Lake Erie State Park, NY

We saw a bear crossing the road en route to Lake Erie SP, in the middle of Galeton, PA, July 17. Amazing. While it was a very pleasant drive along back roads most of the way, the bear was definitely a highlight.

Our site, #29 is not on the water, and there is little or no separation between sites, but we had a corner lot with a beautiful young oak tree that Roomba just fit under. On the first day, we realized as the sun set into the western Lake waters, how incredibly hot for too many hours Roomba was exposed to. So we ran the AC quite a lot and had to manage the windows etc. for weather and noise.


It was, however, a very quiet campground. Even with the large rigs and boats on trailers parked everywhere for the weekend, it was very sedate, despite the fact that many children were riding bikes and other toys around and around.


The bathhouse was only okay. There were **supposed to be** four private toilet stalls and 2 showers (for each gender, men’s on one side and women’s on the other) for the majority of the campground (exception being the cabins, which are quite primitive but have a separate bathhouse area that any nearby camping sites would have access to). When we arrived, one women’s toilet was marked “out of order” and by the time we left another was officially out of order, and a third was locked from the inside (likely by kids). So we “wimmins” were down to one toilet and 2 showers. The stalls were elderly and I’d bet VERY difficult to clean, so we were extra careful about carrying disinfecting wipes with us to the facilities here.

At the end of the road, we faced (staring also at the campers across the road from us who were backed against a narrow but thickly-grown wood) was a mowed access point to the “beach.” Personally, I’d call it a “shingle” as there’s no sand in sight and not much in the way of space to spread out blankets, chairs, picnics, or whatever.


That evening we went out to one part of the frisbee golf “lawn” above that shingle and watched the sunset from atop a picnic table. It was pretty cool—in the pix below you’ll see some peeps who swam out to a—not sure what it was, but suppose it was a raised bit of shale or rocks that they were walking on. We never took a swim, but it appeared the water was quite deep very suddenly off the shingle, and everyone either kayaked or swam out to this raised place to stand.

After the sunset, we stayed long enough to see a 3-star International Space Station (ISS) pass around 9:15. But then these monster mosquitoes chased us back up the hill and to bed. Our intention was to see Neowise Comet 2020, but the mosquitoes won that round.

Saturday, July 18 (Happy Birthday, Andy M!!) We went into Fredonia for groceries and drove around a bit, checking out the environs. Mostly looks like old neighborhoods, many gone to seed, but still some majestic old homes. There’s really no place to ride around here, try as we did to find bicycle trails with limited vehicle traffic. Too bad there’s not a “lakeside trail” of some sort, but I’m sure that real estate is quite upscale.

There is a “NY State Seaway Trail” but it’s all about driving.


I worked on the Green Lakes and Leonard Harrison blog posts and the attendant photo sizing from my office in the Clam. It was quite nice working from there, with a modicum of privacy, fans going to stir the air, and room to spread all my maps and papers around. We’d set the Clam over top of the picnic table, and that served as my desk (but I had to get a pillow under my butt after a short while—those benches are HARD).

It was another beautiful night for sunsets, and we determined to stick out long enough to see Neowise, prepared with bug spray, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants (it was really too hot for all that mess). I remembered to bring my binoculars and we sipped our adult beverages.

The sunset was not quite as impressive on this night, even though there were more clouds. We feared we’d not be able to see the comet with the clouds, but they moved along pretty quickly. I caught a kayak headed to the strand in the sunset and thought that was worth sharing.

It took a very long time for the sun’s glow to dissipate enough for us to see Neowise with the binos, but we managed at last. We’d gotten the skinny on where in the night sky to seek the comet (just horizon-ward from the Big Dipper, which was actually in the “paw” of Ursa Major). 

It was very cool. I tried to take a pic through the bino lens, but that wasn’t going to happen. It never really got dark enough for a photo or to see it with our naked eyes—both of us were certain we could see some of the tail without the binos, but it might have been our imaginations.

We did see another ISS pass, and other folks who came up behind us asked about the comet and we said, yes, we had binoculars, and we’d seen it. When we suggested they’d just missed the ISS, they said, “No, we saw it!” Then the guy said, “What a great night for nerds, right?” We all laughed.

The mosquitoes were vicious again, and even with spray and extra clothes, we were eaten—and these suckers leave behind an anti-coagulant to which I seem to be particularly allergic. So at about 11, with the horizon still too bright to see the comet without binos, we called it a night.

On Sunday, July 19 & Monday, July 20 (Happy Birthday, Chip C!!), many of the neighbors left, so we got our “elbow room” back and it was truly glorious. This is a very nice campground, and our site was really the best on offer, in our opinion—protected from the winds off the lake (important detail later in the day).

The breezes came up and the clouds portended some stormy weather. But before that came, we took a ride around the CG and only made about 4 miles on all the paved (and some unpaved) roads/trails about. Not much to this SP, frankly. And some reader boards explained what we suspected: that the SP is eroding into the Lake. They have an old “recreation” building off the “beach” that might have been closed due to Covid, but looked as if it’d been decommissioned long before the pandemic. It’s right on the edge of the bluffs, so it has likely been condemned due to erosion.

We rode our bikes along some “hiking trails” several of which had been converted to frisbee golf course “fairways.” I think I found the source of the mosquitoes from Hell: a swampy, marshy area that had little to recommend it except lots of swamp wildlife and these enormous, red-bellied mosquitoes. We also learned about the erosion of the park, creating the “bluffs” of Lake Erie.

