As I expected after three weeks plus of sunshine, it was overcast the day I left, which is common for me when it comes to camping. From a financial point of view, I had already been apprehensive about taking three weeks off much less the spending involved in an extended trip to the east coast. It would not have taken too much for me to shorten my vacation and look for work, but I headed out anyway.

I had planned to stay at Charleston/Ganonoque Provincial Park for the first night and almost abandoned the idea, considering the weather. I was mulling over the idea of carrying on to Cornwall, Ontario and taking a motel room when the off ramp for the park quickly loomed up. I hastily decided to stay with the original plan; almost missing the ramp. After a sixteen kilometer ride north from the Highway 401 corridoor, I was pulling into the park just as it started to spit on the windshield.

There are few campers in the park right now and ...

Normally, in most provincial parks, a site is assigned and then you would have to go back and change it if you found one more to your liking. It just seems like extra paper work and more dead trees in our paperless computer society. But sometimes in slower times or smaller parks they will tell you to just go ahead and pick a site and then go back to register. If it is closer to a weekend or a busy time of year, you can ask for a list of sites that would be available for your expected stay. It helps reduce a lot of driving in case you might go back to the office to register and find out the one you want is only available for three days and you want to stay for four. This was one of those slow times and the girl at the office had told me to find one and then go back to pay. Appreciating the time saved, I took a quick drive through two of the three campgrounds. It was around 5:45 when I started to pick a site and since it was only a one night stay over, I wasn’t going to be too fussy. She had suggested site #112 and I had to agree it was a nice one, so I went back to register. After paying I returned to set up.

It was a little rushed, but the site was set up just before it started to rain. Actually, it was a nice rain, more like a fine drizzle, so I set out for a walk. I walked up to the third campground and was going to check out the beach, but it was too crowded, so I walked to the day time use area and went for a swim. The water, while quite cold at first, was just right for me and so I stayed in for some time before returning to the site.

At the time of this writing, 10:05pm, I still haven’t eaten yet, other than a tuna sandwich from a coffee shop when I left Guelph. I’d like to grab something, but the car is so disorganized I can’t be bothered. Besides, the three beers I have had so far are starting to have an effect. If I eat now, I’ll wake up and stay up longer than I want to.

 I just now had a thought of a cigarette, but it was a craving easily put aside. Other than a camping trip to Fushimi Lake Provincial Park, I don’t think I have ever camped without smoking. I wasn’t drinking either at the time and it was damned boring. Now that I think about it; that was the trip I started smoking again after a year and a half without. Travelling around on open highways had always included a cigarette in hand for a lot of years. Those memories and the accompaning urges proved too overpowering to ignore. I found myself watching people outside enjoying a smoke while I was in a restaurant having breakfast and had thoughts of bumming one as I left. By that time they had gone and I eventully broke down and bought a pack thinking that I would be able to take contol of the smoking. It was a foolish mistake and I was quite wrong. After almost four months without one, I do not care to make the same mistake for the, I dunno, 9th or 10th time. If I get through this trip without starting again, it will be a testament to never quit drinking at the same time as trying to stop smoking. Busting one bad habit at a time is enough for anyone.

Actually, this could be a trip of firsts. I’m sitting here without a campfire happening. That never happens and I note how strange that is.

There are few campers in the park right now and the section I’m in is the sparsest. There is a site just down the road with a large trailer and all its occupants are huddled inside. I see no lights at all and there is no one else around me at all. The nice thing about being this far away from the 401 is that it is quiet without the traffic noise. The only sound, other than rain spattering on the tarp, is the hiss from my Coleman lantern. A few moments ago, I heard a grunt from the raccoon that slipped into my site to see what he could forage. When I saw him wander into the light from the lantern, I gave a cough to let him know I was here, but he just stared at me as if I were a statue. When I gave my right foot a stomp and told him to leave, he gave a disconcerted grunt and turned around to go. But he stopped to look back, so I said, “Off you go. Git!” He gave another grunt and finally left only to, a short time later, try another tack and come in from behind me. I heard him, though, and told him to get lost again. After another annoyed grunt, he left and so far has not returned.

I am getting tired now and the night air has taken on a chill. But the sleeping bag should keep me warm enough. I think I’m finally starting to relax a bit. I was pretty grouchy today packing the car; especially when I saw the weather and more than a little bitchy with the way the car was packed after I got to the park. It’s a new car for me and so it is going to take a little time to get things the way I want them.

I’ll call it quits for now. Perhaps I’ll have a quick game of Risk and then look over the maps for tomorrow’s part of the journey. I plan to hightail it through Quebec and try not to make any wrong turns. Heaven forbid I should fall prey to some gorgeous French girl.


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