Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lake George

On Thursday we took a 6 hour drive east across New York
 on the NY Thruway ($49.00 Toll)
which brought us to Lake George, NY.

Lake George is my old stomping grounds.
   
Kate and I lived near here for many years, we owned a cabin
on the lake for several years, my job is located in the area, 
and as a kid I used to spend endless summers here.

On Friday I donned a suit and went into the office.
Its been quite a while and it was good to have some face to face time 
with the boss and my staff.

On the way back to the Motorhome I picked Ron up in Saratoga Springs
and we headed up to Bolton Landing about a third of the way up the lake
to hook up with my friend Matt who has a house above the lake.

Soon we were out on the Lake on Matts Boat.
Our first stop was the Victorian Era Sagamore Hotel.

Built in 1883 the Sagamore catered to the rich and famous of the time.


Called "The Queen of American Lakes" it is hard to describe the beauty of the lake.
32 miles long, Crystal Clear, and 280' deep.

Surrounded by tall mountains, much of its shoreline is undeveloped and
protected as "forever wild" land.

Dotted with hundreds of islands...  most are State owned, and many 
have campsites on them, accessible only by boat.


Here we are in Paradise Bay.   A group of close islands with campsites on them.


The camping islands range from small single site islands to larger islands
with dozens of campsites.


Three Brothers Island.
A group of three privately owned islands spanned by a covered bridge with
boat docks below the bridge.


Lake George figured prominently in the Battles between the French in Canada
and the British in America for control of the continent.

The Lake was right in the middle of the route from Lake Champlain in the North
and the Hudson River to the South.

During the French and Indian war the British placed cannons in the narrow sections of
the lake where the water was shallow.   They built up rock cairns and placed the cannons
on these cairns.

The  Cannon Batteries were referred to as "floating batteries" since they appeared to sit
right on the surface of the water.

Below you can see a rock cairn (just left of center).
The island in the background is named Floating Battery Island due to the
large number of floating batteries that surrounded it.


Later - Lake George figured prominently in our battle for independence.

If you have seen the movie "The Last of the Mohicans", this movie was all
about the Lake George Area, and Fort William Henry is located in
what is now Lake George Village.

We are staying at the Lake George RV Park.
The Party Bus is too big for the state parks at the Lake.
The RV Park is nice and wooded.
Full hookups, 50 Amp, and Cable TV at all sites.


Today - Saturday - we took a day trip north to Ticonderoga NY to visit
Fort Ticonderoga.

Along the way we stopped at a lookout above Lake George for this shot.

Fort Ticonderoga was built by the French in 1753 to control the overland route from
Lake Champlain to Lake George.   It was situated at the southern end of Lake Champlain.

This was the southernmost post of the Canadian French forces just as
Fort William Henry (just 40 miles or so south at the south end of Lake George) 
was the northernmost post of the British at the time.


Just a few of the people who have passed thru this gate"
George Washington, Benjamin Franklin,  Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen.
The list is much much longer.


The fort changed hands between the French and British, and later the
British and Americans, several times.

This is inside the forts walls.


Looking out at the ramparts.
Note the old glass.


Standing on the upper inner ramparts.


Looking down to the business end of a 16 pounder.
Note the cannons on the lower ramparts as well.


Another view inside the fort looking down from the ramparts onto the parade ground.


Old Glory flies proudly over the fort.

The staff all wear period clothing that is made in the original manner on site
(including the footwear)  you can not only see it all being made, but there are also
cannon and other weapon demonstrations.

Below we saw a musket demonstration.


Fire!


Tomorrow is our last day at the Lake.
Then Ron and Maxine head to Maine and we head south for home.

But first we have a barbecue to attend.
More good food....  Oh the Humanity!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Iowa to New York

We are now sitting on the Shore of Lake Erie.
The sound of the waves lapping the shore lull us to sleep and the cool
breeze off the lake takes the edge off of the days heat.

After leaving Iowa we spent one night outside of Chicago at the
Hollywood Casino RV Park in Joliet.
I was surprised - it was a pleasant place to spend the night.
The park had grass and trees,  Water and 50amp service.

Kates BFF Mary came to visit and spend the night in the Party Bus.
A good time was had by all.

The next day we moved 4hrs east to Maumee Bay State Park near
Toledo, Ohio.

This was our second visit here.

This time we spent two days over Memorial day weekend. (Sun & Mon).

Kate, Ron & Maxine went to visit the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mi
on Monday while I stayed behind and got some office work done.

The Henry Ford is a very impressive Museum. 
We also visited it on our last stop here.   

Our site (149) at Maumee Bay SP


Today we moved 4 1/2hrs east to Dunkirk, NY and are now at
Lake Erie State Park.
Our sites are prime locations - about 100' above the lake with
a westerly view out over Lake Erie.
Ron is on the left and we are on the right in site 13.
We have 50amp service. 
The park also has a potable water fill and dump station.


Another view from our site. 


Sunset from our back yard.


The smell of a distant campfire lends a nice accent to the sunset.


Kate sits and enjoys the setting sun.


We will spend two nights here and then move east across NY
to the Lake George / Capital Region where we used to live.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day

Lest we forget....
While Memorial Day is a time to get together with friends and family.

A time for barbecues and good times.

