Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Back at the cabin

We hung around Ives Run until the last minute and then hit the road.  US 15 was the road of choice today since it is a direct shot to the cabin.  We've traveled this road for many years and each time they have added new sections and it is 4 lane divided highway until you get near to Williamsport, PA.  There is a long section of construction south of there and the road narrows down to one lane.  Factor in the low speed limits and it slows you down quite a lot.  After a few miles it goes back to 4 lanes again, but travels through a few towns with a lot of traffic lights.

Lake Hammond Dam

Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, PA
The alternative to taking this round would have been I-81 out of Binghampton, NY and all the one lane constructions area on it.  There were 10 mile backups around Scranton, PA and numerous other places where southbound was down to one lane.  I-81 is a heavily traveled road with a lot of trucks and one lane sections cause long delays.

Grant said his goodbys to his new found buddies and returned his two small crawdads to the creek and let them grow up.  

Next to this group was a lady from New York and we gave her our plastic bottles that were worth 5 cents each since they have a deposit on them.  Then the lady wanted to talk to Gerry about the motorhome and fulltiming.  She is a tweener as they say.  Taking care of elderly parents and also young grandchildren.  She really wants to get on the road but can't.  I feel sorry for her.  One day the parents will be gone and the grandkids off living their lives and they will be too old to hit the road.

I filled up the motorhome at a local Rutters station at $3.75/gallon with the 4 cent discount card.  Even then, it was a breathtaking sight to see over $300 on the diesel pump.  This will last us until we head west around the end of September, so we can recover by then.

We have a couple more places to take Grant while he is with us.  Gettysburg Battlefield is high on his list of places to visit and since we are 18 miles from the battlefield, there will be time to see it before his dad arrives on Saturday.  They are scheduled to leave on Monday or Tuesday and we will miss him.  We do plan on a week long visit in North Carolina once we head west, so we don't have to wait until next year.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Out of Gas.

I know that may sound strange since we have a diesel engine in the motorhome, but in this case it refers to our old bodies.  We finally hit the wall after 22 days of driving, sightseeing, walking and all those good things.

There is a family of campers across from us with 8-9 kids in their group.  It's a case where each of the children gets to bring a friend and also some cousins thrown in for good measure.  They have a 38ft 5th wheel and two tents to take care of the crowd.  Yesterday Grant started playing with a couple of the kids and now they are best buddies.  He found some crawdads in the creek, played ball, rode bikes and had a blast.  I am sure he will be ready for bed early this evening and sleep like a log.

We took advantage of his being occupied and got some things done around the motorhome.  Gerry bought a towel holder while we were in Red Bay at Tiffin and I promised to install it.  She has gently reminded me of this fairly often and since it is about the end of Grant's time in the motorhome, it was finally the time to tackle the job.  You would think this would be a 10 minute job, but you would be wrong.  It wound up taking about an hour to do the job due to the walls being thin in the bathroom.  At least it is finished.

Then she reminded me to clean the screens on the fantastic fans.  Now that is a job that I can do fairly quickly, but slowed it down so she wouldn't keep adding jobs to the list.  It's worked so far.

We had a nice fire last night and burned all of our firewood we've been carrying around for the last three weeks.  It wasn't cured enough and was hard to start again, but we finally had a good enough fire to cook marshmallows.  They were good and we all had our fill of them before the fire died down.  

The lady with all the children came over with three portions of pie iron for us.  We had just finished our homemade chili and they hit the spot.  For those who don't know what pie iron sandwiches are, here is what I know about it.  Get a roaring fire, two pieces of bread, some cheese, ham or whatever filling you want, some butter on the outside of the bread and drop them on the hot iron skillet in the fire.  Try it, you will like it.

Here are some pictures taken from overlooks and also the airplane ride.  It is a beautiful part of Pennsylvania and one of our favorite campgrounds on the East Coast.

Misty Morning

It's hard to believe that we've been on the road with Grant for 22 days now, except that we are bone tired.  I had laid out an agressive travel plan and we almost hit everything on the list.  Now we have something to look forward to for the next trip with him.

