Sunday, September 11, 2011

Journey Home

Sadly after the airshow we have to start driving home. But we still have a few things to see on the way. It is a 2 day drive home so we aren't doing too much driving each day.

On the first leg of the journey we stop in Liverpool NY to his a hot dog place called Heid's, the line was long and slow but the dogs were good. We also take the dogs out and let them stretch their legs a bit.

Oh and get some Ice cream too!

After Heid's we are back on the road to Cobleskill, NY.  It isn't too much further and we arrive at our "Campsite", it is lush and green as there have been crazy amounts of rain in this area. The ground it totally squishy.

Of course this is a free campsite so you can't complain.

It is of course the parking lot of the local Walmart Super Center. Another 2 rows of parking to our left are some other RV's but we never see or hear them.

We are at a slight disadvantage being we don't have a dumpsite to stop at on our way home so we can't use out facilities. But we can cook and have TV, and heat of course we aren't savages.
In the morning I am sad to say we have breakfast in the Walmart and use their facilities.

We head out and drive down the road to Howe Caverns a cave I went to when I was a kid. It is quiet and we get basically a private tour along with 2 other people.

The cave is pretty cool although the childish names they have for the rocks is annoying because I'd rather learn something about the rocks and cave than know people think a particular rock looks like bacon or a witch.

The cave has almost gone under dozens of times and they keep managing to keep it open, the tour isn't cheap, I don't know how they lose money!
The best part about the cave is that someone found it because Cows used to congregate around an opening to it when it was very warm. Cold air came out of the opening the cows liked the air conditioning!

The country is nice too, you would never know there is a huge cavern under it.

Oddly if we had been a week early the rains had the cavern flooded to the roof and we wouldn't have been able to tour it.

The rest of the drive goes fine but it is sad to leave the trailer at the storage yard knowing it will probably be months before we can take it out again. But we have big plans when we do.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thunder of Niagara Airshow

I think I already mentioned one of the best things about travelling in the Airstream is the freedom and spontaneity. We extended this trip to catch the Thunder of Niagara Airshow. I haven't been to a good airshow in  about 12 years and it doesn't disappoint. Our campground is so close to the Airfield that we have been treated to a lot of flyovers already.
It is also so close we decide to ride our bikes over to the show instead of driving. This turns out to be very important as the traffic backup is long and slow. And the only entrance to the Airfield is on the complete opposite end.

 It is a really nice day for the show, the sun is out and the sky is clear. After having a lot of rain on this trip we are really happy to be out in the sun.

I have always loved this "plane" even before it really existed when it would be on the cover of Popular Science Magazine.

We talk to a pilot about it and he loves flying it and tells us it gets a bad reputation for being hard to fly. (and crashing)

There are a lot of heavy lifters at the show, they are amazing, the cargo areas are the size of football field.

Almost all the planes are open to get in and look around and stuffed with people to tell you about them.

The main in-air attraction today is the Thunderbirds, they are all lined up and ready to go!

We see a B-52, a B-2 Stealth Bomber (Which one of the strangest looking planes in the sky) and the B-1 Bomber.

They are all part of the first part of the in-air shows and a 911 tribute.

After this part of the show is over we realized it is getting late and we ride back to the trailer and finish hitching up for the first part of the ride home.

I know we haven't seen the main show yet. Don't worry we have it all planned out.

We pull out of the campground and head past the airfield and park the trailer in the back of Bowling Alley and walk a bit down to a Church parking lot that has a good viewing spot.

Sadly some kids start following us around and it eventually drives us nuts and we walk a little farther to an even better viewing spot!

After the show is over we are actually in great shape to get back on the road after a stop for gas and coffee and donuts at Tim Hortons. The sour-cream donuts there are awesome.

Close up of one of the Thunderbirds planes, these are F-16s

Friday, September 9, 2011

Martin House, Flowers and Downtown Buffalo

No more rain today! It is sunny and warm! Yahoo!!!!

On tap today we head into Buffalo to checkout some sights.First up the Martin house a restoration in progress of a Frank Lloyd Wright house. The house looks great especially after we learn that over the years after it's decline it was turned into a multifamily slum.

We also learn the restoration is crazy $$$$$.

It doesn't seem like it should add up to the crazy numbers they mention, until we learn things like they track down the original brick maker and spend millions on the bricks alone, re-discovering some odd process he invented where flakes of metal were thrown into the furnaces. At some point we see a bunch of attempts at making the perfect brick, they all look the same to me. But hey donors what 100% authenticity.  Actually the house is amazing, specially the wood work. In the guest house there is also original and reproductions of furniture that was in the house originally.

After the Martin house we hit the Buffalo and Erie Counties Botanical Gardens. Inside the giant greenhouses are several different zones with all sorts of plants.

I like the tropical and succulents the best. A large Koi Pond is pretty cool too.

Here is a view of one of the domed green houses. They are really cool looking Victorian style.

I imagine in the cold cold winters this place is a pleasure to come visit to escape the snow.

I really like the cactus section too. Although some look really deadly and or bizarre.

This is just a normal specimen.

My dad loves Jade plants I know he would be really impressed by this one. It is enourmous

After a good long walk through the gardens we hit the downtown area, it isn't too exciting. Actually some of it is pretty sad. There is a main shopping zone with a cute train system down the middle, only all the stores are pretty much closed and no one is around.

Downtown does have some cool old buildings. Some with some really complex details. We don't spend too much time, we've done a lot today already and we are in need of some downtown.

I think we grabbed some ice cream and went home to the Airstream to relax. We need a little rest as tonight is our last night before we hit the road and we want to go out for a few beers in Buffalo.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fort Niagara, Erie Canals and more of the Falls

Today we went to visit Fort Niagara State Park, it isn't what you normally think of as a state park. Actually is more like a town recreation area with various play grounds and ball fields. It is also empty being September and the kids being back in school.

