Sunday, December 12, 2010

Syracuse, New York delivery in July 2010

Picked up a 35 ft gas Winnebago Vista with "my" colors used in the interior! (winter moss green with cherry wood)
Packed the Winnebago, finished varnishing trim, dug our garden crop of onions, moved the last appliances & furniture from the
kitchen & utility room to the living room so it would be ready for M & G Floor Coverings to put down the underlay and vinyl while we were gone.
Thank-you Lord for keeping the overnight storms to the west of us!

On the road early morning, sun is shining, everything is green, we spot a colorful hot air balloon, and wild flowers bloom profusely along the edge of t
he highway. Pink & yellow cone flowers, white queen Anne lace, lavender bee balm, black-eye Susan, tall stocks of blue chicory and spikes of purple vervain!

We wonder how many Flying J's are still Flying J's! They have merged with Pilot but one in our area was sold to Love's. The comp
any assures us that our card is good at both locations.

Over the Mississippi, into Illinois heading for Chicago. Money ready for paying tolls. Smooth trip through the city. Our first experience with an automatic "without a person" pay with ticket experience. Thankfully the machine talks!! Into Indiana. The fields of corn & beans are showing heat and drought distress. The grass is brown. Toll way service area for the night. Very hot so took our books in to the service center building enjoying the AC, ate supper and read until the sun was down and it was cool. Nice breeze across our bed.

Into Ohio. Crops are smaller. Fields of vegetables & melons. Winter wheat fields are harvested. A quick view of Lake Erie in Cleveland with sail boats on the horizon but not much of a view of the city because busy watching traffic and signs! Into the tree lined rolling landscape along North east Ohio.

Into Pennsylvania. Acres and acres of grape vines.

Into New York and more
glimpses of Lake Erie. Another overnight stay at a toll way service area. It is cloudy so motor home is cool.

Partly cloudy morning drive through light traffic with Gertrude (our Garmin) giving directions to the dealer. A view of a ridge of tree-covered mountains in the distance. The farms have large barns & silos. This is the area that was settled by the Seneca Indians. Many canals and a site of an old Erie Canal lock.

Smooth, fast delivery and in the Saturn for some sightseeing.

A rain shower kept us from walking along a canal at the Erie Canal Park. Took state Hwy 5 through the countryside. Many huge, brick, two-stor
y houses with a cupola on top. Must have been the "style" at one time in this area!

Found a "Budget Inn" in Waterloo, NY (not a lot of motels in this area). For $75 we got a room without a ph
one, an internet connection, a clock, or free breakfast! It did have an arrangement challenged bath, difficult to turn on shower, AC that worked, a TV that worked and a bed in a quiet neighborhood!! Learning to be "thankful" in all situations!

Seneca Falls

We walked along the historic Cayuga-Seneca Canal just off main street. Private yachts were tied up at the docks. They use the canal to move between lakes. Shops and restaurants line one side of the canal. Even a place to do laundry and take a shower for the boaters.

The original falls of the river were a series of raids that dropped over forty feet in the course of a mile. Early European settlers dammed the rapids to create three falls ,increasing the speed and concentrating the power of the
water. Then they dug a canal next to the river to allow boats to go around, instead of over, the falls. The improvements were made so the town would grow and prosper. A century later they were destroyed for the same reason!

In 1825 dozens of water-powered factories sprang up along the river and the canal and on the islands between the two waterways.

Prior to 1914, New York State decided to enlarge the Erie Canal system to accommodate bigger boats. This project compl
etely changed the landscape of early Seneca Falls. After damming the Seneca River, crews removed canal walls, dams and buildings on the islands. They deepened the riverbed and built new canal retaining walls. The rest of the riverbed was land-filled to provide a roadway behind Fall Street buildings. When water rushed in to fill the new canal in 1915 the old falls disappeared under the water.

Today only one original factory building still stands along
the canal, Seneca Falls Mills.

The Historical Society has filled a 23 room 1889 Queen Anne Style Mansion with furnishings, items, photo's, and documents of the history of the area which includes woman's rights (this is the home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the first women's rights convention of 1848), the Civil War, and local genealogy. It offers a glimpse into the lifestyles of Seneca Falls' industrialists. No inside photography permitted but they do have a website.

