Exploring with George
Day 2 of our trip to Ottawa testing out George. Thursday, August 31, 2023.
Sodus Bay, New York to Thousand Islands, Ontario, Canada
We woke up to a chilly start to our morning! We had heated up George last evening by running our oven, so much so that our smoke alarm went off during the cooking of our chicken pot pies! Luckily we have a fantastic fan in our bathroom, which we ran to get the smoke alarm to turn off. But I digress….the morning was quite cool at 14C, so we bundled up with our sweatshirts on to walk over to the very clean bathrooms with showers, which were opposite where we were camping.
Packing up camp at South Shore RV Park.
We quickly packed up camp which is definitely different with a small couple’s travel trailer, than it is with a class A motorhome. It seems so easy now, and so much simpler from what we were used to with Newman. In fact we didn’t even unhook the Sante Fe last evening. Unhooking the water hose and winding it up; unplugging the 35 amp cord from the post and George and winding that up and then flushing the black and grey tanks took literally 10 minutes. Next we collected the chocks for the tires and wound up the jack stands manually collecting the jack blocks. Richard had to connect the anti -sway bars back on the hitch between the Sante Fe and George because we cannot back up with those two bars connected. We looked around and within about 20 minutes we were ready to roll!
As we exited South Shore RV park we noticed that across the street from the RV park was “Youngman Orchards Farm Market”. Had we known last night the market was across the street, we might have walked over and taken a look. Definitely good information for another trip!
We were too early to go golfing and we wanted to visit Sodus Point and see the lighthouse which was only a 3 minute drive from our South Shore RV Park. We also found a gas station in Sodus Point to fill up the Sante Fe with the cheapest gas we had seen at $3.79, since we had left Buffalo.
Sodus Point was such a charming place. In a way because the town is built around a bay, it reminded us of Deep Bay on Vancouver Island.
Some of the homes along the dead end road were absolutely stunning! What amazing sunsets they must get!
I had read that there was a Sodus Point Beach Park, with a lighthouse, so after driving down Grieg Street in Sodus Point and seeing ‘Captain Jack’s Goodtime Tavern’ and the ‘Tiki Bar’, we headed around the bay, through the residential cottage neighbourhood to Sodus Point Beach Park.
Richard is very mindful of not wanting to back up with George, because he has to take off the sway bars, so we found a huge parking lot at Sodus Point Beach Park, to park and walk around.
Photograph taken by Richard! Sodus Outer Lighthouse.
Lake Ontario was roaring with the wind blowing in off the Lake. I decided to walk out the long boardwalk to the lighthouse before there were any people blocking my view, with my Fuji XT4 camera. I’ve missed my daily dose of photography which we had on the World Cruise and it is nice to be re-united with my camera, taking photos!
Sodus Outer Lighthouse is a lighthouse built at the end of the western of the two piers defining the channel from Lake Ontario, into Sodus Bay. Established in 1858 the original wood tower was replaced in 1938 with the current cast iron structure and the light was converted from kerosene to electricity. The lighthouse is 49 feet high and is a square, pyramidal tower. The focal height of the lens is 51 feet and has a 10 nautical mile range.. Sodus Bay is the largest natural harbour on Lake Ontario at 6 miles long and 3 miles wide. Native Americans called the shimmering bay ‘Assorodus’ which means Silvery Waters. The first settlers arrived in the area in 1792. Lumber and grain had originally been important commodities for Sodus Bay, with coal later becoming the primary cargo shipped from the port. In 1940, more than 1 million tons of coal were shipped from Sodus Point Harbour. The coal industry thrived until the late 1960’s. The lighthouse is on the National Register of Historical Places.
Since nothing was open yet in sleepy Sodus Point we decided to head to Sodus Bay Heights Golf club a bit early, which was only a 5 minute drive down the road. Our tee time was not until 12:20pm, but we thought there might be a chance we could get out early. Ideally, we would have preferred to play in the morning, but morning times were reserved for members, with public play available after 12 noon.
Sodus Bay Heights Golf Club
In the last blog, I left you hanging on why we were visiting the Sodus area of New York, so let me finally tell you why we were here.
As most of you know I am an avid golfer and I play golf in Buffalo as well as in Western New York through the Womens Buffalo District Golf Association as well as the Womens Golf Association of Western New York. Until I retired, and until after Covid, I never really played too many Western New York events give the distance I would have to drive to attend these events and also because I was burning limited vacation days to go and play golf. Last year was really the first year that I was able to play most of the golf dates from both of these Associations. While playing at Oakhill Country Club in 2022 (home of the 2023 PGA Championship), I met some ladies that played out of clubs in Rochester and they also mentioned that they had memberships at Sodus Bay Heights. Interesting. I got curious about what this Sodus Bay Heights golf club was all about, given these ladies were also very, very good golfers!