That's it for now folks.  Hope you all had as nice of a day we did.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ives Run COE, Hammond Lake, Tioga PA

It was moving day and we took our time getting out of the Camp Bell CG since we didn't want to arrive too early at our next stop, Ives Run COE.  It was only 31 miles down the road and with Sunday traffic, it was a breeze.  Since it was so close, we didn't bother to hook up the car to the motorhome and Gerry drove the car and Grant accompained her.

We woke up to this view out of our side window this morning.

Not only was his awning about a foot from our slide out, but they moved their table over a couple feet so they would have more room.  This was a tiny trailer without any slideouts and they had a lot of room on the other side, but they wanted to be up close and personal with us.  Since we were leaving, it wasn't a problem, but if it would have been long term I would have said something.  There doesn't seem to be a lot of campground etiquette anymore.

We left that campsite and moved to Ives Run COE CG in Tioga, PA and this is what our site looks like here.

Not only is it larger, but also cheaper with the Golden Age card that gives us 50% off in Federal campgrounds.  It is a full hookup site with 50amp electric on the lake for $17 a night.  You can't beat that with a stick.

Aerial view of campground.

A neighbor across the street said there was a huge family reunion held at the park the past couple days and there were over 100 children in attendance.  We just left a park where they had two family reunions going on, but they weren't that large.  

We treated ourselves to some fried catfish tonight at the Florida Fryed Chicken restaurant.  The meal was pretty good and we managed to almost fill up on the food.  Gerry has sharp eyes and noticed they sold ice cream in another part of the building and we finished the meal with ice cream cones.

Decisions, decisions.  What to order.

Grant with his French Vanilla cone.

My Black Cherry cone.

Gerry with her Swiss chocolate almond cone.
 It wasn't a Dairy Queen, but it helped bridge the gap until we can find one up here.   Yes, it was great ice cream and went down easily.

That's what we did today.  What did you do?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Plane ride & Lunch

Our good friends John & Pat who we met in the Florida Keys 12 years ago live in the Corning, NY area and I contacted them last night about getting together while we were here.  It worked out best for them to meet today for lunch in the town of Painted Post at a nice Italian restaurant.  We haven't seen them for a couple years since we go to Tucson for the winter and they have a place in Central Florida for the winter, so it was good connecting with them again.

We had a nice lunch and got caught up on events in their lives since we last saw them and filled them in on what has been going on with us.  John built a scaled down P-51 airplane from a kit a number of years ago and keeps it at a local airport.  

Grant in the cockpit of the P-51
He also has another airplane but it was in Ohio at the present time with his son.  We got to talking about airplanes and he asked if we wanted to go for a ride in a friend's plane and Grant's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree light.  That said it all and John arranged to get his friend's plane and off we went to the airport.

Gerry & Grant preparing to board the plane.

After a long preflight check of the plane Grant and Gerry were ready to fly off into the wide blue yonder.  Or in this case, the cloud filled yonder.  The picture below is of the airfield as they lifted off the runway.  If you blow up the picture you will see Pat & me sitting on a bench outside of the building on the right.  I am wearing the "red shirt" as Henry says.

They took a 35 minute flight around the Corning area and flew over our campground, John & Pat's house, our next campsite and the Corning Glass company from where John retired.

Our motorhome to the right of the pool.  The big MH
 A little way into the flight, Grant took over the controls and flew the plane for a while.  John drew the line at letting him land the plane.  Good move on John's part.  Guess what Grant wants to be when he gets older.

 While they were in the air, a restored 1927 bi-plane landed due to bad weather ahead.  The pilot was heading for the airshow at Oshkosh, WI and had to land early due to storms rolling into his flight plan.  He landed the plane and then was going to call a taxi and spend the night at a local hotel.

After the flight, we all adjourned to our motorhome so they could see it.  They have a Winnebago RV so they wanted to see the differences in the units.  We sat around and chatted or an hour or so and then went to their home for a further visit.  5 hours later and one huge pizza devoured saw us heading back to the motorhome.

