Category Archives: Uncategorized

Good-bye March, Hello April!

It’s almost the end of another month spent winter camping at Valens Conservation Area! We spent only four nights at Valens in March, but they were both wonderful weekends! Both times I came up early on Friday and got camp set up and a fire started for my love to come home to after work. I dewinterized our water system and filled the fresh water tank without any issues both weekends. It is a bit of work to haul the four 6 gallon jugs to the comfort station to fill then back to the fiver to pump into the tank, but for hot running water, it’s worth it! It usually takes me about two trips to fill all four jugs twice, to fill our fresh water tank. I also use some of the water to pump the pink out of the lines before filling the tanks.

This past weekend we had much better weather than our previous visits, although still cold from the wind chill. Mornings were below zero with a windchill, but it warmed up significantly by afternoon. The sunshine during the day was spectacular and warmed things up wonderfully. Both Dave and I at one time or another fell asleep in the sunshine sitting around the fire. I got in some excellent hikes, topping out my step count at over 21,000 on Friday and over 12,000 on Saturday.

The swans still have not returned, but it looks like the dam isn’t in yet as the water level has not yet risen. We didn’t hear the coyotes either, but the variety of birds were amazing! Around my feeders, I had two pair of bluejays, a pair of cardinals, two pair of doves, a Downy Woodpecker, a Red Bellied Woodpecker, Red Breasted Nuthatches, House Sparrows and a Red Winged Blackbird! The doves and the Red Winged Blackbird were new arrivals this year! This is the first year they’ve visited. Of course the psycho female cardinal was back again flying at its reflection in the truck window, mirror, chrome bumper and of course any window of the fiver it flew past. Both my suction cup window feeders were on the ground and broken when I arrived on Friday as was one of the larger feeders that had been knocked to the ground.

As is usually the case, we ate well, got a lot of outdoor exercise time in and a lot of time relaxing around the campfire. We were fortunate to have our oldest daughter and her husband come out to see us and stay overnight on Saturday. We had a fire all day which lasted well into the night. The skies were so clear both nights with many, many stars visible. We spent a good amount of time with the Google Sky app checking out the starry sky! It was such an amazing weekend. The company, the weather, the beautiful place we spend our time camping all  made for an amazing time away.

April will see us visiting Valens twice more. Once at the beginning of April and the third weekend of April which will be the last time out for the winter program and a short weekend as we won’t be able to arrive until Friday evening. April 29th we pick our fiver up at Valens and drop it at Fifty Point Conservation Area. We’ll spend the week there and the weekend of May 4th. This will give us time to clean out the fiver, hopefully give it a quick wash, flush all the tanks and test anything we haven’t over the winter such as the AC. After we leave Fifty Point, our fiver goes back to the dealer for some minor warranty work. They’ll likely have it for the week then it will have to be stored for a couple weeks until we can move it to our seasonal site which is the week of May 14th.

When you camp every month of year and every season, one just seems to run into the other. The winter season at Valens has seemed to go by so quickly! Spring is here but the weather has yet to catch up. I’m hoping for warmer temperatures our first trip out in April, but we’ll have to wait and see. If all goes according to schedule, we’ll stay a couple days longer that trip which will see us over by two nights in the winter program.  I look forward to seeing Spring come at Valens!

HAPPY CAMPING!!!

Advertisements

March Camping!

Three more days and we’re off to Valens again! Two weeks between visits seems so long and I miss our fiver so much in between. We’ve used our new fiver a total of seven days so far and absolutely love it! The last weekend away I decided to use our water system for the first time. It worked terrifically after a comedy of errors on my part! In my defense, I must say I had worked Thursday night then drove up and set up camp immediately after finishing work on Friday morning. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

I have a procedure that I follow when we’re using our fresh water in the winter. First, I get the heat going, put my wireless thermometer in the front pass thru and wait until it’s warmed up in there to about 12C or above. I have four 6 gallon blue jugs that I fill with water to put into the tank. The first thing I do once the temps are reached is run fresh water through the taps to flush out the pink. Once that’s done, I change the setting on our water control to pump water into our tank. The pump on our new fiver seems faster than the old one and it is definitely a different model. It really doesn’t take long to do this. Once the tank is full, then I turn the pump off, switch the setting to “Dry Camp” and turn the pump back on. This fills the hot water tank too.

