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Copyright 2017

Review: KOA Cardinal/Ottawa South

Cardinal Ottawa South KOA

The Cardinal Ottawa South KOA is located just a little north-east of the 401 and 416 interchange in farm country.  It is an easy one hour drive to Ottawa by the 416 or via scenic back roads following along the Rideau River.  This was an excellent location to visit Ottawa for Canada 150.  It was not too far to get to the city but still far enough to be away from the city to avoid all the huge crowds on Canada Day.

The campground itself has typical KOA features with lots of sites shaded by large pine trees.  They have a store, bounce pillow and a pool.  The in the summer of 2017 when we visited, they also had one of the large blow up water slides.  The staff was quite nice and friendly and on Canada Day they put on one of the best campground fireworks shows we have seen.  It is also a quick drive to Kemptville which is a small town that is big enough to have all the basics like fast food and a Walmart.  If you are visiting Ottawa from the campground or just need to run into Kemptville I would recommend taking the back roads over the 416, as there is very little traffic and it is quite scenic in that area, especially as you get close to the Rideau River and follow it into South Ottawa.

Overall this was one of the nicest KOA campgrounds we have been to and we would recommend it to anyone staying in the area.  The trees are one of the key features that give it an above average rating.  There are so few KOA campgrounds that feel like you are camping in a Provincial, State or National Park.

Online Reservations

Mallorytown KOA

In recent years it has become harder and harder to get not just a good reservation but any reservation for many State, Provincial or National parks in the US or Canada.  Camping and RV’ing is becoming more popular and funding and growth in the campgrounds is not matching demand.  Because of this it has become competitive to get a good site or to get any site at all on short notice.

I recall as a kid we would be able to go camping with no reservation, or with a reservation for a site but with no real info on what the site was like or where it was located.  It was also easy to go up to the front gate at the end of a stay and add a few more days.  Things have changed dramatically with the reservation process and getting camp sites.  This has resulted in a number of questionable habits that do nothing to encourage friendliness toward our fellow camping neighbor.

  1. Parking your equipment in advance at Dispersed Camping on BLM or Crown land or camping on unmanaged first come first served campgrounds.  This is usually when someone buys a cheap Wal-Mart tent and goes to the unmanaged campground days in advance paying the iron ranger for the whole week and setting the tent up and then leaving it for the week effectively squatting on a site so that when they arrive on the long weekend, they have the preferred site (or just any site).  Some people will also take their trailer up to the campground days early and park it on a site for the week and arrive on the weekend to use it.  Although most parks have rules about “occupying a site “, but enforcement is inconsistent and in many cases not enforced which leads to people showing up to campgrounds to find all the sites taken and no one actually occupying any of them.
  2. Making a reservation starting a few weeks early when reserving for a long weekend or other popular time, then later cancelling all of the time leading up to the long weekend.  This is another common tactic in many locations due to relaxed refund policies.  Generally parks will allow reservations starting at a particular time (like 6 months prior to your arrival date).  if you are targeting an arrival on the Friday of a long weekend like everyone else, it may be difficult to get a site.  But if you make a 2 week reservation with a start date 2 weeks prior to the long weekend but ending at the end of the long weekend, you will be able to choose your site 2 weeks before everyone else.  Roughly 2 weeks later, you would then go into the system and cancel all of the dates at the beginning of the reservation leading up to the long weekend. This almost guarantees a good site but at a bit of extra cost.  You would have to tie up money on your credit card for 2 extra weeks of reservation until you cancel the extra days.  There maybe cancellation fees as well.  This option may unfairly eliminate some campers in lower-income brackets who cannot front $1000 to make a false reservation or who cannot afford cancellation fees of 20% or more.  This effectively establishes a two tier reservation system based on income.
  3. Using multiple computers right at the moment the reservations for a particular date open up to try for numerous preferred site in the hope of beating others on at least one of them.  This option is quite common and most people do not tend to find it to be immoral, however it does have one undesired side effect that only makes reservations harder to get.  If someone gets on the reservation system on 4 computers and tries to get 4 possible sites right at opening time for the date they want, they may sometimes get 2, or 3 or possibly even 4 sites successfully.  They only need one and will only follow thru on one site, but the system will temporarily hold the other sites they successfully got for 5 to 20 minutes thinking they are valid reservations and they cannot release the sites back to others to reserve so as to give the people who got the sites first and opportunity to fill in their personal info and credit card info before putting the site back in the pool for others to choose.  This results in fewer available sites at opening time, which results in people using more computers to try to get the fewer available sites before others do, resulting in a larger bottleneck in the first few hours that the reservation system opens.
  4. There is even a newer option that can be used with some Online Reservation services where you can use an app or a service to do reservations on your behalf.  These services use online scripts or bots to be very effective at being the first person to grab sites for you and work like the old Sniping services that used to be available for eBay that would put a bid in 1 second before the auction closed so no one could try to outbid you.  These services come with a fee as well.  I have only heard of limited success with them though, as many Online Reservation services do not allow this and will actively try to prevent them from working.

