La Coquille
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Information Bulletin for Safari Condo Owners Vol. 7 Number 1, April 2005

Translated by Yvan Dumontier


 


Safari Condo: the next generation!

 

By Dominique Nadeau

 (20-year-old daughter of Daniel Nadeau)

 

I have been camping ever since I can remember. You see, both of my parents are great camping and outdoors enthusiasts, as those of you who have met either of them will surely know. As I entered the years of my teenage rebellion, however, I began to realize that camping, cycling and outdoor activities were not such a great passions of mine. Thus my parents began to go camping on their own once again, just like before their darling daughter came along. Then there was a sudden change in my life; to my parents’ great surprise, I would go hiking or go on bicycle rides. As any parent will know, the only influence that can cause such drastic change in a young woman is a boyfriend!

 

Well before I knew it, my boyfriend and I were planning a trip together to celebrate the end of my first year in university. Being on a limited budget, the appeal of camping suddenly dawned on both us: no expensive hotel rooms, no constant eating in restaurants and complete freedom. Thankfully, I had excellent connections and I was able to borrow my mother’s Safari Condo SC for our 12-day getaway to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

 

After having a little packing crisis (after all I was not used to packing this light!), we climbed in and headed out on the open road. After a long trip, we arrived in Kill Devil Hills, on the Outer Banks. Since we were both exhausted, we decided to stay there, instead of going a little further south to Nags Head, where there was a greater choice of campgrounds. WARNING: there are only two campgrounds in Kill Devil Hills and neither of them is very appealing. I can only say I was glad I did not need to take a shower! The next day we rode our bikes around the town, which is mainly constituted of a major boulevard with the traditional industrial-size Mini Putts, outlet stores, and an impressive number of chalets. We visited the Wright Brothers Memorial. It is an interesting attraction, and it is interesting to note that the entrance is free for cyclists.

 

Then we slowly headed south to the Koa campground in Chicomacomico (south of Oregon inlet on a map). Following the Koa tradition, this campground had extremely clean bathrooms (which was a nice change from our previous night), was equipped with everything one would ever need and had a beach access. However, it was by far the most expensive campground we stayed at. On our first night, we bought some firewood and did a campfire on the beach. With the ocean roaring in the darkness, it is an unforgettable experience that I recommend to all. The next day we spent most of the day on the beach, burning, regardless of much sunscreen we put on; so the next thing we bought on our vacation, was a big beach parasol!

 

After our two nights at the Koa, we decided that we wanted to move farther South once more, to explore another part of the island. We passed through several towns such as Buxton and Hatteras. I recommend stopping over to see, and climb (if you have the stamina) the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in the United States. After this visit, we continued down to Cape Hatteras, where we took a free ferry to Ocracoke Island.

 

If I have to recommend one thing, I would have to say that you can skip everything else and just come and stay on Ocracoke Island for as long as you can. We both loved it so much that we stayed there until the last day of our vacation. The entire island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, except for the little harbour town of Ocracoke, which is absolutely gorgeous. The beaches are the nicest ones that we saw in all of the Outer Banks. The water was also warmer there, than anywhere else, allowing me to actually swim in the ocean for the first time on our trip. The national park campground is cheap, at $20 a night, and is also quite clean. Furthermore, many sites have a beach access. Truly, the beauty of the island and its beaches is well worth the rustic and cold showers, take it from a generally fussy girl! For the bicycle enthusiasts the campground is about 5 km from the entrance of the town, so it is a fairly short ride. The town is filled with adorable little shops, excellent ice cream stands, restaurants and you can also rent any type of watercraft imaginable.

 

As for me and my boyfriend, who had not been camping in years, we got the hang of it quite quickly. We had extensive breakfasts, and delicious suppers accompanied with wine on most nights. I truly received the royal treatment, since he even took me for a supper at sunset on the beach. Thankfully, we had an all wheel drive (AWD) Safari. I strongly recommend that if you go there, and you have an AWD vehicle you try a little supper at sunset on the beach. You have to be adventurous, however, since there is a strong likelihood that you could get stuck as we did. Indeed on our second supper we got stuck. But we discovered that deflating the tires would get you out of most jams thankfully!

