Montrose San Juan RV Resort

Is it really the perfect home base for exploring Colorado? We’ve never stayed at the Montrose – San Juan RV Resort. And I don’t think we ever will. At least not based on the recent experience of Jason Epperson and Abigail Trabue.

Jason and Abigail run a popular YouTube channel and website. They were kicked out of the Montrose – San Juan RV Resort for the crime of receiving a package.

I went on the Montrose – San Juan RV Resort website and they do include a list of rules and policies although nothing about being evicted for receiving a package. The resort does include this friendly policy:

The resort reserves the right to discharge any person who violates any law, policy, rule, regulation, or creates a disturbance in any way.

Jason had completed an online order to be delivered by FedEx. When FedEx attempted the delivery, the campground office refused it. Rather than simply take it back to the FedEx depot, the driver called Jason directly. Jason went out to meet the driver and picked up his package.

The manager, apparently unable to tolerate this severe violation of one of the park rules, exercised the resort’s right to discharge them. Under supervision of law enforcement no less. This was the email they received from the manager (the typos are in the source email):

Fed-ex package

Mr. Trabue, on 7-29-20 you willfully took posession of a package from Fed-ex after being told you could not receive mail or packages at this address. This rule is in our park policy that you were given, and when the reservation was made. Due to the severity of the violation, you will have to leave the park by 1:00 pm Thursday 29 July 2020. If needed Montrose County Sheriff Dept. will be available to facilitate this matter. Tom

This is how Jason describes the incident:

On 7/29/2020 we received a package from FedEx which was in violation of campground rules, a rule that was on page FOUR of the rules under long term residence (a section we didn’t read because we were only there for six nights). This is not the first time people have been kicked out of this campground, not the first time the cops have been called to monitor people’s removal. This campground is apparently notorious in the community for being “the worst.”

Fortunately, in our park, we can receive packages. The staff will often deliver them right to our door.

Here is the video covering their experience in being evicted from an RV park.

Reopening Campgrounds

12:01 am. Friday. June 12th. COVID-19 is inherently risky at 11:59 pm on Thursday, June 11th. But, only a few minutes later, the risk of the virus magically goes down as Ontario enters stage 2 of reopening.

At this point, I really do not know what to think about our response to COVID-19. Was it a massive over-reaction by government? Fear stoked to an extreme by reckless media? An incredible collective effort to flatten the curve and hopefully prevent needless death and suffering?

Doesn’t matter.

We did our part and we will continue to do our part. COVID-19 remains a stranger and a fiend. A stranger in that not a single person in my sphere of contact has been infected by COVID-19. A fiend in that COVID-19 has had a remarkable and direct impact on daily life.

Life is slowly beginning to return to what was once considered normal. You know, like getting a haircut or going out to the mall.

The government of Ontario made this announcement last week:

Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Stage 2 include:

  • Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
  • Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
  • Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
  • Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
  • Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
  • Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
  • Camping at private campgrounds;
  • Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
  • Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
  • Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
  • Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.

Private campgrounds can now open to guests. Full-timers have been permitted since the early days of the lockdown, then seasonal guests and now the week-enders and vacationers.

But what will it look like when things reopen at private campgrounds?

Still not quite sure. But here is what our park is telling their guests:

The directives provided by the Simcoe County Muskoka Health Department and the Township of Springwater include closing all common areas including restrooms, pools, playground, benches, and recreation buildings, jumping pillow, mining centre and other recreational amenities. All tent sites and basic camping cabins are currently closed; the store/office building is closed to customer access and will allow for curbside check-in and purchases. Laundry facilities will be open with limited hours and availability as only one family can access it at a time.

The full set of safety guidelines for our park:

1. All common areas will be closed including restrooms, pools, playgrounds, benches, and recreation buildings, jumping pillow, mining centre and other recreational amenities etc., with proper signage to ensure compliance.

2. Prepaid or curbside check in with full payments will be offered to eliminate the need to come into the office to register;
– An office staff member will call you the morning of your arrival if you would like to pre-register.
– If we are unable to connect over the phone before you arrive, curbside check in will be available. Please stay in your vehicle until the registration window is clear.
– Payment of registration fees can be handled electronically either prior to arrival or during registration.
– Visa, MasterCard are preferred method of payments. Debit is not available at this time.

