Friday, October 3, 2008

Lakewood, NJ

Finally after many days of phone calling there was a Winnebago that needed to be delivered. (Sales are still down making the drivers compete to get one to deliver) Since Papa is teaching a weekly Bible Walk-thru we needed to be able to pick up on Tuesday, deliver and get back to the Prairie by the next Monday. Another driver was picking up an identical unit to go to another dealer in Lakewood and gave us some traveling tips!

Navion iQ Features:

This is a Navion iQ. One of the smaller units with a diesel engine that gets about 14 mpg when you tow a car. Steel grey with black accents on the outside. Inside is an attractive khaki color scheme with cherry wood. Very comfortable leather adjustable seats. There is a bed across the back of the unit. It will be comfortable when you put the slide out. (something we are not allowed to do when we are transporting). So it has been like climbing into a cupboard for me. Papa’s feet extend over the edge supported by pillows on the floor as we lay crosswise! An adventure for 2 nights!

Another interesting feature in this one are clear covers for the kitchen sink and 2 burner stove, making some worktable space. The sink has faucets that fold down to accommodate the cover. The bathroom has a 8 inch round sink in a shelf behind the stool with shower opposite. You would have to remember to back in and walk out! No couch, just 2 short bench seats, one with a built-in table. Very compact! Price-$110,000.

On the Road:

It was a drizzly day hooking up, checking the unit and driving southeast through farm land and past small communities headed for I-80. The corn and bean fields were various shades of green & brown Some areas still showing the effects of all the flooding this spring. Near Davenport, Iowa we spotted the first combine in a bean field. Several more across Illinois. Trucks were hauling ears of seed corn to the seed processing plant.

Chicago is always a challenge, but seemed almost too easy today. Turning off at Gary, Indiana planning to stay at the Flying J we saw water over an intersection and sand bags. The restaurants in the area were closed due to flooding from Hurricane Ike. We drove on to the Toll Road Travel Plaza at Portage to stay. On the way we saw stacks of sandbags & cement dividers plus the detour signs. Talking to another driver we found out that the traffic on I-80/90 was detoured to Highway 30 and it took him over 5 hours to get through that area last week after the 8 inches or rain fell one night.

Driving through northwestern Ohio we saw fields of soybeans, corn & vegetables (cabbage, pumpkin, & squash) ready to be harvested. Some crops had been harvested and the fields were already tilled. Large grain elevators on the horizon. Turkey buzzards floating on the air currents reminded us of our little Prairie! We have had over two dozen floating above and around our home for the last month. Will they still be there when we get back??

Listening to audio books help make the miles go faster when we are not in “new” territory. This trip we let our minds travel out West with a couple of stories by Louis L’Amour. It was interesting to listen to the news about our economical crises and then listen to David McCullough’s book Truman. The author gives a balanced view of the history during that era. I wonder if we will ever learn from past lessons! It was interesting that Mr. Truman wrote so many letters through out his life with his thoughts and daily experiences. Now our thoughts and daily experiences are shared via cell phone or email. How do we preserve those for the next generation?

Fall Color!

Into the mountains in eastern Ohio and the Pennsylvania Wilds. I enjoy the graceful overpass bridges. Straight on top for the highway, but a graceful arched supporting curve with ends resting on high rock ledges! A warm sunny day with a treat for us! Color! Large areas of goldenrod with accents of purple & white asters and wine red sumac bushes in the ditches and on the hillside meadows! Leaves are changing to their autumn colors. As you look across the mountains you see them covered with a dense thick fleece quilt of shades of green, red, and gold. What a spectacular show God gives us to enjoy!

An email from our granddaughter gives a "life lesson" from the fall colors:

I know you are on your way out east right now, and maybe just in time for some good fall leaves to enjoy? Fall always makes me want to travel too, to go see all the sights and colors and activities before the winter kills it all. That's the kind of funny things about the outdoors during the Fall. You don't stand around looking at nature in the spring and summer -- it just seems the perfect vibrant backdrop to the hundreds of run-around activities which we rush to and fro with, trying to squish it all in before the weather changes. The weather and the colors and the plants are all energetic and growing and all that, but you don't sit and notice it, or maybe I should say that at least I don't. But then, during the Fall, you just want to stand there, and look at the trees as they subtly change, or at the fields as they mature and ripen for harvest. And you just want to sit there and soak it all up. Enjoy it. Like what I am doing right now in the campus library, seated comfortably by the huge wall of picture windows, and close enough to some of the huge trees on campus to see some of the subtle changes in leaf coloring. And it gets me thinking about how subtle God's changes in us are, little bitty ones that slowly make our lives, our produce, our leaves, more beautiful and more vibrant -- showing off more and more of Him in us.

