Cluxewe Campground – 7 Important Tips For Booking The Best Site!

Cluxewe Resort – Port McNeil, BC

Choosing a campground on the Northern Island was a challenge. We were unfamiliar with the area and didn’t want to be packing up and moving to a new site every couple of days. We decided on Cluxewe Resort because it checked several of our boxes.

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Must haves” the resort needed

  • An ocean front site which was our top priority!
  • It had power and water. We were not sure we could make it 6 nights on just our battery
  • It was centrally located to all the adventures we had planned. 30 minutes or less to everything – Port Hardy, Port McNeil, Telegraph Cove and many of the off road trips we wanted.
  • It had a laundry room, which was important as we approached the halfway point of our trip.

Bonus items the resort offered

  • A shower house
  • A restaurant on site if we got tired of barbecuing and dishes.
  • Access to an estuary that provided calm and easy kayaking opportunity.

Our Trip

Night 1: We settled into our ocean front site and took the kayaks out for a paddle. The ocean was so calm you would have thought it was a giant lake. We paddled around the point and through the estuary. It was very relaxing to paddle as the sun set and the wildlife surrounded us.

Day 2 and 3: The weather was unsettled so we spent the time exploring Port McNeill, Port Hardy and Telegraph Cove. We were very thankful to have electricity at the trailer so that we could stay warm inside playing games, reading and storm watching from our rear window.

Day 4: The sun was out and we wanted to kayak at Telegraph Cove. We headed back with our kayaks and spent a few hours on the water around the cove. We have our own kayaks but if you do not, there are a couple of places that offer guided tours and kayak rentals. Again, the water was clam and current was light so we enjoyed a few hours on the water. The scenery was spectacular and the sun was shinning. Once back at Telegraph Cove we enjoyed lunch on a patio overlooking the cove and a walk around the various buildings reading about the interesting history. If you are looking to do any whale watching, grizzly bear or wildlife tours, Telegraph Cove is the place to book these from.

Day 5: Blessed with sunshine once again we headed for Cape Scott Provincial Park. This was a 2 hour drive on a bumpy logging road. We took this trip on a weekend so there were not logging trucks, which made the drive much easier. Once we arrived at the parking lot it was an easy 40 minute hike to San Joseph Beach. Wow, was this hike worth it. We arrived at a beautiful sandy beach famous for its stone haystack formations and endless sand. We loved it and wished that we were adventurous enough to walk in and camp at these amazing locations.

Kayaking in Port Alice

Day 6: We drove out to Alice Bay to check out this part of the island. It was a beautiful paved road with amazing views of the inlet. We stopped at several view points for photos. At the old mill, we found a dock that we could launch our kayaks from. The water in this bay was turquoise and looked so inviting. Once in the water we realized the currents and winds were just too strong so after a half an hour of paddling we called it quits and headed back to the campground for an afternoon on the beach.

Campground Details

View from site 51

We stayed in site 51, it was one of the oceanfront sites and offered amazing views of the Strait. From our campsite we could see all kinds of wildlife: whales, otters and seals swam by; eagle, blue heron and hawks flew overhead; and fish were jumping everywhere. It was our evening entertainment to sit on the beach and watch as the anglers tried to catch a fish while the cruise ships crossed, various wildlife visited, and the sun set in amazing colors.  That alone made this campground worth the stop.

The Campground’s 3 Areas

The Front Loop – This first section as you enter is more like a parking lot and appears to have several long-term/seasonal campers. These sites offer full hook ups and seem to attracted recreational anglers who want a summer spot for the fishing season. I would not recommend staying in these sites if you can avoid it.

The Estuary Loop – This is a loop near the back of the campground and all sites offer full hookups. Many of the sites back onto the estuary and some have a view of it. This area offers little privacy between sites; but the sites are level, open, grassy and vary in size depending on your camping equipment. The young woman at the desk warned us that the flies in this area are often bad so that should be taken into consideration when booking. These sites are close to the playground, shower, laundry house and main office.

The Ocean Loop – This loop has several oceanfront & ocean view campsite with a few estuary campsites as well. I would recommend booking into this loop. It is away from the busy area of the office, laundry, and playground. You feel remote, making these sites very quiet. Most of the sites are treed for privacy and many offer power and water with some forest sites at the end of the loop having no additional services. There is a bathroom in this loop but the showers are back by the office.

