Voices from the Road

A family RV road trip through New York state—from Manhattan to Lake Placid

One of the best purchases we made as a family was our new-to-us Itasca Windcruiser Class A RV. There isn’t a seating position that does not have a great view of the road. Our last adventure took place in May for Mother’s Day weekend. We set off from home on a Friday—on what would become one of the most breathtaking camping road trips we have been on so far.

The first part of our adventure was navigating out of New York City. There are a lot of roads and highways that RVs cannot drive on. For us, that means we have to drive almost in a circle just to leave the city. One bonus is the amazing views of the Manhattan skyline. We had plenty of time to view the city since traffic was, as always, bumper-to-bumper.

Then we drove north through New York state on I-87. The mountains were full of green trees as far as the eye could see. My 4-year-old son loved seeing all the construction trucks and commercial truck dealers along the way. After pointing them out, he would sing a song about the vehicle he just saw. Who needs a radio? As we traveled farther north, the scenery changed from vehicles to farms and animals. Just like with the trucks, my son sang a song about the animals.

The last leg of the trip was on state roads traveling north through the Giant and Dix Mountain Wilderness areas. This was the part my wife and I loved the most. Driving alongside streams and rivers, and through small towns where we checked out the little shops, we made mental notes of all the places we would visit next time.

Roller coaster of emotions

The final leg of the drive was up a very steep hill. I gave the RV a pep talk and with my foot to the floor—going around 25 mph—we made it! It was like being on a roller coaster going up to the top. At the top, there was a sign that said, “Shift into lower gear.” Just like a roller coaster, the drop was just as intense as the climb—my son loved it! My wife, the RV, and I, however, were all just praying we’d make it. When we did, the reward was the Lake Placid / Whiteface Mountain KOA, and the Ausable River.

The campground seemed to go on forever. The staff was friendly, and our site was nice. We had a lot of trails to walk and areas for my son to play. The bonus feature was the hike we took to the Ausable River. When we arrived at the river, we stopped to relax and listen to the sound of the rapids hitting the rocks. Another day, we took a different trail and saw some small falls on the river. We again relaxed and took in all the sounds of the river and the surrounding nature. My son loved throwing rocks and hearing them splash. 

Though that sign was for safety purposes, I also took it as a great piece of advice: If you mentally shift into a lower gear, slow down, and enjoy everything around you, you may be surprised by how much you previously didn’t see and all the new things to discover. Maybe my son will sing a great song about it.

Meet the Roadtripper

Daniel Ruiz