Before pulling away in the RV we go through a checklist of procedures for safety purposes. An important step in this process is to know where we are going and this usually requires setting the Garmin and choosing a route. Jeff often disagrees with the woman on Garmin so we usually conjure up suggestions from my iPad and iPhone which usually lead to a heated discussion and confusion. Today is no different. As soon as we start out Jeff insists upon taking New York’s Palisades Parkway which the Garmin does not bring up as an option.


The Garmin keeps recalculating and advising us to get off on each consecutive exit. When a policeman pulls us over we find out why. No trucks or recreational vehicles are allowed on Palisades Parkway! As if this is bad enough, the patrolman wants to see our registration for the tow dolly. Jeff and I scramble around and can only produce the title. We tell the officer that we followed all the requirements for the state of Ohio. After waiting what seems like an hour, we are presented with a ticket for failure to register our Kar Kaddy and a rude reminder that he could just go ahead and impound it then and there. Furthermore the ticket claims that Jeff made a false statement suggesting that we were pretty sure we had our vehicles properly registered. Nowhere on the traffic violation is cited the amount of the penalty fee. We have to mail the ticket in or appear in person on October 14th at the Ramapo Court House.



If we plead guilty, we receive another citation stating the cost of the fine. If we plead not guilty we have to appear before a judge or hire an attorney. We call the Ohio BMV and the highway patrol and find out we are not required to register the tow dolly for our car in the state of Ohio. So, we are not guilty but we cannot drive back to New York to plead our case, which is at the discretion of the judge anyway, a real catch 22!!! We mail the ticket in with an explanation for why we have to plead guilty but also include the information that our tow vehicle does not need to be registered in the state of Ohio. We will see what happens.

Jeff decides to listen to the Garmin’s directions from now on, since it is designed for RVs and routes us with our vehicle’s height and weight in mind. However, he is not a happy driver knowing we have to cross the George Washington Bridge through part of New York City.

georgewashington bridge

We end up driving through New Jersey and paying over $100 in tolls before passing through Delaware and arriving at Greenbelt National Park in Greenbelt, Maryland. We are thankful for the comfort of the green forests of pines and hollies that hide us away from the oppression of the east coast cities.

greenbelt RV

Harriman State Park in New York

We leave York Beach, Maine and spend 2 nights at Beaver Pond Campground in Harriman State Park, 30 miles outside of New York City. When we arrive, we discover that pets are not welcome, but they accept us anyway as it is off-season and a virtual ghost town campground. Alcohol is also prohibited but we keep stepping on Corona beer bottle caps embedded in the gravel of our site. After leveling off and extending the slides we run the generator to charge our devices and locate local TV stations. Fifteen minutes later… Silence! The generator shuts off! Jeff then informs me that our gas tank is low and suggests that this may be the cause. Knowing we need gas and worried about being able to pull in the slides and jacks the next morning, we spend the night with all systems pulled in, cramped as sardines. It’s amazing how nothing phases us anymore!

harriman site


Lake Welch

Lake Welch

Lagoon by our campsite

Lagoon by our campsite

On to Maine… The Adirondacks and Lake Placid

We spend another long day on the road driving through Lake Placid and the Adirondack Mountains. We enjoy watching the scenery change and seeing remnants of the venues for the Winter Olympics. Pine trees begin to dot the landscape.

lake placid sign

lake placid my pic

adirondacks on road

lake placid olympic

The Garmin doesn’t prove to be as helpful as we need, or maybe we just aren’t using it correctly, so we also rely on our cell phones to find RV sites for the night. We choose a place in North Hudson, NY called the Blue Ridge Campground. There it is, just off a narrow winding road where we have to partially park upon to register our stay. The road to our campsite is a harrowing, steep, and one-way incline. Have I forgotten to mention how adept Jeff’s RV driving skills have become? Notice, I have not taken the wheel yet! Our site is only 30 amps and our 30 amp receptacle does not fit. We have to borrow an adapter from the campground owner who resembles Larry David. His dry humor is a perfect match also. We mutilate his adapter because our newer adapter and cord are just too heavy. So, we have electricity for a few minutes and then we come unplugged. Oh well, we still have water. Also in our favor is the next door bath house. For 25 cents Jeff and I can take 5 minute showers!