One could easily blame their camping neighbor for beating them to the site they really wanted, which results in a less friendly atmosphere in the campground but the real issue is not that someone beat you out to a site or outsmart you to get it or using technology unfairly to get a site.  The real issue is that usage is fast outpacing space and that funding to maintain and expand the parks to meet population growth is not there.  This requires more money, more staff, more park land and more campground expansion.  The problem is this can very quickly become a political issue, as government is elected to govern responsiblity, which requires balancing need with available funds.  It is easy to say that we want them to spend more money on parks, but there are two potential effects to this decision:  one is that they have to increase spending which is generally unpopular as it shoulders our children with our debt and the second option is taking money away from another program and it can be difficult to decide if money is more deserved in schools, hospitals or parks.  Another popular argument that I find ridiculously amusing is the idea that government is inherently wasteful and if they trimmed staff and spent wisely, there would be loads of money to be spent for all the things we need.  Having worked in both corporate and public sector for many years managing million dollar projects, this is an amusing thought that is so untrue, as tight government spending has taught government agencies to be extremely thrifty and efficient out of necessity, whereas I have seen spending inefficiency to be a much bigger issue in corporate especially in growth years.

Low Power NAS for the RV Traveller with Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Open Media Vault

Now days there are so many people who are recording large amounts of video footage and taking large amounts of photos when they travel.  With people taking extended trips, spending time boondocking, YouTubers and the ever-growing quality of photos creeping past 20 megapixel raw files and video creeping up to 4K at 60fps the need for additional storage is growing.

This presents a number of problems when deciding.  Using the Raspberry Pi with Open Media Vault and a number of small Western Digital Passport keeps the costs low (under a few hundred dollars), gives multiple Terabyte storage capability, with network access by multiple users/devices, as well as redundancy all in a small package not much bigger than a few packages of playing cards that runs off a single standard micro USB charger used for an Android phone or most other mobile devices drawing only a few watts.

Power Consumption:  for may RV’rs or sailors power is the most important factor in travelling for long periods of time.  What most people who boondock or blue water sail don’t aways realize is that almost all of their electronic devices run on DC power and use an AC to DC power converter.  So to power these devices you would need to plug into an AC power source like an inverter.  Inverting power from DC on your battery bank to AC is very wasteful (up to 50%), and then the power cord for the device will then reconvert the power back to DC, thus adding additional waste.  With the ease of adding cigarette lighter style 12V DC power plugs into an RV or boat allows you to use the standard car charger plugs used to charge your phone in the car, which means the device is drawing DC directly off the battery bank to power the DC device.  The great thing about Raspberry Pi is that they us the same standard phone charging cable used to charge your phone in the car to power them and even with a few WD Passport drives plugged in, only draw a few watts of power.  When you look at the alternative like a bigger WD drive enclosure with multiple drives, or a higher end NAS like a Synology NAS that cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, require desktop computer drives and draw many hundreds of watts, most people do not need the performance these systems give for their RV, especially at the cost of having to run their generator, get to shore power sooner or add additional batteries and solar panels to keep it running.

