The Information Bulletin of Safari Condo Owners vol. 8 num. 2, September 2006
Translated by Dominique Nadeau
Safari Condo Reunions 2006 and 2007
The 2006 Safari Condo reunion brought together 200 participating vehicles, 420 guests at our Saturday night supper, a 80’ X 120’ tent, 540 chairs, 67 tables, 200 welcome packages, 5 musicians, 3 guest speakers for our conferences, the Condo Boutique moved from St-Nicolas to Rivière-du-Loup, the display of the “Marché des 3 Clochers” and the Safari Condo service and maintenance team. It is also much more than numbers. The reunion is first and foremost a magical moment where clients gather just for the fun of sharing news, travel stories and laughs. Each year the campground owners that welcome us tell us what an ordered, respectful and wonderful group you all are. Therefore, the first acknowledgments go to you; thank you to everyone who participated and to those who gave us a hand throughout the weekend. I have many other people to thank because a gathering of this magnitude requires enormous amounts of work and energy. I cannot possibly name everyone, and I do not want to forget anyone, but I know they will recognize themselves and their contributions. Without these people organizing such an event would be an impossible feat.
A heartfelt thank you,
To Mrs and Mr Edmond Leclerc, our organizers,
To Michèle and Gérard, the owners of the Camping du Quai of Rivière-du-Loup,
To the whole team who welcomed and placed everyone (kudos on a wonderful job!),
To our various speakers,
To our band of talented musicians (what a night!),
To Stéphane my brother-in-law for being the official photographer,
To the whole service and maintenance team from Safari Condo,
To the volunteers of the Condo-Boutique,
To Mr Martin Savoie for his counsel and service when renting our big tent,
To Mr Jacques Bélanger of Méchoui Bélan for their professional service,
To Mr Stéphane Marchand of the “Marché des 3 Clochers” for the good local products,
To our suppliers for their numerous gifts,
To GM and Assur-Expert for the welcome gifts that were given out to everyone,
To Dumoulin Électronique of Ste-Marie for graciously lending us the sound system, the projector and the screen.
The 2006 Reunion is now over, let’s look forward to 2007!
Children suffering from dysphasia thank Ms Louise Gagnon and all “condists”.
The Québec association for dysphasic children, and more specifically the Québec and Chaudière-Appalaches chapters, wish to thank all “condists” who encouraged Ms Louise Gagnon, grandmother of a dysphasic child, in her fund-raising activity. The $511.15 raised from the flags she sold at the 2006 reunion will purchase materials used in our gym activities done in Saturday school.
Those affected by dysphasia need tremendous energy and lots of effort in order to move beyond the communication and learning difficulties that stem from this condition. Life is extremely different for those touched by dysphasia, and the needs of children suffering from this condition are great, while the help available to them is often insufficient. The initiative of a highly creative grandmother will certainly make a difference in many children’s acquisition of skills for their global development.
Québec Association of Dysphasic Children, Québec City Chapter
332, 2e Avenue
Portneuf, Qc. G0A 2Y0
e-mail : [email protected]
The Great 2007 Safari Condo Reunion: The Madeleine Islands!
We announced it at our Rivière-du-Loup Reunion and since then the news has spread like wild fire. In case you did not know yet our next Great Safari Condo Reunion will be held in the Madeleine Islands. Just imagine the endless sea and kilometres of beach!
Usually, we start talking about our reunion only in December. Here, however, we have a boat to catch. Therefore, if we do not want to miss it, it is important to plan for it in advance! J Of course the first step then, will be for you to reserve your crossing (back and forth) to the islands yourselves. The second will be to send us your subscription form, which you will find in December’s edition of “La Coquille”. For the crossing to the islands CTMA has added a ship just for us in the night of July 22 to the 23 at 2 am. If we fill this first ferry it will be possible to reserve on the one leaving on July 23 at 2 pm (14 hrs). You can choose the date on which you wish to return and you should reserve it at the same time. In the December edition of “La Coquille” we will speak more in details about the reunion itself, and you will also find the subscription form. On the form there will be a space for you to write your CTMA reservation number (important information, required for everyone except those from the Madeleine Islands). The subscription fees will include 5 nights of camping: July 23-24-25-26 and 27 at the Camping le Barachois. It will also include our traditional supper. If you would like to stay on the islands for a longer period I would suggest for you to reserve your extra nights in advance at any of the many campgrounds on the islands. Once again here are the steps to follow:
1. Call CTMA starting October 10 2006, in order to reserve your crossing. The ferry to the islands will leave on the night of July 22 to 23 2007 at 2 am. Introduce yourselves as part of the Safari Condo group. If this ship is full, make a reservation on the crossing leaving on July 23 2007 at 2 pm (14 hrs). Take down the reservation number, and keep in a safe place; you will need it in December for your subscription. It is important to tell the person taking your reservation if you plan on bringing a trailer, a bike rack that you cannot take down, or a kayak on the top of your vehicle. The more exact the information, the smoother the boarding will be. For reservations: CTMA: 1-888-986-3278.
