Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Civil War all over again, Gettysburg, PA

Thursday, 9/29 - This morning we set the clock to get up at 6 am so we could be down at the Gettysburg Visitors Center to hook up with a civil war guide to go out on the battlefield with and give us a personal tour. We found out you can "rent a guide" for 2, 3 or even up to 8 hours for the day. They drive your car and take you around the battlefield explaining the Civil War that started on June 3, 1863 and lasted 3 days.

Well we were the first ones in line so no problem, we decided on a 3 hour personal tour, paid our money....$80 and were told to wait on a nearby bench and our tour guide would call our name. Within a few minutes our guide, Denny showed up and we were on our way. Denny drove our car, with Will in the front seat, me in the back and off we went.

In our 3 hour tour Denny took us through each of the 3 days of the war, driving to each of the different battlefield locations and describing the series of events and the men that fought that battle of each day. It really was an amazing experience as he really made it come alive and we were able to ask questions as he went along.

Some of our favorite places we saw were the National Cemetery where President Lincoln delivered his 2 minute Gettysburg Address; the Eternal Light Peace Memorial where 75 years latter 1,800 Civil War veterans help dedicate this memorial; Oak Ridge were the first day the Union soldiers had held their position; the Virginia Memorial a large open field to the east where the last Confederate assault known as Pickett's Charge occurred on July 3rd, Little Round Top where our favorite Confederate soldier Dan (or as we call him Dan the Man) Sickel left his position in favor of the Peach Orchard on Emmitsburg Road as he thought he could do better there. Dan the Man was a very fascinating guy and Denny was able to give us an incredible amount of information on him. We tried to buy a book about him at the museums book store but they were all out. The Pennsylvania Memorial, the largest memorial of the hundreds located on the battlefield even the old baseball guy Abner Doubleday fought in the Civil War and has a memorial there.....him sitting on a horse. There was so much living history right there in front of us and we really enjoyed our time here.

After our exciting and fun morning we came back, ate lunch and took a nap.....after all we were up at the ungodly hour of 6 am....(you hear that gym friends?) Tomorrow morning we head for Virginia and can't wait to see what awaits there. Much love to all our family and friends.

A "shout out" to the Boston Red Sox on their complete collapse at the end of the baseball season losing, what was it, 18 of the last 23 couldn't happen to a better team..GO YANKEES.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lots of chores done in Gettysburg, PA

Wednesday, 9/29 - I can't believe September is almost over and we have been gone over 4 months. The time seems to be flying by right now. We arrived in Gettysburg, PA on Sunday from New Jersey. We were here on our first big trip in 2004/05 and spent one week running through battlefields and museums. This time it is to get caught up with all our chores and the first big one I already did......catching up on the blog while I visited with Nancy & Howard.

While we have been here we have had both the RV and car serviced, hit the local WalMart, as we are out of everything, got our flu shots, caught up on my book work, mail (thank you do a great job in throwing out the junk!) wash clothes, vitamins/pills... all the things we do on a regular basis. It feels so good to be caught up.

The weather back here has been awful.....rain and more rain plus thunder and lightning at night. This afternoon was the first day we have seen any sun in Gettysburg and boy did it feel good. Now that we are all caught up with chores, tomorrow we are going to go down to the Gettysburg visitors center at 8am and try to get a tour guide that goes out with just us in our car and explains about the all the sites here. We wanted to do that on our last trip but only had a small truck and couldn't fit a third person in. We took the bus tour instead but always wanted to do the private 3 hour tour. We will set our alarm for 6:30 am and be there when they open and hopefully they will have one available. Friday morning we pull out of here on our way to Virginia where we will spend a few days. Slowly working our way down to Florida. Much love to all our family and friends.

Monday, September 26, 2011

An incredible time with Nancy & Howard, W Orange, NJ

Monday, 9/26/11 - Well we are back on the road again after a fabulous time with Nancy & Howard in New Jersey. Of course Nancy kept me much to busy to update the blog, so I will try and give a very brief description of what we did.