We had a great visit with them and wish they lived closer so we could see them more often.  John worked in IT like I did and Pat is a crafty lady like Gerry is.  She showed Gerry her beautiful quilts she has made and also examples on her new hobby, wood carving.  She has some beautiful and interesting carvings she's made recently and they are wonderfully done.  I wish I had a talent like that, but just like music and arts, I have no talent for it.

As Forrest Gump said, "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get".  That's how it is traveling in a motorhome and seeing all the sights and people out there.

As an aside note, when we brought them to the motorhome, I didn't stop completely at a stop sign in the park and the park patrolman jumped in his golf cart and followed us to the site and told Gerry that was twice I didn't stop and I'd better obey the rules.  The bad part was that I didn't even see the stop sign and was just slowing down from the 5mph speed limit to check around the corner for kids.  Now that I know about the stop sign, I stopped for 10 seconds on the way home tonight and the patrolman got up from his easy chair to check on me.  It's as bad as having a HOA association with all the rules.  At least they don't cite me for having weeds on my site in the flower beds nearby.  My FSILINC knows what the above comment is all about.  I hate HOAs and the petty people who govern them.

That was our day, how was yours?


Friday, July 26, 2013

Bully for you & Hammondsport, NY

We decided to go to Hammondsport today to check out the village.  It is a quaint town and the downtown area is really neat to visit.  Gerry and Grant got out of the car and walked down the main street and checked out all the shops.  It seems a lot of "junk" we threw away years ago are now antiques and quite valuable. Why is that always the case with stuff we get rid of and the stuff we keep is worthless?

Gerry, Larry Jr and I toured Hammondsport around 1978 and I took a picture of the Train Depot.  I think the train had stopped running by then, but it still looked like a train depot.  Now they have converted it into a police station and city offices.  The depot is right by Lake Keuka which is one of the "finger lakes" in New York.  There are a number of marinas near the depot and a small park.  We also took our oldest grandson Ryan to Bully Hill & Cooperstown back in 1996 on one of his trips with us into this part of the country.

2013 photo

1996 photo

We drove around town looking for some geocaches and found two of them.  It was too busy to check for others since there were muggles around.  Then we drove along the lake shore and were amazed by all the homes built right on the lake.  It really is a popular destination and there were some beautiful homes in the area.

Our primary destination by this time was Bully Hill Winery located just north of Hammondsport along a country road.  We decided to do a little wine tasting and Grant was able to down some grape juice made by the winery.  Real grape juice, not wine.

Grant tasting the grape juice.

Twin matching shirts today almost.
 We tried 5 different wines in this room and didn't find one that we both liked that much.  It was $5 for each of to taste the wines and we kept the glass with their logo on it.  The room to the right of Gerry is another wine tasting area that was $1 a glass (not full), but you could select the wine you wanted.  Gerry tried two more and finally said that was enough.  We bought a couple bottles for later consumption.

They give a short tour of the facilities and it was interesting, but there wasn't anything going on since it wasn't the time for harvesting or bottling the wine.  Bully Hill produces over a million gallons of  wine a year and is available in 30 different states.

After the tour we had dinner on their nice veranda with a view of the lake.  Across the lake were some nice homes and the area was very picturesque.  The food was good, but the prices were quite high for what you got.  A small pizza with 8 small squares was $12.95.  It really was small, but tasty.  If you are ever in the area I would advise you to eat dinner elsewhere.  JMHO

By this time it was getting late and we headed back to the campground via Bath, NY.  There was a rock band playing in the city park and they were loud and animated.  We stopped at an ice cream stand and picked up three small cones.  For a minute we thought we were in Texas where everything is bigger.  Our eyes were opened wide. They were huge and almost too much to eat, but we managed to finish them off.

The campground is full now and there are two family reunions going on along with the regulars who spend the summer here.  It is very crowded to say the least and lots of fires going full blast.  It looks like the place is burning down, but with the a/c on it's not a problem.

