfast was egg, bacon, cheese and salsa, all rolled up into a burrito. Quick and easy on the griddle. Before we knew it, the morning was almost over. We started to pick things up around camp, prepping to head out. Sandra is doing the same. Dale and I want to get in one last swim, and Sandra is continuing to pack up, foregoing the swim to get home a little earlier.

Not as many on the beach at this point, it is not the heat of the afternoon, and there are a few clouds slowly starting to roll in. The water is still nice and warm, so a swim and a float felt great. At this point in the season, any water time is a bonus. More so given the somewhat dismal summer we have had weather-wise. We did not stay too long in the water, sitting on the beach for a little while to warm up before heading back to camp to continue packing up.
very determined eater, and had no qualms with dropping the scraps on me

Pulled out around 1:30, making sure we were well off site by the 2:00pm deadline, unlike last weekend. Those extra 5 minutes on site last weekend generated some sour looking faces on the couple that pulled up...or perhaps they just look that way all the time. We were taking no chances this weekend.

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