Sat, 9/10 We arrived in Liberty RV park in Jersey City, New Jersey, which consists of a parking lot w/water & electric and NO sewer for $60 a night. Of course the view is spectacular, the Statue of Liberty was right in front of us and the Manhattan skyline was something to see at night. Of course we were anxious to get to Howard & Nancy's so put their address into girlfriend, GPS but little did she know because of 9/11 the roads she picked were closed for security reasons. So here's the picture, ME driving, Will on the phone with Nancy who has a map up on her computer talking us through streets to their house. This should have been a half hour drive but took one and half hours.....and to say my nerves were shot is to put it Will survived that ride is beyond me. But we made it and we all went out to dinner when we finally arrived. Day one.

Sunday, 9/11 We were going to go into NY for the 9/11 memorial but the security and road closures we decided it was definitely not worth it. We took Will back to the RV park with Howard's girls, Olivia and Julia to see the RV and then the 5 of us went to a street fair in Chester, NJ....Will made it very clear he wasn't interested in having much to do with NY and was very happy staying at the RV.

Monday, 9/12 Nancy had an appointment time of 5pm for our entrance into the 9/11 Memorial site. It was an incredibly moving experience seeing both pools, the names of all the people who died in that tragedy, the tree that survived and the ribbons that people had tied to the branches and the Freedom Tower that is being built. The sound of the water is incredibly soothing and there are many benches around that you can just sit and take it all in. I met a lady there that was copying several of the names of people who worked for Aon Insurance and had died that day. She then told us she had worked there on the 101st floor that day and after the hit, they were all instructed to stay at their desks and it would be okay. She said when she heard that noise she just ran out and went down the 101 floors immediately.....she said the people that died, did what they were told and died because of it. We hugged and I thanked her for telling me that story. When we left the memorial we went across the street to the Westin Hotel and had dinner there overlooking the memorial and waited for the car service to pick us up and take us back to our house in W Orange, NJ.

Tuesday, 9/13 I went to a have a "reading" by a former nun who Nancy had a reading a month or so earlier and loved it. She insisted I go, which I did and it was really a very interesting experience. I had a tape made and will listen to it again to remember all she said. Right now Nancy has the tape to listen to. Mostly, I remember she told me I had a long, healthy life line and that Will's inter ear problem had been misdiagnosed and he should seek a second opinion. You can imagine how HE felt about that. After the reading we drove into New York to stay overnight at the Sheraton hotel in Time Square, my favorite place and Nancy's LEAST favorite. After walking up and down Time Square, for my next surprise we took a subway downtown. Nancy had arranged a tour for us of the MLB Fan Cave. This is 2 guys that were selected to live in this ground floor building with large windows and watch EVERY baseball game for the entire 2011 season. It was an amazing tour of both floors with lots of baseball stuff everywhere. Baseball players come there to "hang out" so lots of signatures everywhere. A very fun day.

Wednesday, 9/14 We got up and checked out and the next surprise was a drive out of New York but not back to W Orange. That's how the whole trip went one fabulous surprise after another. I had no idea where we were going and then Nancy finally said Bristol, Conn......what???? What the heck is in Bristol, Conn? As it turns out the ESPN studios are in Bristol and Nancy had arranged with a friend of hers who works there for a tour for us. I couldn't believe favorite TV show....Sports Center. The tour was given to us by Tom who is an editor at ESPN and they give the tours to only family and friends and different employees do them for fun. Tom was wonderful, he took us everywhere, explained everything and introduced us to many people. Actually, when we arrived Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat was just leaving as he had been there for an interview. There are 14 different buildings on the ESPN "campus" as it is called. The tour lasted almost 2 hours and then we met Nancy's friend, Sonia at the ESPN store so we could make a "few" purchases. We then went over to the ESPN cafe and the three of us had lunch for another couple hours. An absolutely amazing day and a great big thank you to Sonia for making this possible. I truly was out of my mind that day! We then returned to their house in W Orange where I couldn't believe it could get any better....but wait!

