2016 Trip 1: imagine our nice surprise!

Cedar Cove Resort, White Lake - May 2016

First time out this year...and quite frankly, it never gets olds. We brought the Alto home out of storage a couple of weekends ago, and we then worked on putting our gear back into it. We don't totally empty it, but we do take out what seems to be a lot of stuff.

As Dale works in the west end of the city, we again started our routine of me driving her to work in the morning, then picking her up after work, with the Alto in tow. Definitely saves us a bit of time. With the Alto following along behind us again, we have resumed our relaxed easy driving pace once again. Not that we don't move at the speed of the traffic, it's more of an overall attitude, a weekend attitude. The fast pace of the week justs starts to melt away, and the drive to the campsite is the first step. You notice more around you when you are just rolling along, and it is certainly more relaxing. Part of this is also planning to travel as much as possible on secondary roads, and avoid the big 4-laners. I've heard this called "shunpiking". Shunning the turnpike. Good term.

Arrived at the campsite and when we glanced towards the lake, just guess what we saw...another Alto! A blue 1743. Our site would be right beside them.

Now we were very curious to see who it is, and if we would know them from the FB group. I checked in at the desk and Dale wandered down to meet our neighbours. It turned out to be Jennifer & Chris from Ottawa. And it turns out they are our neighbours in Ottawa as well, living just a few blocks from us! They just pulled their Alto out of storage, and this is their inaugural trip out.  They had picked it up last November, and it went right into storage.  They looking pretty excited to be finally out, and they were well into getting it de-winterized. We got backed in and set up, and given that it is supposed to rain tomorrow, we decided to flush our lines and bleach to take advantage of the nice evening.

It's amazing how easy it is to forget the little things on the first trip out. Like starting to lower the hitch jack, and then realizing no wheel or stand is present...duh. Happened a couple of times, but the routine will soon be back. We had a quick look at their new 1743, and made plans to get together after dinner.

Jenn & Chris dropped by after dinner and we had a great visit. Talked about the Altos of course, and all sorts of other topics. It was very nice to meet another owner, and a bonus, they will be at the rally in June.

It was chilly overnight, and I had to get the little oscillating heater going in the middle of the night. It works great to take the chill off, and is quieter than the heatpump. Dropped to 50F overnight, nowhere near our record low in the Alto, but still cool enough to want a little extra heat going. Got the coffee going and Dale was soon ensconced in her corner, paper spread out in front of her, coffee in hand. This is perhaps one of her most favourite times with the Alto. It looks like it will be a dull overcast day today, with periods of rain. Serious cocooning weather.

I have been working on a few winter Alto projects, and it is great to have the Alto back to be able to implement them. The big project is a revamp of the solar system (now that sounds massive), but not that solar system, although, most would agree our little part of that solar system does needs a serious revamp. Back to earth, I have been doing a ton of research to determine what path to head down in terms of improving on what we already have. One piece of that puzzle definitely involves a Trimetric battery monitor, generally considered the best there is out there. Where and how to install this is part of the process. The second little project is a stone shield for the propane connections under the Alto. Both these projects involve bending aluminum sheet, which turned into a project of its own. I plan on detailing our solar modifications in a separate post...at some point soon.

For the Trimetric monitor, instead of mounting it flat on the wall under the front table, I made an aluminum bracket that angles the monitor up from the bottom, allowing the display to be seen a little easier, especially when sitting at the table. Both these needed to be sprayed the Alto silver colour, and if the weather cooperates, I can spray them both.

In the afternoon we drove into Pakenham, as Dale has an appointment to get her hair done. This worked out great for her as it saves her the trek out there from Ottawa. Her friend Jacquie is met her there, and Ted & I had a beer in the local sports pub while we waited for them.

Back at the campsite we had a visit with Chris & Jenn in their Alto, then walked over to the campground restaurant and had dinner together. A nice luxury since campgrounds normally do not have restaurants, let alone with a creative menu, nice decor and bar.   We had a nice dinner and evening, with more good conversation.

It was quite chilly when we left the restaurant for the short walk back. It will be a cold one tonight, which is bizarre as this is the middle of May. The heat pump has kept our little camper nice and cozy, but it is getting close to its lower operating temp limit, so the plug-in electric heater will be keeping us warm overnight.

It went down to 41F last night, but we were toasty under the duvet and our extra wool blanket. Barley was well snuggled in all evening too, he seemed to like the warmth of the woolen blanket. Very dull and overcast this morning, and the temps are still hovering in the mid 40's. Real slow getting going this morning, as the thought of leaving the comfort of the duvet was a bit hard to fathom. Coffee helped the situation, and after another read of the paper we started to get moving.

Started to get stuff squared away both inside and out. I wandered up to the camp office and made our reservation for Thanksgiving, traditionally our closing up weekend. Although, with as cold as it is outside now, it felt like we were late in the fall and here to close. Hopefully the weather will warm up by next weekend, as we have no services at Sharbot Lake, and if it is cold, the furnace will get a good workout.

Chris & Jenn are starting to pack up as well, and we had a quick visit, took a few photos, then we hitched up and pulled out. It was nice to get the season going again.

happy campers...

The Alto wintered well, as it always does, and our minor efforts this weekend has it ready to go for more camping adventures.


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