blue ridge camp 2

blue ridge camp

About the Adirondack Mountains

Situated in the northeast of upstate New York, the rocks of these mountains began forming 2 billion years ago as the sediment at the bottom of a sea near the equator. Continental drift caused the sediment to collide in what is now North America and a mountain formed. The sedimentary rock became metamorphic rock. This process created proterozoic rocks such as wollastonite, magnetite, hematite, graphite, garnet, anorthosite, marble, zinc, and titanium. Six hundred million years ago this area drifted apart and what is now North America and Europe formed the Atlantic Ocean. Faults formed valleys and lakes and eventually the mountains eroded into a shallow sea, accumulating several thousand feet of sediment. Some 10 million years ago this same region began to be uplifted to its present height of 7,000 feet. This uplifting continues, for some mysterious reason, at a rate of about 2 millimeters per year. Geologists theorize that the uplift is caused by a hot spot in the earth’s crust. The earliest written use of the name Adirondacks was Rontaks in 1724 by a French missionary. His translation was tree-eaters. In the Mohawk language Adirondack means porcupine, an animal that may eat bark. A map from 1761 labels the mountains Deer Hunting Country. In 1837 the mountains were officially named Adirondacks. (from


About Lake Placid

In the early 1800s Lake Placid was founded to develop an iron ore mining operation. By 1840 six families lived here. In 1845, Gerrit Smith bought a great deal of land here and granted large tracts to former slaves, demonstrating his support of abolitionism. When John Brown, the famous abolitionist from Kansas heard about Smith’s reforms, he purchased 244 acres and moved here. This parcel later became known as the Freed Slave Utopian Experiment or Timbucto. John Brown requested to be buried on his land and after his execution in 1859 the site was preserved as the John Brown Farm State Historic Site. By the late 1800s the rich and famous used Lake Placid as a leisure time resort. Melvil Dewey of the famous library classification system, designed the Placid Park Club in 1895 and inspired the village to change its name to Lake Placid. By keeping Dewey’s club open during the winter, winter sports became popular here as well as tuberculosis sanitariums. In 1929, Melvil’s son, Dr. Godfrey Dewey convinced the International Olympic Committee that Lake Placid had the best winter sports facilities in the U.S. The Lake Placid Club hosted the 1932 and the 1980 Winter Olympics. (from

lake placid

On to Maine… Ithaca, NY

We get off to a late start today because of my detour to the Jamestown Verizon store. I end up buying an iPad for my hotspot connection. Don’t ask, it made sense at the time. I have to wait so long till it is my turn in the queue that I forget to find out how to actually use my hotspot with my laptop. I will deal with that later and as my son, Brian, advised me, just go for it and cancel the service later if it proves unnecessary. We finally leave Camp Chautauqua in the pouring rain at 1:30. Poor Jeff has to attach the tow dolly and the car in a downpour! Because of our late start we opt to spend the night near Ithaca, NY instead of driving through to Watertown. We find a place to stay at Pinecreek Campground, a beautiful and peaceful setting in the Finger Lakes region. Yes, we choose to skip the major cities and drive a more scenic route.

map newfield pinecreek

pinecreek pond


About the Finger Lakes

This is a group of eleven long and narrow lakes running more or less north and south in central New York. Early mapmakers thought they resembled fingers on the hand, hence the name. Cayuga and Seneca are among the deepest lakes in the United States. The region was most likely first inhabited by native pre-Iroquois peoples who built the pre-historic Bluff Point Stoneworks. Later, the Finger Lakes region was home to the Iroquois nation whose tribes included the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida and Mohawk. During colonial times other tribes moved to this area to seek the protection from the powerful Iroquois who successfully prevented the Europeans from settling in the Finger Lakes region. By the late 1700s, however, the Iroquois Confederacy was politically eroding. During the Revolutionary War some Iroquois sided with the British and some with the Americans creating their own civil war among themselves. After the Revolutionary War the remaining Iroquois and other Indians of the region were assigned to live on reservations. (from