It also has a small museum and Old Fort Niagara which we decide to checkout.

This cat was just lounging around at the fort. He was pretty cool, after I took his picture he let me pet him.

The Fort is pretty cool and mostly setup as it would have been back in the day. There are people dressed in period garb telling you about various parts of the fort.

I love this kind of stuff provided they don't try to act too much.

The living conditions were pretty rough unless you were high up in command.

We watched a blacksmith in the court main courtyard of the Fort make some tools and hooks and various items.

A little bit of rain started so we moved on.

Next was on to the Erie Canal. In Lockport NY you can walk around on and see locks 34 and 35 in action. It is pretty impressive as we watch this tour boat get lifted up through the two locks.

The boat tour probably would have been fun but it was almost a 4 hour commitment and we were already kind of tired from hiking around the fort.
On the right you can see the lock doors closing up getting ready fill with water and raise the boat up another level. There is a small room on the locks kind of a rough museum full of old logs and other pieces of hardware from locks.

It is still a little damp and we want some coffee but find nothing in the generally Lockport area so we head back to the campground for a french press of coffee. We just miss the big fella below landing but manage to snap this blurry picture as we drive by it taxing.

After the coffee and a little relaxing we made dinner and decided to take the dogs to see the Falls at night. They are really lit up at night from the Canadian side.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Niagara Falls...

When we decided to do one last long trip before putting the trailer away for the winter we had to pick where to go. We wanted to go farther than we had before and see something we hadn't seen. So Maine was out and driving back through Jersey was out so we choose Niagara Falls as the destination.

We had been warned by some people we would be underwhelmed but we had a great time. We actually avoided a lot of touristy stuff at the falls which I think helped.

Often we do a lot of "different" touristy things like these first two picture show a  visit to the main American Hydro Power plant. Above on the right side of  the river is the american plant and the left side is the main Canadian plant.

It was pretty cool to see and had a small and empty museum. Many of the displays were sad and old or silly but they had a great movie about the history if hydro power in Niagara. And of course this cool diorama of how it all works.

 At the falls is a nice park for hiking around and we did all the trails, seeing the various falls from all different sides.

This picture is down at "Cave of the Winds" you get right to (But can no longer walk behind) the falls, you really feel the power of the water. And get to wear a silly yellow poncho, which practically disintegrates by the end of the tour it is so thin. It almost keeps you dry.

This is a picture take from the Maid of the Mist boat tour, which is really cool. Not only do you get a blue poncho (Much higher quality than the yellow ones) but you get really close to the falls. After the boat tour you can do a short walk along the falls as well.

Blue Ponchos everywhere!

I think the boat goes full power just to prevent being swept back from the power of the rushing water.

Those are the Canadian Falls, we never made it over to the Canadian side of the falls, I think it is mostly flashing signs and touristy stuff and we didn't think it was worth the trouble of crossing over.

These are the American Falls viewed from the observation tower that has the elevator down to the Maid of the Mist boat tour.

We had great weather and really no crowds at all which is nice.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Seneca to Niagara

After our hike yesterday we got back to the trailer and got cleaned up. The rain has mostly dried up and the sun was peaking out a bit.

We checked out a winery down the road for a tasting. I am not a wine guy and I am writing this way after the actual trip so I can't remember what we drank.

Nearby the winery we stop at dairy farm to hit their cheese store. Yum!

The next day we pack up and are happy to be leaving the sad campground. Since the holiday weekend is basically over it got real quiet (which was nice).

On our way out of the Finger Lakes we stop end of Lake Senaca to take a walk and eat some lunch.

I am glad the holiday is over because the park is free and empty so we have plenty of room to park the trailer.

Again it is so nice to have your home with you all the time. After a few mile walk we come back and make lunch and have a bathroom and can relax.

So much more comfortable than travelling from hotel to hotel.

After a few hours drive we get to our campground in Niagara. It isn't exactly what you think of when you think campground but it is nice. The location is very convenient to the Niagara Falls and the campground itself is nice even if it is right on a major road.

The property is surrounded by trees and it isn't too big or too crowded. We basically don't have any neighbors for 5 or 6 sites in either direction.

We get setup pretty quickly and get the dogs fed and then head out for dinner.

We drive into Buffalo to get Buffalo Wings of course. The Anchor bar is our choice and it claims to be the home of the Buffalo Wings.

They are really good and we have a great meal and beer.

We hit a few local bars new the Anchor  and sadly end up watching Cupcake Wars at one of them.  Actually I have never seen the show before it is kind of ridiculous.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Watkins Glen and more rain.

Did I mention it has been raining a lot? It has, we are still at Back Acres Campground and the rain doesn't help brighten the sad campground at all.

We are dog sitting so we have 2 (often wet) dogs in the trailer, and they make a big mess.  But they are having a lot of fun.

Our plan today is to hike Watkins Glen State Park, it is all gushing water and waterfalls so it really doesn't matter that it is raining anyway.

I made blueberry scones for breakfast.  Our trailer has a combination convection oven and microwave. I have to be really careful as it cooks much differently than a regular oven.

You can ask the chocolate chip cookies I turned into charcoal on a earlier trip.

I didn't even realize there was a park here, I thought it was just the racetrack that I know from playing Pole Position in the arcade.

It is a pretty cool park, we "hike" the whole thing from end to end, it isn't really hiking as most of it is paved or stone paths.

I love how the water has worn away the rocks. The water is really moving and the layered rocks here are really easy to break off. So it isn't hard to imagine how the river formed all these cool formations.

This is one of a several waterfalls you can walk behind.