Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Today we drove across the Rainbow Bridge into Canada. We went to see the falls from across the river. When you are on the same side you can’t see them as well. Niagara Falls, Canada is known for all its beautiful flower gardens. While there we saw some men dressed in costumes with really big heads of the presidents on Mount Rushmore. After coming back into the USA we went to the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. When President McKinley was shot in 1901 at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt traveled to Buffalo and stayed with the Wilcox family. When President McKinley died from his wounds, Roosevelt took his oath of office as the new President in his friend’s home. While we were there, the big headed presidents showed up and we took a picture of them. The house also contained a replica of President Roosevelt's West Wing office. While in Buffalo we went to the Anchor Bar and Grill. This is the bar that lays claim to being the first to make Buffalo wings. We had a platter. After coming back to the island we went back to the VFW for a beer and then on to our camp. We had to do laundry tonight.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
We left camp and drove north to Barcelona, New York, so we could drive Hwy. 5 which runs by the shore of Lake Erie. This was a really pretty drive with houses along the edge of the lake. Highway 5 took us right through Buffalo, New York. We got a site to camp at Cinderella Motel and Campground on Grand Island, New York. This island has the Niagara River running around it. We got set up and then drove to Niagara Falls. We took pictures of American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls from the edge and then from an observation deck. Afterward we walked over a couple of bridges above the Niagara River to Goat Island and took pictures of Horseshoe Falls.
While driving into Buffalo we saw Pearl Street Brewery so we went back into Buffalo and had dinner there. They had about 10 different beers that they make there on tap. I had half chocolate stout and half raspberry stout. It was really good. Jim had double IPA. The food was really good also. This place is in an old building downtown and it is four stories tall. You can rent the third or fourth floor for events. The first and second is the restaurant and bar. From the front balcony you can see downtown and from the back one you can see the Niagara River. The lower level has a deli. We really enjoyed this brewpub. About a mile from the RV park there was another VFW hall so we stopped there, too.
It was 49 degrees when we woke up at 7:30 this morning. After breakfast we decided to move across the road to a site with electricity. After we got settled we took a drive on the scenic loop road and checked out the other campgrounds. The first stop we made was at an historic powerhouse that supplied power to nearby oil pumping units from 1939 until 1989. We made a couple of stops at overlooks on the reservoir. We didn’t pack a lunch today so we stopped at the Kinzua Wolf Run Marina and had burgers and local beers. We needed to find wi-fi to update the blog and returned to the town of Kane. While looking for the library we saw a VFW post and stopped for a beer and they had wi-fi. So we updated the blog there. The locals wanted to know what we thought of Rick Perry when they found out we were from Texas.
Monday, August 29, 2011
We just drove from one camp to another today since hurricane Irene didn’t seem to be as bad as it could have been. The trip took us across the 13 miles of West Virginia. So we were in 3 states today. Thank goodness we drove through Pittsburgh on a Sunday and the traffic wasn’t as bad. We drove past the Steelers and Pirates stadiums. They weren’t playing today. The drive was beautiful but very hilly. We got a campsite in the Allegheny National Forest, Red Bridge campground. Our site is right on the Allegheny Reservoir. We don’t have hook ups but they do have showers and a dump station with water scattered around the campground. We are at the north border of Pennsylvania near New York. The temperature was 58 degrees this morning and at 7:30 pm, now, it is 64 degrees.
Hurricane Irene made landfall in North Carolina this morning. It is clear and 58 degrees here this morning. Jim made sweet potato pancakes for us this morning from the box that I bought from Cracker Barrel. They were really good. We decided to drive to the other campsites in the AEP Recreation Area. One of the sites was a memorial to all the people who have worked at the coal mines. A really cool, colossal, 240 ton dragline bucket (Big Muskie) they used for excavation was on display here. We were really close to a town and we drove there to a small Kroger and bought a few groceries and then drove back to camp, set up the satellite dish to see about Hurricane Irene.
After I fixed breakfast this morning we drove only 24 miles down the road to the AEP (American Electric Power) Recreation Area. This is a 10,000 acre area that has been reclaimed from strip coal mining and made into several really pretty parks. A couple of them are day use and picnic and the others you can camp at. We got a site at Bicentennial Park right on a beautiful lake. The parks have no hookups but do have central water hand pumps and pit toilets. They don’t charge to camp in any of them. We came here to cool our heels and see what hurricane Irene will do to the northeast before we travel any farther.
