La Coquille











Information Bulletin for Safari Condo Owners Vol. 6 Number 2, September 2004




For women who can’t make up their mind to travel alone

Micheline D.P. (May 2004)


January 2002, the day after settling down at the Blazing Star RV Park in San Antonio Texas, my husband Henry died of heart attack during his morning jog. A brutal shock, no less. Friendly as always, holidayers all around rushed in to help me out, even those who had settled down for the winter season. Two days later, I was on a flight back to Montreal with my dog Muffin. Henry’s body would follow.


Confused at the time, I don’t think I expressed much gratitude. It seemed appropriate to return: so I decided to travel all the way to California to visit my son and his young family. From that point on, my project matured and I purchased my first Safari Condo. A new vehicle, brand new, to take me where I wanted, when I wanted.


I was traveling to a known destination, I told myself, but felt anxious and nervous as I planned the trip and the departure date approached. But once on the road, what a change! I became “Queen of the High Road”. What a wonderful adventure! Six weeks of magnificent landscapes, unexpected encounters, surprises, and the best traveling music.


I had three things on my mind. First, establish contact with the Good Samaritans from Texas I’d been in touch with. Next, see the Land of Giants in California’s Sequoia National Park. There is no bigger living organism on this planet, a tree, a sequoia going by the name of General Sherman.



Translated by Yvan Dumontier


Like John Steinbeck who showed it to his dog Charley, his traveling companion, I wanted mine, Muffin, to see it too. Eyes clouded with tears, I repeated this line of Steinbeck’s to Charley: «Look Muffin, it’s the tree of all trees. It’s the end of the Quest.* “   Muffin didn’t seem to appreciate, but what can you expect, it’s a dog!  My third objective was to see my son in San Francisco. There, my Safari Condo was put to the test.  My grandchild Denis wanted to see everything, touch everything and understand everything. I told him all. Every day, he and I would spend hours inside the Safari Condo. I promised him that some day he could take it to see the world. Yes Nana, twuck, uffin… (Nana, that’s me; Twuck, that’s the truck, and Uffin, my dog). After all, Denis is only 21 months old.


Even today, when I talk about my adventure, my stunned listeners shout: “Alone!!! The whole way ?” And why not? Care and alertness are all that’s required. It’s magic! The Safari Condo can sneak in anywhere after all.


All you careful, alert and daring women, listen «Don’t hesitate. Go for it!" It’s wonderful.



*From John Steinbeck Travels with Charley – In search of America, Penguin Books 1997- French version.



A fantastic adventure!

Jane, Denis and Youri


With all the Condists who responded to our request for help in preparing this trip, and all the others who enjoy traveling as we do, we would like to share our last trip to the United States and western Canada. Thirty-nine days, ±15 000 km, 225 hours on the road, and 1000 pictures later: we returned woth our heads full of unforgettable memories. We loved everything about this trip, but had favorites.


In the States, we found the South Dakota Badlands simply fascinating. Just the three of us, for hours on end, under the burning sun, we wandered throughout this barren land of peaks, caverns, narrow tunnels and ridges as far as the eye can see. We felt like cowboys who had lost both their horse and their way, but were simply fascinated by the scenery. Wyoming’s Devil Tower, a tower formed over millions of years, is sheer beauty whatever the angle, the time of day or the distance away. We took   one-hour walk to its base for a detailed view. Looking in closely, climbers appeared as small dots on the surface. When we got to the base, angled at forty degrees, we were greeted by hailstorm and lightning which left us giggling. Soaked to the skin, we came back laughing from this unexpected shower.


Montana’s Bighorn Park will leave you breathless with its colorful canyons, juniper desert, wild horses, bighorns, rattlesnakes and deserted desert campgrounds. Imaginative and remembering the horror movies of our teen years, we nonetheless managed to sleep all alone in a spectacular star-studded sky. What a trip! Wyoming’s Yellowstone Park is mind-boggling with its geysers, colorful hot water springs, petrified wood forests, falls, wapitis, lakes and so on!  


