Tag Archives: camping

Is Hampton Falls “THE Hamptons??”

As I’m writing we have just left what was the longest stay of our trip. We’ve been staying at Wakeda Campground in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire and enjoying full hook-ups. And though those are both wonderful treats, I wasn’t sure what I thought when we pulled in. Gone were the beautiful, private, treed spots of the maritime provinces and here we could see everyone else all around us. Yankes were right beside us so that made it easier for keeping track of kids, but I do prefer feeling nestled in the campsites.

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The drive down through Maine was probably not the best impression that the state could give us. There was a misconception within our group that the roads would improve once we crossed the border. Not so. And a little incident with a gross guy trying to get cheeky in a parking lot of a store that I felt I could be mugged in…. not a great image of Maine. I’m sure we missed the good there so I won’t write it off. This day was simply for driving through.

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We did expect this to be a longish drive, but not too bad. And this became our introduction to east side American traffic. Not horrible, but like I said, an introduction. Locals told me later that it’s a known fact that driving through Portsmouth/Portland is simply not done on Fridays or Saturdays. They have “weekend traffic” and we got stuck in it.

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Reasons for choosing Wakeda Campground:

  • reasonable driving distance from New Bruswick
  • close for the guys to get to Boston for baseball game
  • mini golf for the kids
  • reasonable driving distance to next campground

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I’ve found that at each new campground I have a day or two till I feel comfortable letting the kids roam free. I have a touch of helicopter mom when in areas I’m not familiar with. This spot was a bit bad for that because it’s a fairly large campground and the kids park was not close by. Our first day there two of the kids decided to try and race everyone home around a different loop. That ended in Dale and Erick searching the campground in the rain trying to find them. They were way off. I didn’t freak out, but they didn’t earn any permission to go to the park on their own either.

Each playground we find has something a bit different that the kids love and here it was the merry-go-round that the dads were more than happy to spin around at breakneck speeds (kids flew off) and where I couldn’t even look at it spinning without getting queazy.

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For some reason I woke up a bit early the first morning there and somehow quite alert even. So I decided to go for a run. I couldn’t see if Trish was awake so I set off alone to check out the neighbourhood outside the campground. What I thought was a quick 3 – 3 1/2 mile run was a much longer loop than I expected. 9 miles later I finally arrived back at the campsite. I was pretty glad I had my google maps along because I’d probably still be out there if I hadn’t. Definitely feeling the results of a more relaxed vacation exercise routine I was not deterred from enjoying this east coast vibe that I remembered from years ago and was so excited to find again.

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The houses in this area are amazing! All so huge and with this area having so much history you could sense it. Of course, there’s a lot of new builds too and they are equally impressive. We met one family that said their house was built in the 1700’s. I love that. Adding to the gorgeous houses was the dense forest all around and the small winding roads.

All of a sudden, at one point, I came across a covered bridge and just through it was a farm. Without realizing it I was now running around free range chickens and checking out goats and cute pigs. I don’t know if it’s all good to take pictures of strangers houses, but I did. Usually in some manner that I hope looked like I was just checking my phone reception.

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As cute as this little stinker is (not yet squished) I was more than glad to see him feet up!

The kids found a few new pets while at Wakeda. A frog named Froggy and a little snake. The snake didn’t quite get the same treatment as Froggy. A little harder to grasp maybe. Froggy was given the royal treatment as the kids all created different homes for him and treated him as a superhero. Thankfully they eventually placed him back in the grass where they found him. Froggy was probably ecstatic at seeing that tree line.

The guys had their first baseball game while here. The took a car towards Boston and left it in a Wal-mart where they met their uber who took them in to the stadium. Now, I could give more details about that, but really, they should be writing their own blog post for that, right? I did enjoy seeing the pictures of the areas they walked around. Again, so much history in this area and so evident in the buildings.

They’ve decided this uber idea was a great success so plans are to continue the Wal-mart stop uber usage. It’s awfully entertaining to hear them talk about the uber driver who has amazed them with his friendliness, but they can’t agree on what his name was. I can’t wait to see how many more names they completely mess up. This portion of the trip, which I call “Phase 2 – United States”, was built around the guys addiction, I mean, great love of baseball and I’m glad they’re having fun in the adventure even from the drive to the stadium and back.

While the guys were away for the day, Trish and I decided to do camp irons for supper with the kids. The fire was built and roaring in very little time, I’m happy to report. Thank goodness there’s no video of my trying to swing that ax. That thing’s way too heavy while the other one was like trying to swing a butter knife at the log. Neither one super effective, but I made it work.

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Perfect pie iron fire.

We pulled out the camp irons, the pizza filling, the pie filling and the s’mores necessities and got to making supper. No food group charts here. Or EVER when camping! No matter how hard I try.

Not everyone is familiar with camp irons. Some people also call them pie irons. I grew up eating these so there’s something very nostalgic about having them with my kids. There are many ways to enjoy them, but here’s an idea of what we’ve done and how to make them.