Despite that plan, things didn’t quite go so smoothly. First, in my tiredness, I mistook the sound of water running through the lines to fill the tank and found it was the sound of water running out the open tank valve onto the gravel pad. I realized only after I’d dumped almost two 6 gallon jugs on the ground. After additional trips to the comfort station to fill my containers again, I succeeded in filling the tank to full. I changed the settings on the control panel, turned the pump on and went inside. About 15 minutes later I realized I forgot to turn the hot water heater on outside. The sight of water gushing out the hot water panel greeted me. The anode rod was not inserted. Of course it wasn’t – it was a new fiver and the system had not been used! I turned the pump off, checked the tank level – EMPTY!!! Geez….. back to the comfort station – twice – for more water. Sigh…… I blame it on nightshift and being tired LOL. By about 5pm I had full tanks, hot water and everything sorted out!

I do notice a difference with the dual pane windows in terms of drafts and moisture in the fiver. We have had average winter temperatures, but nothing extreme. I really wish I’d had this new fiver for New Years weekend to see the difference in REALLY cold temperatures. So far in comparison to the previous two years with the other fiver, I can say the drafts situation has improved. Before, when sitting at the back of the fiver where the large window is, there was always a draft. Now there’s now. As well, nothing in the slides when we’re sitting in the theatre seating.

I love the little changes like the kitchen window. It adds so much brightness to the fiver and it’s nice to open the window when cooking. I think the motion sensor lights in the bedroom closet are wonderful. I open the door to get something and a light comes on. The change in design of the closet is nice to. Being full length, I can store my broom and vacuum in there with so much space to spare. The light switch in the bathroom – thank you KZ! Not sure how that was not in my first fiver but I’m glad it’s in this one. I really enjoy the theatre seating – so much more than the recliners our other one had. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Let’s just say both of us really like our new fiver!

I believe we have about ten nights of camping left at Valens for this winter . That will take us to our last weekend at the end of April. It seems to have gone so fast this year. Likely the fastest season so far! I’m not sure if it’s because of switching fivers at the beginning of February but whatever the reason, I can’t believe how fast time has gone.

The weather forecast for this weekend is 1C for Friday, 1C for Saturday and 2C for Sunday. Every day is supposed to be sunny which will be very nice. It always seems nicer when the sun shines! I’m pretty sure we’ll use our water system again. It was so nice to be able to use our own shower and have hot running water! It’s a bit of work, but well worth it to me. So, I’ll be posting some photos of our weekend so stay tuned!

 

 

Winter Camping Photos!

I’ve updated my Google Photo Albums with photos from our time winter camping January and February at Valens Conservation Area! Here are the links:

For January:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/D12stmnOxQ6Dejke2

For February:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/xN9tMVSfGmysfDDn1

Valens is such a beautiful park in the winter! In just two months, we’ve already seen such a range of weather. It’s such a beautiful place to spend the cold days and it’s not like we’d be camping anywhere else. Nope, we’d be doing what everyone else does and storing the fiver waiting patiently for Spring! No waiting for us – we enjoy campfires and camping all year long!

I encourage everyone to give winter camping a try. It’s a different world out there in the off season. So quiet and so beautiful! This is our fourth year in the winter warrior program at Valens and until we retire, I think we’ll always sign up for it!

HAPPY WINTER CAMPING FRIENDS!!!

2018 Camping Plans!

As some of you know, Dave and I have decided to procure a seasonal site this year for a change. It will be a first for us as we’ve traveled every year since 2007 to many, many beautiful campgrounds. We will still be traveling between time spent at the seasonal site, but the majority of our time will be spent there. For those who don’t know about this change, let me tell you a little bit about the park that we’ll be staying at!

Long Beach Conservation Area, on the shores of Lake Erie will be where we park it from Victoria Day weekend until the end of Thanksgiving weekend. It is a shorter season than I’d like, but there were plenty of things about the park that I really think we’ll enjoy. We have stayed at Long Beach a few times over the years with varying sites in both the North and South Campground. As our trailer grew to the current 36 foot length of our fiver, our choices became more limited. Every time we stayed at the park, we had an enjoyable time. We’ve launched kayaks from the park into Lake Erie and fished for bass, quite successfully I might add! Here are some kayak fishing photos!