In Canada, on Vancouver Island, in Goldstream and French River Parks, we felt like we were floating in “Alice in Wonderland.” Flowers galore, huge bearded trees, ferns so big we wanted to cuddle up. Enchanting! Great Glacier Park in British Columbia brought up vivid emotions. The Abbott Ridge Trail, with its 1040m elevation and 2450m high point, carried us through luxurious forests, sub alpine flower meadows, and snow peaks along the way. In addition, when we reached the top we found a 360-degree mountain top view of surrounding glaciers. Wow!!! We were overwhelmed by such emotions simply impossible to describe. An unforgettable magical moment which we recommend to everyone. Of course, it’s not the Mount Everest, but for us it was our Everest. Another shorter trail just as delightful, the Great Glacier along the thundering Illecillewaet River leading to the Glacier of the same name. Magnificent!  The Icefields Parkway, running through Jasper and Banff National Parks, is eerie with its many turquoise lakes and snow peaks along the highway. After a walk on the Iceberg in our winter coats, we changed into shorts and t-shirts and had another look from Parker Ridge where the unforgettable view from the top revealed an unbelievable panorama. Our canoe trip on outstanding Emerald Lake-such an appropriate name-was like a dream. Lake Louise and, for me, Moraine Lake near Banff, are striking. Every time we stopped to look around, its unbelievable colour left us breathless.


Finally, it was worth it to travel through southern Saskatchewan plains, valleys and badlands. I just loved camping where two charming retirees transformed their backyard bordering Grassland Park into a small campground: once again, we camped all alone amongst beautiful sunset- coloured greenery. I’ll stop here but let me tell you that we are open to sharing our experience with any or all condists who want more information. So there, that’s our great adventure. We have traveled a lot to this day, and such a trip was no more, no less, beautiful than the others, but clearly different. We came back transformed, delighted, stunned, amazed, and moved just like before. May we never stop our exploration of this big beautiful earth on which we live, with our new traveling companion, our Safari Condo that has always lived up to the challenge.



A Cycling Trip to Cape Cod on Thanksgiving

Pauline and Alain Marcotte


It’s Columbus Day in the United States. There are more tourists than usual in the fall, but less than in summer. We leave on Friday afternoon for Plymouth, MA. From Sherbrooke, we take Highway 55 to Stanstead, then 91 south to St.Johnsburry, and finally 93 to Boston. in the evening when traffic is tolerable, one may continue on 93 through Boston. Otherwise, especially when returning on a holiday Monday when traffic is heavy in Boston, use 95. After Boston, take Route 3 to Plymouth, exit 9 on Main Street to stopover at Wal-Mart’s at 381 Court St, Plymouth, MA 02360-7310 US. Addresses are available on and locations on There are posters banning overnight camping but we’ve never had problems the last 2 years.


We reached Cape Cod on Saturday using one of Sagamore or Bourne Bridges.


Because we wanted electricity, we stayed at the Shady Knoll Campground on Saturday and Sunday, but the Nickerson State Park would be the ideal campsite, being more central. Access is on Route 6A in Brewster. Cost is $12.00 plus $2.00 for water and $2.00 for sewer if required. 


Bicycling Paths:


On Cape Cod Canal, there are easy 14 Km paths going in both directions.


Cape Cod Rail Trail (38km) is an easy path from Dennis to Wellfleet. Get more information by searching Cape Cod Rail Trail in Google Canada. Click on Cape Cod Trail to get information. This trail crosses Nickerson State Park. Here are some interesting destinations. In Rock Harbor, stop at 3.7 miles for a great view of Cape Cod Bay. In Eastham, at 7.4 miles turn right on Locust Rd then Salt Pond Road, cross Route 6 and look for a bicycle path at the other end of the National Seashore Salt Pond Visitors Center parking lot. It’s National Seashore’s Nauset Trail. The 2.5km trail ends at Coast Guard Beach. Lock your bikes and enjoy the lovely beach. We always include this trip in our outing. This trail requires some effort, as there are slopes to climb among the sand dunes.


Shining Sea Bikeway in Falmouth: follow the coast near Martha’s Vineyard for 4.8miles to Wood Hole where city tours are available: you simply cannot imagine the seashore properties. 


National Seashore Bicycle Trails in Provincetown: More difficult with steep climbs, this trail is really worth it for Race Point and Herring Cove dunes and beaches.  


Head of the Meadow Trail in National Seashore: a 3km trail with very little to offer.