7 Tips For Booking The Best Sites

Any of the 50’s are great. They are large, level, treed for privacy and offer ocean views. Here is the order I would rank them if you have a choice of sites.

  1. Although not in the 50’s, sites 46 & 47 are the two best full service sites. They are oceanfront, private, large and have great views. They are near the office and busy area, but if you want full service, these are the sites to get.
  2. Site 57 has best ocean view but that comes with no privacy. It is positioned so you can enjoy the sunset right from your site. The site is open to the elements so awnings and tarps are not an option.
  3. Sites 50, 51, 52, and 53 are all equal sites. They have privacy, ocean views and are a good size for any unit.
  4. Site 54 is a huge site but not much of a view. You have access to the beach but you cannot really enjoy the view from the site. It would be my last choice of the ocean front sites.
  5. Site 55/56 is a very large double site and has a great ocean view and lots of privacy.
  6. Sites in the loop 80-93 are in a good location with sites 80 and 81 being my first choice. Although they offer little privacy they have unobstructed views of the ocean and easy access to the beach. The rest of the sites in this loop are good but do not have ocean views with some offering estuary views.
  7. Sites 59, 60, 61 and 62 are the non-serviced sites. They are very private and are right on the ocean for great views. Sites 64 and 65 are off on their own and great if you are camping with a group, Site 68 is on the estuary and on its own as well. The other non-serviced sites are very open to each other and offer limed privacy.

Campground Pros

  • Located on the ocean with lots of beach access for all to enjoy! Be sure to visit the estuary.
  • A variety of services depending on your needs; full service, power/water and no service sites.
  • Hot, clean and large shower rooms that are only $1.00 for 6 minutes
  • Laundry room with well-maintained machines and freezers for your catch of the day.
  • Boat launch (not sure how good this is: it appeared very steep) and 2 fish cleaning stations.
  • An award-winning restaurant on site: our neighbors went for dinner and said the food was amazing and the sticky toffee pudding for dessert was worth a visit by itself.
  • Office store with basic supplies and some local artisans gift items.
  • Ocean front cabins for those who do not want to camp.
  • Playground
  • Sani-dump
  • Centrally located for day trips to various parts of the Northern Island.

Campground Cons

  • Construction – the campground is building a new area and the noise of the machinery can be heard in most of the campground.This is only a temporary con (our visit was in the summer of 2019.)

Links

Miracle Beach – 5 Important Things To Know That Will Improve your site!

Miracle Beach Provincial Park – Comox Valley, BC

Miracle Beach at High Tide

Miracle Beach Provincial Park – The summer of 2019 Blair and I had our first 2 week road trip to the northern portion of Vancouver Island. We intended to arrive in Nanaimo and head north to the more remote areas of the island.  Of course, BC Ferries had other plans and landed us in Victoria due to cancellations and other unfortunate events, but that’s another story. After a rough start and a much longer drive, we arrived at Miracle Beach.

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We chose this campground for a few reasons:

  • Its endless sandy beach and world famous beach combing.
  • Its proximity to Campbell River and the expected fresh seafood that comes with the area.  
  • Its central location to several hikes in the area.

Our Trip

During our stay we wanted to spend time in Campbell River, a day on the beach and a couple of days hiking.

Day 1 – We headed to Ripple Rock Canyon to complete a morning hike. The history of this location is very interesting and we were advised to read up on it before visiting the site. It was a beautiful day and the views were spectacular. On the way back we stopped in Campbell River for lunch on the seawall and a walk to the docks. Here we stopped at Crabby Bob’s and picked up some fresh halibut for dinner before returning to our campground.

Day 2 – We drove to end of Strathcona Park to complete Baby Bedwell Hike. It was a 2-hour drive, partly on gravel road, and then a 3-hour hike – in and out. It is a challenging hike but worth it.  The views were amazing and other than the torrential downpour on the way home, it was a great day.