3. The store/office building will be open for curbside access;
– Registration window is available for your convenience. There will be allowances for social distancing.
– This is also where store purchases and BUSTERS orders will be placed.

4. Access to the campground will be limited to registered guests only.
– NO VISITORS are allowed in the campground at this time. Prohibit outside visitors from coming on the property.

5. Restricted or limited access to Laundry room facilities;
– Initially, one family at a time will be permitted on a scheduled basis. This will allow for proper cleaning.
– If laundry time is needed a signup sheet with be available at the office.

6. Garbage pick-up will be done at 12pm daily.
– All garbage and recycling must be bagged and left at the end of the site for pick up. No loose items or bins.
– Please do not leave garbage out prior to, or beyond the noon pick up time.

7. Drop station for no-contact deliveries i.e. groceries, will be provided;
– Contactless deliveries – Deck/storage box for express package delivery and delivered groceries will be provided and placed near the office entrance.

8. Posted signs urging campers to practice social distancing while on property;

9. Limited hosted entertainment and recreational activities;
– Activity packages will be available upon arrival.
– The use of basketball nets, horseshoe pits as well as volleyball nets will be available with use of your own equipment.
– The duck hunt will go on!

10. Follow any and all mandates and guidelines;

11. Enjoy the great outdoors but please be responsible!

Our park is really two parks. A family campground at one end separated by roughly 1 kilometre to an adult park at the other end. That separation makes a huge difference in terms of the experience. The adult park is quiet and calm. The family campground, as you might expect, is very active and perhaps a tad louder, especially on week-ends. The sites in the adult park are well spaced. The sites in the family campground are tight.

I’m not sure how social distancing will be enforced up in the family campground. The experience will be dramatically different for those guests, especially for their children.

I expect the park WiFi to become totally saturated if the family campground opens up to full capacity. With all of the common areas closed and with all of the restrictions on social distancing, people will likely spend a lot more time online. Anyone trying to use the park WiFi during the peak will likely need to say good-bye to the Internet.

Reservations for the family campground start next Wednesday.

Confinement

The action of confining or state of being confined. Since we returned to Canada on March 26 I have not gone out in our car. I have not been outside the immediate area of our coach save for some short walks. In other words, I have avoided all non-essential travel. Until yesterday.

Yesterday I took a drive to plot a route for cycling and to pick up a replacement for our water hose at Canadian Tire. Essential? Given my current state of mental health, absolutely. Almost two months of house arrest can take a toll.

Things are beginning to open up in Ontario.

From the Government of Ontario’s newsroom:

Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.

I’m not sure what that statement really means and, based on some of the social media sites I follow, no one else seems to know either. Does allowing access mean that recreational campers with a seasonal contract can enjoy camping for the week-end while those without a seasonal contract are not allowed? Seems to be the case. Does that mean that recreational campers with seasonal contracts can engage in non-essential travel to go to a private campground for a few days? Not at all clear.

There was quite an influx of people that came into their seasonal sites at our park over this long week-end. This despite the Ontario government still urging restrictions on non-essential travel.

Non-essential travel is defined by the government as any travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.

So confusing.

Here is what our media told us about non-essential travel over the long week-end:

The Ontario government is urging all residents of that province to stay home whenever possible.

Beyond that, there is no evidence on the province’s website that suggests travel within the province – including to seasonal properties – is in any way limited.

However, Premier Doug Ford has urged cottagers to “hold off” on visiting their properties this weekend after it became clear that many popular cottage communities were uncomfortable with the idea of hosting out-of-town guests.

At this point, it is becoming less and less likely that the overall population will continue to abide with strict confinement protocols. I follow Viva Frie, a Montreal lawyer turned vlogger, and here is one of his tweets from a few days back:

It went from “flatten the curve” to “find a cure”. From “social distancing” to “house arrest”. From “2 weeks” to “3 months”. From “we’re in it together” to “snitch on your neighbors”. From “individual liberty” to “comply or pay fine”. We lost the target. And government knows it.

We have been doing our part to flatten the curve and we will continue to do so however I find much of what comes out from the government to be confusing and contradictory particularly as it relates to the RV community.

Our government keeps telling us that it makes all of these decisions based on science and guidance from medical experts. Likely from this source.

