Chip Truck Adventures….. by Sabrina Henderson

Day 1 of renovations

Before the electricians show up we figure that we should go and get the chip trailer level and turned to sit exactly where we want it to. Myself, my boyfriend (Jason) my dad and Jason Banas all come together to try and decide where the trailer would look the best. You wouldn’t believe how complicated our conversations are on a regular basis with both Jackie’s husband and my boyfriend being named Jason. We decide to turn it on an angle just by moving it over a couple feet. Jason Banas in the Kabota digger came and lifted the tongue of the trailer and my Jason hooked the truck on the back of the trailer to help roll it out of where it had sunk in on the gravel. And on 3, they both simultaneously moved the trailer EXACTLY where I wanted it to go.  It was perfect.

Then came the fun of getting the trailer level. We had 4 jacks to put under the trailer and we figured that would be easy enough. Turns out nothing on the trailer itself was level so we didn’t even know where to start.

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The counters weren’t level, the window wasn’t installed level, even the floors weren’t level. And not only was it unlevel side to side, it was also unlevel front to back. Well after a few hours of fiddling around with it we think we got it where it is the most level it can be.

Then we wanted to create a concrete plan of what we are going to do about the electrical before the electricians showed up the next day. Well you can just imagine how the electrical was in the trailer. We had wires coming from every which-way to the panel, and some wires we didn’t even know where they were going or ended up.

After a while we ended up creating a plan and headed home for the night.

 

Day 2 of renovations

The next day my dad ending up taking off work to come and help and we met with the electricians bright and early. We walked through everything and they started to get to work tearing all of the old wiring out of the trailer. I went in the store to get some work done for the KOA and came back out and my counter top and my whole back wall was outside the trailer on the ground. I was fairly concerned that they had found something bad, but turns out my dad had better ideas for that wall and did away with all the old stuff. He had taken the table out and when he had started taking apart the back wall he noticed that the whole back wall was made of floor tiles stapled on.

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I went back in to get some more work done and returned a little bit later and to my surprise I now had a new location for my light switch and all new plug-ins…my dad was redoing the initial plan AGAIN. But in the end they are MUCH better!

I had then called the health inspector to see if we could schedule a date for his inspection the next week and he insisted that he comes and gives me a pre-opening assessment the next day! Well to say the least, the trailer was in no condition for the health inspector. So right after the electricians were finished we got down to work cleaning and re-building the back wall to get it somewhat presentable. Now lets see what the health inspector has to say about it!

Fryday update by Sabrina

Well it’s been over 3 months since an update on FRYDAY the Chip Trailer and a whole lot has happened in that short amount of time. I have struggled with finding quality food to serve, finalizing a menu, and getting the licensing process started. It has been a hectic winter getting everything planned so far but definitely one for the books.

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One of my main focuses this winter has been on finding some good quality food to cook in the chip trailer, and it has been a fairly large obstacle. I mean, I have got to test a lot of food so no complaints there, but there’s just so many options. I started with opinions from other chip truck owners and people in the food industry and worked from there. From the beginning I’ve been contemplating on whether to only use local meats or not. Thankfully within the last week I’ve finally made up my mind and found a local place that has delicious meat where I’m going to purchase the majority of my meat from, and oh man is it ever good.

Also finding a good seasoning recipe is a whole nother story. To put it in perspective, I think I’ve had pulled pork for dinner at least twice a week for the last 2 months…that’s how many pprecipes I’ve tried out. You’d think I would be sick of it by now, but who are we kidding, pulled pork never gets old! Thankfully, I have finally picked a good creamy coleslaw recipe and pulled pork sauce and rub recipes; I hope you all enjoy it as much as my family does.

 

 

Finalizing the menu has been difficult as well. Between narrowing down the food that I want to serve, finding a place to buy that food from, and determine portions, it has been a journey. We are putting a mini version of the menu in the park maps so every camper has an idea of the kind of food being served. Therefore, we needed a copy of the menu to send to the publishers, and I kid you not…I think I changed the menu at least 5 times (…so far) since we discussed finalizing the map. The life of an indecisive person. Well I funnelcakefinally think I have it finished and it is being sent to the publishers this week, and then there’s no turning back so I hope I got it right this time.

 

 

 

I think the most exciting part of this whole experience so far is having the electrician come on Tuesday. He’s going to be finishing up the wiring so it will officially be functional at the Brighton KOA for the first time…so surreal! After the electrical is finished then all the licensing and permits can be finished and we’ll be off and running.