We got up and Jim bought us breakfast at a Bob Evans Restaurant. We left Camping World and drove to Ohio. When we got to Dayton we stopped to visit the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. This included the Wright Cycle Shop, Huffman Prairie Flying Field Visitor Center and the Wright Memorial. Huffman Prairie was where Orville and Wilbur Wright tested and perfected their airplanes. This was after the initial flights they conducted at Kitty Hawk. After that we toured the National Museum of the United States Air Force and National Aviation Hall of Fame. This museum was on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. This is the Air Force base where the UFO that crashed in Roswell, New Mexico was reportedly transported for study along with the bodies of the aliens. The museum had airplanes from every era from WWI to the present. Jim’s favorites were the B-36 and B-52. These two planes were HUGE! We left at closing time and continued to Cambridge, Ohio, where we stayed in the Cracker Barrel parking lot for the night. I cooked and then Jim went in and bought us each a peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
We had a little rain this morning about four but it didn’t last long. We decided to head out for Indianapolis and found a place to stay just south in Greenwood at a Camping World. They have electricity hookups and you can stay for free. After unhooking we drove into downtown to the U.S.S. Indianapolis memorial. Mother’s brother and my uncle was on the ship on July 30, 1945, when a Japanese submarine sunk it. He lost his life with over a thousand other men. I called my mom and her three sisters and her brother to tell them we were at the memorial. We made several tracings of Uncle Albert's name from the monument. We then went to one brewpub and two breweries. Two weren’t open for tasting until Thursday, Friday and Saturday but they were really nice and let us taste the beers since we were from Houston and were only in town for one day. Jim then took me to eat at a restaurant featured on Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives. We had really good comfort food. He had beef and noodles with mashed potatoes and green beans and I had meatloaf, mashed potatoes and mixed veggies. Yum. We left from there to go back to Camping World before rain set in because we are under a thunderstorm warning. Tomorrow after it goes through it will be a little cooler.
After having breakfast we drove to the other side of the state park and took a tour of My Old Kentucky Home and drove through the historic part of downtown Bardstown. We visited the old Talbot tavern. Among those who have stayed here are Daniel Boon, Jesse James and Abraham Lincoln. The Tennessee Volunteers who died in the Goliad Massacre left from here. We hooked up and left for Louisville. On the way we went tothe a Jim Beam distillery and had a tasting but didn’t take the tour. Just south of Louisville we went to Best Buy and got me a brand new camera. We will have to let it charge all night and I will use it tomorrow. We couldn’t find a cheap place to stay in Louisville so we drove across the Ohio River into Indiana and stayed at Charlestown State Park. This place was virtually deserted. There were only about 6 campers and there were 160 sites. We got settled and then drove back across the river into Louisville and went to 3 brewpubs.
Monday, August 22, 2011
We woke up to a beautiful sunny day and took a short hike to Echo Spring. This spring is where the underground river inside Mammoth Cave comes to the surface. We hooked up and drove to Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace and then to his boyhood home. His log cabin birthplace is inside a magnificent stone monument. The boyhood home is a reconstruction using one of his neighbor’s log cabin.
We decided we needed to visit at least one bourbon distillery while in Kentucky. We drove to Makers Mark, the oldest operating bourbon whiskey distillery, and went on a tour. They made a big deal out of hand dipping the necks of the bottles in hot red wax. At the conclusion of the tour we got to taste 3 of their bourbons. Jim took a small sip from each and I had mine and finished his. Bourbon is not Jim’s thing.We got a camp site at My Old Kentucky Home State Park. This park has a golf course, campground and the home which inspired the Stephen Foster song. He also wrote, “Oh Susanna”, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair” and “Camptown Races”. My camera is on the blink and won’t work anymore. We drove to Walmart to look for a new one and Jim didn’t like any of them. We will try to get me a camera in Louisville at a Best Buy. There is another Casita trailer in camp and they are from Slidell, Louisiana. We talked to them and found out they went to the Bluebonnet Rally in Bandera, Texas for the first time this year when we didn’t get to make it because of the Pathfinder transmission trouble.
A rainstorm woke us up at 6 am. It rained until after 7. I wanted to go out and dance in it since it has been so long since Houston has seen any rain. We hooked up and took off for Kentucky. We got a site for the night at Mammoth Cave National Park campground. Our National Park book states all sites are primitive but we found out there are two full hookup sites. One was occupied and we got the other. We unhooked and went to the visitor center and purchased tickets for the Historic Entrance Tour. It was a two hour tour. This cave is the longest cave system in the world. It was 54 degrees inside. After dinner we worked on the blog and went to a Ranger Rick talk on the “underworld”.
We had breakfast and then drove to Murfreesboro to visit Stones River National Battlefield. This was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Over 25,000 men were killed. After touring the battlefield we went to the cemetery which held several thousand of the men. Afterward we drove to Andrew Jackson’s home named The Hermitage. It is a beautiful old mansion that was on his cotton plantation. Jim wanted to go back into downtown before we went to the Grand Ole Opry and see the full size replica of the Parthenon that was built for the Tennessee centennial in 1897. It was quite impressive, and on the inside was a huge statue of Athena in all gold that Jim called cheesy. We visited a fifth brewpub and walked around the main drag downtown where I talked to an Elvis tribute artist. We left downtown and drove to the Grand Ole Opry. We saw: Larry Gatlin, Bill Anderson, Jimmy Dickens, and Vince Gill. They were the hosts of four thirty minutes segments. The other performers were: Jimmy C. Newman, John Conlee, The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, Mike Snyder, Jimmy Wayne, Jan Howard, James Wesley, Connie Smith and Bradley Gaskin. The Opry Square Dancers performed twice. We really enjoyed the Opry and thought Larry Gatlin and Jimmy Dickens were the best. Larry Gatlin was very personable as host and his first song of the night was “Houston”. Little Jimmy Dickens was 90 years old and he was so funny. He told a lot of jokes and sang. John Conlee sang “Rose Colored Glasses". We waited for the parking lot to clear and then went back to camp and had a very late, quick dinner.