We did have an interesting ride to Hammondsport today due to the GPS taking us the fastest way there.  We wound up out in the country on dirt, gravel and asphalt roads that had very steep hills and lots of curves.  I thought for a while that the GPS had malfunctioned, but it brought us to our destination.  I am glad we weren't driving the motorhome or that would have been a mess.

That was it for today.  What did you all do interesting?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Moving Day & hose repair

We developed a leak in a hose running from the engine to the coolant holding tank on Sunday out in the middle of nowhere.  Really out in the middle of nowhere.  We lost the coolant in the tank and the engine began to run very hot and the shutoff beeper began to chirp at us.  I immediately pulled into the entrance of a closed rest area and got far off the interstate.  

We had fresh water in the holding tank and it took about 4 gallons to refill the tank and cool down the engine.  I was careful the rest of the way to our next stop (150 miles) and watched the temp guage quite often.  By the time we pulled into the KOA the coolant level was quite low again, but no beeping.  Since it was Sunday and the Cummins dealer was closed, we just parked and went about our touring and sightseeing.

Monday I called Cummins in Albany (60 miles back up the road) and made an appointment to have them check it out on Thursday morning.  They had an electric hookup so we headed back there this afternoon and checked in.  I determined that there was a pin hole leak in a hose and it was spraying on the hot engine, so nothing dropped to the ground.  When I explained what the problem was, the service guy said he would try to get us in today.  Well, he was true to his word and the repairs were made and we were on our way.

We are camped along a river in Bainbridge, NY at a Passport America campground.  Great price, but not so great of a campground.  Narrow road and difficult to get into sites.  Plus, the electric and water post is in the front of the coach and the sewer hookup is in the back.  Different, but doable since I have a 25ft long 30amp extension cable and the site has 30amp service.  It's very cool outside so we don't need a/c and the clothes are all washed, so it will work fine for us.

The weather forecast for tonight is a low of 48 degrees.  May have to pull out the long johns if it gets that cold.  Brrrrr!

Nothing much exciting or interesting to blog about today, but that is how it is sometimes when you are traveling.  Now to make sure the river doesn't rise and we will be in good shape.

That was our not so exciting day, how was yours? 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY

We decided yesterday to take a day off and go to the Baseball Hall Of Fame (BHOF)  today.  It rained hard all night and into the early morning so we thought our decision may have been a bad one, but we thought we'd be indoors most of the time, so off we went.  It turned out to be a beautiful day and didn't rain again during our visit.

It was a nice drive down Rt 80 to Cooperstown and we bordered Lake Otsego most of the way.  There were a number of beautiful homes, golf courses and huge old hotels along the way to keep up our interest.  This tower was built circa 1876 for Edward S. Clark, who made his fortune on the Singer Sewing Machine Company and vacationed in Cooperstown. It was built"to beautify the lake" and "to provide construction jobs during an economic downturn"

The KOA manager told us about the trolley that had stops all over the town and was at a reasonable price.  Since we had some geocaches to check out in the area, I elected to drive downtown and take a chance on finding a place to park.  We lucked out and parked in a space right in front of the BHOF.  Great!

I took a picture of two guys with their camera and then had them snap a picture of us at the entrance to the BHOF.  

Grant wanted to see pictures, statues, etc of Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente and Babe Ruth.  Right in the entrance to the museum were three statues and Robinson & Clemente were two of the three honored players.

Grant's favorite baseball team is the Pittsburgh Pirates and he was fortunate enough to find two Pirates jerseys to wear for a picture.  I remember one of the jerseys, but the other was before my time.  He looks goods as a Pirate.

I don't think blue baseball shoes were popular during the era when this jersey was popular.  On the subject of jerseys, a Roberto Clemente jersey was on sale for $100.  Ouch!  It was a nice jersey and I remember seeing Clemente play any number of times and he truly deserves to be in the BHOF.