About Ithaca

The Cayuga Indians controlled this area at the time the first Europeans came to visit this land. The Cayuga’s were one of the powerful Five Nations of the Iroquois League or Haudenosaunee. In 1657 Jesuit missionaries travelled to this region from Quebec which was called New France at that time. Later Algonquin speaking Saponi and Tutelo Indians settled at the southern end of what is now Lake Cayuga. Remnants of these tribes had been forced out of North Carolina by European settlers. The Tuscarora people also migrated here from the Carolinas and settled with the Oneida people creating the Sixth Nation of the Haudenosaunee in 1722. Around 1791 the land on what is now downtown Ithaca was surveyed, divided into lots and sold. A grist mill came next, followed by the first frame house, a post office and a tavern. Ithaca became a transshipping point for salt from curing beds in Salina, New York. Salt was shipped to buyers in the south and east. After the War of 1812 Ithaca became the trade center for gypsum used for fertilizer. After the Civil War Ezra Cornell financed the building of railroads from Ithaca to surrounding cities. In the late 1800s the Ithaca Gun Company was established where a nearby waterfall supplied the main source of energy for its operation. John Philip Sousa and Annie Oakley favored Ithaca guns. By 1937 the company’s 12-gauge shotguns were standard issue used by the NYPD and LAPD. (from


Other Interesting Factoids:

  • Ithaca claims to be the home of the first ice cream sundae created in 1891.
  • There are 758 graduate-degree-holders per square mile.
  • There is a Tibetan monastery here.
  • There is a 50,000 watt solar system station.
  • There’s a brewery that grows its own hops.
  • There’s a deli that raises its own pork.
  • There’s a bar that mixes cocktails based on what’s fresh from the local farmers’ market.
  • It is the site of the world’s largest human peace sign.
  • It is home to Cornell University, an Ivy League institution.
  • There are over 100 waterfalls within 10 miles of downtown.
    (from Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau booklet)

ithaca sundae

ithaca tibetan monastery


cornell 2

ithaca waterfall

On to Maine… Mayville, NY

We pack up, secure loose objects and breakables, empty tanks, pull in slides and jacks and unplug. We’re off on our real first adventure to Acadia National Park. Our first stop as we leave Ohio is Mayville, NY just inside the southwest border from PA. We have a reservation at Camp Chautauqua Lakefront Resort and we arrive tired and hungry around 5:00. It’s a nice place for family camping as there are many activities planned for teens and children.

camp chautauqua

Double-wide trailer cottages border the campsite roads. They seem to be privately owned and most are shut down for the summer season. I think it is rather expensive, $50 for a full hookup overnight stay, but we do use their laundry facilities and take hot showers in the morning.

camp chautauqua 2

I contact Verizon about setting up more data coverage and using my hot spot for Wi-Fi. This entails a 20 minute drive the next morning to the nearest Verizon store in Jamestown.

About Lake Chautauqua

The lake has the same geological structure of the Finger Lakes, which is a very long and narrow valley, however it is not one of the Finger Lakes. Chautauqua runs perpendicular to the westernmost Finger Lake and lies in a different watershed. Its name comes from an original set of words of the Seneca Indian tribe and has various translations, such as, Bag Tied in the Middle, referring to the narrow portion between shores in the middle of its length of 17 miles.

chautauqua image

Other translations include Place Where Fish are Taken and Place of Easy Death. The area is famous for the Chautauqua Institution, a non-profit adult education center and a summer resort. Founded in 1874 by a Methodist bishop and his inventor friend, the institution served as a teaching camp for Sunday school teachers. The park surroundings were used to teach the geography of the Holy Land. Today the institute offers programs in the arts, recreation, education and religion and sponsors ballets, symphonies, operas, theater performances, and art exhibits. An intensive residential professional music program is available among its schools of fine and performing arts. (from