First Holiday – Day 3

Woke up pretty refreshed this morning.  We have been trying different things with the bed since the mattress is hurting my back and last night we took the air mattress from the couch and put it under the light, thin mattress that came with the camper. It actually worked pretty well, although being up so high was kind of weird.  It’s not the ultimate solution, but worked better than anything we have tried so far. Next time we are going to bring the mattress topper from our home and give that a try.  All the good solutions seem to be in the $500 and up range, and since I am nothing if not thrifty, I am trying everything else before making that investment.  Lee’s been pretty patient with the whole thing.  He, of course, could sleep on a board. (And I have. You should try it, it’s awesome. – Lee)

We decided to go exploring and stopped at the McDonald’s on the way.  (Intrepid, aren’t we?- Lee) I love their iced tea, it’s cheap and tastes great, and I took in a half-gallon decanter to ask how much it would cost to fill it.  The thought being I could keep it in the camper fridge for a cheap beverage.  The manager only charged me $1 stating they had free refills.  Say what you want about McDonald’s but they are consistent, and generally the staff understands customer service.  Next stop, Big Lots to look for a cheap mattress fix.  I worked for Consolidated Stores for 7 years when the kids were young and they are a great company, filling a need for a low-cost alternative for many people.  They often carry name brands at really low prices so I thought, why not give it a shot?  They had a 3″ egg crate foam pad which was exactly what I thought would solve the problem.  I should note here Lee said all along this would not work.  The saleslady was very helpful and we got to feel the foam but I quickly saw Lee was right (drat!!) and it was too thin.  We bought some other miscellaneous stuff (100 bamboo skewers for $1.50) and headed on our way.  Mattress problem not solved but more information in hand.

As we came out of the Big Lots we saw a sign for the Saugerties farmer’s market.  One of my ideas is to get local produce at the farmer’s market and try to incorporate it into that night’s meal. It was very nice, although small, with a cool selection, and we bought a few things including a tiny jar of local honey.  Someone I work with told me that the natural cure to allergies was to buy local honey.  The idea is that because it is made of local nectar it would provide some immunity.  I took a teaspoon (it was raw honey and tasted incredibly good) thinking even if it doesn’t work I got a nice treat out of the deal. I have to say it did seem to work.  My nose was much clearer although after about 5 hours I had to take another spoonful (no hardship there).   Personally I am sold and will try this wherever we visit.

Since Roadside America  was such a hit yesterday we decided to try it again, but in the interest of “Get off the interstate Ben Stone” (Doc Hollywood reference – great movie) we took a detour to a nearby historical lighthouse.  The lighthouse was a loooong walk down a semi-shaded path,  but at the end there was a lighthouse that also serves as a B&B.  Pretty neat if a person likes to stay in historical places.  Back on our path we passed by a rocket in the front someone’s yard.  Wouldn’t go far out of my way to see it but it was very close to the Catamount People’s Museum which I really wanted to see.  The Catamount People’s Museum is a very cool sculpture shaped like a giant bobcat made on a vacant lot out of natural materials, right in the middle of town.  I thought it was great, although it seems from the literature it’s a constant struggle not to have it torn down by the city.  We stopped for a few minutes and took some pictures and then off we went to our next adventure.


I should probably mention here that it sounds like we were “drive by’ing” and to some extent we were.  I have perfected this skill (learned from my mom) of getting out, seeing something, and moving on.  I will say though that it is important to mix in really  spending some time at a place if it’s interesting, but you can pack a lot in a day if you stop, take a picture, and move on.  Figuring out when to stay and when to do a quick stop has been a delicate marriage negotiation over the years, but I think in generally we have come to a healthy compromise.

Finally, we wanted to see Woodstock.  I am not particularly interested in that piece of history, but it was right there, so we drove through.  Woodstock was packed.  It’s a funky little town with a lot of new age shops and aging hippies everywhere (no offense to those aging hippies out there… good for you for sticking to your guns).  It just wasn’t our scene, so we slowly drove through town and then had lunch at a little Chinese place outside of town.  I just wasn’t in the mood to fight the crowds, plus we had decided to do some streamlining in our camper.

We initially over packed the camper.  Not surprising, because we didn’t know what we would need and we finally both felt ready to get rid of all the excess.   It required some delicate maneuvering for us both to work in the small space, but we covered the dining room table with “extras” to go back home and reorganized the cabinets.  I definitely recommend this activity after a few camping trips, because most things now have a permanent home and we freed up a lot of space for anything additional we wanted to add in the future.  I like having some open cabinet space just in case and truly there is plenty of it after the rearranging.

One nice thing I wanted to mention about the campground Saugerties KOA is at 4pm on Saturday they have a fire truck rides for the kids (and several Dad’s).  It was a nice extra and everyone on board looked like they were having a great time.


Finally it was time for dinner and I wanted to try a new recipe… pizza on the campfire!  Honestly I was dubious that it would work out but it looked fun and challenging.  The pizza turned out great!!!  Lee loved it and said it tasted just like fancy, artisan pizza.  This made me pretty happy because I am only having about a 50% success rate on the new recipes I try and I haven’t hit a home run since that first fish dinner we had.  Anyway, this recipe tastes great, and is fun to make (kids would love getting to make their own custom pizza) so please see the recipe below and give it a try.