Martha’s Vineyard: the easiest access is by ferry in Falmouth, the Island Queen (timetable available in Google under Martha’s Vineyard Ferry, then click on Martha’s Vineyard Ferry Island Queen). We normally take the 10:00 a.m. ferry and return at 3:45 or 5:15 p.m. Plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to departure. Fares are $10.00 return and $6.00 for each bicycle. Parking ranges from $10.00 to $15.00. You may find free parking in town and bike to the ferry to avoid parking fees.


There is also a car ferry at Wood’s Hole. If you don’t ferry your car, rates are similar to the Island Queen’s and parking is $10.00.


There are many different trails in Martha’s Vineyard. The most scenic bicycle path takes you from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown, through the beaches of Nantuket Sound. It’s an easy 9.5km ride. You must see the “Gingerbread Cottages” in Oak Bluffs Cottage City. These small cottages were built starting in 1835 as a Methodist camp.


An easy but interesting 5.5km circuit takes you from Oak Bluffs to Vineyard Haven. Roadway conditions make it an easy ride. From Vineyard Haven, take the 9.5km trail along Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. When you get to Edgartown, either return to Oak Bluffs, or stay to savor the city’s special look: stately white houses in sharp contrast to Cape Cod where properties are covered with grey aged cedar shingles. There are many types of bus tours available to visit the island.


Last fall, we were late in returning to Wood’s Hole by the ferry and arrived in total darkness: we had to cycle 2 miles in zero visibility. We were seven and had only one small flashlight. For some, it was a shocking experience, and a rather funny one for the others.


There are also many readily available walking paths and beaches to loaf around. Provincetown is a charming place to visit. Enjoy the colourful gay parade late Saturday afternoons. The Shopping Centre in Hyannis is larger and Falmouth is home to many interesting boutiques.


Seafood aficionados won’t want to miss New England clam chowder, cod and lobster.


Normally, we start the trip back around 3:00 p.m. following a short bike tour and a bite to eat in a typically Italian Buzzards Bay pizzeria. To by-pass Boston, we take Route 495; take exit 7 to northbound Route 24, then Route 93 leading to Route 95 northwards. Finally, we take Exit 37 to 93 North back to Sherbrooke


On Thanksgiving, Cape Cod is all always dressed up for Halloween, and even more colourful than usual.




By Daniel


A few years ago, Michèle and I would plan our camping weekends punctiliously. Where to go, what to see, what to eat, and most important checked the weather forecast before making any kind of decision. I wonder: are we getting wiser or what? Over the last few years, we have been more or less ad-libbing, and to hell with the weather. We won’t let the weather spoil our Condo outing. Whatever the weather, it’s party time. All you need to enjoy Québec summers are a contingency plan and a Survival Kit. Over and above t-shirts and cargo pants, keep on hand a polar fleece pullover,  a wool sweater warm enough for a walk up Mount Mckinley, a windbreaker, a scarf, wool gloves, a tuque and rainwear. To have fun, one must wear whatever clothing is needed to keep warm. In other words, create your own microclimate! (In extreme weather conditions, a good book can be a substitute for all of the above).


Ditto for the winter just around the corner. If for some Condists, weekend Condo outings are out of the question, this is the call for new adventures for others. More and more winter sports fans use their Safari Condo as a pied-à-terre for all sorts of downhill or cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or just visiting all over Québec weekend trips. Your Safari Condo can be your B & B for a run on the Carnaval de Québec, or a gourmet weekend in Charlevoix. Endless potential. Let your imagination be your guide. You’ll discover a new angle to your Safari Condo, minus the awning, the running water, the water heater, and become part of that pristine white nature all around you.


Generally, we go out for one or two nights. Since the vehicle is winterized, I use 2-litre pop bottles filled with potable water. Once there, I also setup a 20-litre container with a spigot (Canadian Tire) on the ledge above the front seats. Since water must never reach the plumbing system, I put a washbasin in the sink to prevent any water from reaching the grey-water tank when washing hands or brushing teeth. Then we throw out the contents. There is no problem with the portable toilet; since there is no running water for cassette toilet, rinse out using a pop bottle. At the end of the trip simply dump the contents at home. Leave the heater on at all times to avoid freezing everything inside. Your curtains provide excellent insulation.  We let the front curtains hang behind the seats to reduce the living space requiring heating, and push the window curtains down in the slot to keep out the cold. Top up, top down, roof insulation, it’s up to you depending on the weather and your preferences. Your fridge will use much less power than in the summer, which only goes to show winter is not all bad.


