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I do have two pet peeves with camping in Yukon campgrounds: firewood and quiet hours.
In Yukon government campgrounds, firewood is provided. This is a huge bone of contention with the territorial government environment department. Providing firewood is expensive, and usage has increased dramatically over the last few years. There is a departmental budget for firewood, and when this is used up, that’s all there is. For example, for Fox Lake, Twin Lakes and Labarge, the total quota is 90 cords of wood.
We were camping in Fox Lake two weeks ago, and apparently, the week before, there was no wood. The weekend we were there, they restocked the firewood. However, when I went to the box, I got quite a surprise. There were bits of cut up plywood, sawmill ends, some chopped up 2x6s, and even the seat of a hardwood chair that had been chopped up. My guess is that the quota has been used up and, if you’re headed there, you may want to bring your own.
What causes this, since that’s a lot of wood. When we used to heat the trailer with wood, I’d go through about 2½ cords a year. In short, there’s enough to heat almost 40 poorly insulated houses for a year.
I don’t use much firewood, since it normally only takes about 3 or 4 pieces to have a fire through the evening. However, I’ve seen people with fires with flames 4 feet high, and I’m not sure what they’re trying to accomplish beyond wasting wood. Whenever I see one of these huge conflagrations, I want to walk over and pee in their campfire (you’d have to drink a lot to have any effect other than a symbolic one but I think people might take a hint).
The other issue is quiet hours. Yukon government campgrounds have quiet hours between 11 PM and 7 AM. During this time, you’re not supposed to make excessive noise, run generators, play loud music, etc. It doesn’t happen often, but enough times to be annoying. There are campground officers, who enforce these rules among other things, but they can’t be in all campgrounds at all times.
My problem is that there shouldn’t be a need to have an officer in every campground at every time for the sake of keeping quiet hours. Surely, people should have enough sense to not run their generator after 11 PM (why would you be running it at that hour, anyway?) or to be blaring music late at night in a campground. If you want all the comforts of home, why are you out in the woods?
Well, there’s my rant du jour. I suppose it’s my two cents worth, although with the demise of the penny, I guess it’s rounded down…
I have very few issues with the new motorhome, although there were a couple. My biggest one involves storage space as it relates to toast.
I know you are wondering how these link. However, the smoke detector in the new motorhome is a wee bit sensitive. The camping toaster you throw on one of the burners of the stove generates enough smoke to set it off. There’s nothing quite like trying to make breakfast to the tune of beep-beep-beep.
This would be easily remedied if I simply used a standard electric toaster. This being said, a small generator is only really good for 1000 watts, and a toaster tends to eat more than that when you fire it up and about 1000 watts after it starts to heat. I’ll throw into the mix the fact that I bought a 1250 watt peak Hyundai generator several years ago. However, the second time we used it, it starting throwing enough blue smoke to keep away every mosquito in two square miles and, of course, the warranty had expired by that point.
Last year, towards the end of the season, I went shopping for another one. Here’s where the fun kicks in. I could have bought a 1000 watt with 1300 watt peak generator at Canadian Tire for $300, and another $50 for wheels and a handle to make it easy to move around. It’s not a big issue since it’s only 60 pounds. However, on sale, I could buy a 3000 watt sustained load/4000 watt peak generator, with wheels and a handle for $300. This puppy will run a microwave oven, and other things like my sliding compound mitre saw or my table saw and my compressor. I bought it, of course.
It weighs a little over 110 pounds and is considerably larger than the smaller one. Here’s the problem. There’s no storage area in the motorhome that is big enough to take it with us. I thought of a storage rack that goes into the carrier on the trailer hitch. This is a problem if you want to bring the boat camping.
In a fit of brilliance, the following question came to mind last week. Who says the trailer hitch has to be on the back of the truck? I bought a storage rack with a 500 pound capacity and a front trailer hitch for the camper. I installed these yesterday, and now have a way to bring the generator with us.
