August 4, 2013

Beautiful memories made during camping trip


---- — What’s 28 feet long, travels 92 miles from Morrisonville to the St. Lawrence River and back, and is loaded with memories? 

Our camper, and the truck that tows it, knows the way. It’s made the trip at least once a year since it was new in 2007 and has only 7,000 miles on it. Basically, it’s the only task for which the truck was purchased. 

Its predecessors have towed various campers to Cole’s Creek near Waddington in St. Lawrence County for 39 years. At first, it was a couple of International Harvester Scout II’s. Then, it was a 1987 full-sized Ford Bronco. And, for the past seven years, a Toyota Tundra. 

We started with a used pop-up. It was fun with all our kids and grandkids and guests. There were other similar rigs through the years until we finally graduated to a hard-sided tow-behind. We’ve owned a number of those. The latest is a 28-footer that was new to somebody in 2001. It serves us well with most of the amenities you can find in your home.

As we were about to pull out of the yard on July 13, there was a big “Uh-oh” uttered by yours truly along with a few unmentionables. One trailer tire was flat. It shouldn’t have been. All four tires were put on new last year to pass inspection. It took our son Dale and I some time to get the rig jacked up and the lug nuts loosened. Thanks to our friendly tire store, a new valve was inserted, the tire inflated with no charge, my friend Jim Leonard helped to install it, and we were on our way.

After that, it was a piece of cake. The weather was dry and beastly hot for several days. One of the infamous St. Lawrence River storms blew through on the first Friday, but our gear remained intact. There was damage all around, but not at our beloved Cole’s Creek State Park. The power was out for seven hours. No big deal.

I signed up for two week’s worth of Wi-Fi service when we arrived and paid the bill online with a credit card. It worked fine for almost seven days but was nowhere to be found after the first Friday night. A call to the supplier was unanswered, so I counted my losses and pledged to take it up with my credit-card company and the Attorney General’s office. I spoke with other campers who had similar experiences. Stay tuned.

Kaye and I read many books. We relish the luxury of being able to turn pages for several hours at a time, occasionally glancing up to watch a huge ship heading through the Seaway. 

We kibitzed at campfires with family members along with friends whom we get to see only once a year. We’ve remained close with some of them for decades, watching their offspring grow from babies into adults and then with little ones of their own.

The sunsets were spectacular. They almost always thrust myriad brilliant colors at our cameras, and we have taken thousands of photos through the years. 

We had what we call the annual “feast” one day. All the campers in our group bring their specialties, and Mike Light fires up his camp stove with succulent clams, shrimp, lobster and who knows what all? 

Kaye and her female friends had some fierce domino battles with a handmade plaque handed out each year to the big winner. Some campers took a few hours away from their sites to try their gambling luck at the nearby casino. Some returned jubilant; others — not so much.

We said our goodbyes and had an uneventful drive home on the 27th with lovely memories we’ll always cherish.

As I write this on our enclosed back deck we call the Saranac Room, 3 feet from the Saranac River, the western sky offers a sunset even more spectacular than the ones we just left behind. It’s only fitting. We are truly blessed.

Have a wonderful rest of your summer and please, drive carefully.

Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the “Our Little Corner” television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at