The ferry for the Madeleine Islands will take you from the port of Souris, P.E.I. and will drop you in Cap aux Meules. The crossing lasts about 5 hrs. You will find more details about this in the December edition of “La Coquille”. To get more information on the Madeleine Islands, you can visit their official web site: www.ilesdelamadeleine.com. There you will be able to get, amongst other things, the list of campgrounds and the tourist guide.
It is important to reserve your return crossing on the ferry for the date of your choice, at the same time as you reserve your trip on the ferry heading to the islands.
2. Reserve a campground if you are planning on staying on the islands after the 27 of July.
3. In December, send us your subscription form for the reunion. You will find it in the winter edition of “La Coquille”.
Warning! We are working here with the time of the Maritimes, not Eastern standard time.
The 2006 Safari Condo Photo Contest
Even if the small Kodaks of our childhood have changed, the ultimate goal of photography remains the same: to immortalize the moment so that in the years to come we can remember it again and again. I know that you must have made those cameras click in the year 2006. You must have magical moments to share with us. Therefore I hope that, as in previous years, many of you will participate in our contest. Here are the rules for the 2006 photo contest:
1: The subject must be related to Safari Condo (vehicle, condists with vehicle in the background, snails, logo etc.).
2: You can send a maximum of 2 photos.
3: This year we will no longer accept paper photos. Stéphane had to scan and digitalize them all, which was a highly time consuming task. If you do not possess a digital camera, just have your pictures scanned by a friend or a colleague and then send them to Stéphane.
4: Digital pictures will need to have a minimum of 2 million pixels and should not be compressed when they are e-mailed.
5: Please make sure to identify your name as well as the location where the photos were taken. You can add comments, since we sometimes have space on the calendar to add some text. You can personalize your pictures in this way. Other condists like to know where the pictures were taken and have a few details on the trip.
6: The final entry date to participate to the contest: October 31, 2006.
7: The photos are judged based on these 3 criterions: originality, emotion, and technique.
8: When entering the contest you give Safari Condo the right to use your photos in marketing and publicities (like in our brochure and our web site), as well as in the calendar.
9: The prizes given to the 3 winners will be … a surprise! J
10: Send your pictures to Stéphane Nadeau at the following e-mail address: [email protected] . Write in large bold font: 2006 PHOTO CONTEST, and ask for a confirmation that your e-mail was read.
Thanksgiving should remind you every year that in the second week of October, the winterization of your vehicle should be done. Refer to your owner’s manual in the winterization section. Please pay special attention to the following points:
1. BE CAREFUL with showers, toilet hand spray, and other similar items of plumbing. They are easy to forget, but it is imperative that anti-freeze go in all the plumbing!
2. IMPORTANT: For all clients whose vehicles are outfitted with the faucet / vegetable spray (2006 vehicles), there is a one-way valve, and the winterization method in the manual is incomplete. You must take out the exterior cover that gives you access to the water-heater. Then open the security valve to completely drain your system of water.
If you use your Safari Condo all year round, good winter tires are a must. Four season tires may be somewhat acceptable for the first winter, but by the second you should invest in the purchase of good winter tires. You can find more details and tips on this in “La Coquille” of September 2005 (www.safaricondo.com). If you are heading south you can keep your four season tires. Especially if you can choose your departure date according to the weather forecast.
You would like to store your Safari Condo?
Safari Condo offers a heated storage service in St-Frédéric, just in front of our plant. You still have to do the winterization of your vehicle, since a power shortage is possible. For more information about this, please call the plant at 1-418-426-3666 or 1-877-806-3666.
If you store your vehicle for the winter, do not forget to turn off all appliances that could consume electricity, such as the inverter, propane gas detector and carbon monoxide detector. This will prevent your batteries from being drained and freezing. (Refer to the Coquille of October 2003).
Traveling in Europe
By Gaétan Boulanger
Note: After seeing the interest raised by the publication of his last article, Mr Boulanger wrote another in answer to all the questions raised by the first. He now further addresses the topic of shipping a Safari Condo to Europe and he explores other possibilities.
Q.1 Is it possible to rent a camper in Europe?
Yes, but it is expensive. It costs about 46,000$ for a year. Furthermore, many rental companies will not rent for a period longer than 3 months.
