Camping Expedition a Success Monday, Jul 31 2006
Sonia, OG and I rented an 8 ft tent trailer for our recently completed trip to Montreal July 18-24. It was a tremendous success. My greatest worry was how OG would sleep at nights and if they didn’t go so well, what the neighbours would think. It turned out that this concern was unwarranted. She slept very well each night in the camper – including the night of all nights:
The weather was hot for our vacation. So hot that the “isolated thunderstorms” were fairly common and at times severe. On the second night of our stay at “Camping Alouette” – a pack ‘em in RV campground – we experienced a mother of a storm. The lightning generated a light show that was equivalent to a Pink Floyd concert. The storm was directly above the site so the thunder was LOUD. I mean deafening loud. Quite the initiation for OG’s first big camping storm.
OG had gone to sleep about 9 pm that night and the storm kicked into gear at about 2 am. Amazingly, she slept through the entire fiasco. I can’t explain in words how surprised we were that she did not wake up after any of the tremendous thunder claps. There is no way we were able to sleep through it (nor was the rest of the camp able to do it either - all the tenters were huddled in the heavy concrete washroom building riding out the storm) but she was oblivious to the whole affair. I am quite certain our fortune would have been quite different if she were not in a deep sleep by the time it started.
A quick summary of our outing:
day 1 – drove 300km to Belleville area and camped at a provincial park. Lots of space and a drive thru campsite. Made camp early evening and had a fire. Relaxed.
day 2 – stayed in campground, went to the ‘beach’ which sits on the shore of the St Lawrence. Discovered I can keep track of my fantasy ball team through phone. Sonia afraid to go to washroom because swallows are protecting fallen baby from tree. Used new fandangled Coleman grill that I received from work as a ‘10 year service award’. Pretty snazzy. Built fire after neighbours were generous to provide us with kindling.
day 3 – started breaking camp around 9 didn’t finish until noon. Having a 12 month old slows down the pace considerably. By 3:00pm made it to Camping Alouette which is about 20km east of Montreal on highway 20 just near St. Julie. Site was small but reasonably isolated. Nobody behind us (big ravine and wildlife). I had to back the camper into the site which was a struggle. A big struggle. Fairly nervous doing it for 2 reasons: 1) there’s a big drop-off at the end of the site and 2) everybody was watching my feable efforts. I managed however. The big storm happened this night.
day 4 – Into Montreal in the morning to visit Olympic park area: Biodome, Stadium and Botanical Gardens. OG loved the Biodome wildlife and have some cute pictures I’ll post on her site. The gardens not as exciting for her but she was fine. Back to the campsite for a swim and then a nice fire at night. All nights were warm and pleasant on this trip. The days were very very hot.
day 5 – Spent the morning at camp – this schedule works better for us: breakfast, swim, lunch, nap and then off to the city. It was raining when we went in so not a lot of people in this touristy part of town. Still, very nice to walk around and the rain settled into a drizzle so it was no problem. Ate dinner at ‘Le Keg’ – I was too picky about where we could go that could accommodate the stroller. Should have been less concerned and picked one of the spaghetti places – Montreal is famous for spaghetti. Forgot to find a smoked meat shop too. Ended up missing out on the traditional fare but it was my own fault. Interesting note: took quite some time to get to Old Montreal because a lot of streets were closed. There were cops everywhere and it took a while to piece everything together. Lots of events going on: ‘Just For Laughs’, a multi-cultural music festival, a Lebanon protest and a weekly fireworks competition – the latter event almost forced us to find a different way back other than the Jacques Cartier bridge which closed for the event at 8:30 (we crossed at 8:20).
day 6 – back to Old Montreal to the waterfront. Took a ferry over to the man-made islands to check some of the Expo sites out. Very nice island for walking around. Went to the Biosphere and was disappointed about the place so didn’t bother. Just walked around and checked out the scenery.
day 7 – broke camp from 9-1 pm made it to Trenton by 6 – got a hotel room since we didn’t want to be bothered setting up and taking down for one night.
day 8 – home by 2 and unpacked by evening.
Quite the trip. A lot of effort to pack/unpack and to work within the schedule needed to keep OG in the right mood for sightseeing. I would definitely do it again. But if I had to do it again here are some things to remember:
- practice backing up the trailer
- be prepared to set own expectations as to what can and cannot be done while visiting attractions with little ones
- bring the portable DVD player for the kids – wow what a life-saver that is. extends driving time by at least 2 hrs.
- do not deny yourself doing stuff because you’re worried about the stroller getting in people’s way. Don’t worry about it.
- throw out the garbage or stash it in the car. I couldn’t find the garbage dumpster one night so left it out. Sure enough a skunk got into it and had a heyday with the diapers and stuff.