Category Archives: Ontario CA

June 18, 2022 – Kingston KOA, ON

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Today was a relocation day.  That meant breaking camp, towing the tailer, and then making camp at our destination.  Linda had this down pat for the inside of the trailer and truck, but we were lacking a set, well-practiced routine for the hitching, unhitching, and leveling steps.  It was clear by the end of the day that we needed to write down the process and have it on our phones to refer to when making/breaking camp.

Paul and Nancy left at 8:30 AM to get a jump on traffic and build in time for a fuel stop.  We left around 9:30 AM.  The 401 was a bit busier than we expected for a Saturday morning, be we had no problem navigating the traffic and construction zones.  The construction that is underway was quite impressive, matched by the ability to mostly keep traffic moving well.  In spite of the usual jerks, we found that most drivers handled merges caused by lane closures better than in the States.

We eventually cleared the east end of the greater Toronto metro area and found ourselves in rolling hills of green with occasional views of Lake Ontario and then the St. Lawrence River as we entered the “1000 Islands” area.  We passed two signs for bridges to the USA, but our destination was the 1000 Islands KOA just north of the city of Kingston, ON (W3W=sleeps.fussed.hello).  All told the construction-related traffic on the 401 only added 30 – 45 minutes to our travel time.

Paul and Nancy were already there when we arrived.  After making camp we went to their rig to hang out, have dinner, and enjoy a camp fire.  Here are pictures of our site and three of us on their patio.

Bu Nancy & Paul;s coach

Our only “ding” for this campground was the Wi-Fi.  Not the signal, but the policy.  We were given a small slip of paper with a very long numeric code but no further information.  It turned out to be a one-time use for one device code which we used on one of our cell phones, where we didn’t need it.  The office was unable/unwilling to transfer it to a different device but we could buy additional codes for $6 each for 72 hours of service.  KOA’s are not inexpensive, but we are using them on this trip because the reservation system works very well, the cancellation policy is very user friendly, and they generally have lots of amenities, including Wi-Fi.  When paying for all of that, we do not like being nickel and dimed, especially for Internet access.

Our rig in or spot for the night

The campground was nice enough, with plenty of trees and lots of facilities in reasonably good condition.  It was essentially full, this being Father’s Day weekend, but it had a nice vibe.  There were lots of families with children and the weather was very nice, if still a bit breezy.  We had a sewer connection at our site, but arrived with empty waste tanks.  We were close to the bathrooms/showers that we minimized the use of our waste tanks so as not to have to dump in the morning on the way out.

June 15 – 17, 2022 – Milton, ON

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Our long anticipated and well-planned trip to Atlantic Canada was finally underway.  We had an easy drive to the border with Canada and a relatively easy crossing, taking about 30 minutes to get across the Blue Water Bridge from Port Huron, Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario and clearing the checkpoint around noon.

Canadian Border in Sarnia, Ontario


We had our first “glitch” of the trip at this point.  In spite of having completed the ArriveCAN process, we were randomly selected for a COVID-19 self-test.  More on that later.


The TARDIS, a good omen for our travels (Bell Canada Phone Booth)



The remaining drive to Milton Heights Campground via the 403 and 401 was busy but uneventful.We found the campground easily and got set up in our site (W3W=begged.bench.eternal).

In a fitting beginning for our adventure, the campground had a TARDIS.





Our Busnut friends, Bill & Karen, live in this area

We selected this campground because it was a good driving distance from our house, it was convenient to the 401, and close to our fellow GLCC/CCO busnut friends, Bill and Karen.  They came over to visit and then we all went to dinner at The Works in Milton.  The Works is a burgers and brew chain, but they had vegan burgers, so it worked out well for all of us.


We spent the rest of the night making phone calls and trying to figure out how to correctly complete the COVID-19 self-test process.  We only had one test kit, and decided that Bruce would take it as the Border agent handed it to him.  The test had to be witnessed via a virtual (online) appointment, which we managed to schedule for the next morning at 10:40 AM.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

The virtual appointment had to be conducted via Microsoft Teams, which we did not have installed on any of OUR six devices.  Bruce installed it on his phone as we had a good cellular signal.  The appointment began right on time, the technology worked well, and the person on the other end was very professional and proficient.  It turned out that we could drop the kit off at any LifeLabs location, and we knew exactly where one was located in Milton, just a few kilometers away.  We went there directly and dropped it off before noon, completing the process in just under the required 24-hour time.  It was a relief to at least have this taken care of.