I am curious as to the science behind restricting seasonal campers from going to their sites two weeks ago but allowing them to go now. I am curious as to the science behind allowing a seasonal camper in a self-contained RV to go to a private campground for the long week-end and yet prohibiting a non-seasonal camper with a self-contained RV from doing the exact same thing. I am curious as to the science behind urging people to stay home and yet allowing private campgrounds to provide access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.

There is no science at play here I suspect. Just an arbitrary set of rules and regulations.

The province will continue to reopen gradually and presumably it will continue the process as long as the risk to the population remains manageable.

It was wonderful to see many of our RV friends return to their seasonal sites. Hopefully this will soon be the case for the rest of the RV community.

Coronavirus and Travel in the United States

Get ready for the summer of the RV. This article suggests that an RV could become the primary mode of travel for vacationers and others looking to get away should COVID-19 travel restrictions be lifted.

As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the industry, the demand for travel is slowly—slowly—creeping back up again. But many remain wary of getting on a plane, a train or a cruise ship and being packed tightly in with strangers, never knowing if everybody is going to be wearing a mask, never knowing if somebody is unknowingly carrying the virus, never knowing if a flight is going to be empty enough for social distancing—or perhaps not.

Welcome to what could be the year of the Recreational Vehicle, more commonly known as the beloved RV.

And, according to LCI Industries CEO, Kason Lippert:

RVs and boats provide attractive alternatives to vacation more safely as families are eager to get out of the house. At the same time, RVing and boating offer a great solution to social distancing for families that want to travel the country and experience the great outdoors. Air travel, cruise ships and hotels are likely going to be less popular, at least in the near term. As a result, the outdoor recreational products business is expected to accelerate.

Craig Kirby, President of the RVIA, had this to say:

After an indeterminate period of isolation, we believe families will be more enthusiastic than ever to get outside and see new places, even within their own states. RV travel allows people to sleep in their own bed, cook gourmet meals, and control where they go. Once federal and state restrictions are lifted, they’ll be able to experience the endless range of outdoor wonders throughout the country and the freedom of independent travel that RVs offer. This includes the option to forego a campground since RVs have everything a family needs to camp remotely.

Based on all of this, we should see RV parks overflowing with new campers this summer. The shoulder-to-shoulder practice of jamming RVs together in some RV campgrounds might get even worse than this one:

An isolated, wilderness location would be a far more suitable destination than many commercial RV campgrounds.

What does the CDC have to say about travel right now?

CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible, especially if your trip is not essential, and practice social distancing especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. Don’t travel if you are sick or travel with someone who is sick.

The CDC is thoughtful enough to make a comment about the risk of traveling in an RV during a global pandemic:

If you must travel, consider the following risks you might face, depending on what type of travel you are planning:
Air travel: Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights. However, there may be a risk of getting COVID-19 on crowded flights if there are other travelers on board with COVID-19.
Bus or train travel: Sitting or standing within 6 feet of others for a prolonged period of time can put you at risk of getting or spreading COVID-19.
Car travel: The stops you need to make along the way could put you and others in the car with you in close contact with others who could be infected.
RV travel: Traveling by RV means you may have to stop less often for food or bathrooms, but RV travelers typically have to stop at RV parks overnight and other public places to get gas and supplies. These stops may put you and those with you in the RV in close contact with others who could be infected.

We will wait it out and avoid any travel in our motorcoach until, hopefully, the fall.

Springtime in Canada

Springtime in Canada. A mere two weeks before the unofficial start to summer, the May 24 long week-end.

To all of my American friends that have bought into the myth that Canada is a country of ice, snow and igloos, I would like to introduce you to what it is really like to live in this beautiful country in May.

It is a sight to behold. With Spring in the air, we hear the birds singing, we see the flowers blooming, we enjoy the trees returning to life.

Well. Maybe for a few weeks in July.

Right now, Canada is a country of ice, snow and igloos.

This is what we are enjoying this morning.

The two Dutch Stars above were both at Myakka River Motorcoach Resort in Florida to escape the Canadian winter. Our Canadian friends and fellow full-timers, Steve and Sue, are two sites down from us here in Barrie, Ontario.

We did not miss the Canadian winter after all.

We are missing Florida.