Wednesday, August 24, 2022

RV adventure along Lake Erie

We were looking at an extensive cross Canada tour in a rented recreational vehicle (RV) venturing east one year, then west in the subsequent year. Rather than just jump into the major tour we decided to rent an RV for a week, explore the parks along Lake Erie, get some tips from our camping friends and enjoy a small summer vacation. I like the Lake Erie area because a lot of it is pretty close to Toronto with light traffic, no four to five hour trip in stop and go traffic heading to a Muskoka cottage so more time to enjoy your vacation.

We learned several important points about renting an RV. For starters it is very expensive, you can probably go to a nice all inclusive Caribbean resort for less money! Second, pickup and drop off times suck, they almost wipe two days from your rental period and the cost to extend the times amounts to hundreds of dollars for only a couple of hours. Trying to get Provincial Park camping sites booked in advance is very much a lottery system.

We were looking at keeping within about two hours from Toronto and decided to try for Port Burwell and Long Point Provincial Parks. Waking up early months ahead of our trip we tried to book the parks and failed at Long Point but were successful at Port Burwell. Looking around we then ended up adding Selkirk Provincial Park to our itinerary which was disappointing as the site seemed a little boring. 

Port Burwell was great, close to the small town of Port Burwell, great beaches within 20 minutes walking distance from our site, nice camping spots and services and a bonus tourist submarine (HMCS Ojibwa). The shallow, sandy beaches can pick up some serious waves which made kayaking near shore quite challenging at times. You can also sit on the beach at twilight and watch the sunset go down over the shores of Lake Erie.

During the camping at Burwell we looked at possibly dropping Selkirk and going to Long Point for a few days, we couldn't, but we did find a spot at Turkey Point for one day, so we cancelled Selkirk and extended our stay at a different spot in Burwell. As our stay at Burwell was coming to a close we decided to try Turkey Point again, found a spot for two days and cancelled the Burwell extension, the one day spot at Turkey Point and booked a new spot in Turkey Point for two days. The revisions to the reservations also cost some chunk of change.

Turkey Point turned out to be less than we hoped as there wasn't much in the park itself, you had to drive down the road to get to the beach, and no nearby town but you learn as you go. Sunset was behind the beach so we weren't able to see it when we sat on the beach.

A plaque on the historic St. Thomas building
A statue of Jumbo, run over by a train
Elevated art park

We did end up driving into St. Thomas during a rainy day a little over an hour away from the Turkey Point park which is an interesting city to visit if you are close by where you can find a statue of Jumbo, a large, historic railway station and an elevated art park.

As kayakers we were intrigued by the rumour that the "Amazon River of Canada" was near Turkey Point so we did some research and found out that the Big Creek was it and so we found a place to launch the boats (42.595324642328855, -80.48507333011551) just past Port Rowan. The creek meanders through the countryside and empties into the area at the base of Long Point. We headed upstream passing by plenty of signs from the king of the marsh area, the kayaking was nice, not too much current and busy enough with people enjoying the paddling tours from Long Point Eco-Adventures coming downstream.

Burning Kiln Winery

On the way back from Big Creek we also passed by, and decided to stop at a local winery called Burning Kiln and found out that the Long Point Eco-Adventures was across Front Road. Both places were worth the visit. The adventure site has zip lines, biking trails, axe throwing, a restaurant, brewery and an observatory.

Long Point Eco-Adventures camp sites - Pods
The seacan brewery
Restaurant and observatory

Overall we decided to forgo the RV four our cross country tour and take the trip with our car carrying our kayaks and ebikes and staying in hotels or BnBs along the way.

Kayaks on the Hullavator carrier rack system

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