Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Ohio - Warren


On August 31, 2018 we headed to Warren, OH and ten days with family. This time we did not stay in our RV so no campground information. We stayed with Linda, Nancy's sister and our RV got a rest on the Lyda Farm. Kathy Lyda, our nieces mother-in-law let us park our RV there.

Becky ~ Linda ~ Frankie ~ Nancy
It was so nice to have a relaxing time together. Usually when we are with family it is for a few days and during some event where we are all busy. We got to just relax and enjoy each others company. Hanging out with Becky, Jeff and their boys Luke and Grant is always fun. Plus, our great-niece Frankie came to visit with her two boys Preston and Keegan. Fun was had by all.
Becky ~ Frankie

Preston ~ Luke ~ Grant ~ Keegan 

We did do a little sight-seeing while here.
Linda joined us on a couple of our trips. We found the Pennsylvania, Peter "Wolf" Toth Indian carving at a rest stop on I-80 just across the state line. This one does not have a name, the plaque dedicates it to the Seneca Indians. He was carved from an Elm tree in 1973, the 6th carving on the "Trail of Whispering Giants". He stands 7-feet tall.
On this same outing we found Big Foot outside a garden center in Hermitage, PA.

In Niles, OH is a 20-foot tall sculpted Steelworker at the entrance to the Niles Iron and Metal Company.

The artist, Sydney Rackoff created the piece when he was 74-years old. 

It's a good thing Sharon, PA is so close to Warren, OH because we had to go there twice to get a picture of the Giant Chocolate Turtle and other chocolate creations at Daffin's Candies.

The 400-pound turtle is just one of the items in the Chocolate Kingdom.  Our first trip there was on Labor Day and the store was closed. So, we went back the next day and wandered the town, finding other roadsides.

It was surprising how much art there is in this little town. That is due in part to the Random Acts of Artists Inc (RAA). It is a non-profit group of artists in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.

A wonderful mural at the end of a shopping center. So much going on in the picture

The Art Walkway from a parking lot to the main road is filled with portraits and funky chairs.

There are also metal and bronze sculptures around town. We found two Knights and their trusty steeds.

There is a Music section in case you want to dance a little.

The Shanango River is lined with fire buckets that are used during the WaterFire Festival, held three times a year.

Outside the library are "Book Poles", each one designed to represent an author or book. More information can be found in the link above for the RAA. The Giant Coffee Cup is a beacon to a new coffee shop opening soon.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park has been on our bucket list for many years and every time we planned to go something always came up that interfered. We finally made it! But, like on other attempts a number of the trails were closed, many washed out from the heavy rains.
The Cuyahoga River twists and turns for 90-miles, if it flowed straight it would cover only 30-miles. The parks 33,000-acres lines 22-miles of the river. Preservation of the valley started in the 1960's and it became a National Recreation Area in 1974 and a National Park in 2000.
Due to the closed trails we decided to take the train so we could at least see some of the park. The trains first arrived in the valley in 1880, changing the landscape and lives of those who lived and traveled here.

We started our journey at the Peninsula Depot, which has a gift shop and snack bar. Heading north we stopped at the Canal Exploration Center. It was a short walk on a paved trail to the museum.

In the mid-1800's, the Gleason family ran a tavern and general store in this building. It was a rest stop at Lock 38 for those traveling the Ohio & Erie Canal. The history of the canal which opened in 1827 is told through many exhibits.
From the building of it, to traveling it and the impact it had on the surrounding area. It helped to develop many towns and businesses as product was shipped south and west from here.

Lock 38 is one of the few restored, working locks left along the canal. State engineers designed 44-locks to deal with the 395-foot rise in elevation from Cleveland to Akron. Heavy wooden gates enclosed the boat sized chamber, with the water being raised and lowered manually as needed.

From that stop we headed back south to the Botzum Station in Akron. We passed many bridges along the way, both walking and auto bridges.

The train travels under both I-271 and the turnpike I-80. You know Nancy loves to get pictures from under bridges, thinking maybe she was an engineer in a past life!

L: Beaver Marsh ~~~~ R: Indigo Lake
Along the way we saw the river, swamps and some rapids. Plus, Indigo Lake and Beaver Marsh. The area where Beaver Marsh is was actually destined to be a parking lot. But, Mother Nature and the Beavers had other plans. The area was cleared and prepped for the lot but the beavers kept damming up the water and it would flood the site, so after a couple of attempts the construction was stopped and the beavers had a new home.

So we got just a little taste of the park which means we will have to go back again at some point. With 125-miles of biking and hiking trails to explore we can't wait.

