2016 Trip 11: boys weekend

Trip 11: Bonnechere P.P. - Sept 2016

Headed out at noon, wanting to get a bit of a head start on my "boys weekend". Now before your mind conjures up images of beer cans, hot dogs and bonfires, it will be pretty tame as there are only two of us, and for the record, the other guy has four legs! Yup, Barley and I are spending some quality time together this weekend.

2016 Trip 10: a simple relaxing weekend

Sharbot Lake P.P. - Sept 2016

Back to Sharbot Lake, on the primo site we had last time we were here. Only goes to prove that a little planning can sure help in snagging a great site. Now that September is upon us, the finality of our short camping season has descended upon us. Knowing that this is one of the last times out, our trips become less of an adventure, and more of just getting out there...to soak up the last of the fresh air and natural surroundings.

Picked Dale up once again from work, as at this point in the season, the rapidly falling sun plays a big factor in arriving and setting up before dark.  No problem though, as we were well set up before the light disappeared, even enjoying a cold beverage while watching the sunset. Temps are now dropping in the evening, which is a welcome change from the scorching summer we have had. Makes for a great sleep. There was a fabulous full moon this evening, some were saying it was a super moon, but I'm not so sure about that. It was not a harvest moon either, lacking that distinctive low in the sky deep yellow glow appearance. Surprising the amount of light a moon can reflect, almost turning night into day. Of course, the view from inside the Alto, as you tuck yourself under the covers, is pretty special.

Sun beaming in through the windows this morning, always a very pleasant way to start the day. This will be short lived though, as the weather radar is showing a nasty looking band of precipitation rolling in from the west. Perhaps a few hours before it arrives, so the coffee was on quickly, one must have their priorities!

Dale tossed out the idea of a quick swim (float), and why not?  The temp was around 70 degrees and not knowing whether it will be our last chance for a swim this season, in we went. The water felt warmer than the air, and it was super refreshing. The sun was shining and we floated for quite a while. It felt wonderful...what a great way to start the day.
We worked on our coffees after we were out, sitting in our chairs and soaking up the sun. We felt the wind coming up a short time later, a sure sign that the weather front is blowing in.

We were able to get in a good walk around the park before the first rain drops started to fall. Then they really started to come down. It quickly became a curl up and read sort of day...with a nice nap thrown in for good measure. It really does not matter the weather, we are quite happy and comfortable inside, regardless of what is going on outside. Once again, those big windows make you feel like you are not missing out being indoors.

it was a very steep hill...Dale's whinometer was off the scale on the walk up

I spy with my little eye...

amazing how these pines thrive and survive

fall is just around the corner

never seen one of these before. a google search revealed that it all folds up into the space between those two red triangles. these are from an 80's vintage

A simple burger and chips dinner rounded out the day, a few tunes filled the Alto during the evening, and that wrapped it up. This weekend has been all about the 'chill'.


Pounded down the rain overnight. Really pounded. It would let up a bit, then come down hard again. I woke a few times, had a look out the window, and only saw a sheet of rain, vaguely illuminated by what was earlier a bright full moon. It was really quite the storm. By morning the rain had past, leaving behind a soppy mess. The rain had hit the ground so hard that there was sand and dirt up the side of the Alto. We were glad that we knew it was coming, so we had thrown a lot of our gear into the back of the Santa Fe.

We spent the morning relaxing, then slowly packing up. Dale got in a quick power walk, while I continued to rinse stuff off in the lake. Dale had a nice visit with a retired couple down the way from us, 'salt of the earth' nice people as she described them when she returned. Always great meeting and chatting in campgrounds, lots of nice people out there. We pulled out a short time later, the end of a truly relaxing weekend, even if the storm did try to add a little excitement.

looking for a little breeze...

So it is a Sunday afternoon and I have just finished a little outside repair on the house. I've got an assortment of tools in my bucket, including my drill and bits, so naturally, I'm wondering if there is anything else that needs to be done...and naturally, my gaze fell upon the Alto.

We were sitting at Sandbanks this summer, soaking up a beautiful, although stinking hot day, when it struck me that there was really not a lot of natural air circulation in our Alto. This can be helped by running the fan, but glancing around at the screened openings, it is pretty limited. This is certainly the case when compared to the 1743 model, which has very large opening on all sides, so the breezes must be wonderful. Our particular vintage also has the original metal back window, that incorporates a narrow screened band at the bottom, rather than the newer plastic window that can be opened to expose a large ventilation area.

While I was sitting at the front table, sweating, I started to look closely at the screened part of the door, wondering how to increase that surface area. As we have Barley with us, we still need the option to make sure he stays indoors, which means the door must be closed. This sort of precludes the full screen door mods that are out there, as I know Barley could blow right through those if his desire was strong enough.  At times we have been putting him on his leash and opening the door, but as a rule, it is usually closed. Not many options to do anything that would yield a big improvement, but I did notice a possibility for a minor change.

Our window slides open and is held in place by a plastic clip, which is attached to an aluminum cross bar. There did not seem to be any reason why the window would not slide open a little higher, based on the frame design. The limiting factor is when the frame starts to curve at the top. The cross bar is held in place by two small rivets, which are easily drilled out. I also pondered whether this cross bar contributed to the structural integrity of the window itself, and I came to the conclusion that it did not. There is a joint to the track part of the window frame, slightly below the cross bar, but it has its own linking plate. 

note the position of the cross bar and the amount of glass covering the screen
As this bar will be moving up into the area where the window frame starts to curve around the top, this means that the bar itself needs to be modified. Doing this then negates any possibility of reversing the mod, should it not work, or worse yet, if I screw up the measurements. Given the vintage of the window, and that they are no longer even made like this, if I did screw up, I strongly suspect there would no way that SC could bail you out with a new piece. One must remember this before starting a mod. Always have a Plan B in mind to fix a mod that might not work, or goes horribly off the rails.

I carefully drilled the rivets, and off came the bar.  The window was raised to almost its maximum height, and the bar was marked for its new location on the frame. A small piece was cut off each end to fit the curve of the frame, then new holes drilled for the rivets. A quick install of the rivets, and we were good to go. I applied a bit of black paint here and there, and other than the old rivet holes that are now visible, it certainly looks like this is the way it came out of the factory.

2016 Trip 9: Rollins...always great!

Rollins Pond S.P. - Aug 2016

Off to Rollins for a week vacation, the second part of splitting our two weeks of vacation this summer. We tried something a little different on this Rollins trip, as we usually head down Friday morning, and use it as our travel day. Throw in the stops we make for a little shopping in Ogdensburg and then groceries in Tupper Lake, and the Friday is pretty much shot by the time we make it to the park. Dale dropped an idea a few days before we left about heading down earlier after work on Thursday instead, and here comes the change, stay overnight in the Ogdensburg Walmart parking lot. That is generally our first stop anyways, so why not camp there? Shop in the evening, then hit the road in the morning?  It made perfect sense, so that's exactly what we did.

one could almost call this quaint...