Wherever the Road Leads

Camping

A Tale of Two Cultures

In 1960, my father took a 25% pay cut to leave the nearing-the-end-of-life Hollinger Gold Mine in the Northern Ontario mining town of Timmins, to take a more secure and promising job with the Federal Government in Ottawa, Canada’s capital.

One of the first vacations that I remember taking was with a borrowed tent to a campground named Dolly Copp, run by the National Forest Service in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The campground was 5½ hours away by car but the trip was worth it, as camping at Dolly Copp was free. It remained free to camp there until the National Forest Service, facing severe cutbacks, contracted out the running of the campground in the late nineties. Though primitive by today’s standards, the camp did feature flush toilets and showers.

dollycopp670

Our family became avid campers, eventually sleeping up off the ground after my father imported a light-weight English caravan that could be pulled behind our 1958 Hillman.

sprite
One of our favorite campgrounds used to be Lac Philippe in Gatineau Park in Quebec. We enjoyed Presqu-Ile and Ganonoque along the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands, Silver Lake, not far from Ottawa and perhaps most notably for me, The Pinery, within broadcast distance of radio station CKLW in Windsor/Detroit, the summer I discovered teen music and girls.

Then we discovered the exotic world called the United States. Wellesley Island State Park near Watertown New York, again, on the St. Lawrence River, but on the American side. The American side had 15¢ hamburgers and big-box discount stores where back-to-school clothes shopping made you fashionable within a budget.

Camping was a wonderful family experience and a wonderful growing experience in an awkward teenager’s life. Meeting new people, making new friends – even penpals – and asking girls to dance at the Saturday Sock-Hops all became just a little easier in time.

Most importantly, it was affordable for a family.

To that end, Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites is offering half-off camping. From July 15 through August 28, eight parks are offering a 50 percent discount on RV, tent and trailer campsites. Campers can enjoy swimming beaches and pools, boating and fishing, watching fireflies and making s’mores by the campfire – for less than $15 per night.

See here… Georgia State Parks Summer Camping

These are not primitive campsites in the middle of nowhere, these are interesting areas of the state and the parks offer sites from tenting to full hookups for RVs. At Reed-Bingham State Park, fifty miles from where I am right now, a full hook-up RV site – power, water, sewer – would be $125 per week. No tax.

Not quite as good a deal but still reasonable, my teenaged favorite campground, Wellesley Island New York State campground, a full hook-up RV site is $217 per week.

Comparatively, Ontario Provincial Parks offer water and electric hookups plus a dump station – no sewer hook-up – for $50 per night plus 13% sales tax. That comes to $400 per week. What’s affordable or family-friendly about that?

Thank God we camped when we did.

I’m not going to embark on an anti-Canadian rant. Y’all can figure it out from here.

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