About a year after we bought our popup, we went on our first trip that was longer than a weekend. We (my husband & I, his parents, and our three kids – 7 people in a pop up!) went to Niagara Falls, Thousand Islands & Boldt Castle, Ausable Chasm, and then ended up at a state park near my in-laws. We did all this in 10 days/9 nights! While we were planning it, it didn’t seem so bad. All we’d ever done were weekend trips, so we thought this would be like several weekend trips put together. Not really. First up was Niagara Falls. We planned to stay there for 3 nights. We ran into construction on the way there so a four and a half hour trip took closer to six…this on Friday night after John got home from work. Not a good way to start vacation! So, anyway, we could’ve spent the whole week at Niagara Falls! There is so much to see and do there!
Then we went to Clayton, NY. On the way, we stopped over in Lockport to see a lock and see how they used to use water to generate power for several plants. It was very interesting, but probably took too long.
We didn’t get to our campground (Merry Knoll) until 8pm – much later than we had intended.
The main attraction near Clayton is Boldt Castle and the Thousand Islands. We took a tour boat around the St. Lawrence River and then to Boldt Castle. I’ve been there three times now and the amount of work they’ve done to restore the castle is amazing!
We were there for two nights and then off to Ausable Chasm. This time we were a little smarter and didn’t plan any stops other than lunch and a grocery store. Nothing ever goes as planned though. Our 5 year old son threw up halfway there! We had donuts for breakfast and he overindulged! (He later asked me why I allowed him to have more than two??) Fortunately, one of the next signs we saw was for Jacques Cartier State Park. We figured they would at least have basic bathroom facilities and we could clean him up some and get the car cleaned up too. We were so surprised when we discovered a very nice shower in the bathroom! I was able to wash him off, rinse his clothes, and dry them somewhat with the hand dryer. He thought it was great fun to dry off under the dryer! My mother-in-law cleaned up the car for me and we were on our way again. A quick stop for groceries and lunch were the only other stops we made. We set up camp (again!). At this point we were really thinking that we had crammed too much into a week! The kids weren’t happy that we hadn’t been able to swim and use the playgrounds more. The adults were getting tired of setting up and tearing down camp plus spending several hours on the road every other day. Of course, since we arrived at the campground at a decent time, we thought we could swim or maybe use the playground. No, it was too cool and it started to rain. So, we all went to bed early. We did enjoy Ausable Chasm and since it was right next to the campground, it didn’t take long to get there and back. The kids were able to enjoy the playground some although it was still too cold to swim.
The next morning we packed up and headed for our final destination – Lackawanna State Park. It was about 283 miles and took us over 6 hours to get there! Our two year old had so many accidents that we had to stop so I could buy him dry undies & shorts (there’s just no easy way to get to your luggage when it’s in the pop up!). I did have some dry clothes in the truck with me, but he went through them! When we got to our campsite, we had to back in – YIKES! We’ve done that exactly twice – once with way too much help and once again with way too much help. I think it took us a good half hour to get in the site the way we wanted to be and get level (I’ve never seen such an unlevel paved site!). It didn’t help that a big ol’ fifth wheel came along and whipped into the site across from us – he just backed right in like a pro. So glad he didn’t see us trying to back in!! Then we discovered that our site didn’t have water. How we missed that I’ll never know. We were right next to the bathrooms so it worked out, but it was a shock at first. By Sunday, when we packed up for the last time, we were ready to be home. We were tired of traveling, tired of setting up & tearing down, just plain tired. Next time we’re planning to stay at one, maybe two campgrounds over the course of a week. I think everyone will be happier!