Father-to-be -> Father

Another month or two, and I’ll be a father!  It’s a really exciting time for Tessa and I, as we anticipate what it will be like to be parents.  I’m most excited to introduce our little boy or girl to our family and friends.  2014 will definitely be an exciting year for Tessa and I.  Can’t wait to start buying camo outfits for our baby.  🙂

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2013 Ford F-150, FX4, 5.0L – 1000 KM Report

I’ve finally got over 1,000 kms in my 2013 F150, and want to write a short report / review of it so far.

I Love it… STILL!  Every time I get in it, is like the first day I drove it.  It’s just so quiet, comfortable and smooth.

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DRIVE-ABILITY

Since I’m still “breaking in” this engine, I haven’t gotten to deep in the throttle.  However, I’ve been gradually going deeper, 50%, 60%, 75% ect, ect.  I’m enjoying the power this 5.0L makes, and still enjoy the sound.  One thing that stands out, is how easy this F150 is to accelerate slowly.  Let me explain.  It seems that with very light throttle, I can effortlessly accelerate at a pace that’s acceptable, but fuel conservative.  I enjoy driving this truck slowly.  I couldn’t say the same with another truck I used to own.  However, when you need to get on it, it will shift down quickly, to a proper gear for the current throttle application, and haul pretty quickly.  I’ve had other trucks where you would press down on the accelerator, and it would try and get to the desired speed by maintaining that gear, and not shifting down.  This is annoying.  If I press the accelerator down in a quick matter, shift down, and giddie up and go!  Which the Ford does!

So far, the engine in this F150 is VERY quiet.  I’m used to truck engines sounding loud, and ticky, but this engine just purr’s away on idle, and acceleration.  The transmission also shifts very smooth, without any jerks.  So far so good!

I’m averaging about 16 L/PER100 with 90% city driving.  I haven’t taken a highway trip yet, but looking forward to getting it on the highway, and cruising quietly and comfortably.

I’m an avid Camper, and can’t wait to get up past 1600 KMS so I can tow my 4500 lbs trailer.  I think it will pull it great, and looking forward to it.  Soon, the trailer below will be hooked up for it’s maiden voyage!

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I’ve had this truck out in the muddy fields already, as I enjoy a Saturday morning goose hunt.   The rear locker comes on effortlessly, with a pull of a switch, and does give some added traction in the mud.  I was hesitant at first about the OPEN rear differential, but recently learned the truck uses ABS to basically turn it into a LSD.  I’ve also used the 4×4 system a few times, and for the most part, engages quickly, and quietly.   A few times I’ve noticed that the message “Shifting in progress, OK”, stays on the screen.  After reading the manual, I think this is because of “gear block”, and it suggests driving forward 5 meters, which the message goes away.  I’ve also heard a few clunks from the hubs, but have also read that is normal.  Other then that, the 4×4 system has gotten me through a wet muddy field without issues.  It will be a great companion for this years Duck, Goose, and Coyote season!

I havn’t had to turn off any traction controls yet.  For my applications, the stock setup works perfect.  I have tried out the Hill Descend, and it works as advertised.  You can really hear the ABS doing it’s job when the Hill Descend is on, but you get used to it.

For the most part, the truck rides fairly smooth… for a truck.  I came from a RAM, with rear coil springs, and this FORD is definitely harder in the rear then the RAM.  However, this is a truck, and can live with it.  I actually prefer the stiffer rear, as I’m sure it handles the trailer better. However, this is untested.

The truck overall feels less floaty then my other trucks.  It feels tighter in the corners, and more stable.  Because of this you get a slightly stiffer ride, but again it’s a truck, and feels like a truck.

One other thing that impresses me is the steering.  It’s effortless!  You could steer this truck with your finger.  I’ve read some negatives regarding the steering, but I think it feels great.

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INTERIOR / EXTERIOR

I LOVE the 4.2″ center screen on the dash.  It displays all the information I want, and it quick to scroll through the different screens.  The Fuel Mileage screen is great, as it gives you your current average, as well as current MPG.  One click up and you’re on the OFFROAD screen that gives you your pitch, and angle of the truck.  This is handy if you’re doing any hills, etc, etc.  Another screen which is beneficial is the TRIP 1, TRIP 2 screen.  I will try and never reset TRIP 2, so I can see what kinda averages I’m getting over lifetime.  Resetting TRIP 1 after every gas fill gives you a good idea of your mileage.

The sync system has worked perfectly for me.  When I enter the truck, it automatically pairs my iPhone 5 with no issues.  I get text messages without problems, and it even reads them out to me.  One option I’d like to have, is the system default to the last option I was using.  Everytime I shut the truck off, and back on, it goes back to the LINE-IN option, and I have to speak to SYNC to get back to bluetooth audio.  This gets annoying after a while.

I think the radio takes a little getting used to.  I’m not a huge fan of all the different menu’s in my radio (non-touch).  It seems like there is alot of dead ends.  In order to go back to the root menu, you have to find the menu option called “return”, which takes too many extra clicks.  But, I’m getting used to it.

The seats are comfy.  Really no issue there.  One huge PRAISE is the back seat room.  The rear flat floor, with no transmission hump, is one of the reasons I bought this truck.  TONS OF ROOM!  Need to transport a dresser inside the cab? No problem!  I think it could use some more secret cubby holes back there, but I’m not complaining.

I like the steering wheel controls, but wish the cruise control was on the opposite side.  Maybe it’s just that’s what I’m used to.

OVERALL

So far, I love it.  I haven’t had any issues yet, and hope it stays that way.   I came from a Dodge Ram, where Chrysler Canada was forced to buy it back because of all the issues I had.  I could really use a break with this truck, and so far it’s performing as I expect.  I really like the looks of the truck, the way it drives, and how comfortable it is.  Really no complaints so far.

