Another weekend gone by too quickly. We both commented this morning how we could really go for an extended camping trip, even if just for a few more days than a Friday/Saturday. This weekend was at Alum Creek State Park again. This was the first place we went with the new camper in May. This time was much warmer and the park was much busier.
This time we chose a site towards the back of the park which I would recommend if you want a quieter experience. Not a lot of traffic back here. I’d also suggest making reservations. When we arrived on Friday I was glad that we did because there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of sites open.
We had a nice day in Columbus Saturday which is only about 15-20 minutes away. When we got back we were enjoying the afternoon when it started to rain just slightly. Before we knew it we had a crazy pop-up thunderstorm with some heavy downpours. Our neighbors nearby had their awning collapse. I can only assume they didn’t have it set up right. Always remember when setting your awning to have one side lower than the other so if it rains the awning sheds water instead of holding water weight in the middle.
Today was Columbus Pride! It’s been years since we went to a Pride march/festival. I think the last one was in Cleveland and it has to have been at least 3 years ago. I used to go to these every year – sometimes even Cleveland and Columbus. But since I’ve been more invested in work and less involved in the community I’ve kinda strayed away.
This Pride march was like so many others except for a few things I noticed.
- First is that I think I saw more families there. There were a lot more kids around watching the parade. This one kid nearby must have had a few bags of swag that the marchers were handing out.
- There were more companies represented in the parade. That’s good to see, but I’ll also give kudos to the companies that have been there for years – before it was cool to be in with “the gays.” Chase Bank was one of them that have been around for a long time.
- The parade was endless. I remember Columbus being a really long parade, but we watched for over an hour and we still didn’t quite see all of it.
- There was one part that really moved me. One of the first groups to march by were different branches of the armed forces. When I first got involved in the community and going to these things if someone in the military marched they probably would have been dishonorably discharged. The next group was just as amazing – a group of newlyweds. In recent memory that would have been impossible.
I think the last part is what really struck me, and almost got me choked up. It’s amazing how far things have come in such a short time. We’ll see what happens this week with the Supreme Court ruling, but whatever happens this gives me cause to be optimistic.
I may be in a place from Star Trek, although it doesn’t look like it really. I’m in Romulus, NY which is on the east side of Seneca Lake. My whole family is here at this really nice house right on the shore. There is a nice breeze, the temperature is moderate, and I’m on a rocking chair on the porch. Really this is great. You know I love the camping experience, and last time we were in the Finger Lakes we were camping. But I have to say, this is nice.
This is a special trip I think because my sister is moving to Utah at the end of the summer. It’s not like I’m never going to see her again, but the time with her and her husband and having the whole family together will be fewer and further between.
Today we all went wine
binging tasting. We went to 6 wineries/breweries and I lost count of how many wines we tasted. Some were decent, some were not. One winery that stood out was Dr Franks over on Keuka Lake. I think tomorrow may include some more tastings, but we might be kinder to our livers.
We’ve seen a few signs for campgrounds in our travels. Last time we were here we staying in Bristol. While it was certainly nice, we’re also looking around a bit to see if there are some other locations to try out. Maybe a trip next year…
Normally I am a heavy sleeper. I often have difficulty falling asleep, but once I do I’m out like a light. So the emergency that occurred this morning about 3am took a few minutes to sink in. I kept hearing, “we’re out of propane!” Truly it took me a few minutes to understand.
The new camper has a furnace. This is a novelty for us as our last camper didn’t have one, our teardrop didn’t have one, and certainly tents don’t come so equipped So this is the first year having a thermostat on the wall and instant heat at our fingertips. And thank goodness – it’s been unusually cold every weekend that we’ve camped. So this morning we apparently reached the end of all our propane in like 8 nights of camping.
I heard a commotion – someone putting on shoes in the dark. I’m not sure if I opened my eyes at that point, but I knew someone was about to go outside. When I regained semi-consciousness I heard the heater kick on and then back off again. No luck. The second tank which we had hardly used was also empty. And at 3am what can you do? Nothing is open at 3am on Memorial Day – at least no where that fills propane tanks.
By 7am it was about 51 degrees in the trailer. I find it hard to get out of bed when the temp is below 65, so this morning was a struggle. But those tanks are full now you better believe. Lesson learned: when camping in cold weather either make sure you have full propane tanks or have a backup option.
This has been an odd weekend for camping. Between work and the weather… We dropped off the camper Thursday night, and then I went to work on Friday. Friday lasted longer than I would have liked. Then the weather has been cold. One night I walked away from the campfire to find that it was 38 degrees outside. Thank goodness for the new furnace.
But today is absolutely beautiful. We were supposed to leave this morning, but we decided that since today is the nicest of the past few days we’re staying one more night. It means a little more running around tomorrow, but we get to enjoy one more day at the campground. It’s worth it for the sanity and lower blood pressure!
A big part of the camping experience is about being outdoors and being closer to nature. I’m not sure that all campers feel the same way, but I would surmise that a decent majority of them do. I’ve always enjoyed being outside at night. I think that being away from home with all the distractions that come from inside allows us to enjoy the outdoors more. One would think then that a camper would want to be environmentally friendly.
