Voyage of the Wayward Wind - 2009 travel blog

Orange County Choppers' Black Widow

Leaving Lock 35 f& entering Lock 34 on the Erie Canal

The Upside Down Railroad Bridge

The ‘Big Bridge’ - Widest bridge in the USA at 399 ft

Houseboating on the Erie Canal

Drew on the Erie Canal 8/5/09

Flower Garden near Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, ON

Horseshoe Falls 8/6/09

Tomorrow we’ll be on the boat!

Drew & Marti at Niagara Falls after ‘The Journey Behind The Falls’

The Whirlpool on the Niagara River

The American Falls (Bridalveil Falls on the far rt) and the Maid...

Beautiful hanging baskets were everywhere in Niagara Falls, ON

Saturday July 25 to Friday July 31, 2009

Our trip up to the Catskill Adventure Resort outside Wurtsboro was uneventful. We stopped at a WMSC along the way and restocked our fridge and pantry. When we registered here at the park, we learned that they were celebrating Christmas in July this weekend. Christmas decorations are up throughout the park, and there were afternoon rides on an antique fire truck with Santa. The sirens were blaring, horns were tooting, and the riders were wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. At 6pm in the pavillion, the church that meets Sundays in the park, held a free camp out dinner - chili dogs, baked beans, potato salad, drinks, and all the trimmings. Plus, there were ice cream sandwiches for dessert. There was entertainment after dinner, then we sang some Christmas carols, and then ..... yes, oh yes, Santa arrived with gifts for all the several dozen kids! Talk about a lot of smiling faces!!!

At dinner we were seated across from a couple, Jim & Kathy Savage, who are full-timers from CT. Come to find out, they will be work-camping at the RV park right next to the Saguaro Co-Op in Benson. They will be there from mid-Nov thru April. We made plans to get together with them there.

Sunday morning we went to the buffet b’fast at the park’s restaurant & then attended the church service here in the park. The minister presented a wonderful message. It’s too bad more people were not in attendance. Most of those present were teens, however, and we were pleased to see that. At 1 o’clock, there was an ice cream social. We were there, of course :- ), as were Jim & Kathy. We spent most of the afternoon with them discussing places to see and things to do all over the country. Later they came to our rig, and we spent a wonderful evening playing Farkle and laughing at stories. Unfortunately, they are moving on tomorrow - we’ll miss them.

Monday we drove into Monticello, a nearby town with a WMSC, to get Drew’s prescriptions refilled. In NY, however, there is a law that if you refill a prescription originally filled in another state, you lose all refills. We’ve never encountered that before! Therefore, we decided to just stay one week instead of two, moving back to PA where that won’t be a problem. While in Wal-Mart, Drew said he wanted to get me a new bike for my birthday (tomorrow), so we found one that we both liked and I am now the proud owner of a 21-speed mountain bike.

When we got back to the resort, there was another Titanium pulling in right in front of us. They’d been assigned a site very near ours. Drew went down to meet them and was greeted with “Hi, Drew!” It was the couple he’d communicated with last summer on the internet. They were the ones who’d lost an axle on the Interstate just a few days after purchasing their rig. They had originally contacted him about the skylights he’d added to our bug room, and they had recognized our rig because of them.

Today is my 65th. How did that happen??? I don’t feel that old!! Drew made it a very nice day. He took me out to breakfast, then we drove to Bethel - the home of Woodstock, the 3-day music celebration of Peace & Love in 1969. They have a fabulous museum on the property, The Museum of Bethel Woods, which tells the story of the Sixties, a decade of radical cultural transformation culminating in the Woodstock festival. We spent several hours in the museum - it’s definitely a must-see if you’re in the area. Also, the Museum at Bethel Woods is the first U.S. showing for Give Peace A Chance, John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Bed-In For Peace at Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel in 1969. It is an exhibition commemorating the 40th anniversary of the couple’s call for world peace. It features photographs —many never seen before— by Gerry Deiter, the only journalist to document the entire eight days. After seeing the museum, we drove through some of the Catskill countryside, admiring the many scenic small lakes, and seeing several of the once opulent, now abandoned, resorts that made this area famous. Finally, Drew took me out for a delicious dinner complete with a huge candle-topped dessert and the singing of ‘Happy Birthday’.

Wednesday we awoke to a heavy fog cover that only seemed to get thicker as the morning progressed. By noon it had started to rain, and it continued hard & steady throughout the day. In fact, it didn’t stop raining until nearly 6 AM Thursday. We have no TV here, no cell phone or internet service, and it was raining much too hard to even think of going anywhere, so we took an enforced day of rest - just napping & reading.

Thursday after breakfast, we decided to drive to Newburg NY to see where they build the Orange County Choppers. They have a very large display area with all sorts of things you can buy with the OCC logo on it. They have quite a number of their custom choppers on display as well. There is an area where you can watch the building process, but the lighting was not good making it difficult to see much. Guess we’ll just have to stick with the TV show when the bug strikes to see them.