Cost: this is one of the biggest advantages of this solution.  A Raspberry Pi, even with a case will cost about $40, the software Open Media Vault is free and adding WD Passport drives only cost about $70 for 1TB per drive.

Storage Space: Although you can put a half-dozen 8TB drives in a higher end Synology drive enclosure that comes at a cost of thousands of dollars.  A Raspberry Pi 3 will come with 4 USB port and with the cost of a WD Passport 2TB, you could add 4 2TB drives for about $500 and since USB drives are hot swap, you are not limited to the number of bays/drives your enclosure will hold, you can just swap drives as they fill.

Network Access for multiple users:  Open Media Vault will allow you to create network shares and allow multiple users to access the stored files.  Although Raspberry Pi will not allow for high performance network access, a Raspberry Pi running at 100mbps will always run at 100mbps, however the multi thousand dollar Synology with 1gbps networking will run at an absolute max of 700mbps and in most cases 300-500mbps is more realistic so the cost vs performance or power consumption vs performance will still make this a solid option for those off the grid.

Adequate redundancy/backup: There is a saying that in order to ensure you have a guarantee against loosing your data, you need to follow the “3-2-1 rule”.  That is 3 copies, saved on 2 different media types, one copy offsite.  Having a Synology NAS only allows for a very limited amount of redundancy in case of failure but only if you enable mirroring or RAID5.  However this only protects you from a single drive failure.  It does not protect you from a multi drive failure, a catastrophic failure of the NAS itself (fire), theft of the NAS, RV or boat, fire in the RV/boat or virus/ransomware on the drive.  All your files are still stored in one location. With the Raspberry Pi solution, since the WD Passport drives (or similar drives) are so cheap and easy to get around the world it is easy to set up the drives in pairs and configure Rsync to keep them in sync and keep adding new drives when you run out of space.  With Rsync and easy hot swap, it allows you to make a duplicate copy to store in your Safebox, Tow Vehicle or to mail home to family to store for you.

Can You Use Flushable Wipes in the RV Black Tank? — The Fit RV

(Or ANY septic system for that matter?) We didn’t expect to find such dramatic differences between brands, but the results from this experiment are really surprising. We used the same procedure that’s commonly used to test toilet paper for RV plumbing compatibility – except on 6 brands of personal wipes. Some worked, some didn’t. You…

via Can You Use Flushable Wipes in the RV Black Tank? — The Fit RV

Choosing the right WIFI antenna for your RV

Yagi Antenna

My WIFI setup for the trailer is a Linksys WRT54G running DDWRT with power turned up to 200mw.  I have DDWRT configured as a Universal Wireless Repeater, which allows it to automatically connect to free WIFI and repeat the signal.  One antenna port has a 6ft run of LMR-200 antenna cable going out to the roof of the RV.  This antenna cable has a loss of about 1db.  The other antenna is the original OEM antenna.  Typically the original antenna is what the devices in the RV connect to and the one outside is used to connect to campground or other free WIFI.   The two antenna used outside for the test were a 5 dbi Outdoor Omni Directional 1/4 wavelength antenna and a 25 dbi Yagi Directional antenna.   You can see my previous post on how I did the original setup.

I did my testing in my driveway as the subdivision had a significant amount of different WIFI networks at varying distances to test against.  I started by making note of a number of SSID’s that were in the -70 to -100dbi signal range when using the original Omni directional antenna.  Once past -70dbi, generally WIFI is unstable to unusable so being able to improve the signal of these SSID’s using the Yagi antenna would potentially make it useful.

