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Copyright rvtechwithrvrob.com 2017

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.

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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?

Youtube

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 rvtechwithrvrob.com 2017

It is that time of year again

RV Antifreeze

Since winter is very quickly creeping up on us I decided to do a post to point back to posts on a couple of topics that come up every fall:  RV Antifreeze and Snow Load

Choosing RV Antifreeze

RV Snow Load

Review: KOA Halifax West

Halifax West KOA

KOA Halifax West unfortunately goes down on our list of less preferred campgrounds.  There is no question that the park is well located for a visit to the Halifax area and even Peggys Cove.  However the park itself has had some growing pains that make us reluctant to recommend it without a strong warning.

The park itself has all the features you would expect of a KOA including a pool, laundry etc.  Even the sites in the front (older) section closest to the pool are excellent and if you can get a site in that area you may be much happier than we were.  The thing that we dislike about the park is that it recently went thru a poorly thought out expansion.  The first issue with this expansion is that the original park was surrounded by swamp on two sides (the back and the west sides) so to expand, their only option was swamp bound.  This presents several issues, one is that swamps tend to be popular breeding grounds for mosquitos and the back area did have its fair share of them.  The second is that many people often find out that when they fill in a swamp, they need to relevel the area frequently due to the soft wet and unstable ground.  Our site along with the roads and most sites in the new area was very uneven making it difficult to level the trailer, difficult to find a flat spot to put the picnic table and difficult to just find a flat spot to set up a chair.  The next issue was that with any expansion, the utilities like water and electricity need to be factored in, especially when increasing the size of the park around 3-4 times its original size.  A number of times every day we would see the voltage drop on our little Camco voltage meter to under 100v.  This kind of brownout is a silent killer as it does not cause equipment to stop working, it causes motors to draw more amps to make up for the reduction of volts, this generates heat which dramatically shortens the life of the Air Conditioner, Fridge and other appliances.  Finally the water service in the campground did not appear to have been upgraded when the park was expanded as during most parts of the day the water pressure was around the expected 50psi, but between 7am and 10am the water pressure would drop so low it was more like a leaky faucet than a steady stream.  This prevented us from being able to shower in the mornings so we had to do that in the evenings instead.

Now that it is a full year later, they may have overcome some of these growing pains but when we visited we were unhappy with the park due to all the issues we had.  However the area is still worth the visit with the Halifax Citadel, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (with many Titanic artifacts), the Fairview Cemetary (with most of the Titanic graves), the Keiths Brewery tours, the boardwalk and the close drive to Peggys Cove and Oak Island.

Surviving Canada 150 in Ottawa

Canada 150

This year we spent the Canada Day long weekend in Ottawa to celebrate the 150th birthday of Canada.  It was an incredible party with many nice people but was it ever busy.

We started our weekend on the Friday waiting for my wife to finish work at her school, then driving 500km to our campground, the Cardinal/Ottawa South KOA.  The campground was an hour south of Ottawa just off the 416.  We had to rush there to arrive before the desk closed at 9pm at the KOA, as Canada Day was the next morning and we planned to head into Ottawa before the desk opened the next morning.

The drive down was like nothing we have ever experienced.  Not only was it a Friday in the summer, but it was a long weekend Friday and we had to cross Toronto during rush hour.  What we did not expect was that so many people would also be heading to Ottawa for the celebrations the next day and Toronto would be the easy part.  I have never seen a 500km long traffic jam before that day.  Even though we took the 407 around the edge of Toronto, there was still heavy traffic all the way.  The service plazas along the way were lined up down the off ramps and the McDonald’s we stopped at in Brighton was so busy that people were lined up across the entire store to go to the bathroom with most of the men and boys opting for the back side of the dumpsters instead of waiting.

We ended up arriving at the KOA at 9pm on the nose and they had just locked the door.  I was able to get them to open back up with almost no convincing and we got checked in and were set up by 9:30.

The next day was to be a day like no other.  We planned strategically to park at a suburban park and ride in Fallowfield and take the express bus downtown.  The park and ride and the bus were not too busy but the bus filled up at the next stop.  When we arrived downtown I immediately noticed that things were different.  There were more police than I had ever seen, and many of them were carrying assault rifles.  The streets of the outer perimeter were blocked off with dump trucks, dozers, and graders presumably to prevent a repeat of some of the incidents that had happened in Europe recently.  There were so many people, all the streets were packed solid all thru the business district and the Byward Market areas which were both part of the outer perimeter.  News reports were saying that there were close to a half million people inside the perimeter which was smaller than Magic Kingdom at Disney World.

We decided that we wanted to catch the concerts so we got in the line to get into the inner perimeter around the Parliament.  When we got in the line, it was about 1km long and growing by the minute.  It took us 3 and a half hours to get to the first security checkpoint.  We met in the line some of the nicest people and spent most of the time talking with our linemates.  We also met a fair share of idiots insistent on creating new offshoots of the line wherever they liked.

When we reached the first checkpoint we noticed that security would be tight.  There were sniper nests setup on top of almost every building, more RCMP than I have ever seen, and every RCMP officer was carrying an assault rifle.  We cleared the first checkpoint quickly but the second one took a lot more work, as they checked everything on every person (adult and child).  They opened everything, poured out all the bags, questioned about anything unusual, they were very thorough which is what slowed the line down the most despite several dozen RCMP and security guards checking people.

We managed to finally get into the inner perimeter just after the Prime Minister and Prince Charles’ speeches.  After several hours on the hill we moved on to the Byward Market.

The day did not end quietly though.  It took about an hour to get on a bus as the crowds at the bust stops were huge.  Even after walking back a couple stops we still had huge crowds at the bus stops and had to wait about 10 full busses until we got on one.  It was only luck that we got on that bus as 2 busses arrived at the same time and the crowd headed to the first one and we went against the flow to head to the second bus.  That decision paid off as we were some of the first on the bus and all got seats.

In the end it was a lot of fun and a chance of a lifetime to do Canada’s 150th birthday.  Despite the crowds and disorganization,  we expected madness and have been to Disney World twice on Independence day so we had some idea of what the crowds would be like.

RIP Roadwarrior

For those who subscribe to YouTube RV channels like Nomadic Fanatic and Less Junk More Journey may have come across the channel Road warrior with Sean, Caro and their dogs.  There is not a lot of info but the other day Sean and Caro were riding their yellow Vespa to catch the eclipse and were hit from behind by a van.  Sean died at the scene and Caro was airlifted to a trauma center in Chattanooga.  A GoFundMe has been setup to help pay for Caro’s medical expenses.