Q.2 Is it better to ship one’s own vehicle?
Taking your own vehicle has its advantages and its disadvantages. It is worth it if your trip is planned to last more than six months. This is a minimum to absorb the shipping costs.
1. You know your vehicle, it comfort, its road handling, its fuel economy, its maintenance, etc.
2. You get there with your licence. You are therefore not subjected to laws and constraints associated to licences of different European countries (such as the positioning of bikes, the addition of other licences, fog lights, etc.)
3. Canadians are always well-iked and welcomed. Your licence plate helps you. You are less likely to be subjected to road or police checks.
4. Some cities have restrictions on RV parking and circulation. Because of its appearance, a Safari Condo can be compared to a standard van and can benefit from more freedom.
1. The shipping and insurance cost. They can range from $ 3000 to 4500 for a one-way shipping. It costs just as much to ship the van back.
2. It is also important to consider the difference in the electrical systems. Europe works with 220 V current. Because of this you must buy a converter ($ 200 to 600) that will reduce the current to 110V.
3. Insurance: Complicated and costly ($2000 for one year)
4. Fuel costs: 50% more expensive in Europe than in Québec.
Q.3 Is it possible to buy a camper in Europe?
Yes, either over the Internet or through an agent. When you buy over there you save the costs related to overseas shipping and insurance. Your vehicle will work on 220 V, will be either gasoline or diesel powered, and it will meat European standards. You must, however, get a licence for your vehicle, which can cause delays. For example, in France you must wait 2 to 3 months to get a licence plate. Furthermore, it is often complicated and frustrating to try and find an insurance company for your vehicle.
Q.4 What are my options at the end of the trip?
Once your trip is over you can either sell your camper yourself through an internet site, leave it under consignation to be sold by an agent (with a 10% commission), or you can keep it in storage at 30$/month if you plan on returning.
A company based in the Netherlands offers a complete service for the purchase, licensing, insuring and resale of campers, with a commission. Go to www.dutchcampervans.com
Q.5 What are the important steps to take when preparing for a long trip to Europe?
The planning of such a trip will require a lot of time on your part. You must plan and review every part of your life. Depending on the goal of your trip, you may have to spend a lot of time reading in order to plan your itinerary and the countries you wish to visit. Tourist guides, maps, and camping guides are all essential. It is not, however, always possible to get the camping guides before leaving Canada. You must not waste time purchasing them upon your arrival. The purchase of more detailed maps may also be required. Local tourism offices are also priceless resources in helping you get more detailed information. Don’t forget to talk to other people camping around you; they may have great advice to impart.
Here are some things to think about before you leave:
- Establishing a budget.
- Preparing your vehicle for the trip (converter, shipping options, and insurance)
- Plane tickets (for cheap tickets check out Zoom Airlines at www.flyzoom.com)
- Government Healthcare – suspension when one spends more than 180 days outside the province.
- Alternative Healthcare coverage (Blue Cross, Desjardins etc.)
- Income tax report
- Management of your home during your trip: rent, insurance, mail, housekeeping etc.
- Storage of your car
- Management of other business
o Online bill payments
o Debit card
o Credit card
o Safety box
- Valid passport and color copies of the passport.
- International driver’s licence
- Copy of important documents
- Medical prescriptions and letters from your doctors
- Important addresses and resources
Prepare your vehicle. For instance you can have a safety box installed where you can put a laptop computer and other important documents.
Q.6 How does camping in Europe compare to camping in Canada?
There are different ways of camping in Europe: camping on official campgrounds (the most expensive option), camping in service areas or camping in the wild (wherever you see fit). We had equipped our Safari Condo in such a way that we could do any of these types of camping (solar panel, inverter, butane stove). We have a very limited experience of wilderness camping, since we only used it occasionally when we could find no other sites for camping. We chose to favour official campgrounds mostly out of safety concerns. We have also used service areas on occasion and the experience has always been a very positive one. Our experience extends only to France, Corsica, Spain, Italy, and Sardinia. We also spent 2 months in Morocco, but because it is so different from Europe we have not addressed it in this article.
It is necessary to purchase camping and service area guides in order to better chose the locations and places where you will spend the night. Signalization is often limited, so have a clear plan of where you are heading. There are a large number of campgrounds and they are rated according to a system of stars (from 1 to 5). In order to lower costs you can purchase camping- checks (camping-chèques) at the FQCC (Fédération québécoise de camping caravanning). During the low tourist season, these checks will guarantee you a night’s stay at a 3 or 4 star campground for 13,5 euros. Other European organizations offer similar deals (ex. ACSI).