 

We loved our trip so much that we had a very difficult time coming back to reality. As for me, I got bit by the camping bug once again, and I am planning other short getaways over the course of the summer.

 

Have a great camping season.

 

Card Decks

By Camil Bouchard

 

When travelling, we seldom forget to bring a deck of cards. Often, a few hands at bedtime and you’re in for a good night sleep. However, this is not the type of card I’m writing about.

 

If you plan to travel in the States and wish to sleep in truck stops along the way, a Flying J RV Real Value Club card is a must. This free Incentive card entitles you to a 1¢ per gallon discount on gasoline and a 5¢ per gallon discount on propane. Even more interesting considering these rest stops generally offer the best price for gas. You even get discounts on showers. Shower together for 6,50$ US: that includes soap, shampoo and towels.

 

Other cards that may be worth your while are the 12-month National Parks of Canada pass and the U.S. National Parks Pass. The latter costs 50.00$ US and is valid for one full year from first use in a park. This is worthwhile if travelling in an area with many parks to visit: this pass is also valid for National Monuments. In all U.S. parks, the pass is good for admission of vehicle and two adults. If you wish to camp in the Park, pay only camping charges (around 12 $). For example, while in Arizona, Denise and I visited five National Parks and three National Monuments for a total of 96.00 $ US. We saved 46,00$ US and our Pass is good for one full year.

 

 A National Parks of Canada Pass works on the same basis. There is a card valid for 28 National Parks, and one for 74 Canadian Historical Sites. Both cards are good for one year.

 

Another useful card is a Campground Card: KOA, Passport America or Encore, to name a few. It depends on your destination. We have the KOA card. With the discount, one night is roughly the same price as elsewhere, with generally super clean washrooms as a bonus. In addition, at laundry time, it’s a good place to camp.

 

Finally the Fédération québécoise de camping caravanning Card. When you join the FQCC, you get a free subscription to Camping Caravanning Magazine (in French only) and a membership card to obtain savings of 3 % on gasoline and diesel for all vehicles at Couche-Tard outlets in Québec.

 

As you can see, adding a special deck of cards to your road maps can make a difference. The choice is yours. Additional information is available on the following web sites: www.flyingj.com  www.nationalparks.org  www.pc.gc.ca  www.koa.com and www.campingquebec.com

 

Genuine Pleasure!

By Diane Rainville

 

What is more enjoyable than sea kayaking! Awash, in the great outdoors, frolicking with the loons! With such a quiet craft, bird watching is a breeze.

 

Last year, we visited Parc national d'Aiguebelle in the heart of Abitibi. At that time we were not the happy owners of a Safari Condo; so we rented ”La Demoiselle”, a cabin located on the shores of Lake Loïs. Then early in the morning, we would walk down to our kayaks, and enjoy the fresh air and smooth waters of daybreak!

 

We enjoyed watching many birds of prey, beavers at work and a small family of sandhill cranes. Delightful!

 

But our most rewarding observation day was a rainy one. Well equipped, we kept warm and dry: no sweat! We watched at will a grand duke, perched on a branch, half-asleep. Gorgeous! Memorable moments, aside from the weather!

 

Bike Touring in Europe

By Jean-Claude Bélanger

 

Are you a cycling enthusiast? Do you enjoy bike touring, that is, bicycling with saddlebags and taking time to visit places you’ve already seen driving by in a car but which take on a new perspective when biking?  One no longer rides to see the unfurling asphalt but to really watch the scenery, smell the countryside and most important take the time along the way to talk to people, always friendly to touring cyclists. If you’ve never tried this, you are missing something! Here in Québec, we have so many great regions for bicycle touring. Remember, home is the place to start.

 

After experiencing bike touring at home, consider riding in Europe. You will discover a new experience: towns are a short distance away, side roads abound and in good repair, drivers will respect cyclists and old world countries are packed with history. So much to discover.

 

Over the last ten years, Denise and I have cycled in Europe on many occasions. First, the Netherlands, then a circuit through Alsace, from Paris to Toulouse, and finally Italy’s Po Valley and Tuscany last summer. There is more than one way to practice bicycle touring in Europe. First, the organized tour such as those offered by Tour de l'Ile. The organizers look after logistics, itinerary, hotel reservations, luggage and management. On a two-week stay, expect to bike 75 to 100 km per day for ten days. Many have travelled this way and they were satisfied by and large. This formula is suitable for a first-time experience. In our opinion, this type of organised tour is fairly expensive, not long enough and offers little time for sightseeing considering the rather long legs each day. We prefer travelling in small groups (4 to 6 persons), planning our own itinerary and staying in control.