Last week my appreciation cards finally showed up, and I’m so stoked about them. I ordered them from a company that helped me create my own design and when they showed up I was so happy with how they turned out. The amount of kind words and support I have received from all of you amazing campers has been extraordinary and just really wanted to show you all that I appreciate you and thank you for all of your support, that’s why I decided to make these cards in the first place. My heart is so full!

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I’ll give you another update when the licensing and renovations get finished… because everyone knows they never go smoothly haha

Sabrina.

Winter blues….

Hi all. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is sick of all this snow and having a touch of the winter blues.  The grey skies and overcast days are really bringing me down.  Despite how beautiful the blanket of snow is over all our property.

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The few gorgeous days with sun are so few and far between I’m really wondering how much more of this I can take.  And yet, we took advantage of one of those bright and glorious days just recently.

The whole family went out – which honestly took some convincing of my eldest and of myself to slog through putting on all the snow stuff.  I actually hate winter because of all the millions of layers we have to adorn just to stay warm enough to enjoy a brief amount of time.  It doesn’t seem worth it sometimes.

And yet…… something nudged me from the inside telling me to do it.  Convince Caleb and yourself and go out and play as a family.  All four of us.

Well, that’s just what we did.  We all packed in to our snow gear.  Donned our mitts, and hats, and boots, and pants and scarves and coats and it felt like it went on forever getting us all dressed.  With at least one of us falling over trying to search for an article of clothing every minute or so.  Except of course Jason.  If you know Jason at all, he knows exactly where all his belongings are located.

Ahhhh the perfection in opposites attracting….. or, NOT!  LOL  Luckily we did finally get outside or there might have been a less than pleasant remainder of the day.

And once I walked outside in to that dazzling sunshine and saw the shimmering snow I was so pumped.  I grabbed the toboggans from off the porch and stuck both kids in and drug them as far as I could before they just wanted to get out and play in the snow mounds Jason has been developing with his snow plow.

We managed to get in a ton of great slides because the newly fallen snow made for amazing sledding conditions.  And while we don’t have huge hills here, they are perfect for our little guys.  Maybe one day when they’re bigger they’ll brave a GT snow racer down the walking trail!!!  Actually, if I’m thinking correctly it will probably be more like a snowmobile and I will be riding on the back – Oh YEAH!

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We’ve had our great snow day now, the season can shift into Spring….. who’s with me????

I truly am looking forward to a new season.  The 2017 season is proving to be as busy and exciting as 2016.  We have more than 200 more reservations this year than we did on the same day in 2016.  I can’t say for sure what’s packing in the campers so early in the season but what I can say with certainty is that if you want to camp at the Brighton KOA at all during 2017 you better book soon.

Waiting may prove only to disappoint.

I look forward to seeing your names in the computer as you begin making online reservations or having a chance to catch up with you if you call me to book.

I hope the winter is keeping you all well!

Multi-generations having fun!

When I saw the photos of this next camper experience contest submission it got me thinking.  I’ve always sort of thought of our campground as being “tailored” more for younger children.  Having two boys under 5 when we first purchased the campground I was thinking more of activities and entertainment that would keep them and other kids of that age group happily engaged all summer long.

I’m realizing now that families are so diverse that they don’t just have kids of similar ages.  They might have some young ones and some older ones.  Or there might just be teenagers and because of our proximity to the beaches parents still may want to camp at our KOA.  Therefore I can’t just focus on what would keep the under 10 crowd entertained.  I need to make sure that I am constantly thinking of all ages and what they would desire in a camping experience.

While I know I tend to still focus on keeping little ones happy and occupied so that parents can get lots of relaxation time in, it’s important for me to remember that everyone wants to have fun while they are camping – the young, the young at heart and everyone in between.

I am always open for suggestions.  I may not always have those suggestions in the budget, but the more requests I get for the same items, the more likely I am to create a budget for them.  Keep those requests coming my friends!!!

I really want to thank the lady who submitted these photos and her story.  She shared with me that it was their first weekend in the trailer and have two daughters – a 23 year old and a 6 year old.  Now that is diversity!!!

It looks like they had a fantastic time with each other on the Big Bouncer!  And doesn’t she look adorable with her face paint on?

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Kids grow up so fast….

