I have this friend named Alex. He is (no joke) one of the coolest people on the planet. The more I get to know him, the more I realize it’s true. He’s been wanting to go camping for the past few weeks and I suggested Lake Erie. It’s not far, it’s gotta be beautiful, and we’ve both never been there. Last Thursday we decided it was a good idea and left Friday night around 6:30. It was bound to be a good trip. We’re both photographers, we both love people, we laugh a lot. Bound to be good!
We started our journey and got to Presque Isle on Lake Erie just a few minutes before the sunset dropped below the horizon. Presque Isle is a peninsula that goes 6 miles out into the lake. It’s the coolest and so beautiful! The sky was so clear and has been for days. Not normal for western PA. On the drive out, we were really excited to use a flying drone Alex has to get some epic video! Arriving in the parking lot, we started getting our gear out but couldn’t find the drone batteries anywhere. There was a lot of stuff in the car so maybe they got misplaced. Then I had this gut-wrenching memory of placing them on the roof of the car while we were packing up to leave…not good. Haha not good!! Yes.. they were on the roof and yes, we lost them. It was a devastating moment for about 8 seconds, but heckkkk no it wasn’t going to mess up our weekend. Though it really sucks! it turned into something we laughed about for the next two days.
We strolled on the beach with a minute to spare as the sun dropped in the water. We met a wonderful woman named Monica who inspired us with her travels. Our plan was to camp on the beach, but the locals said it was a bad idea and we’ll get caught. We were determined but eventually agreed it wasn’t a good idea. There was a campground...but there were sooo many people with it being Friday and the first nice weekend to camp, it wasn't too appealing.
We didn’t do too much planning for this trip, which wasn’t a bad thing. We were hoping for an adventure and that’s what we got! But we did need a place to sleep and we were thinking we could do better than the car. Or a Walmart parking lot…though that was our plan it seemed for hours. We messaged friends in the area, we talked to some locals, we got a couch surfing profile hoping to crash at someones place nearby, all sorts of things to find a place to stay...Walmart was looking pretty good.
About 11:00 or so, we came up with a great idea. We decided to go to the nicest hotels in the area and tell them our plans fell through and see if we could get a cheap last minute room. We agreed that $30 each would be our budget. After all, we were hoping to camp on the beach for free! So we went, 3 hotels deep...denied! We came to our 4th, which we were planning on skipping because it was by far the nicest, it was late and we had no luck with the last 3..but we went! Homewood Suites was it's name. It had these big white pillars for an entrance, a second floor balcony and a super nice pool and hot tub and dining area up front. We walked in to meet our new friend Sarah! She was the coolest. We talked for probably 45 minutes about traveling and photography and how she lived in New Zealand for a year. It was awesome! She was determined to help us find a place to stay considering our situation and budget, and that the rooms in her hotel were $200 a night! She dropped her price down significantly but we stayed true to our budget! She called 10 different hotels in the area trying to help us out and gave it her all. We decided Walmart it is! But we really appreciated all her help! And last minute she says, "F it! 60 bucks!" Alex and I were pretty floored. She insisted Walmart was no option. Haha we were pumped!! So kind!
At this point Alex and I haven't eaten dinner. It was midnight. We bought some groceries and a little portable throw-away grill earlier in the night, and asked if it would be ok if we grilled and cooked some food outside. We were trying to have at least a little camping experience. Haha. And she says, "oh, you guys have a kitchen in your room!" And not only a kitchen, but a full fridge, dishwasher, living room, kind size bed room...We laughed. It was great! We spent the night in our suite, ate our free breakfast in the morning and took a quick dip in the hot tub before we left. We were off to the Lake!
We spent almost the whole day on the beach. We filmed some and took pictures and enjoyed the sun. There was joy my friends, we laughed so much!
The sun came down and we used our little grill to cook up dinner. It was the best!
That night we ended up finding out that there was camping on the beach just on the other side of the road from where we saw originally. It was confusing honestly, but it worked out! We ended up sleeping on the beach after all. We were a little rusty putting up the tent but we managed.
We had a goodnight sleep and woke up to beautiful calm Erie. The end had come and we packed up to head out. Alex had a friend not far so we stopped to have breakfast and made our way back to Grove City. It was funny, trips like these, you expect a 12 hour drive back, but it was only an hour! Not the last time we'll visit Lake Erie!