Saturday, August 29, 2020

A short trip to Algonquin Park

Last Sunday we set out for Huntsville and on to Canisbay campground in Algonquin Park, to camp for a couple of nights with my youngest sister Beth and husband Sandy. We expected to go on from there for a few more days travel, with no particular destination in mind.

It was a real nice morning for a drive, cool but with a hint of humid warmth to come later in the day. Luckily it didn't get hot enough to need the A/C. After a stop in Huntsville to top up the fuel tank we pulled in to Canisbay about 1pm. As usual we didn't make reservations, but were able to get 2 sites, one for each of the 2 nights. 

Most (if not all) Ontario Provincial parks have limited facilities right now. The washrooms have been reopened so flush toilets are available. No showers or laundry though, and showering at your site is not allowed unless you have a grey water tank to contain the runoff.

Before we had left in the morning we noticed our faithful ARB electric cooler chest was showing an erratic temperature. This is the first issue we've had for the fridge in our 6 years of use (we've actually had it for 7 years), it was never turning off. We managed it by putting a thermometer inside the fridge and turning the fridge off when below freezing. It wasn't easy to manage, especially overnight, and we did get some things frozen that shouldn't have been.

Anyway we got set up on our site. After sitting out for a bit we decided to set up our little screen shelter. There were some seriously dark clouds to the south and east of us, with thunder and lightning, and also a few bugs around, and a vicious-looking chipmunk that wanted to sit in our laps. 😀

We put on one side curtain as protection from the breeze and maybe rain. Luckily the storm mostly missed us, as there was some damage from high winds in the more eastern end of the Park.

On Monday we headed for the nearby Algonquin Art Centre. They have a great collection of Algonquin art in the Group of Seven style. Unfortunately it was closed today. It had been open when we drove by on Sunday, so maybe just open on the weekends now. Even though the Park is busier than I've ever seen it, with lots of traffic and full campgrounds. Most campgrounds are showing almost full on into September and October, at least for sites with electrical hookup. Right now the non-hookup sites are also scarce.

So we went on and toured the nearby Visitors Centre. We've been there before but it's always worth a visit. They have some interesting exhibits, as well as views of the surrounding area.

Other than these dioramas and the chipmunks, we saw little wildlife this trip. 

We finished off with a nice campfire at Beth and Sandy's site, and headed out Tuesday morning.

Our vague plans of spending a few more days travelling and camping didn't work out. Hwy 60 coming out of the park towards Huntsville was incredibly busy. Anything that was open for business was crowded with customers, to the point we didn't feel comfortable going in. Even in Canisbay the small beach there was too crowded for our liking. So between the crowding and our fridge problems we decided to just have a nice drive home. Hopefully things will ease off in September, although looking at the Algonquin campsite reservations I'm not sure that will happen.

We decided to head north on Hwy 11 to Burks Falls, then west on Hwy 520 and 124 from there, over to Hwy 400. The Hwy 520 drive was very pleasant, and not crowded like Algonquin was. We almost decided to try for a campground along that way, but were now set on getting home tonight.

The area along 520 has a number of small towns, lakes and campgrounds. In years gone by we had camped in this area at Lake Cecebe, enjoying boating and fishing on that pretty lake. There are some good-looking farms carved out of the woods along this route, with some curious animals:

The little town of McKellar had a lovely town park for a break:

Some loons added a Northern feel.


Once we got out to Hwy 400 we were almost in Parry Sound, so stopped in a town park there for lunch. The park is just off Hwy 400, but you really can't see it from the highway:

This wasn't us, but we ate nearby...

Heading down Hwy 400 we decided to see if our friends Mr and Mrs Furry Gnome were home for a visit. They were, so we detoured a bit to Meaford on the way. So nice to see them again!

Fridge Update: I had emailed ARB support to see if they could help with our fridge problem. ARB is an Australian company, we had bought the fridge 7 years ago through a Quebec company, and I didn't have high hopes for a fix.

BUT, we had an email reply within a couple of days, from ARB support in Washington State in the USA. After some back and forth the problem is likely a bad thermistor (thermostat to us laymen), and they are shipping a replacement under warranty. Jacob also sent replacement instructions. Hopefully this will fix the problem, but I'm impressed with ARB service anyway.

The approximate route: