2009 Vacation Day 14 - Odd...Very Odd

Off to the top of Lake Champlain today. We want to be very close to Montreal for a short drive tomorrow. Once again hopped the freeway as the scenic route originally planned would have been really slow. Really not much in this area at all...but there is a campsite. So we pull into the little office/store and there is no one around. Peeked in the windows...not much activity at all...the "store" had literally two lonely Cokes in the fridge and the usual assortment of kids camp toys...although they could have been here since day one. The whole place was definitely odd feeling.
Decided to venture into the camp grounds...off in a grass field to the right was a person driving some sort of lawnmower. I gave the horn a couple of taps and the next thing you know, this contraption is now barrelling towards us...as it is closing in, I'm eyeballing what appears to be an older woman all covered up against the sun...and on her head is what at first glance looks like a pith helmet. The thing she is on is a tank like machine...two levers seem to be controlling her speed and direction...and her arms are flying working them, constant course corrections, speeding towards us. She is still at full speed and now on a bullseye collision course ...until she yanks back both arms and the thing comes to a rocking stop.

After some conversation about our reservation, she fires back up her tank and barrels off to the office. Short time later she comes barrelling back...I get the impression she has two speeds...barrelling and stopped. She presents us with a hand drawn map of the campsite...roads, building pool, site numbers...the whole thing. All very primitive sketching, probably done years earlier with the end of a burnt stick. Spidey senses just starting to ramp up a bit by this point. We are offered a choice of two locations, so we venture off to check out both. The first was a little lame, nestled amongst a number of "seasonal" sites. To understand seasonal, think outdoor beer fridge, tons of busted up lattice work and assorted patio light strings, etc, etc... Next site was marginally better as we could strain to see the lake, but it was really uneven and our friendly hellos to the gathering "seasonals" was met with a grunt and enough palpable disdain you could cut with a knife. Back to choice one we went. Oh, and for the record...the place is chock full of "seasonals"...possessing all manners of trailer architecture and corresponding disrepair. One can turn in every direction and be staring at something quite interesting.

So our last night in the Alto was off to a dubious start. After much wrangling to get onto the site, we decided a nice swim in the pool was in order. We scoped it out and quickly discovered it locked. Given that we are somewhat responsible adults, and that we figured the pool was closed as she was the only person of employ we had spied anywhere...we hopped the fence. The water was coolish but refreshing...as I have a lot to tell, I won't go into too much detail about the creepy eel/snake/tapeworm thing I fished off the bottom of the pool with the rescue hoop...damndest thing I have ever seen...about the diameter of string, a foot long and very much alive...gives me the willies just typing about it...it now lives in the bushes outside the pool area...

So we are now climbing back over the fence after our swim, when Rommel...now driving her Toyota 4Runner comes barrelling across the grass at us...and proceeds to give us royal shit for hopping the fence. Now for the record, we should not have hopped the fence. Period. But sometimes you just do things once in a while, like an illicit dip in a pool, in broad daylight, is not high on my list of things that I worry about.

This lady is giving us a massive shit storm...quoting state legislation, health & safety regs...even the lives of any poor children who might have mimicked our actions...what kids??? the seasonals I've seen here so far looked as though they would need a hit of nitro to get their ass out of their web lawn chair, let alone hopping a four foot chain link fence...even humble apologies was not staunching the flow...and then it was over...Rommel turned on her heel, back into the 4Runner and off over the nearest sand dune she went...

Laid low the rest of the aft...tidied up the Alto for its return, transferred some stuff to the V...fired up the Q.

In our travels, the one area that sets apart various campsites is how they handle the comfort station. Seen many iterations on this journey...on the whole good, but definitely all different. To me, the shower is the key...some are pay showers, some on timers, some just offer up a nice shower, trusting in the common sense of the individual to turn the water off. This particular place grabs two trip notables...best actual shower...and the most odd comfort station.Try to picture a very large concrete building (in comparison), tile floors, painted block. At one end, two huge shower stalls...easily 5x8 feet each, cavernous is truly appropriate. Standard plastic shower curtains attempt to provide some modesty. Only a shower head on the back wall...no taps, no temp adjust,nothing, just the shower head...and an assortment of rope/cords tied to some lever near the shower head...being a seriously curious boy...I venture forth to examine this concoction. The three cords, one a weathered sisal cord, one a classic yellow plastic rope, and the third, two different shoe laces tied together with knots all over, in what one can assume is an attempt at providing the user with some grip. More on that later. I stand to one side and give the yellow rope a cautious pull...a learned behaviour...out pounds this blast of water that quickly turns nice and warm...no adjustment mind you...but good. OK then...this is doable...but it requires some work...the water only flows when the rope is pulled...so it is a bit of a dance. While fumbling with my eyes closed for the all important rope to start the water, I found the knots in those shoes laces were a winner. Wet sisal not very good. All the while, standing in this kinda weird massive stall...and stall is a good word because you could have backed a horse in there with you. All things considered, it wins the most invigorating shower category.

Of course no wifi this evening...not surprised, bet half these seasonal trailers have rotary phones in them...

We are both kinda sad it is our last night in the Alto...it has been a blast.


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