Kingston – July 2016 – Porches, Peacocks and the Weekend Effect

2015-06-29 KingstonOn July 4, we pulled up stakes and left Milton, heading northeast towards Kingston for a three-week stay at Rideau Acres Campground. Whereas Milton was a windswept plateau on the Niagara escarpment, Rideau Acres is a large, multipurpose camp area located on a peninsula that juts into a bay on the north-end of Lake Ontario.

The campsite is large, and its population consists of people like us, on the move from place to place, and those who rent their spaces long-term – like really long -term. These more permanent dwellers have built out their rigs to include substantial porches, garages, fences – all the trappings of a permanent home. Definitely not something that could be disassembled and packed away.

We spent a lot of time and effort to buy a house on wheels and my wanderlust is such that I find it a challenge to stay in one place for even two weeks. So it seems strange to see 5th Wheels, trailers and even buses locked in place like that. I wonder whether they stay there all winter.

The other thing these people have is golf carts. Everyone has a golf cart. It seems to be a status symbol –  an easy way to get yourself and your lap dog from the trailer to the bingo hall and back. Each to his own, I suppose.

One of the resident peacocks admiring himself in our chrome bumper.
One of the resident peacocks admiring himself in our chrome bumper.

The campsite is quite amazing. There is a rocky hill in the centre which provides a great view of the surrounding bay. Peacocks strut freely through the grounds, and their cries are a novel change from the run-of-the-mill seagull. They remind us of Kevin, the chocolate loving bird in the movie “Up.”

View from the top of Mount Crumpet (not its real name).
View from the top of Mount Crumpet (not its real name).

The Weekend Effect

It is fascinating also to observe what I am calling the Weekend Effect: the influx of weekend campers. Our site is located at the far end of a large, well-laid out field with plenty of full-service sites, and when we arrived and set up we indeed looked like an outpost. We could see clear across to the other side of the field to the domain of the permanent residents, nestled among the trees.

Around 4:00 p.m. the first of the weekenders arrived. It was like a scene in a horror movie, where you’re on a beach and you turn around, and there’s one crab watching you. And a few minutes later you turn around, and there’s ten crabs watching you. Then a few minutes later, there’s a hundred. Were did they come from, and how did they creep up so silently?

Henry and the rig, prior to the influx.

That’s how the weekenders travel. All of a sudden, there’s one new rig in a site just over there. Then, minutes later, two more appear. Then half an hour later, a dozen more sites are filled. In the space of four hours we went from being alone to feeling we were parked on a giant RV dealer’s lot. Oh yes. And they not only have children, they have drones.

And then, as Sunday morning arrived, the tide of campers receded, a few new ones still hanging on, but the majority drifting away to their homes in Montreal or Toronto.

Can’t blame people for wanting to come to a nice campsite for the weekend. And it certainly is a great place. Not only the site, but the city of Kingston, and all of the surrounding parks. We will definitely return.

Next week, back on the road.

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