Saturday, September 24, 2022

The Adirondack Balloon Festival, 2022

 Friday, September 23, 2022:

After a 2 week trip to the Algonac rally in Michigan & the Niagara Escape Wine rally in Niagara Falls, Ontario, I spend less than a week home, then headed to Glens Falls, NY for the Adirondack Balloon Festival. I enjoy hot air balloon festivals, and even rode in one at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in 2018.

We (myself and friends the Guidos) are in Moreau State Park about 8 miles from the festival. About a 191 mile drive on secondary roads. It would probably be quicker if I took the Thruway (I90) but I am cheap & prefer non interstates even if they are free. I'm in site 106 and the Guidos are in 104. Dry camping on dirt with too much shade for my solar panels to do much good. It is going to be a cool night - the furnace is already running off & on when set at 60°F, and the predictions are for the low 30's.

I have a blank for the Guido's site photo - by the time they got through registration & we finished dinner, it was too dark for a photo.

Dinner was turkey burgers, stuffing & Bush beans and a croissant for dessert.

Saturday, September 24, 2022:

Well, the night didn't go well - my furnace stopped working around 2:00AM. Definitely the furnace rather than the usual thermostat problem - neither thermostat would run it. Hopefully, it is something simple like the sail switch since I have a spare. The problem is I have to shut down the gas to pull the furnace. The newer Escapes use a version of the refrigerator that lets you get at the control board & sail switch from a door on the outside of the trailer. Unfortunately, my 2017 requires removing the furnace to get at the switch. If I had 120V hookups, I could keep the refrigerator running, but without it stuff would get too warm.

By morning, it was 42°F outside, and 53°F inside. I had no problems under the covers, but getting up & dressed was chilly. 

We headed to Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport for the festival around 5:30AM. The only traffic we hit was at the entrance to the festival. The festival and parking was free, and we ended up parked a short distance from the field. While we arrived a little early for the 6:30 - 7:30 launch time, the balloons were late and didn't get started until after 7:30. Quite a few, although once you have been to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, all other mass launches pale by comparison. Still, lots of balloons:

Me at Site 106

The First in the Air

More Balloons

More Balloons

And More Balloons

One of the Theme Balloons

And Two More

A couple of theme balloons, but while they filled, none of them lifted.

A huge line for breakfast, which we declined to join, and even though there were large banks or Porta potties near the food area that were mostly empty, the one unit near the parking lot had a line.

Back at the trailer around 9:00, it was down to 48°F in the trailer, so blame any typos on frozen fingers!

I thought about staying since it was already 52°F outside with 62°F predicted, but still in the 40's at night. So, while I enjoyed the balloons, I packed up the trailer around 10:00 and headed home. I decided with my lack of sleep (I've been up since 3:00AM), I'd take the interstates to get home. A bit longer at 212.2 miles compared to the secondary route of 191 miles, less time at 3 hours vs 4 hours for the back roads and a 2 MPG hit on gas mileage. 

In any case, I'm home, the trailer is partially unpacked, and I'll tackle the furnace tomorrow. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 14

 Monday, September 19 - 160 Miles, 784.6 For The Trip

We planned to leave around 11:00, but a break in the rain seemed like a good time to pack up the outside stuff, and we were ready to go around 10:30. An easy crossing at the Fort Erie Peace Bridge, but rain, light to very heavy all the way home. 

I arrived in Oswego around 1:30, and, since we are heading to the Adirondacks for a balloon fiesta on Friday, I only unpacked what was absolutely necessary for the next 4 days.

No idea what tonight's dinner will be!

Until Friday and a new adventure - 

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 13

 Sunday, September 18 - 0 Miles, 624.6 For The Trip

My usual late start this morning so I could listen to the Sunday Puzzle on NPR's Weekend Edition. After that it was a walk along the Niagara Walkway, breakfast, and waving good by to most of the folks that came to the rally. There are around 9 of us left; we will be leaving tomorrow.

We sat around slowly packing up the things that we didn't need, emptied the tanks, and as a light rain started around 4:00, put away everything still outside.

Anne assures me that dinner will be microwaved based, so even the stove & grill are back in the truck. 

Dinner was honey chicken & risotto.

Until Tomorrow - 

Saturday, September 17, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 12

Saturday, September 17 - 0 Miles, 624.6 For The Trip

The Pot Luck Dinner

Another quiet day. We sat around most of the day reading. I did a couple of walks around the campground with the camera, but that was about it until the pot luck dinner. 

The pot luck was great - good food & company. Alf called site numbers for the gift tarp items, after which we sat around a campfire. The best surprise was Mary Anne (Alf's wife) washed my pie pans & server. Anyone that has had to clean up pie pans after blueberry pie can appreciate the gift!

Dinner was, of course, the pot luck.