Don’t make your first winter outing when it’s   -30ºC, but start by first giving fall a try, then venture into December, and slowly experiment this new way of life. Quick ! Grab your tuque and mitts! Winter is just around the corner and your Safari Condo is waiting.


What a test for the solar panels!


For our summer holidays, Michèle and I traveled to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for our biennial pilgrimage to the world’s largest aircraft celebration. This year was very special since not one, but three teams of Condists joined 50,000 people on the largest service-exempt campground one can ever imagine. For a whole week, Oskosh is host to 25,000 camping units, 14,000 planes, 865,000 visitors, 4,500 volunteers and the largest flotilla of blue toilets ever assembled. What a coincidence! Gisèle and Jacques, Denise and Camil like ourselves all have 110W solar panel equipped vehicles. Since we used only our bicycles to move around for groceries, or to visit the various exhibitions, our vehicles were parked for 8 days on end, cushy, without even one turn of a key. With one cloudy day alternating with a rainy day, the battery monitor still indicated a full charge when we left Oshkosh. The greatest challenge was set by Gisèle and Jacques who, every morning, had four toasts from an electric toaster and coffee from a 2-cup electric coffee maker. Jacques also kept a daily journal on his laptop that he had to recharge every second day using the AC Inverter. Add to that some lighting every day and a fridge often working hard in temperatures that reached 27ºC. His batteries were also fully charged on the day we left.


It seems that solar power provides an almost limitless self-sufficiency providing one doesn’t overuse energy-consuming appliances such as microwave, toaster, etc. and parks the vehicle in full sunlight. I am currently considering installation of two 80W panels, for a total of 160W and even more freedom!


Checking your Inverter


This concerns all owners of Safari Condo up to 2004 and equipped with an inverter. Throughout the summer, be sure to check both red and black inverter terminals for any deformation caused by overheating.


1.       Burning smell during a significant demand for power lasting at least 5 minutes (for example using the microwave),

2.       Low voltage alarm triggers faster than normal.


Cause: Over time, screws securing the wires to the terminals tend to loosen up. If diagnosed early, the inverter can be saved. Should you think your inverter shows signs of overheating, call Frédéric at the plant for additional information.


Secure Locking of Fridge


The new plastic latch on Novacool fridges is quite easy to use but is subject to misalignment over time. If your fridge does not automatically lock every time the door is closed, try one of these easy solutions to avoid any inconvenience. Both concern the door, not the fridge.  

1: Insert a small piece of air foam under the plastic strike plate. This will lift the plate and automatically lock onto the fridge locking system.




2: Unscrew both screws holding the plastic strike plate and insert two metal washers underneath the plate to lift it.


Don’t use both solutions at the same time. Choose one or the other.


Always check that fridge door and all cabinet panels are locked before driving away.


Thanksgiving = Winterizing


Don’t forget! All vehicles should be winterized when you return from your Thanksgiving outing.





 By Michèle




Those wishing additional information on Mexico can reach Mrs. Serré at this address:XXXX. Mr. and Mrs. Serré generously accepted to speak on this subject at the Gatineau gathering. Many thanks for also sharing your knowledge on the Web.


Covering North America

Mr. Dean Louder shares his traveling experience around North America, From Louisiana to Vancouver. Don’t forget to visit this web site under:, the “Condists” Corner, Journey Stories, 2004


The travels of Jim Roadrunner

Better known as Mr. James Carten, Jim to his friends. Discover not only the travels but also the tricks of a couple of most experienced Condists in “free-style” camping. Why pay when it can be free J. Fun guaranteed! Find shis web site under:, the “Condists” Corner, Journey Stories, 2004


Pictures of the 2004 Gathering

On the Safari Condo web site under:, the “Condists” Corner, Photos, Annual Reunion, 2004.


Winter Camping

If you’re interested, winter camping is available, including showers and washrooms, at

Camping Polaire, St-Léonard-de-Porneuf (Qué)




From all participants at Gathering 2004!


