Watkins Glen

Rainbow Bridge with Josh waiting for his bride

Rainbow Bridge with Josh waiting for his bride

We left for Watkins Glen, located in central New York State in the finger lake district of NY late on Friday evening. It was the first road trip with the new shocks and boy, what a difference!  The ride was really smooth.  There was no hobby horsing or swaying.  It was like driving a Mercedes.

We arrived after dark, and the registration booth was closed.  Instructions indicated that we should find a site, return to the booth, complete a registration and set up at our location.  We had a map for the park.  They provide a map in the registration packet, but there are no lights in the camping area.  There were very few people too.  The weekend was a walk in weekend, no registrations available ahead of time and there were thirty sites filled, maybe, in a park that has over 300 camping locations.  I thought that one of the better sites was on the Mohawk Village loop, so we went there first.  Site 96 didn’t look too level, and in the dark it looked really narrow.  We selected site 101, a level deep site.  It was nice, but a neighbor would have been close if there were one in 103. Sites 50 through 105 have electricity, so it was to be our first experience with electricity.

Rates for non-resident weekend electric sites were $37 for the first night and $34 for the second night.  There is no water or sewer at any of the sites, just electricity.  I filled out all the paperwork, fortunately I had a pen and we returned to the site and in short order were located, levelled and plugged in.  I purchased a bubble level and cut up some 2×8 pieces of wood since the last outing, so leveling was a snap. Plugged in the RV, no propane used to keep the refrigerator and contents cold, as many lights turned on as we wanted, a clock to see what time my mid night forays are at, and hot water at the push of a switch. Nirvana! Kudos to those Edison and Tesla guys, what a nifty invention.  Turned on the heat, it was a little chilly and slept like a log.

Breakfast the nest morning was wonderful since I didn’t have to annoy the neighbors with any noise from out ultra quiet generator.  Some perked coffee, pancakes, sausages, and OJ, and we were off.  we walked to the camping area entrance to the glen, not too far from where Louise the girls  and I had tented many years ago.  It was a little overcast, not the best day for pictures, but there was water in the creek.  Not as much water as I had hioped for, but much more that the last time we were there.  we were spoiled several years ago in Yosemite when they had the largest spring thaw in years. Took many pictures, some of which are at http://www.bobkelly.phanfare.com/road/6073169

Watkins Glen State Park is located outside the village of Watkins Glen, New York, at the south end of Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes. The Park was opened to the public in 1863 and was privately run until 1906.  Since then it’s been run by New York  State. There are, according to sources over 800 steps in the park.  It seemed like we hit every one of them, but we didn’t.  We met a wonderful man, dressed in formal attire standing on Rainbow Bridge.  In an attempt to be polite, I said nothing at first, but after he fielded some questions from passers by I had to ask him what he was doing there, as the best dressed person on the trail.  Did we not get the memo that today was formal attire day?  His name was Josh Walton and he was waiting for the woman he would make his bride.  She was on the trail and had no idea that he was there. She was far from where she lived, he was from Kentucky, and it was going to be a surprise.  We met them later on the trail, after he proposed.  The bride to be was beautiful and all aglo, the ring was stunning and brilliant white, almost as remarkable as their smiles.  The man knows how to do things in a first class manner.

In a case of small worlds we bumped into my nephew and a bunch of his friends on the trail.  He was graduating from Ithaca that weekend and invited us to his graduation concert. we come from a big family, but we’ll have to work better on schedules.  It was only after getting home that I discovered that my god-daughter received her masters that weekend also in Ithaca. we continued to the Watkins Glen town portion of the town and got lunch at Mr Chicken.  If you are in town, you have to eat there.  It’s a don’t miss place. 

Our site

Our site

We left the trail, returned to our site, rolled out the awning and set to getting the grill ready for dinner.  we met an really nice couple from the Adirondacks  a retired Air Force Officer, what was travelling in a sprinter framed class A Itasca Rayo 25T.  we had a very fun, informative conversation, and he gave us a tour of his new coach.  the sleeping area was very nice and reminiscent of a yacht, but the kitchen was crowded next to the bathroom.  His wife indicated that she preferred the open feeling of ours, they had a smaller on prior, but climbing into the bed over the cab was old.

Grilled a nice dinner of pork chops, baked potatoes and broccoli, took a quick shower and went off to Ithaca to see the concert.  Ithaca is one (the) premier music schools in the country and the concert was proof.  We had a great time, and the artists were outstanding. With the right connections they all have the ability to be on Broadway. We watched the fireworks following the show, retired to the RV to give my brother-in-law Pete and wife Donna a tour and have a beer (ginger ale, I was driving) and shoot the breeze.  At about midnight we left and i noticed that the fuel was a little low.  we made it back to the site without incident, but discovered that all the fuel stations in that part of the country leave their lights on, credit card swipes on and turned the pumps off.

Slept in a little later, didn’t use the heater, and it was warm all night.  Got up, and had a breakfast of Taylor ham, cheese and egg on a Thomas’s English  muffin, coffee and OJ and off to church at St Mary’s of the Lake. parking was an adventure, as it was at Ithaca College.  The RV is just the right size, but it’s bigger than a Chevy Suburban.  It really takes two spots and it’s almost 8′ wide.

St Mary of the Lake is a really beautiful church built in the 1880’s with architecture I’ve never really seen before.  The mass and choir were good.  We fueled up, I was getting 14 MPG and we took off for home. Mom Z lent us her iPad in hopes that Louise would be better be able to see where we are and where we were going, but it didn’t have a cellular account enabled, so it was a no go.  I took Route 17 as a ‘scenic’ route home.  Well, after you’ve seen the Beaverkill and some sprint time mountains once you’ve seen them all.  We drove and drove and drove.  I asked Louise “are we there yet?” too many times.  Eventually we got back home, fueled up (15 MPG) and were done.