Paul and Nancy, who we are caravanning with until the end of July, arrived late morning.  The only surprise in the weather, up to this point, was the very strong winds.  Mid-afternoon we all drove over to Bill and Karen’s house to visit and eventually headed to Pizza Pizza in Georgetown for dinner. Pizza Pizza has vegan options, and our pizza was good.

FRIDAY, June 17, 2022

The results of Bruce’s COVID-19 test were posted at 05:36 this morning.  The test was NEGATIVE and we were free to travel.  It was a relief to have it done, but it made for a very stressful start to our trip.

Some quick research revealed that we were not far from the Conservation Halton Mountsberg Park and Raptor Center, so the four of us drove over there mid-morning.  The sign at the entrance indicated that we had to have a reservation to get in.  There was a website address, so Nancy used that to make the reservation for a few minutes later.  Payment was by credit card, and in we went.  There were a lot of school-age children at the park, but the park is very large and we were able to amble through the Raptor Center with only a few other adults present.  As expected, most of the birds are residents for life, having either been injured or habituated to humans before arriving at the center.  Still, they appeared to be well cared for, with large enclosures and we had the opportunity to see eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls up close.  Linda got this photo of a Great Horned Owl.

Great Horned Owl at Mountsberg Raptor Center


On the way back to camp we stopped at the Campbellville post office to buy stamps to mail postcards to our two youngest grand-daughters.  Bill and Karen came to the campground mid-afternoon and we all had our left-overs from the night before for dinner.  All-to-soon it was dusk, and our time in the Milton area was drawing to a close.  Tomorrow’s drive would almost entirely be on the 401 through and beyond Toronto.  We knew that would involve a lot of traffic, even on a Saturday, as well as numerous construction zones, so we opted for an earlier than usual bedtime to be well-rested by morning.

2015/07/23 (R) Wrapping Up Mara

Mara’s plan was to make this the last full day of her visit.  Our day started without her as we had cinnamon raisin toast, juice, and coffee for breakfast.  I got a call from Jarel with clarifying questions and ideas about the desk and the pull-out pantry.  After a thorough discussion we had better ways to approach a few things.  He also had a better feeling for the estimated cost of the project and I agreed to send him 50% as a deposit.

I typed up a short letter and printed off the graph that Steve made of the return loss for the M-302N V/U lightning arrestor.  I packed the unit for shipping to Morgan Manufacturing and included the letter and graph.  Linda wrote out the check for Jarel and got it in an envelope to mail.  She then went to the library, Post Office, and Humane Society where she donated cat and dog paraphernalia that we had accumulated over the years.

While Linda was gone I worked in the bus for a while and Mara worked on travel preparations.  I started by removing the old 3/4″ plywood floor from the refrigerator alcove.  The original plywood bus floor appeared to mostly be in good condition but I will put a new secondary floor in the alcove to keep the refrigerator legs above the level of the new tile floor.  There are a LOT of wires running along the floor of the alcove at the back wall and I may fashion a cover for them and seal up the holes at either end.

I removed the AC dimmer for the living room lights and the DPDT momentary contact DC switch from the floor-mounted walnut box where they were installed.  The DC switch controlled the passenger side sofa footrest.  I had to remove the wires from both switches to get them out.  The AC dimmer was easy but the DC switch had four different color wires with spade connectors.  I made careful note of which terminal each color went to and then pulled the spade connectors off.  With the switches out I was able to remove the box and its mounting cleats from the floor and wall.  This area will be tiled and the box will not be reused.

Out of curiosity I tested the switch with an Ohm meter to see how the terminals were connected internally.  I also checked the wires with a DC volt meter to see how they were being used.  Two of the wires were +12VDC and DC ground and the other two went to a connector that was originally plugged into the footrest.  The switch applied 12VDC to the two load wires in one position and reversed the polarity in the other position, making the footrest go out or in respectively.

Last year I had removed two blank outlet covers on the walnut panel next to the co-pilot seat so I knew that these two switches were originally installed there and subsequently moved to the floor-mounted box.  I unscrewed the 1/4″ walnut veneered plywood panel from the wall to see what was behind it.  What I found was a LOT of wires and it was not a pretty sight.  I re-installed the two switches in their original locations and re-routed some other wires so they went up over the HVAC chase.

