2015 Trip 10...toasty swimmin'

Rollins Pond S.P. - Sept 2015

Heading to Rollins, one of our favourite parks, mostly because almost all of the sites are on the water. If you are lucky enough to snag one in what we call the beach bay, then you will have a site as good as it gets.

We are on a new site this year, still in the beach bay, and from the online photos, it looks pretty nice. We were indeed lucky to get this one, as we totally missed the booking window, and when we checked, months later I might add, it was a sea of reserved sites. We kept checking, and this site opened up, perhaps a cancellation, and we were in the right place at the right time to book. Sometimes that happens.

It is a bit of a hike to Rollins, so we consider it one of our long weekend destinations. We also add on the Friday, which makes the weekend a great getaway. The weather forecast looks fabulous, August has been tremendous for camping, the weather has been perfect. It was not like this earlier in the season, and we put up with a real mixed bag of rain and cold. August has more than made up for it. We were on the road by 8:00, hoping to get to the site in the very early afternoon. We have a few stops to make along the way, which adds a couple of hours to the trip. There is a great hardware store we stop at, and we also get our groceries, both in Tupper Lake. We always walk out of the hardware store with a few odds & sods. It is a classic small town store, offering a bit of everything you might need to solve a problem. For having what you need, it is probably better than a big city version. Throw in a gas stop, and it easily adds a few hours.

We are a little surprised at the number of empty spaces in both Fish Creek and Rollins, although it is only early in the afternoon, and most will pull in after dinner. The site looks great. A good combo of sun and shade, relatively level, and about 20 short steps to the beach. Backed the Alto in at an angle, so the door side is mostly facing the water.

Lots of sun at midday, so we will be keeping an eye on the inside temps, as Barley will be in there most of the time. It is a no power camping weekend, but unless it is really hot out, the fan does a good job keeping the air circulating and the inside temps pretty reasonable. We got all set up, then grabbed the chairs and headed for the beach. So nice being able to sit on the beach, gaze out over the water, and soak up the rays...all from your own site. It was not long before the cooling water of the lake beckoned to us, and we welcomed the invite. The water was wonderful...warm and calm. We swam and floated for the longest time, the only ripples on the lake were the ones we made. Floating on the noodles is very relaxing and peaceful, gazing up at the cloudless sky.

Made up some burgers and fired up the Q. A super simple dinner with a side of nacho chips and salsa. Quite a nice sunset, which happened surprisingly quick, although, it is September now, and it is getting darker much sooner now. Relaxed outside for a while then headed in, then back out again when the sunset looked good.

It cooled off nicely last night, great for sleeping, although one of us did complain she was too cold. There was talk of turning it into a duvet evening tonight, but we've had some of those where we ended up sweating overnight. Pretty hard to pull out a duvet when the daytime temps have been 85F. I think we will suffer through using just the quilt again tonight, hopefully one of us will not have frostbite by morning.

A very slow relaxing morning. Dale read the paper, with her coffee and blanket pulled up around her...one of her favourite morning pastimes. We did manage to get going enough to head out for a morning power walk, something we try to do every morning while camping. Great way to get the blood moving for the day, and to see who else has arrived at the park. Rollins is a pretty hilly campground, so the walk was semi-strenuous. Lots of activity, mostly involving campers getting breakfast ready. Many sites had that wonderful smell wafting up from the Coleman, big slashes of bacon just frying away. A classic camping smell.

Came upon a new camp game, which we had never seen before. It consisted of an 8 foot vertical 4x4, then another 8 foot 4x4 extending horizontal forward from the top. Attached to the end of the horizontal 4x4 was a string abut 5 feet long, and suspended from this was a 2 inch steel ring. Now, I imagine you are trying to picture what to hell I'm describing, so I have a photo.