So, the good things about going seasonal will be having a place to leave our fiver without it being in storage. In between travel, we can keep it stocked with the power on and all the slides out ready for our next camping visit. Since it’s only 40 minutes from my job and 25 from Dave’s job, we’ll be able to commute easily should we stay for any extended length of time. Home is about 45 minutes away which makes it easy to make a quick trip back to do laundry, check on the house and should the cats not be with us, check on them too. I suspect with my shift work, we’ll be spending a lot of time during the week along with every other weekend out there. We’ll also be able to take our SeaRay boat and leave it at the park. Although there isn’t a launch large enough for us at Long Beach, Mohawk Marina is close by as is Port Colborne and Port Maitland. We didn’t use the boat as much as we would have liked to last year because we can’t double tow. Our fiver combined with the boat is just too long. In order to enjoy the boat while camping, we had to bring a second vehicle to tow the boat.

The park is right on the shores of Lake Erie with a very nice beach and as I mentioned, a very nice place to launch our kayaks. I plan on leaving one up at the park for those days during the week when I’m alone. There is a rail trail very close by and hiking trails at the park. We’re also in close proximity to the Welland River for kayaking and many more Conservation Areas with more trails. There will be plenty to do, which is important to me since I’ll have my share of time alone at the park. Here are some park photos:

The campsite we’ve booked is very large. At least 50 X 100 feet. It’s a back in with easy access for getting in and out. This is very important to us as we plan to still travel a few times to other parks while we’re seasonal. I love the large pine tree that is on our site. It will provide some shade and maybe a some privacy, since the site we chose and in fact all are very limited for privacy. The site is all grass which we plan on maintaining ourselves. I must say, I’m really looking forward to this new experience. I think the best part for me is being able to stay at our fiver anytime we choose. As well, storage was a challenge last year and I won’t miss it at all!

Besides seasonal, we plan on visiting Selkirk Provincial Park and County Shores in June then Trailside Resort and Balsam Lake Provincial Park in September.  When our seasonal ends in October, we’ll have to find storage for a couple months or at least until our Winter Warriors camping program begins again at the end of December 2018. Of course we’ll still be camping in October with another visit to Bronte Creek Provincial Park planned for the Campers Halloween Weekend and a couple trips to Fifty Point to round out November. I know I will miss Fifty Point this summer. We spent a lot of time there last year and I thoroughly enjoyed all of it! I’ll be posting our itinerary for travel again soon.

Happy Camping!

February Brings A Big Change!

Not everyone who follows this blog follows my Facebook page so for those of you who don’t, February brought about a big change for Dave and I. We decided last November to upgrade our fiver to a new one. We ordered a 2018 Durango 2500 D325RLT. The new fiver is in fact the same model as what we had before, but came with quite a lot of changes from our old one. So, without further adieu, here are some photos and some info on the changes!

Our new fiver has dual pane windows, an awning with full controls not only on the inside but on the arm of the awning and the LED light bar is in a position where it can be turned on and used with the awning closed. The inside of our front pass thru has a rubber diamond plate floor and motion sensor lights along with a WIFI hub to connect devices and use the KZ app. The spare tire is mounted up under the back instead of on the back bumper and of course there is an additional window in the kitchen that wasn’t on our older model. It came standard with a King antenna and we added a back up camera as well. The steps are aluminum with wide skid guards and lights on the step.

Here are some inside photos:

The big change in the interior is the colour theme. We went with dark furniture, dark wood and light walls. The flooring is a light wood plank look which really off sets the dark accents. It came with a three seater sofa bed, theatre seating and a wider fireplace. Our last model had a lot more wood cabinetry than this one, but I like the change!

The kitchen features stainless appliances including a much larger microwave and of course our optional larger double door fridge. The counter tops are very light colour Corian and also contrast so nicely with the dark furniture and cabinets. The sink remains a double stainless and the stove/oven remains as large as our last one. The window in the kitchen adds so much light and a very nice way to keep air flow when cooking instead of the exhaust fan. Gone is the large cabinet in the kitchen which gives us a nice full counter area. I think my favorite change from our last one is the island lights! They work so well and look so nice with matching ones over the dining table. Speaking of which, our dining chairs now have storage under the cushions. Ah it’s the little things isn’t it? LOL.