Day 3 – Later in the day we planned to drive to Port McNeil but first we wanted to get in some beach time. We moved the RV to the day use parking and headed out to explore the beach. It was low tide so we were able to walk for miles. The beach-combing was fantastic with sand dollars, crab and several other creatures waiting to be observed. Here we saw a humpback whale right off the shore and a cruise ship leaving for Alaska. It was a great way to end our journey in the area.

Campground Detail

The park is very large: 57 hectares and 201 non-serviced sites, so choose your site wisely. It is a very popular campground so I would recommend making a reservation prior to arriving. We walked the entire campground and for the first time ever, I can say there is not a bad site. The sites vary in size but if you enter your camping equipment information, the system will only show you those appropriate sites. If you want a large site just check the dimensions on the campsite info page.

 The thing to consider when booking this campground is location. We were in site 11, which was in the row closest to the beach access path, and the second site in from the main road. We walked to the beach often so I was very pleased with our choice. The park also has a shower house, 3 flush washroom buildings, several pit toilets, and lots of water taps. Because all the sites are great, you only need consider the following when selecting a site.

Sample of how private the sites are.
  1. Get as close to the beach as possible, it is a bit of walk even when you are in the first row. If you have young children and all the toys, towels and snacks that go along with them you may be driving to the beach parking lot regardless of your location.
  2. If you plan to use the campground washrooms, I would recommend a site close to the flush washroom buildings. The pit toilets are conveniently located throughout the park but they are still pit toilets.
  3. The main road is busy, we were 2 sites in and it didn’t bother us but if I had young children on bikes I would choose to be a bit farther away from main road.
  4. If you have dogs or children, you may want to choose a site on the northeast side. They are closer to the dog trails, the nature house and the amphitheater.
  5. The sites in the North East Corner are a bit more remote feeling with gravel roads and lots of foliage. This can be good or bad depending on what you are looking for. _

Campground Pros (and there are many)

Patio lunch at Quay West Kitchen
  • The beach!  At low tide you can spend hours out there. Take a picnic, chairs, toys and settle in for the afternoon. 
  • Large, level and private campsites.
  • Paved roads for children to ride bikes on and easy walking access to the beach with strollers and wagons.
  • Trails, playground, nature house and amphitheater – plenty of option to please all ages.
  • Free shower house.
  • 3 flush toilet buildings and several pit toilets.
  • Lots of beach parking. On the day we checked out, we parked our RV in the day use parking and it was easy to find a space long enough for the truck and trailer.
  • Short drive (~15 minutes) to Campbell River where you can buy seafood on the pier and walk the seawall.  Check out Quay West Kitchen for tasty food and drinks on the seawall.
  • Sani dump and potable water on site.
  • Several great hikes within a short drive.

Campground Cons

  • Saratoga Speedway is nearby so the noise of the cars is a constant throughout the day. A reminder that you are very close to the tourist attractions.
  • Not enough showers for the size of the campground. 200+ sites needs a few more showers!
  • Beach house shower, bathroom and change rooms were very run down. It felt very dirty and unkept. The only part of the park that felt that way.
  • Park size – for some this may be a downside because it is a very long walk to the beach from the back sites.

Links

Pro Packing Cubes – How To Save Valuable RV Space!

download Pro Packing Cubes asked me to try out and review their product in an RV setting. I had never heard of packing cubes but anything that helps organize my RV is of interest to me. I set out to research their product before deciding if I would accept their offer.

It seems packing cubes are popular with travelers. They are soft sided nylon bags in varying sizes, designed to keep your clothes organized and compact. The product has a 4.5 stars to 5 star rating on Amazon.com which certainly indicates their customers are happy.

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Porteau Cove – 7 Amazing Tips For The Best Campsite!

Porteau Cove Provincial Park – Squamish, BC

WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!!! That is really the best way to describe this campground. I can see why it is near impossible to get a reservation here!!!! We stayed at Porteau Cove Provincial Park for the first time in mid August 2017. Somehow my sister managed to get a double ocean front site and she invited us to share it. All I can say is LUCKY US. This is, without a doubt, the most amazing campground.

Skip to the 7 Amazing Tips!