The trailer hitch was easy enough to install. There would have to have been a few hole modifications more than necessary if you follow the instructions. The holes aren’t big enough to work the bolts and plates into the frame to get to the inside. I did, as it was, have to expand the two front mounting holes, as the ones there already were ⅜” but the bolts are Class 10 ½”. The easy way is to remember that four bolts hold the front bumper on the truck, and taking it off took almost 5 minutes and allow you access to the inside of the frame. Easy-peazy!
Now, I just need to get another toaster…
We went back to Fox Lake for five days, although conditions were quite different. There was no more flooding, the weather was quite sunny, and there was no snow this time. We brought out the boat with the camper and I managed to get a few days of fishing in. I’ll admit, Fox Lake is not the world’s greatest place to fish for lake trout. However, I’m happy bobbing up in a down in a boat on a nice, peaceful lake, even when the fish are not cooperating.
I did get one fish, but it was quite small. It was of legal, but not moral, size. The fish was about 12″ long, and I prefer my “lakers” to be at least 16″ long before I keep them. After all, it is still a baby.
I was pleased to see that the flooded out campsites and roads had been repaired. It was a little rough, since some of the gravel in the sites wasn’t packed down as much as the old sites, but this opened another eight sites at the campground.
We were able to get a site just above the creek and you could see the little waterfall that’s about 20 yards upstream from the site. In the picture above, you can see our campfire and the little waterfall in the background.
As mentioned, the weather was really nice. It was nice enough to go out in the boat in shorts. This had a bit of a down side, since I managed to sunburn my knees. I didn’t burn the upper parts of my legs, or the lowers. All that turned out crispy were my knees. For what it’s worth, it did look a lot worse than it actually was. They seemed warm for the first day but didn’t really end up hurting. I could have done far worse, I suppose.
We headed out to our favourite campground last Wednesday. This is Kusawa Lake, a little more than an hour west of Whitehorse (60° 35′N, 136° 9′W).
We left about 4 PM and it was almost the last trip we took. There is a turnoff from the Alaska Highway to the campground road. I signaled my left turn, started to slow down, and checked my side mirror. I learned the last part in the two Defense Driving courses I’ve taken (one in high school and one in the army). The car behind me was slowing down but the idiot behind him decided to pass both of us. He should have been able to see the turn signals so he probably knew exactly what they were doing, and did it anyway. I caught a bit of his facial expression and he seemed unhappy with what I screamed at him while waving a one-finger salute. If I didn’t have the motorhome and boat behind us, I may have followed him down and yelled at him at his first stop. I’ll admit, visions of a tire iron may also have crossed my mind. It was a dark blue Toyota or Subaru, by the way.
We spent five days at Kusawa, and in a trend, the fish weren’t biting much there either. I did catch two trout, one about 1½ lbs. and one about 2½ lbs. I froze these and will smoke them some time this week. The weather was hot, with temperatures in the high twenties, except for Thursday. There was a nice overcast and it only got up to 23°. It’s hard to argue with weather like this for a whole weekend, and we enjoyed it to the fullest.
There were three more things to the trip that were an annoyance. First, the neighbours on one side of us had the most whiny dog. He was constantly whining and the neighbours really didn’t seem interested in doing anything about it. On the other side, the other neighbour was a bit of a winner, too. There was someone who moved into the site Thursday afternoon and, before that, there was nothing at that site at all. A little later Thursday, this guy shows up and says he had that site and, basically, kicked the other people out of it. If you like trends, the people at the two sites on either side of us were together.
The third problem was the road itself. I have never seen the road in such rough shape. There are 11 km of washboard, and some of the dips in the washboard are three or four inches. It is one lane in a few places and there is no evidence the government has graded it this year. Before they fixed it almost 20 years ago, it was better than it was this week. And frankly, that annoys me since, for the last three years, you see the following sign at the beginning of the road…
I have to admit that we really like our new camper. The furnace works incredibly well, which was an important aspect to camping over the May long weekend. Further, the huge solar panel on the roof keeps the batteries charged and I haven’t bothered to find a way to bring the generator camping for emergency charging purposes. Not only that, it gets really decent gas mileage.
