June 30 – First day of summer vacation
We took the Roadtrek on her maiden voyage to see how she runs and mostly to see what items we might forget to bring on a longer trip. Our destination for this holiday weekend is the St. Lawrence Seaway and Lake Ontario shore. Mostly, we wanted to cross the border into the US and see if we could camp more easily there where their holiday doesn’t begin until Wednesday.
We drove down hwy 16 to Prescott, where we turned onto hwy 2 and the 1000 Islands parkway. The road from Prescott to Brockville is full of old stately homes and newer properties with a great view of the river. Once we got over the bridge to the US, we turned off the interstate to continue our drive along the river from the south shore. We spotted a sign that advertised wine slushies, so we just had to investigate. We came across the 1000 Island Winery where we bought a $3 wine slushie and I tried 5 local wines for free. The only one worth remembering was the Pinot Grigio. The rest were either too oaky or too sweet. Leon liked the slushie though. We even got the recipe:
Freeze the contents of a bottle of red and a bottle of semi-sweet white wine into ice cube trays. When frozen on the outside but still watery on the inside, place the cubes in a blender with 1/2 can each of lemon-lime soda and grape soda. Blend to a nice slush. Serve with a straw.
After a photo op, we continued to Cedar Point State Park where we found there was no longer any vacancy. We did see a nice bald eagle in its nest along the road side though. We also stopped to replace the tomatoes, capsicum (pepper) and limes the border crossing guard has confiscated. That was rather odd seeing how most of the produce comes from the US. Oh well, I guess we should have checked the website before we left. It was only about $10 worth of produce anyway.
We finally found a campsite for the night a bit further down the road at Burham Point State Park. We have a view of the river, with a long island blocking our view of the seaway (not to mention the bogans who parked their truck right in front of our view to the sunset). The afternoon was spent sitting under our awning, enjoying a cool glass of gin and collins, with American approved limes, reading and staring at the river. It was a breezy, beautiful day. In the early evening, we walked over to the pier and put our feet in the water to check the temperature and to cool off a little. We saw a grey heron waiting on the dock, patiently hoping one of the fishermen would feed him. We also saw 2 crawfish or fresh water lobsters (or yabbies or something like that) in the water, quite dead unfortunately. I guess herons only like live seafood cause there was an enormous dead bass there as well. I’m not sure what killed him – maybe he died of a heart attack when someone set off some fireworks??
Anyway, we ended up having a lovely dinner of grilled salmon on salad while watching the sun set slowly through the tailgate of the pick-up truck conveniently parked in our line of view. Ah camping… well at least the Roadtrek is really cozy and everything we were hoping for so far. We did notice quite a few people looking at us with envy. One guy in a small Winnebago gave us the thumbs up as he drove past us. Right now we are sitting in the front seats which are rotated to face the rear and become great loungers. The bed is made in the back and it’s just waiting for us to crawl in and try it out for the first time. Let’s see how we feel in the morning. Good night John Boy…
On July 1, we decided to head East along the St. Lawrence and stop into Alexandria Bay – the town below the bridge to Canada, which we never actually stop in. We parked the car for a few minutes and walked around to have a better look at Boldt Castle on Heart Island (the one that was built by the owner of the Waldorf-Astoria). We continued east till we got to the Eisenhower locks – the American side of the St. Lawrence Seaway, where over 3000 cargo ships pass each year as they travel from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes. I’ve watched boats go through the Rideau River locks, but I’d never seen such large ships go through locks before. I estimate it takes about 30 min for a ship to get into position and get out again to carry on its way. That’s an amazing volume of water either filling up or draining to let the ship go up or down the river.
By late afternoon we figured we had better find a place to camp again. This time we stopped at Coles Creek State Park, just west of Massena NY. It looks like a newer park with a beach, lots and lots of camping spots and a good view of Morrisburg, ON. We had a great dinner of bbq steak and finished the evening with a glass of wine, sitting on the waterfront, watching the sunset. There were fireworks at some point, but we could only hear them. Oh well, it was a great first trip with our new Roady!