2017 Trip 7: back on the water feels great

Trip 7: Bonnechere P.P.

Could be another rainy weekend, but our modus operandi means we head out regardless. Shame to miss a weekend camping based on a forecast from what generally seems to be an inaccurate science. On the drive up we ran into some showers, but the way the clouds were moving, we ended up scooting in between the worst of them. Just before the park entrance, the dark heavies blew through and left a huge swath of blue sky.

On a new river site this time, and it is a dandy. Tucked in off the road, wide and sandy, with a good view of the river. Got set up, boats off the car ready for tomorrow, then we settled in for some  quality lounging.

Barley continues to enjoy his new outside abode

A bit of rain overnight, and the morning sky was full of low fluffy clouds, a few of them just itching to rain on something, it never did though. Around noon we headed out for a paddle, aiming to go out to the lake and along the cottage shoreline. There is an abundance of sandy shoreline on Round Lake, and it is not only at the waters edge, but extends inland. Some cottages look like they are built right on the beach, which gives them a very summer "feel". Lots of pine trees as well, which are a staple in sandy conditions.

this guy seemed old...but in pretty good shape

One thing very noticeable is the sheer number of cottages, and how close they are. The whole shoreline has a tract housing look. Perhaps this was intended, so as many people as possible could access such a great stretch of beach. Keep in mind too, that this was probably done many decades ago, when huge frontages were most likely the norm. There is also a small township park, which no doubt occurred because of a little foresight on the part of a local councillor way back when.

leaves turning...say it ain't so

Just past the cottages there was another little outlet, the Sherwood River, and although a little paddle upstream would have been nice, an approaching black cloud had us thinking otherwise. Made it back without a drop of rain falling, but that was short lived. A steady rain drove us inside around dinner time.

Burgers for dinner, and a bit of an experiment. We picked up one of those flexible grilling sheets, mostly just to see if it would be a good addition to the camp gear. They seem to be all the rage now, and I was definitely curious how it would affect the classic BBQ flavour.

The instructions say to not cover the entire grill area, so I cut it a bit narrower at the sides, and then followed the curve of the grill along the front. Fired up the Q, then on went the burgers. Once they started to sizzle, it quickly became apparent that what you have done is turned the Q into a big frying pan. Those grill marks that they advertise on the box, well of course that is going to happen, the material is thin, so the hottest areas will be the grills, and thus the marks.

So now you have a frying pan, and fat coming out of the burgs, so guess where it's heading, with no pan sides to keep it contained. This was easily handled with a bit of paper towel dabbing it up, but that is now an extra step to deal with. The burgers were tasty, and the cleanup afterwards was a snap. I can see it being useful for messy BBQ sauces, or one time quick use where you would want to minimize the cleanup. Bottom line...will it see regular use, no. Will it be handy for some occasions, absolutely.

a perfect trifecta...beer, peanuts & a picnic table

The brief evening sun was followed by off and on showers. By this time though, darkness was quickly descending, and we just as quickly headed inside.

Sunday brought clear skies and the sun, so once we were fuelled up with coffee and a bite to eat, the kayaks hit the water.

quite surprised I was able to get so close to this guy

a B&W just seems to suit this crusty looking creature

We paddled in the opposite direction, and a little further along the shore, we discovered a nice little campground...on a fabulous stretch of beach. All the sites were right on the beach, and what a beach it was! Very few people were camping, so we pulled on to shore and had a look around. A short time later a car circled around and stopped beside us.

We knew right way it was the owner, an older gentleman looking very laid back and cool in his mirrored RayBans. He just oozed 'old school'.  After I explained our interest in camping here next summer, he immediately started what felt like an interview. Subtle like, but he was definitely checking us out. He flat out said that he runs a tight ship, no party types, likes to keep it very quiet and relaxed. I dropped a few tidbits about having had a family cottage over on Golden Lake, and that I knew the area well. This perked him up, and he got quite chatty. He is now in his mid eighties, and we had a very interesting chat about how running a campground has changed over the years, you guessed it...not for the better.  We will see what happens next year, but it would be a nice spot to check out, if possible.

We pulled out just before 2:00, eking out as much time as possible on site. It was a real nice laid back weekend, and great to get back on the water with the kayaks. The boats will stay on the roof, as next up is Rollins Pond...and we can't wait!

2017 Trip 6: a County catch-up

Trip 6: Sandbanks PP

Our annual jaunt to the beach mecca that is the Sandbanks. There is just no way that a summer will go by without us spending time in "The County". We have been heading here every summer for over thirty years, it is that fabulous an area.

Lots has changed over the years. The area has evolved from having Sandbanks as the main destination, to one that now offers multitudes of possibilities for all sorts of interests. From wineries, to restaurants, to artsy shops, there is something for most everyone. All three towns have changed due to the influx of new money and investment, a lot of it seems from the Toronto area. Naturally, there are two sides to all this growth, and I'm sure both sides could hotly debate the pros and cons. For us, it's still all about enjoying whatever the area has to offer.

We reserved Sandbanks many moons ago, and this year we are in the Woodlands campground. We managed to nab a nice site, with a good combo of sun and shade. The site has power, so Barley will have A/C should it get too hot for him. Not surprisingly, the campground is full, as Sandbanks is a very popular park.

Our fellow Alto friends, Mark & Angela are a few sites over from us, so we had them over for dinner and a visit. It was only a few years ago that they happened to bike by our site in another area of the park, and we gave them a tour of our Alto. They soon placed an order and are now owners of a 1743. Meeting them at Sandbanks seems to have become a nice yearly event.

A touch of rain overnight, as large black clouds were always cruising by throughout the day. We got in some nice beach time Friday afternoon, then we headed over to see our friend's new home on the east side of the County. Lee & Howard bought a nice century home and plan to eventually retire here. We had a nice visit and a great tour of their place. They have been coming to the area for many years as well, and getting a place here is a dream come true.

the high water levels in the lake this year has really impacted the beach width

Saturday we wandered the shops of Bloomfield and Wellington with Helen & Paul. We grabbed a bit of lunch in a nice little restaurant called Pomodoro Trattoria in Wellington that certainly hit the spot. In the evening we had dinner at the Waupoos Pub, where we met our friend Geoff. We always get together with Joey & Geoff for a yearly catchup, but unfortunately this year Joey was not feeling well, and she figured it was best to stay home and take it easy. Also there was Debbie, of Jack & Debbie, people we have met through Geoff. Jack was out of town, and is was very nice that Deb joined us regardless.

Sunday was another busy socializing day...a visit in the afternoon from Helen & Paul, followed by dinner at Sonny & Jane's in the evening. They have the Nap n' Nosh B&B in Bloomfield, where we have stayed many times ourselves. They laid on a wonderful summer BBQ...the dry rub ribs that Sonny cooked were finger lickin tasty!

Dale works on an afternoon campfire

When we got back to the Alto, there was a note on the door for us to come over for breakfast with Mark & Angela. What a nice idea.

After our breakfast visit, we slowly packed up the site to head home.
So as you can tell, this was very much a socializing sort of weekend...and we loved every minute!