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Back to Fox Lake

July 2016
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Wednesday, June 22/2016

It took a while to actually get going. I had been aiming to head out at about 4 PM but things just took too long to get ready and packed and it was a bit after 5 before we headed out. I was worried about getting a decent spot at Fox Lake. We went back to Fox since friends have a cabin right next to the campground and we don’t get to see them often enough.

The drive was rather uneventful, other than Furball not settling down very well and meowing constantly. He really doesn’t like his carrier much. Darcy tends to climb in and fall asleep as soon and the camper starts moving. He did eventually settle into it, or just come to accept his fate as inevitable, after about 20 minutes.

We arrived to find the campground almost full. There were three spots left… a double site and a single right on the turn lane next to the boat ramp. The two at the double would be fine if you only had to level something short like a camper, but a 24’ motorhome is something else. We took the less attractive site, which also required a few attempts to get levelled out as well. I need a better levelling system.

I was surprised to see it as full as it was, but there was a group of large Class A motorhome travelling together, along with a very nice couple who parked their trailer crosswise across a double to take both sites. We aren’t fond of sharing two close sites with someone you don’t know, but it was the best choice had it been available.

I loaded the boat, since I was in a rush to determine how the repairs went. They weren’t much… just a cleaning of the fuel system and new plugs. They figured the gas had gone over. I changed the fuel in the tank. However,with setting up, and the long day, I was in no mood to go out in the boat. I cooked dinner and had a beer to make myself officially camping. After dinner, I was just too tired to go out so left my discoveries to be made for the next day.

We had finally got most of the setting up and unpacking done after a rather rushed job of leaving by about 10 PM. By that point, the promised thundershowers for last evening were obviously not coming and it was 21 degrees. The sun was out and it was a beautiful evening. We took the cats out for a stroll around the site on their leads. Then, I sat down on my new camp chair with a glass of wine, when along comes our friends with the cabin. We had a great visit and will probably head over to their place tomorrow evening. They brought their small dog, who was reasonably friendly towards the cats on the other side of the camper door. Furball was slightly less upset than Darcy. She wanted nothing to do with him.

The cats did settle for a bit overnight, but when the ravens woke at about 5 AM, there was a different story. They went from window to window trying to see what all the commotion is. Eventually, when the ravens gave up, so did they and they want back to sleep for a few hours.

Thursday, June 23/16

We did finally get up around 9 AM and I made breakfast. I got the chance to try my new Polaris generator, which is incredibly quiet compared to the other one. It didn’t seem to add too much of a load to run either the toaster or the microwave when I wanted to reheat my bacon. So far, I’m rather impressed, although it took a week longer than promised.

It’s rated as quieter than a Honda but is a few pounds heavier. And, it was on sale for $200 off the listed price, and the price on the ticket was the same as charged, unlike Honda’s adding more than $200 to the price with fees not on the price tag. That was almost $500 more than the one I went to Honda to see, which is still showing as on sale on their website even though the model is discontinued and no dealers in Canada apparently have it. Suffice to say, I really don’t like Honda’s somewhat unscrupulous practices and don’t see myself buying any of their products in the future.

After breakfast, Clara and the cats opted for nap time while I opted for fishing. I spent about 90 minutes trolling with no luck. There were fish on the finder but they were down rather deep and probably not feeding at the time. I’ll go out again later and try again.

It did start to cloud over by early afternoon. There’s no way to get the forecast out here but the last one we saw did call for sunny with cloudy periods for today.

We spent the afternoon lazily. I eventually decided to put on supper. This was our hot dog night, since you need one simple camping thing on a trip. After that, I thought some fishing was in order. Big surprise. The motor was acting up exactly the way it was on the last trip. In short, the guess of bad gas wasn’t right. Now, I have no boat and I have to take it back to the shop. And, since we came out with the boat and camper, I have no way to bring it back without going back in altogether. I am not happy.

Around 6:30, the wind began to come up out of the north. I don’t see it being bad, since the wind is still quite warm. As you can see in the picture, there are no white caps, but there are a few clouds. I’m thinking rain by morning.

A little rain is OK. It will bring down the dust at the camp site.

So, my new plan is to deal with the boat. Since it can troll, I’m going to have to make do with trolling not too far from the campground. I don’t mind too much, since these are probably best fishing spots anyway. And, I will have to stay close since, if it does break down, I don’t want to paddle too far.

A bit after 11 PM, I cleaned up the inside of the camper and started to get things settled. We turned in about 11:45.

Friday, June 24/16

We finally got going a bit after 9. The cats seemed somewhat less stressed by the exuberance of waking ravens Although there was a bit of wanting to sit on your chest to see out your window when the caws began.

We had a nice breakfast and I went for a walk around the campground. Then , I figured I’d check if the boat was happier or not. I trolled about 750m down from the campground and came back the same distance. After a few passes in front of the campground, I figured it was time to open her up. It ran fine at full throttle for about 1000m, but then started surging a bit at the highest throttle setting. It was okay at about ¾ throttle. Maybe it need more cleaner run through it. (Add something about the cleaner). It trolls fine so I’m not without a method of fishing.