After collecting the information on the SSID’s I then switched to the Yagi directional antenna and retested.  The only difference with this test was that I had to rotate the TV antenna a few degrees each time to find each SSID.  A typical Yagi directional antenna only has a useful range of about 15 degrees to be able to aim.  Other types of directional antennas like Panel antenna are able to pick up a much wider area and with an Omni directional antenna it is able to pickup a full 360 degree range.  The wider the range the less the antenna is able to pick up weaker signals.  Having a narrow range also made it so I could pinpoint the specific house that each signal was coming from in order to gauge the distance.  In all cases the signal came in about 20 dbi stronger on the 25 dbi Yagi antenna than the 5 dbi Omni directional antenna which is the expected result.  This meant that any signal that the Omni directional antenna was able to pickup that was in the -90 to -71 dbi range would be amplified up to a usable -70 or better.  The SSID’s that were beyond -90 dbi were still stronger with the Yagi but not within the usable range.

The conclusion that the Yagi antenna improved the signal was not a shock to me.  There were two things that I had not really considered.  The first was that the SSID’s that were in the -90 to -71 dbi range were only about 100m farther than the SSID’s that the Omni directional antenna was able to receive at -70 dbi or better.  That was much less usable range increase than I had expected.  The second thing I had not anticipated was just how much of a pain it was to use the Yagi.  When going camping, I would not want to spend a half hour or more aiming the antenna to find and then tweak a usable signal when I could just crank up the Omni directional antenna and have a decent chance of picking up WIFI in a few minutes.

The final thing to consider is that campground and other public WIFI is really not that good to begin with it, so I decided it was not worth the extra time aiming to get a stronger signal on a really poor WIFI network, because my internet would still be slow.


Adding a WIFI and a Cellular Amp to my RV

5 dbi Omni Directional Antenna


Directional Antenna

25 dbi Directional Yagi Antenna

Buying Tech Wisely

Alfa USB WIFI adapter

Technology like Cameras, Televisions and Laptops are difficult to shop for and it is always hard to find a good deal.  It is easy to find good prices but that does not necessarily mean it is a good deal.

There are 2 key factors that determine if you are getting a good deal: the first is price, obviously getting something cheaper is a good thing.  However the other factor is quality, which can be trickier to define.  The important thing to realize is that something that is cheap is not necessarily a good deal.  Sometimes you get what you pay for.

When deciding if something is a good deal, consider that you can categorize any tech into 3 main groups: high-end/bleeding edge, middle of the road, and low-end/end of life.   When looking at high end, always remember that high end newer equipment is always marked up.  You will not often find a good deal when shopping high end as the manufacturer and retail know people are willing to line up in the cold to buy the new iPhone or preorder the latest game so they know you are also willing to pay more for the privilege of being the first to own it.  Also when shopping low end, keep in mind that in many cases low end is code for :”we need to get rid of this old crap”.  Many of the low end and on sale devices are cheap because they need to move the old tech to make room for the latest and greatest model.

So when shopping always try to stay in the middle of the road category, this category will always have the highest volume being sold, meaning you have scales of economy working in your favor so the more volume they are selling the cheaper it is to manufacture, and thus to sell it for.  You also do not need to worry about over paying for tech that is bleeding edge or buying cheap and getting stuck with something that is obsolete before you open the box.

So how do you know if you are shopping in the middle of the road category?  Simple, stay as close to the middle of the road price range the store is offering.  If they have laptops ranging from $500 to $1500 try to shop in the $1000 range.  This strategy will get you the best value for the price you pay.

Now how do you go a step further and get a really good deal?  Easy, you get a middle of the road device on sale right?  Well… sort of…  The problem is that a sale on a middle of the road item can often be a signal that, the device is no longer middle of the road, but is an  older model middle of the road device starting to be transitioned to the low-end.  The trick when looking at sales of middle of the road items is checking the specs on the sale item.  If its specs do not match the rest of the middle of the road items, than it is not a deal but something being moved to the low end category or was a low end item marked up before putting it on sale.  However if its specs do match the rest of the middle of the road items, than it is a genuine sale.