Thursday, 9/15 We spent most of the day shopping for Nancy & Howard's "End of Summer" party that they were having on Saturday. Later that afternoon Nancy informed me a piece of luggage that was lost on their recent vacation at Hilton Head, NC and we would have to go to the airport to pick it up as it was arriving at 8:30 ish pm. So off we went arriving at Continental baggage claim and sitting there for quite sometime. I kept asking when is it coming in and she kept checking the board and her phone. Finally, I walked over to carousel one, where it was suppose to be and started checking luggage tags looking for it. After about 3 minutes or so, someone from behind me says, "what are you doing here?" I look up and it's my sister Alice, as a surprise she flew into NJ from Fresno for the party and to meet our cousins and Howard's family. Well I was completely shocked, to say the least and almost speechless! It was very exciting and of course there was no lost luggage. So we went back to the house and her and I talked most of the night in the girls bedroom where we stayed.

Friday, 9/16 This was the day we are redecorating Julia & Olivia's bedroom as a surprise for them when they come over for the party Saturday night. Nancy had made all the purchases and the 3 of us spent the day putting it together. It turned out absolutely darling, with posters on the wall and incredible colors and decorations. We can't wait for them to see it. After the decorating party, Nancy started cooking for the party (pray tell where does she get these traits from?) and Howard rewarded all of us with dinner out at P.F. Chang's in West New York, NJ a beautiful community down on the water with a fabulous view of Manhattan. After dinner we got an ice cream and the four of us took a walk along the water. Pure Magic.

Saturday, 9/17 Tonight is the party!!!! Howard took Alice and drove to Jersey City to pick up Will and then over to Mountain Lakes where the girls live while Nancy and I stayed home preparing for the party. The party started at 4 pm and the guests included, our cousins Diane, Susan and Laurie Becker and their husbands, plus the cousins wonderful mother, Nancy. Howard's parents, Bobbi & Jack, his Aunt Rosalie, Aunt Claire and Uncle Herman and of course Howard's 2 girls, Olivia and Alice and Will. I seemed to be in charge of giving house tours of all three floors. The house is decorated beautifully and it is truly "Italy in New Jersey." The food is amazing and I can't imagine Nancy is such a great cook. Mimi would be shocked and so very proud! Now Alice had never met her Becker cousins before and we had a wonderful time telling stories and taking lots of pictures. Hopefully, Howard will be able to post some pictures to my blog or facebook page. It was a wonderful party and everyone stayed pretty late. Afterwards Nancy and I slept in the TV/Movie room downstairs as a car service was coming to pick her up at 6 am on Sunday morning to return to Fresno. Another late night for us but we got up at the right time and I was able to take a picture of Alice sitting in the back seat of the limo. Thanks so much Alice for making the was wonderful spending that time with you!

Sunday, 9/18 Howard took Will and I out to breakfast so Nancy could sleep in and get some much needed rest. After breakfast we took Will back to Liberty RV park and then before we got to W Orange, Howard took me by Eagle Rock Park which is a 9/11 memorial very close to the house with a spectacular view of the New York skyline. A very moving memorial they have put up in Verona, NJ. When we returned it was a lazy day of watching TV and 9/11 reruns plus eating lots of fabulous party leftovers.

Monday, 9/19 Another big surprise for me today.....we drove to Bay Head, NJ. We call it "going to the beach" they call it "down the shore." Nancy & Howard have a favorite bed & breakfast in Bay Head, Bentley Inn, on Main Street, a short half block to the beach. After we checked in and got settled in our room we immediately change and headed for the beach. Because the summer season is over there were only 6 or so other people on the whole beach. But we had beach chairs from the house and we spent the entire afternoon relaxing in the sun and listening to the ocean roar. That evening we went out to dinner at Wharfside Restaurant which is located right on the water in the next town, Point Pleasure, NJ. After dinner we walked on the boardwalk at Point Pleasure and played some skeet ball (shades of old Santa Cruz days) we received hundreds of tickets for our games and our big prize for the evening was.....a yellow rubber duck.