We toured the hall where all the inductees had their plaques and checked them all.  It was an impressive group of players and the display of the plaques looked great.  They go back to the first group to be inducted in 1936 and are through 2012.  The first group of inductees were super stars long before super stars became diluted by illegal drugs and the dilution of the baseball leagues.  They played 10 fewer games a year and posted numbers that are hard to believe.

The 5 original members were:
Christy Matheson
Honus Wagner
Walter Johnson - won 414 games as a pitcher
Ty Cobb = hard nosed player and fantastic player
Babe Ruth = best baseball player of all time

The lifesize statues of Babe Ruth and Ted Williams are very close to the plaques of the 1936 group.  Ted Williams was the greatest player I have seen play at a ballpark and I always marveled at how great of a hitter he was.  He once said batting isn't difficult, all you have to do is watch which way the ball is spinning to see what it is going to do.  I could hardly see the ball coming in, let alone see which way it was spinning.  Babe Ruth is on the left and Ted Williams in on the right.

There were hundreds more exhibits, photos, old uniforms, bats, stories and too much to even mention in a blog.  We took over 140 photos and decided that might be overkill for a blog.  The BHOF is a fantastic sight to see and this is our third visit and we've enjoyed it each time.  As Henry says, place it on your Bucket List if you are a baseball fan.  One exhibit Grant checked out was this old view finder with baseball player photos.  Sort of like the old time peep shows I heard about when I was younger.  Maybe some of you guys remember them. 

The Doubleday Stadium is behind the museum about two blocks away and it a neat field.  Abner Doubleday has appeared in four different places on this trip, Antietam Battlefield, Williamsport fortifications, West Point and now here at the BHOF.  He sure got around a lot.

By this time, even Grant was tired out and hungry.  We stopped for dinner in Cooperstown and then headed back to the campground.  We all agreed it was a great day and well worth the visit.

The sun was setting by the time we got back to the motorhome and Gerry captured this picture to end the day.

Grant was invited over to the neighbors campsite for s'mores and joined them for 30 minutes or so.  They had 12 yr & 16 yr old daughters and seemed very nice.  By this time he was worn out and came back to the motorhome and was ready for a glass of milk and bed.  We are heading that way soon. too.

That was our day, how was yours?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Richfield Springs, NY KOA

Gerry and I rarely stay at  KOA campgrounds since they are universally overpriced for what you get.  When I checked for a campground near Cooperstown, NY the choices were very slim for a nice spot for a reasonable price.  They have a very short time period up here to make any money on a campground and they make the most of it while they can.  Can't blame them for that, but it does get expensive in a hurry.  We lucked into this full hookup space with a nice pool for $46 a night.   We have shade trees and a nice picnic table on the large site and easy access.  

The owner is really friendly and helpful and makes you feel like he really appreciates our business.  I would recommend staying at the Cooperstown KOA which is near Richfield Springs, NY.  It is located just off of US 20 about 16 miles north of Cooperstown.

We have been on the go so much the last week or so that it was decided this would be a take it easy kind of day so we could recharge our batteries.  Take it easy as in doing laundry and grocery shopping, but not sightseeing.

Grant and I went down to the town of  Richfield Springs to the local supermarket to take on some much needed provisions.  Milk being the most important since Grant goes through a gallon every other day.  That is fine with us, since it means he isn't drinking coke or sweet drinks all the time.  They give him a lot of energy. 

I took advantage of the slow day to download a few geocaches in the area and we picked up three of them.  The first cache was about 1/4 mile down the road from the campground and attached to someone's mail box post.  I assume they are the owners of the cache or very understanding people.

Right across the road there was a beautiful horse in a corral and when Grant went over to see it up close and personal, the horse got even closer to Grant than was expected.  It was a peaceful horse and quite gentle so there wasn't any danger to Grant, but look how close the horse came to him.  Grant said the horse made little noises and it sounded like it was whispering to him.  Maybe Grant has a future as a horse whisperer.