While it was sad saying good-bye we were pretty excited to head to Michigan next and time with Katrina and Steve along with other family and friends.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Keeping things above board
Or at least off the ground! Our water hoses are usually sprawled out on the ground. This not only looks messy, it can be messy. They can be laying in puddles, mud or long grass. Les found a solution to this. We have two hooks on the side of our RV to hold an exhaust pipe when using the generator. Les twisted one end of a wire coat hanger (we "borrowed" it from Katrina and Steve) through one of the hooks and the other end around the hoses. This keeps them neat and clean up off the ground.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

New York ~ Last Two Stops ~ Bath and Falconer


August 20, 2018 we moved to Bath, NY for a four night stop. We are gonna miss these mountain and valley views as we head closer to the Midwest.

Jellystone Park of the Finger Lakes is where we stayed. A well maintained, pretty campground with 100 sites, cabins and tent camping.

We were in Site 99 a gravel pull through with full hook-ups. The patch of grass was a little wider than normal and we had a fire ring and picnic table. The WiFi was spotty. We paid $25.00 a night with our Passport America discount.

The view of the lake of was quite relaxing. They have a pool, playground and lots of activities for families. There are some walking trails through the woods. We had only one day of no rain to explore, but Nancy and Mielikki made the most of it. The trail took us across the lake from our campsite (yellow arrow) and past a small waterfall. Mielikki wasn't too thrilled having to pose with Yogi, but she managed.
The full moon was beautiful over the lake.

Just outside of Bath in Avoca, NY we found the Caboose Motel, which of course made us think of our son-in-law Steve. You can sleep in your own train car, they do have a regular motel as well and it is all for sale if anyone is interested.

We made a stop in Corning, NY, home of Corningware, and the Corning Museum of Glass, (bottom picture). They offer tours, demonstrations and glass making workshops.

There were a few Roadside Oddities, as well as a very cool Trompe-l'oeil painted wall. The bricks and lettering look so real, but it is just a flat wall.

The Clock Tower was built in memory of Erastus Corning, by his descendants in 1883. The town of Corning was named after him. He was a prominent businessman and politician.

The Little Joe Tower  is a monument to Corning's technological innovation. It was built in 1912, representing a giant step forward in thermometer tubing production technology. By using a process called "Vertical Draw", hot glass was pulled up 196-feet by cable, creating a continuous tube. It was then cooled and cut to the length needed.
Today, thermometer tubing is done by a "Horizontal Draw" method, so Little Joe is no longer in use for glass making, but makes a nice historical piece.
The image of "Little Joe" at the top of the tower was taken from a sketch made by an itinerant painter who visited a glass factory in Pittsburgh.
The symbol has undergone a series of graphic modifications and today is a Corning trademark.

Next to the tower is a beautiful bronze sculpture of a Glass Blower.

South of Corning is Elmira, NY, which is the final resting place of Mark Twain. Samuel Clemons, aka Mark Twain, summered here for more than 20 years. His wife Olivia Langdon was from this area. They had a house at Quarry Farms that overlooked the Chemung Valley and river that is said to have been an inspiration in his writings.

Twain died in 1910 and the family plot in the Woodlawn Cemetery includes a memorial to Olivia, who passed away overseas. The additional graves are their children and the Langdon family.
We saw the Twain home when we visited Hartford, CT back in June.
Death is the starlit strip between the companionship of yesterday and the reunion of tomorrow. Mark Twain

Unfortunately there were not any races being held at Watkins Glen International while we were in the area but we did get to see it and snap a few pictures.

There are Waterfalls everywhere.
L: Aunt Sarah's Falls ~~~~~ R: She-qua-ga Falls
The Village of Montour Falls is appropriately named as they have two large roadside waterfalls. The name "Montour" comes from Queen Catherine Montour, a prominent Native American woman of Seneca Indian heritage who lived at the village site in the 18th century. The Aunt Sarah's Falls are on the side of Route 14. The falls are well over several hundred feet tall from the top of the gorge, but the top 2/3rds is not visible. The lower 90-feet are visible from the road. It free falls for the first third of the way, then fans out over a shale slope for the next third of the way and then free falls again.
The "She-qua-ga" waterfall is 165-feet tall and right in town. The word means "Tumbling Waters". There is a sketch of the falls in the Louvre, made around 1820 by Louis Philippe, who was later the King of France.

The Ithaca Falls, in Ithaca, NY are just a short walk from the road. The falls are 150-feet tall with a width of 175-feet. They are at the end of a small park that is in the process of being rebuilt. The trees along the river have amazing root systems. The tunnel in the bottom right picture is what is left of this areas industrial past. This was once the site of many mills and factories. In 1828 a stone dam was built just above the falls to direct water to the mills. From 1880 to 1987 the Ihaca Gun Company's factory was just south of the falls. In the late 1990's testing of the soil found high level's of lead from shotgun testing. A major lead clean-up effort took place from 2002-2004, with additional soil being removed as late as 2015. The factory was destroyed and luxury apartments are planned for the site. Not sure that is where we would want to live!