In reality however, the profit margins are so slim in the tech industry and it is so competitive, finding a good deal is often very tricky so I do not spend too much time looking for a good deal, they are too rare and often not worth the time and effort to find.  Also keep in mind when buying tech, a 3 year life span is expected, in fact accounting rules in many regions say that companies should depreciate tech over 3 years.  This means that after 1 year a $1000 laptop is only worth $667, after 2 years it is only worth $333 and after 3 years the device has absolutely no financial value to the company.  It is however common to have a laptop or camera last well past 3 years, but it is important to realize that these devices are not built to last forever.  I have an analogy that I like to tell people when talking about device life-cycle… it is well-known that dogs and cats typically live 1/7th the length of people, so a 1 year old dog is really 7 years in human years and a 2 year old is 14 in human years.  This same thing can be said for computers given that they are designed to last for 3 years.  This means a 1 year old computer is 33 years old in human years (approaching middle age), a 2 year old computer is 66 (at retirement age) and a 3 year old computer is, well ancient.  So think about that 6 year old laptop you may still be using and think about this… how many 198 year old people do you know?

You can also use sites like Amazon to check where an item falls in the price range or if it is a good price and use their extensive reviews to confirm if you are getting a good product.

Exploring Canada’s East Coast

East Coast Canada Trip

This trip has been our longest trip yet.  We spent 3 weeks exploring the East Coast of Canada.  There were a lot of landmarks we wanted to see that we did not get to on our previous trip out east.   This trip had a mix of short and long drives as well as major highway and secondary roads.  There was a mix of KOA and National Parks, including some of the biggest sights in Eastern Canada.  We also found out that 3 weeks was about our limit for a single trip.

The Drive

Leg 1 Home to Malloytown:  This leg was simple in that we did the 401 across Ontario with a detour around Toronto via the 407 and the brand new 412.  This day did not go well when we merged back into the 401, as it was Saturday, Canada Day and the start of the first long weekend of the season.  This meant that we lost a lot of time on the stretch east of Toronto getting bogged down in cottage country traffic.

Leg 2 Mallorytown to Quebec City:  This part of the drive was also straight forward, just continuing along the same one highway, 401 until it turned into Autoroute 20 in Quebec.  We detoured Montreal via AUT30 but with a twist.  This time we tried highway 201 across Grand ile to join AUT30 just after the toll.  The drive was uneventful and we lost very little time on traffic lights on Grand ile.

Leg 3 Quebec City to Fundy National Park:  This part of the drive started to get more scenic.  As you take AUT20/Trans Canada east to Rivere du Loup the St Lawrence river widens and the views across the St Lawrence valley open up and are dotted with occasional mountains.  The stretch along the Trans Canada south to Fundy is hilly and well forested with few towns and stops along the way.  The road curves and goes up and down enough to not be boring like most of the highways around the Great Lakes, however this was the longest stretch of the trip, with over 8 hours of driving to get to Fundy.  The scenery really picks up after you get off the TransCanada and drive the last hour into Fundy.  It gets quite a bit more hilly with long views of the Bay of Fundy in the final stretch into the campground.

Leg 4 Fundy National Park to Halifax:  This was one of the shortest legs and we chose to not follow the GPS straight back to the Trans Canada and on to Moncton, we ended up taking highway 114 along the coast of the Bay of Fundy which is a very scenic secondary highway that hugs the water the whole way.  After Moncton, the drive was not much different from the TransCanada thru New Brunswick as we entered Nova Scotia.  It is worth noting that there is a toll on the TransCanada strategically located at the narrowest point where there are few secondary roads to avoid the toll.  The typical east coast rocky scenery you see in pictures does not really start until you get right to Halifax itself.