I’ll warn you that not all pie irons are made equal. These were made in southern Manitoba and are super sturdy in comparison to some kinds I’ve seen in stores. Unfortunately the family stopped making them so I can’t provide you with a link, but I would suggest looking for the good cast iron kind. Not the flimsy metal ones. You’ll be glad you got the right ones.

First thing is to warm the irons in the fire. The fire has to have had time to calm down a bit first or it’ll be too hot and things will burn. Don’t rush the process! You want some nice burning embers.

Next is to coat both insides with some butter. Lay a piece of bread on either side and spoon some filling of your choice on one side.

Then comes the tricky part. As quick as you can (so the bread doesn’t fall out) swing the iron closed and pinch together to seal the bread around the edges and break off the crusts. And if you followed that you’re probably wondering how to pinch that shut when it was just pulled out of the flames. I’ve seen people step on it and they clearly have shoes that don’t melt easily or don’t care about the shoes. Or I whack it on ground a couple times and the crusts fall off.

Be prepared for the odd one burnt. Usually the first one.

The kids also enjoyed the s’mores version, which was new for us. One came up with the idea and the others jumped in without hesitation. It was a hit. We didn’t use graham crackers though. I usually buy chocolate wafers and mint chocolate for mine so that’s what we had.

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I settled for the regular s’mores version. “MY’ s’mores version, that is. Campfire hands and all!

Our last day in New Hampshire, Trish and I headed to a little store called Pintuck and Purl. We found it online when searching for places that carry Art Gallery Fabrics. Fabric is a bit of an addiction much like baseball is for the guys. And if it’s Art Gallery, well, there’s no words. We put in on our list of things to do and headed out.

Pintuck and Purl carries and small selection of some great fabrics on one side of the store and a yarn selection on the other. They also have classes at the store as well, but we weren’t able to take part in any of that sort of fun. We enjoyed checking out some other fabric lines that we’ve never seen in person and generally enjoyed looking and dreaming about what we could make. Trish had a fairly clear idea of what she wanted to do so she walked out with an entire roll of fabric. That’s a first! I can’t wait to see when she finishes those projects. Mine buy was more just ideas. I’d been eyeing Cotton + Steel fabric for awhile now.

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The campground offers a pancake breakfast on Sundays, but we opted for our own version. 

Of course the mini golf at Wakeda was used a few times as well.

 

And that was pretty much our New Hampshire stay in a nutshell. Such a beautiful state. The people at the campground were all very friendly and I could see why it was a loved destination for locals and those coming from a bit further.

Oh, did I answer my own question? Where ARE “The Hamptons”? I googled it. It’s NY. Nevermind. We just found ritzy New Hampshire Hampton Falls. Haven’t been to the NY version, but I’m willing to bet I’d prefer these.

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The Little One Goes East…. Further East

The second portion of our trip in Newfoundland we took the little Twinnebago and headed east to the other coast. This particular adventure was built around our choice for the whale tour which was in Bay Bulls, Nfld just a short distance from St. John’s. Continue reading The Little One Goes East…. Further East

A Campground Review, Rocks and 3 Things I Learned

“I love rocks!” I exclaimed today while in the Sudbury, Ontario Wal-Mart parking lot.

“Girls! Throw some rocks at Mami!! She likes rocks!”, says Erick.

The interpretation of the actual words out of my mouth leave much to be desired.

I’ve been completely enamoured with all the cut out crevices along on the roads and in Sudbury the town has walls of this cut rock all over the place. I don’t know why I find it so fascinating. It’s especially when there are all sorts of trees, shrubs and flowers growing out from the nooks and crannies. But it bugs me that I can’t just stop in the highway and take pictures. I’m forced to be content with drive-by photos through the windows.

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This involves great finesse as I quickly turn on the camera, find my focus, centre on the most artistic view I can possibly get at 90 km/hr, try to maneuver around the dead bugs all over the windshield, and the glare from the sun on the dashboard, and the dreaded crack!!

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#nofilter

This crack!!! Completely in my line of sight and today I noticed it matches the scratch across the right lens of my prescription sunglasses…… Lovely (she says in deadpan manner).

I wish I had a picture for one particular experience coming around a rocky corner right into a construction area. There in the middle of the road was the guy holding the stop sign. It all had a real Sasquatch feel to it. Perhaps it was his incredibly unruly hair or the huge grin with the lack of numerous teeth that is clearly due to previous games of chicken with cars coming around that corner! We hit the brakes pretty hard and he sat there calm as can be, big toothless grin, just daring us to run him over. It was a moment when I wish we had a dash cam… pointed at us! For all we know, we could have had a real Sasquatch sighting and we’ll never know for sure. Prayers for the guy whose clothes and hard hat he stole, I guess.