One of the reasons we chose and like our Gulf Stream Visa is because it is a “green” RV. They use environmentally friendly processes and materials in its construction. Some of the materials are made from recycled plastic, and there is a distinct absence of the formaldehyde smell that I’ve noticed in other campers. Apparently it’s not just Gulf Stream that considers the trailer “green,” but it is also certified by a third party. Good.
So I was thinking tonight about gas mileage with the new camper, and that it’s gone down a bit with the added weight. This was expected and not surprising. Although it was surprising that the mileage didn’t decrease as much as we thought. But with all that driving and gas going into the tank I realized we’re putting a lot of pollution and CO2 into the air in order to have this nature-centric activity.
So tonight I bought us some carbon offsets through TerraPass. TerraPass is an organization that invests in companies that help offset carbon emissions in projects like wind farms and landfill gas reclamation. I simply calculated how much gas we’re using, let TerraPass figure out how much CO2 we will be pumping out, and bought enough offsets to .. well, offset it. Simple. I’ve used TerraPass before and like what they do, how they do it, and that they’re independently certified.
Other people do other things. They help pick up trash in parks and communities. Some may help environmental causes. In this case, I know that I’m helping to mitigate the impact I have on the environment, and I can help preserve it for the activity I enjoy and for others who do as well.
I tend to procrastinate. I admit it. I often wait until the last minute to get something done. I’ve heard it said that some people work better under pressure. I’m not sure that’s true, but I can rationalize right? My next weekend off is Memorial Day weekend and of course we plan to go camping. Yeah, I waited a little too long.
Almost everything in the State Park system is booked up. Of course there are still walk-in sites available, but I wouldn’t make plans based on that. Even some of the campgrounds in the State Parks that rarely ever fill up are full. There was actually one site (out of two available) that I was interested in at Punderson State Park, but as I was looking at it someone else reserved it. Drat!
So next I checked out some of the local KOAs. Several of the ones we looked at are completely booked, even the one that is way out in the middle of nowhere. Somehow I lucked out, and the one campground we often stay at had some openings. Called right then and there. And now we will be camping Memorial Day weekend. I read that they have a parade and everything. Should I decorate the motorcycle?
If you want to go camping next weekend, book it now! I think if you wait until the weekend is over you might be planning 2 weeks out. Procrastination has its disadvantages.
This weekend was opening weekend at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. And this was not just another opening day at the park – it was the opening of a new roller coaster called GateKeeper. As we rarely let a camping worthy weekend go by without camping, we decided to camp near the park. I surprised Jon by getting us reservations at Camper Village which is right on park property and just a quick walk to the park gate. It was pretty cool to be camping right there by the coasters. Actually, pretty cool described the weather as well.
It was downright frigid Saturday night. After coming back from the park the wind was blowing right off Lake Erie and it felt like it was below freezing. We ended up putting the awning away before bed because we thought it might blow off. For awhile it kinda felt like being in an airplane with the wind rocking the trailer back and forth. We were glad to have a furnace in the new trailer.
GateKeeper was a great ride – waited 3 hours even after having arrived what we thought was early. The line actually wrapped toward the front gate and back down the midway. I’m looking forward to riding it again – just without the 3hr wait. The highlight of the day though was at the very end when we went to ride Millennium Force (my favorite coaster of all time). We ended up getting to ride it 6 times in a row. Although cold, night rides are awesome.
Saturday night was great. Although smitten with the new Visa 19RBS, we spent time as we always do by the campfire. The first campfire of the season is special – in that sometimes we have a difficult time getting it started. Here is my camping tip of the day: use presoaked charcoal. Get those puppies hot and anything will burn. Even wet firewood from the state park. Slept like a rock that night.
Sunday was a bit of a wash out. It rained on and off most of the day, and it was cloudy and not as warm. We did get to test the Visa for leaks though – good news that there are none. Although we did find that if you leave the roof vent open and move the hitch, water will flow from the roof into the bathroom. Oops. Went shopping for a few things that we now find we need. One was a ratcheting wrench for the weight distribution hitch. Yeah, that makes things go a little quicker when hitching up.
Also spent some time getting stuff organized. We’re both apparently a little OCD about everything having a place in the trailer so there’s not stuff everywhere. And since we brought the old trailer down with us and basically swapped everything out as quickly as we could at the dealer, there was stuff all about. We found that there is ample storage space in the new trailer, and we even have a few cabinets that are empty! We were also able to remove a tote worth of stuff that we never use – it’s always nice to simplify where possible.
I think the worst part of the day was when we brought the camper home and tried to get it into its parking spot. We apparently underestimated how much rain we got, and the yard was a bit like the tough mudder. We turfed a few spots, and I think our blood pressure spiked for the day. But all’s well – it’s in a temporary spot until we can move around in the yard again. Second tip of the day: plan ahead.
I think this is the first time we stayed at Alum Creek State Park (in Ohio) so I thought I would just add my two cents for anyone who might be planning on visiting.
First is that it’s in a great location. It’s just north of Polaris (which is a big retail area) so things you might need and stuff to do is close by. Downtown Columbus is just a short drive down I71. However, when you’re at Alum Creek you certainly don’t feel like you’re in an urban area. In fact, the park isn’t really in an urban area. It’s nicely out of the way.