Middle of July 2020

Spent 4 nights at Winton Woods in Ohio. While we were here, Cuomo declared this state to be one of those no-no states that if you enter, you must quarantine for 2 weeks when you get back to NY. I find that rule to be a little ridiculous since we have not come within 6 feet of another human being. And if we do come within 6 feet than we are wearing a mask. So I guess when we get back to the Adirondacks, we will self quarantine ourselves yet again. I don’t mind doing it, but I still think it’s a little ridiculous.

The 5 days here have been very enjoyable. The sites are very spacious.

I’m not much of a bird watcher but I can tell you that this place is a bird watchers dream.

There’s some nice paved biking trails throughout the park and they even have a bike repair area with tools and an air pump.

It’s so nice having a fridge/freezer combo in the van. We never have melted ice or wet food. Our food is always fresh and we can have ice pops and icecream whenever we want. Plus it allows me to cook more meals at the campsite. One day I’ll make a short video of the Campmaid Dutchoven cooking system that I use most of the time for barbecuing plus we also have a Butane stove as well.

However, the greatest thing this park has to offer are the red, white and blue Icee/frosty at the snack bar up the road.

The weather has been pretty brutal, in the 90s every day. This certainly was not our plan to be in this heat. Our plan was to chase 72° but with the Pandemic and the house sale taking longer than expected, we are kind of trapped here on the east coast for now. The icees, plus outdoor soaks and chilling in the shady hammock have helped with the heat, however getting into the van at night is like crawling into a sauna. It’s not comfortable. Thankfully I have a Spirit Monkey Fan that helps to take the edge off.

Today we are heading out and driving toward Lake Erie. We definitely need to find a spot that has swimming for the next couple of days.

We drove under 2 hours to a Campground called Twin Lakes. This is your typical RV Park right off the highway. Actually in the middle of the corn fields. Because of that, it had a great breeze which helped with the heat. They also had a swimming lake, which they dyed blue which was kind of cool looking.

The sunset was spectacular! Probably because there were threats of some pretty bad storms in the area. We thought we were gonna get hit pretty bad with these storms but the storm split right in half as it reached our location which was pretty cool.

That was one long giant storm before it reached us.
Surrounded by corn and soy fields

The next morning we were on our way north towards Lake Erie. We stopped at a Home Depot and Dollar Tree to pick up a few things. People were actually wearing masks in this area where we stopped. I’d say about 50 % of the shoppers which is much better than it’s been in most of the other stores we have been in. We picked up 2 bike holders and some wood for Greg to install a more permanent and easier way to hang our bikes vertically inside the van. Up to this point we have attached them using bungees, it’s been working out fine but with having to take the bikes in and out every day, it would be nice to have an easier method. Our friend Frank told us about these vertical wall hooks so we will give them a try.

So we arrived less than 2 hours to our next spot which is a State Park called East Harbor. It’s right on Lake Erie. It’s huge. The state park campground is huge as well as Lake Erie. We were able to get a spot in the no electric loop which is empty!! (That’s how we like it.) Every other loop in the campground is packed tight with Rvs.

There’s a bunch of bike trails here, one leading right to the beach which we checked out right away.

Lake Erie (very shallow)

We locked up the bikes and went for a swim. Actually I don’t think it would be considered swimming when you are sort of pulling yourself across the water like an army crawl.

We took another bike ride through a trail that went along the shore line through some long “puddles.” It’s sort of swampy along the shoreline. Reminds me of Louisiana. Was expecting an alligator to jump out at me.

Arrived back to the campsite later than expected so we just had cereal for dinner. Note to self…. the Dollar General fake cereal tastes NOTHING like what it is trying to imitate.

Having the bikes in the van with us has been awesome! We use them every day. You can cover a lot of ground in a bike. Greg was able to finish the bike hanging project and now it takes under a minute to hang both bikes up in the van.

Our new bike racks

We decided to spend a night at a Harvest Host Spot. My colleagues bought me a bunch of memberships for my retirement travels, Harvest Host was one of them. These are farms or wineries or breweries or museums where you can stay on the property for free. I called Rainbow Farms to see if they had a spot for us and the did. It was amazing!! They had a store where we purchased a few veggies, one of the being flat white beans. I’ve seen these before in green but never white. I made them with tomatoes, garlic and parsley. They were delicious. We also picked our own blueberries and made blueberry pancakes. We parked the van down by their pond among the blackberry bushes. At 6:00, the market closed and we had the whole place to ourselves. It was peaceful and serene especially at sunset when the bird speakers turned off. They piped in hawk bird noises over these super loud speakers to keep the birds from eating all the berries.

Great private spot

We left the farm at 11:00 and headed for another short 2 hour drive to a State Park in NY. I checked the website because I wanted to be sure there was a spot for us. The website took me to Reserve America which is a sight I have used in the past and I knew they only accept reservations a day ahead but I wanted to see if NY made changes to their policy the way Ohio has. I saw nothing about any changes on the website and saw that there were plenty of Walk on sights available. A walk on site is just a site that’s not reservable, so off we went. When we arrived, the sign on the door said…”You must have a reservation, no walk ins permitted.” Another dumb rule from our dumb governor forbidding walk in’s. So a hundred sites sit vacant. The girl told me I can reserve a site for tomorrow but not today. It makes no sense at all!! I turned and walked out. So we were back to the old drawing board and the drawing board would have NY state campgrounds erased from all future plans. Our plan for the day is to have no plans and NY state campgrounds force you to plan a day ahead. That’s not gonna work for us.

So instead we looked up private campgrounds. Another membership we received from my work colleagues was a membership to Passport America. Found a great place with a 50% discount called Sleepy Hollow Lake. We got a nice basic private tent site. This campground is huge and packed with seasonal campers, but they have a little hidden spot for people like us.

Great spot in the secret tent area

Today we are heading another 2 hours and spending the night at another Harvest Host location.

……later the next day. Wow! What a find!! The Ontario Orchard. The video below tells it all!!

Nestled among the apple trees

We called this Harvest Host Location and drive to the produce market to get the map to where we would be parking for the night. It’s free to camp overnight at these places but they do ask you to purchase something from the farm which is not a problem at all especially when they also have a bakery on site. So we purchased a banana cream pie, banana bread, some homemade grape juice, corn on the cop and some thin sandwich steaks…..oh and a loaf of AMAZING “everything Italian bread.” We had dinner and went to bed earlier than usual because the mosquitoes were BRUTAL!! woke up early to a beautiful sunrise and got an early start to head back to Raquette Lake for a few days.

Life is good…..but Vanlife is great.

Till next time.

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