An uncharacteristic early start had m’lady and I completing the 1150km drive from Ottawa to just-outside-of-Moncton, New Brunswick pretty early, arriving at my parents’ temporary home at 9pm (even more impressive: that’s just 8pm Ottawa-time). They were homeless for the summer while my mom oversaw another house-building project, so instead of just spending the weekends at their small RV campground (amongst like-minded friends and relatives who shared their comfy-camping lifestyle as well as a common interest in highly competitive low-impact lawn games, cards ’n Coors Light into the wee hours, and Sunday afternoon NASCAR) they were there all week long for the entire summer.
I stopped the car in front of their trailer and m’lady and I got out with a yawn and a stretch. Finding the trailer empty, I tossed our suitcases into what was to be our home for the next two weeks – mom and dad’s 31’ Sunseeker RV – and we headed towards the warm glow of the Lean-To. Swinging open the wooden screen door of the rec hall/bar/lounge we found the entire park of campers capping off a communal dinner with an evening of – you guessed it – cards ’n Coors Light.
After hugs, handshakes and reintroductions all ‘round I grabbed myself a tall glass and quickly caught up to the crowd with several rather thick Crown Royals and Cokes. (I’ve generally got to be in the right mood to drink Coors Light, and that mood is: “dismayed that there isn’t anything else to drink”.) By 11pm I had my regained my east coast accent (along with a bit of a slur) and by midnight m’lady and I were hunkering down for our first sleep in the camper.
The bed was comfortable and the east coast evening air was fresh and clean; we slept like the dead. We woke up to find my dad off fetching the paper in his golf cart while my mom busied herself cooking up a morning feast of bacon, eggs, and home fries, with home-made toast and home-made jam on the side.
After breakfast and plenty of coffees we got a few lessons on how to use the motor home then drove into Moncton. We stopped in to check out my mom’s house-in-progress and spent the bulk of the day visiting my brother and his family. Fast-forward through another not-dissimilar night of drinking, a second great sleep-like-the-dead, and a copycat breakfast and the departure for our first-ever RV vacation was upon us.
Err…except for a few more RV instructions (like my cousin-in-law feeding us details such as “Stick this here tube into that there hole and that’s how you drain ‘er,” while m’lady scuttled along behind trying to write it all down) and a last minute scrounge to borrow a bicycle rack. And then – finally! – we were off, just m’lady and I and our home-on-wheels pointed still further east.
We pounded nonstop along the Trans-Canada Highway until we hit the Nova Scotia border, where we pulled into the tourist info booth for maps and directions to a grocery store and a liquor store where we stocked up with necessary provisions. And groceries.
Despite its size I found the camper pretty easy to navigate, even along the smaller streets of Amherst, NS. I wouldn’t want to take it through a drive-thru but with a full kitchen there would be little need to. Out on the highway the thing drove like a dream. It was like a Cadillac in comparison to the beaten-down handicap bus I drove back-and-forth across the continent as myself and three friends pursued the dreams and realities of live rock and roll.
Now, just a couple of years on, I was piloting mom and dad’s Sunseeker up the Sunrise Trail scenic route towards our first real vacation stop of the trip, Heather Beach. We arrived to find ourselves the only ones there. We parked the camper and m’lady made us a nice, fresh, delicious lunch. We ate with the salty breeze wafting through the window and watched the waves roll in while we planned the rest of our day over coffees.
After lunch we walked up and down the deserted beach searching for seashells and cool rocks. By the time we got back to the camper a few more people (including two lifeguards) had showed up to enjoy the beach and no wonder, it was a beautiful spot and a beautiful day. So beautiful in fact that we debated whether or not to stay put and just camp there in the parking lot for the evening but on m’lady’s suggestion we pulled up anchor and made our way another hour or more down the road.
We ended up at a private campground in Seafoam, NS where we parked on a fully serviced campsite overlooking the ocean surrounded by other campers, the vast majority of which were there for the season. Most of these RV’s and trailers were essentially cottages, and it was quite a spot for cottaging. We plugged in everything we could remember and set off to explore a bit. The place was aptly named; as a result of the incessant waves frothing up and onto the sand unmistakeable amounts of foam does indeed collect on the beach. We sat on some rocks and pondered a creek that separated the beach from a cemetery on a small bluff. We ultimately decided that it was too wide to jump so we made plans to return the next day and explore the cemetery on our bikes.
Eventually we went back to the RV and made tacos* for dinner. Afterwards we revelled in our comfort, watched some tv and went down for another great night’s sleep.
This “camping” stuff is all right.
*Mexico’s answer to the exploding hot dog.