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, September 16, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 11

 Friday, September 16 - 0 Miles, 624.6 For The Trip

Hanging Out

After my morning walk and breakfast I started making 2 blueberry pies. With an expected 60 or so trailers, I figured 2 as a minimum for tomorrow's pot luck. Since it is still fairly cool, I cooked them in the trailer oven. 

I took a walk around the campground while the last pie cooked at took a few photos, as well as another walk around just before dinner.  Photos are at my 2022 Niagara Wine Escape page.

Dinner was a Johnsonville Cheese Brat, mixed vegetables, and a Klondike Bar for dessert (by the way, they are making them thinner & with less chocolate.

Until Tomorrow - 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 10

Thursday, September 15 - 0 Miles, 624.6 For The Trip

A pretty much do nothing day. Down to 51°F overnight, and it didn't do better than the mid 60's during the day. We spent most of it sitting out in the sun trying to read & keep warm. I did hit the shower after dinner. At best, a C+. No hooks, a chair the only thing in the drying area for all your stuff. Low pressure pulsing showerhead putting out very little water. The good - a wire shelf for soap & shampoo in the shower, large enough and very clean.

Dinner was Butterball Turkey Burgers & beans with a couple of other leftovewrs.

Until Tomorrow - 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 9

 Wednesday, September 14 - 123.5 Miles, 624.6 For The Trip

Another cool night, cool enough that the electric heater came on more than once. The new standard household thermostat works great with the Walmart heater. 

I did a 1/2 mile walk around the campground. Could have done much more; the place is huge. Back at the trailer I ate breakfast, read web pages while drinking my morning coffee, then packed up the trailer. 

We hit the road around 11:00, taking CA 3 much of the way, with a few smaller roads at each end of the drive. We caravaned with the Guidos, myself & Walt in that order. All three of our Garmins wanted us to take different roads, but since the Guidos were in front & they were the only couple (allowing for a navigator) we followed their route. One advantage of the 80Km (50MPH) secondary roads in Canada - I got 15.9MPG towing. Haven't seen that in a long time. 

We arrived at Riverside around 2:30. I forgot that they only take cash, so both the Guidos & I were digging into the reserves to come up with the $263.50 US for the 5 night stay. That works out to $52.70 per night US for full hookup sites 42 & 41 on grass. Fairly level - no adjustment side to side & I needed to lower the tongue 1". Typical of Canadian sites - the hookups were in the wrong place, at least for my site. As you can see from the photo, I had to run the full length of both my water hose & 30 amp cord to reach the utilities with the trailer deep enough in the site so the truck could be parked in front. If I didn't want to park the truck at the site I could have parked the trailer closer to the road & utilities , or if I wasn't lazy, dug out the extensions for both electric & water. I still can't get to the sewer connection, but I'll use that the day we leave.

Me at Site 42

The Guidos at Site 41

We spent the rest of the afternoon sitting around. The plan is for a bunch of us to go to Betty's for dinner.

I had the famous Betty'd Fish &v Chips. Excellent The photo shows all of us. Alf complained that all I got was the back of his head:

All of Us at Betty's

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 8

Tuesday, September 13 - 103.1 Miles, 501.1 For The Trip

A cool night, but not quite cold enough to fire up the electric heater; 62°F at the head of my bed, but only 64°F at the thermostat set for 64°F. A slow start, but we were out of the campground by a little after 11:00. We took MI 29 along the river to the Sarnia bridge. No problem crossing, and while I got rid of my eggs (except for the hard boiled ones) and fruit, they never asked. Oh well, I'll stop & get a couple of lemons to make the blueberry pies.

Walt met us just after the crossing on the 402, and followed us to the Dalewood Conservation area. Without a campground map we pretty much toured the entire campground before we found our sites. I'm in 71, the Guidos in 70 & Walt in 72. Somewhat damp (although no lake like Byng) sites with close water & electric hookups. The sites are on grass and while level side to side, I had to unhook to lower the tongue 2 1/2". $55.78 US for the night.

Me in Site 71

The Guidos in Site 70

Walt in Site 7

The washrooms are behind us across a somewhat soggy field, and the showers next to the pool across the street. While I have a usable signal on both the Verizon & AT&T phones, and can do data on either, I cannot connect with either cell modem and can't use WiFi on the phones. So, no posting tonight - it will have to wait until tomorrow when we hit Riverside.

Well, I lied - Now my Verizon phone will allow a WiFi connection & is connected to the Telus network. I'll post this while I can even though we really haven't had dinner yet.

We sat around reading, deciding the route to take to get to Riverside, and what will be for dinner. The decision on dinner was spaghetti & meatballs.

Until Tomorrow - 

Monday, September 12, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 7

 Monday, September 12 - 0 Miles, 398 For The Trip

A quiet but cool day. When the sun was out it was OK, but as soon as it went behind the heavy clouds (which was most of the time) we wished we had brought heavier coats. At least it wasn't raining.