Leg 5 Halifax to Sydney:  This leg started on the TransCanada again until reaching Cape Breton Island.  I found some of the most aggressive and unfriendly drivers of anywhere in North America on this stretch.  Once onto Cape Breton, the scenery changed dramatically and the roads were smaller, winding and had lots of views.  As we got closer to Sydney, the views kept getting better and better with steep inclines and long mountain views over hills, bays and open ocean.  The last hour of this drive was one of the most scenic drives we have ever taken, second only to the next leg of this trip.

Leg 6 Sydney to Cape Breton Highlands NP Cheticamp:  For this part of the drive we planned to follow the Calbot Trail around the island to the North shore.  This was only 4 hours of driving which allowed us to stop at every turn off and lookout on the trail and still get to Cheticamp in time to set up before dinner.  This drive was the most spectacular drive we have ever taken.  Of all the drives we have taken thru the Poconos, the Adirondacks, the Laurentians, the Smokey’s and along various coastal drives like US Route 1, this is the best.  The only other drive that can come close to comparing is the Blue Ridge Parkway.  However with the great views, came quite a few long steep climbs, long steep drops, and twisty roads with sheer drop offs.  There was even some construction near Cheticamp just to keep us on our toes.    Although we were able to manage the drive just fine with our rig in tow, you need to be comfortable driving in mountains and be prepared to downshift so you do not burn thru your brake pads.  Taking the trail from Sydney to Cheticamp is the better direction, as this puts you on the outside edge the entire way, the passenger side will have an amazing view the whole way.  Going the other direction puts you closer to the hills with less ability to see the sights below, although going the wrong direction is still going to be one of the best drives one can take.  Word of warning, almost immediately after leaving the Sydney KOA we had to do a ferry.  This ferry ride was only a few minutes/ few hundred feet across and only cost about $7 to cross, however we were lucky having an SUV and a 21′ trailer.  I did see them turn away a Class C motor home on the other side and when I talked to one of the crew about the size of my rig, it was clear there was a size limit and that mine was OK.  The alternative would be another 30 minutes added to the trip to detour.

Leg 7 Cheticamp to PEI National Park:  After you leave the national park, it almost immediately changes from huge hills to small hilly/rocky fishing towns like you would see in postcards.  After we left Cape Breton, we joined the TransCanada again until New Glasgow.  We decided instead of taking the TransCanada the rest of the way to turn off and take highway 6 along the coast.  Again this route was like the drive from Fundy to Moncton, lots of views, small fishing villages and scenery.  this route takes you right to the bridge to PEI.  Like the previous trip, the bridge and the drive thru PEI was spectacular.

Leg 8 PEI National Park to Jellystone Woodstock:  This drive was just a straightforward drive along the TransCanada once we left PEI.  New Brunswick is fairly easy driving as it is not flat and boring, there is always something to drive up, down or around to keep you occupied while behind the wheel.

Leg 9 Jellystone to Quebec City:  By this point we were repeating the drive down so it looks the same both directions.

Leg 10 Quebec City to Mallorytown:  Again this drive was the same as the drive out east

Leg 11 Mallorytown to Home:  The only difference on this leg was there was no Canada day traffic to slow us down.


The Stops

Mallorytown KOA: I have written about this KOA in the past, it is one of our favorites, it is quiet, well-kept and the owners are excellent.  The first stop of our trip was on Canada day.  There was no shortage of activities and they had a professional firework show at the end of the night.

Quebec City KOA:  On our way down we did not get a chance to really enjoy this KOA as it was pouring rain and we arrived late in the day and ended up staying in the trailer all evening.

Fundy National Park:  The park is a definite must see, the Chignecto campground was well forested and private.  The drive thru the park was incredibly scenic with long ocean views from the tops of the hills.  There is an amazing lookout with the UNESCO World Heritage Site plaque just up the hill from the Headquarters campground.  The pool, which is not far from the Headquarters campground was unique as it was built right on the edge of the Bay of Fundy with nothing but a glass wall keeping the ocean spray back.  The town of Alma is right next door to the park and it was quite nice and not too touristy, with an excellent little bakery and a perfect spot to witness the tides from the bridge.  Fundy is in easy driving distance to Cape Hope Provincial park where you can see the famous flowerpots and caves at low tide.  Cape Enrage Lighthouse is another great place to see a lighthouse and to go right down to the water to see the tides and is an easy drive from the park.  The roads in this area are very scenic and there are even a few covered bridges in the area as well as lots of maritime post card views.