All is not completely rosy with the new motorhome, although the problem itself is quite minor. With the length of the camper behind the rear wheels, it scrapes on the way in and out of the driveway. It’s not a huge problem, although I wouldn’t want to do it often. I am actually storing it in a friend’s driveway to avoid this.
So, I have someone coming in on the weekend with a Bobcat to change the driveway slope. It climbs a little hill over a short distance as you enter. I’m going to have the slope moved so that the high point is about 15 feet further up the driveway. Should cost about $200 and gives me a good excuse to put in some decent gravel on the driveway anyway.
However, if this is the only problem we have with the new camper, it’s not that bad a thing…
We went shopping last week, and bought a new(er) motorhome. We had looked a bit last year, but the prices were a bit scary. However, there was a sale, and we shopped.
We bought a 2006 Adventurer, 24 foot Class C. It’s very nice, although I really do have to sell the older one for the driveway space. It had the main selling point for Clara, a bed in the back rather than over the front of the cab.
We decide that we would take it out to Fox Lake Campground on Wednesday, since you often have to get there early to get a good campsite on long weekends for the campgrounds close to town. This was kind of touch and go as we only got the camper Wednesday afternoon. It was a pleasant drive out to the campground. I was looking forward to really nice weather for the first real weekend of the season. That was to be kicked in the butt later on during the weekend.
We couldn’t get our favourite site at the campground. It is next to a small creek that runs into the lake. It crosses the road through the campground through a culvert; however, the culvert seems to have been blocked and the creek, in full melt water, decided to find a new path of its own. This path ran through the road and through the site in question and the one next to it, cutting off about ten of the sites up the road as well as the two washed out ones.
The alternate campsite was fine, and placed on substantially higher ground, to say the least. We finally got in to the site on Friday evening, after packing up all of the stuff that didn’t go into the motorhome due to short notice.
It was nice to get out and spend a bit of time sitting in front of a campfire. The weather wasn’t that warm and the furnace ran a fair bit over the weekend, to say the least. Sunday was particularly “un-springlike,” with flurries in the morning and snow in the afternoon. It wasn’t what you would call seasonal weather, given that May has been noted for the hottest temperatures of the year over the last few years.
On the whole, it was a nice opening weekend for the new camper. We’re psyched for some more.
By the way, the weather Sunday evening did clear enough for a really nice sunset, although you don’t see these until after 11 pm this time of year…
Another Labour Day weekend has ended, or at least, will have ended officially when I go to work this morning. This tends to mark the end of summer for us.
The weather has already started changing. It is windy, “fall-ish,” and there was frost on the picnic table at the campsite yesterday morning. This morning is quite windy and dark and the leaves are changing. In short, it seems that summer is truly over.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with Fall. The colours are vivid and make our stunning scenery even more attractive to just sit and enjoy. Fall fishing can be quite good, although dressing warmly is a necessity. The coho should be running so both fresh and salt water fishing are an option. And, the camper does have a furnace that is more than capable of heating the inside to a toast temperature for those late season nights, even if it is capable of sucking the battery dry quite quickly as well as it is capable of generating warmth. I’m not that worried since I bought a new generator last week and recharging is a relatively easy task.
We traditionally go camping on the Labour Day weekend. We missed out last year because I was still in the hospital following surgery, so getting out was an important point this year. Also, our summer was somewhat shortened by my heading out of town for an extended period following the death of my father and that was followed up by a bit more surgical repair work. We went to Fox Lake campground (N61º W14.6 135º 27.7′) on Friday evening and came back yesterday afternoon. I got some fishing in and the new boat has finally had a fish in it. I caught four lake trout, although two of them went back into the lake to get bigger. I’ll put them in brine before going to work this morning and will throw them on the smoker tonight after work. Smoked trout is a tasty treat.
But now, I must remember that Labour Day weekend is followed by labour. Classes officially start today, although I’ve actually had two courses running for the past two weeks. And, with the official start of classes, I must make the transition from wearing my belt knife to wearing a Blackberry in it’s place and thinking of classes rather than this…
OK. Let’s go over the checklist again.
