Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Camping Log

Unfortunately, neither of us possess a memory like a steal trap. In fact mine is more like a sieve, with everything slipping out through the holes. Since we can't rely on our faulty memories, we decided to create and keep a camping log.

I found what I needed among my old school supplies: a 3 ring binder and plastic sleeves. For each new campground we stay at, I slip all kinds of reference materials into sleeves. We walk (or drive) through the campground and circle our favorite campsites and make note of the location of water fill stations and other points of interest. I include trail maps, fishing/hiking guides, and brochures for the area, and then in the first few days after our trip (so it's still fresh in my mind) I type up a brief report with sections on the specific campsite we stayed in, the campgrounds as a whole, and the area in general.

The log has already come in handy, as I struggle to separate details of campgrounds we stayed at earlier THIS summer (see, I told you I was bad). And no matter how many times I flip through the binder I don't have to worry about ripping the pages as they are safely protected in their sleeves.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Deciding where to go

Deciding where to go for me is the most important part of where we go.  From our trips so far I am partial to the New York State Campgrounds for several reasons.  Of course which campground to visit is always the question.  Both of us want to get a good sampling of all the campgrounds and our last trip was our first visit to The Catskills Region, which is difficult all on its own because we are both Adirondack people.  We were not impressed at all with the campground we were at, Bear Spring Mountain.  The location was decent but the campgrounds lacked the roomy and well groomed sites that the other state campgrounds provide.  Our spot was supposed to be able to fit a 30 foot trailer, though at just under 27 feet it was difficult for me to get our trailer in, and I am literally an expert on driving and backing in trailers!  The site was also very swampy and muddy, making for a messy camper that weekend.

That being said, that has been the only state campground we have had any real complaints about so far but because of that our next trip will definitely be back in the Adirondack region.  We try to visit and drive around the campgrounds that are in the region of where we are staying so we can get a first hand look at the locations before we book there.  For those locations we have not visited beforehand we have found a phenomenal online resource started by a couple who also enjoys camping.  New York State Campsite Photo Database.  They have spent their time going around to the campgrounds and photographing each site and they are adding new campgrounds continuously. 

Of course there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other campgrounds around New York State.  The one we have stayed at this year was Old Forge Camping Resort which is right next door to Enchanted Forest Water Safari.  That was our first trip with our new camper.  Very nice large and groomed sites, great staff and great location.  Our site had full hookups which always makes for a nice trip, especially when the heat has to run all weekend and its snowing out!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


In the previous post, Brian referred to the term "campering." I picked up this term from my uncle who lives in Colorado and has spent decades campering in the Rocky Mountains. CAMPING is something done with a sleeping bag in a tent (or lean-to or under the stars). Camper-ing refers to the use of RVs, travel trailers, or in my uncle's case, truck campers. It hardly seems to count as camping if you have a queen-sized bed, running water, flush toilets, heat, and electricity.

I grew up tent camping with my family. We camped at Raquette Lake in the Adirondacks, we camped in my uncle's backyard in Maine, we camped during what I refer to as our "family bonding excursion" out west. It was two weeks of camping in different campgrounds every night from the Badlands to Yellowstone to the Grand Tetons. There was very little showering going on. I even learned to walk on a camping trip to the Smoky Mountains, as family lore would have it.

I led camping trips in college as an officer of an outing club. I've camped just a few feet from the beach on a Navy base in Key West. I LOVE tent camping. But for many reasons, including two small, far from adaptable dogs, tent camping is no longer the most practical option for us. With a camper, the dogs can travel with us, eliminating the need to foist them off on my parents. Or at least that was the plan...

Our adventures in campering have been a learning experience thus far, but the best part remains the same... time spent outdoors. And this can be achieved with a camper or a tent. And we don't have to sleep in the rain!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Starting the blog

Erin and I talked about getting a camper for the past couple of years.  This spring after once again revisiting the idea we went to a camper show, picked one out that we liked and 4 days later it was in our yard.  The process of buying was rather easy once we found one we really liked...it only took over two years.  We decided on a brand new Heartland Pioneer RB22.  Of course after the purchase came the stocking up of the camper, which itself seems to be a never-ending process!  

Before we had the camper in our possession we had already booked our first trip, along with my sister and her family, to Old Forge in the Adirondack Mountains (of course it rained and snowed all weekend).  Since then we have had extended weekends to several different locations, mostly New York State Campgrounds, each with their good and bad points....some with more bad points than good for sure!

We had talked about starting a blog of our adventures since our second trip...which was by far the most eventful one yet.  This past weekend we went to a state campground in The Catskills and while sitting around the campfire we came up with the name Campfire Chronicles.  At one point I was thinking that I liked 'Campering' for the name because Erin says that we are not camping but are campering.  Anyhow, upon arrival home today Erin started the blog and left it to me to make the first post.  Originally I thought that most of my posts would be about our trips, but I suppose that there are many other things related to 'campering' that I often think about or observe and might wish to talk, rant or rave about....