Oops, looks like we are going to miss a tour of the baseball bat factory at Exit 86, again! But we did drive over the highest point east of the Mississippi River on I-80 (2,250') and entered the Cheaspeake Bay watershed. Wind is getting stronger as we drive into the edge of the storm off the coast. Weather band stated that the coast was having 40mph winds and the waves were dangerously high in the inlets. Color fades as we go South to find a bridge over the Delaware River & a highway into Lakewood.

Lakewood, NJ

From their website:

Lakewood, New Jersey Brief History:

In 1814, way before this area was known as “Lakewood”, the town was named “Washington’s Furnace” by Jesse Richards & William Irwin, who moved here from Washington Township. They set up an iron company, which began to fail in 1832. A local investor by the name of Joseph W. Brick purchased the company and was successful in its revitalization. When Mr. Brick eventually passed away, the town was renamed “Bricksburg”.

During the 1860’s, five and ten acre tracts of land were advertised in various papers throughout New York. The streets of the village were laid out, and many large homes were constructed. One of the grander homes, the Laurel House, hosted such families as the Vanderbilt’s, Rockefellers and Astor’s.
In 1880, the town’s name was changed to “Lakewood”. The town’s promoters did not find “Bricksburg” to be a favorable name. The following decade saw the construction of many large hotels. One of the larger hotels was “The Lakewood Hotel”, which stayed open long after the tourist season to enable President Cleveland to spend his final days as peacefully as possible.
Just ten miles from the beach, today Lakewood boasts 1,200 acres of parks, 2 golf courses with a third on the way, as well as The Lakewood Blue Claws baseball team.

The city was interesting to drive through as we looked for the dealership. We drove through a large Jewish community with schools, banks & businesses. Past a Russian Orthodox Church and a city park beside a small lake which gave us a place for a picnic lunch. No left turns are permitted. If you had to turn left you would look for the corner on the right that permitted you to turn off and circle back to the left!

We stopped at a Wawa Market to get gas. I had to "google" that unusual name! It is a chain of convenience stores in the mid-Atlantic region. The name comes from the site of the first milk plant & the corporate headquarters in Wawa, PA. The name of the town is derived from the Ojibewe Indian word for Canadian goose. An imaage of goose in flight is corporate logo.

Because the dealer told us that their area was predicted to receive 4 inches of rain that evening along with 40 mph winds we decided to not try and do any sightseeing in the area. (Maybe we will find something in PA or OH) We headed north & west to get away from the storm.
What an experience on the New Jersey Turnpike as we got closer to New York! Drivers speed, cut in and out close & sharply, honk their horns and in one area they separate the cars from the trucks, each having 3 lanes going parallel to each other!!

Pocono Mountains

We found a Days Inn in Tannersville, PA, which is in the Pocono Mtns. The main road was the valley and any road branching from it went "up"! The motel was on one of those "up" side roads. Each of the sections was a little higher than the other. It was comfortable, clean, and quiet. It is near the Pocono International Speedway which was having a classic car show that week-end. We had our own show at the motel. What fun to walk past all of the "classics" sitting in front of their rooms when we did our "evening stroll"!

There was a restaurant featuring Indian cusine, we were going to try, but the fragrance of the spices was overwhelming when we walked in. We decided we would experiment with those spices at home in our kitchen first to see if we wanted to pay the price for a whole meal at a restaurant. (We found a Friendly's and enjoyed clam chowder, a chicken salad and their great ice cream.)

It was raining in the morning, drizzle off and on most of the day as we traveled west on I-80. Heard that there was some flooding in NJ without the 4 " of rain. We followed a little classic sport car that did not have any fenders and wide tires. In the rain it made water spouts on each side of the vehicle! The colored leaves on the trees are brilliant red and gold even in the rain. Low clouds cover some of the mountain tops. We are resigned to not doing side road trips. Most are scenic drives that would be hard to enjoy in the rain, but I do have an itinerary for next time, Lord willing, we are driving through this area.

Travel Tip: Get the State Tourist Guide and a State Road map at the Welcome Center or order on line of each state you are traveling through. It will show the areas of the state, the attractions for that area, and motels, campgrounds, etc. It is easy to carry. You can "google" for additional information, hours open, admission & etc.

