Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Mid-Week Dash - Day 2

Before the deluge

Tuesday started wet. Not raining you undertand, actually it was very sunny and very hot at 8am, but everywhere was sodden from the night's rain. The big tadpole's tent seemed to have survived although as a former back-packer, I couldn't help tutting at the tent's feeble construction. The fly-sheet was about 12 to 18 inches shy of a good fly-sheet, ending well short of the ground. This is fine in good weather and will keep the dew at bay, but running water, well that just drips onto the bottom of the tent. Mind you, at least the tent had a fly-sheet; many don't here and people have to rig up huge tarpaulins over their tents in poor weather when a good fly-sheet would do the job much more simply. To be fair, this tent was pretty cheap and we intended it that way because it may not get a huge amount of use, but to get a decent tent with a proper fly-sheet then we were looking at three times the price. It's all so stupid, too, because how much would an extra foot or so of nylon cost to make a really excellent fly? Tut. See, there I go.

Back to the camping and we met up with our friends again in the morning whilst Emma (the grand-daughter) tried her hand at wind surfing on the bay and Isaac (the grand-son) had a go at fishing from the dock. We sat on the bench at the end of the dock and Mrs T remarked on the mist rolling in across the bay, something I had to correct her on as it looked like rain to me and lots of it. Sure enough, and only a minute later, down it came. It was accompanied by some spectacular lightning and some booming thunder. We made it as far as the covered patio at the Camp Store and sat it out for a while; Accuweather said that there was a chance of a storm and they were, on this occasion, absolutely right. When the rain eased, we headed for Towed Haul and sat down there to witness a follow up storm which was louder and wetter than the earlier effort. The awning threw off rivers of water and the tent did its best with its limited resources, but at least as this storm passed it was followed by some sun.

The afternoon was rushing by and it was soon time to set the camp fire for our evening gathering with the friends. It was about 4.30pm as I built up the kindling and it was getting darker by the minute. I lit the fire, watched it take and then placed a couple of logs as the rain started. It came down quite heavily but relented quickly so I threw a couple more logs on, placed the baking potatoes and watched it get hotter, thinking that a good hot fire will resist the rain anyway. At about 5pm, just as the friends arrived, the rain came too - so did the lightning and the thunder and as the deluge gathered strength, the fire disappeared in a cloud of steam and smoke, amidst much hissing. The rain was so heavy that I had to dip one corner of the awning a second notch down so that the water ran off it more quickly, and the poor old tent was blown about and rained on something chronic. Yes, it did pass after a short while and I emerged to a fire that was still going strong (phew!) and a tent that didn't look too wet, even where the enormous blow-up mattress was touching the sides; thank goodness the sleeping bag was in the centre.

As it turned out, that was the last rain of the trip. Our friends casually mentioned that the Park had been under a severe storm watch that afternoon, a point which might have been more useful had we known a tad earlier! Still, no harm done and the supper was duly cooked on the fire and good evening was had by all, even if the chairs were wet.

We went into Towed Haul relatively early that night and settled to an old movie, or at least everyone else did as I had a snooze on the couch through most of it. I had stowed the awning, just in case of further storms, and walked the hound at around 11pm in brilliant moonlight. It was nice to see two Park staff on foot patrol through the campground, armed only with Maglights and stab vests fortunately, as they used to go around in a vehicle. So light was it that I saw them coming at quite a distance, too, which was just as well as they may have spooked me if they'd have just appeared in front of me. 

Tomorrow would be leaving day so I was hoping for a dry morning. I decided against checking Accuweather and thought I'd better look out of the window because that's far more accurate than their forecasts, to be sure.

The Mid-Week Dash - Day 1

Tent City  - Look! It matches my Towel!

I'm a little tardy with the publication of the this the latest episode of the adventures of the meandering toads, but that's what happens when you don't make the time to dash off your notes as things are happening. I blame the tadpoles.

Anyway, a quick run down to Rondeau Provincial Park was what we had planned, midweek this time, to catch up with some friends who were camping there with their grand-children. According to Accuweather, Monday was to be dry and warm; always a good forecast for day one. Unfortunately there were big gobs of rain falling as we packed and hitched up, not so much as to even call it a shower, but there was enough water on the road for the spray to cover both Towed Haul and the Toadmobile in a fine coating of road grime as we motored.

We never travel with much fresh water on board, preferring to fill at our destination before we set up camp. Monday afternoon at the Park saw me waiting for someone else to fill first, and that took a while because the fellow was struggling to get the water into his tank. I know from experience that end of the water supply hose is truncated with a big, brass hose thread and that doesn't fit into the fresh water tank filler pipe, so I always carry a short length of garden hose with a coupler to fit onto the brass hose thread. He was having to hold the end of the supply hose to his filler pipe and was putting almost as much water on the road as he was in his tank. Being Canadian, he was far too polite to ask to borrow my bit of hose pipe, but I was too stupid to offer him a loan of it. Doh! Mind you, he did remark on what a good idea the garden hose was; I do have them occasionally.

We were booked on site 63, a new one for us, and we were disappointed to see the slope we needed to negotiate to get Towed Haul backed up and into position. What was more, what I thought was going to be an easy back up turned out to be a nightmare as I couldn't see a thing as I positioned for the push back. There was just too much foliage everywhere. After a couple of abortive attempts, I came out and approached the site from the right, which is not the optimum way of doing it in a left-hand drive car, but we sorted it in the end. The slope onto the site meant that the hitch on the car was high relative to the trailer and I was concerned that I'd not be able to lift the trailer high enough on the tongue jack to get it off the hitch ball. I hear you saying "just stick a couple of bits of wood under the jack to gain some extra height", which would be fine except that we'd then never have been able to lower the front of the trailer enough to get it level if we did that. As it was, I had to leave the metal "foot" off the tongue jack, knowing that I needed full depression at the front to get the trailer level. We did get the trailer off the hitch ball, but it was close.

Then we had the setting up to negotiate. Normally we do this quickly and efficiently but today we had the tadpoles and the hound and that, dear readers, really throws a spanner in the works. For this trip, the big tadpole had come equipped with a tent and, in a moment of rashness on my part, I said that he should put it up whilst we were unhitching. What I hadn't counted on was that I'd stowed the tent in the trailer and that he'd require help to get the tent set up. We did get everything set eventually but the process took an age whilst the tent appeared to take priority; darned tadpoles!

Then the thunderstorms started. Not too bad on that Monday evening but I was wondering if anyone at Accuweather had actually looked out of the window.

We did at least locate our friends and had a beer or two in their company, which was nice. The morrow looked a little stormy but hey, that's camping!