Sunday, July 7, 2013

North-South Lake Campground...

In the north-east section of the Catskill Mountains Forest Reserve In New York state, there is a very nice state campground. North-South Lake Campgrounds is one of the biggest and probably the must popular of the NY state campgrounds in the Catskill Mountains. It is surrounded by many hiking trails to explore which lead you to amazing overlooks, waterfalls, and historic sights. 

 On your way to North-South Lake Campgrounds Catskill Mts., if you take Route 32 west toward West Haven, you will travel up a very steep, winding road which offers a wonderful view of the mountains and you will come upon the Kaaterskill Falls. There is a small parking area near the falls so you can walk up to falls as well as see a beautiful view of the mountains. Kaaterskill Falls is a magnificent two-drop waterfall making the dual cascading falls the highest in New York State at about 260 feet high. The Falls is one of the the most photographed, painted, and penned (in essays, stories, and poems) as it is one of America’s oldest tourist spots since the early 1800s. 

 At North-South Lake Campgrounds there is a hiking trail that will take you to Alligator Rock - see picture of 1914 postcard. 

There is a lake beach front and If you like the serenity of paddling out in a canoe, kayak, rowboat or paddleboat (motorboats are not allowed - Yay!), you will love this campground. 

 Even the dog loved exploring this beautiful place...


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel...

Back in the late 70s I took a trip south. After the New Jersey Turnpike I traveled along Route 13, which lead me to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. At the time I had no idea, as I went through the tollgate, what I was about to experience. The approach to the bridge-tunnel is about a mile through Fisherman's Island National Wildlife Refuge. I was enjoying the beautiful wooded and beach area until I reached Fisherman’s Inlet Bridges at the north entrance of the bridge-tunnel and then my heart almost stopped as I saw only bridge and water, lots of water – 25-75 feet deep of water, land on the other side was no where in sight! If that wasn’t scary, the bridge had only two lanes; terror gripped me as huge trucks came barreling toward me in the other lane. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is a stretch of 12.5 miles of low-level trestle, two brides, 1.5 miles of earth fill causeway across Fisherman Island, four man-made portal islands each 1,500 feet long, about 5.5 miles of land approach highway, and two 1-mile tunnels for a total of 17.6 miles, from shore to shore, across the Chesapeake Bay.

Before the bridge-tunnel was constructed a private corporation managed scheduled ferry service between Virginia's Eastern Shore and the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area from the early 1930’s to 1954. In 1956, the General Assembly authorized the Ferry Commission to explore the construction of a fixed crossing. In April 1964 - just 42 months after construction began - the Bridge-Tunnel opened to traffic and ferry service was discontinued. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel as part of US-13 designation would save 95 miles and 1½ hours for traffic between Norfolk/Virginia Beach and Wilmington, Delaware and points north.

In 1995 construction of a parallel crossing, another set of bridges, which would share the same tunnels as the original brides, was started and finished April 19, 1999. The challenge of this project earned it the distinction of “One of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World.” Now that I don’t have to face on coming trucks (except in the tunnels, I can appreciate the wonder of this engineering marvel and the beauty of the scenery as I cross it.

Crossing this magnificent structure one can often see small fishing vessels, huge cargo ships, and occasional a military ship. There

are two major shipping channels crossed by the Bridge-Tunnel. The 5,738-foot-long Thimble Shoal Channel Tunnel crosses the southerly channel, and provides a 1,900-foot-wide ship channel with a 50-foot minimum depth, and a 2,500-foot-wide channel with a 40-foot minimum depth. The 5,450-foot-long Chesapeake Channel Tunnel crosses the northerly channel, and provides a 1,700-foot-wide channel with 50-foot depth, and a 2,300-foot-wide channel with a minimum 40-foot depth. The North Channel Bridge, just south of Fisherman Island, has 75 feet of vertical navigational clearance and 300 feet of horizontal navigational clearance. The Fisherman Inlet Bridge has 40 feet of vertical navigational clearance and 110 feet of horizontal navigational clearance.