The Taughannock Falls are in the state park named for them. The park is on Cayuga Lake and offers hiking, camping, boating and swimming. The falls drop a dramatic 215-feet into a wooded gorge.
There is a trail that takes you to the base of the falls, but once again Nancy's back issues prevented us from doing that. But you have a beautiful view from the overlook at the Visitor Center.


Our last stop in New York started on August 24, 2018. We stayed at the Top-A-Rise Campground. Appropriately named as it sits on top of a hill and offers some great views of the farmlands in the valley.

We had two different sites during our week stay. The first two nights were in a grassy pull through with water and electric hook-ups. The sites are narrow, this one is right next to the playground. Second site was a gravel pull through with full hook-ups. Both sites had a picnic table and fire ring.
L: first site ~~~ R: second site 
The park is well maintained. The majority of sites are permanent campers, with the park being open from May to October. The WiFi and our Verizon signal were okay. The laundry room and bathrooms were clean. We paid $32.00 a night with a combination of our Passport America discount and their weekly rate.

The New York, Peter "Wolf" Toth Indian carving is in Dunkirk, NY. This was the 7th carving on the "Trail of Whispering Giants". His name is Ong-Gwe-Ohn-Weh. Carved in 1973 from an Elm tree, he stands 10-feet tall.

While searching out the Indian carving we came across the Dunkirk Lighthouse.
Located on Lake Erie, the first lighthouse was built in 1827. In 1857 it was refitted with a 3rd-order Fresnel lens and lantern, which has a light range of 27-miles. That light is still used today in the current 61-foot lighthouse built from 1875-1876,
At that time the Victorian keepers house was also built. Bricks from the original keepers house formed the foundation for the new house. The square tower was built around the old tower so it would be more compatible with the keeper's house.
There is a lot of history here besides the lighthouse. The first shot of the 1812 War was fired near the west bank of the lighthouse. During WWII twelve active Coast Guard personnel were stationed here along with the lighthouse keeper. The waters of Lake Erie off Dunkirk have been the site of several notable shipwrecks.
As we traveled south on Hwy 5 we found the Barcelona Lighthouse in Westfield, NY. It is also known as the Portland Harbor Light and overlooks the Barcelona Harbor on Lake Erie. The lighthouse was built in 1829. The conical tower and attached keeper's cottage were constructed of fieldstone. The light came from eleven lamps with 14-inch reflectors. It was the first lighthouse in the world to be powered by natural gas. The gas was brought in from about a mile away through wooden pipes. The lighthouse was deactivated in 1859, and was privately owned for over 100-years. Today it is owned by the New York State Office of Parks and Rec.

Also in Westfield, NY we found a statue of President Lincoln and 12-year old, Grace Beddell. While campaigning for office Lincoln received a letter from Grace that advised him to let his whiskers grow, as it would improve his personal appearance. In the letter she said "all the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be president." Lincoln vised Westfield and Grace received a kiss and a thank you from him.

Just outside of Westfield we came across this really cool garage - now Nancy wants a garage so she can paint it like this!

Portland, NY has a bronze statue of Brad Anderson and his beloved dog Marmaduke.
Anderson was born in Jamestown, NY and created the comic strip Marmaduke in 1954 and continued to draw it until his death at age 91 in 2015. The statue was created by sculptor Don Sottile, who met with Anderson to design the sculpture. Anderson wanted it to be playful with Marmaduke interrupting his work. 

 Scary Lucy ~ Artist Dave Poulin  ~ 2009

Lucille Ball was born in Jamestown, NY and grew up in Celoron, NY. She lived in many places as a child including Wynadotte, MI for a short time. Both Jamestown and Celoron have memorials to her. In Celoron there are two statues, "Scary Lucy" and "Lovely Lucy", as they are called by the locals. The first one was hated so much by everyone in town, they petitioned to have it removed and have another one created. They got their second wish, both statues are in the Lucille Ball Memorial Park. You can tell which one they hated - it really doesn't even look like her.
Lovely Lucy is so much better!
Lovely Lucy ~ Artist Carolyn Palmer ~ 2016

In Jamestown, NY there are murals as well as a museum. The mural of Lucy, Desi, Ethel and Fred is claimed to be the World's Largest I Love Lucy Mural. The image is from an episode from the show titled "California, Here we Come". 
The museum not only holds memorabilia from Lucy's life but other comedians as well and they host a comedy show here.