Signs warned of Fair traffic as we neared Bloomsburg, PA. They average 60,000 people at their 8 day fair. It started in 1855 as a one day county agriculture fair and grew to 8 days in 1989. It covers several acres and has stage shows as well as displays and contests. Perhaps next time it won't be raining when we are in the area and we can check it out!

Cherry Springs Sky Preserve

A sky preserve was a new concept to us. Cherry Springs Sky Preserve is a 48 acre park in rural Potter County Pennsylvania surrounded by 200,000 acres of the Susquehannock State Forest. It is located far from cities on a plateau allowing a spectacular view of the night sky for observation and photogaphy. One observer said, " When the sky is clear and the seeing is good then people can actually see their shadow cast on the ground from the starlight alone." This will be added to our "to do & see" list for next time!

Elk Run Scenic Drive

A four hour scenic drive through the Pennsylvania Wilds makes a loop between I-80 exit #111 and exit #147. If the weather cooperates this will be part of our next road trip to this area. The elk poplulation was decimated until the early 1900's when 100 elk were brought into the area from the Rock Mountains. Now a herd of 600 roam the area along with other wildlife. Did you know that an elk can run for 30 miles and trot for much longer? I know we have elk just over the fence, here on the Prairie. We enjoy their bugle in the fall and their graceful movements across the pasture, but seeing them in the wild plus the beauty of the mountains would be a great experience.

Another Life Lesson on the Road:

I'll have to confess to some whining & complaining about the weather preventing some "scenic drives", seeing some historic places, & doing our usual "exploring" the area until I remembered Romans 8:28."All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose" & Philippians 2:14--"Do all things without complaining...." & Philippians 4:11-- Paul states.....I have learned, in whatever state I am, in this to be content."

It looks like we will have time to stop at the Baseball Bat Factory at exit 86 today! It is inside & we had to take I-80 back because of the weather. What other blessings will the Lord have for us along the road ahead? Actually, because we got home earlier we could enjoy a visit on the week-end from some special people.

BWP Bats

Take exit#86 off I-80 near Brookville, PA and follow the signs through the country to the BWP Bat factory. Brookville Wood Products has been in business for over 40 years producing furniture squares, stair parts and flooring parts for manufacturers as well as billets for baseball bat manufacturing. They are located in the hardwood capitol of the world.

To expand their area of production they researched manufacturing their own baseball bats and started their company BWP Bats. They still sell over 30,000 billets to other bat manufacturers each year besides the 40,000 bats that they manufacture themselves.

What is a billet? It is a piece of square hard wood about 37 inches long and 4 inches wide that is the base for making a bat. This billet is marked on the bottom with its weight. It is made from hard maple, ash or red oak. It is inspected to be sure it is free of defects.

The billet is placed in a special lathe and the specifications for the bat is programed in. The bat is cut. Each of the major, minor & independent league players (presently over 100 professional players) that purchase their bats from BWP have their own specifications in the computer. Or they can send in a bat and it can be copied on the lathe. As it is cut on the lathe a rough sanding is also done. 4 pounds will be removed from the billet as it is made into a bat!

Sanding is done on several machines with careful examination at each one for defects. The last sander smooths the bat to a "glass finish", preparing it to be painted or stained.

Bats are dipped to paint or stain and hung to dry. They are dipped 3 times in a clear finish and then dried before going to the pad printer. This machine applies the logo on the less strong side of the bat, helping the player to know which side of the bat NOT to hit the ball with.

The next step is hand painting the decorative lines on the bat. It is then ready to be placed on a shelf as stock. When purchased it is engraved with the model number or customized according to the buyers specifications which can include a saying or a name/and or date! They sell bats to schools, little leagues and individuals besides professional players.

If requested the bat will be cupped. This is when the end of the barrel of the bat is cupped out (a little cupped space is taken out of the end). This lightens the weight of the bat by about 1 ounce. It also strengthens the "sweet spot" and adds balance to the bat.

They give tours 6 days a week from 8 - 4. They are busy from January through the spring & summer with 12 employees. Do you know what the "sweet spot" is?

Back to the Prairie

We drove out of the cloudy drizzle into sunshine across Ohio. A night stay at the Comfort Inn at Fremont, Ohio. A long drive across Indiana & Illinois. Finally back in WHO wave length so we could hear the Hawk's get beat. Then through Hawk fan traffic and north. We enjoy "going" and we enjoy getting back "home"! Is that contentment?!

Thanks for joining us "along the way"!

Prairie Schooners

1 comment:

Dagmar said...

Sounds like a great trip! I love the fall colors! The leaves are so pretty here as I'm sure they are there too! Good post!