Besides being a traffic convenience, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is also a major tourist attraction. At the northernmost end is a small rest stop and lookout point of the bay; various shore birds can be observed. Across the way in the wooded area you can see large bird nests, and if you are lucky, might spot a young Bald Eagle in flight. The southernmost man-made island, which is 4 miles from the Virginia Beach shoreline, has parking facilities, a restaurant and gift shop, a long pier for fishing, and a 48-hour rest stop for the weary traveler. Nighttime is an unusual experience, with boat and ship lights in the distance, and many blinking buoy lights visible in the distance and a long row of lights can be seen heading out into the ocean.

If you haven’t done so, the next time you ma

ke a trip north or south through Virginia and Delaware try US-13 and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, it is a wonderful experience.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Catskills: It's Spring!!!!

Spring has emerged and so has the campers and creatures of the forests...


A “daddy long legged spider!!” Or is it? There are 3 species of creatures that are often referred to as a “daddy long legs”.

One of which is actually an insect, the Crane Fly, which looks like a spider with wings, but it is not a spider.

This lovely creature here, who tried to join me for lunch, is the Harvestmen; an eight long legged invertebrate of the Opiliones order in the class of Arachnida, but it too is not a spider. So what’s the difference between the Harvestmen and spiders? The Harvestmen has only two eyes, two main body sections, the abdomen with ten segments and the cephalothorax (a fused head and thorax, of course) which are joined as to give the appearance on one oval structure. Now would you believe that urban legend has it that this little Arachnida might be the most venomous creature on the earth!? Well, thank goodness this is an untruth. It doesn’t have venom glands or venom fangs and its mouth and fangs are so small that if it were to bite a human or large creature, the bite would be insignificant. And this is also true of the real “daddy long legged” spider.

The Pholcid, Cellar (House) Spider, aka “daddy long legged” spider is a true spider with two separate body sections and eight eyes (all the better to see ya). So to see a “daddy long legged” spider check your basement, because that’s where they are often found.

And the next time you are in the woods, look for the Harvestmen because it is a ground-dwelling outdoor loving creature.

For more info:


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fall in the Catskills & Fried Apples…

September & early October is a great time for apple-picking & there are many orchards in the Catskill Mts. & surrounding area. This time of year apples seem to be crispier & juicier. My favorite recipe is Fried Apples.

4-5 Gala or Fuji apples
Tablespoon of butter or margarine
Tablespoon of cinnamon sugar
3-4 glovers

Slice the apples & place them in a 10-inch fry pan with a ½ cup of water, a tablespoon of butter/margarine & 3-4 glovers. Over a medium flame stir occasionally until the apples are soft (but not too soft). Sprinkle a tablespoon of cinnamon sugar & stir.

For breakfast, serve hot with scramble eggs & maybe some type of sausage.

As a dessert, serve hot over vanilla ice cream.


You might want to check out
Wright’s Apple Farm (699 Route 208, Gardiner, NY). They make it truly a family affair by inviting you to bring the whole family, including pooch, for a day of apple-picking & picnicking.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Catskills: Ulster & Delaware Railroad.....

Riding the rails in the Catskill Mountains...

Almost hidden from view; the remains of a passenger car from a forgotten era of railroad history in the Catskill Mountains, sits just outside of Kingston, NY on route 209. The passenger car from the early 1900s is a symbol of the gold era of the Ulster & Delaware Railroad.

From 1870 to 1976 the Ulster & Delaware Railroad provided a vital service carrying freight such as Bluestone quarried in the Catskills and transported to New York City its sidewalks. Dairy products from Ulster & Delaware County farms were also whisked off to the big city. The trains of the U & D RR also carried passengers, mostly tourist from the Big Apple to and from the Catskill Mountains area to escape the congestion of NYC, particularly during the hot summers and to the ski slopes in the winter.

Today you can take a nostalgic ride on sections of the historic Ulster & Delaware Railroad & the Fall is a great time to see the magnificent colors.

All Aboard!!!

Trolley Museum:

Take a ride (some even have a "Pooch Pass" for well-behaved canine family members - kitty too!):



Saturday, August 29, 2009

RVing with the Dog...

Pooka's 1st Camping Trip...