We were booked into double site 41 & 42. This is a medium sized site and offers power. We were able to position our trailers so that we both had views, access to power and privacy from the road. This end of the street is near the walk-in sites and the park so the location was perfect. The ocean front sites are just steps from the water and offer incredible views. I really cannot say enough about the views and my pictures really capture it best.

Campground update: We made a second trip to this campground in December 2020. Our first attempt at winter camping. On this trip we stayed in double site 1/2. This site is very large and is the first site you see when you arrive. The site appears to be great when you first set up but after spending some time at the trailer we realized it had some downfalls. We were right next to the gate house so it was much busier as people came and went. We also had several trailer trapsters. It seems our site was a short cut from the beach to the campground. This site also did not get any direct sun which would have been nice at the end of December. If I could avoid booking this site again I would but the fact is that the campground is amazing and if this is all I could get, I would take it in a heartbeat.

Campground Details

It is important to note that all sites are very close to the train track and the noise is very, very loud as the trains rumble through. That said, I still feel like this is an amazing campground but I have never stayed here in a tent.

The campground is not large and is divided into 3 areas. The first camping loop has a mix of sites, some ocean front, some double, and several off the ocean but still very close. It is busier because it is the check in point, has the main bathroom as well as the sani dump area. Most of the center area site back onto one another. If you are camping with other families I can see that this would be a benefit. If you are camping alone, these sites reduce your privacy. There is also 2 cabins you can rent through Porteau Cove Olympic Legacy Cabins. These cabins are not booked through Discover Camping but the photo has the contact info. They are located in the first loop and it is close to the boat launch and tie ups.

The second area is east of the entrance along the park road. This is the area we stayed in on our first visit. The sites here are spread out and all have ocean views and access. Some of these sites are small so the larger RV’s would have a difficult time.

The sites do get very small along the ocean strip so be sure to follow the size rules.

The third area is the park and walk in tent sites. If we tented this would be a great place to stay. It was away from traffic, close to the beach, offers a covered picnic areas and has power for your use. The tent sites were graveled, level and nicely spaced but offer limited privacy. There is a communal fire pit shared between 3 sites each. The sites are also close to the park, grass area and walking trails. This is where we went to play boccie and take evening walks to the look out.

7 Amazing Tips

  1. Any ocean front site is great as long as it fits your rv.
  2. Double sites 41/42 are really the best double sites but they are not that big.
  3. Double site 15/16 is the largest double site and gets lots of sunshine but is not ocean front.
  4. Double site 1/2 is a large site but it is right at the gate and people tend to walk through it to get off the beach as well you get a lot of check in noise and traffic. It is not very private.
  5. Site 22 and 23 would be my first choice for single sites. They are a bit larger, have great views and are private.
  6. Site 36 is a pull through site and if your unit can fit is would offer great views but not shade or privacy.
  7. Walk in sites are good but 3 sites share a common fire pit. Might be a great way to meet new people.

Campground Pro’s

  • The views and access to the ocean
  • Level, well maintained sites
  • Electrical hook ups
  • Sani dump on site
  • Cabin rental option
  • Boat launch and mooring pins
  • Park area on site for everyone’s use
  • Beautiful walking area on site
  • Walk in campsites
  • Close to excellent hiking and biking trails but you would need to drive because it is across the highway.

Campground Cons

  • Very difficult to get a reservation.
  • Some sites are very small or narrow giving very limited privacy.
  • A vehicle is needed to access the nearby hikes and other activities.
  • Walk in sites offer only communal fire pits.
  • Trains, you are very close to the train track and they run often and at all hours.

Shannon Falls – An Easy And Popular Hike For The Entire Family

Shannon Falls Provincial Park – Squamish, BC

Hiking has become one of our favorite activities while camping and Squamish is the perfect destination. We recently camped at Porteau Cove Provincial Park and while there, we took a morning hike to Shannon Falls Provincial Park. This is a very popular park in part due to it convenient location, 60 km north of Vancouver and right off of Highway 99, and because of the number of hikes that can be accessed from this park. There is a public parking lot but it fills up fast. If you are planning on visiting on the weekend you are best to arrive early.

Shannon Falls is the center piece of this park and the trails provide spectacular views from a variety of levels. The trails are in great shape and very well maintained but each year climbers irresponsibly venture off the trail to get closer access to the Falls. Unfortunately many do not appreciate the danger of the falls and the results are sometimes fatal.

