Browsing "Ontario"
Sep 8, 2008 -

Electricity Learning Curve

I’m about 100km east of Thunder Bay and treating myself to a night on full hookups with access to wi-fi and a laundromat. Ah, civilization.

I’ve been boondocking since I left Ottawa on Thursday morning and, let me tell you, that has been full of brutal lessons that left me feeling quite disheartened on Saturday evening, but which were learned well enough to allow for a 180 degree mood shift by the following evening.

The most important of these lessons is: MIRANDA’S BATTERY SENSORS CAN’T BE TRUSTED. The sensors claimed right up to Saturday evening (and beyond) that the battery was operating at full operating capacity. When I finally realised that this wasn’t the case, the battery had reached such a low level that I couldn’t even get the generator going. Saturday evening, I had no lights worth mentioning, no hot water, no refrigerator, nothing. It was very cold and damp in the rig and I was miserable. I went to bed really early, got on the road even earlier the next day, go the battery topped up with the driving, and spent the evening boondocking with the generator running, giving me lights, hot water, a refrigerator, HEAT, and the ability to watch a movie. Lesson learned. If you’re not driving that day, run the generator at least an hour.

The second lesson in electricity is that my inverter is my best friend (even though I called it horrible names on Saturday, poor thing!). It lets me know when battery power is too low to run it. If that’s the case, the generator gets run ASAP.

The third lesson in electricity is that I really hate running the generator. It’s very noisy. But it’s not a gas guzzler and it means I get all the comforts of home. I’ll get used to it.

Saturday night, as I laid there in my bunk, snug and warm thanks to flannel PJs and a feather duvet, I listened to a song on my iPod which really put things into perspective for me. It’s called ‘Painting Pictures of Egypt’ and this is the bit that stuck out:

The place I was wasn’t perfect, but I had found a way to live
And it wasn’t milk or honey, but then neither is this.

Yeah, I’d rather be in a well-insulated bus with a million solar panels and a satellite dish for getting online, but, at least, I’m not working 8 to 4 at a desk and going home to the ghetto. This isn’t a vacation or a dream. It’s reality. And reality isn’t perfect. But it sure can be great.

The next post will show that I still had my sense of humour come Sunday!

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Campgrounds, Canada, Electricity, Ontario, Personal, Technical, Travel, Why I Do This    11 Comments
Sep 8, 2008 -

Just a Wave

I can’t do justice to the last few days in the few minutes I have left online, so I won’t try at this time. Pictures and stories will follow! Some of the highlights of the past few days:

  • going 300ft underground into a gold mine;
  • experiencing my first nights (note the plural) at Walmart;
  • discovering just how bad are Miranda’s sensors;
  • dealing with the POs idiocy when it comes to RV plumbing;
  • and a full recount of just how I inadvertently perfectly recreated a certain scene in the Robin Williams movie ‘RV’.

For those wanting to follow me on a map, I left Val D’Or yesterday morning and overnighted in Kapuskasing, Ontario. I am presently in Long Lac and heading for Nipigon, several hours away hence why I can’t take greater advantage of this great connection! Northern Ontario, for those who don’t know it, is 90 billion kilometres long, so I have at least another two days left in this land of black spruce, granite cliffs, and clear lakes. I just wish the weather was better so I could enjoy it more.

All is well… and I still have my sense of humour.

More will come from further down the road! 🙂

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Canada, Itineraries, Ontario, Plumbing, Quebec, Technical, Travel    3 Comments
Sep 5, 2008 -

On the Road

For a change of pace (*g*) more photos, less bla bla bla.

Miranda at the Ottawa Municipal Campground

Miranda at the Ottawa Municipal Campground

We left this site at the Ottawa Municipal campground mid-morning on Thursday September 4th. Right on ‘schedule.’ I gassed up (oh, the cost of freedom these days) and without much fanfare made my way through most of the places I’ve called home for eight of these past ten years. Highway 105 north was the hardest as the string of familiar hamlets passed behind me, to be seen again, perhaps, in a very distant future: Alcove, Farrelton, Kazabazua, Low, Blue Sea, Gracefield… Maniwaki was a non-event, but the town has changed since I was there last, perhaps four years ago.

The drive was difficult because of construction, but the weather made up for that.

Finally, we reached the first major milestone of this first leg of my journey:

Grand-Remous, Quebec

Grand-Remous, Quebec

Loosely translated, turning right meant civilization and turning left meant heading into a northern frontier of mining towns, granite cliffs, and forests of black spruce.

I turned left.

When I reached the southern access point of Verendrye Park I was glad to almost be done driving for the day. It was getting close to mid-afternoon and my 250km done that morning had worn me down. So, I selected to stay at Lac Roland, 40km from the entrance and right on the 117. Cost for the night was the same as when I tent, 15$ and change, since I didn’t want hookups.

Then came the taking of a calculated risk that will have a lot of people saying “YOU IDIOT!”, but I repeat that it was calculated, and it paid off big time.

I drove all the way to the end of Lac Roland campground, right to a dead end, with no way out except backing up about a half kilometre. Or doing what I did. I unhooked the toad, and moved it onto a site, then I manoeuvred Miranda into that site, too. That took some precise driving, but I’m actually more comfortable operating her in reverse than I am the toad. The square shape makes it very easy to know exactly where I am and what I’m doing.

Lac Roland, VĂ©rendrye Park, Quebec

Lac Roland, VĂ©rendrye Park, Quebec

Why did I do such a seemingly foolish thing?

The view outside my study, of course:

View from study at Lac Roland

View from study at Lac Roland

If I had played it ‘safe’ I would have taken the first pull through I found where all the RVers gathered last night and partied hard, instead of being quietly ensconced in a private site with a great view.

And I wouldn’t have had the chance to gain so much confidence about my Miranda driving abilities. Driving out of there was actually tougher than backing in!

Next order of business was dinner. Mmm, charred bird!

BBQed chicken that tasted better than it looked

BBQed chicken that tasted better than it looked

(It was very tasty!)

This wonderful device was very useful for doing a preliminary cleanup on the greasy BBQ tools:

Outdoor Shower

Outdoor Shower

I then set up the computer and settled in to watch a couple of eps of a favourite show since it was way too early to sleep, but I was too tired to do anything useful.

Went to bed ridiculously early last night, so was up ludicrously early this morning. It was pouring rain and damp inside, so I decided not to hang around. Next stop: L’Abitibi.

Route 117, Quebec

Route 117, Quebec

Which is where I am now, parked outside the Canadian Tire in Val D’Or making full use of a free wi-fi signal I’m picking up. I have errands to run and am debating whether to leave the coach here and set off in toad, or to go off coach and all. There are so many RVs here that I suspect I’ll be able to get away with spending the night here. I hope so. The other place I have lined up is 25$ per night and that doesn’t include hookups!

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Campgrounds, Canada, Cooking, Driving, Homemaking, Itineraries, Ontario, Outdoor Shower, Plumbing, Quebec, Technical, Travel    2 Comments