I honestly love my job.  Getting to know campers and watch their kids run around having fun all summer is one of the best ways to make a living I could ever imagine.  It’s hard work and long hours during the season but I’m such a people person that it truly is the perfect fit for me and our family.

This next contest submission is from a family I absolutely love seeing.  They came by to visit me at the Toronto RV show recently and it just made me all the more impatient for the season to get started.  You’d think after 6 months straight of 14-16 hour days with very few days off (only when I snuck off for the Tragically Hip concert) I’d be happy to prolong the break.  I am truly loving all the time I get to spend with my kids during this break time – but the rest of the time I’m bored silly and can’t wait to get back to “play”.

This family started camping at the Brighton KOA before we took over as new owners.  They felt that their kids were “growing up faster than we wanted to admit” so they decided to start camping to create some quality family time.  They started year one in a tent trailer and after camping turned out to be a huge hit, upgraded to a bigger trailer the following year.  “One with a bathroom……Ahhhhh”.

They started a tradition of opening the camping season at the Brighton KOA and once we had added the Big Bouncer they spent a ton more time here than just the beginning of the season.  Quoting from her email “the kids literally spend all day on it if we let them and we love it because it means by the time they eat dinner they are usually falling asleep at the table from jumping all day.”  You can see in these pictures that the kids aren’t the only ones jumping on it!

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The kids enjoy wagon rides, swimming in the pool, ice cream social, scavenger hunts, movie nights and all the fun stuff we plan for kids at the KOA.

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In her words, “Our absolute favourite was Halloween in the park this year. The kids are still talking about the awesome jack o lantern display, and how the tractor “broke down” and we had to run through the scary zombie trail! ( where by the way the entire group put the biggest chicken -me, at the head of the pack)”.15355646_10158203074280157_3830024919028477965_n

 

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It warms my heart to read of all the joy we are bringing to families.  I know this woman was smart and booked her camping trips early.  We are filling up really fast for so many of them.  The May weekends especially.

It will be camping season before we know it!  Don’t forget to check out the calendar of events on our site www.brightonkoa.com/events

New addition coming to Brighton KOA……. Disc Golf

I am so stoked to announce the newest addition to our recreational activities available at the Brighton KOA.  Drum Roll please………

DISC GOLF or what used to be lovingly referred to as Frolf.

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I am saving as much money as possible this year to be able to, God willing, purchase some new cabins for our 2018 season.  But, I didn’t want to go a whole season without adding something new and exciting for our campers.

We’ve just signed the deal for a course designer to come and help us set up a truly unique and somewhat challenging 9-hold Disc Golf course along our walking trail.

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If you haven’t played, I’ve been told it can be quite addicting and fun for all ages.  For you dads out there, grab your beer (cans please around the campground) and some discs and head out for an hour of fun and competition.

Or grab the family and all head out to get some exercise and fun while chucking frisbies at baskets to see if anyone can get a “hole-in-one”.

We’ve decided not to charge green fees for anyone to play.  If you need to rent discs there will be a rental charge and deposit (the deposit being returned once the discs are safely back in our care) or you can purchase your own discs in the store and continue to play all summer at no extra charge.  If you want a score card there will be a very small charge for those and the pencil just to cover the expense.

We really wanted to add value to the camping experience without it being a major expense to families – especially if you have a large family.

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I hope this new addition will continue to make the Brighton KOA a great camping family experience.

You won’t hear Mommy I’m Bored at this campground!

One of the reasons I love owning a campground is getting to know the repeat campers better.  We are so lucky to have such loyal campers that come back so often throughout the season that it really gives us a chance to develop more of a friendship.  I look forward to seeing their kids grow up over the years.

This next camper experience was shared by one of these families I’d say was developing into a friendship.  They camped with us 6 times in the 2016 season and I am really looking forward to seeing them again in 2017.

fb_img_1473728903385One of the weekends they camped was a long weekend so you can see them having sparklers at their site in the main photo.  I LOVE the long weekends because of the fireworks.  Hearing everyone clap at the end of the show always makes the cost and effort worth it.

The mom, who sent me the email, and her husband have two small children and one of the things they love about our campground is that everything is fairly close and the kids know the campground so well that her and hubby can get a bit of down time together while the kids go and play. It’s nice to see them all riding together on the wagon!

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Here are some photos of them enjoying the pool.  I know this is a favourite place for my kids too.  We keep it heated to 84 so that the parents can enjoy getting in with the kids!