 We managed to find three caches and also located two more that were in the middle of huge poison ivy/oak patches.  The two were left for winter days when the ivy is long gone but by then we will be back in warmer weather.  We also picked up another travel bug that we will drop off somewhere down the road.

We had planned on making a fire, but it began to rain before we could even get the wood out to start it.  Hot dogs on a stick cooked over the fire were to be the main entree for dinner.  So much for that idea.  Plan B came into effect and the George Foreman grill was brought to the rescue and a can of chili heated to spread over the dogs.  Side dishes and homemade rice pudding capped off the meal.  The chili is talking back to me at this moment, so I guess this would be a good time to sign off.

Cooperstown, NY to the baseball Hall Of Fame is on tap for Tuesday.  Hope we have nice weather and the crowds are small.

One side observation.  US 20 is an older road running east/west, but is in good condition.  It has a number of 8-11% grades of about a mile long or so since it runs across the mountains.  It seems that all the towns are at the bottom of the grades and have a stoplight, then you have to start from a dead start to get back up the grade ahead.  I guess the towns were laid out along running water in the old days and that is why they are along bottom land.  Made sense 200 years ago, but is quite a pain driving the road in a motorhome now.

That was our exciting day, how was yours?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Vermont, Ferry Boat Ride & Otter Creek Brewery

As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, there was too much to write about for one day and I'm adding the second segment today

After the Ft Ticonderoga trip, we took the ferry boat across Lake Champlain to Vermont. It started out as a two fold trip with geocaching and having another state for Grant to add to his list.  We lucked out and the ferry was waiting for us and we boarded without difficulty.  Grant didn't know I had planned this and was pleasantly surprised to be going on his first ferry boat ride.  It was nice seeing the big smile on his face.  I thought the sign to his right was very appropriate and I don't mean the No Smoking sign.

It had been sprinkling on and off during the time spent at Ft Ticonderoga and rained a little harder as we crossed the lake on the ferry boat.  The engine tender was next to us and Gerry got this picture through the rain drops.

Shortly after we exited the ferry boat we stopped and searched for a geocache in Vermont.  

Plaque next to geocache

We had intended to just pick up a few geocaches, but changed that and drove to Middlebury, VT and checked it out.  What a beautiful small town with a thriving main street and a Middlebury College located there to boot.  We stopped for a late lunch at the Two Brothers bar & restaurant and had a great meal.  Well worth going back there for another meal when/if we are in the area.

I asked the waitress if she knew where the Otter Creek Brewering Co was located.  Sure she said, about 2 miles from us.  We took our grandson Ryan there way back in 1996 and stopped by the brewery then and took the tour.  They don't give tours anymore, but do serve a lunch menu and a number of fantastic brews.  We tried the 6 glass sampler and liked all of them and had a hard time picking one to buy.  Each sampler glass was 4 oz and with the 16 oz glass we had for lunch, it was almost too much for us.  We made it back safely, so I guess it was ok.

Grant at the bar.  Sorry Jane, the devil made me do it.
We bought a 64 oz growler of Mountain Ale to take back to the motorhome for later.  It is 7.4% beer and pack a punch, but is very smooth and tasty.  I wish they sold it down by the cabin.  Grant spoke up and asked if he could have the empty bottle and that was fine with us.


We had to beat a hasty return to take the ferry back to New York before they closed it down at 7pm.  If you miss the ferry, then it would be a ride of 75 miles out of your way.  We managed to pick up a few caches in Ticonderoga, NY after we got back.  Now I can add VT & NY as states we have found caches in.  Poco a Poco.

By the time we returned to the motorhome all of us were wiped out and didn't bother with dinner.  We did have a muffin as a dessert and then called it a night.  

We went on to Cooperstown, NY area on Sunday and will be touring there on Monday.  Should be fun.  We are staying at a KOA about 16 miles north of Cooperstown since the campground nearer have bad reviews.  The KOA is great and has a pool.  That is all Grant looks for in a campground.  Maybe a few cute girls, but he doesn't talk about that with his grandparents.

Tired out, but we did have a great day.  How was yours?