ME & YOU AND A DOG NAMED SUE travel blog

That's hail, and while it may not look bad - this is...

What happened?

But everybody helped!

So much for the shade.

You might finally find a journal entry with some excitement. I realize that for the last couple of weeks there has not been too much of interest as we have hurried across the northern part of the country, through Ontario, Canada, and back into the US. But we ran into a little weather which added some thrills to our trip and some destruction to those around us.

We headed down to Clayton to the Merry Knolls Campground which is on the banks of the St. Lawrence and were very pleased with the friendliness of the owners and the campers around us. The campground went from the road down the hill to the river, with the sites arranged on either side of the property facing inward (if that makes any sense to you). In other words, we pulled into the middle of the campground, backed into our site so that the front end of Louie was facing the front end of the unit across from us with a nice open area between us. There were all types of rigs, all types of dogs, and all types of people. We got there around 11 and took the 2:30 boat tour into the 1000 Islands which is a 2 hour tour with alot of history of the conflicts between Canada & the US over the dividing line between the 2 countries, history of the Indians of the area, and history of the different mansions and hotels on the islands over the years.

The young man doing the narrating was very good, and had obviously lived in the area all his life. He had a wealth of knowledge and a good line to keep everyone's interest, in spite of a huge storm building to the north. He talked about sitting on his dock and watching the storms over the river, and sitting in the sunshine while the storms raced across to the north. There was quite a bit of lightning, but we really couldn't hear the thunder as the wind was blowing from south to north.

We made our way out to the farthest point of the trip, turned around, and noticed that the wind had changed; then we noticed the thunder and the lightning becoming stronger. Before long it had started to rain lightly, and we lowered all the windows on the boat to keep dry. In another 5 minutes, we were right smack in the middle of a tremendous thunderstorm, complete with lightning that seemed to strike right next to us followed by horrendous thunder, hail, and eventually rain so hard that we could not see where we were going. You have to remember that we are in the 1000 Islands, that means there are land masses all around and now we can't see any of them - in fact we can't see 10 feet in front of us. The captain of the boat was great. He let the young man do all the talking which he did with great care so no one got too panicked while he (the captain) very carefully manuevered the boat so that we stayed in one place and didn't drift off onto the rocks. It lasted at least 10 minutes before we were able to see again, and the saving grace was that it was not windy. Aside from a little girl and an older woman who were both terrified, we all seemed to come through it okay without any real panic attacks. But the main reason for that was the lack of wind where we were.

When we got back to town, the power was out so we just got in the car and headed back to the campground. As we drove we noticed alot of leaves down, then alot of branches, and then huge trees which had already been cut up to get them off the road. When we got back to the campground, we found out that a "microburst" had come through the local area including the campground and just how fortunate we had been. For one, if those winds had hit us out on the water I have little doubt we would have all been swimming to shore. Secondly, where Louie was parked, our awning faced away from the water. Those on the other side of the campground had their awning facing the river, and many of those awnings were destroyed. There were leaves, branches, chairs, garbage, sun shades and other camping paraphenalia scattered everywhere. Someone had come by and let our awning down a little which probably protected it somewhat even though the wind was blowing in the other direction. It was midnight before we got our power back, so we ended up doing some dry camping without planning on it.

There was a trailer parked across from us that suffered quite a bit of damage, and they had 2 boxers that we had been warned to keep an eye on. Those boxers were in the unit during the storm and the owners did not come back til about 8 that night. We felt badly for the dogs (who had chewed through one end of the unit) but no one was willing to let them out as they had displayed some aggression towards other dogs before we got there. They seemed to be fine once the owners returned, and the next day they got their revenge. Again they were left alone for quite a while inside (there was air conditioning), when the people camping next door noticed water pouring out of the unit. The dogs had somehow managed to turn on a faucet inside the unit. The neighbors turned the water off outside but again could not do anything inside because of the dogs. When the owners came home, they found the rugs and bedding totally soaked. I don't think their vacation was the highlight of their year, and I'm not sure if those dogs will get to spend another vacation with them.

The next couple of days we toured around, driving over to Alexandria Bay which is the real tourist center of the area, and out to Cape Vincent where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario. We actually made a tee time for golf but woke up that day to rain beating on the roof, so spent that day doing laundry and catching up on paperwork.

It was really an exciting couple of days, and it was amazing to see how much everyone pitched in to help out when that storm went through the campground. A number of the people there have permanent units and have been coming there for years, so they really dug in and helped the owners get things cleaned up. When we had checked in and filled out the paperwork the owners were thrilled to see we were from Ponce Inlet, as they are bikers who spend 1-2 months every winter in the Daytona area, and Ponce Inlet is one of their favorite spots. We may have some company next year...

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