2016 Trip 2: it finally feels like summer...

Sharbot Lake PP - May 2016

Long weekend...always good and more so with a great forecast of good weather with no rain.  We have a nice site on the water at Sharbot Lake, one of our new favourite destinations. As usual, slowly got the Alto loaded up during the week, hitched up Thursday night, then headed out after work on Friday. Traffic was light, even though it is a long weekend.

leaves not fully out yet...so the height of the trees is very noticeable

Rolled into the Park and pulled up behind a line of massive trailers. This left only a little room behind us from the turn off the highway. I went to check and by the time I was done, the big trailers had pulled away, leaving lots of room ahead of us. Dale must have also noticed this as next thing I saw was her hopping in the drivers seat and moving our camper ahead to the office. This freed up a lot of room behind us for other trailers pulling in. Good move Dale...considering it might have been one of the few time she has actually driven with the Alto in tow. Looks like we need to make this a new trend.

We have been on our site before, and it is a nice one. A tad difficult to maneouvre onto, but once in place, we have a nice view of the lake through the trees, and an even better view when we walk down our short path to the waters edge.

Full moon tonight, which always means attempting to capture it with a few photos. A difficult subject it is though. The temp is dropping quickly, so we were soon inside. Relaxed a bit, surfed a bit, then hit the pit.

On the site across the road from us is a cute little Boler, or at least we think it is a Boler. Where the Boler label would have been is a new label saying Audrey, proceeded by a Canadian flag. As it has clearly been restored, we are wondering if this is the name of the restoration company, or the name given the trailer. no doubt we will wander over to chat with them at some point this weekend.

Definitely chilly last night, the duvet and wool blacket trying its best to keep us warm, but I needed to reach up in the middle of the night to turn on the Propex furnace, just to help out a bit. It did not take long for it to take the chill off, and we quickly fell back to sleep. It is so helpful to be able to generate heat in any type of camping situation you are in, particularly if you have no services. Between a combination of the right bedding and a heat source, we can be comfortable in most all weather.

When it is chilly, we find we are pretty slow moving in the morning...kinda like molasses, that would be a good description for us. Coffee helped for sure. Dale is still getting over a bit of a cold, so her plan today is some serious relaxing. Me on the other hand, I have a project I have been thinking about all winter. I have been tinkering a bit on it since the Alto came home a few weekends ago, but now it is time to get serious. I have planned an update to our solar charging capabilities, mostly around effective monitoring and an improved charge controller. I've been working on a seperate post about this, which will eventually get finished. This weekend I plan to run my new wiring and install the Trimetric monitor. Once this is done, I will be able to do the switchover to the new controller, which I will do one evening once we are back home.

I also removed the spare tire, which I planned to do anyways as I want to put it into the tire rotation this year. Removing the tire gave me access to the existing wiring run from the battery. The plastic wire wrap is really large for the 2 wires inside, so I'm taking the opportunity to change it to something smaller. I am running 2 new 6AWG wires from the new controller directly to the battery, following the existing setup. Details and photos in my other post, but all to say, I love working on an Alto project, because to me, it is not really work, it's an adventure, something to plan and implement, pretty much what I do.

Perfect day for it too, nice temps, light breeze to keep the bugs away, and intermident sunshine.  We scooted into Sharbot Lake in the late morning, mostly to get Dale a couple of Saturday papers, essential ingredients to her Alto mornings. I also needed a drill bit, so this was a great excuse to drop into the big hardware store at the highway intersection. As if we need an excuse...we love wandering the aisles there, and always walk out with something. I wound up my project early and we took our chairs and headed to the water's edge. Being on the water takes camping to a whole new level. Nothing like chilling by a lake, watching the endless movement of the water, any stress of the work week just melts away. Wonderful.

new insulated pint glasses...for our favourite beverages

serious relaxing...just staring at the water

A couple of massive rib steaks found themselves on the grill this evening, joined on the plate by a nice quinoa salad. Not quite totally into the weekend groove yet, we forgot the Montreal as well as the lemon garlic dressing for the salad. Dale rustled up a mixture of olive oil and balsamic, while I seasoned the steaks with good ole salt & pepper. all was very tasty.

The wind came up a bit and the temperature started to drop. We headed in early, comfy and cozy inside. That's the neat thing about the Alto. We love being inside, because the expanse of windows really brings the outdoors right to us. Without a doubt the best feature of the retractable roof series.

Cool again overnight, but we left the furnace on and set low, and I heard it come on a couple of times. This really helped take the chill out of the camper. Dale had lots of papers to read this morning, and after coffee and a quick bite of fruit salad, I started back on my project. Clear sky this morning, and the temps rose quickly.

a very contented little man...

