After a quick stay with family as we finalized the details of our venture into full-timing, we finally embarked on our multi-year journey across the country. Mike and I met in upstate New York, so we thought it would be cool to start our adventure at the beginning. Even though I lived there for 4 years, I had never seen the area near the Finger Lakes so we pick the beautiful, and often talked about, Watkins Glen State Park as our next destination.
During our time with family, we talk about getting our Kia set up so it could be towed. Nobody in the local area seemed capable of figuring out if it could be done let alone had the ability of figuring which was the proper base plate and what other parts we needed to get our car set up. There was no way we were buying a new car. So we simply decided to take off—each in a separate vehicle.
Cue the sirens!
I was driving the car. Mike was driving the rig. We were heading down the highway and had just passed into New York state on 15N. Since I was taking the lead, was paying close attention to my speed. I didn’t want Mike to feel he had to push the RV. Suddenly, this highway patrol officer flips on his lights and siren and cuts between Mike and I—which wasn’t a ton of space—and proceeds to pull me over for speeding.
Naturally, this confused me. Like I said, I was paying attention! The cop then tells me I was doing 81 (which isn’t even possible because the Kia can barely handle 75 without getting shaky.) He writes me a ticket. I grumble and try to explain to him what happened, but to no avail.
I was pissed!
This was not how I wanted to start my life on the road and the last thing I needed was the possibility of losing my license to a ticketing scam. To make matters worse, the speed he claimed I was going was 16mph over the limit—a.k.a reckless driving. In New York state, that means that I needed to either hire representation or show up to the courthouse myself—on a date yet to be determined. Ugh!
$500, a traffic lawyer, and about 8 months later…
We resolved the issue and it worked out be no more than parking violation. Annoying but, little did I know, it was simply our first real-world lesson in full-time RV life… just because you chose to live in an RV does not mean that you are on vacation.RV Life Lesson: Roll with the punches. Learn. Carefully crop your memories later.Click To Tweet
We rolled into Watkins Glen a few hours later.
In an effort to take my mind off of things, Mike insisted we go out of a quick hike around the gorge. I was in a really bad mood at this point and spiralling into anxiety, but his offer (bribe) that we’ll take lots and lots of pictures eventually won me over.
The natural beauty of Watkins Glen centers around the waterfalls created by Glen Creek. Over the centuries, the creek has carved a 400ft gorge into the terrain, carving out waterfalls in gorgeous tiers of all sizes. The state park has created several trails and stone bridges along the gorge that let you hike down and into the ravine. You can walk along side, over, and in some cases under many of the waterfalls.
Because the trail is so narrow, it’s very difficult to get photos that don’t include a ton of other people. It would have been better to go during an off-peak hour if we wanted to take a lot of photos. What did we know? Taking lots of photos is hard not to do too. Every few feet there are even more interesting rock formations and smaller waterfalls along the trail.
Ironically, less than a minute before I took this shot, Mike was commenting in how people around us were spending too much time struggling to take pictures on their phones instead of appreciating the beauty.
As you can see, I have a thing for natural-ish stone steps that wind around cliff sides. There are supposedly over 800 stone steps that make up the trails along the gorge. It’s not difficult to hike these trails, but it’s a good idea to wear shoes with good traction. Many of the sections are wet from the spray of the waterfalls. Even though I was wearing my running shoes, they were no match for the water on rock action. I did end up slipping around a little bit.
What about the campground?
The Watkins Glen State Park campground is very popular, so we couldn’t stay long. I regret that didn’t plan ahead. But, if you love waterfalls, this is one of those romantic places to spend a few weeks. There are only three trails in the state park itself, but if you venture out into the surrounding areas you’re right at the foot of the Finger Lakes and Seneca Valley wine country and there is no shortage to things to do.
My husband knows me all too well. The hike around the gorge and all of the beautiful waterfalls did wonders to cheer up my mood and (at least temporarily) take my mind off that stupid cop and his obvious quota. Mike even made me dinner that night once we got back to the campground. What a guy!