On this trip I picked up Lynn Austin's book, "Though Water's Roar" from our local library to read. She writes about how four generations of women in a family fought for their beliefs. Here I am in the town where one generation of women fought for the right to be treated as equals under the laws of the nation!

Highlights of the tour:
  • Carved sunflower design in woodwork in every room and in the metal door hinges.
  • Wood floors laid in the herring bone design.
  • The Dining room table has 7 leaves for extension.
  • The kitchen had a pineapple peeler, a copper hot water heater and a coffee roaster.
  • The doors were eight feet tall.
  • Checker boards were built into the floor on the landings for the children.
  • The toy room had a built-in stage on one end.
  • A room with Goulds Pumps, one of the 300 industries along the falls, which included a toy company, one that made cast iron stoves and corn shellers.
  • An antique knitter for socks that had been used at the mill.
  • Stained glass windows. One with the children's pictures.
Finger Lakes

Hwy 89 gives a scenic drive on a tw0-lane winding country road between the Seneca and Cayuga lakes. There are 5 long lakes in this area. They do look like fingers on a hand when you look at the map!

Interesting small towns, farms, rice fields, vineyards and wineries, lake homes, tree-lined areas, many historical markers, rocky soil and a 'full service' gas station with a side road for 2 lanes of cars to wait for their turn at the pumps! Very good price for this time of year--$2.65

The guide at the museum recommended we stop at the Cayuga Lake Creamery in Interlaken, NY for ice cream. Home made ice cream sounded good, but we were there several hours before it was open--so will try it the next time we are in the area!

Taughannock Falls State Park

"The falls are formed by a rock bed creek entering the lake and surrounded by a glen with walls climbing to 400 feet (120 meters). The cataract has a drop of 215 feet (66 meters), one of the highest east of the Rocky Mountains slightly higher even (25 ft., 8 m) than Niagara (American side), but they cannot be compared because it has much smaller volume. Taughannock is interesting year round - the falls and gorge create a natural amphitheater with dense spray rising from the bottom often shrouding the lower part of the cataract in mist. The name "Taughannock" originates either from that of the Delaware Indian chief Taughannock or as the Delaware word taghkanic ("great fall in the woods")."

Because it was so dry there was not a lot of water dropping the day we stopped. The rocky bed of the river looked as if someone had cut large squares. We viewed the falls from the top.

Corning Museum of Glass

The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York is a must stop if you are in the area. Kids and teens are free. We spent over 3 hours and did not see everything! One area has exhibits of thousands of pieces of glass. One area has interactive exhibits that explain the different ways that glass is used in everyday life and how it is made from shatterproof windshields to lenses to fiber optics! Live, narrated glass demonstrations all day and the opportunity to "make your own glass!" Check their website for more information.
  • Glass was first made in 2000 B.C. in Iraq, Nigeria and Mesopatamia. It was several hundred years before it was made in other regions and parts of Asia & Egypt. Much later in China and other areas.
  • Archeologists have found clay tablets inscribed with the formula for making glass in Iraq & Turkey.
  • Glass ingots were found in shipwrecks.
  • The raw materials were melted. A furnace under ground had a dome with holes to insert heat proof bone with glass to be shaped.
  • Glass articles were used for early trading.
  • Romans used molds to make inexpensive glass dishes.
  • First Century AD new markets and a new type of furnace allowed the production of raw glass in very large amounts.
  • In 1963 a team of university students and the Corning Museum discovered a huge slab of glass at Beth She'arim, Israel. It weighed 18,000 lbs.
  • Glass was used as weights for scales for commerce. It was easy to see if the weight had been tampered with!
  • Green (my favorite color!) glass was made in central & northern Europe in the middle ages and 18th century. Some glass was mixed with potash made from ashes of trees or ferns.
  • The Germans mad "trick" glasses. They were elaborately shaped and designed to be difficult to drink from!
  • An exhibit of pieces made for the World's Fairs included a four foot high cut glass kerosene parlor lamp and a 10 foot long candelabra of cut glass!!
  • A glass maker in Germany in the late 1800's used gas torches, pincers and other hand tools to make invertebrate sea animals from jelly fish to octopus to sea anemone and plant models from orchids to holly and even glass eyes! So realistic!
  • Musical instruments including a glass flute and a glass harmonica.
  • Early window glass was blown into a large six foot cylinder. Both ends were cut out and then split open and heated to flatten.
  • Napoleon I of France awarded a prize of 12,000 francs to Nicolas Appert in 1809 for inventing a way to vacuum pack food. In 1858, John Mason perfected a way to seal jars cheaply with a zinc screw cap.
  • In 1882, a German glass chemist discovered that adding boron to glass produced a durable, heat resistant that a Corning chemist perfected in 195 to make pyrex glass cookware, nuts & bolts, x-ray tubes, lab ware, skylights & pumps.
  • Fiberglass started as an experiment making fabric for a dress. It was very uncomfortable. The fibers would break with movement and scratched! Back to the drawing board.
A Microtel Motel in Olean was our stop for the night. Appreciated the office available to guests for preparing our paper work for mailing.