In June 1999, 38 teams traveled downstream on the Chaudière to Scott Jonction to join the Par Nado party. Six years later, more than one hundred vehicles gathered on the Hull Arena parking lot base camp, invited by VR Outaouais to discover the great Outaouais region on their own. Many people have joined the organizing team over the years to make this annual ever so sharply. With the growing number of participants year after year, these volunteers are like “pennies from heaven” because without each one of them this would be an insurmountable task. From the team at Safari Condo and all participating Condists, thank you!


·         To all Gathering 2004 participants

·         To our kind organizer, Sylvain Coulombe

·         To VR de l’Outaouais for their warm welcome

·         To all volunteers for their warm welcome

·         To the ”Symposium & condistes à l’œuvre“ team

·         To all participating artists

·         To all our speakers

·         To all biking guides

·         To all Safari Condo employees who worked over the weekend

·         To all our suppliers

·         To all our generous sponsors

·         To the Outaouais Tourism Office

·         To the Hull Casino

·         All the Condo-boutique volunteers

·         To Stéphane, our Camério, for all those great pictures of the gathering available on our web site.


Hope to see you next year!


2004 Picture Contest


It’s time to share your travel souvenirs: join our annual Picture Contest. We just love to see where your Safari Condo has led you and what special spots you have discovered. Here are a few simple rules for all participants:


1: The subject has to do with Safari Condo (Your Vehicle or part thereof, a snail, and so on)


2: Maximum of 3 pictures per participant


3: For printed pictures, please send a duplicate. Please note that, from now on, pictures submitted will not be returned to their owners


Please send your pictures to this address:


Safari Condo

Concours de photo

821 du Parc


G0N 1P0


4: Digitized pictures should be a minimum of 2 million pixels. Simply forward to this address: xxxxxxxxx. with PHOTOS 2004 (in caps) as subject and request a Return Receipt


5: Clearly identify your pictures with your name, and indicate where the picture was taken.


6: All participating pictures should reach us by October 31 2004.


7: Pictures are judged on the following points: Originality, emotional content and technique.


8: By participating, you grant Safari Condo the right to use your picture for advertising purposes (such as the brochure or web site, or simply to illustrate our annual calendar).


9: The prizes are as follows :


First Prize  200$ Gift Certificate from Dumoulin Ste-Marie (applicable in communication, electronics, computer or photography department)*

Second Prize: 100$ Safari Condo Gift Certificate** 

Third Prize: 75$ Safari Condo Gift Certificate **

Draw: 50$ Safari Condo Certificate  **


* The winner to contact Stéphane Nadeau at Dumoulin Ste-Marie for additional information. (Purchase can also be made over the phone using the Dumoulin web site form all available products)


**Condo boutique, vehicle additions, or maintenance.


Get those pictures in fast!!


Gathering 2005

Rendezvous on the St-Maurice!

Set aside the June 24, 25 and 26 2005 weekend to party with us on the St-Maurice River. You are invited to the Parc de l’île Melville-across from Shawinigan- by our friends from the Mauricie Region. Denis, Michel and Roger are dreaming up a fabulous weekend in an enchanting environment. Enough said already… more in the upcoming December Coquille.



Havre d’un soir

The Havre d’un soir is available on our web site. If you find mistakes, let us know before December: the new list will come out in January!


Ste-Rose du Nord

Cheryl-Lynn Lapointe and Benoit Lagacé


It’s worth it to go out of your way to see this picturesque village on the north shore of the Saguenay fjord:. We started from the pier where visitors can either board a cruise on the fjord or join a kayak expedition on the Saguenay.


After a hearty breakfast at the local snack bar, we decided to stay on dry land and explore the village.


Always on the lookout for “snails” to add to my collection, we stopped at the handicraft shop. In a single location, a number of local artisans proudly display their trade to the traveling public. On sale are authentic quality creations. Chat with the locals and find out about the town’s attractions, and if you’re lucky, you’ll learn all about the legend of “la descente des femmes”.


At the Musée de la Nature, Mr. Jean-Claude Grenon and his wife Mrs. Agnès Villeneuve will greet you. Throughout the guided tour, these long-time residents of Ste-Rose, artisan and writer, will delight you with tales of their life in this village. Located in a single-storey house, the Musée de la Nature consists of 6 rooms filled with a variety of stuffed animals and birds as well as a collection of  paintings and carvings, created by your hosts..