There was still a large bundle of wires running along the floor at the base of the HVAC chase that I needed to re-route but I decided not to mess with those today.  They are connected to four different switches and a doorbell and disconnecting everything was going to require careful attention to detail.  I pondered the refrigerator some more and decided there wasn’t anything else I could do with it for now and that I was done working in the bus for today.

There is too much to do at the moment to just sit around so I decided to install the new garage door opener for the small garage door.  New is relative; it has been sitting in the garage in its original packaging since we moved into the house, supplied by the previous owners.  The old one has not worked correctly since we moved in and the previous owners bought the new one but ran out of time to install it.  It turned out to be rather more complicated than I expected, with very comprehensive assembly and installation instructions.  It also turned out to be a two-person project so Linda worked on it with me.

We were working and Mara had started prepping dinner when a UPS truck showed up with four boxes.  The delivery included:  Mara’s refrigerator vent cover; the Cutco knives and scissors, and; the ZioTek track system for wall-mounting the monitors in the ham shack (2 boxes).  The vent cover was due for delivery today but the knives were not due until tomorrow, so we were really glad to see them as two of them were for Mara.  The monitor mounting system was also due for delivery today but I had temporarily forgotten about it.

The north wall of the ham shack/office.  This is where the ZioTek wall-mounted monitor mounting system will go.

The north wall of the ham shack/office. This is where the ZioTek wall-mounted monitor mounting system will go.

Mara was understandably anxious to see if the vent cover fit her base properly.  It was a VentMate and appeared to be identical to the old one.  She climbed up the ladder on the back of her motorhome and I handed parts and tools up to her.  I then climbed up was well.  She removed the old cover and we set the new one in place.  It was a perfect fit!  We put a small amount of putty under each screw head and then ran them down snug and congratulated ourselves on another job completed and well done.

With Linda’s help we put Mara’s kayak back in its custom carrier which fits in the receiver on the back of her motorhome (she does not tow a car).  The carrier was built by a welding shop in Mesa, Arizona to Mara’s specifications and is made from 2″ square tubular steel and powder-coated black.  The carrier holds the kayak diagonally across the back of the motorhome from lower left (driver’s side) to upper right.  The nose of the kayak sits in a pocket near the driver side rear corner of the motorhome and the midpoint is nestled in a much larger cradle.  A strap runs from the nose pocket up to the midpoint on one side and across the kayak to the other side where it is attached to a ratchet and has a hook on the end.  With the hook engaged in a ring the strap is ratcheted tight and the kayak is secure for travel.  Mara runs an anti-theft cable through an eyelet near the nose and attaches a lock for safe keeping.  The tail sticks up higher than the top of the roof-mounted air-conditioner covers but does not extend beyond the passenger side wall.  The tip of the kayak is 13′ 2″ from the ground.

We made good progress on the garage door opener but had to stop at the point where we needed to attach the motor housing to the ceiling as I needed to get some parts (angle iron and lag screws) that did not come with the unit.  The front of the track was attached to the header above the door opening and we left the motor assembly resting on top of a 6 foot stepladder.

The pieces of the ZioTek monitor mounting system laid out on the floor of the ham shack/office.

The pieces of the ZioTek monitor mounting system laid out on the floor of the ham shack/office.

While Mara and Linda prepared dinner I unboxed all of the monitor mounting components.  I was curious to see the parts and wanted to make sure everything was there and undamaged, which was the case.

Dinner was Thai vegan spring rolls in rice flour wrappers.  The prep work was in the cutting of lots of veggies (carrots, zucchini, onions, red and yellow peppers, Chinese cabbage, and mushrooms).  Mara made two dipping sauces, one with ginger, hot peppers, and other things and one based on fish sauce (so we passed on that).  Linda selected our bottle of Malvasia Bianco wine from the Heart of the Desert winery in Alamogordo, NM.  It was white, which we thought would go well with the delicate spring rolls, but very sweet with a slightly thick mouthfeel, like a late harvest Riesling or a Sauternes.  Perhaps not the best choice, but we finished the whole bottle anyway.

We chatted for a while after dinner but like most of our evening meals dinner was a drawn out affair with lots of conversation.  Everyone was tired and the women turned in for the night.  I went to my office and answered e-mails from Gary at BCM that I had seen earlier in the day.  I then went to bed and tried to catch up on blog posts for the last few days but could not stay awake long enough to finish them.