I’m checking in this morning from Nomad Coffee in Burlington VT. I last posted from a Kentucky Truck stop where I had overnighted just south of Cincinnati. From Kentucky, I next traversed Ohio in a NE diagonal route toward Erie PA, cutting across the sliver of Eastern Pennsylvania that abuts Lake Erie, then up into New York State to Allegheny State Park, where I planned to stay.
I had an unpleasant welcome to NY State when the parks employee at the Allegany State Park desk scolded and reprimanded me. I had walked in and asked for a camp site.
He said “Well, there is a sandwich board at the main entrance that says ‘no walk up campers’. Did you happen to see that?”. He spoke this in a condescending up-voice tone.
I was immediately triggered but held my tongue, not wanting to reenact Steve Martin’s ticket counter scene in the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. A benefit of being older, wiser and mellower. I try to keep on the sunny side of life, even when insulted by a petulant twerp.
Instead I asked kindly “What do you recommend I do?”. He gave me a map where he circled a campground back down in Pennsylvania. I thanked him, giving no hint of the uselessness of that information to me, and left.
Notwithstanding my treatment by the clerk, who I’m sure is loved by his mother, and may have just been having a bad day, Allegany State Park is extremely beautiful, picturesque and serene.
I poked around there a for while before leaving, drove through the resplendent campsite at which I did not stay, with all of its empty spaces, took some photos, then moved on, grateful that I had a new resentment to work on, which helps me grow as a person and learn more about myself.
Soon thereafter, traveling east toward the Finger Lakes region, I stumbled on a great find in Steuben County.
Kanakadea Park is a small County Park campground on a small lake and it was absolutely perfect. Much like Texas State Parks, you just find an empty spot and take it, then fill out a form and drop it in a box with payment (or check in next morning at the office). It too was mostly unpopulated, as the vacation season hasn’t quite started up here.
The next morning I was able to get a hot shower, put on fresh clothes, and do some work from my lakeside spot on my laptop.
While on this trip I’ve taken a new sales listing. I’m still not 100% decided on fully retiring, so part of this journey is seeing what it’s like working remotely within a blended travel/work life. Real Estate is doable remote, but not ideal for the way I like to serve clients.
I’ve thought about shifting to business consulting, and currently have one client for whom I do that, all by phone, zoom and email. I did pretty well in my own business ventures, am smart with money and investing, and especially in planning a path to one’s Financial Freedom Finish Line, and how that path ties back into business growth and lifestyle decisions.
I just don’t know if those sort of work obligations would spoil some of the joy of full time travel. On the flipside, I don’t know if zero work and all retirement will become boring and dull. Hopefully I’ll know more after this trip.
Anyway, while laptop working, the wind really kicked up and storm clouds started rolling in. It was almost 11AM by then, so I rolled out of there heading toward Cayuga Lake State Park, knowing that as long as I get there by 3PM I will be allowed to make a same-day reservation under New York’s unwelcoming rules.
Driving toward Geneva NY, very heavy wind and rain ensued, wipers on full speed, and I even pulled off the road for a bit to wait it out. Poking around Geneva after the rain ended, I decided to get a Pizza slice at a nice local pizza shop.
Most of the vacation towns I come through and poke around in do NOT seem busy at all yet, and roads are mostly uncrowded. I’m sure that will change soon as school lets out and people start vacationing in force again this summer.
At Cayuga Lake State Park it was wet, still threatening more rain, and the available camp spots were away from the lake and, to me, uninspiring. So a gametime decision was made to keep pushing toward Syracuse and onward toward Vermont, and just find a stopping point along the way.
Continuing along the northern side of the finger lakes region back roads, I stumbled upon an ice cream stand and decided to treat myself as a reward for eating so well thusfar on this trip. Eventually, pushing past Syracuse, where I accidentally ended up in a toll lane, and up through upstate NY on tranquil and pretty Hwy 8, I thought I’d go ahead and cross into Vermont at Lake Champlain.
As I approached the Lake Champlain Bridge there was a nice campground right on the shores of Lake Champlain, with a historic lighthouse, so I gave it a drive-through and decided to stay there.
This morning, after breakfast, hiking around a bit reading the info plaques about the bridge and the lighthouse, I Googled “Burlington Coffee Shops” and found “Nomad Coffee”. Of course, that had to be my destination. I love that sort of irony.
This coffee place is really cool, in an old red brick industrial complex with other businesses. I think I can stealth camp out back too, so I plan to remain in Burlington all day and tonight.
Having now officially entered into one of the 6 New England States I want to explore, I can slow the travel pace and relax and stay put a bit more while meandering closer to the tippy top NE part of Maine with no hurry.
Part of my downtime will be compiling a “cost of vanlife” spreadsheet which I’ll share once I put it together.