Sunday, July 24, 2016

Chapter 30 - Montreal to Association Island, Henderson, New York

July 22, Day 56: We woke up early again this morning and I immediately discovered that the WiFi system in our campground was totally non-functional. Were the Canadians deliberately trying to prevent me from reading about Donald Trump's speech online in the Wall Street Journal?  Anyway, with no way to waste time we found ourselves ready to head south by 7:00 am, a new record. The trailer was all hooked up, Cabo was placed in the car, and Kathy and I were doing one more final check before jumping in the car. When we returned to the car we discovered that Cabo had stood up to look out the car window and in doing so, he stepped on the door lock button and locked himself in the car along with both of our car keys. After a few failed efforts to try and get Cabo to step on the unlock button, we were forced to call CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) and one hour later and $75 poorer, we were finally ready to takeoff. Not a great way to start the day.

Our original plans were to spend a few nights at a campground somewhere in the 1000 Islands area on the New York side preferably. Unfortunately this being a July weekend with good weather projected, all of the campgrounds in both countries that we contacted were full. We ended up booking a KOA campground at an interesting location out on an island in Lake Ontario, but its location was considerably below the 1000 Islands area and a 4-1/2 hour drive from Montreal. Here again the drive was mostly on the Trans-Canada Highway with views of flat farmlands. The only really spectacular views occurred while crossing the bridge over the St. Lawrence River into the USA and they lasted but seconds and no photos could be taken.

The island on which sits our campsite is 65 acres and it is totally occupied by the KOA. The view of the island above was taken from the mainland near Henderson Harbor at a distance of at least a mile. The island has been named Association Island after the National Electric Light Association which owned the island for many years beginning in 1905. The campground is quite unusual considering how many sites (not ours unfortunately) sit right at the waters edge. One negative about the campground however, is that it can be quite windy as it sits right out in Lake Ontario and the numerous geese and sea gulls on the island have left their droppings everywhere including on the tops of the picnic tables. We spent most of the afternoon sitting outside our travel trailer enjoying the surroundings plus we did take the occasional walk around the island and took a few photographs.

This photo to the left shows the approach view to Association Island from the small 1-1/2 lane road leading over to the island.

This photograph of Kathy and Cabo was taken shortly after our arrival and it shows to some degree just how windy we found our first day out on the island. The temperatures were in the high 80s so the rather high winds were a welcome relief. As the photo of our campsite shows at the beginning of this chapter, the winds prevented us from putting down our awning.

Kathy and I walked around the island with Cabo (Kathy more than I) and on one occasion we ran into a young girl who was walking her young Pomeranian dog who could have been Cabo's younger sister.

While most of the shoreline around the island was loaded with RVs and trailers, there was a small park-like area that ran along the water that was quiet, peaceful, and covered with shade trees. It was in this area where we ran into Cabo's younger sister and it was in this area where this photo to the right was taken of Kathy and Cabo.

Other than leaving our trailer and our new home for a short while to purchase some needed supplies including propane, we spent the rest of the day relaxing around our trailer. One thing that I did spend some time researching was what and where we were going to spend time traveling tomorrow morning. While both Kathy and I have been to the Adirondacks Mountains in Northern New York and we have spent time in the Lake George area of New York State, we have never visited or even discussed what we would see and do on the eastern edge of Lake Ontario. We finally both agreed that we would simply drive up along the coastline and see what we might find.

July 23rd, Day 57: Kathy got up early this morning and disappeared for awhile and came back reporting that she had watched the sunrise and taken a few photos. As this one photo shows Kathy was not alone outside before 6 am watching the sun come up. Some children were wading in the water and some adults were simply sitting in their folding chairs watching the sun come up.   Sunrises and sunsets are a big attraction on this island.

Shortly before 8 am we headed off the island and once we reached Hwy 3 we turned left and headed north. According to my AAA website, Hwy 3 is rated as a scenic highway and we have to agree with them as we drove northward. Our first stop along the way was in the small hamlet of Henderson Harbor which not surprisingly sat right on the shoreline of Henderson Bay.

The views of the bay were lovely but so were the many homes that sat along its shoreline. As we always do Kathy and I joked about which ones we wanted to purchase, although honestly the quality of the many homes that we passed along the coastline would suggest that they probably cost far more than we might be willing to pay.

Our next major stop heading north was in the Village of Sackets Harbor. Sackets Harbor was a very pleasant surprise for us not only because their main street was a collection of 19th century well preserved buildings that sat right along the shoreline of Sacket Harbor, but also because we soon learned that the original village was a major shipyard during the War of 1812. Because of the shipyard and its importance during the war, the American military constructed a fort in the village to defend the area if necessary against a possible attack from the British. We further read that the area of Sacket Harbor by the year 1814 was the third most populated area in the State of New York after Albany and New York City. Go figure, and we arrived here in this historic little village simply by chance.

Certainly one of the most frequently visited sites in Sackets Harbor besides all of the shops, the restaurants, and the harbor is the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site. Unfortunately, besides a few old homes turned into museums, some monuments, and characters dressed in various period costumes, the battlefield site was not that interesting.

We were also a little confused as to why some of the solders dressed in period costumes wore the uniforms of Civil War soldiers. It seems that this site was also used as a training center during the Civil War.

There were quite a number of outdoor restaurants in old Sackets Harbor both lining the Main Street as well as facing the harbor, but the restaurant shown in this photograph to the right was not only the most crowded but also had a long line of folks waiting to be seated.

Another attractive restaurant in this obviously popular city (at least during the warmer summer months) was this restaurant shown in the photograph to the left where the patrons had views of the harbor.  We could nor understand why this restaurant had plenty of seats available.

For Kathy and I the best part of visiting this old city was just walking up and down the streets and looking at the older homes. Where we live in Florida an old home is one that was built in the early 1900s and there are very few of them.  Walking down the Main Street in Sackets Harbor it is doubtful that any of the homes were built after the 1900s with many of them built in the early to mid-1800s.

This one old building shown in this photograph to the left currently houses a museum that unfortunately we did not visit because dogs were not allowed indoors. I suspect however, that had we visited the museum we would know far about this old village.  I suspect that most citizens in our country have never heard of Sackets Harbor.  Kathy and I are now not among that group.

We returned back to our campsite by early afternoon content once again to just relax. Tomorrow our plan is to drive south in New York State down into the well known Finger Lakes region where we plan to spend the next three nights 

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