I now have a new camping/traveling companion - Pooka. She is a 5-month-old Doxle: Dachshund & Beagle mix that I adopted from North Shore Animal League Shelter. Puppy training has definitely been a challenge (Poochie was a young adult dog when I adopted her), so I thought maybe a camping trip to the Catskill Mts. might do us some good. Well yes & no...

We were barely out of NYC when the dog was getting carsick (just my luck, my travel companion gets carsick!!!) Half way to the Catskills I call my Vet on Long Island for advice (I'll give some possible solutions at the end). Now of course, being in a new environment, although it is much more tranquil than the city, Pooka was a little apprehensive; particularly when the crowing of a rooster woke us up. She definitely didn't like being on the leash most of the time - but that's the campground's rule (and a wise one).

On the good side, potty training in the wildness is easy - she even woke me up in the middle of the night when she had to go, but seeing how dark it was she opt for the WeeWee pad in the camper. Pooka did finally seem to like the wilderness - the sounds (other than that rooster), the interesting creatures to see (chipmunks, bugs, birds, deer & even a bear), and the infinite number of smells of the woods.

The final analysis: I think Pooka is going to like camping. She is also very people friendly, so exploring the little towns will be a pleasure; with that cute face, those puppy eyes, the usual look about her, & tail-wagging eagerness to greet anyone who looks at her; she is an invitation for meeting people. Toward the end of our stay I noticed, like Poochie, she could also be a little protective of her campsite - warning me if people or creature were approaching before I even saw or heard them - very good quality.

I believe Poochie's spirit is proud of the new camper following in her paw steps.

Now, we just need to deal with the carsickness problem For long trips, 2 or more hours, the Vet recommended one Dramamine (found in the regular pharmacy) taken one hour before getting in the car. Also, possibly no food or very little 3-4 hours before leaving. I found having the dog's favorite chew toy a good occupier until she falls asleep. For short trips in the car (my dog would get carsick after 20 minutes), I found a Calming Aid gel sold in pet stores is easily taken by mouth & seems to work - so far. Hopefully, she will overcome this problem before we start taking serious road trips - like cross-country!


Friday, July 3, 2009

Dog Days of Summer RVing with the Dog...

Camping with Poochie...

All it would take is the sight of the green travel bag & hearing, "Let's go camping!" to have Poochie dancing & prancing with delight. Unfortunately, in her final year she had to rely on a wheelchair from Eddie's Wheels to get around, but she still loved to travel the open road & being in the mountains.

I’ve spent many wonderful years traveling with Poochie; her last camping trip was the first weekend of August 2008 when we went to the Adirondack Museum for Dog Days of Summer. We camped at Lake Harris; Poochie enjoyed sitting on my lap & gazing at the lake. Even though she had health problems, when we were in the mountains she seem to feel better.

On that Saturday we went to the Adirondack Museum on a kind of wet day, but still enjoyed the day. Of course, Poochie stole the hearts of many there – you can see her on the Adirondack Museum’s slideshow of Dog Days of Summer 2008:


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Tao of RVing & Camping...

One of our (Poochie & I) favorite places is the Catskills. We would go for early morning walks when the forest seems so still and the freshness of morning dew smells of pine and floral. Sometimes the lingering smoke of a campfire would seek its way up the rays of the sun that beam through the trees in the early morn.

Poochie would often like to sit at our campsite; her eyes, ears, and nose searching the woods for something or perhaps... maybe she was just taking in the beautiful sights, melodic sounds, and aromatic smells of the forest.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Dog Goes RVing...

Travels with Poochie…In the beginning...

In 1997, after looking at it for 2 years, I finally bought a VW camper ~ making it easier for me to pick up and go. I planned my first trip in Winnie, my camper, to Hemlock Hill in Connecticut. In Travels with Charley, Steinbeck’s travel companion was his dog Charlie, a big French Poodle. So naturally Poochie, my mixed Pomeranian, was to be my travel companion.

