Clearance Check

Space. Room to spare.

Unfortunately, many of the sites we have visited with our coach have very little space. Sites are small and tightly packed.

We first learned about checking for clearance when we visited the 1,000 Islands/Ivy Lea KOA in Ontario, Canada. It was our first trip out with the coach. We made a point of telling the KOA folks that we had a 40-foot coach and we would need a site where we could fit. “No problem”, they told us, “we have big rigs in here all the time.”

Looking at the site below, everything looks great. Getting to the site was a real adventure. Everything was very tight for space. And once we got in to this site? Well, what you do not see clearly from the angle of the photograph are the branches of the evergreen tree on the driver’s side resting directly on the roof of the coach.

Lorraine was very focused on the lower clearance of the coach when she guided me into the site that she did not look up. The coach lifted the branches over the top of the roofline and once the airbags had deflated, the branches remained propped up by the roof itself. Fortunately the branches did not damage the coach.

The only way we were able to exit that site was to have the KOA staff come and cut several branches from the tree.

Lesson learned. Or so we thought.

About a year later, we went to Milton Heights Campground to attend a Newmar Kountry Klub chapter rally. Our chapter rally was held last week. We quite enjoyed our time there.

Milton Heights is an old park with narrow roads and very narrow sites. For our stay, things were quiet and the surroundings pleasant.

Our entry into our site did not go as smoothly as planned.

Lorraine guided me into the narrow site. It was paved and, quite rightly, she wanted to ensure that the coach was positioned more or less centred on the narrow strip of pavement.

Unfortunately, the post for the water and electric service was tight to the narrow strip of pavement. Less than two feet. I hadn’t put the slides out as I had recently changed my routine when setting up at a site. Park, leave coach at ride height, turn engine off, exit coach, connect services, re-enter coach, slides out then jacks down. Thank heavens I followed that protocol.

I went to connect the services and, sure enough, there was no way that we would be able to put our full wall slide out without hitting the water and electric service pedestal.

Not enough space.

If I had followed our old protocol, we would have experienced damage to our full wall slide.

So, back into the coach. We repositioned the coach as far right on the paved strip as possible.

Just enough room to get the slides out.

A good reminder for us to really think about the space requirements for our coach. Many of the sites we visit were designed for a different class of motorhome. What I have learned is that if a campground looks tight, it is tight and it is best to walk out to the site first and check all clearances including clearances for the slides before making our way.

The Outpost

Not really.

The dealer for our coach, the Hitch House, is located in Barrie, Ontario and, while the city itself is well north of Toronto, it seems to be firmly in the grasp of the Greater Toronto Region. It is a tough drive through some of the most heavily congested roads in all of Canada.

We dropped the coach off last weekend and it will be with the dealer for about three weeks. We will pick the coach up sometime during the week of May 7th.

We have a few outings planned in May including our very first Newmar Kountry Klub outing with the Muskoka Ramblers. The rally will be held May 26-28 at the Milton Heights Campground.

Looking forward to getting our coach back home though. Here is where we left the Castaway.

Naples Motorcoach Resort

It is less than one month into a Canadian winter. And what do we get from Naples Motorcoach Resort and Boat Club?

A warm, effortless level of hospitality greets you at Naples Motorcoach Resort & Boat Club. Our inviting waterfront property sets the standard for treating guests to endless activities, incredible nearby sights, and an unmatched level of service and attention. Rediscover this unique luxury resort in Naples, Florida and indulge in a truly special getaway.

Yes, we do wish we were there.

Instead we are here (this accident turned my 2-hour drive home on Saturday into 7 hours).

KOA 2017 Campground of the Year

KOA announced their 2017 campground of the year: West Glacier, Montana. It does look very attractive and one to add to our list of sites to visit.

“There’s very little I can say that will do justice to the quality of the improvements made to the West Glacier KOA Holiday,” said KOA President and CEO Pat Hittmeier. “Out of all of the very deserving KOA locations in North America that have undergone amazing transformations recently, we believe the West Glacier KOA Holiday is a great selection for KOA’s Campground of the Year.”

The West Glacier website is here.

Shamadon RV Resort Review

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The toughest part about getting to the Shamadon RV Resort?

Driving through Toronto.

We were delayed by almost three hours due to severe traffic congestion on the 401. I have no idea how people living in Toronto can tolerate the horrendous traffic congestion on most of their roads.

This meant a late night arrival into the park. We had planned to get there for 5pm and we wound up arriving there closer to 8pm. In the dark.

Crystal was expecting us. And she had Patrick help us get settled in.

Wonderful service from the team at Shamadon. Patrick and Crystal were outstanding.

First Impressions

Overall I would rate this park 8 out of 10.

Now keep in mind that we are comparing this park to some of the RV resorts that we have stayed at in the United States. Relative to the Canadian sites we have stayed at, I would rate this park 9 out of 10 with top marks for service and for the setting.

At this time of year, the park was very quiet and we were given a site that was picture perfect. A corner site with great views of the countryside and no neighbours. A very private and peaceful site.

Getting into the Park

Aside from driving through the Toronto traffic, the route into the park is very nice. Scenic roadways. Well maintained and smooth highways. Picturesque small towns. No issues for height and width of a large rig.

Be warned though that your GPS will likely take you along Letterbreen Rd off Highway 6.

Your only option if you take Letterbreen is to take the turn on Concession Rd 2 for about 3 kilometres of gravel road. If you keep going on Highway 6 and take the turn on County 9 then you will only have about a kilometre of gravel road before the entrance to the resort.

The check-in process was very quick and Patrick escorted us to our site. He was very helpful. And he demonstrated something that I really enjoyed throughout our stay at Shamadon: amazing customer service. Very friendly and attentive staff.

Sites

We were assigned site 211. This was a large grass site and I was a bit concerned about whether our coach would settle particularly as we had rain in the forecast. No worries though. We had a bit of an adventure getting out of the site but not because the tires got stuck. More on that in a moment.

The service on this site was 30 amp even though our coach likes a 50 amp service. We are very accustomed to running the coach on 30 amps and this is not a major issue for us. The water pressure was a bit low, about 30 psi or so. We used our freshwater tank and water pump for showers — I like a bit more pressure than 30 psi when I shower.

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Shamadon had placed us in an exceptionally quiet and wonderful location at the park. Surrounded by trees and a stunning forest trail, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. No line of sight to the Bell satellites and the digital antenna could not draw any usable channels.

Getting out of the site proved challenging. Our rig was too high to exit the loop by going straight out of the pull-through (from site 211 out past sites 210 – 200). There were numerous low-hanging branches in our way. I pulled the coach forward, repositioned and reversed back as far as possible and then swung hard to complete the three-point turn to go past sites 212-216. We had no choice but to exit the wrong way out of the loop in that part of the park. Fortunately it was a very short part of the loop and we did not have any oncoming traffic.

Pros

Beautifully well maintained and scenic
Amazing staff and service
Nice facilities in a country setting

Cons

A bit of a challenge for a 40-foot diesel pusher to get around so pick your site carefully
Lots of gravel getting into the park as well as driving around the park