Out for a drive south of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 6, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist! Arrive December 8th.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

$56 a night. For a campsite?

Yesterday, we drove from North Bay, Ontario to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. A fairly long day, but the drive went fine. We stopped at a couple of waterfalls along the way to take some pictures and stretch our legs.

And we were disappointed to learn that we will never be able to camp in Ontario Provincial Parks!

The first place we stopped was actually just outside of North Bay. A little park beside the highway called Duchesnay Falls.

Duchesnay Falls.

Kevin at the falls.

Notice Kevin with his coat and hat on! It was a little chilly. They had been calling for a 40% chance of rain, but fortunately it held off and we never saw a drop.

Next stop was at Chutes Provincial Park. There's a nice waterfall there and of course with the spring runoff we figured it would really be pouring over. And it was!

The little blue car at Chutes Provincial Park.

Of course the park gates are still closed, but for walking you are welcome to go and explore. First thing we spotted was the sign at the gatehouse advertising their camping rates...

Yikes!

We're obviously out of touch with reality. Or they are, we're not sure. Seriously? $44.07 for an electric only campsite? Actually, I looked it up and the fee is $45.20 for 2014.

We will never visit an Ontario Provincial Park at those prices. Oh, and don't forget to add on the $10.74 fee for your vehicle. 

Yep, $55.74 a night for a campsite.

Sorry, nope.

And there is no stipulation for an off season price. So even if the place is full at those rates during some weeks of July and August, the place will be empty in May, June, and September.

Stupidity, that's all I can say.

By the way, the campground we're working at this summer is $20 a night for full hookups, plus an $8 day use fee. 

Still lots of snow here!

The falls at Chutes Provincial Park.


Here's a quick video. Turn up the volume so you can hear the water!

Made it to the border and had no problem going through. We had told our couchsurfing hosts Sue and Jeff that we would probably be there around 4:00pm, but it was closer to 5:00pm when we arrived. 

We got acquainted and then Ruth said we would make supper and we went to Walmart and bought the fixings for a stir fry and a couple of nice cheap boxes of wine ($15 for five litres).

Spent the evening talking about travel.

Today, we don't have any firm plans for an overnight stop. So we'll see where we end up, but it'll probably be close to Duluth.

Yesterday's drive, 443 kms (275 miles).


31 comments:

  1. Actually the $45.10 fee does include one vehicle, which is still a ripoff. But do you pay your ridiculous GST on top of that?

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    1. Oh..you are correct, I missed that. The price includes the HST (Harmonized sales tax) of 13%.

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  2. WAY over my budget. $28 is actually the top of my budget so I'd just fit into your campground. All the more reason to boondock or go to Mexico ehh??

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    1. Definitely why we like to boondock and go to Mexico!

      Seeing that our campground fits into your price range are you going to come up and visit us this summer? ;-)

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  3. And I thought state parks were starting to get out of hand price-wise.

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    1. Still not quite as bad as the provincial parks here!

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  4. It's nuts. We considered staying near Sarnia/Petrolia a couple of years ago and thought they were high then. Much better to stay across the border at Port Huron Township campground at $25/night.

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    1. It's such a shame that it costs so much because they really are lovely campgrounds and if the price was reasonable we would happily pay it so that we can enjoy them but not at that price.

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  5. We stopped staying at Ontario Provincial parks years ago as the rates really escalated, loved the scenery and trails.
    But last summer we did do a quick getaway to a park on the Beach for 4 nights, a real treat but worth it for us.

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    1. Yep, they are expensive and because of that we are just boycotting them so for us that would mean we just aren't going to them even as a treat but I am glad that you enjoyed you beach time last summer.

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  6. The RV Park that we live in here in Kelowna charges $70.00 before tax in high season ( June 1 to Sept. 30 ) and $45.00 during low season and it is always full. Anyone wanting to camp here let me know as I can get you a member discount of $45.00 during high season. Crazy prices but it is paradise.

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    1. Wow, sorry but we could never pay $70 for a night, we won't even pay that for a hotel room! Hope somebody will take you up on your offer and visit you but the $45 is still too much for us, mind you if we were in the area we would still stop by and visit you for an afternoon. :-)

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    2. Good news is that there is street boondocking for 2 nites nearby.

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    3. We're pretty good at finding boondocking spots. Nothing wrong with street camping every once in a while. :-)

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  7. The day use fees here in Ontario are ridiculous as well! It's crazy that people pay those prices and it's the norm and accepted by most. Friends always ask us to go camping with them here and we refuse. All the beautiful places we have stayed for free boondocking or very little cost like a lot of the US State parks it makes me sad that here in Canada we put the cost so high. They are always full though in the summer which doesn't encourage them to lower prices.