After that, I popped over to visit Kelly and Nita. I’d given her a copy of a play script to look at and get an opinion on. She liked it, by the way, especially the twist. We gabbed for over and hour and then I headed back to sit for a while. It was time to enjoy the little table with drink holder I got for Father’s Day. Camping is very strenuous.

It was when I was doing the mushrooms for the steak when I discovered that I had taken out the cooking sherry it had not packed it. We had steaks but with mushrooms sautéed without sherry. Blasphemy. Camping IS strenuous.

I have had the opportunity to observe one of my biggest peeves over camping here. I do understand why it happens, and I have done it myself. That is the practice of coming early to claim a site, leaving something in the campsite, and then coming out Friday evening. As a result, trying to head out to a relatively popular campsite means you get to turn around an head back home. The problem has expanded in scope.

We came out Wednesday and there were 3 sites left. The one we took was unattractive, but at least we got one. However, of the 50-odd sites, almost all were taken but less than half were occupied. I peaked a bit, and it became obvious that what many people are doing is coming out on Sunday afternoon after people have left for the weekend and setting up their trailer, or a tent, or a boat trailer, or simply a few chairs, filling out a slip, saying they’re staying 7 nights, and coming out the following Friday evening. Further, there were two areas where there were 3 or 4 sites next to each other held with matching chairs. With a yearly permit, it is easy enough for one person to go out and book a large number of sites, just by everyone involved giving him or her their permit number.

The rules do state that, if you are not on a site for 48 hours, it is supposed to be “abandoned.” But, it’s quite an issue to enforce that regulation, and I have talked to park officers about it on occasion. It’s getting so that, if you don’t want crowds and are on vacation, heading out to camp during the week on a Monday may mean you may not get a spot, or not a very good one. I think it’s time that the legal minds at YTG set down some new, and enforceable, regulations.

The wind did come up a bit out of the northwest, but that didn’t last more than an hour. However, it certainly made things dusty for a while. Little dust devils blew across the boat launch, impressing the cats to no end. It became obvious that there was no more fishing for me tonight, since there was no indication that the weather was going to settle down or get worse. So, I settled the boat for the night, bringing in the portable fish finder and safety gear, checked my lines, and put a campfire in. I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to having a fire. Since it’s traditional, and important, we made s’mores, and I did obey the adage of knowing your limit and only eating two. More than that is more than I’m good for now, but I did also roast a few marshmallows by themselves as well.

Saturday, June 25/16

Today was a rather full day, with company coming and doing a bit of visiting. Katrina, Shawna, and Ryan came out along with a rented canoe. They went out twice, as did I in the boat. I did get a chance to take the boat on a bit of a run without any sign of a problem. It seems that it may just need a bit of engine cleaner run through this tank of gas. It finally took until today to use up the first tank of gas in the new generator. I am rather surprised at how little it holds considering it ran about 10 hours on the first tank. The small two gallon jerry can of gas I brought for it is only half empty after refilling the generator.

The generator is still in break in period, which means less than 50% load for the first 20 hours. The biggest thing I did with it is run the toaster (750 w) and the microwave (900 w) and of course, not at the same time. It seems to handle either with no issues, although the microwave is a bit more than half its working load, but I only ran it for 15 seconds to see how it would do.

The generator is quite quiet and I deliberately didn’t bring the generator house or the front cargo rack. This gives me far more space in the cargo hutch, since the Jenny house does take up a fair bit of room. For those curious, I brought the small jerry can of gas in the boat. The front cargo rack is still a necessity if I was going to need more gas than I was planning to use this weekend. Or, I could rig a better way of carrying gas cans in the boat and get a bike carrier for the front trailer hitch.

As you may have guessed, I didn’t fare so well on the fishing front. I did lose one this morning, and while it spit the hook before I saw it, it was probably a keeper biased on weight. However, now that I have a functional boat and am getting a system down, better fishing is probably just ahead. This is my mantra for this evening. And now, it’s time for a glass of wine and bed.

image

Sunday, 12:15 AM view from the camper.

Sunday, June 26/16

We got up at a reasonable hour, again about 9 AM. After a quick breakfast and washing the dishes, we started putting the campsite to bed. It really didn’t take too long, with the longest job waiting for the generator to cool down enough to pack after running it to power the toaster for breakfast. We do like our creature comforts. After that, it was a quick 50 minute drive home. Furball did not cry as much this trip and may be slowly reacquainting himself with driving. I will look at some better way for him to travel and dog seat belt harnesses are the direction I’ve been leaning.

All told, it was a nice trip. The weather held well and the boat, with a few problems at the beginning, behaved itself rather well. I think Kusawa is the next trip. I’m really pleased with the new generator and do have a few projects to do with the boat. We did give away the old boat, but some things aren’t going with it. These include the nice Garmin fish finder, which I will install in the little boat. This calls for the addition of a 12-volt battery, but that should fit nicely under my seat so it shouldn’t be in the way. I also kept the marine radio, but on a boat this size, this may be overkill…

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