1. Replace the copper cold water lines with PEX ones. Check.
2. Install a city water connection. Check.
3. Install the new water pump. Check.
4. Install a new ground wire for the water pump. Check.
5. Treat the tank with tank freshener. Check.
6. Go over the system for leaks. Check.
Hmm. It seems like there’s nothing left on the list. Wait. That means… wait for it… the repairs are finished. You know, finished… complete, even. In short, they’re done.
I have a few minor things to close it up. I need to install four screws and put a permanent ring connector on the new ground wire from the battery. I have to sweep and mop out the camper. But, these can wait for tomorrow morning after I make a dump run to deal with some trimmed tree limbs.
Now, the only thing I have to do is deal with this cold, freshly poured, drink of Jamaican rum. I think I’ll get on that right away…
I started the day with three jobs to do. However, fate hath kicked me in the teeth again and each of the three are only partly done.
I wanted to finish the water system in the camper. After much cursing, swearing and expressing myself in a less than “fit for all audiences” manner, I did install the last fitting and nothing leaks. Yee hah! However, the pump for running from the water tank rather than a city water system doesn’t work. I suspect I have a minor wiring issue and will look at it tomorrow. All in all, this job is 98% done, so I was reasonably successful.
Job number 2 was wiring the trailer lights on the Escape. I had a hitch installed and ordered a factory wiring harness for it. The harness came in today and I went to plug it in and make sure it worked. It didn’t. I spent about 30 minutes tracking wiring until I discovered that the truck doesn’t come with the two fuses required for the trailer lights. I need a 15 and 20 amp mini fuse. I only managed to find the 15 amp one and have to go downtown tomorrow to get the other. This job is about 90% done, so I shouldn’t complain.
Lastly, it’s time to paint the old pickup and sell it. I don’t totally want to sell it, but having two pickups is sort of redundant. It’s a 1987 Ford F250 with a 460 cu. in. motor. It needs a bit of touch up on both sides. I picked up the paint and went to mask it but ran out of masking tape. I did, however, get one side painted and it looks nice. Oh, well. This one is 50% done I guess. However, tomorrow, the forecast is rain so I’ll either have to run a tarp over the truck or wait until a few days from now to finish this job.
So, three jobs to do and none finished. Maybe, tomorrow will be a bit more productive…
I know. Little things, by their very nature, are little.
This has been an awful summer. The weather has certainly had its down points. Mostly, it has been cool and wet. There have been nice stretches, but, these have been few and far between. My father passed away at the end of May and this has certainly put a damper on the summer. And, I had surgery again and have not been able to lift any weight, meaning some of my normal summer activities have been curtailed. I can’t, for example, take the boat out, go fishing, go camping, etc.
There has been a lull in fixing the water in the camper. I did get a plumber in to try and fix the fittings, but had no luck. So, I decided to change over to PEX rather than doing it in copper. After doing a little connecting, I think PEX makes plumbing fun . I connected everything but putting the water heater back in and tested it. Ye, Gods. There were no leaks. Honestly, not one thing leaked. I ran the sinks, flushed the toilet and there were no leaks. And, tonight, Ryan came over and put the water heater back in and I caulked and screwed it back in. Tomorrow, when there’s some light, I’ll put in a single tee connection and then all will be well with my camping world.
This is the fun of small victories. When things have not been great, they seem so huge. And, while little things are often just little, relatively, they can seem pretty important…
Well, I’m taking a hiatus from fixing the camper. I have to admit, it has been frustrating. The new tank is installed and is perfect. However, trying to repair the water lines has driven me to distraction.
I thought I finally had everything in place yesterday. I pressured the system up and had one small leaking connection. And, obviously, the nut on the compression fitting hadn’t been snugged up properly. So, I tightened it up, and no leaks! Oops, sorry, no leaks at that fitting. However, where the water line joins the hot water heater now gushes water out faster than all get out. There’s nothing quite like the spray of water under pressure.
So, I’m taking the tools out and cleaning the camper. The battery is charged and I think I’ll spend my day getting it ready to take out for a couple of days. I’ll just pack water containers and worry about getting the last connection fixed later. There are places to go, things to see, and fish to catch. I think I’d rather spend my time camping rather than fixing the camper for a little while…