This week is really our week of long drives in our effort to get across the country and be able to spend some longer stays in the campgrounds out east. We planned it this way because we figured the beginning of the trip would be the time when we’re motivated and excited to go. The assumption is that after a few weeks we won’t be quite as excited (or the kids) for the super long drives. However, we had a longer stop than we planned in Sault St Marie, ON.

If you’ve read in a previous post about the big bang you’ll remember Dale and Trish needed to get some car work taken care of. The parts and a perfect “first thing in morning” appt were waiting for us in Sault St Marie so it gave us the chance to sleep in and relax. I have to say it sure was a nice treat. I’m starting to become accustomed to the different bed and don’t wake up as much during the night so this was probably my best sleep so far. And MUCH needed.

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The campground we stayed at was called Bell’s Point Beach Campground. It was one we called on the way to the city and not one previously booked. RV Park Reviews gives it 4.9/10. Not the best ratings, but the bonus was that it was close to the dealer Dale needed to be at early in the morning.

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You can look across the river into the states.

I would say 4/10 is a fair review. Though the scenery is beautiful, it wasn’t quite what I expected. We paid for the water/electric service and couldn’t use either so I probably should’ve gotten some money back, but I didn’t want to argue. Here’s an idea of how far we were from the tap and outlets.

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On the left is the power and the hoses are the water supply for 4 sites.

There was a fairly good size drop that we’d have to attempt to manage while going around a huge stump (just on the other side of our trailer) in order to reach our water and power. This is NOT something that we were willing to do still feeling so very, very new to backing up trailers. We should probably invest in some longer hoses and cords thought. This is not likely the only place we’d need them.

Some friendly campers from Red Deer, AB offered us an extension cord that would reach. Still no go. We’ve installed the Progressive Industries HW30C 30amp surge protector. It works.

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For those curious, this is where it was installed on our trailer.

We had low voltage issues so it kept kicking out the power. We can only assume this was because the surrounding 3-4 other campers were all plugged into the same post and it just wasn’t enough for that many people. I have to admit I was a little conflicted on how much I loved that surge protector since everyone else around us was happily enjoying the power they paid for and apparently quite oblivious about the low voltage. I should probably rather be glad that we know our camper is protected quite well from voltage issues.

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The one other reason I think that 4 is a fair rating for this campground is the general confusion when trying to find your site and the fairly “rustic” style with stumps all over the place. The guys happened to notice a guy trying to back up his camper and somehow ended up driving his pickup right onto the fire ring. For some reason they both looked at ME and said “See? That’s why spotters are important.”….. Really? So much pressure!

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Beautiful stump and many angles
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Just a few more stumps and more angles

Anyway, I can only imagine when they decided to open this campground they took all the site markers and threw them in the air and wherever they landed, there was a site! I tried to take a picture of the grounds to really showcase the feel, but I don’t know if they really do it justice. The roads are just packed down grass and trailers are parked in every angle possible. It took us forever just to figure out where we were supposed to park. Do we go lengthwise? Widthwise? Down the hill? On top of the stump? On top of the fire ring?! Should we just flip the trailer upside down? What is the best way??? This all did not help the genuine marriage test that is backing up the trailer as a married couple! Thankfully, today we are still driving the same direction, in the same vehicle.

But we’ve learned a few new things.

  1. Always check to see where your power/water is situated before you unhitch.
  2. Take the sway bars off before pulling out from under the hitch. Just in case a bar flings around (in a completely random way) and knocks out a piece of wood that you have piled under the tongue jack.
  3. When doing long drive days, take the time to do your bigger meal at lunch so that you can do the quick sandwich style for supper and you’re not trying to set up while getting HANGRY!

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If you’re an Instagram junkie, I’ve been posting a few daily pics over on my account. Feel free to go check them out. It’s my regular sewing account though, so fair warning on the sewing posts! 🙂

Day 1 – Winnipeg to Thunder Bay

 

Well, today was our first day heading into new territory.  Despite the 1000 km we’d already travelled to get to Winnipeg, it didn’t really feel like we were doing anything different until we set out from there.  (We do that Winnipeg trip at least once or twice a year to visit family.)  The day started early and with a bang!  Literally.  A bang.  Continue reading Day 1 – Winnipeg to Thunder Bay

Keep Calm, and Make a List

Camping lists.  I have a few of these.  I save them on my computer so I can look them up each year.  With our camping season only lasting from late May to mid September (if I’m being generous) there are many months of waiting and forgetting in between seasons!  I have a general packing list.  I have a food packing list.  I have a list of good camping meals (with their specific ingredients).  I recently (this past summer) added a list of “what’s in the camper”, because every summer when we pack down for the winter I assume I will remember that next year we need more coffee filters, or that I still have plenty of saran wrap.  And then, every June/July I sit in my kitchen packing and wondering what I still had/needed in the trailer.  Continue reading Keep Calm, and Make a List