Despite our dog Bear’s displeasure with our choice of park to camp in, we decided to give Killbear Provincial Park a try. As Canada Day fell on a Wednesday, we decided we’d make the trek from Toronto to Parry Sound to arrive on the Canada Day Wednesday and stay until the Sunday, giving us an extra, long-weekend.
The drive up Highway 400 was a pleasurable one. When was the last time you heard someone say that?
With the aforementioned holiday being on a Wednesday, traffic was relatively light and once we cleared Barrie, it was almost wide-open the remainder of the way. It had been almost 35 years since I had traveled up this way and I had forgotten how beautiful the scenery was. This made the drive seem much quicker and before you knew it, we arrived at the park and eagerly checked in.
If you frequently stay at Ontario’s Provincial Parks, you will already know the only hookups you will find are electrical. If you are planning to camp at one soon, and do not know this, you are forewarned! After check-in at the front gate, comes the fun-filled stop at trailer sanitation station to fill up the fresh water tank. This, for us (me), can be a challenge as; 1) I swear the people who design the location of the trailer sanitation stations have never actually hauled anything larger than a pop-up tent trailer and 2) somebody keeps stealing the threaded end off of the potable water hoses!
So after easily filling up our fresh water tank (see my comments at the end of this entry), we made our way to our campsite. When we asked which direction would be best to approach our site, the kid at the gate wasn’t a whole lot of help. So after a drive-by viewing of our site (of which we chose the wrong direction), we turned around and approached it from the opposite direction.
Now, the description of our site, on the Ontario Parks’ website, suggested it had a sandy ground covering with a “slight slope”. They were absolutely correct with the sandy ground covering but the slight slope… nope, not even close. Saying this was a slight slope would be like saying the Grand Canyon was a large ditch. I do want to find the person who writes the sight descriptions and have chat with them. Perhaps we could have a heated discussion between the difference between a slight slope and a frickin’ hill!
After about 45 minutes of raising the tongue jack, then quickly resting the weight of the trailer on the front scissor jacks, then adding more blocks under the tongue jack, then repeating the process a couple of more times, we were set! I should point out that, prior to unhitching, the hitch was approximately 8 inches off the ground and the fresh water over-flow and drain hoses were buried in the sandy ground covering.
I know there are some more seasoned RVers who are probably rolling their eyes right now at what I have done. I do know this is not the way to do things but we were stuck and this was the only thing I could think of to get sufficient block height under the tongue jack. If there is a better way to do this, by all mean, please email me!
Once set up, the site was quite nice. For a change we were able to drop the back gate of our toy hauler and leave it down to enjoy an uninterrupted view.
Killbear has some amazing bike trails through the woods. They are moderately challenging but there are plenty of areas to pull off to the side for a rest or to grab a drink of water and catch your breath. Each campground has their own designated beach and swimming area, and we were able to drop our kayaks in quite easily for a 2 hour kayak paddle along the shoreline in Georgian Bay.
The time seemed to fly by and before we knew it, it was time to leave. When Kathie started up the truck, to back it up towards the trailer to allow me to deconstruct my masterpiece, we got a nasty surprise. The fuel sensor showed we only had 19 kilometers until empty… Ahhhh!!! We both looked at each other in disbelief! It was 30 minutes from check out time and we knew it was greater than 19 kilometers to Parry Sound, which we knew to be the closest town and gas station.
Wait… we remembered a little general store not far from the front gate, which sold gas. So off Kathie and Bear went, both of us with everything crossed that she had enough gas to make it there and that they had gas. I stayed behind to drop the trailer down in stages so that upon her return, we could just hookup and go.
On her way out of the park, after hitting a speed bump, Kathie saw the fuel reading change to showing she now had over 100 kilometers to empty, which gave her a sense of relief that she was not going to run out of gas on the way. The gauge must have been stuck because of the truck sitting on the “slight slope” for so long and the speed bump jarred the gauge back to reading correctly.
Nonetheless, Kathie proceeded to the general store, waited in a lengthy line, got filled up with gas and (thankfully) returned to retrieve me (although I think it was more to retrieve the trailer!). We got everything connected and we were off… with one last stop at the (dreaded) dumping station, then we were off. But who knows how long that could take?
Our previous camping trip had been to Presqu’ile Provincial Park where, upon leaving our site at the end of our stay, we proceeded to sit in an hour-long line-up for the lone trailer sanitation station the park had to offer. As the check-in and check-out times are one in the same, you had multi-directional line-ups heading into the sanitation station. Some folks just wanting to fill up with water and begin their stay, others just eager to dump their holding tanks and be on their way. Either way, a lengthy line-up is something neither wants to face.
I do have to give a shout out to whomever designed the sanitation stations at Killbear! I was particularly impressed with the extremely generous turning areas, the dual lane, four trailer filling and dumping stations and the completely separate area with a filling station… what a concept. Holy crap (pun very much intended), do I sound like a true RVer or what!?
Kathie, Bear and I had a wonderfully, relaxing stay and will definitely be coming back to Killbear in the very near future.
Until next time… Enjoy the Ride!