Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Our first trip into Canada in many years–exploring Woodstock, Ontario


When we started planning our trip to the northeast, we debated whether we should go through Canada, or not.  It had been over 10 years since we’ve taken an RV over the border, but we had our new passports (and our enhanced licenses) and the border crossing at Port Huron was a straight shot across from Lansing after we dropped Bryce off at Michigan State, so we ultimately decided to give it a try.

The next decision was what route to take through Canada – we could stay south and go through Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls, but we’ve been to both of them before, or we could go north and east around the top of Lake Ontario before returning to the US in upstate New York.

We have some Canadian friends that we met in Florida a few years ago who have a cottage in a campground on Lake Ontario in Prince Edward County (between Toronto and Kingston), which looks like a really nice area, so we decided to be adventurous and go somewhere new.

Leaving from Durand to cross the border on Labor Day, we needed a first stop in Canada that wouldn’t be too far (just in case the border crossing took longer than expected . . . and we had no idea what to expect!) 

I focused in on the London area, and looked at all the campgrounds in the area – it proved to be more difficult than I expected to find RV Parks that were comparable to what we were used to in the US.  Many were small, and had small sites . . . and 50 amp hookups were hard to find!

We finally settled on Willow Lake Campground in Woodstock, ON, just northeast of London.  It’s a small park, but they had a few FHU 50 amp sites . . . and wifi available at the recreation building (what year is this??).

Leaving on the Labor Day holiday is not something that we would normally do, but we figured we were close enough to the border to be ahead of traffic, and wouldn’t have to contend with normal workday traffic, so we set out nice and early on Monday morning.  It turned out to be a good decision, and we reached the Blue Water Bridge with no issue, and there was no delay at the border crossing.  I put Tom’s phone on airplane mode as we got close to the border – he’ll just use it on wifi while we’re in Canada – but my iPhone is on our corporate plan which includes Canada and Mexico so we were all set for phone and texting, and could use some data, too, if needed.

Going into Canada

We paid our toll, and crossed the Blue Water Bridge to Canada.

Crossing the Blue Water Bridge

Not having been across the border in over 10 years, we were a little nervous!  We read lots of facebook and forum posts about border crossings, and felt we were pretty well prepared – we had our passports ready, documentation of Casey’s rabies vaccine, registration and insurance documentation for both the Jeep and the motorhome, and a list of our refrigerator and freezer contents, as well as alcohol . . . and we didn’t need any of it!  Well, except for the passports!

Many people posted that they were repeatedly questioned about weapons, but we were only asked once.  Just that, and a few questions about where we were going and how long we would be there, and we were released to enter the country – easy peasy!  Whew!

We took the 402 to the 401, and found ourselves in the middle of farm country as we approached Woodstock . . . not much has changed from the last time we were in Canada!  Lots of wide open space!


We arrived at the campground before noon and got checked in by the very nice couple that owns the campground.  We apologized for being so early, as we didn’t know how long to allow for at the border, but they said no problem – the Labor Day weekend crowd had all gotten an early start, and all the sites were cleared out.

They directed us to our pull-thru site, and we got parked and set up for the next few days.  Time for some relaxing!

Willow Lake Campground

We were only there for 3 days, but met several nice people – there were a group of Canadians living in their RVs while they built new houses in the area, and a couple from the Netherlands who were visiting their grandkids in Woodstock.  Tom spent quite a bit of time visiting with Loes and her husband while I worked . . . he loves learning about other cultures!

The campground is small, but very cute – in addition to the RV sites, there is one loop of year-round residents in mobile homes, and a few rental cabins and this little house.

Rental House

Rental Cabins

The pool looked pretty nice, and it was still open . . . but it was a little too chilly for swimming!


The grounds were all well-kept, and there were lots of flowers around.

Cute Garden Area

Woodstock is a cute town, too . . . an old town, with beautiful homes in the downtown area.  One afternoon, we took a walk through the neighborhood, admiring all the old, stately homes.







This one was for sale!


Since we had done such a thorough job of emptying the refrigerator before entering Canada, we needed to stop at a grocery store to pick up a few things for the week.  I had no idea how to order lunchmeat in grams at the deli counter!! Smile

We found an old favorite from my childhood in the checkout line . . . YUM!

Toffee - YUM!

And we finally got to see what all the fuss about Canadian Tire is about . . .

Couldn't go to Canada without stopping in at Canadian Tire

it was a nice store (like a small version of Menards), but everything in Canada seems like it’s more expensive than in the states!  The exchange rate makes it a little better, but then you have to tack on the sales tax!

We finished the day with a great sunset!

Sunset_September 6th

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to Canada! Hope your trip through is as rewarding as you expect.
    As we've said before why we purchased a lot of our RV equipment in the U.S. was that even with the high (for us) exchange rate it was still cheaper to do it there.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.


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