As I have run the wiring to the electrical area for the new monitor, this morning it is just a matter of mounting the Trimetric on the little bracket I made, attach this to the bulkhead wall, then connect the wires to the monitor and in the battery box. Once this was done, and of course after double checking, I installed the fuse in the line that powers the monitor, and success, away we go. There is some basic configuration to do, so I followed the detailed instructions and set up the values. There will be more programming, but that will happen after the charge controller gets installed. It is interesting to watch the monitor report on what is happening, particularly with the solar output. You can see the impact that a passing cloud has on the charging, the amps being produced immediately drop, then rise again once the sun reappears. It also provides a very accurate voltage reading, right from the battery. I suspect there will be a ton of information to garner from this monitor.

The afternoon was spent relaxing and reading the paper. We sat down by the water and watched all the activity on the lake. Lots of canoes, kayaks and paddle boards cruised by, everyone chatting and saying hello. It was a perfect afternoon to be on the water, but a few did mention that the water was still really cold and they hoped they did not have an unexpected tumble into the lake.

Dale wandered over to say hi to the Boler people. Steve & Jane have been restoring the Boler for the past couple of years. They have done a number of repairs and mods, and they had it painted it a cool looking silver this past winter. They are trying to replace pieces with either original stock parts, or period pieces from Vintage Trailers. The electrical and propane have been redone, and there is now a very cool custom aluminum box sitting on the tongue. They gave us a tour inside and they have accessorized it with cool vintage accessories.  They are really into the Boler world, much the same we are with the Alto. They are looking forward to attending a couple of "fiberglass" rallys this summer, and we told them about our rally this June.

Jane is a real foodie who enjoys creating her own recipes and writes her own food blog.  Will definitely check out her blog.  Steve told us that today they had gone to an event in Sharbot Lake, sponsored by a company called 'Seed to Sausage'. This is a specialty sausage meat company based out of Sharbot Lake, with many meat varieties available in Ottawa stores, including or local Metro. This event was called "Day of the Pig", and it sounded awesome, and included local microbrewery beers and wines.  To bad we missed it. There was also a garage sale in town, where Steve mentioned he picked up a couple of Mag Lights for $2. Those of you who know this brand will also know you don't generally find them for two bucks.

Steve also found a Coleman propane camp stove, which he immediately bought. When I mentioned that I am currently in the hunt for a camp stove, he offered to sell me the one he just bought. Seems Steve is a bit of a Coleman Stove afficianato, mostly the naptha versions, and already has quite a few. I had assumed he wanted the stove for their own use, but he explained he bought it because he knew it was a good one, and just could not leave it sitting there on the table. He was happy to sell it to me, for the sum of $10, giving him a tidy profit of five bucks. We fired it up, Steve gave it a good once over, and declared it was working nicely. A little oven cleaner and some elbow grease will make this stove as good as new. Sweet.

We gave Jane & Steve a little tour of our Alto, and they liked it very much, naturally the windows were a big hit.

Steve and Jane are a lovely, very creative couple and were so fun to talk to and chatting with them and their friends was a highlight of our weekend. This is what camping is all about....

We relaxed a bit more outside, bringing Barley out with us. We love seeing his heightened attention when he is outside. There are lots of chipmunks round, so his head swivels constantly to keep track of them. Some get a little brave and venture close, but a quick lunge by Barley in their direction makes them think twice about doing that again.

Dinner this evening is flatbread pizza with pesto, balsamic fried onions & mushrooms, chunks of chicken and topped with grated sharp cheddar and arugula.  Over low heat on the grill, it makes a tasty meal. Simple and camp like.

arugula...for a touch of camp sophistication

We sat out for the longest time, enjoying the setting sun, until the chill started to creep in and we headed inside. we really are not much for evening campfires, and we are both quite content ensconsed inside our camper.

Hard to beat an extra day on the weekend. Took it slow this morning, trying to soak up the last bit of weekend sun, knowing that we will have to head home in the early afternoon. Dale went for a power walk, while I sat outside with Barley, me working on my coffee, and Barley ever vigilant for chipmunks. I had to keep him on a pretty short leash, as when he wants to, he can move like a shot.

nothing escapes the watchful gaze
At some point we realized we had to get it in gear, so we poked away at rounding up our stuff and getting ready. It was hard to get motivated as it was a damn fine day. Finally hitched up, said good bye to our neighbours and hit the road. Another fabulous weekend in the books.


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