Halifax West KOA: This KOA was the biggest disappointment of the trip.  You could tell at one time it was a great park, but in the past few years they bulldozed a swamp and filled it in to make a big back section for larger RV’s.  The back section was flat and open with no privacy.  Because it was built on a swamp the sites were very uneven and buggy.  Also we had issues with both water pressure in the morning and had frequent brownouts as well.  The kids still loved the park and we probably would have enjoyed it more if we stayed up in the front forested area.  However this park was well located as we could get down into the city to see the Titanic Graves, The Maritime Museum, The Citadel, and the Keith’s Brewery Tour in under a half hour.  Peggy’s cove was also only an hour away and was cold but absolutely incredible to see and to climb the rocks on the shore.

Sydney KOA:  This campground is very unique with great views.  It is not a big park and probably the only real draw to it is that it is close to the ferry to Newfoundland.  However the campground is built on the side of a very large hill with terraced rows so every site has amazing views of the water, the bridge and the surrounding hills of the Cabot Trail.

Cape Breton Highlands NP:  The park itself is quite large and takes hours to drive across but the Cabot Trail thru the park is very scenic with some of the best postcard views near Cheticamp campground.  There are also numerous primitive camping areas along the trail and lots of hikes as well.  Cheticamp was a nice campground but we picked poorly and ended up right beside the maintenance yard and had a lot of heavy equipment noise while we were there.  If you are at Cheticamp or anywhere on the north side of the island, doing the Skyline trail is an absolute must.  You do not need to do the full 10km loop, in fact I would suggest you take the left fork to the lookout and return on the same path and only do about 6km.  The rest of the loop is nice but really the wow factor of this trail is the boardwalk that goes right on the tops of the hills along the water and has some of the best views on the entire east coast of North America.  It is worth noting that Cheticamp does not have laundry as we found out after we arrived with a load of dirty clothes and the town has a small laundry that at the time only had one working dryer.

PEI National Park:  I have talked about PEI National Park before, Cavendish is one of our favorite campgrounds.  The park is well-kept, has new comfort stations, the red sand beach is amazing to walk along and to watch the sun set.  The full hookup sites in the trees are very large and will accommodate a large Class A with a Toad.  If you want just water/electric or unserviced, you can get a grass site right at the beach and watch the sun set right from your site.  The Cavendish area is touristy due to all the Ann of Green Gables activities, but it is not over the top touristy like Niagara Falls or Las Vegas.  This trip we ventured further away to the north part of the island to see the famous bottle house and a lighthouse that was converted to a hotel.

Woodstock Jellystone:  This campground was a letdown for us as well.  The water park is fantastic however the sites were quite tiny and it was difficult to fit a small trailer in.  It was also a party park.  There were lots of people running around yelling, lots of tailgate parties, and lots of extended family visits.  The park is also beside the TransCanada so the road was quite loud as well.

Quebec City KOA:  On the return visit we stayed in Quebec for a few days to visit the old city.  The city itself is fantastic and well worth the visit.  The park turned out to be quite nice and the staff were very friendly.  Although we did our best to speak French, everyone at the campground and in the old city was more than willing to speak English if you were struggling.

Mallorytown KOA: We initially planned on staying one night, just as a stop over on the way home, but we decided we just wanted to take it easy and relax after a long trip, so we added another night and just sat by the pool for a day.

Review: Jellystone Campground Woodstock NB

Jellystone Campground Woodstock

Warning, this is probably my most critical review to date!