Before we entered the pro shop to check in for our golf we saw the sign on the wall which showed that the golf course had been established in 1924. Wow! Next year would be the centennial year for Sodus Bay Heights Golf Club! Many of the golf clubs that we enjoy playing seem to all be nearing their centennial year or have recently celebrated their centennial. Our course in Fort Erie, namely Bridgewater Country Club, which was designed by Stanley Thompson, will be celebrating its centennial in 2027.
A very interesting piece of Sodus Bay Height’s golf club’s history is that legendary golf course designer Robert Trent Jones as a teenager, was the very first golf professional at Sodus Bay Heights Golf Club. Robert Trent Jones did not design the Sodus Bay Heights Golf Club, and the original architect is still unknown to this day! The golf course started as a 9 hole golf course and in 1969 was expanded to 18 holes by Geoffrey S. Cornish a golf course architect from Amherst, Mass. Cornish also designed Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston, N.Y. where the annual legendary amateur tournament “The Porter Cup” is held.
First tee at Sodus Bay Heights Golf Club
We were so excited to be playing on such a legendary, old golf course today….until the pro approached us and asked us if we minded being paired up with two ‘10 pack’ members named Dennis and Judy. Now normally we don’t mind playing with anyone, but we had a tight schedule today with having to drive through New York State, to cross over the border in Thousand Islands, and we certainly did not need a 5 hour round of golf to slow us down.
We introduced ourselves and Dennis and Judy seemed very nice at 76 years of age and celebrating their 53rd wedding anniversary at their nearby cottage. I had decided to play the gold tees with Richard at 5600 yards and Dennis joined us on those tees. His wife Judy played from the forward red tees and unfortunately I could tell from those first swings we were going to be in for a long day with her 40 yard drive which dribbled towards the first fairway!
1st hole at Sodus Bay Heights Golf Club. A long par 4.
I made par on the first hole, but the greens at Sodus Bay Heights were like lightening! Yikes! Something to watch out for as we played the rest of our round.
Sodus Bay Heights was a very good test of golf!
18th green at Sodus Bay Height Golf Club with the view of Sodus Bay in the background.
Dennis was very good about showing us around the golf course, but the fact that Judy was less than a beginner golfer, really slowed us down. Our round lasted for almost 5 hours! We loved the golf course though and would really like to go back to play another day without Dennis and Judy. I think we will put this spot on our list for places to visit next year with George when we can stay in one place, golf and explore perhaps over an extra long weekend.
We had parked George and the Sante Fe in a grassy field belonging to the golf club, behind the maintenance shed, so after we had loaded up with our golf clubs and shoes, I punched Ivy Lea campground in Thousand Islands into the GPS. Our GPS said we would be arriving at 7:30pm to the campground, which was definitely a lot later than we had originally planned to arrive, given our 5 hour round of golf.
Our drive was pretty uneventful through country roads with lots of apple orchards in New York on the way to the Canada/USA border. When we got to the border, we started looking for the Nexus lane and unfortunately there was no Nexus lane! We ended up spending the better part of an hour at the border in line only to end up in a “NO RV’s” lane and unable to move over to the RV lane because of the bad traffic! Richard apologized to the border guard and he was fine with us being in the wrong lane.
Ivy Lea campground was very close to the border which was great, but by now we were driving in the dark to the campground. Once we got our spot allocated to us we had to navigate a dark road to our campsite, with no lights to be able to see where we were actually going to be parking George.
Richard was none too happy to be setting up at Ivy Lea campground in the darkness. And to top it off there was no sewer hook up at our campsite, and the campsite was not level! We knew that it would be a short one night stay, so we made the most of it and had a very late dinner, and then went to bed.
We really enjoyed playing such a historic old golf course and seeing the Sodus Bay area in the short amount of time we had today for wandering around. Given the close proximity to Fort Erie, I could see us going back to the area in the future and playing some of the golf courses near Rochester as well as Sodus Bay Heights Golf Club once again. I’m glad we had the chance to golf today and hopefully the rest of our trip is on a more relaxing pace than today’s adventure, but we are enjoying the lifestyle and freedom with George, so this trip is proving to us that we can enjoy sleeping in our own comfortable bed and eating our own food, having our own toilet with us, while being able to travel in a lot small rig than we were used to.