Tuesday, 9/20 Thank goodness we came yesterday while there was sun because today is rain but perfect for shopping which is of course what we did. We went in and out of shops in Bay Head and Point Pleasure and I think managed to buy something everywhere. Our favorite purchase was a shirt for me...on the 70% off rack. It is a turquoise v-neck tee shirt with listed on the front of it: London, Paris, Rome, Bay Head.......that is the exact order of my Europe cool. We then drove back to the W Orange house still eating party food for dinner again. The remaining Becker cousin who I have NOT met, Michael, who lives in Maryland is due in at his sisters house this evening and Nancy & I are going over to meet him. He arrives at around 8:30 pm and fortunately the cousins live in the next town, Verona, to Howard & Nancy. We also found out it was cousin Laurie's birthday so we also celebrated that. It was wonderful finally getting to meet Michael and I look forward to meeting his wife Allison, a big Yankee fan.....Michael is a Mets fan and was not happy hugging or standing next to me for the pictures as I was decked out in my Yankee stuff. Of course you know I made Michael take the infamous Carole & Derek picture for his wife.

Wednesday, 9/21 Howard, Nancy & I drove out to Liberty RV park, one more time in horrible traffic but all for a good cause.....a 1 pm Yankee baseball game. Now the game started at 1 pm and I couldn't figure why we were leaving so early but with Nancy you NEVER question anything. When we arrived, 1 1/2 hours before game time, we find out that Nancy has arranged with her Yankee connection for Howard, Will and me to go ON THE FIELD BEFORE THE GAME AT YANKEE STADIUM. I almost died, they give us our official passes to wear around our necks and I asked, "do we get to keep them?" I was so excited as we we were being lead through the Yankee tunnel and up some stairs out onto the field. It was an unbelievable feeling plus being able to look up into the stadium and out onto the field. Of course I was busy taking pictures of everything and spotted Mariano Rivera giving an interview a short distance from us out on the field. Nancy had to go into the Yankee clubhouse as she needed to talk with some players (that's her job folks) and the three of us just stood there taking it all it. Shortly, the Yankee manager, Joe Girardi came over and took his picture with Howard, Will and myself and then he autograph my official badge. When Nancy came back I told her I desperately wanted my picture with Mariano could she tell him his "Cleveland bodyguard" was here and wanted to say hello. And then I don't remember what happened but I saw Nancy with Mariano and the next thing I know he is walking straight for us. I absolutely don't remember what I said or what he said, but I did get my picture taken with him and Howard got his taken. It was fabulous, it seemed like a dream but truly the highlight of the trip.....the Yankees win the division tonight and I get my picture with Mariano after save 602. Nancy made the announcement as we were leaving the field, "she is officially done with making every one's dreams come true." Thank you daughter you sure have made mine come true. After the game we returned Will, one more time back to Jersey City. That evening Nancy & I went to the AMC Dine In Theater across the street from their home. Now get this, you reserve your recliner (that's right, a plush, soft, recliner) when you get there they seat you, hand you a full service menu....alcohol drinks if you want them (no kids in this theater, that's worth the price right there!) We ordered our dinner, fish & chips with a coke, they served us a small popcorn and while we were watching the trailers they served us our dinner. We ate dinner while watching our movie....The Help, which I thought was BETTER than the book, I loved it. What an experience, I can't wait for one to come to Fresno.