 Lessons Learned

  • Putting the camping mattress on top of the air mattress works
  • Try Big Lots/Odd Lots before spending full price
  • 1 tsp of local honey helps with allergies and if it doesn’t work it still tastes great
  • Roadside America is a great app
  • After a few camping trips reorganize and remove anything you don’t need to free up space
  • Pizza on the grill tastes yummy


Grilled Pizza


  • 1 roll of Pillsbury Pizza Crust 
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Toppings as desired (for a cheaper alternative get just the right amount of pepperoni from the salad bar at the store)
  1. Heat the grill over the fire making sure it is clean of any residue
  2. Open the roll and lay the pizza dough on a flat service
  3. Cut to the desired size
  4. Using an old towel folded and held with tongs well oil the grill with olive oil
  5. Lay pizza dough flat on the grill
  6. Cook for 2-3 minutes until underside is marked and top side is bubbling a little (do not walk away from the grill as this must be closely monitored)
  7. Flip the dough and cook an additional 2-3 minutes on the other side
  8. Remove dough to a cookie sheet
  9. Place pizza sauce on the dough and top as desired.  Lightly portion the toppings
  10. Place pizza’s on a griddle covering with foil and ensuring the foil does not touch the cheese
  11. Place back on the fire cooking for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted (again closely monitor)
  12. Plate and serve












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First Holiday – Day 1


We were so excited about camping and visiting local sites that booking the fourth of July kind of got away from us.  Even though we knew better I waited until 2 weeks ahead and unfortunately most of our first choices were booked.  We have a four-day weekend and wanted to go a bit farther afield, so ended up at the KOA in the Catskills.  Even though we hadn’t visited the KOA in advance, the nice thing about KOA is you can have a certain expectation, so we were glad when they had an opening.

Finally we felt like we had a routine so Lee went to the camper the night before our trip to turn on the refrigerator.  Unfortunately the marine battery was totally dead.  It’s brand new so it was unclear what had drained it, but he unhooked it and brought it back to the house and put it on a charger and we hoped we wouldn’t need to fork out another $100 for a battery. (The culprit is the clock in the stereo/DVD player, and a few other minor things that pull a constant low voltage. After three weeks, it had drained the battery. – Lee)  It’s important to me at this point that costs kind of settle somewhat.  The whole reason we decided to do this was for inexpensive weekends, but thus far with all the one-time purchases we have spent quite a chunk of money.   Luckily when Lee woke up (he’s a VERY early riser) the battery was charged and he was able to take it back to the camper and start the refrigerator.  Even though the refrigerator runs off propane it requires an electric spark to get it going,  but it all worked out great and the refrigerator was cool by the time we took off.

The next important thing was the grocery store.  I had been clipping recipes for a week or so and had some things I wanted to try but didn’t wan’t a huge grocery bill…again with an eye towards inexpensive.  I “stole” liberally from what was in the house and came up with a relatively short list of items needed and was absolutely thrilled when we only spent $80.  Before you judge, food is expensive in New England and we regularly spend $200 at the grocery store so $80 was a bargain…although I can still remember many years when I fed a family of 5 on $80 so I can’t call it a total victory 🙂

Hooking up the trailer went great.  We used walkie- talkies which worked MUCH better thank yelling obscenities back and forth at each other…plus I got to say cool stuff like “Copy that”  and hitching up the trailer was a breeze.  We also managed to avoid the big killer rocks on the way out.   Perkins for the win!!!  The campsite is three hours away and for the first time it was mostly freeway driving so we were excited to see how that would go.  Not so great, unfortunately.  It was very windy so Lee really had to focus on his driving and the gas mileage was terrible.  We have a brand new Ford 150 XLT with an Ecoboost engine and we were only getting 6.9 mpg.  It took an entire tank of gas (about $125) to get us there which was a bummer.  One great thing was we found a Cracker Barrel for lunch. The meal was fantastic and we found a place to park our truck and trailer relatively easily.  Cracker Barrels generally have HUGE parking lots.  The food was great and thus fortified, we continued on with our journey.

Once we arrived we were pretty disappointed.  The sites we could use are more less pretty stacked right on top of each other, with no trees between them, but at least they are staggered which was a bit of a benefit and it was HOT!  95° and about 95% humidity. Setting up went flawlessly but we were both drenched by the time we were done.  Luckily the campground has a nice pool and we threw on our swimsuits and walked down.  An interesting side note…Lee doesn’t like pools particularly, but he gave it a try and found it really refreshing. (People pee in the pool. ’nuff said. – Lee)  Cooled down…with the AC on inside we started a fire and I started to make dinner.  I’ve been trying out new recipes and many are duds…you won’t see those in here, but this was fine and it was quick (only 20 minutes) and filling.  Sitting outside with our hair messy and full of good food, we were pretty content and definitely relaxed  so overall it was a very nice day.

Lessons Learned

  • Disconnect the marine battery when finished camping so it doesn’t drain down while the trailer is sitting
  • Walkie-Talkies are a must have for communication
  • Pulling on the freeway does NOT give you better mpg than 2 lane highways
  • Cracker Barrel is a great place to stop and have lunch in an oversized vehicle
  • Don’t forget your bathing suits



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