Last summer as part of our east coast trip we decided to stop at the Jellystone campground near Woodstock NB.  As the stretch from Quebec city to Fundy has virtually no provincial, national, KOA or decent private parks, it makes for a very long drive.  We decided to break up our return trip with a campground with a decent water park in it.

In all fairness, the water park is excellent for a campground and possibly one of the best (if not only) water parks in all the Maritime provinces.  However we did not enjoy the campground itself.  The park is located right beside the TransCanada highway with no buffer space.  There are sites right up against the fence separating the park from the highway with very little vegetation to block the sounds and sights of the highway.  This made for a rather loud visit.  The park itself had more of a trailer park feel to it than a typical Jellystone, KOA or Provincial/National park.  It seemed to be the go to place to spend a summer sitting outside your 1970’s era trailer with a dirty shirt on, while you drank beer and yelled at your kids as they ran loose like rabid dogs breaking the rules.

In the end we felt that the water park was not enough to offset the highway noise and the wild atmosphere.  We left feeling uncomfortable and out-of-place because we did not drink publicly and because our kids were well-behaved.  This one will be remembered for a very long time as one of our least favorite camping experiences.  The next time we go out east (and we will, it is amazing out east) we will opt for a Wal-Mart parking lot if we need to stop over in that area again.

Review: Fundy National Park

Bay of Fundy

Fundy National Park is located on the south coast of New Brunswick and is a reasonable drive from St John and Moncton.  Its draw is the Bay of Fundy which boasts some of the highest tides in the world.  This is one of the reasons UNESCO has designated the area as a World Heritage Site and it is well worth the honor.

The park itself is huge and has far more than just the tides.  There are a a number of campgrounds with excellent natural sites, some have WIFI and some even have views of the tidal basin.  The drives thru the park are very scenic with huge hills and amazing views similar to the TransCanada highway near Lake Superior Provincial Park on the Ontario coast of Lake Superior.  The park has a really nice pool, set right on the shore of the Bay of Fundy.  The pool has amazing views, almost as good as an infinity pool.  The town of Alma is a quaint little tourist town, but not over commercialized like Bar Harbor.  Hopewell Rocks is nearby along a very scenic highway drive along the coast of the Bay of Fundy.  The rock formations and caves that you can see at low tide are amazing, and another of the reasons this area holds the honor from UNESCO.  The Cape Enrage lighthouse is a short scenic drive along the coast.  It is worth the walk out to the lighthouse and down to the water at the bottom of the cliffs.

If you are ever in Eastern Canada, Fundy National Park should be one of the top picks to visit along with Cape Breton Highlands National Park and PEI National Park.

Posting to Social Media, sharing or plagarism?


Over the past 3 years I have been putting out content on my blog and sharing info on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.  I have been learning a lot about generating traffic and generating revenue from the info I post.  My blog is not by any means popular like Nomadic Fanatic, Gone with the Wynns or SV Delos, however over the past few years I have posted a number of very technical articles.  These articles were the first time these particular ideas have been posted on the internet and I was proud that some of them still are either the only or the top rank search results on Google for those topics.

Over time, I looked at different ways to generate more traffic, some were successful and some were not but one method had a result that really surprised me.  At one point I decided to review my Twitter account and ensure I was following people who were relevant to my content so I started following all the big RV related Youtubers on Twitter.

What surprised me was that within a week of following a bunch of Youtubers, two RV Youtubers posted their next video and I was surprised to find out that two different pieces of content that were unique to only my blog had been turned into videos.  At first I wondered, is this coincidence that they thought of this, and I could not get out of my mind that this is very technical content that only someone with both a network engineering background and RVing background could come up with on their own.  Neither of these Youtubers had this skill set.  It was also difficult to get out of my head that they both posted these videos a week after I started following them.  So I wondered, should I be flattered that they liked my ideas or should I be insulted that they did not credit me.  In this world of social media should this be considered sharing or plagiarism?

Copyright 2017