Traveling with Poochie, I can relate to what Steinbeck said about his traveling companion – she contributed much to the trips. Although, on route to some destination, she was sleep only to awake periodically with the expression – are we there yet? Poochie often was the initiator of conversation, with folks commenting and inquiring as to “What a cute little dog, what breed is it?” She was a real charmer in town; however, back at the campsite this adorable, little pooch reverted to the wilderness beast protecting our campsite territory with a bark that made one think she might actually attack, which she almost did to a park ranger on one occasion. It was amazing to see the sweet, mild mannered, little, city dog turn into the wilderness dog once she was exposed to camping!

Traveling with Poochie was great! However, there was one most terrifying experience. In the Catskills Mountains at Kenneth Wilson state campgrounds one late afternoon, I decided to sit in the camper and read; Poochie comfortably sat looking through the screen enclosure of the open camper door. Unfortunately, I feel asleep and when I awoke – it was dark and Poochie was not in the camper! Panic stricken I jumped up yelling for Poochie while trying to put some shoes on, grab flashlight, and get out of the camper; I was thinking my poor little dog had wandered off in the woods and was lost. As I stumbled out the camper, she came running out of the darkness with a horrific odor; she had slipped out under the screen enclosure to confront a skunk – and lost. The odor in the camper and around the campsite horrible, but I was just so grateful that I had not lost my companion. After that experience, knowing that she could slip away, I put her on her leash; if I was relaxing and might possibly fall asleep. However, hopefully she might have learned a lesson about chasing after furry, black and white creatures with a strange scent.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

RVing with a Cat...

Camping/RVing with Fuzzy…

Camping had not been a new experience for me; I had been camping since I was in junior high school – the summer camp experience, which definitely ignited the love for the woods. Now, camping by yourself or with other human companions is one thing, camping with a 4-paw companion proved to be another experience.

My first pet to go camping with me was a cat, Fuzzy. Cats are usually not seen as a camping companion, so he did turn some heads seeing a fluffy fur ball sunning itself in the window of my little pop-up trailer. Being an oddity and a beautiful cat, he initiated many a conversation with fellow campers. No doubt Fuzzy loved the great outdoors, so some precautions had to be taken – such as teaching kitty not to claw the camper’s screen in an effort get a the other creatures of the forest; and a leash to keep kitty from climbing the highest tree to investigate that song bird or that cute little kitten - hey that’s not a kitten, that’s a squirrel. Have backpack carrier - will hike, with kitty letting you do all the leg work. Of all my cats, Fuzzy was the only one that really liked camping/rving – he was a wonderful companion and will be missed (he passed away at the age of 18 years in 2003).


Saturday, March 28, 2009

To the Open Road...

In my early teens I discovered summer camping and fell in love with the wilderness. Unfortunately, adult life in the city - a career, etc., etc. - took me kept me away from the serenity of the great outdoors.

One day I read a book entitled Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck; that would kindle the campfire of desire to travel the open road. The lure of the open road, the adventures, wonders waiting for discovery, the chance of meeting interesting people; and perhaps self-discovery while taking in the scenery along the road, tugged at my very being. However, like many others who have “a burning desire” to be on the go, to be at “another place – any place,” but where they are anchored, I didn’t have the gumption to toss caution and excuses to the wind and “just do it!” Until finally, I decided no more excuses.

So I went out and bought a little tent; however after waking up one morning to my sleeping bag and air mattress floating during a thunderstorm, I decided I needed one of those "pop-up" trailers. After some trial and error manipulating this attachment to my car and difficulty finding a place to store it (I live in a co-op apartment), I was ready for something a little more convenient.

Then wahoo! In a photography magazine I saw a RV (recreational vehicle) camper that would be my escape. It was the perfect size, small for a big city dweller, quick weekend jolts and short vacation trips. Yes, this was it! The means to hit the open road and to cure the desire… as Steinbeck put it, “curing the itch…to be someplace else.”

As of July 1, 2007 I chucked 37 good years of teaching and retired (well semi-retired) ending another chapter of my life. My plan was to embark on a journey with my travel companion, Poochie, and begin a new chapter of what will be the rest of what's left of my life. For as long as I can, I want to travel the open road to new discoveries and maybe adventures.

Sadly, on March 26, 2009 my dear traveling companion moved on to a heavenly place and now I must travel with her in spirit knowing that she would have enjoyed every sight, sound, and smell.

I dedicate this blog to Poochie...