Cutco Visitor Center

On our way through town we spotted the Cutco Knife Factory and Visitor Center. They do not give factory tours, but do have pictures taken inside the factory with explanation of how they make their knives and of course, a store!

It takes 15 separate pieces to fit together to make a folding pocket knife!

Ka-Bar knives are made for the military use. The name came when a hunter had used one to defend himself from an attacking bear and wrote a letter to the company running the words 'killed a bear' together looking like ka bar!

Formerly the knives were all hand made, but the factory is computerized.

We were just checking up to see if what our grandson, who sold them at one time, was telling the truth about how they were made. He did! They are quality knives with a quality price and do a quality job in the kitchen!

A short drive south to Rock City, an area of gigantic rock formations with one of the largest exposures of quartz conglomerate or pudding stone!

What is pudding stone? It is a conglomerate rock made up of a mixture of different, irregular sized grains and pebbles held together from a finer grain sand, usually quartz. It is a rock formed by sediments in the water.

The rocks in this area are supposedly to have been heaved up with a collision hundreds of millions of years ago. (We know that it probably happened during the upheavel at the time of Noah's flood, which was only a few thousands of years ago!)

We were greeted by a Burma Shave sign reading:
I sure am glad we came today,
Stupendous! Colossal! We hear folks say
A more awesome site you seldom see
Gazing at a boulder and not the green
Down below fantastic surprises for you.
From atop the rocks a magnificent view
Carved through water by God's own Hand.
You will enter a wonderland.

What a sight! The immense boulders balancing on top of each other, crevices wide enough to walk through, arches, the surfaces covered with fern, moss, lichen and what looks like shells from the ocean.

This area did not have the coal that miners had hoped, but oil was discovered. It is part of the Pennsylvania oil fields. At one time this area furnished 75% of the world's oil. Part of a "Parkersburg" drilling rig that was used up until 1962 is visible.

It is an awesome feeling to walk among the huge boulders. A great break from riding in the car.

The museum has a large assortment of rock samples and a video that shows the complete park tour if you are unable to walk the trails.

A Bon Air Hotel, pavilion and train station was operating in 1890 to bring tourist to this area.

Drove scenic routes into Pennsylvania through the mountains in and out of little rain showers then sun then clouds again. Around Cleveland back to I-80 for a motel at Streetsboro. Very hot and muggy. Tornadoes went through the area south of us. Supper at one of our favorite restaurants, Bob Evans!

Watched the movie, "Twelve Angry Men," on TCM. Interesting to see them change their minds when reason showed that what was presented as facts could have been wrong. What is presented as factual truth is not always so. God gave us a mind to use to make judgements on what we hear!!

The "home magnet" has kicked in. We take interstate across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and back to Iowa! Audio books and our music tapes help to pass the time as the scenery flies by our windshield. Making notes of places advertised along the highway that we might want to stop and investigate the next time we are past this area!

The Prairie looks good and our new floor is fabulous! A good night's rest and we can start to move appliances and furniture back as our carpenter finishes putting on the trim and resets our cupboards putting on a new counter-top! We are "thankful" for safe travels and for what has been done here while we were gone!!

See you along the way,

Prairie Schooners

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