Friday morning we again awoke to heavy fog and intermittent rain which became steady by noon and continued until 7 PM. We were again confined indoors. I worked on one of my projects all day, Drew read, and Dipt complained about not being able to go outside. I think we’ll all be glad to move back to the Ives Run COE park in PA tomorrow. Although, we have it on good word that Elvis is supposed to do a concert here tomorrow night - hate to miss that!

Sat 8/1 to Tues 8/4

Our break from NY at Ives Run has given us a chance to get prescriptions refilled, get hair cuts, get laundry done, and most importantly, relax. Now on to Niagara.

Wed 8/5

This morning was devoted to some chores in Niagara Falls - nails done, oil changed - before we went into Lockport to take a 2-hr Erie Canal Cruise. The weather was perfect, mid-70s, mostly sunny, light breeze, and the cruise was quite enjoyable. We cruised under the upside down railroad bridge and 2 of the 17 lift bridges along the canal. Both types of bridges were constructed in an attempt to limit the height of boats using the canal. We saw the remaining “Flight of Five” original double locks built in the 1800s. The double locks allowed boats to travel up in one set of locks while boats traveled down in the other set. We traveled under the ‘Big Bridge’, the widest bridge in the U.S. at 399 ft, wider than the length of a football field. We experienced ‘locking through’ in Locks 34 & 35, the western-most locks on the canal, being raised and lowered 49 ft in the canal’s only set of two locks working together to accomplish the elevation change. The walls on this part of the canal are 30-ft high stone walls. The canal was blasted out of solid stone with powder left over from the War of 1812. The Erie Canal connects the Hudson River & Atlantic Ocean at sea level with the Niagara River & the Great Lakes at 570-ft above sea level. The 363-mile canal was dug by hand between 1817 & 1825. The Erie Canal opened the US frontier for westward development. More people traveled to the west on the canal than later went through Ellis Island.

Thurs 8/6

Went to see Niagara Falls today, Canadian side. The only other time I saw the falls was 39 years ago, and that was just the US side. The crowds were very large, parking was $20 a shot, and lines for everything were l-o-n-g. On the bright side, the weather was perfect, and we are here! Because the wait for anything you wanted to see was an hour or more, we only managed two activities today. We’ll come back tomorrow for more. We viewed the falls from a location near Horseshoe Falls. They are so beautiful, so powerful, so wet! We donned yellow raincoats and took the Journey Behind the Falls. Drew says you used to actually be able to walk behind Horseshoe Falls, but now you only get to look out a portal at the end of a long tunnel. The Journey includes access to a balcony built on the side near the falls where some spectacular views are to be had. Of course, it is wet! Next we put on blue raincoats to attend Niagara’s Fury, a circarama film (like at DisneyLand) where we experienced the formation of Niagara Falls, millions of years condensed into 15 minutes. The floor shook and rolled, there was lots of lightening and thunder, and, of course, we got doused with lots of cold water! Tomorrow I don’t think I’ll bother fixing my hair before coming back :- )

Friday, August 7

On the route to our second day at Niagara Falls, we stopped at Whirlpool State Park where the Niagara River makes a sharp turn, like a bent elbow. The strong current forms a huge whirlpool where the waves can reach 15 ft in height. An aerial tram ride goes over the river here providing awesome views. One can also take a jet boat tour into the area.

Then we stopped at the visitor center at Niagara Power Project’s Power Vista. Here there are many state-of-the-art hands-on exhibits providing the opportunity to learn about the role hydropower has played in Niagara Frontier’s history and to see the future of electricity on solar power, fuel cells and electric vehicles. This was quite interesting and Free!

Finally, back into Canada, with the ridiculous parking fees, to ride the Maid of the Mist. We’re glad we made the trip, but it wasn’t as spectacular as we’d been led to believe. The one last thing we’d hoped to do was the White Water Walk. However, they’d made no provisions for handicapped persons and it was already 4:30 PM, so we decided to skip it even though we already had tickets for it. We were tired, and we’d seen enough of the river at that point.

Saturday, August 8

As we were returning to the RV after having b’fast at the clubhouse, we met the couple, John & Leah, who had the site next to ours. The four of us really hit it off and spent the rest of the day together talking, eating pizza, and playing Farkel. They also taught us to play Pigs & Chickens, a variation of Farkel. Before we knew it, it was after 10 PM. We’d all had such a fun day together that the time had just flown by!

Sunday, August 9

Today we awoke to threatening weather, so we got ready to depart only to discover a broken spring in the hitch which prevented us from hooking up. Fortunately, Drew & John were able to improvise while Leah & I enjoyed another cup of coffee. We no more than pulled out of the park before the rain started and soon became a torrential downpour that lasted for 2 hours. It was just like driving at night - it was so dark. We could only drive about 20 to 25 mph it was raining so hard. After a couple of hours, the downpour just stopped, and the temperature rose quickly from 67 degrees to 93 degrees (and we won’t even mention the humidity). It was enough to almost want to go back to the rain - almost. Tonight we’ll stay at Kenisee Lake in Ohio, and Monday we’ll be off to Michigan.

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