From the Musée, a hiking trail is only 10 minutes away along an uneven path. These well-equipped trails lead from one outstanding vantage point to another.


Since we wanted to attend the summer-long nightly Opera Recital at the Church, with Rosalie, who takes her singing lessons in Florence Italy, we stayed at the “la descente des femmes” Campground. According to many tourists we encountered while hiking, Rosalie has a great voice.


So, after dinner, a short walk and a hot coffee, we entered the Church. We are not operaphiles: we had no idea what to expect. The one-hour recital happened to be an excellent introduction to the world of opera. Rosalie has an exceptional voice indeed: and this is her way of paying for her singing lessons.


This was our 2004 holiday favourite. We hope that you too will want to explore this small town by the Saguenay.




Kitchen Shelter 12x14 ( 695$-750$-795$) , attached to VR or freestanding. You can leave with the vehicle and the shelter can stay behind. Great for long-term camping. Protection from rain and insects. ***


Rear Shower Curtain (195$), available for Series L and M Safari Condos. If not equipped with the Rear Shower, simply use the solar shower (15$ at the Condo Boutique) *


Removable Rear Door Air Conditioning (695$ installed), available for Series L and M Safari Condos. Vehicle must not have Rear Extension. Install or remove in 20 minutes. Replaces one of the windows in the rear door. Purchase or rent with option to purchase. For rentals, call the plant for more information. *


Folding Laptop Table (95$), for all  Safari Condos. Can be used as an extra table.


Auxiliary GPS (must be connected to a laptop) (199$), Earthmate by Delorme. Must be supported by mapping software such as Route 66, Streets and Trips or Street Atlas USA.


Auxiliary GPS and Street Atlas USA Kit (199$) 2004 from Delorme **

(Free software)


Street Atlas USA 2005 Software (79.95$) **


Route 66 Software, multilingual (79.95$)


Streets and Trips Software (59.95$) **


*Pictures available on the web:, our products, accessories

** Only in English.

*** Price will vary according to vehicle.




“You must have at least five provinces in Canada!”  Asked the thirty-year-old Amish young man right off the bat. We met him on the way to the grocery store and asked him about the Amish lifestyle in Indiana.


Shipshewana, in Lagrange County, in northern Indiana calls itself the Heart of Indiana Amish Country. But we found a small town harbouring a build-up of all sorts of handicraft, antiques and knickknack shops! However, this is home to the world-famous Shipshewana Flea Market and and reputable weekly auctions. Americans just love it! Walking through town, Denise and I had the feeling it was just another tourist trap!


We did see people traditionally dressed in horse-drawn carriages and wondered it this was a show for tourists who kept coming and coming as the day went on.


We then left town to explore the concession roads. This is where we discovered the daily lifestyle of local farmers. Some appear more traditional than others, but all generally stand out by our standards. Houses with electric power are few and far between; freshly washed clothes flutter in the wind on strange-looking T clotheslines by the vegetable gardens. Making hay is still done with horses; but the baling presses now run on gasoline. Cars and tractors are almost non-existent: every home has a carriage and a couple of horses or more.


Our young informer told us that schools are open to young people of all ages living on the same concession road and are located in a section of the house used also for religious activities. Something like to our country schools of yesterday. A few teachers travel all over the County to teach youngsters who normally drop out of school with only an elementary education.


As one father of four explained to us, the family farm is becoming so divided that it can no longer provide for all the families. He had inherited only 4 acres of land! “This is why I have to work for the English.” He said.


This is also why many arts and crafts shops have popped up throughout the concessions. Some build furniture, others grandfather clocks or carriages. Others work for American companies. Lagrange and neighboring Elkhart counties have the largest concentration of RV manufacturers in all the United States. “Fifty percent of vehicles are manufactured in Indiana and 80% of them are built in a 30-mile radius of Shipshewana.” says the fact sheet distributed at the campground entrance.


After 3 days of daily encounters with the local population of this small valley, we could spot the fake from the authentic and recognize 19th century community life. Only by pulling away and talking face to face with ordinary people were we able to get to know what life here really is like. This is the type or traveling that makes one grow up!

Denise and Camil