I made a trip to Tractor Supply to fill my 5 pound propane tank. A first time for the guy at Tractor Supply. I always feel a bit guilty since it only takes a gallon or so for the same amount of work as the 20 pound tanks, but it is much easier to use with the stove & grill. 

That was about it for the day. I did hit the showers around 4:00. Not too bad for a state park. The major complaint is the shower head is fairly low, requiring me to duck to spray my face & head. A bench in the drying area, 2 hooks, dry floor, and tiled shower stall. All in all, an A-.

I finished Ken Follett's Never, a bit of a downer that shows how easy it would be to reach WW III.

Dinner was pulled pork sandwiches & more of the endless Tortellini Salad.

Until Tomorrow - 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 6

 Sunday, September 11 - 0 Miles, 398 For The Trip

Last night I sat by the river hoping to get a better moo rise photo. Well, the moon rose at the time my Photographer's Ephemeris app said it wood, but unfortunately, behind clouds. I practiced panning some moving ship & boat photos with limited results, then settled for a couple of cloudy images of the moon a half hour after rise.

Got a slow start to the day - as usual, I hang around in bed until after the Sunday Morning Edition puzzle. As usual, I didn't get the week's puzzle, but got about 1/2 the morning ones.

A number of fiberglass folks left this morning, but many are staying until at least tomorrow. We are leaving on Tuesday with a one night stop on the way to the Niagara Wine Escape rally in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Heavy clouds, and my weather app keeps threatening rain, but so far just clouds. I took down the Clam since it is back to just me & the Guidos, which fit in my trailer if it rains. While setting up the Clam solo is pretty easy, it is a bit more difficult to take it down. Guido stopped over for the final disassembly.

Brats, corn on the cob & Tortellini Salad for dinner.

Until Tomorrow - 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 5

 Saturday, September 10 - 0 Miles, 398 For The Trip

Another warm night. Not enough fog to cause the boats to toot their fog horns, but we did have one "Get out of the way" horn session. After my walk around the campground this morning we sat around until lunch time, then all headed to the Catch 22 Bistro for lunch. Evidently, there is no lunch menu for Saturdays - the dinner menus were offered. I had a Greek salad with chicken, large enough for a couple of people. Any of the items that were also on yesterday's lunch menu had new, more sophisticated names and higher prices. Still, inexpensive & good food.

One thing I noticed - while I suspect the crab apple trees are beautiful when in bloom in the Spring, this time of year the thousands of apples underfoot are a bit of a pain. I'm also parked under an oak tree which provides lots of nice shade, but many loud "clunks" as the acorns land on the truck & trailer.

A Crab Apple Carpet

While none of us were up to dinner since we had a large lunch, we did break open the blueberry pie, and had some carrot cake which, while delivered by Mike, I believe came from Phil & Sue. In any case it was delicious.

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, September 9, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 4

Friday, September 9 - 0 Miles, 398 For The Trip 

 Happy birthday to me! A quiet night, although very loud fog horns on the ships going by early in the morning. Lots of fog on the river, although it was a bit warmer than last night. The fog eventually burned off and it turned into another beautiful day. 

Around 1:00 Anne & Guido took me to the Catch 22 Bistro for a birthday lunch. I had chicken Parmesan. Very good; a great salad & although far more spaghetti that I could eat. After that it was back to the trailer to make a blueberry pie. I cooked it in the toaster over to keep from overheating the trailer. The crust was a bit overdone, and the filling leaked, but it turned out OK. 

 Anne & Guido's granddaughter & family are spending the night in a tent on Guido's site. No smiles for me! We had birthday cupcakes and I made an evening round of some of the nearer fiberglass trailers. New photos at the rally page

 Dinner was just a bit of snacking since we had a huge late lunch. 

 Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, September 8, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 3

 Thursday, September 8 - 0 Miles, 398 For The Trip

A comfortable night for sleeping at 51°F outside & 59°F in the trailer. I almost fired up the electric heater to test the new thermostat, but just stayed under the covers at 5:00AM. I put on long pants for my 8:30 walk around the campground, and changed back to shorts after I got back to the trailer. 

A sunny day - I made a round of the campground with the camera & started a separate page for the rally. Los more photos of trailers & people at the rally page.

Not Fiberglass, but Unusual

Making the Rounds

Dinner was a rack of ribs cooked on the Weber grill. I have to admit is is the worst meal I've made that I can remember. Very dried out even though I kept the grill on the lowest setting possible. The thermometer in the lid said 350°F - 375°F, but since there was direct heat under the ribs, even though they were in foil, they dried to a crisp. Next time I have hookups, I'll drag out the toaster oven. The process works well in my larger at home Weber grill, but I have controls for each 3rd of the surface & can do indirect heating. Oh well, we ate them anyway.

