Travels with Dad

—-This is a story of a complex relationship with my father, Al, who I came to love and understand after he was diagnosed with dementia.—-

Our family vacations were never more complicated than camping.  Actually, camping can be very complicated, especially with 5 kids and a dog.  Maybe “not expensive” is a better way to describe it.  My fondest childhood memories are from our summers camping at Rustic Roost Campsite on Lake Abenaki in Indian Lake, NY.   We had an Army tent that slept 7 people and a dog.  The tent stayed up all summer.   We were known as “Tent City” by our 5th wheel and pop-up camper neighbors.


Rustic Roost Post Card — Before the road to camp was paved.

Since camping is in our family’s blood, my mother continued this activity with Al in to the later years…but with a little help.

My brother Paul had an RV.  Mom decided she wanted to take it to the Florida Keys.  So they hit the road with my brother Matthew, my sister Mary, the dog, and of course, Al.  They were gone for about 3 weeks, and had a wonderful time.  Al LOVED it because he was on the go.  He loved life best when he was going anywhere.


On the Keys.
Matthew, Mary, Mom and Dad

Another trip was much closer to home.  This trip was to the Adirondacks.  My brother Paul, Brian and I were camping on an Island near a State campsite.  Paul drove Mom and Dad up in the RV to the State site, and then he joined us on the island.  The waterways were connected, so each day, we boated to the RV site, picked up Mom and Dad, and brought them to the island.  We put a life jacket on Al, and never took it off him.  He didn’t mind.  He was happy to be camping.


Another trip wasn’t standard camping, but camping on a river.  My mother rented a house boat and traveled the waterways for a week from Lake Champlain to Troy, NY, with brother Paul as the Captain, and brother Vincent as a crew member.  Al loved this trip too.

How lucky he was to have such a brave and adventurous wife.


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10 Responses to Camping

  1. maria wulf says:

    Sweet, they never stopped living.

  2. I have some vintage photos of my grandparents camping on Abenaki. I think it was one of their favorite lakes, and they camped on them all. I think it’s great that everyone kept Al fully engaged in their activities. Kudos to your family.

  3. mafarckle says:

    Diane, that is so neat that your parents had such wonderful times together.  Love, Ma


  4. Kristen says:

    What beautiful stories to share! I fan across your blog while searching for Rustic Roost…that my grandparents campsite and I have been looking into it lately to see if I can find those who shared it.

  5. Diane Fiore says:

    Thanks for visiting my Blog, Kristen. Who are your grandparents? We camped there for 12 years…I may know them. You can email me at if you would like.

  6. Ann says:

    Wow! Your Mom is amazing! Your whole family is. You are blessed.

  7. Diane Fiore says:

    Yes, Ann. It was a group effort, for sure, with my mother at the helm.

  8. Cassie says:

    My family used to camp at Rustic Roost during the 1970’s……our site was on the pointe.

  9. Diane Fiore says:

    Cassie, We camped there throughout the 1970’s. We were site number 6. Were you number 7? What is your family’s name? If you’d like, you can email me at

    They were great times! Thanks for visiting. Diane

  10. Cassie says:

    I’m not sure what the number of our site was….it was tight on the water, you could see it from the causeway. The last name is Rudiger. My parents were Ray and Tommie. We (my 2 sisters, brother and I ) stayed with my mom at the site from Memorial Day to Labor Day. My dad was a cop on Long Island and traveled back and forth. They were great times!!

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