The Lakeview Cemetery in Jamestown is where she is laid to rest. There are hearts painted on the road that lead you to the Ball family plot. The sidewalk leading up to her tombstone also has a heart on it.

One days adventure took us into Pennsylvania to see the Kinzua Dam and Kinzua Bridge State Park.
They are just outside of Warren, PA.

The Kinzua Dam was built from 1960 -1965. It is on the Allegheny River and at 1,877-feet long and 179-feet at it's highest it is one of the largest dams east of the Mississippi River.

The 339-acre Kinzua Bridge State Park is home to a 600-foot pedestrian walkway. It was made from what is left of what was once the longest and tallest railroad structure. The railway was 2,053-feet long and 301-feet high. It was partially destroyed by a tornado in 2003. You can walk out on the skywalk and also view the area from two overlooks.
Views through the freestanding binoculars at the overlooks

Construction of the viaduct started in 1881 and was completed in just 94 days! This was accomplished by masons building 110 stone piers that marked the footprint across the valley. Workers slid ready-made Phoenix Columns down troughs to the valley floor. Using assembled parts, ironworkers started the climb. Workers on the ground used a three-legged pulley system called a gin pole to lift up the iron parts. Skilled workers perched atop the towers operated a wooden crane to help build the next tower. This process was repeated until the viaduct was complete. Due to the high winds in the valley, trains could only travel at 5-miles an hour across the viaduct.
As bigger locomotives and longer trains came into use these tracks needed to be sturdier. So 18-years later the iron structure was dismantled and rebuilt with steel latticework. It was quite a task. It took up to 150 men, working 10-hour shifts to complete the job in 105 days. Workers manned two 180-foot movable platforms called travelers. They were anchored at each end of the viaduct. Workers on the platforms reconstructed one tower and then moved to the next. When the teams met in the middle, the job was done.
Freight traffic stopped in 1959 and the area became a state park in 1970. From 1987 to 2002 passenger trains traveled these tracks. In June of 2002 inspections determined the structure need repairs and it was closed to all traffic including foot traffic. Repairs began in February 2003 but on July 21, 2003 an F1 tornado, with wind speeds of 73-112 miles per hour, struck the side of the viaduct. Eleven towers from the center of the bridge were torn from their concrete bases and thrown to the valley floor, where they lay today.
The viaduct was taller than the statue of liberty -
you can build your own track!
The Visitor Center is laid out very nicely. They have wonderful displays, many of them interactive that take you through the entire process of building the viaduct. There are also video screens that tell how various products were made around the same time as the viaduct. A train runs along a track behind the TV screens and once the train stops the video on the screen starts to play.

As you can all imagine Nancy was not thrilled with walking out to the end of the skywalk. In fact she stopped about a quarter of the way and went back to solid ground. Once again her stubornness paid off and she forced herself to go all the way. Les did have to take all the pictures as there was no way she was going close to the edge!

You do have quite the view of the surrounding valley, the river and the destruction left from the tornado.

Of course there is a glass floor - who came up with this idea? Les and Mielikki were very brave and stood on it. Nancy got her feet to the edge of it while sitting down!

She did like it much better under the platform and enjoyed taking pictures there.
 The park is free and the skywalk and overlooks are handicap accessible.

Once back on solid ground we enjoyed a snack from the Little Sister's Big Rig food truck. Fried corn on the cob and a hot dog.

The best part of this stop was spending a day with Trish and Carolyn. They are both Licensed Reiki Teachers from the International Center for Reiki Training where Nancy worked in Michigan. It was such a relaxing day just hanging out and catching up.
Up next is Warren, OH and ten days with family.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Communication made easier
When we pull into a new campground Nancy usually guides Les into our site. Especially when we have a back-in site. Every camper goes through this and it is always entertaining to watch, we know we are just as funny as everyone else. While we generally do a pretty good job with hand motions, it can be confusing as to what exactly the instructions are. Do you want me to go left or right? Straighten the wheels or turn them? You get the point.
There are a couple of ways to make this easier. First off you can simply use your cell phones and the driver can have theirs on hands free, of course you need cell coverage for this and some places just don't have it.
Walkie Talkies help to take the guess work out of it all and you don't need cell coverage. We do not own a pair yet but we are seriously considering it. There is a wide variety available online and in just about any store. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors and range anywhere from $40 to over $100.
There is also an App for that! Yep, you can turn your iPhone or Android phone into a Walkie Talkie, you do need to have internet access for them to work so if you are out of range that could be a problem.
For iPhones there is the free Zello App.
There are a number of other apps on Google Play, Two Way Walkie Talkie, Voxer, TiKL Touch Talk and MotoTalk are just a few.
Happy Communicating!