August 07 – 10
Friday the 7th we are leaving the KOA in Grand Island NY. We get all packed up and are on our way out about 11am. On our way out we stop at the office to let them know we are leaving a little early and get a reservation for next year. We have the site here at the KOA for 34 days and we only needed it for 30 so we are leaving a little early, still a better deal with the monthly rate of $690. So, for next year KOA informs us that all of the end spaces are for staff only and that the rate is going up to $850! The sites that are not on the end are very small, really I mean tiny small. So small that our awning and picnic table will be over the next sites sewer connection, yea too small!
This KOA is a very nice place to stay to visit the falls but not that nice for people like us who are here for family. So, not getting an end site and the increased rate we decided to go elsewhere. Actually, we will go just up the street to the no frills place we stayed the first two years, the Cinderella campground and motel. They meet our requirements of having wifi and the sites are nice size, not large but we are not on top of the next site. Their rates are $650 for the month, a little less than we paid this year at the KOA.
Cinderella has mostly work campers staying there. People who have long term contracts to work in the area which is fine with us. So bye, bye, KOA Grand Island!
We are taking a different route from Buffalo to Elmira than we have in the past. We are taking NY 400 east to 20A and then to 390 and lastly to 17 (89). This trip is about 220 miles and takes 3 hours. What we didn’t know is that 20A is very hilly with grades at 10%! The hills are short compared to out west but still 10% is very steep pulling a trailer! It still was a fun trip through the back roads.
We arrived at the Newtown Battlefield State Park around 4 pm. This will make our third time staying here. We like it here because it is close to Elmira and it is fairly remote. We actually are parking the RV in a large parking lot but that is OK here.
|Entrance to Newtown Battlefield State Park|
The site has just electric so we need to take on water at the bath house before set up. The water connection is about 200 feet from the road and has very low water pressure. We took about 45 minutes to fill the fresh water tank to just 2/3 full which is around 33 gallons for us to use over the next 3 nights. We found out that 33 gallons is not enough as we ran out Sunday evening. Next year we will fill it which is will be too much but that is OK too.
|Stopped to take on about 30 gallons of water. |
We are connected on the far left side of the bath house.
|View from the bath house while we are taking on water.|
|Our site here with the monument in the background.|
We had made arrangements with our friends Jim and Sandy Scott and Sandy Parker and Mike Gee to get a fish fry at one of our old haunts, The Shingle. The Shingle has been a landmark here for many, many years, at least the past 28 years that I have been going to eat here. They used to have the best fish fry in the area.
We all met up at 6:30pm and had to wait a little bit to get in. The place is not real big and they only open from 4 – 8 pm!
|The Shingle restaurant|
Well, the fish was still very good but not as good as I remember it. It has been over 15 years since we have been here to eat. It’s one of the reasons we decided to leave early from the KOA to be here when The Shingle is open. We also made it a weekend so we could all get together too! Some people still have to work! Anyway, the great fish we remember here may just be something we have built up in our minds over time. Still, if anyone is in the Elmira area we recommend an evening out here for a fish fry. It’s even better with friends!
After the fish fry, Jim and Sandy Scott came to our site for a campfire, S’mores and conversation. I think it was just me that ended up eating s’mores but that was OK too. We had a great time catching up!
Saturday the 9th Sandy Scott called and asked if we were interested in taking a trolley tour of Elmira. Pretty cool idea, so we went for it. We need to be there at the trolley start near the Chemung Valley History Museum in just 40 minutes, we needed to hurry! The tour is billed as a tour of Mark Twain country as Mark Twain lived here most of his life and is buried here. This was great trip for just $4 a person. We highly recommend this tour. Mark Twain Tour
|Getting on the mark Twain Country Tour trolley.|
|Chemung County Court House.|
|The Mark Twain study. This is where he wrote his famous novels.|
|The Mark Twain grave site.|
That evening we chilled out by ourselves at our site in the park. Our campfire ring had one of those grilles so we could cook on it. We decided to cook a steak and potatoes on a wood fire. The NY Strip steak came out nice and the potatoes were so so. I think I like baked potatoes cooked in the oven or on a gas grille better, I'm just not sure how to do them on a real fire.
Sunday the 10th we took a 3.5 mile hike (Patty 2 and me 3.5) around the park before heading to Jim and Sandy’s for the afternoon and dinner. This park has plenty of trails to hike and quite a few that are not in the weeds. We are not fans of ticks so we like exercise type hikes to be on wide paths or even asphalt. This is another reason we like this place.
We went out after the hike and got the truck washed and picked up a few things at the grocery store then headed over to Jim and Sandy's house. We had a great time catching up with old friends. Jim and Sandy are the true personification of the friends that you don’t see for a while but when you do it’s like it was just yesterday. They both work in the morning so we left around 11pm, probably a little late for people who need to get up in the morning! Thanks Jim and Sandy for being good friends!
|Patty and Sandy deep in conversation.|
OK, so that is it for our Elmira visit with friends this year.
Now we are off to Keyport New Jersey to our friends Rob and Cindy’s driveway. This is our time on the Jersey shore! We will be here in Keyport until the day after Labor Day.
We were ready to depart the Newtown Battlefield State Park a little after 11am. We still needed to go to the dump station before we left. The dump station is a little bit of a pain as you need to back into it from a downhill curve. We did fine though, seems that maneuvering the rig is really no problem at all now. Hopefully I am not getting too complacent with my abilities! Anyway, we got dumped and were on our way by noon.
The 240 mile trip to Keyport New Jersey from Elmira New York we could probably do in our sleep. I made a little bit of an error after getting into NJ. I forgot that some of the low clearances on the Garden State Parkway are below the I78 exit. I should have gone to the I287 exit at the Driscoll Bridge. All was good though if you just stay in the middle lane under the low bridges. Some of the clearances are less than 13 feet and we are 12 foot 10 inches! I would not go this way again but we were good anyway. That’s what I mean by becoming complacent!
As we approached the Driscoll Bridge we were hearing a horn honking. I was thinking that something was wrong with the rig! Come to find out it was Cindy Weber whose house we were going to. She was on her way home from work and come upon us on the Parkway. That was a pretty wild coincidence!
We arrived at Cindy and Rob’s driveway in Keyport just after 5pm. This is the first place we stayed after we went full time 3 years ago. It is also the first place I backed the rig into too. I always compare my skill at backing the rig into a space with this one, my first attempt 3 years ago. Three years ago it took us over 3 hours to get the rig into the space. Now it only took 15 minutes. And it was that long because we had to re-hitch because we were too close to the backyard fence and the awning hung over it. So we re-hitched and moved over a couple of feet. No big deal!
|Our site in Rob and Cindy's driveway.|
We are all settled in and ready for the next month here at the Jersey shore! Yay us!