Thursday, 9/22 That morning Nancy & I took the commuter bus, that stops in front of her house, into New York City for another stay at the Sheraton in Times Square. I have no idea what's in store for this trip but we will see. When we arrive at the Sheraton we find that it is booked for the Clinton Global Initiative (what ever that is) Clinton was at the Sheraton everyday (we didn't see him) and found out Obama was there Wednesday. First on our schedule was a free movie called Tower Heist with Ben Stiller. Mothers Day 2010 when I was in New York this film was being shot in Nancy's old neighborhood 63rd and Broadway, the upper west side and we saw lots of the filming going on so it was great fun to see the finished product. And actually it was really a good, funny movie and it was neat to see so many familiar places. One of my favorite things about the Sheraton as well as other hotels she stays at... is Nancy's privileges for the Club Floor.....or as I call it, the Free Food Floor. It takes her room key to open the door so of course we went into the Free Food Room for dinner. Then the surprise of the evening was the Broadway play, The Lion King. A wonderful and colorful play with great music. We were in the second row and had fabulous view.

Friday 9/23 We were suppose to leave at 2 pm but it's another rainy day so Nancy called for the car service to pick us up early and we returned home early. We cleaned up the house, and the refrigerator, and got ready to go out to dinner with Howard's entire family at Pals Cabin, a wonderful steak and fish restaurant 3 minutes from their house. The entire Matalon family was there including Aunt Debbie who is visiting from Colorado. After dinner we returned to Howard and Nancy's for dessert that we had purchased in New York City. The surprise of the night was for Howard's mother was her birthday and Howard had edited her super 8 movies of Bobbi & Jack's wedding and Howard's first few years and other family members onto a CD. It was a great Matalon Production with music and subtitles and everyone enjoyed it immensely with maybe a few tears.

Saturday 9/24 Well this is the day that I return to Liberty RV park as we will be heading out Sunday morning. However, Howard, Nancy, Julia and I head out to several garages sales, a huge mall and lunch at Panera with afterwards picking up Olivia from a birthday party and taking the girls home. Then the long, sad drive out to take me home, I shouldn't say has been a fabulous 2 week stay with so much fun and excitement. I just can't thank Nancy & Howard enough for all the incredible things I got to do and see. It's always sad saying goodbye but we are all meeting in Miami for Thanksgiving and it will be here before you know it. A big thank you to you both and I love you both so much!!!

Sunday, 9/25 We are on the road about 10 am heading west on highway 78 for Gettysburg, PA. We will stay there until Friday getting both vehicles serviced, lots of chores on my list of things to do and hopefully a nap or two. Congratulations to Howard who ran his first half marathon in 2 hours and something minutes in his favorite city....Jersey City. Much love to all our family and friends and the fun continues.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rain, rain and MORE rain, Milford,PA

Thursday, 9/8/11 - It has been raining 3 days that's not every minute of three days but A me. It started on Monday of this week and we went no where, continued on Tuesday when we ventured out late that afternoon for Chinese food and Wednesday....still more rain and stayed in again. Now friends, this is a small space and there is NO TV service available here, either by antenna or satellite which leaves books and boy have we been reading the books. Will even had to go outside to his stockpile and bring more in.

We met some wonderful neighbors Mary and Jeff from New Jersey who just this summer bought a darling place up here at Camp Adventure and it is located on our street....Bobcat. Yesterday, when I spotted their New Jersey license plate on their car I asked Jeff, who was out barbecuing their dinner, what was the best way to Jersey City, NJ where our next RV park is. This morning they came down to our place and had all the answers. They spent several hours here visiting and sharing stories of families and it was wonderful having the company.

This afternoon, while NOT raining we decided to take a drive towards Dingmans Ferry which has a historic toll bridge over the Delaware River and then get something to eat. Well, can I tell you the river is running like crazy and really high. I understand the bridge had been closed and just opened but we couldn't believe the amount of water we saw every where. As Will was driving when you would look off the side of the road, we don't know if they were creeks or streams but water rushing was kind of scary. While down there I stopped at a gas station to get a newspaper and asked about the road Mary & Jeff told us to take out of here.....209 and the lady said they just closed it .....both ways because of flooding. So now we are (or I am) praying it will be open by Saturday when we leave. I have been checking the Atlas for plan B.

