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!!!

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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!!!

Goodbye October!

Another month has gone by and rather quickly I might add! October was a great month for us for camping. We spent Thanksgiving at one of our favorite parks – Shamadon Resort, then we visited a new park, Golden Pond Resort and took in a very wet car race at Delaware Speedway the same weekend. We departed Golden Pond and set up the same day at Bronte Creek Provincial Park. I had the week off, so we spent it there. The following week,  we moved on to Fifty Point to a rather nice back in campsite which normally would be seasonal, but was open for overnight. We spent a week there as well.

November began with a wet, rainy, cool weekend at Valens Conservation Area. Instead of taking our usual winter site #56, we decided to try #46, the first site we spent our first winter camping season in with our Spree. Unfortunately we experienced power issues all weekend and a constant lack of data and phone service. My cell service is usually not great at Valens, with my provider using the Bell network, but this site was even worse than #56.

Despite the weather and challenges, we had a great long weekend and had the opportunity to camp with some great friends we haven’t seen since earlier in the year. We still enjoyed a campfire Saturday for most of the day until the cool temperatures and rain drove us in later in the evening. Here are some photos of our time at Valens!

Our next trip out will be to Fifty Point this Sunday afternoon. We’ll stay there for the week before winterizing and cleaning the fiver out. Yes, winter camping will be starting on December 29th, but with some news for us and eventually changes.

We looked at our same model fifth wheel only a few years newer and found KZ has made some nice improvements and modifications. Niagara Trailers (our dealer) put together an awesome deal for us, giving us top trade in dollar for our fiver and a great reduction in price on a 2018 Durango 2500 RLT. In the end, the deal was too good to pass us. The transaction was effortless, all on paper and with no outlay of money from us. It was pretty much like turning a leased vehicle and upgrading to a newer one.

So, our new 2018 has been ordered from the factory. We’re told it should be about 12 weeks before it’s completed and received at Niagara Trailers. The plan in light of that timeline, is to empty out our fiver and clean it at Fifty Point then repack just what we need for Valens Winter Camping each weekend we still have our fiver. It isn’t likely we’ll have the new one before New Years and we’re registered in the program and have paid for it. As well, my storage ends December 31st so we have no choice but to use our fiver until the new one arrives.

Here are some exterior photos of the new 2018 Durango 2500s. Love the cut away cap for an even better turning radius!

As for the interior design changes, KZ added a kitchen window by reducing the size of the entertainment centre and added ceiling lights over the island and one over the dining set. The change they made to the kitchen hutch has added a lot more counter space too.

Also, it comes standard with theater seating and a proper, decent sofa bed. Other standard features include a propane quick connect, aluminum step, under mount spare tire instead of bumper mount, roof solar prep, motion sensor lights throughout, stainless appliances, day\night shades, the same “all weather” insulation package and of course the pex heated lines above floor insulation and heated water tanks via ducted heat and located above insulation (same as ours). Basically, we’ve lost nothing from ours and gained a lot more in this model.

The package Niagara Trailers put together included the same options we currently have such as a king size mattress upgraded to Gel Foam, the second bedroom A\C, 12 cubic side by side fridge, Wideview electric fireplace and a new option, a backup camera mounted on the rear of the fiver.

I’m super excited and looking forward to taking delivery of Calista II. Our thanks and appreciation to Niagara Trailers for working with us to give us a deal we couldn’t refuse.

HAPPY COLD WEATHER CAMPING!!! 

 

Campers Halloween and a Week of Vacation!

20171015_144849What a wonderful time we had this past week at Bronte Creek Provincial Park! We left Golden Pond on Sunday October 14th after a soggy weekend and headed for Bronte Creek. The races at Delaware Speedway were fantastic! No such thing as a rain date there LOL. 🙂

I’m happy to say the weather turned around and cleared out thanks to strong winds on the Sunday. We had a little more rain but the sun shone brightly for the rest of the week! Night time temperatures started out fairly cool on the Sunday and we ran our furnace most nights, but the daytime was fantastic! Warm and sunny ALL week.

The photo above is of our site #114. This will be our third year at Campers Halloween but our first year on this particular campsite. I must say, it was a much better campsite than the one we spent the previous two years on! The view of the woods behind was so nice!

20171016_081724.jpg

I spent the first couple days decorating for Campers Halloween. Well, I suppose you could say I spent time every day of the week decorating! It was fun though. I also got to spend some time with our youngest daughter who now lives in Oakville. The circumstances with teachers strike were unfortunate but it did give us more time together than planned.

I also got to do a hike that has been on my bucket list for awhile – Rattlesnake Point! It was such a beautiful day and the scenery not a disappointment! Here are some photos:

I also had lots of time to hike around Bronte Creek as well and enjoy every day of the glorious weather!

By Thursday, campers were starting to arrive for the Campers Halloween weekend! It was a full park by Friday night. I’d set up all week and tested all the lights and props ahead of time. I must say, I had a blast decorating! It was so much fun and I’m hoping next year to spend the week again, or most of the week before Campers Halloween. I got lots of hiking in, cleaned the fiver and like I mentioned, spent a lot of time on our display. We didn’t win, or even place in the competition, but that’s ok, we really enjoyed ourselves and everyone who visited our site trick or treating on Saturday really gave positive feedback. Here are some photos of our display!

I also did a macabre display in the woods!

And of course there were a couple inflatables too!

As well, we had a suitcase of body parts and some on the grill! I found some awesome gel decorations and an attachment to our fog machine!

I must say, it really came together well and looked fantastic at night! One of the best things about Campers Halloween at Bronte is getting to meet up with fellow campers whom we don’t get to see enough. We spent a lot of time visiting campfires and hanging out with friends. A lot of group members we’ve met through RVing in Canada, my Facebook group, come this event. Some even dress up! So, here are some of us in costume – any guesses as to who’s who?

We also had some visitors, my Dad, my great niece Emily and my brother Jeff! Our daughter Katey stayed with us both Friday night and Saturday and made Jello shots for the adults on Trick or Treat night! To say it was a wonderful weekend was an understatement!

We had a great week at Bronte Creek and enjoyed our stay very much! Next year, we hope to be back again for Campers Halloween!!!!!

HAPPY CAMPING!!!