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Come To The Island – 7 Great Reasons To Float On An Island.

As you know we are social campers, not back country hard core campers. We love to gather with friends and family at a lake and hope for sun. This usually involves several women blowing up individual flotation bed and paddling several feet into the lake. I realize this sound terribly laborious and you must marvel at all the obstacles we have endured.img_5004

  1. How can so many women chat while continuing to floating away from each other?
  2. How can your drinks still be full by the time you reach your destination?
  3. Doesn’t the lake keep pushing us back to shore, resulting in constant paddling.

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Lightening Lake – 8 Reasons Why This Is One Of BC’s Top Campgrounds

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We camped at Lightning Lake Campground a couple years back on our anniversary but just realized I did not do a complete review. Lightning Lake Campground is one of 5 campgrounds located within E.C. Manning Park. It is by far the most popular campground, making it difficult to get into.  We also stayed at Coldspring Campground the same trip and you can find that review by clicking here.

Skip directly to advise about this campground.

Canyon Trail Sign
Allison Pass Sign

There are two loops in this campground.  I would recommend the large loop if you have a choice. We camped here in early September and stayed in site 13. It was a very large level site that had limited trees but because the sites are so spread apart it still felt very private. There are 92 sites in the large loop and they are all generally good. The park is located high in the mountains so the days were  warm but the evenings were very chilly. Camping in this park is a hiker’s paradise with endless trails for every level. The park does an amazing job of providing literature on all, including: the trail name, starting point, level, distance, elevation, estimated time, special features and a short trail description. We did the Canyon Nature Trail and part of the Lightning Lakes Chain. Both were very scenic and easy hikes that almost anyone can handle. There are so many trails it is difficult to decide which one to do.  If you’re lucky, you will see some wildlife along the way.

Hiking Trail information can be found on this link and it’s worth reading.

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After completing your hike you can then enjoy some time at the lake. The campground is located next to stunning Lightning Lake, which is perfect for kayaking, canoeing and, if the weather is warm enough, swimming. They offer boat rentals at the lake for those who want to give it a try.  Some trails require a short portage.  The park also has several horse and bike trails. If you like the outdoors this is the campground for you.

Boat Rental information can be found in this link.

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Here is my advise for this campground:

Recommended Sites:

  • Large Loop SitesColdspringsite1
    • Let me start by saying this is a great park and I would be happy to have almost any site. Even the poor sites are not that bad.
    • Lake front sites are the top pick with no one behind you and lots of privacy
    • Site 38 back onto the lake and gets lots of sun.
    • There are not many double sites but, if you can get one, site 12/13 is huge and very private.
    • Site 49 is very large with lots of privacy.  Great if you have a big rig.
    • Site 51 is also very large but does back onto the group site.
    • Sites 15 & 16 back onto the amphitheater with the playground right in front.  If you have kids this might be great.
    • Site 37 is very open to the road and picnic area.
  • Small Loop Sites
    • Double site 99/100 is very large and flat with forest behind.
    • Double site 136/137 looks poor on paper but is actually a good site.  It is set back from the road and has lots of privacy
    • Double site 134/135 lacks privacy and is open to the road.
    • Avoid site 112, the picnic area is exposed to the camp road.
    • Avoid sites along the back road due to traffic noise and lack of privacy

Campground Highlights:

  • Large, clean shower houseIMG_2485
  • Great kids park, playground, amphitheater, grassy areas.
  • Easy access to lake with great picnic area
  • Endless trails and hikes that are clearly marked.
  • Large and private sites with wide access roads for RV parking.
  • Boat rentals nearby
  • Horse trails
  • Sani dump nearby
  • Manning Park resort store and restaurant close
  • Pet friendly area.

Campground Lowlights:

  • Due to high altitude this park gets very cold at night
  • No hook ups
  • No cellphone reception but you can access Wifi at the resort if needed.
  • Very difficult to get a reservation and there is no First Come First Serve sites

Things to do:

Otter Lake – Tips For The Best Sites In This Piece Of Paradise!