 

You will find in the text that follows a summary of our trip to Italy last summer. We setup our itinerary using Lonely Planet Cycling Italy as a guide, contacts with persons with experience on this route and Internet search results.

 

For each of the 30 days of the tour, we had a detailed map, a list of sights to see and accommodations along the way. Using the Internet, we made hotel reservations in Verona, Florence, Sienna and Rome. Since we wanted to tour the Po Valley in northern Italy, we landed in Nice, France with our bikes. A Montreal-Nice charter by Air Transat cost less than a flight to Milan or any other city in Italy. We brought our own bikes: if in a bag or a box, your bike travels free of charge. From Nice, we took the train to Pavia, the first small town across the border to Italy. Then over small roads and dyke paths en route to Verona. Because of the flatness of the terrain, we managed 70 to 90 km a day with ample time for sightseeing and lunch stops in the many attractive villages along the way. 

 

Since we cover relatively short distances each day, it seems impossible to visit many regions of a country, unless the train comes to the rescue between regions. So we took the train from Verona to Florence.  Travelling by train with a bike is not a problem in Italy, just like in France: Inquire beforehand, as not all trains accept bikes on board.

 

After two days in Florence, mainly sightseeing and little biking, we finally took bike touring seriously. Daily movements limited to 50 to 70 km for good reasons: Tuscany is a mountainous region, and, the sun is much hotter here in September than it is in Québec. Almost every day, we ended up in picturesque medieval villages located on buttes. Ten to twelve km hill climbs on winding roads with a reasonable slope and the unbelievable courtesy of drivers waiting patiently before overtaking at the right place and the right time. From the summit of each pass, the all-around view of the landscape was always overwhelming beyond expectations. Then, on some terrace, we would take in the past, over a cold beer or a first-rate Italian “gelato”.

 

Following a good shower and a bit of laundry, we would settle down to a well-deserved plate of genuine Italian pasta washed down with wine from the region. A good night sleep – accommodation is readily available though costly at times – and the next morning, we uncover the reward of yesterday’s climb: a long spill-free 10 to 12 km downhill run on a pothole-free roadway. And we’re off for another day of discovery, of feeling the warmth of the people who speak another language. Our main stops were in Greve in Chianti, Montevarchi, Arezzo, Montepulciano, Montalcino, San Gimignano, Volterra, San Vicenzo and Follonica by the sea. We biked a little over 1100 km over 20 days.

 

Our last stop was in Rome where the only biking we did was to reach our apartment. Cycling in Rome is nonsense, traffic is heavy and motorcyclists are all over between the automobile traffic and the parked cars. There’s just no room for cyclists.

 

We are quite fond of all our bike tours, but remain addicted to European tours. Count on us to return. Should you wish a helping hand in organising such a tour, we would be more than happy to meet with you and share any information we have. On the other hand, tell us about your bicycle tours abroad. This is just the way new projects come about. 

 

May we suggest combining a Safari Condo outing with an overnight bike tour including saddlebag and Bed and Breakfast – a new outdoors experience! Bon voyage! ([email protected])

 

No-fuss Sponsorships!

 

This summer, two Safari Condo RVs will provide support to athletes going all the way across Canada to raise funds for the cause each has taken up. The Safari Condo team is proud to be a partner in their projects. Here they are:

 

Cycling across Canada

By Rob Argalis

 

In May of this year, I will begin a cross-country cycle to raise money and awareness for The Arthritis Society of Canada.  This is not just any cycling feat.  I will be using a modified ice cream tricycle to remind people that everyday tasks can be a struggle for people with arthritis.   My mother is one of the over four million Canadians with this disease and her struggle provides my incentive for this project which is called “Spoking for More”.

 

I will begin my fundraising trip in Vancouver at the beginning of May 2005.  I will be accompanied by my Safari Condo van. I will cross Canada and the northern U.S. en route for Halifax in August. It will be a tiring ride but I know that at the end of each ride I will be able to relax in my Safari Condo van.