Before the rains came, I managed to make us another “dump cake” in the Dutch oven with fresh blueberries and spice cake mix. It was pretty good—better than using pie filling (too sweet). Dinner was a split Cornish hen with dry rub spices grilled to perfection. Jack also grilled some squash for us, and with dessert, it was a memorable meal. Then the rains hit, with a significant blow—a nearby tree lost a branch.


The storm Sunday made for some very pretty sunset photos, some of which we enjoyed from inside the trailer:

We even got an interior reflection pic—this is the eastern set of windows reflecting the sunset as it happened, through the western set of windows:


On the Monday, with so few people at the campground and cooler temps after the storm, we did some maintenance work, cleaning Roomba. Jack washed exterior windows, and I worked on the blog and helped with window work later.

We are doing pulse oximeter and temperature readings on Mondays, and today’s were all again within our norms. The air was so fresh we actually turned off the AC for the night and ate outside for a change: grilled scallops wrapped in bacon, grilled sweet corn, and rice. Yum.


On Tuesday, July 21 we headed pretty early into Dunkirk to visit the public library there. It’s an old structure, and their very well-equipped computer room had been reduced to 4 functional computers/stations, 6 feet apart from one another. While I had my own computer, we still had to take up a station and stay apart from one another. Jack “airdropped” me some photos I wanted to use, and I put everything together into one 2-part and one 1-part blog post upload. The “library police” (with apologies to all my librarian friends) allowed us only an hour to take up a station, so I worked quickly and may have missed some typos in the process. If so, extra apologies.

We lazed and lounged back at camp, beginning to break down stuff and get ready for departure the next day.

Got out the pizza stone (custom sized to our grill) and put together a pair of pizzas using pre-made crusts and man, were they good!


Another memorable sunset, with classic Alto reflection pix, the best of which is this one:


Next stop is an unserviced Army Corps of Engineers property in Pennsylvania: Crooked Creek Lake Recreation area. 

Janes Island State Park, Maryland

April 13, 2017

With a leisurely start, we unbuckled the campsite at Chippokes by about 11. The camp host had come back on duty (first time during our stay) so we were able to get a bag of ice for the Gatorade and other beverages that have been sitting in the ice chest. We also didn’t feel the need to dump, so we headed north straight away.

After a short bog-down in Norfolk due to being in the wrong lane and having to exit into downtown (a bit of a white-knuckle endurance test for driver Jack) we made it to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, something neither of us have experienced in a goodly number of years. At 17 miles across and two tunnels connected by 3 enormous bridges, it remains an astonishing feat of engineering. A huge freighter was heading away from the passage above the second tunnel.





We stopped at the other side, still Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and headed for about 100 miles along Rt. 13 into Maryland. Nice drive along a straight, flat road, but little in the way of scenery. And unless you like fast food, not much in the way of charming cafés for lunch. In addition, the farther north we drove, the higher the fuel prices. C’est la vie.



Eventually, we stopped at a market that advertised fried chicken, but we got no help at all from the staff for pumping from #6, which would not take our card, so we paid cash for the fuel and circled around back and made our own damn lunches, thank you very much. Grrrr. But our sandwiches were quite good. 😊

Got to Janes Island State Park in MD and it is a lovely pine-filled area. We found no one at check-in/registration, so we just went in and set up. The facilities are clean and modern, and although there is no water at any site, the fill-up of our onboard tank went smoothly, and we have a lovely site (#23) on Daugherty Creek. Janes Island is across the narrow creek and apparently consists of water trails but no walking trails. There is a nature center wth a raised lookout and wildlife lists and other stuff that we intend to check out while we’re here, though.

Dougherty Creek
Our Set-Up
Our Site (#23)
Our View

The wind off the bay was truly howling and we thought twice about putting up the awning, although staking the poles in two different directions seemed to have calmed our worries that it would all just blow away. There is also tons and tons of pollen all over everything. Even to the point of making the hard horizontal surfaces yellow (picnic table, roads, vehicles, Roomba!). Anywhere that one drops liquid or sprays water becomes like a thin paint smear of institutional yellow. Jack and I are both sneezing. 🤧

We set up and just as we were about done, two rigs with dogs and loud talkers on one side and a pop-up with about four kids on the other set up right next to us. All were very loud.

So we left – just kidding. But we did carry out our plan to head into town (Crisfield) for dinner and some grocery shopping, which we did.

A place in Crisfield called the Watermen’s Inn had come to us recommended from our Alto Campers Facebook site, and we found it and had a delightful and delicious meal.




Afterwards, we strolled down to the end of Main street, which ends at a dock, and watched a two-star pass of the International Space Station across the nearly clear sky, at about ten past 8PM. Just lovely. After night fall, the temps dropped into the fifties, so we both looked forward to a cool sleep under our Rumpl Blanket.

Did our shopping, discovering that MD grocery stores don’t (or at least this Food Lion didn’t) carry wine and beer.

When we returned to the campground, however, the gates were closed and we did not have the key code. A nice gentleman helped us and another emerged from the admin building and we got our registration packet and the code for entry after 7P. And a map and other goodies.

Had a small nightcap in the screen house and enjoyed the night sounds, even though the noisy neighbors (on one side at least — the other folks were off visiting somewhere) were still active. We cocooned Roomba inside and read until snooze time and look forward to a bicycling and seafood and bird watching adventure to remember, cycling the Crustacean Trail tomorrow.