Otter Lake Provincial Park -Tulameen, BC

We used to visit Otter Lake Provincial Park every year with friends and I completed my first review back in 2015. I was excited to head back to Otter Lake and even more excited that we were camping in one of my suggested sites. As our trip approached it became clear that BC was in one of the worst forest fire seasons ever and the area about 20 km east of the campground was being evacuated. We were a worried whether we would be able to access our campground and how thick the smoke would be around us. As it turned out we were lucky, although we could see a haze and smell the smoke, we managed to have a relaxing weekend away.

Skip directly to my advice for this campground.

As we headed off to Tulameen I was interested to see if the road was in any better shape than  10 years ago.  The answer is NO. Although it is okay for RV’s, it does have a lot of “watch for rocks falling” signs and  it was clearly still an issue as told by all the rocks on the road.

On this trip we camped with my sister and her husband in double site 14/15, which was a recommended site on my first Otter Lake blog.  This is a waterfront site with a steep path to our own private beach. We had kayaks with us so it was great to be able to leave them on the beach to use at our leisure. The site is very treed and level with a nice view of the lake. It offers lots of privacy and we barely even noticed the generator noise from the site beside us.
Our plan was to relax for the weekend so we really didn’t venture out much. Saturday morning my dad and brother-in-law headed to a nearby lake to try their luck at fishing and Sunday we drove into town to go for a walk on the Kettle Valley Trail. It was a great weekend away and the campground was as beautiful and pristine as I remembered.

Here is my advise for this campground

Recommended Sites:

  1. Most sites at this campground are large, level and have good privacy.img_7544-1
  2. Double sites
    • I would recommend 24/25 if you want to be close to the main beach. It is large, close to the washrooms and has a view of the lake
    • 14/15 and 12/13 both have great lake views, are large and both have lake access with their own small beaches (although the paths are steep getting to the beach.) They are a bit farther from the public beach and washrooms.
    • 5/6 and 28/29 are both on are lakefront and are otherwise great. 43/44  be the only being double I would avoid.
  3. Single Sites
    • Any of the lake front sites are winners with the exception of 21 because it is very open to the boat launch traffic.
    • If you want a pull-through my top choice would be site 11(picture below)
    • Site 19 backs onto the recycling/garbage area so avoid that one if you can.
    • I would try to avoid 35, 38, 40 & 42. Last year these were first come, first serve sites because they back onto the highway; they are much more exposed and a bit smaller. Having said that, if this is all I could get, I would still take them.

Campground Highlights: 

  1. Beautiful, clean, quiet lake. Great for swimming, kayaking or boating.
  2. Short drive to Tulameen where you can access the KVR trail or public beach
  3. Very large level sites with lots of privacy
  4. Flush toilets
  5. Pet beach
  6. Boat launch
  7. Paved roads for young cyclists

Campground Lowlights

  1. No hooks ups so expect generator noise
  2. No running water so no showers and half the toilets are outhouses.
  3. Very narrow, windy road from Princeton to Tulameen (30 km)
  4. Closest sani dump is in Princeton
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Things To do:

  1. Swimming
  2. Boating, kayaking and paddle boarding
  3. Biking and hiking the KVR trail
  4. Lots of ATV trails

No Mess Individual French Fry Packets

I am always looking for easy recipes to  make while camping. I often find lots of meat recipes but am looking for an option to roasted potatoes. This option would be much higher in calories but my kids would love it and it looks like an easy clean up.

Grilled Foil Packed Cheesy Fries

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Ingredients

1 bag (14 oz) frozen crinkle-cut french fries
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup grated cheese
2 tablespoons sliced green onions (2 medium)
2 tablespoons cooked real bacon bits
  • Heat grill to medium-high heat. Toss frozen French fries with melted butter.
  • Tear off 2 (12-inch) lengths of  Heavy Duty Foil to make foil boats. Place half of the fries in a single layer in the center of 1 piece of foil. Loosely fold foil around edges to form a boat, leaving large hole at top to allow steam to escape; repeat with remaining fries and foil.
  • Place foil packets on grill over indirect heat. Cover grill; cook 20 to 30 minutes, stirring once, until fries are crispy and baked through. Top each packet with grated cheese; cook about 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and bacon bits just before serving.