For our next adventure, we went back out a long the Lake Ontario State Parkway to what we thought would be a more appropriate camp, given the recent rainstorm; something a bit more open, something that would give us a chance to dry out a little bit. This we found at Lakeside beach state park  which is at the western end of the state parkway.
Note in the linked map, that the place we had wanted to stay the night before… Golden Hill… is just a stone’s throw past Lakeside Beach.
We have been hearing for years that we should visit this park. One thing and another, we’ve never had the opportunity before now.
Well, we’re sorry now we hadn’t. The park itself is beautiful, and the camping facilities are first rate. Below is a map of the park. Notice that are camping rings A through G. Of these, F and G our wear pets are allowed. Since we brought the dog with us on this trip we opted to stay in the G loop. On the map it’s the one closest to the lake of the last three loops.
Given the need for something a little drier, this proved to be a good choice. You can see by the picture here, that the site we shows was pretty much treeless. It’s precisely what we wanted given how wet things were. It made for a nice lake breeze in the trailer.
We took our time setting everything up, including the awning this time. It was so wet and windy the night before, we hadn’t bothered. Of course, never having done it before, we nearly pinched a couple fingers. We were fortunate to have a fellow camper stop by in time to see us struggle with the awning. With their help we had it set up in no time. TV and radio antennas up, power cables down the chairs spread around we were ready for the evening. The only surprise in fact of the whole ordeal was bumping into the hornets nest which was positioned directly next to the power outlet at our site. Imagine the look on my face as I got down to hook onto shore power. Oops. Umm… which way is “Bye Bye”? (Never mind, I found it.)
Now that we were set up and running well, it was time I started looking around at some of the other sites and some of the other campers. In general, all the sites are clean, level, and, given a rainstorm just the night before, amazingly dry. Restrooms are acceptable, and there’s even a shower… one, I noted with interest, you didn’t need to pay extra for. Not exactly the most private shower I’ve ever seen but off peak you’ll be OK.
Rings F and G are pretty nigh on treeless, (Odd, given that’s the only place dogs are allowed… dogs… and no trees?)… whereas rings A through E. are older and have more trees. They are also closer to the lake on shoreline as the map above will show you. ( map courtesy of Google). Sad, I would have preferred being closer to the shoreline. I suppose it’s the price you pay for having a dog. We’ll walk down to the shore later, we decided.
Past that minor setback, however, it was an enjoyable nights stay. Campfire wood was cheap and plentiful. $4.00 for a sizable box; enough to keep us going for the entire evening. I got the campfire going, (I wish I could have gotten a picture of it; I ran out of batteries. (Note to self; buy more next trip) and left it in the charge of my older boy, and went back to the galley for some dinner.
Something simple, I reasoned, would do well on this chilly night, since we’d eaten a rather healthful lunch at home… I chopped up a package of hot dogs and fried them up, then tossed some canned pork and beans in with them. A little cheese, a little bread, some milk, and we’ve got our first dinner. There’s this, too; Going simple will also help me get used to the galley. I’m a fair enough cook, but only when I know where everything is, and when we’re fully stocked. It’s going to be a while before either of those situations was true.
I should mention, that we got into the habit, years ago, of using the black plastic dishes that come as a part of those Stoufer’s entres, as camping dishes. The advantages are many;
* They’re light, (in an 1100lb pop-up trailer, this is crucial)
* They don’t break (again, crucual)
* They stack very well… minimal storage space
* They microwave well… and since we have a microwave in the camper now, this is a real plus
* They’re easily replaced if for some reason they do need replacement
For the first time in my camping experience, I didn’t have to run a pot of water, and stick it on the campfire to heat for dishwashing; I used the water heater and the sink. The water heater did it’s thing well, and the chore was done in record time.
Now to make up the beds. Another habit we got into years ago with the pop-up; When we first got it, we tried making sheets for the beds. This proved a real setup hassle, to say nothing of a problem when things got wet. Ever after, we simply tossed out sleeping bags on the camper beds. Two (zipped together) for Donna and myself, and one each for the boys. Donna and I don’t care much either way, and the boys think it adds to the camping experience. Given the pop-out nature of these beds, we saw no reason to change the routine.
The one thing we still haven’t gotten over… the sheer size of these beds in the Kiwi… they’re actually a bit longer than our bed at home. Quite a relief after years of, at 6’2″, worrying about sticking a foot out the bed end in the pop-up.
The moon gave a bright light, that night as myself and my beautiful wife went moonlight walking. The cool night air, the sound of the waves on the lake, and so on.. well, it was something. We walked down to the lakeshore, she and I, and watched lights of the boats out on the lake passing by in a silent parade, listened to the waves and the kingfishers.
We came back and sent the boys, who had been watching the campfire, to bed. Donna and I sat up for over an hour, watching the fire until the last of the logs had burned out. We dumped a couple gallons of water on the embers and went to bed ourselves, getting there around Midnight, with the sound of the lake waves drifing in the windows… and pretty much slept through until about 8:30 the next morning. Something we NEVER did in the popper. Perhaps it was the size of the beds. I do know for the first time in years my back wasn’t stiff when I got up.
Bacon and Eggs with coffee for my wife and myself, Cheerios for the kids. A clear crisp morning, with more than a hint of dew…(Note to myself… buy a brush or a squeegee to deal with morning Dew… it’s the only way you’re going to get out of camp if you have to leave early for some reason)
We checked out at 5 minutes of 11am, which was checkout time.
We’ll be back. It’s just a short hop from home, but it’s an economical adventure and a pleasant time.
If you’re traveling the Niagara Region, and are looking for a place to stay that’s a bit away from the hustle and bustle of the falls and the surrounding campsites, this is a great choice.
On my 1-10 scale, it’s an 8.
Next planned trip is Columbus day weekend. And no, we don’t know where we’re going, yet.