Erie campgrounds & Keystone

16 Aug

Currently on the road passing alternating fields of corn and soy (surprise!) just west of Cleveland, OH. We camped last night in a private campground in Erie, PA. A first and probably a last. We wanted to camp somewhere in the semi- wild, surrounding ourselves with the natural fauna but instead we surrounded our selves with RV’s and giant tents. Apparently camp grounds are a whole sub-culture, and what better place to sit in then in Erie, the merging of Midwest and New England culture.

We had planned on camping at Presque Isle, a peninsula and natural park jutting out from Erie but it was combing with Forest Rangers with
nothing to do and overnight camping was not allowed there, or any other state park, in the area.
So we go to Sara’s campground right next to Presque and set up our 6x4ft tent between all these professional campers with their mega-mansion tents. It was the most diverse neighborhood I’ve ever slept in. There were RVs worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, to old broken down campers with these elaborate wooden decks built around them (many of them looked like they hadn’t been mobile in decades), meanwhile us with our mini.

Starving we ravaged the cooler and suddenly became much friendlier people. We went back to camp and made acquaintance with our new neighbors. Jim and his family were from the Pittsburg area, and between all the in laws they took up about 5 spectate campsites. He invited us for a Key Stone Light at his campfire and was quick to laugh his husky smokers rumble at the idea of Guillaume, Yogi and myself sleeping in a tent half the size of the one set up to protect his Harley. They seemed like good people.

Being a child of the Florida beaches I found some prejudices against Lake Erie. While this vast body of water looks like the ocean there were no sea shells, no salty smell in the air and not nearly as much mystery as the ocean always holds. Though the sand was less sticky.

Oh! One more thing, I’m sure you already over it but the drive from our bank parking lot in Salem, NY to Erie was pretty rad. Just the right sort of back roads with no stop lights. Dilapidated shacks and rusty silos, 14 year old farm boys smoking cigarettes that could easily kick our asses, a postman in a 1970s Cadillac, a blue eyed Indian at a gas station, hills and little historic panels dating local meeting houses to 1801. We drove through the finger lake region and after all that back country were amazed to find the hipsterish town of Ithaca. G got all exited because it reminded him of the scene in Dog Day Afternoon where the prisoners start chanting “Ithaca, Ithaca”.
Now we are stuck in back road traffic so my navigating skills are required- peace.

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