We had booked a shakedown trip for the May long weekend, to Point Farms Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Huron.
We used to own an old farm worker’s cottage nearby, so we know the area well – agriculture and Mennonite farms as far as the eye can see, in a gently undulating landscape dotted with tall white wind turbines.
Grey County in summer
We had booked the trip some months ago and having never visited Point Farms before had really no idea what to expect. The weather had been cold, dreary and rainy for days but was clearing up as we left Toronto early in the morning to drive to our storage facility near Hamilton to hitch up and leave.
The GPS took us along the 401 to Kitchener and then on Highway 7 towards Stratford. Leaving Stratford, we decided to swing north and were rewarded with rural highways almost completely free from traffic, blue sky and an easy drive interrupted only by a stop for a pasta lunch at a scenic picnic lay-by. There’s nothing like having your house with you when travelling with kids who tend to get hungry on a schedule.
The brothers getting some play time in while we’re stopped for lunch.
When we arrived in Point Farms, the fist thing we did was dump the tanks, emptying the last of the winter’s antifreeze, and fill up with fresh water.
Getting further into the park, the roads turned to dirt and the ground was still wet. Wet and muddy, so much so that I was worried we might not be able to back up into our campsite. The Honda is a great tow vehicle, but on occasions like this I do wish for four wheel drive. Carefully, slowly, with the help of Anja giving directions and our next door neighbour helping too we managed to back into our site without getting mired in the mud. The campers who had booked the site behind ours weren’t so lucky, despite driving a large truck, and decided to turn back.
Made it without getting stuck
The sun was out, we packed Oscar into rubber boots, the twins into the yellow waterproofs (also referred to as their hazmats outfit) and went out to explore. The park is perched on a bluff and offers spectacular views of the blue water and beautiful sunsets of Lake Huron.
Just around the corner from our campsite.
Suited up and ready for adventure
The weather decided to turn sunny and stayed like this for the entire weekend, drying out the puddles and the mud. We settled into camp life. Which, in our case, means spending as much time as possible letting the kids run around and tire themselves out. The playground and the beach proved perfect destinations.
Pebble beach – perfect for exploring
Oscar with Anja, enjoying the sun
The temperature dropped overnight, so much that we switched the heat on. The Park provides 30amp power, so we didn’t have to worry about running the batteries empty.
Unfortunately, in the middle of the night, the heater blower developed a loud and annoying squeal, so we had to try and find the electric space heater we had stashed away – only the next morning I remembered that our AC unit also contains a capable heat pump that would have kept us warm without problem. We used that for the remainder of the stay, but I do want to get the heater fan fixed soon – I don’t like having to rely on the availability of external power.
Sunday was Oscar’s fourth birthday. Anja had brought decorations, there were presents, visiting friends and a rhubarb pie as a birthday cake from a local Mennonite bakery.
The traditional birthday rhubarb pie
Birthday lunch in the woods
The remainder of the weekend was taken up with visiting friends, re-exploring the beautiful town of Goderich, almost completely re-built after the devastating tornado damage of two years ago, and just spending time playing and relaxing.
Tout le gang
Smores! You gotta have smores.
A Lake Huron sunset. The perfect end to a wonderful day
The biggest improvement to the Airstream was without doubt our new dishwasher. I need to figure out exactly just how much water it uses, but it’s not much – I timed the water pump running, it was less than a minute in total for the entire wash-cycle.
Not having to wash dishes, and not having dirty dishes pile up in the sink, made a massive difference to the weekend. We run the dishwasher once a day, which takes care of an entire day’s haul.
The dishwasher takes the place of the old, and useless to us, microwave.
One more nice thing to happen over the weekend was that I, briefly, got to meet Steve and Jim from airforums.com in person. Both Steve and Jim are also members of the “You can’t tow it with that” club, Steve towing his Airstream with a Toyota Sienna and Jim opting for a Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel. We had actually seen Jim’s rig on the highway on Friday, but had no idea that it was him.
All to soon it was Monday morning and time to leave. We decided to drive back via Lucknow and Highway 86, our old and familiar route back to Toronto from when we owned our weekend home out there. Again, we stopped for lunch, this time at a creamery in the small town of Listowel where we were allowed to pull up on their forecourt and picnic on the grass. We find that Airstreams tend to get welcomed in most places.
The second we un-hitched back at storage, it started to rain a little. We’ll be out again in two weeks time, this time visiting the Pinery Provincial Park.