Oh well, we have to eat so headed to a place they had recommended, The Water Wheel in Milford but it was closed and we headed into town and found another place as we were both starved. Nice dinner and headed home to read some more. So looking forward to getting back on the road into "cement" like New Jersey and New York and getting out of the trees and raging rivers. Much love to all our family and friends.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Grey Towers, Milford, PA

Sunday, 9/4/11 - The sun is out and we are settled in to our new spot so we decided to go exploring in the town of Historic Milford, PA. Our campsite, Lake Adventure is about 11 miles from downtown Milford and they have several places in "the book" to see.

We arrive in Milford and drive down into the main part of historic downtown. We park the car and walk up and down both sides of the streets, going into Hotel Facuchere which was built in 1852 as a summer hotel for the rich and famous of New York City. The hotel and restaurant are still in operation. We walked through this beautiful place and Will even went up to the second floor to check it out. Next we walked into Fretta's an old Italian sausage place started in 1906 that had sausages hanging in all the windows. We then read a historical sign about Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946) who was governor of Pennsylvania twice and started the U.S. Forest Service. It seems his family had a summer home here and it is now a historical site that you can tour so we that's where we headed next.

Grey Towers National Historic Site This home was completed in 1887 by Gifford Pinchot's parents (who made their money in wallpaper) James and Mary Pinchot. Because of their French heritage it is built like a French chateau-style mansion. The bottom floor is unchanged from 1887 and the library and sitting room look like it did when Gov Pinchot and his wife Cornelia lived here. The second and third floors, originally bedrooms are now used for conservation center. Only Gifford Pinchot's bedroom is the only historic room on the upper floors and they say everything in it is exactly how it was. There is no dining room and it was explained that because this was a summer home, Gifford & Cornelia spent a lot of time outdoors. The outside dining table was know as the "Fingerbowl" which was amazing. A counter, table height, was centered around a pool of water that was 5 ft deep and about 6 ft across. The food was put into bowls and "pushed" off to the person across the pool. So food was not served by sending it around, but by the pool of water. Our group sat at the pool and pushed bowls of fruit back and forth to each other. Great fun and sooooo different. This was all under a gazebo with 70 year old lilacs covering it. The Pinchot son donated Grey Towers and the estate to the U.S. Government and President Kennedy was here in 1963 for the dedication.

The grounds and landscaping were equally beautiful and unfortunately we didn't have the time or stamina to explore it. Oh and speaking of "our group" we got lucky. Just as we purchased our tickets a bus full of Puerto Ricans came up and we shared a tour with them. Gosh, it made us home sick for Fresno, we were the only ones speaking English on the tour. You can imagine how thrilled Will was with this tour. However, because the group was so large they split it in two and we were able to see all three floors which they don't usually do, so that was nice. After the tour we headed home and boy you can sure see that fall is here. Everyday now we see more and more color in the trees. A fun day and beautiful place to see, Grey Towers.

Monday, 9/5/11 - Tropical storm Lee is HERE and it has rained most of the day. Fortunately, I was able to get my walk in this morning and we took a ride to the local grocery store this afternoon for a newspaper so we can keep up with the "outside world" as we have no TV. Will and I have decide we have the most "spoiled" life ever!!!! Will says he really understands why welfare people don't want to go to work.....when someone just keeps depositing money in your account, why bother. However, we are very grateful for this opportunity. Much love to all our family and friends.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The last stop before Nancy & Howard's-Milford, PA

Friday, 9/2/11 - Who can believe it's already September and in a couple of weeks we will have been gone from Fresno 4 months. The time has gone by so fast and here it is a three day weekend - Labor Day. Of course we don't do much labor anymore so probably aren't entitled to take this holiday! We left central upstate New York Friday morning and arrived at our Coast to Coast park, Lake Adventure Community, Milford, PA the last stop before we head into New Jersey to visit Nancy and Howard....yeah.