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They happen to live very close by so she alfb_img_1473728830204so mentioned in her email how great it is to pack up at home and within a very short period of time they are all set up and camping.  They never hear “are we there yet?”  In fact, they truly make their site a home away from home.

 

And then she made a comment that made my heart swell because it truly is my biggest desire that we create a campground that entertains children so that parents can take a much needed break.  She said that she never hears “mommy I’m bored” at our KOA.  It makes me so happy to hear that.

 

Brave Grandmother tries camping for the first time!

I am truly enjoying spending time reading all the emails I’ve received with stories of your camping experiences at the Brighton KOA along with seeing all the photos you’ve included.  So thank you for sending them along.  KOA gift cards are being given out for each entry I use in my blog.  They can be picked up at your next camping trip with us.

This weeks entry is from a wonderful grandmother of 2, a four year old and a two year old!jean-thomerson-photos-3

It was inspiring to read her story because she admits in the first line that she hadn’t ever been camping before and “wasn’t that keen on it” but agreed to go because her granddaughter wanted her to go.  Their mother suffers from a gout like condition and wouldn’t be able to enjoy all the activities.  So, on the September long weekend, right before school started for the eldest, this brave grandmother went on a camping adventure – tent and all!

She shared with me in her email that she was reluctant at first because she didn’t want to sleep on the ground or experience mosquitoes and especially was worried about missing out on her luxuries like a bath or a stove to make her tea.  Well, with a little preparation she said that she was actually quite warm in the tent under some extra blankets.  And she wasn’t bothered by a single mosquito while enjoying the campfire!jean-thomerson-photos-2

She also was glad she didn’t have to give up her tea because we had it available at the store anytime she wanted one.

She told me her granddaughter was excited to collect stickers in her Passport to Fun and wanted to do all the different activities we have available – from the Big Bouncer, to swimming in the pool, playing on the riders in front of the store, watching fireworks, going on the wagon ride and eating Ice Cream at the Social.jean-thomerson-photos

In her words, “I will remember this time with my grandchildren forever and by the way sleeping in a tent wasn’t a big deal after all.”

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From the sounds of it, this family packed their weekend with all that we have to offer and enjoyed every minute of it.  I’m impressed that a grandmother would take on the challenge of her first camping trip at 65 years old and I am so glad that we were able to make it so great.

 

Camper Experience: Merry Christmas

Well, I thought this next post from a camper would be well timed since he actually uses the words Merry Christmas in his email of which I am simply going to copy and paste.

I have to admit, this next one had me feeling all the feels.  Especially feeling grateful for my husband and his heart for others.  Which is the main thing that attracted me to him in the first place.  He is so giving and generous.

Hello Jackie

Several years ago we stopped at the KOA in Brighton as we were passing through. You and Jason were not the owners then but the area was very pretty and we noted it as someplace we would return to again.

As fate would have it our daughter was accepted to Loyalist College in Belleville in 2016 and your KOA was very convenient when we were getting her settled.

Now my story is from Sunday September 4th, 2016 (Labour day weekend). We had decided to spend our last weekend with our daughter, camping at the KOA, before we sent her off to college life. The weather was fantastic and we were having a wonderful time.

On Sunday morning my wife told me, as she often does, that the holding tanks needed dumping. So after my morning coffee I went out and dumped the tanks. The problem arose when I tried to close the black water valve and it would not cooperate. It seemed like something was jammed and would not let the valve close. So I donned my rubber gloves and found a piece of wire and tried to dislodge whatever was causing the blockage.

After much frustration  and a few curse words, I conceded defeat and removed my rubber gloves and went to the KOA office with hopes of getting a telephone number for an RV service repair man to help me out.

The young lady at the desk told me that she would get Jason to come and talk with me. A short time later Jason arrived in his golf cart and we discussed my problem. He gave me the number for an RV service shop but said he was not sure if they worked on holiday weekends. He also told me that he had an attachment to connect a hose to flush the black tank out that he does not use and he said I could borrow it and give that a try.

I accepted his gracious offer and he returned with the attachment a short time later. When all was said and done, my blockage was cleared and I told Jason that I would be happy to buy the attachment he had loaned me, since by that point, it was far from being new. Jason replied, “Merry Christmas. It’s yours, don’t worry about it.”

From that point I was sold on The Brighton KOA.

We were back several times during the fall of 2016. Fall is our favorite time to camp and I have attached a photo we took from site C6 on September 22. It wasn’t busy that day but it sure was pretty.

