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. 

Kelly’s Island State Park, OH

July 30 & 31

We were on the road by 8:30AM, headed toward Kelly’s Island State Park, Ohio. The island is in Lake Erie, and the ferry departs every half-hour during the summer for the Island, from Marblehead, OH.

The ferry ride is short and sweet, although expensive for a trailer, Tow Vehicle, and two old gits on a there-and-back-again: $113. Especially since it’s just a 20-minute ride.


Kelly’s Island from the ferry


Roomba aboard

But worth every dollar. The roads on the Island are narrow, but there are very few fossil fuel vehicles, and the island-wide speed limit is 25MPH. Most of the vehicular traffic is bicycles and these undersized electric golf carts. We had not the first clue which way to turn out of the ferry landing area, so we went left. The Lakeview road took us past the “downtown” area (such as it is) and 4 miles along the pretty drive to the state park. As we moved away from the commerce center, there were fewer vehicles and more lovely homes and lake views.

Our site is one of the premium lake front sites but without any power or water (site #103). The bath houses are modern and clean, although there are only 3 each of shower, toilet stall, and sink. I’d imagine during the busiest of summer weekends that would not serve (or you’d have to wait a long time for your turn).


We’re right next to the “beach” however, meaning there are plenty of shouting, screaming kids swimming in the shallow waters protected by a stone breakwater. To our right (facing the water and east) is an area with lots of boats anchored and motoring through, with a couple of pretty sailboats. Unfortunately, about an hour after we’d arrived and (mostly) set up, a boat with two couples on it arrived, anchored, and started blasting their very loud, very bad music for all to enjoy. They stayed, swimming, (probably) drinking, playing their awful music too loudly, and being totally obnoxious for hours. I finally had to take refuge inside, although it was really really hot.


The good news/bad news about site 103 is that, since it has no services, it’s a good thing it’s in full sun. That does, however, make it a challenge to manage the interior heat. The shady part of our site has many trees and a clear understory, with a well-placed fire ring, so setting up away from the camper and in the shade (and with the lake-breeze a constant cooling effect) is perfect. We hung both hammocks, got some firewood (for when BoomBoxBoat decided to go away) and chilled.

Through the Alto owners Facebook group, we arranged to meet up with Tim, who is on the waiting list for a 1713 like ours, but wanted to see one “in use” to help him decide what amenities he would finalize for his unit. He is a musician and a bicyclist, and since he was playing a gig on the island Saturday night, decided to stay until we arrived (before heading back to his home in Cleveland) so he could check out our Roomba.

He arrived before we’d completed the set-up, and chatted a long time before he headed back to is car to make the ferry back to the mainland. He was especially interested in the bike rack and the awning options. Of course, our awning is no longer available from Safari Condo, so seeing ours probably didn’t help him much.

We had a lovely fire and dinner (BoomBoxBoat had left by that time), ended the day with a lovely adult beverage, and hit the hay.



Monday, July 31

I got up early (5:30-ish) to see the sunrise over the lake. The best thing about getting up that early was listening to and watching the birds awaken. It was truly lovely and I’m glad I made the effort.








After our usual breakfast of sausage patties on slider buns, we kitted up for our bike ride. Not only did we want to get into town to purchase some fresh veggies (if possible), but we also wanted to circumnavigate the island on the roads, and see what we could see.

It was a wonderful ride. I didn’t stop to take photos of all the lovely lakeside homes we passed, but there were a passel of them. After finding the primary market and getting some veggies to grill with our pork chops this evening, we hit the Kelly’s Island Brewery for what turned out to be their breakfast menu, but we called it lunch anyway (the didn’t begin serving lunch until noon, and we arrived there at 11). Eggs were involved, and really great home fries, and I had mine topped with chili, while Jack got sausage gravy on his.

Limestone Quarry



Saw the ferry we’d ridden yesterday headed to Kelly’s Island



The brewery’s bar is all made of stone with neat inserts throughout
Fred Flintstone seems to have become a fossil in the brewery’s bar

A short ride later, we were back at camp, and enjoying a lovely shower. While the screaming kids were there again swimming and making tons of noise, BoomBoxBoat did not appear by the time of this upload. Our total mileage for the day was 15.25 miles, and it was a lovely, leisurely ride, followed by a leisurely time in the hammocks.

We made ready to build a fire and work on our final Kelly’s Island dinner when I popped up to the Camp Office to borrow their wifi for this upload (there’s zero Verizon service here). We aren’t going to break our necks to move on tomorrow AM, but our next stop is Oak Hill Federal Park near Lake Vesuvius, OH, for a two-night stay before hitting Virginia again.