We had a dying popup, 4 growing teenage girls, and a not-small golden retriever. This blended family needed an upgrade.
We knew that although the girls love camping, they also love their own space. I wanted a glamping experience. An experience different than our much-loved Algonquin interior trips where it is us in a canoe, portaging our way around the park, carrying everything we need. And I do mean “need”. Not want. Carrying “wants” is carrying unnecessary weight. Nope. I wanted this to be the opposite. I want to have all the amenities of home, in our home where we roam.
The Coachmen Freedom Express model 23TQX, later nicknamed “The Cottage”, was ordered. It is a hybrid model. A model many do not tend to purchase. But I’ll tell you why I love it. The pop-out beds do not occupy any floor space. The three queen-size beds open up outside the trailer. So the floor space is the floor space. It seems so much bigger than our other trailers (I’ll explain those in a future post!). Another plus? Having a tent-like sleeping space allows a fresh breeze if you want to open up the window flaps. When you have a fully-enclosed trailer at a site with no power, you have no air conditioner, and little cross-breeze. The Cottage allows good air flow from front to back. It has the feeling of a tent, but the comfort of a mattress that is off the ground. Ah, bliss.
Four girls who all play a summer sport (or two) and three of them with jobs, makes for a summer where it is hard to find much time to camp. So we decided to try to rent out the trailer to help pay the mortgage on it, and see it used rather than occupy a parking space in our driveway. Did I mention that we purchased a trailer that would exactly fit the length of our driveway? This means we can park it at home. This is important when you purchase one of your own… the last thing you want is to take it to storage every time you’re not using it. And when you are prepping for a vacation, you can plug it in, get the fridge going and have all your food and drinks cold for your arrival.
The trailer arrived much later than anticipated, so it turned out our first renter used the trailer the day we got it! We had it at our house for about half an hour before passing her off. We held our breath and hoped that it didn’t get damaged on her maiden voyage. (It came back in perfect condition.)
And just like that, we were in business. And businesses have names. We needed a name for our new trailer business that would hopefully grow from one trailer into a fleet.
We enjoy extremes in travelling. Our interior Algonquin camping trips are tough – we travel over 100km over 6 days, padding and portaging. We carry our food, collect and filter our water, sit on wooden boxes for you-know-what, and set up and take down our camp site every day. We climb over fallen trees, battle mosquitoes and deer flies, lift our canoe over beaver dams and endure whatever weather Mother Nature sends our way. We love it all.
On the other extreme is our love of Disney cruises. These are truly a luxurious way to vacation. We wake up every morning and head to the upper deck. We head to Cabanas first, where a full buffet of beautiful breakfast items are presented in true Disney fashion. Fruit is carved into different animals. Waffles are, of course, shaped into Mickey heads. We spend the day at the pools (yes, plural), and intermittently join in activities around the ship that we have bookmarked on our “Navigator” App. Drinks are served to us. We watch Disney movies on the big screen. We eat again. As late afternoon arrives, we head down to our stateroom and take turns getting cleaned up for the theatre and dinner. We order appetizers, pour ourselves drinks, and sit on the veranda as we sail on the beautiful ocean.
On Caribbean cruises, the ships often stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay (pronounced “key”). The pristine beach has enough lounge chairs for every passenger on the ship. I’m pretty sure they sift the sand before the ship arrives. Characters come ashore for photo ops, dance parties, and a BBQ lunch. It is truly a magical day.
We love the island so much, we just couldn’t pass up naming our company with it in mind… and Castaway North was born.