Until Tomorrow - 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 2

 Wednesday, September 7 - 197.4 Miles, 398 For The Trip

A slow start waiting for the rain to stop. No problem for me since all I needed to do is pull out; I didn't even put the stabilizers down since they would have sunk in the mud. Guido, on the other hand needed to reel in and clean 60' of electric cord and 60' of water hose.

Most of the trip was on Canada 3, although both our GPSs wanted up to take other roads (different roads for each GPS although both are Garmins). Anyhow, we finished the trip on the 402, crossed into the US at Sarnia with a 5-6 car wait, but a very fast interview.

We arrived around 4:00 and had to phone in our registration - no one at the entrance station. Someone is going to come around and collect the money for a Out of State Michigan Park Pass for $34.00 which we need for the stay. With the park pass & the $196.00 for the actual reservation for 6 nights, the site comes to $38.33 per night - Electric only on mixed gravel & dirt. A tight site - I cheated a bit and parked a little deeper than the instructions for the site suggested, but still not in my rearward neighbor's site. The truck just fits in front of the trailer. My site has lots of shade, while the Guido site is in the sun (which neither of them are suppose to sit in).

Site 138, Anne & Guido

Site 140 Me

Set up the site sign, a hummingbird feeder, and by then it was time for dinner.

I made Butterball Turkey Cheeseburgers & Bush Beans.

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario, Day 1

 Tuesday, September 6th:

We finished packing and hit the road around 11:45. A couple of stops on the way, crossed the border at the Peace Bridge with a short 3 car wait. No questions about food, just alcohol, tobacco & firearms. Arrived at Byng Island Conservation Area around 4:15. 

The sites were quite flooded, Anne & Guido's a bit less than mine; I have my own lake:

Anne & Guido at Site 408

Me at Site 410

My Tires

In addition to the wet & mud, the hookups are over 80' from my trailer. Both sites have their hookups at the back of Guido's site. He can reach the power post, but while combining my standard 30' 30 amp cord, a 30' 30 amp extension cord & a 25' #12 standard extension cord would get me to the post, it isn't worth dragging all that through the mud. 

While neither of the cell modems will make a connection to the Canadian Bell, both phones seem to have functional hotspots. Since I don't have the hotspot function on my AT&T service I'm not sure why it is working, but I did manage to post today's photos using the AT&T phone. When I tried to select the AT&T hotspot using the WiFi menu on my laptop it told me it could not connect. Both phones are showing 1-2 bars of signal.

In any case, we are set up. Anne is starting dinner - Tuscan Chicken with cherry tomatoes & spinach. I eat much healthier when traveling with the Guidos!

Until Tomorrow - 

Monday, September 5, 2022

2022 Trip To Algonac State Park & Niagara Falls, Ontario - Getting Ready

 Saturday, September 3rd:

It is just about time to head out across Canada (at least part of it) to the Algonac Glassic Egg Scramble #11 at Algonac State Park in Michigan. Since the Niagara Wine Escape rally in Niagara Falls is the following week, we will be attending that. "We" is myself in the Escape 21C and my traveling friends Anne & Guido in their Scamp 16. 

I spent yesterday & today with my packing list filling the trailer with the stuff that can be packed early. We are heading to Byng Island Conservation area for an overnight stop that is about half way between here & Algonac State Park. 

Did a trailer showing to a couple from Pennsylvania interested in purchasing an Escape 21C.

Before the trip we will spent Labor Day Sunday at Guido's brother Pete's house for their annual family get together. While not family, I've been going for many years. I just took a blueberry pie out of the oven that will be going to the picnic.

My Blueberry Pie

Now it is time to start tonight's dinner, spaghetti & meatballs with homemade sauce.

Sunday, September 4th:

A great picnic as usual at Pete's. Did a bit of last minute shopping on the way back home, and packed the rests of the stuff that I won't need overnight or in the morning.

Monday, September 5th:

Light rain during the morning & off & on all day. Anne & Guido are going to park their scamp in the front yard, and we will fill out the ArriveCAN app together so it has us arriving at the Peace Bridge crossing at the same time. I started mine - while not hugely complicated, there are many pages. At least you can save your work rather than having to start over from scratch if you make a mistake. There are two of me - I started it out using my Enhanced NY Driver's License the last time I used it, but forgot & filled it out today using my passport. I hope they can figure out that there is really only one of me.

I got a call from the staff at the Byng Island Campground letting me know that they will not be staffing the entrance station & to go right to my site. Nice of them to make the call; I've stayed at many US campgrounds that had closed entrance stations & they never let you know.

The Guido's arrived around 2:30 and we danced around the cars & trailers so that we are all parked & I can still make the drive to Rudy's to pick up dinner.