Association Island KOA: The Calm Before the Storm

We have been at Association Island KOA in upstate New York on Lake Ontario since the beginning of May.  While I had the best intentions of keeping you updated on our time here, it simply did not work out.

But, I do plan on the next few weeks trying to get you caught up.  I wanted to spend the time on this post to show you what a unique place Association Island is and why we have really enjoyed our season here.

The Calm

Association Island is basically owned by mother nature.  The animals, the western winds and the high waves off of Lake Ontario simply tolerate us and our quest to camp on the island.   We live here surrounded by water and beauty.

Lots and lots of water.

Due to the fact that Lake Ontario is the lowest of the Great Lakes, it gets the winter runoff from all of the other lakes.  Combined with the dam located right before the city of Montreal which protects that city from floods, we ended up with water at least 2 feet higher than normal for most of our season here.

Super high waters, rains and winds contributed to flooding on the island throughout the early season.  Our site in the center of the island quickly became a waterfront site.  It was a full time job protecting the island from the water as best as we could and moving campers to higher ground when necessary.

Getting ready for the busy season was made that much harder.

Animals rule the island here.  Seagulls, geese, ducks,  beavers, chipmunks, muskrats, deer, mink, even coyotes!   We found ourselves rescuing the smallest victims of the flood when we had the opportunity.

There are bugs.  Yes, campers, there are bugs here.  The May Flies greeted us upon arrival in droves of thousands, coating the side of our coach.  Turns out that May flies don’t realize that it is no longer May and while the numbers have decreased, they still fly about our faces on less windy days.

We call them September Flies now.

The May Flies are about the size of gnats and fortunately, they do not bite.  They are also the main food source of the huge fish that live in Lake Ontario and the reason that fishing is such a popular sport here.   Yes, Salmon, Carp, Walleye, Trout and these huge Muskie are readily available here.

Come June, the spiders ventured out.  Seems that they enjoy feasting on the May Flies.  Thousands of them.  Each morning, we would have to clean all the webs off of our golf cart before heading to work.

June and July on the island brought flowers and finally leaves on the trees.  Such a late start for summer, but there is nothing wrong with a long spring.

Mapping Turtles appeared also in June and come to shore to lay their eggs.  This one we named Myrtle.  Fertile Myrtle as she spent many days behind our neighbor’s coach laying eggs.

The Storm

Our jobs this season included the usual front desk and maintenance, along with working the pizza kitchen.  Dave and I handled the first restaurant service the island has had in over 7 years.  We cooked pizza and delivered it to the campsites with our starting weekend falling on the July 4 holiday.

July 4 is one of the busiest weekends of the year and all 300 camp sites were booked.

We managed pretty well the first day, and then on July 4, the power went out.  The campground is an entity in itself.  The power is brought in on underground lines, the water is brought in from the lake, treated to become drinking water and then ultimately sent to the sewer plant (all island based).

The power outage on the 4th not only shut down all power to all 300 people, but also the water plant and sewer plant.  Chaos ensued.  It was not a great weekend for those of us that had to try and handle angry campers.

There are hiccups of course as with any job.  The power outage was grueling.  (A tough thing to handle when you have hundreds of people yelling at you over something we had absolutely no control over).

Then, around the beginning of August, the general manager and his wife decided to move on.  Luckily, one of the locals stepped in to take over until end of season.  But there was a bit of nervousness on our end and our coworkers as to whether our contracts would be honored for the rest of the season.

Through it all, we still enjoyed what the island had to offer.  Nature has a calming force.  Our absolute favorite thing to do in the evening when we get off work is sit in front of our coach, enjoying an evening wine slushie, while Dave smokes a cigar as we watch the sunset.

With all the chaos of the season and the busy atmosphere, sitting and watching that sunset and enjoying the nature around us will be one of the main things we miss when we leave association island.

We will be hitting the road on Oct 14 and heading south for the winter.  From there we are not sure what next season will bring, but that is what the journey is about.

Stay tuned and over the next few weeks, I will fill you in on some things not to miss if you are ever in upstate New York!


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6 thoughts on “Association Island KOA: The Calm Before the Storm”

  1. Wow you two are brave heroes. Sounds like you should title your book The good, the bad and the beautiful. I’m sure you’ll have enough to write a book when you two are done Suzy.
    xxXX Grambo

    1. Yes, definitely! While things don’t always go as we think they should, things generally happen for a reason. We have loved our adventure in New York! Thanks for following along!

    1. Hi Pam! It is so nice to hear from you! Hope you are doing well. I think of you and all my friends at Printpack often! I am trying to be more diligent on updating this website. Take care of yourself and stay in touch.

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