“Looney’s Landing? Never heard of it. Hey, Pierrette, you ever heard of Looney’s Landing?”
“You mean Lunes Landing? Lion’s Landing? Non, I can’t help you,” Pierrette called back from her deck.
“Loon’s Landing,” I said again, quietly trying to clarify.
It was our last night on the road. We had driven more than 4000 kilometres from our British Columbia home in our trusty 1989 Dodge camper van and we finally in southern Ontario. For our final stop I’d found a likely campground using the GPS which my husband calls “Rosalita”. The address for Loon’s Landing was in Alban, in the French River district and the directions seemed clear. We had always wanted to camp on the French River and this was the perfect opportunity.
We were sixty kilometres south of Sudbury on Hwy 69 when I spotted the turn off for Alban. Rosalita disagreed, but as she had been misbehaving, it seemed prudent to disregard her advice and take the exit. I assumed we’d see signage for Loon’s Landing, but as we drove through the village I didn’t see any signs at all about the campground. Although she wasn’t rude about it, Rosalita had not liked my arbitrary decision. There weren’t any clues in Alban as to the whereabouts of Loon’s Landing, so we decided to defer to the machine.
Rosalita directed us down a side road which eventually led back to Highway 69. This time we humbly followed instructions. Turn west on Hartley Bay Road and proceed to R.R.# 2. Tired and a little grumpy – it was getting on for 7:00 o’clock – we drove west for five kilometres on a bumpy gravel road looking for R.R.#2, where we were supposed to turn left. However, at the five kilometre mark, there was no RR#2. There was a driveway, but no crossroad. We were on an desolate dusty road winding through scrubby forest. But Rosalita was cheerfully announcing, “You have arrived.” We didn’t think so, but optimistically drove a little further west before we turned around in a cloud of flies that infested the van, and retraced our steps. Once again Rosalita insisted, “You have arrived”. We were not persuaded and stubbornly decided to return to the main highway in case there was something we’d missed. Almost immediately, the GPS counseled a U turn, so once more we changed course. When we had “arrived” for the third time, we gave up and stopped.
That’s when we saw a driveway and a sign we had overlooked reading “Flat Rapids Camp”. “Well, maybe there’s been a change of name,” we thought, charitably. “Let’s go in and at least ask for directions.”
We fully expected to find a private children’s camp, and this seemed confirmed when we came upon several kids playing along the driveway. Then a little further on we came to a small cottage community, mainly motor homes with permanent additions, patios, decks, porches and sheds. It certainly wasn’t a commercial camp ground! However, there was an office and that’s where I explained our mission. I assumed, from the permanent look of the place, that they would not have room for transients. I was wrong.
“Sure we do,” said the friendly woman, “We’d be happy to have you. I have two spots, one right below my neighbour Pierrette there and one further over beside the river.” We opted for the pretty riverside site, and it was perfectly splendid, a wonderful campsite, right beside the French River. For a couple of looneys looking for a landing, we had lucked out.