Dirtbag Dad and the Ski Truck Camper

I don’t want to overstate things. I’m not currently a dirtbag or a nomad of any kind. I’m the absolute picture of the suburban middle aged, middle class dad. You don’t have to follow me on Instagram to see where I’ll be this week, living my best life, influencing my followers, #vanlife-ing all over the mountain states.

raw materials for ski truck camper

When I was young I did spend some time working outdoors in Alaska and at a couple ski resorts for a while and I did it all without buying a plane ticket. Back when # was still the pound sign, living in a van for extended periods I was, at best, an eccentric free spirit and at worst a homeless degenerate. I was a dirtbag and I seized the day.

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Esopus Island Paddle

I’ve had the idea of kayaking around Esopus Island stuck in my head all summer. I first became aware of it when I was perusing a map, looking for new spots to paddle. It sits in the Hudson River, near Hyde Park, very close to easy launch spots on either side of the river, at Mills Norrie State Park and Esopus Meadows Preserve.

I read up on the history of the place. The number of articles online surprised me a little. I found all the normal historical stuff typical of the Hudson Valley. It was presumed to be used by the Lenape Indians before white settlement of the area. The British anchored their fleet there before attacking Kingston during the Revolutionary War. Called Pell Island, it was part of a large estate owned by a wealthy guy named Pell.

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Nyack Beach State Park

Nyack Beach State Park was one of my earliest discoveries when I moved to Rockland County twenty years ago. It is situated on the western shore of the Hudson River, nestled between the water and steep wooded slopes and cliffs.

walking the dog at Nyack Beach State Park

To the south, in Upper Nyack, the river’s shore is lined with expensive homes with boathouses, some owned by celebrities, and a series of marinas. Rockland Lake State Park touches the northwest borders of Nyack Beach on top of the cliffs.

It’s not really a beach. There is a sandy part south of the parking area but you’re not supposed to swim there. And the park isn’t protected in any way. You’re on the northwest corner of the Tappan Zee and you have all the tidal currents and winds that are common to the area. Not a good place to swim.

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