Lets never forget the true meaning of the holiday.

Hundreds of thousands of men (and women) have sacrificed their lives in service to us.

Old men and politicians don't die in war.   Young men do.

Young lives cut short in their prime.


They lie in the 4 corners of the globe.

The American Cemetery at Omaha Beach, Normandy France is but one place.


They died so that we may be free.

And perhaps even more nobly....     They died so that the world may be free.



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Nebraska to Iowa

Our eastward stroll continues.
After leaving Lake Ogallala we had a strenuous 1 hour drive to North Platte, Neb
where we spent the night and visited the Union Pacific Bailey Switching Yard.


The Bailey Yard is the largest rail switch yard in the world.
Measuring 2 miles wide by 8 miles long the yard processes over 14,000 rail cars
per day.

Trains are broken apart, the cars sorted and placed on the right tracks with other cars
going to the same city.   On average a rail car spends less than 11 hrs in the yard before
it moves out towards its destination.

There are separate facilities for both eastbound and westbound trains.

There is also a repair facility for the Power Units (Locomotives).
This shop was featured on Modern Marvels.
They repair about 350 Power Units per month.


There are also fueling facilities for trains passing thru and they pump
about 12 million gallons of fuel per month.

We viewed the yard from the top of the Golden Spike tower.
8 floors up the view of the yard and surrounding area was impressive.


The next day it was time to hit the road.
While Kate and I napped, the Doodles drove us to Kearney.


We stopped at Fort Kearney State Historical park.
A previous blog - link here - explains about Fort Kearney.

While in the neighborhood we also did some shopping at Cabellas Store
in Kearney.

Our night was spent at Windmill State Rec Area in Gibbon, Neb.
It was a lovely state park but unfortunately it was a raw and rainy day and
I did not get any pictures of the park.

We had 30amp service and there is water and a dump station in the park.

The next day, onward we pushed.
Traveling thru Omaha, Neb you pass "The Big Coffee Pot"
Sapp Bros Truck Stop is a local landmark that goes back to my days as a trucker.

I've had many a plate of Biscuits and Gravy here.


Our next stop was Prairie Rose State Park in Iowa.
It is a small park on a small lake.
It is quiet and relatively unknown except to locals.
We had the place almost to ourselves.

50amp service is available.   Full Hookups in a separate area up the hill.


The rain had stopped, and while overcast the promise was for sunshine tomorrow.
In the interim we enjoyed watching the Geese and their babies in the lake.


Thursday dawned clear and brisk.
Another 200 miles eastward found us just outside of Cedar Rapids Iowa
at FW Kent County Park.

FW Kent is another park frequented mostly by locals.   It was the start of the
Memorial Day Weekend and this park is first come first serve.
Our early (noonish) arrival on Thursday assured us of a spot for the next two nights.

The park is the nicest county park that I've ever been to and much nicer
than many State Parks.  
We have 50amp service and a dump station is on the way out.


Our morning walk, Kate and Maxine walk the Doodles ahead of us.


The reason for our stop here was to visit the Amana Colonies.
In short the Colonies were started by German Immigrants in the mid 1800's.
A plaque below tells more of the story.


A backyard on a side street.


We visited the main village (and the largest of the 7) Amana.

You might remember the Amana Radar Range??

It was the first microwave oven and was made here.


It was a quiet day to visit the village.


The main road thru the village.


We stopped for lunch.   Of course the food is German and delicious.
Kate had Wienerschnitzel and I had Wurst and Kraut.

I washed it all down with a Bittburger Pilsner Beer which is one of the best in Germany.


Life is too short to drink Miller Light.


Tomorrow morning we push on to Joliet, Illinois for one night, and
then to Maumee Bay State Park in Ohio.

We will spend two nights there on the shore of Lake Erie, and
visit the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.

See you down the road.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area

We are here at the lake for 3 nights.
Last night was our first.
An exciting stormy night for sure.

Today was a down day - a lazy Saturday..

Lazy like these horses and donkeys at Fort Laramie.



The Campground has lots of mature Cottonwood trees that provide welcome shade.
Below is our site (L) and Rons (R)


A beautiful spot.  
Super quiet with only the sounds of the birds who are in full
fledged mating activity.


 Tonights dinner was Racclette.

We first had this Swiss Dinner this winter when we visited
our friends in Switzerland and we've been dying to try it out here in the states.

Pretty much anything you like to eat mixed together and then covered with
melted Raclette Cheese.

To prepare it you need a Raclette Machine.


We had pearl onions, peppers, potatoes, pickles, zucchini, chicken, filet mignon, salmon,
and of course.....  cheese to melt over it all.


Place your ingredients onto a little tray which goes into the Raclette
Maker...   it melts and then you scrape it onto your plate on top of the potatoes.


Swiss Raclette on the plains of Nebraska....  nice.

Unfortunately we had to substitute Raclette Cheese for another variety that
I purchased at a Cheese Shop in Walla Walla, but it still was fun and delicious.


Of course a nice Deutsch Bier to wash it down.


We are out here in the elements...   exposed to nature and living like animals...
But somehow we are surviving.

And then there was tonights sunset...


While I stood there all I could think of is
Louis Armstrongs song - "What a Wonderful World".



Life is good!