All the places we have stayed are either an RV or campground park....this is our first "community." And that's what it is, a community, there are probably over 1,400 lots here and we discovered they have 16 reserved for Coast to Coast members. When we arrived at 4 pm, after a long day of driving, they had our paper work ready for us and we headed out to find our "lot #93." What we found was was a straight up, 4 to 6% grade of weeds with a "top spot" of 12x15. Just how we were suppose to get a 35' motor home up there was totally laughable. Of course, I wasn't laughing. I told Will, who was in the RV, "wait here and I will go back to the office/security and talk to them. The guy who helped us was brand new, first day on the job and he assigned us another site he said was "flat." So I went back to where Will was waiting in the RV, me in the car with map in hand driving through this monster place looking for the second lot. When we were lost, 2 security ladies who were looking for us said the second lot he gave us wouldn't work either. So we left Will parked in the RV, I got in their car and they drove me around showing me what was available. Finally, after seeing several, I found one I thought would work: we could back in, the slides could come out and the lot appeared pretty level. I found Will and led him back to lot #609 on Bobcat Drive and worked. It's tight and we don't have a lot of extra space but it's level and we back up to a 75,000 acres of forest. It's as dark as dark can be at night and soooooo quiet it actually worked out just fine. It seems the Coast to Coast lots are just lots that were not premium and they didn't sell so they rent them out to RV'ers. Best part for me, were we are the roads are flat and for my early morning walks that's fabulous in this hilly country.

Saturday, 9/3/11 - Usually, the first day is a housekeeping day, so we cleaned the house, and I went to their laundromat as we had a ton of dirty clothes. It's always good to use the laundry facilities early on as you meet a lot of the locals and they have great were is the closest WalMart, what is there to see in the area, any Chinese restaurants near by? All the important things.

This afternoon was a WalMart run to the closest which is about 18 miles from us. Tomorrow we will start our sightseeing in the area. Of course we have to be back early as they have bingo here tomorrow night. Tonight is a dance in the clubhouse but because there are a lot of young people here I am sure Will would not be able to stand more than 5 minutes of the we will pass on that activity. But bingo, count us in. Much love to all our family and friends.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Now a cruise on the Erie Canal, Herkimer, NY

Thursday, 9/1/11 - Okay, we just can't get enough of the Erie Canal and really want to take a ride on a boat of some type. Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Irene, all of the boats and locks in our immediate area are shut down because of storm damage. However, detective caw, found The Historical Erie Canal Cruise aboard Lil' Diamond, II out of Herkimer, NY. It's about an hours drive from our park but this is the first day they are open, due to Hurricane Irene and are offering 2 rides today....1 and 3 pm. I sign us up for the 1 pm tour and we head out this morning to see what Herkimer looks like and take our boat ride.

The weather is suppose to be 84 and sunny with a slight chance of rain this evening......Angelo must do their weather reports.....WRONG CALL. It started lightly raining when we left our house and never stopped the entire time we were on the boat including when we had our "standard picnic" lunch brought from home. However, the boat ride, the captain and the narration of the history and legends of the canal were wonderful. The entire boat ride takes 90 minutes round trip and you get to experience being raised and lowered 20 feet inside the lock. That was an amazing feat to experience. As I said it rained for the entire trip, of course we were inside but able to go outside if you dared....and I dared. I had my fabulous red, Europe nylon jacket on and took all the pictures I wanted.... (Nancy, can you imagine the scene?) Will and I loved this boat ride down the newest Erie Canal ...there were actually three canals built....even with the rain the best part was there were only 18 passengers on a boat that holds over 100 people.

After, we took a ride in historic downtown Herkimer to see the old brick buildings and churches then decided to head over to the Indian Casino, Turning Stone located in Verona, NY that Randy had told us about. Now unbelievable as it seems....Tiger Woods is in Verona, New York TODAY playing in a charity golf tournament with his old Stanford roommate....who is from Verona. I learned this on Sports Center during an interview with them yesterday. Turning Stone is a sponsor of the golf tournament and of course I expected a "Tiger sighting" but no such luck. We walked around the casino and left without so much as putting a nickel in the slot machines. Beautiful place, it looks a lot like our casino up by Coarsegold.