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Will we be back in 2017? You can count on it!!

I was overjoyed when I read this email and so totally excited to give this camper a gift card when they next come camping to use on either camping or in the store.

Thank you for your submission.  I have a few new ones since my last post, but there are a lot of weeks until we open and I will run this as long as I have new emails to include in my blogs.

As a reminder, we are filling up for the Opening Care Camps weekend, May Long weekend, and the Mothers Day Care Camps weekend.  We are offering Leave Your Rig from Opening weekend all the way till July 1st weekend for $20 per week as long as you have back to back weekends booked for camping.  BOOK NOW online or call me at 613-475-2186..

Merry Christmas to all our loyal campers.  Please know that we appreciate you immensely and give thanks for you often.  You are always in our prayers!

With love, Jackie.

 

Project Updates: Chip Trailer has a new home

Well, if you’ve been living under a rock or on a deserted island for the past few months you won’t have heard that Sabrina, the manager at our Brighton KOA, has purchased herself a Chip Trailer for the purpose of feeding our absolutely amazing campers and venturing out as an Entrepreneur.    Don’t worry….. she’s still going to be the incredible manager she has always been, but now she will spend much of her free time supervising her own staff and developing yummy menu items.  I’ve already joined a gym now to hopefully get myself in the habit so that I don’t gain a million pounds eating all that pulled pork poutine once we open next season.

The purchase and transfer of title of the trailer was fairly smooth and uneventful.  It wasn’t until the day of moving the trailer to the KOA that the fun began.  You see, the trailer is used and has been parked for a while so she was concerned with towing it directly behind a truck.  So instead, she arranged a friend of her fathers to bring his big trailer to the parking lot where it was parked and using a winch they planned to pull the chip trailer up and then tow it on top of his trailer.

According to Sabrina the day ended up being a total cluster *&$(*^* (you know what). And if you don’t know, good for you – you don’t have a potty mouth!

They arrived and began to get the chip trailer ready to winch up onto the tow trailer and the winch wouldn’t work.  They just couldn’t get it started.  So, they developed a new plan, which was to hitch it to the truck and use the truck to pull it up onto the trailer.

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This plan was working…. until, they got it halfway up and realized it wasn’t going to fit because of the fenders on the side of the tow trailer and the chip trailer being just a bit too wide to fit in between the fenders.  Here’s a picture of the trailer and fenders so you can see what I mean.

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Anyway, they came up with a third plan and another friend was called in.  They were going to attempt to get the chip trailer up onto the tow trailer on blocks so that it would sit higher than the fenders on the tow trailer.  Well that plan just wasn’t panning out and by this point everyone was tired, and hungry, and getting more frustrated by the minute.  The sun was starting to set so they tried one final attempt by calling CAA since Sabrina had a membership for her car.  Apparently the trailer itself wasn’t covered on her plan so they wouldn’t send a tow truck out for it.  As you can imagine, everyone was starting to feel disappointed.

Well, before they all left, Sabrina’s Dad – some of you know him lovingly as Marty – decides he’s going to be a hero and just tow the chip trailer to his friends house which was very close by.  So, they hitched it up to Marty’s vehicle and they all drove off in a convoy.  Once they were on the road, Marty, with Sabrina fully in agreement, just declares “we’re just going to go straight to the KOA”.

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So, after hours of attempting to tow the trailer in the safest way possible, they just decided to throw caution to the wind and get that puppy home using only side roads of course.  A short drive that should have taken ten minutes took them almost double, but eventually Sabrina was proud to say that her new Chip Trailer, named Fryday, is now residing at its new home at the Brighton KOA.

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Stay tuned for more news of all the renovations and upgrades Sabrina has planned for Fryday before opening weekend on April 28-30, 2017.  It’s a great weekend to come camping with us – Camp Friday and for only a minimum $10 donation to Care Camps Saturday is included.  We’d love to see you supporting two worthy causes – Care Camps and Sabrina’s new business.  Call us to book your weekend now 613-475-2186 or book online.

I know 2016 isn’t even over yet and we are so close to the Christmas holidays that people may not be thinking about Camping at all.  Especially after that amazing snow fall we had this week.  It’s almost up to my knees around here!!!!  But, we’ve had a ton of reservations come in since November, so, if you want to camp with us opening weekend, don’t put it off too long to make your reservations.

Thanks for reading!