I also am enjoying my overall ownership experience with FORD.  I’ve got some FORD Swag that I Love to wear, and show-off.  I’m really starting to become a FORD-FAN-BOY!

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Awenda Provincial Park Review

Review Date: October 2013

General Information / Location
Awenda Provincial Park is located on the shores of Georgian Bay, near Midland or Penetanguishene.  I’ve drivin into, and through Midland and Penetang a few times, and really enojoyed it.  They are nice little towns.  We visited this park during October, and the tree’s are just ready to change color.  It was amazing.  Some trees were Yellow, some were Orange, and some were still bright green.
P.O. Box 5004, 670 Concession 18 East
Penetanguishene, ON, ON, L9M 2G2
Click here to reserve, or view campsites

 


View Larger Map

 

Entry / Layout

AW.Overview

Once you get to the park boundry, their is a lengthy road throughout the park before the front off.  It’s a really nice drive.  The forest is thick, plentiful, and it completely surrounds the road.  All roads in this park are like they are carved through the forest.  Once you get to the front office,  the road continues to the camp grounds.

Awenda is divided into 6 camp grounds.  Have a look at the above picture for their names.  None of the campgrounds are on Georgian Bay, but are within walking distance.  Between the campsites, and Georgian Bay is a VERY steep bluff.  Each campground has their own bathroom, with showers and flush toilets.  They each also contain vault toilets, which some of them are pretty unique.  They looks new, and clean, and look like small little wood shacks.  There are also trails all over connecting the sites, and the bathrooms, etc.  The Bluff trail connects all campgrounds together.  Really easy to get around to all campsites.  Each campground has a large overflow parking spot, again with trails to the campsites.  It all seems really thought out, and organized.  There are 4 different beaches, which are also unique (explained below).

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General Discussion

We camped in Wolf cam pground.  I liked it there.  The forest is really thick there, and tree’s have a bright green color.  The thick forest makes most of the sites fairly private.  If you can position your trailer so the back side is parallel to the road, your site is a whole lot more private.  Here’s the thing about Wolf Camp ground.  The sites all have a small driveway, that are angled 45 degrees from the road.  This makes it a whole lot easier to back a trailer into the site.  If you have a large trailer, this is the camp ground for you.

Wolf camp ground also has a trail running through it, connect a few other camp grounds.  It has a central bathroom, with a large field behind it where the kids can play.  Wolf camp ground is also the closest to the water, however, it’s kinda a moot point because you can’t really walk there anyway.

One thing I did notice about Wolf, is that the road is paved.  Anytime a road is paved, it encourages drivers to drive faster.  In certain areas, some cars would drive by fairly quick.

I did check out Snake, and Deer, and they are similar to Wolf.  The problem is, they are not hydro, so I didn’t spend much time there.  The weather wasn’t the greatest when I was here, and also didn’t have time to view Bear, Turtle or Hawk.

There is a trail that goes to the beach, or a road which has ample parking.  Once down at the beach area, there are 2 beaches that are accessible right by the parking lot.  The beach consists of some sand, and large boulders.  The view is great!  There is also a beach trail, that brings you to 2 more remote beaches.  I really liked beach number 4, which is a couple km’s down the path.  The floor is sand, surrounded by boulders, which is really unique.

There are 5 different trails at Awenda Park.  One trail goes around, and through the whole park.  It connects all the sites, and camp grounds.  I biked on part of this trail, and encourage you to take the whole trail.  The trail is well groomed, and great for a family bike ride.  I suggest going around it clockwise.  Another trails starts at beach 1, and goes all the way to beach 4.  I strongly suggest this trail!.  There is also a beaver dam trail down by the beach that winds through a stream, and small pond.  This is a great trail to walk, as it only takes a few minutes.  Another trail goes around a lake (I didn’t go on this trail).  There is also a walking trail, that visits a few old foundations, and farms, and goes to the bluff.  Umm.., I don’t suggest this trail.  It’s kinda boring, and ends abruptly with NO few of the water.  If you want to hike, then take it, but it’s fairly uneventful.

The road in and out of Awenda

The road in and out of Awenda

Beach #4

Beach #4

Beach #4

Beach #4

Beach #4

Beach #4

Beach #4

Beach #4

Beach #4

Beach #4

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Beach Trail

Beach Trail

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Beaver Pond Trail

Beaver Pond Trail

Beaver Pond Trail

Beaver Pond Trail

Beach area 1-2

Beach area 1-2

Beach area 1-2

Beach area 1-2

Beach area 1-2

Beach area 1-2

Beach area 1-2

Beach area 1-2

Beach area 1-2

Beach area 1-2

Beach area 1-2

Beach area 1-2

Beach area 1-2

Beach area 1-2

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One of the hiking trails

One of the hiking trails

One of the hiking trails

One of the hiking trails

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Main bathroom

Main bathroom

Best Campsites

I didn’t really collect a list.  If you have a trailer, back it into position, so it’s parallel with the road.  You then get a site that’s really private.   Most of the campsites in Wolf are private.  I would suggest camping far away from the bathroom, as the field behind it is filled with children, and the noise really echo’s through the park.

Pro’s

– Thick forest

– Lots of trails, and activities

– Water access is really unique, and nice

– Very organized camp grounds, and very clean

Con’s

– Drive to the beach

– Paved roads cause cars to drive faster

Should I camp here?

Heck Yes! One of my new favorite parks!  They really spent time organizing this park, and it shows!  Lots of trails connecting the park, and they are all groomed well.  I really like the thick forest, and bright green trees.  I really liked the water areas (I didn’t say beaches because of how rocky they are).