Bon Voyage

BonVoyage

We head out on our first real road trip with the Castaway early Saturday morning. The excitement is building as we get ready to cast off. Ok, I know. That was a pretty bad pun.

We built our packing list for the trip and we have been refining it as we go. It has helped us to get the coach prepared for departure.

We expect to cross the border early afternoon on the Saturday. We will be spending one night at the Port Huron KOA before making our way to our final destination which is the Petoskey Motorcoach Resort in the upper peninsula of Michigan.

Although we are still very much newbies, we have learned to call ahead at the campgrounds to make sure our rig will fit.

We will have no issues at Petoskey. Their sites are very large and designed specifically for big rigs.

KOA sites? Well, let’s just say the ones we have used so far have turned out to be really tight for our coach.

Initially, our booking at the Port Huron KOA on the way up to Petoskey was a large super site. But then we changed our dates and we were assigned to a much smaller back-in site. We asked to be placed on a waiting list for an upgraded site. We called them up last night and success. We are back on a large super site, site 38.

KOASite

On the way back, we are assigned a pull through site at the Port Huron KOA which looks to be fine for our coach. But, we will check that site out on our way up to Petoskey to make sure.

This will be our first border crossing with our coach and with our dog. Hopefully it all goes well.

Two more sleeps.

Honey Wagon Service

honey

“I’m going to use it to get some honey!”

But not at an RV park.

We are newbies. Actively learning about our new lifestyle but still newbies nonetheless. And this means that we are frequently coming across new vocabulary.

We have been living out of our coach since we brought it home earlier this summer and we intend to keep living in the coach until we have to put the Castaway into storage later September or early October.

Although we try to make as much use of the house for our washroom needs, we seem to be able to fill up our grey and black tanks relatively quickly, even with the infrequent use of the Castaway’s washrooms, shower and sinks.

We decided to camp overnight at our local KOA to empty out the tanks and replenish our fresh water tank. This particular KOA is only a few kilometres from our home and it is a nice campground.

We reserved a 50-amp service with water only.

Our grey and black tanks were full and we needed to dump them before we could set up the coach on the site.

“Can I use the dump station on our way into our site?” I asked.

“You can. We can also arrange a honey wagon service for you later today if you would like.”

“Well, that sounds great but we really don’t need any honey.” I replied.

Confused look from KOA staff member.

What is a honey wagon service? Honey wagon is a traditional term for a wagon or truck that collects and carries waste and it can serve as a sanitation system at campgrounds and marinas.

The honey wagon service at this KOA comes to your coach and empties your tanks for you. They did come later that day and dealt with the tanks without us knowing until I had checked our gauges. Grey and black, empty.

This morning I filled our fresh water tank. The tank holds about 105 gallons and it was only 1/3 full.

I estimated that we needed about 75 gallons to fill the tank. At the typical city average of about 2 gallons per minute, that would take 40 minutes.

The tank filled in about 30 minutes. I guess I underestimated the flow rate. Thankfully I was checking every 15 minutes or so.

The tank obviously stops receiving water once it fills. There was no overflow or spillage but good to know that it doesn’t take much time to bring in fresh water into the Castaway’s tank.

Mission accomplished and we also had a wonderful evening. We even experienced our first campfire by the coach. Awesome.

Look Up

Tree

A wee bit of trimming by the staff at Thousand Islands KOA.

Although the campground provides sites that are big rig friendly, well, let’s just say that this particular site was very, very tight.

Lorraine was spotting me into the site and she was focused on getting the Castaway cleared left and right. The site had a landscaped patio area with some large rocks on the driver’s right and a number of trees on the driver’s left. There was very little room to swing especially for a pull-through site.

I was focused on Lorraine. She was focused on clearing the sides and back. Neither one of us thought to look up.

The trees. One in particular. We are 12 feet 10 inches at ride height. Likely a touch taller than the lowest branch of this one tree.

I raised it with the roofline at the front of the coach although, once we had levelled the Castaway, the lowest branch was clear by a small margin.

Fortunately there was no damage to the body of the coach.

But there was no way we could pull out at ride height. The branch would have had its way with our various antennas and air conditioning units.

On departure day, two young men came out to our site and dealt with the offending branch. They were very careful and brought the branch down without incident.

Getting out of the site was also challenging although I am beginning to get better at maneuvering this 40-foot coach.

Lesson learned.

Always look up.

One Thousand Islands

RWC_3846

I have not counted them one by one. That said, according to reputable sources, there are 1,864 islands in the thousand islands region.

We are almost at the end of our first trip with the Castaway and, with a few minor exceptions, we had a very successful breaking in of the coach.

Here are a few shots of the campground and the marina directly across the street from the campground.

More on our first experience with the coach in the next few days.

RWC_3805

RWC_3817

RWC_3829

RWC_3836

RWC_3837

RWC_3840

RWC_3844

First Trip

 

KOAReservation

We are heading out on our first bonafide excursion with the Castaway. A way to break ourselves into the RV lifestyle and to get that first experience being out in the coach on a campsite away from home.

We decided to book a site at the 1,000 Islands KOA as they offer full service pull through sites for big rigs. This KOA is not too far from where we live. Our local KOA, which is much, much closer, only offers electrical and water and we want to go through the process of setting up the coach on a full service site. I want to log more miles on the rig so a longer drive is a good thing. Plus, the 1,000 Islands is a beautiful part of Ontario. The weather forecast so far is promising and it is the Father’s day weekend. Our son will be along for the trip. Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Here is the map of the campground:

KOAMap

It is a really scenic area although the sites are not guaranteed. We will be placed somewhere on sites 23-25 or 32-37 as those are the only 50 amp full service pull through sites.

I will be travelling on business for the next couple of days and that will give me some time to pull together our packing list for the trip.

Really looking forward our first camping experience in the Castaway.