Monday, June 9, 2014

Ft. Drum to Thousand Islands, NY

After our first 2 nights at Ft. Drum, we planned to spend a few nights at the Watertown Elks Lodge before moving north to Thousand Islands. However, the morning that we were to leave the post, Jon Katin stopped by. He noticed the S.M.A.R.T. (Special Military Active-Retired Travel Club) decal on our car, and just wanted to say Hi to a fellow member. (Jon is 2nd VP of the organization.) When he learned that we were moving, he told us about an overflow area on post where he and his wife Nancy were parked, and took Don to see it. There was one space available, so we moved over.

The amount of space in these two areas for RVs on Ft. Drum is drastically different. Here’s our first site:


And here we are after moving a couple of miles:


But it was still 50 amp FHU and we got our sat dishes tuned in, so we were happy. The Elks Lodge has two 50-amp outlets on the corner of their building, but the parking lot is sloped a little more than we’re comfortable with and we wouldn’t have had a sewer connection (can’t do laundry), so we liked this option better.

Jon & Nancy’s Monaco Dynasty is on our patio side, and the two 5th wheels are owned by others, one of whom we met briefly. The site on the far right where the Montana is, is a very tight spot with posts on both sides. We didn’t see the owner back in, but it probably wasn’t easy – where I’m standing taking this picture is another 2-story building. We did see the owner of the 45-ft. triple-axle XLR back it in, and he did a great job. He claimed it was easy because he has a backup camera, but I know that you need to know what you’re doing to back a 5th wheel even under ideal conditions. Their site is wider than any of the others, and they have plenty of room for their car and cargo trailer as well as the 5th wheel, and they sometimes parked the truck there too. They had rented the site for the month, and left the car and cargo trailer while they went elsewhere for a few days.

This morning, as we prepared to leave, Jon & Nancy were on their way to visit family in the area, and waved goodbye. We may cross paths with them again in Canada, as they are leading the S.M.A.R.T. Maritimes Caravan. They shared their itinerary with us, and we may do some of the same activities.


We only had about 30 miles to drive today to Thousand Islands Campground, but we took a slight detour to top off with diesel since we’ll likely be crossing the border into Canada soon where diesel prices will be higher. The detour took us through the older part of downtown Watertown, and I was a bit nervous navigating the narrow streets and sharp turns with our 40-footer, but I made it okay. Our new site is a nice, pull-through with friendly neighbors and plenty of space.


The campground doesn’t have access to water, but we’re about 1/2 mile from a boat launch into the St. Lawrence River that flows into Lake Ontario. We drove the car about 25 miles along the river to the lake this afternoon and checked out the quaint towns of Clayton and Cape Vincent. Only a few of my ‘windshield’ pictures turned out halfway decent, but these will give an idea of what the places look like. Sorry for the poor quality of pictures.


There are lots of murals on buildings in Clayton. We plan to visit this museum during one of the upcoming rainy days.






Many older homes have been converted to Bed & Breakfast Inns, like this one.




They even have Bald Eagles here (this is for Dennis).


Here’s a nice home for sale with the St. Lawrence River out the backyard, if anyone’s interested.


We drove out to the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse, at the outlet of Lake Ontario and the head of the St. Lawrence River. You can’t see the lighthouse until you’re almost upon it because of the trees and curve of the road.




The lighthouse is about 60 feet tall. It’s not open for people to climb to the top, so I didn’t have to make up any excuses!


This house is the original light keeper’s home, built around 1827.


This is the back side of the house, which makes it look bigger.


The second keeper’s house was also built in 1827. Both homes are now operated by Hostelling International.


The fog horn building was built in 1895.


This picture shows a good-sized wave on the lake during a storm.


But today’s waters were fairly calm.


Here are a few of the homes near the lighthouse, some more modest than others, and all of which have gorgeous views of the river and lake.






Tomorrow we plan to take a boat tour of the Thousand Islands and do a self-guided tour of Boldt Castle, something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.


  1. I can't wait to hear what you think of the love story about the castle. Are you staying at the campground with the ice cream stand in front. There also is a really good winery about a mile away.

  2. I loved that area. Did it several years ago. Did you buy Thousand Island Dressing from the Thousand Island Inn. The Inn claims to be the first to create the dressing and it was from this recipe that Mr. Astor took it to his chef at the Waldorf. But that is just one of the stories of the orgination. Actually I really liked the Thousand Island Dressing sold there, but it was expensive. Tastes nothing like Kraft. Boldt Castle was great. You will love it. In fact, the entire boat tour of the Thousand Islands was great.

  3. Oh year, and we know how sloped the Watertown Elks parking lot is. We had about 8 RVs parked there for several days. We took a raft trip down the Black Canyon which is class 3-4 rapids. Starts right from downtown Watertown.


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