Beechwood State Park. Ever hear of it? Maybe if you were a Girl Scout long ago. Or maybe if you’re a Sodus area resident, you may have wandered in after hearing from friends.
Or, maybe you’re a cyclist who has ridden out Lake Road countless times and finally decided to go check out this tiny pocket of damn near wilderness pine forest. That was me back in April when I took a ride to the east and discovered a GEM of a campground. Beechwood State Park, long ago abandoned by the Girl Scouts and handed over to NYS, is managed by the Town of Sodus and the “super” (Sal V.) overseeing the property lives practically on-site.
Wanting to get more “under-the-stars” time, I cajoled a gang of friends to join me for a bike-overnight out to Beechwood … roughly a flat 40 spin from our place.
Dave and Todd arrive at our place …
… and together with Karen, we four head to Steve’s where we pick up Steve, Joe and Andy.
And off we go! Taking frequently used and familiar roads out to Wayne County, we dipped briefly into Williamson to grab some lunch. Joe suggested a short detour off-route to the village park “behind the school” … across the grass. So I promptly steered us wrong down a driveway into a cemetery … with grass … thinking I found the spot.
But no … the park is waaaaay over there! Down the road, up a hill … through the grass. We get to the ball fields, and find picnic tables, water, porta-pot and shade. Cool!
Exiting the park, we head right out a driveway. Did we see the driveway beforehand? No. Would we have used it if we had? Likely not. Joe wanted to share an adventure and we all cooperated, of course.
Back on route, we meander down Old Ridge Road and into Sodus where we stopped to gather supplies for the evening. Subs, drinks, and ice. Uh, ice? Yup. Figuring a cold drink at camp is worth a little extra effort, I had selected my Surly Long Haul Trucker to be the bike for this trip, partly because it’s too easy toss a set of panniers on, but also because that’s the bike that pulls my Bob trailer. I found that a mid-sized Coleman cooler fits perfectly on the deck of the Bob.
We loaded 3 bags of ice, cold drinks and sandwiches into the cooler and off we went … slowly at first. It took me a few miles to adapt and “smooth out” the huge handling differences of the bike after loading up the cooler, but it became manageable in short order. The trick really turned out to be simply relaxing MORE, letting the bike find it’s line, and supply only essential steering input. The snake-like motion of starting out quickly settles into an easy cruise if you don’t hammer it. The extra weight makes crossing busy highways a real adventure, but otherwise, it’s quite fun rolling a bike down the road that FEELS like an 18-wheeler. Yeah, I know … only a rabid bike-geek would find that “fun”. Guilty!
We arrived at the park …
… and took little time to decide on where to pitch tents.
Perfect! Nice wide open grassy area on a short bluff overlooking Lake Ontario and a fire ring in the middle of it. Best Part? Soft ground that you can drive a tent stake in with NO effort at all. It doesn’t take long before we start settling in. Tents go up …
… food explodes from panniers …
… and we enjoy some quiet time awaiting the advancing sundown.
Some of the gang did a little exploring of the park earlier, and found the detritus of the days when this was a Girl Scout camp.
And yes ... these lean-tos ARE available for camping.
The pool needs work though.
And, then we have a stunning Sundown!
Time for a campfire …
A beautiful night’s sleep (speaking for myself … I was exhausted), and we’re up the next day headed for breakfast! Joe suggested we try Nick’s on Old Ridge Road and that was a winner! I got my corned beef hash benedict and way too much coffee.
Must have been the coffee, or maybe the lightened load on the trailer (all fluids had been disposed of), but I was feeling my oats in the morning.
But maybe it was the candy! We stopped in Williamson to check out the Candy Kitchen and I scored some cashew-chocolate things. (Can't wait to get home and ...)
On the way back west toward home, we started splitting up for our respective homes. But Todd, who parked overnight at our place, willingly followed Karen on a special reward detour:
Netzin’s Ice Cream.
That's How We Roll!