 

The Arthritis Society is Canada’s only not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing and promoting arthritis education, community support and research based solutions to Canadians living with Arthritis. Since its inception in 1948, The Arthritis Society has contributed more than $100 million towards Arthritis research to develop better treatments for Arthritis and ultimately to find a cure. 

 

Check out my progress on my website www.spokingformore.com or keep an eye for my trike or the van.  I just might be passing through your neighbourhood.

 

Thanks

Rob Argalis

160 Sunset Drive,

Tiverton, Ontario, Canada, N0G 2T0

Home 1-519-368-2725

[email protected]

www.spokingformore.com

 

A Great Trip for a Great Cause

 

Walk back to Québec from Vancouver, between April and September 2205: this is Judith Doyon’s target to collect funds for the YWCA to help women with shattered lives because she received help from many women throughout her professional and family life. Her objective is  130 000 $ for women in need. Safari Condo is proud to provide lodging and support to Mrs Doyon throughout her cross-Canada adventure. Keep up-to-date on the progress of Mrs Doyon and her team on the following web site: www.5130km.qc.ca  . To Rob Argalis and Judith Doyon, best of luck in your undertakings from all the staff of Safari Condo; you will certainly exceed your expectations!

 

DANIEL’S ADVICE & ASSISTANCE

By Daniel

 

Spring and your 2 Litre (0.5 US gal) Electric Water Heater (ISE)

 

Before using your water heater for the first time this season, make sure that the water heater tank is full, to avoid overheating the elements or tripping the thermal protection switch inside, as filling the water tank does not automatically fill the water heater. For this, when filling with water in the spring, turn on the hot water tap and let it run for at least four minutes, to fill the heater tank completely. If water heater does not work when the tank is full and the switch is on the « WATER HEATER » position, the probable cause is the thermal protection switch. To reset, remove the small cover on the front of the water heater and depress the plastic « RESET » button.

 

You have a propane water heater?

 

Before turning on your water heater for the first time this season, make sure that the water heater tank is full, to prevent damage to the unit. Before filling, check that both bypass valves are in horizontal position (for filling instructions, consult your Safari Condo Manual). To check that water heater really is full, switch pump on, remove heater’s outer screen and open the safety valve located in the upper portion of the heater. If you get water, then your water heater is full. You can now use your heater.

 

How to care for your awning.

 

Your awning serves as a sunscreen, an umbrella, a shelter in the cool of the evening, a towel dryer, a porch, and what have you. Here is some advice to keep this critical equipment for many years:

 

1.       Check awning supports regularly for any looseness between any support and the roof of the vehicle.  Supports must fit tightly to the vehicle roof. Supports can bend slightly but must not move where they linkup to the roof. If they do, completely remove awning from the supports and call the plant for an appointment to reinstall your awning.

 

2.       When opening the awning, always secure it to the ground using vertical supports. A gust of wind is so unpredictable! J

 

3.       For peace of mind, I use tent stakes and guy lines to further secure the installation.

 

4.       If there’s a storm brewing when you leave for an afternoon bike ride, it is a good idea to close the awning. It takes a few minutes, but it’s much better than picking up the awning on the other side of your RV when you return.

 

5.       Second to the wind, water is an awning’s worst enemy. If you have experienced this, you know what I’m referring to (Eh? Camil): the water pocket syndrome. It is true that if you do not tilt your awning to one side and it rains, a pocket of water will accumulate in the centre and, with the added weight of the water, damage the supports or tear up the canvas.

 

 

Have a great camping season!

 

 

What a crowd for the coming St-Jean-Baptiste weekend! More than 140 crews will snuggle up on Melville Island! Getting there is a breeze: From Trois-Rivières, take Highway 55 north, exit 211. Follow directions to la Cité de L’Énergie.

 

Since we expect to set an attendance record, we ask you not to setup your kitchen shelters; bring your extension cord and power bar. Since this campground is well equipped in electric service, it would seem that everyone would have power over the weekend.

 

To support the gentils organisateurs (g.o.), volunteers are required for light duties throughout the weekend. If interested, call the plant (1-877-806-3666) and leave your coordinates and availability. A g.o. will contact you.

 

Brace yourself for quite a party!