The rates you will pay on campgrounds are based on periods of the year, the number of people, the type of vehicle and the electrical services. The water is drinkable and the electricity varies from 1 to 15 Amps. The electric outlets are often far apart. It is therefore very important to bring, along with your converter, a good 220 V extension cord. It is the same thing for water. You must have your hose with you, but keep in mind that there are not standard sizes for the diameter of the water faucets.
Campgrounds usually have an area specially designed for washing dishes and clothes. Hot showers, however, are not always available and extra costs are often associated with them. Some campgrounds sometimes have washer and dryers available but the costs are usually quite high (a load can cost you between 4 to 8 euros). Some campgrounds in Spain also offered rebates for longer stays. This type of deal does not exist in Italy, and it is rarely seen in France. Nevertheless, France has many municipal campgrounds that have really reasonable rates, even during peak season. These campgrounds also have the added advantages of being close to urban centres.
It is up to you to determine your criterions for your choice of campground (eg. Proximity to tourist attractions, restaurant services, Internet, close to train or bus station, pool access).
A letter from two Condists on the lam in Mexico
By Lili and Raymond Gaudreau
Hola Amigos! Our trip is super and we are savouring every moment. We are moving from one adventure to the other.
We spent a month on the West coast, swimming in the ocean and savouring the warm temperatures. We went to see whales in Rincon de Guayabitos and we snorkelled in Tenekatita. We left the West coast after having worked one night with the sea turtle sanctuary in Colola. This was a fantastic experience. Under the supervision of our guide, Rodolfo, we picked the eggs that the turtles were laying before us and brought them to safety. After 45 days these eggs will hatch in a supervised area of beach. We saw hundreds of little turtles hatch and we escorted them to the sea where only one in a hundred will live. Twenty-five years later it will come back to this same spot to lay its eggs.
We drove our Safari Condo to Morelia, a colonial town dating back to the 15th Century. It gives one the impression of being in Spain. It is still a large town and the crowded street soon pushed us to move on towards Ocampo. This is the winter home of the great Monarchs butterflies, El Rosario. This spot is world-famous and people from all over the globe travel there. Climbing this steep 2 km mountain is another enlightening experience; especially with butterflies hanging from every tree. As the day moves on and the air gets warmer they fly off, covering the sky, moving to the valley to feed on spring flowers. It is like a storm… they are everywhere. It is an intoxicating feeling. This place is cooler though. While during the day temperatures still go up to 26° C, they then go down to 5 or 6° C at night. It is a welcome change from the suffocating heat of the coast. On our second day we rented bikes and a guide, a nice fellow named Inoscencio, took us in trails where horses, donkeys and mules travel surrounded by a multitude of mariposas (butterflies). Wonderful!
In Mexico life costs us almost nothing. We rented bikes for 2$ each, and this price included the guide. We were gone for more than 2 hours. Needless to say I gave a very good tip to our guide. We ate large quantities of fruits such as mangoes, pineapples, bananas, avocados, peaches and black current, which were all very cheap. We very often ate in restaurants because it is no more expensive than preparing the food ourselves. Tacos and burritos are a dollar and a roasted chicken costs 3,40$. In Mexico there are no taxes. Another advantage is that they let you park overnight for free. We were alone in a large parking lot with a security guard at all time. On the West coast it’s the same thing. We were always able to find a beautiful beach where we could stay all night for free. In other places it costs 3$ per night. The solar panel works wonder as it usually can keep our batteries well charged, which allows our fridge to keep our cervezas (and other foods) cold. Gasoline in Mexico is sold at 65 cents a litre. This is, needless to say, a much better price than in Québec. We are becoming better and better at speaking some Spanish. The farther you get from tourist areas the more important it becomes to have some basic Spanish, as you can often no longer get by with just English.
Mexicans are extremely nice people. They do not know the meaning of stress. They are rarely in a hurry (except on the roads) and they are always ready to lend a hand. They are courteous and patient. We must add that they are noisy and love the fiesta. It is a beautiful country with landscapes that would take your breath away. Traveling through Mexico with a Safari Condo is a great adventure because you go where you want when you want. We met many people who used to fly for a week in Mexico, and who now bought a small camper to spend a few months at their own pace. It is a bohemian life and a nice change of pace. It will now have been two months since we arrived in Mexico and we have yet to see a single drop of rain. Viva Mexico!
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR ALL CONDISTS
In order for us to make sure we can keep sending La Coquille to everyone it is important to:
1: Tell us when you are selling or have sold your Safari Condo.
2: It is imperative that you give us your e-mail address if you have one. We have close to 900 bulletins to send, and it is so much simpler, faster and cheaper for us to send them by e-mail. This is a simple action that will help us tremendously.