With that we headed home but girlfriend, GPS wasn't able to get us home, the road she sent us on had a bridge out and as Will said, not her fault. So we set her for Sylvan Beach because we know how to get home from there. As we entered Sylvan Beach we decide to eat dinner at Eddie's and then walk through a car show they were having at 6 pm tonight. A happening town, Sylvan Beach....Tuesday is motorcycle night, Wednesday is country music and Thursday is old cars. But unfortunately, we were dead tired and couldn't wait until 6 pm so headed home early. Another fun day and tomorrow we head out on the road again. Much love to all our family and friends.

Erie Canal Village in Rome, New York

Wednesday, 8/31/11 - Will and I learned about the Erie Canal in grammar school but never realized it was in New York and how important it was to the development of our nation. Not to far from our RV park is a place called Erie Canal Village it is a re-creation of an 1840 community with museums and restored buildings. They were SUPPOSE TO HAVE a 30 minute horse-drawn packet boat ride along a restored part of the canal (Clinton's Ditch) but alas...the boat is in dry dock this year! Unfortunately, the whole place is pretty run down and we can't imagine they will be in business much longer....however, this is their 37th year in business. They are being optimistic saying they are "searching" for a new boat but by the looks of the ain't happening!

However, we did learn a lot about the Erie Canal and how it started in Rome, New York. When actually finished the canal opened up a waterway in New York that stretched from Albany to Buffalo, 363 miles, with a series of locks. An amazing story and so interesting to hear and learn about and I honestly would urge you to Google Erie Canal and learn for yourself .....fascinating! The ride we hoped to take on a "packet boat" was a small passenger boat that would be hooked up by rope to a horse that walked a trail along side the canal and pulled the boat at about 4 miles per hour. The canal was used to transport freight and passengers that wanted to head West and settlein new communities. What an amazing feat it was.

We went in and out of the buildings that were original buildings moved to this location to restore and preserve them. They had several demonstrations put on by the people who were in clothing of the era. There was a blacksmith but my favorite was a lady playing a musical instrument, and singing songs about the Erie Canal. She told us that there were many, many songs written about the Canal and amazing enough, Will and I even knew one and were able to sing along. We sat on logs in a circle while she played and sang. Some of the buildings were the Bennett Tavern (yeah, Alice) the school house, a church, several homes of the era, blacksmith shop and a museum which was fascinating. We had our "standard" lunch in the pavilion and then took a 4.5 mile train ride they had there. It was a fun day and we felt bad it has fallen on hard times.

Every Wednesday, in Sylvan Beach, right downtown in the park gazebo, they have a free country music concert from 7 to 9 pm all summer long and tonight is the last one....lucky us! We headed into town about 6:30 pm, hauled our lawn chairs out of the trunk and headed over to the park to get ourselves set up. It seemed to be a small crowd but "our neighbor" Randy said, "last week you couldn't find a place to sit." The evening is mild weather and it's great people watching and the band, The Ghost Riders were setting up. Most of the crowd this evening was of "the older type"...sort of looked like us and the music was mellow country and not blasting...which was good for Will, he could stand it. Our favorite was an "older lady" by herself standing up for most of the concert and dancing, swaying & waving her arms. We just couldn't get over how much she was enjoying herself and the people enjoyed watching her. Then a neighboring restaurant, Eddie's, started in 1939 in Sylvan Beach.... sent their mascot out....a PIG to entertain the crowd. We enjoyed the concert and certain "our neighbor" Randy & Mrs. Randy (sorry I didn't get her name) they had wonderful information for us about the area and were very kind and so helpful....thank you! It's been a long day and we are tired but grateful for another very fun day "on the road again." Much love to all our family and friends.