    They do offer a 50% discount for day use only to anyone with Ont disability but I don't think that discount is even extended to non residents :( It's sad.

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    1. We totally agree, we prefer to boondock or stay at parks with low fees. We will even avoid parks with high day use fees. I did look and you can buy a day use pass for Ontario Parks for your vehicle for the summer (Apr. 1st to Nov. 30th) for $107.63 which includes the HST if you know that you will frequent enough Ontario Provincial Parks to make it worthwhile but we still think even that is a hefty price just for day use.

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  8. Hi Kevin and Ruth:
    I'm just beginning to catch up on blog-following. The last time I read one of your posts you were still in Mexico. Boy, I need to do some reading. As for the park prices, it's absurd to chafe that much; I guess they just make the decision on price based on what the campers will pay. It's a sad commentary on Canadian and Usonian (USA) culture.
    You are headed for Sturgeon Lake, right? Same job as last year? When will it open for the season?
    I'm on post-op day #5 - this is going to be a long recovery but will give me lots of time for non-physical activities, like reading and writing (blogs and more). You two, please, just continue to have fun and adventures and I'll tag along for the ride!

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    1. Hi Mary-Pat, you must have missed the blog post where we explained about our new job at Cabri Regional Park. A little further south in Saskatchewan from where we were last year. We'll be about 45 minutes from Swift Current.

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  9. We were finding Ontario parks were getting way out of sight for us financially so even though we were forced to stop fulltiming, it was probably a good time.

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    1. It's really a shame that it has come to that. During the busy summer months if they are full, then we don't blame them for charging these prices but in the shoulder season when they are mostly empty then the prices should be lowered.

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  10. Wow. We are planning to travel Highway 17 from Kenora to the Quebec in a few weeks. Were planning to stay in provincial parks. I guess not!!! BTW we are camp hosting at Graves Island Provincial Park in Nova Scotia in August. Their rate id 32.60 per night taxes included. No extra vehicle charge. For our US visitors this price is about US$29.00 at current exchange rates.

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    1. You can find lots of boondocking along that route. We did it back in October of 2007 and found some really nice spots.

      We have been to Graves Island Provincial Park back in 2001 but we were tenting camping at the time. Loved the area. Hope you have a fun summer there.

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  11. I think they set those high prices knowing the "city folk" will gladly pay. Too much for me I'm afraid. I think we have a couple cottages lined up for the summer. That should work. I may have to put in a little "sweat equity", but I'm kind of looking forward to it.

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    1. Have to admit that it seems lots of people don't even seem to bat an eye at the price. Camping used to be a cheap way to travel or vacation especially for families/people on a very tight budget but it seems that now these people have no hope of getting away for a holiday with a family.

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  12. I guess from a business standpoint, they charge that much because people will pay, and the season is so short they need to make up the shortfall of 8-9 months of winter when they need to be closed. That's how it was explained to me when we were faced with $40 a night in Alberta. I paid it because we didn't want to travel too far and gas alone would have cost more at the "cheaper" campsites. Now that we live so close to the US border, we don't even consider camping in Canada anymore, we head straight across the border (30 min drive) and camp in Washington state parks for half the cost (and pay cheaper gas!).
    But it's like anything else, people will still pay for the $55 campsite so they can charge that.

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    1. State parks don't need to "make up" for being closed in winter, because unlike privately owned parks, they don't need to pay any worker wages during that time---nor do they pay any mortgage or property tax on the land. The exorbitant fees are there simply because the public foolishly pays them.

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    2. Yep, we have to agree with you Dugg! Again if they are full during the busy months then they can charge that much but when they are dead for most of May, June and September then they should have a much lesser charge. It's better for them to have some people there than to have none. The park we will be working at doesn't charge these kinds of prices and they are open for the same amount of time.

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  13. We will have to beat feet through Ontario if we can't find some good boondocking. No way, $45! Harmonizing tax (whatever that may be) doesn't seem to harmonize with me. I may have to get a job as we go across Canada!

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    1. There is no reason to rush through Ontario, it is a beautiful province and there are tons of boondocking spots along the way if you look for them Also don't forget to use couchsurfing.org where you can stay in someone's driveway or on their property if they are out in the country. There is also a site called Boondockers Welcome and also Harvest Host.

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    2. By boondocking sites, do you mean free ones on Crown land? If so, how do you know it's Crown land and not private?

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    3. By boondocking I mean anywhere that looks good, it could be on Crown land but most of the time it is in parking lots a small village churches, some churches aren't even in a village. We had stayed in parking lots of downhill ski centres, some recreation centres, there are also the standby Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot and sometimes we find neat little places that are off from the road where we won't be in the way. We don't stay anywhere that has signs indicating No Overnight Parking.

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