On the vertical 4x4 is a hook, this one on a nice little miniature paddle. The object is to swing the suspended ring in an arc towards the hook, hoping to score the most points awarded in the game if you are lucky enough to hook the ring. Lesser points are also awarded for hitting the hook, as well as just hitting the paddle. All this is easier said than done. It took me a number of attempts to even get the ring near the vertical post, let alone hit anything. After several more tries, I was able to hit the hook with the ring. Any hopes of actually hooking the ring would probably remain hours of practice away. Naturally, the young girls about 8 years old hooked the ring after a after a couple of tries, no problem. Clearly professionals. Apparently the trick is to get the ring on an elipptical trajectory so that it gets hooked on its return path. The game was strangely addictive, one of the adults commented that a couple of beers does wonders to dull the frustration of never hooking the ring. I can see how that would help.

Lounged around the site and the beach, read the paper, sat in the sun, had a beer...and that pretty much summed up the day.

Landshark...beer of the weekend
Lots of time swimming and floating of course. More campers have rolled in, so the beach is quite active. There is a really cute little bulldog next door, a puppy, and its owners have it in a bright orange doggy lifejacket, and are working to get him comfortable with the water. Clearly he has not had much exposure to a lake before, as he is very hesitant. Enticed by the prospect of playing with a rubber toy, he finally ventured far enough out to do some dog paddling. He was pretty doing pretty good swimming, but it did look like the life jacket was his main support.

the noodles at the ready

water diamonds

Dinner this evening was steaks, grilled potatos and a mixed greens salad with strawberries and feta. The potatos were par-boiled a touch, tossed with a little olive and seasoned with salt & pepper. Thrown into a hot grill basket, they quickly developed a crispy outer skin.



A little later we heard the familiar sound of the bells on the ice cream truck. This has been going on for years at Rollins & Fish Creek. It is one of those great little ideas, along with the ice/firewood truck and the morning coffee trailer, that makes Rollins a special park. Local entrepreneurs that have seen an opportunity to provide a welcome service to a regular audience. Bryne Diary ice cream is served up out of a cute little wooden cabin on wheels, that is towed through both parks. We each had a scoop of sea salted caramel swirl, a flavour that seems to be everywhere this summer. We hefted our cones to the beach, where we watched the last vestiges of the sunset fade into darkness.

amazing reflections...looks like chrome, but it is actually a dark forest green canoe.
classic Prospector lines 

It is cooling off nicely, another good sleeping night. Turned in early, quite content with our full stomaches of ice cream.

Did not seem to get as cool last night, only down to the upper 50'sF. Barley spent the evening curled up in Dale's clothing bin underneath us, a bit odd, but who know's what goes through his head. Shaping up to be another great day, clear sky and the temperature is already rising. Another relaxing start to the day over coffee.

Headed out for another power walk, this time towards the end of the campsite road. The place is pretty full now, with all sorts of tents and trailers. It is a good hike to the end of the road, up and over several hills. It is interesting that the sites at the peak of the hills have a great view of the lake, but a not so great hike back and forth to the water. We have paddled by those sites and they do not have as nice a beach as our area does. Lots of people out doing the same thing as us this morning, getting in a little exercise and enjoying a fine morning.

A few were pulling up stakes to head home, so we took the opportunity to explore a couple of potential future sites. There is a site close to us that we walked around, it has a nice little beach and a very cool rock just off the shore a bit. Nice beach for sure, but I am a little concerned about the amount of shade. I can see very little solar benefits to this site, and although on a hot day it might be a little cooler for Barley, there would be no recharging of the battery. Fine for a weekend, but an extended stay might be an issue.

the ever watchful Barley

We headed into the local camp store, which is just a little past the front gate of Fish Creek. A classic store, clearly focussed on the camper market. Everything from food to camp supplies can be found here. They make pizzas and sub sandwiches, sell meat and veggies, and of course beer, ice and gasoline. They have a large revolving market of customers just minutes away. We did notice the supply of assorted camping goods had dwindled, which is not really that surprising as this is now near the end of camping season.  If it is not being re-stocked, one does have to wonder just how busy they are over the winter. Gasoline and beer I guess would be the top sellers then.