The bathroom remains the same with the only changes being a higher glass shower door and the best – a light switch! Believe it or not, same model a couple years older did NOT have a light switch. The light over the toilet is an optional “motion light”.

In the bedroom we decided not to get the second TV option but kept the optional second AC and king size upgraded mattress. As in the last model, the bed is in the slide. The closet changed quite a bit with it being almost from floor to ceiling other than a narrow shelf. To the right is a cupboard with three drawers which is much different from our last model. I wasn’t sure I’d like the new wardrobe changes, but it really is quite functional. There is still a plumb in for a washer/dryer combo if we ever choose to add them.

I have to say after spending five days in it, we absolutely love it! It’s a little early to see if the dual pane windows make much of a difference camping, but I’ve been paying attention to moisture on the windows and drafts and both seem less than with our other fiver that had regular RV windows.

Well, that’s all I can think of for now in terms of what’s new in our 2018. I’ve probably missed some things and will add them as they come to mind.

We’ll be back at Valens this Friday for a couple nights of winter camping. We’ve only been gone just over a week, but it seems like it’s been awhile. I hope everyone is enjoying the winter somehow whether it’s around a campfire or just out on a hiking trail.

HAPPY WINTER CAMPING!

Happy New Year and Happy Camping!!!

A very Happy New Year to all who follow my web page. I hope you have many safe travels in 2018! Cheers to a brand new year of campfires and great memories!  🎉🎆🍻

Our first weekend of winter camping is over and wow, it was a cold one! The temperatures were the coldest we’ve camped in yet with our Durango.  We found it difficult to keep the fiver warm enough inside. We ran the furnace and fireplace heater along with a secondary electric heater off a separate 15 amp outlet on the post. We picked up an oil filled heater while out on Sunday and that did seem to make a difference. The extremely cold temps made it hard to keep the propane flowing properly especially as the tanks got lower. Our 100 watt trouble light in the propane compartment did nothing to keep the tanks from frosting up. We noticed a lot of drafts sitting at the back of the fiver where the large windows are. We’d never noticed this before when winter camping.  I can’t help but wonder how much of a difference the dual pane windows on our new fiver will make.

We can look forward to taking delivery of our new Durango on February 5th unless of course there are further delays.

One thing we noticed at Valens was power issues we’d never experienced until installing our new inline power EMS. The EMS cuts off power immediately due to a voltage drop or surge, or dirty power until the power situation is restored to normal, then it returns power to the fiver. It’s clearly doing the job it’s supposed to,  it just amazes us that on the same site, using the same things the last two years without the EMC, we didn’t even have a breaker pop. They must be pretty sensitive to voltage changes or dirty power. That’s a good thing!

Despite the very cold weather we had a fabulous weekend at Valens!  We were set up in no time after arriving on Saturday morning. It’s a lot easier now with this being our 4th year on Site #56. We know exactly where we want the fiver backed in and exactly how to use the electronic levellers without over extending them on the sloped pad. We opted not to use our fresh water system because of how short our stay was and the very cold temperatures. That of course contributed to a quicker set up. It took almost an hour for the inside of the fiver to warm up to a comfortable temperature, which was longer than usual.

We had a fire Saturday afternoon but went in late afternoon. Despite full winter gear and the warm fire, it was really cold! New Years eve we enjoyed an afternoon fire and dinner with our winter camping friends. It was so cold outside our mixed drinks turned to slushies! It was an awesome evening and we rang in 2018 together with our friends as we have the past three years! ☺🎉🎆🍻❤

So begins our fourth year of winter camping!  We’re so blessed and thankful to be doing this again at Valens. Peace and joy be with you all in 2018 and Happy Camping!               ❄♨⛄❤

Delayed Winter Camping Arrival!

It looks like we’ll be delayed reaching our winter campsite at Valens. We’d hoped for today, but hubby can’t get off work in time to arrive before dark. Neither of us want to try setting up our fiver after dark, in the winter on a site we’ll have to remain on for four months. Nope, better to take the time needed to get it set up properly. Besides, it will be warmer tomorrow! Lol, not likely, but I’m trying to be positive.

So, tomorrow, we’ll be at Valens and beginning our 2018 winter program! Oh I can’t wait!

HAPPY WINTER CAMPING!!!