So here came July 4th weekend. We haven’t gone much of anyplace this year for several reasons… mostly, two cats that need medication daily. But we’re setting out to Lakeside Beach State Park, which is our new favorite park of late. Here we are in the driveway the morning we’re set to leave. It’s hot out, nearly 80 degrees already and only around 10:30 as this pic is taken. But we’re mostly loaded. and set to go. Check in time at Lakeside is 3pm, so we’ll leave around 2 and take our time to make the 30 or so miles to the park. (NOTE: As always, drill each pic for a full-size view)

I’ve already spend the previous week trying to get the trailer ready to go. Mostly, the little cleanups. But also, a BIG cleanup where I actually took the rig over to the local carwash, and used the spray brush. Then I brought it back to the driveway and gave it a solid going over with the heavier cleaners to get rid of the black streaks from waterflowing under the windows and fixtures. The old Kiwi was looking much better by the time I got done.

The thing is LONG, looking at it from this angle.

In the last week, I had the Air conditioner checked, as well as the left front stabilizer jack replaced. LP tanks filled….($15 each) and away we go.

It’s a fairly short hop from our house to the park… about 40 miles, perhaps a bit less, most of it on the Lake Ontario state Parkway, but because of some low bridges (11-4) on the east end of the parkway, I ended up getting on it about 10 miles to the west of 390, where I usually get on.

Here’s the camp once we pulled in and got level. I know the leveling looks pretty extreme, but that’s a grass pad for you. The sharper among you will note that this is the same site we were at last October…. G38 Known quantity for us, I guess, though this time we started looking around for a better site for us within the park. We found one, too… F40 looked pretty mice. Near the playground that G38 sits near, and in some added shade… which would have been a real help in the heat. It got as high as 90, this day. (Ouch)

One addition to the rig we didn’t have previously is an RVQ. Now, our rig is a 2000 21c.. and the RVQ didn’t come with it as an option.. or as standard in later years. This is a lack I lamanted in the Kiwi Owners group some weeks ago. I was very fortunate to meet Jay in the group who said he had one he’d never used and would gladly trade it for the two burner stove our rig came with. As it happens Jay lives out on Long Island, but camps all over the state… we met him at Watkins Glen state Park when he and his group were camping there a few weekends before our trip.

We found, once we got it home the thing didn’t work. Turned out the problem was an ever-so-slightly different requirement in the size of the gas nozzle in the quick connect. Cost $8.00 to fix that, and away we went.

You can see it works rather well, now. I always start with something simple on a new bit of cooking gear, so dogs and burgers seemed the best bet, here. It was nice not to have to bring that heat inside, and the grill works very well, indeed. Many thanks to Jay. I’ll have to more closely check out that camping group of his. It’d be nice to run with them, I think.

This being a July 4 weekend all the amateurs in the world were out. This included many large family groups of multiple levels of family. These usually take up more than one space. Else, they redefined for themselves what constituted a camping space. For example here’s the group in the aforementioned site F40. What you don’t see is the large camper up on the pad which is to your left.

As we discovered, most of the campers were local people from as far west as Niagara Falls, and as far east as Oswego. Occasionally, we ran into people from Stuben County down in the southern tier of New York. Surprisingly enough, there were not many from outside the region. This leads me to believe that Lakeside Beach is probably one of the best kept secrets in the neighborhood. The place was teaming all weekend with kids of all ages just having some fun being outdoors. Lots of bike riding was going on , and there is certainly enough in the way of space and trails to be doing that on. Someone brought a gas powereed RC car which delighted the neighborhood kids.

Toward sunset, I decided to take a look at the sunset across the lake, and was rewarded with this shot, just begging to be taken.

That’s my younger boy… exploring… and running as fast as his legs would carry him. In turning away from that sight, I was rewarded with something almost as good… one of the better sunsets I’ve seen in a few years…

At this point I ran out of batteries, and had to drop them on the charger.
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The clouds then moved in, and within a few hours it was raining on and off for the remainder of the night. One major disadvatage to this site… the while it does give you nice sunset views right from your front porch, the prevailing wind is out of the west, and tends to make your awning a bit of a problem. In fact, it’s that problem that caused me to look for other accommodations for the next time we’re out there. We found one that looked interesting, but more on that later.

Seeing the storm was coming up, we decided to put the awning up for the night to ride out the storm. It did give rather windy… I would estmate peak gusts to around 45mph. While the storm was going on, we were presented with something of a mystery. We started hearing loud explosions to the west of us , perhaps four or five miles away. These explosions were obviously aloft, and yet presented no light flashes to speak of. They were loud enough to roust everyone in the camp. I immediately had at least a dozen people standing up in front of my site wondering what the world all the noise was about. Was there storm damage going on to the west of us? Was there some kind of a war we didn’t know about? Given the strength of the storm it wasn’t hard to imagine some storm related damage going on.

It turns out that these explosions were an attempt at weather modification by area fruit farmers. I don’t understand all of it, but apparently the idea os the use of explosive force to break up clouds which would, if left unchecked, produce hail which would damage the crops…. in this case, fruit. This is a fairly localised attempt at weather modification as opposed to the larger attempts by the military in years gone by, to control such things as hurricanes. I had thought personally, that this was extremely theoretical. But apparently, it is more reality in localised efforts, than I was aware. Scared the beep out of a LOT of people that night, I can tell you.

We finally got to sleep around 4:30 that morning. Obviously, we slept in a bit. That’s OK, the whole camp did.

More in part 2, which I’ll release sometime Tuesday Night.