I have my first babysitting job this week, and I am so excited!!
For five years, exactly five months and one week in advance of our August camping trip to Bon Echo Provincial Park, Danielle has gotten up at 6:30am in the morning immediately jumped online with her laptop and with relatively little swearing, has managed to reserve us a site at Bon Echo Provincial Park – one of the top five most popular provincial parks in Ontario to camp at. Some years we haven’t gotten the site we wanted, some years, we’ve ended up being further from the Jornitz family than we would like, but every we’ve managed to get a site.
The trick to getting the site, as we have been told by all of our camping friends is booking two weeks of camping, the week before you want in order to get the week you want. Then, a month from your booking, you cancel the advance week and voilà, you have the week you wanted. That is just how you get a site in an Ontario Provincial Park through their online reservation system. Most everyone we know hates the reservation system because it’s slow and buggy, and because there doesn’t seem to be any thought it making it fairer and more accessible.
A week ago, Crista (Jornitz) and Danielle got up at the crack of silly o’clock, in order to book our joint camping week together. And at 7:01am the entire campground was booked and we were both shut out of our booking a week in advance trick. Tired and frustrated, Crista decided they may not even camp that week. Danielle and I – more resigned to getting a site at our beloved Bon Echo – decided we would give it another attempt this week, the proper way – only booking for the week we wanted to go. That day was Friday morning and in the same blink of an eye, we were shut out once again. This time however made it clear that this summer would not include our favourite camping destination…
With that out of the way, we reconvened with Crista and quickly hatched plans to return to a park we’ve been to before and one that the Jornitz family loves: Presqu’ile Provincial Park. That meant getting up for that same 7:00am reservations open this morning in order to secure a week of camping. And I am happy to report we got the site we wanted – off the back end of our campsite across a service road will be Lake Ontario. And two sites down to our left will be the Jornitz family. So while its not our first choice location, we will be camping and it will be with our friends.
Last week as I mentioned we have all of a sudden opened up the notion of possibly upgrading our trailer if we can make the finances side of it work. Well, we have gotten a few of the details of that and it still looks like a very real possibility. We have to crunch a few more numbers, but not wanting to arrive at those answers without a potential trailer in mind we did a little bit looking this weekend. Our friends Chris and Leanne just upgraded to a Coachmen Northern Spirit 2454 and it really seemed like the perfect fit for us as it had all we were looking for: outdoor kitchen, double over double bunks, and our bedroom divided off with a wall and pocket door.
This weekend we went and had a look at one at the dealership where we have our trailer winterized (and de-winterized too) in St. Thomas. We really liked the model and we’ve always liked the service. We checked out a few comparable models and landed that it was just what we needed. On a whim, on the way back to London, we stopped at Can-Am RV to look at a Grand Design Imagine 2400BH. It was a very similar model to the Norther Spirit, but from a company known for their quality and added features. We had fully expected it to be prohibitively priced and were pleasantly surprised at how financially workable it might be and how much Can-Am wanted our business. So it has become our absolute frontrunner – so much so that Emelia has called it the only one.
So… we’ll do some number crunching in the next week or so and if we can make it happen, we might make up for missing out on camping in our favourite location, but moving up into something that is right-sized for our family for a few more years. All things being equal, we might be starting the 2019 camping season starting collect camp stickers all over again…
With winter holding on again all week this week it has been so amazing to focus on camping again. This week was trying to nail down our August vacation. As John mentioned our constant every summer for the last five years has been camping not only at Bon Echo but with the Chris, Crista and their girls. Emelia adores this week every summer, the girls no matter how much time has past quickly get back in the groove and are as thick as thieves the entire week.
So last week the planning got more real and Crista and I as we do every year start chatting and plotting out week away. With the week set we starting planning sites. This year with Provincial Park camping has been a real challenge. Even when we booked Arrowhead for July we had to delay our arrival by a day because we could not get a site in the area we usually book. It seemed that they were starting to lock things down for bookings and allowing less sites to be booked in advance.
Fast forward to booking for our August trip, Bon Echo is hands down our favourite park – problem is it is also one of the most popular campgrounds in the province. Add in that we need a bigger site for Chris and Crista means that we have even less site options. Crista and I had our sites planned out, and day after day all week she and I would get up early, log in and have our site selections set. The second the clock turned 7:00 we would submit. Every day the site would sit and process forever just to tell us that the sites were gone. We have honestly never had this problem. After days of trying both families were realizing we needed a plan B. Plan B was another favourite campground and one that is a closer drive for us. Presqu’ile became our new focus. After a few days of frustrations we are finally booked in and at what we think is going to be an amazing campsite. In the end the real focus is that we are in a beautiful park with amazing friends. We are really excited to get back out and camping again!
Booking campsites wasn’t our only camping focus this week. I was chatting with our friend Leanne over the last few weeks and she was saying they had upgraded their trailer to make more room for their now teenager daughter and soon to be teenager son. This ignited a conversation again between John and I and our current trailer. Now don’t get me wrong we love our current trailer but when we bought our trailer 2 seasons ago we bought the biggest trailer with the best features for the tow capacity of our then vehicle. Fast forward a month after purchase and we were replacing our tow vehicle with our pickup truck.
With our family to have a teenager in less than a year we are at the point that we need a bit more space, a bit of privacy and a few features we don’t have in our current trailer. The last week has been about getting more information on what we need to do to sell our current trailer, transfer some warranty/insurances and pricing on a new trailer. We spent hours online looking at models and deciding what ones were our top choices.
Saturday morning we got up and heading to St. Thomas to chat with the sales rep that I had been chatting with. We looked through a number of models and ruled out a number of them immediately. After chatting with the sales team they were going to look into the financing and we were going to chat next week. Once we left St. Thomas John and I talked about the choices and decided we wanted to peek at different companies, in particular one company we have really loved for a while – Grand Design. We had heard amazing things about the company, the quality of the trailer and figured we would at least look and see what the costs were.
It took being in the trailer for 10 seconds and Emelia was sold! She told us to stop looking at other models this is what she loved. And we agree for sure, the layout made the most of the space and maximized storage. The quality of the finishings were incredible and the cost of the trailer was shockingly close to the other companies we were looking at.So this is where we are at, still chatting, seeing if we can make the numbers work and maybe just maybe be new trailer owners before our first trip out maybe next month! Bring on the campfire and open skies!