First trip with the van: a weekend in the Adirondacks

Shortly after we bought our VW camper van, we decided to take our very first trip in the van and kind of break it in a little.  We packed up and headed into the world not knowing what to expect but hoping for the best.  Nothing is more exciting than a road trip with no destination and no plans – just time and the open road in front of you!

I have to say that we didn’t eat the healthiest on this trip, we left after work on Thursday, June 30, and did a quick stop at the grocery store for some emergency supplies.  On the list: chips, pop, cheese, salami, crackers. Not  your best start to our trip, but the visit to the liquor store topped things up quite nicely. 🙂

We stayed the night at a campground not far into the U.S., and started off fresh in the morning with absolutely no idea where we were going and what we would do when we got there.  One thing we noticed was no one is selling maps anymore – everywhere we stopped for a map of New York State didn’t have any! Apparently with the advent of google maps, no one feels the need to print maps anymore, which is too bad because when you don’t know where you’re going, google maps is virtually useless.

We made a trip down to Syracuse, and naturally stopped at the original site of the  Dinosaur Barbecue, the best gluten-free ribs to be had anywhere.  Some ribs, a drink and their famous fries and we were fueled up to head off for the only place we could think of to visit that was anywhere near Syracuse, the Adirondack Mountains.

Neither of us had been to the Adirondacks, and weren’t sure what to expect, but what we found was some of the best vistas to be had anywhere.  Winding mountain roads, picturesque little towns that dot the landscape…it was a traveler’s paradise.

We had a little trouble finding a campground the first night, and eventually located a tiny campground, tucked away in the bush.  We set up our camper and only later found out the campground was basically only populated by families who have been gathering for the July long weekend for years, and the site of an annual pig roast.  It was a little loud that night as the reunion got going, but the serenity the next morning while everyone was sleeping off their hangover was amazing.

The next day we traveled deeper into the Adirondacks, stopping for lunch at a sleepy town near Lake Placid.  When we got to Lake Placid there were no campsites to be found anywhere – there was some kind of equestrian event going on and everything was booked up. The streets were packed!

We spent the night with our first stealth camping experience, parked in a parking lot that was surrounded by vehicles when we pulled in late that night, but virtually empty when we woke up the next morning. Not the most restful sleep we’ve ever had, but better than no sleep at all.

In all it was a great first trip and we managed to work out some of the kinks of the van, like getting it level when setting up camp, and that moment when all you have to do is pop the top and the camp is set up, and then you look at each other and think now what? We were used to the time it takes to pitch a tent and transfer everything from the vehicle to the tent.  With the VW, all you do is park, turn the ignition off and pop the top and you’re done.  A little anticlimactic but I guess we’ll get used to it.



3 thoughts on “First trip with the van: a weekend in the Adirondacks

  1. Oh how we can relate to your words of “Nothing is more exciting than a road trip with no destination and no plans – just time and the open road in front of you!”. It is so freeing and exhilarating isn’t it. We are familiar with your Adirondack road experience. I grew up in Tupper Lake, NY and we now frequently visit in our camper van. There are sooooo many wonderful spots in that region. If you ever head back there let us know and we’ll suggest some great spots to camp and experience the flora and fauna of that region.


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