More swimming and floating in the afternoon. The water is even warmer today. Bathwater temperature. I was continually amazed just how warm the water was and wondering what the temp actually was, it dawned on me that I could use my super fast and accurate Thermopen to take a reading. I waded out to about knee deep, to get a fair reading, and dipping the probe its entire length. This would give a reading at about 6 inches of depth. 82F! How crazy is that. I found a cooler spot of water, and the temp only dropped a couple of degrees. Some spots read 84F. No wonder the water feels so good. Those are backyard pool temps. This would have to be the best warmest swimming we have had in a very long time.

so refreshing...

A woman walking her dog said hello and commented on the Alto. Her name was Karen, and she asked us if we knew about the Tearjerkers trailer group, it is a large group of campers who have teardrop trailers.   We had heard of it, but not much more. She has a TAB, which is another teardrop shaped trailer. We chatted for the longest time about camping and each of our various road trips.

Dinner this evening was simply leftovers of the steak and potatos last night. I heated them up again with the griddle on the BBQ, which did a nice job getting them ready to eat.

After dinner we hopped in the car and drove over to see Karen at her site. We had another nice visit and she gave a tour of her TAB. It has been many years since we have been in one, and I was surprised how spacious and efficient it was inside, and she has done a lot of cool mods herself.  Although I could not stand fully straight up, the height inside is quite manageable.  She has it well decorated in what she calls "Canadiana", with some vintage accents. She has a Pahaque screened in awning attached, and it was quite interesting in that it had a full floor that is attached by a keeder rail at the lower edge of her trailer. This creates a nice secondary room outside, protected and bug free, with easy access in and out of the trailer. Like us, she is a few years away from retirement, but is longing to be able to hitch up and take extended travels.  We love her set-up and enjoyed her passion for trailering with a small camper. We hope to meet up again at a rally, either the 'Tearjerkers' or 'Altoistes'.

Sat on the beach when we got back to our site, and gazed at the stars. It was a totally clear sky, and out in the middle of nowhere, the stars just shine, unaffected by a cities light pollution.

Warm already this morning, so the day looks to be a hot one. Some clouds are rolling in, as there is a bit of a breeze coming off the lake. Lots of activity around us as campers are starting to pack up to leave. This is the last weekend for camping at Rollins, it closes for the season today. Fish Creek is apparently open until later in October.

Started putting our gear away, slowly, while leisurely sipping our morning coffee.
We have until 11:00 to be off the site, but as no one is pulling in behind us, there is not an urgent rush to move too quickly. A parks guy did walk by to tell us he would be locking the bathrooms after 11:00, and we ended up having a nice chat with him. We told him how much we like Rollins, and what good condition the park is always in. He was glad to hear this, and told us how much he enjoys working for this particular park. He really likes the management team here, and clearly, it works well.

Hitched up and headed out around noon. It has turned into a hot day, and a bit windy as well. I can feel the Santa Fe working on the long hills around here. We stopped in Canton to grab an ice cream, and as we were about to cross the Main street back to our car we could see a 1743 model Alto coming towards us. We waved, and pointed to our Alto. Sure enough, we saw them turn at the lights and the next thing we knew, they had circled around and pulled over in front of us. Will & Rebecca, who live in Canton, were on their way back from a weekend of camping in Canada. They saw us wave, then noticed we were pointing to our Alto. They have seen very few while out camping, and were quite surprised to see one in their hometown. We had a nice little visit then were on our way again.

Uneventful drive home, other than that crazy steel bridge over the St. Lawrence at Ogdensburg. Freaks me out every time I go over it, the steel grate roadway weaves the car and trailer back and forth constantly. White knuckle stuff...for me at least.

One of our last few camping weekends, but it was a fabulous one. Still can't believe how warm the lake was!


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