Sunday, July 31, 2016

1000 Islands

One last night at the Cracker Barrel in Watertown and I was off to one of the 1000 Islands campgrounds on the St Lawrence River.  Here I would have my last glimpse of the Great Lakes,  where Lake Ontario pulls the plug and drains toward the Atlantic Ocean.

The St Lawrence Seaway is the world's longest, unfortified and friendliest border.  There has been peace between the two countries since the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in 1815 ending the war of 1812.

Besides, it is beautiful.

The native peoples of the area called the area MAN-I-TO-ANNA, meaning the "Garden of the Great Spirit."

The Thousand Islands State Park Region has 45 Canadian and U.S. parks to choose from.  There are actually 1800 lovely islands that are located in the northern region of New York State and are bordered by  Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River, Lake Champlain and the foothills of the Adirondacks.

The St Lawrence River was discovered in 1535 by Jacques Cartier (43 years after Columbus sailed into the Bahamas).

In 1964, Bill Cullen, on the TV program 'Price is Right' gave away one of these  island to a lucky winner.   The name of the island is--(Tah Dah!!)--Price Is Right Island.

I don't know which park I stayed in--it was just the first one I came to on the way to the border.  No, it was not a warm enough day for me to get into that water.

The park was obviously a favorite with the four-legged swimmers...

When this one climbed out of the water he met his match...


Holy Cow!  And all different owners.

What is it with redheads?

This beauty ignored the redheads but spied a young French brunet...

Ahh, I prefer brunets to redheads.

Wow!  Did you see the legs on that one?

Most of the islands are accessible by bridges, others by boat but the river freezes enough in the winter that the islands can all be reached by cars and even trucks.

What is the difference between an island and a shoal?  Any mass above water line 365 days a year that supports at least one tree is an island.

There are about 800 dairy farms and 45,000 head of cattle on these islands.  Philadelphia Cream Cheese was developed in nearby Philadelphia, New York in the mid-1800s. 

It was pretty expensive as State Parks go--$49 per night..Ugh!  But I had not paid for a campground in over a month so I guess I shouldn't complain.  And if you subtract what it would have cost to dump my tanks, fill with water and luxuriate in a 1/2 hour shower, it looks a little less costly.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Free at Last and Headed for the Border


I cannot say enough about the little towns of upstate New York.

If you removed the cars and trucks you would swear you had stepped back 100 years.

So much care has been taken to preserve the old buildings, some over 150 years old, 

...and to keep them viable.

Every town I visited has something interesting to see.

As I drove into Pulaski this view was to my right and paralleled the main street of the town.

The Salmon River

The River is in the very heart of the town and the business area backs right up to the river.

There is a walking trail along the river that runs the length of the town.

I parked Spirit, got out and walked for an hour.

Most of the backdoors of the shops opened out onto the high bank of the river.

Several places along the river provided these overlooks.


If I worked in one of those shops I would have a fishing pole and at lunch each day I might try to catch one of those salmon.

I came across this very old log building that is now a bar.

 I wondered just how old it was but sadly, no one was around that knew the age.


I came upon this tiny little garden (It really looked more inviting than this picture indicates) and I sat and rested for a minute.  How thoughtful to provide this right down town. 

Then I saw the plaque that said it was a memorial to Vernon F. Snow.  I think I would have liked to meet him.

Wouldn't it be lovely if we could all have a bench as a memorial when we die?  Each bench should be in a busy spot where people might need to stop and rest their tired feet.  One's ashes could be sprinkled in a flower bed under that tree and petunias planted beside a commemorative plaque.  I think my plaque would have to read, "I wonder what's around that corner." 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

My war with a U.S. Post Office Mail Box

Well, it has become 'confession time' again.  The last  big one was when I set a picnic table on fire in Washington State. Since then I have been pretty damage free except for whacking the oak tree branch in front of Dickie Bourgeois' plantation.  That damage was only a minor scrape.  

This was really awful! And it happened in Cicero, New York!

And, what, you may ask did I do to cause such a terrible catastrophe to my brand new Winnebago?

It was so stupid!  I tried to mail a letter, at the post office, in the outside mailbox, that was bolted into the sidewalk.  Simple enough, right?  Nope, there was a narrow track I had to drive through to get to the box... 

...and when I started into the track all was fine, until the track curved slightly to the left.
And then I was trapped!  I could not go forward, I could not back up, cars were coming in behind me, and I caught the lip of the mailbox on  the driver's side. The nasty scraping sound was chilling but I couldn't get away from it.

It was when the car behind me suddenly and angrily honked that the worst happened.  I decided to bite the bullet and just charge ahead to get out of there but the lip of the mailbox would not let go.  It held onto the side of the RV and pulled the back panel away from the body of the van.  And it also pulled the mailbox out of the cement! And my life flashed before me in slow motion.

The insurance adjuster was incredibly nice and sympathetic (Let me recommend Progressive Insurance right now), and found this company, Fast Forward, that did Fiberglass repairs.
The owner agreed to let me stay in the RV until all the new parts and pieces came in and the work begun.

I watched daily as new beat up RVs, boats and even a truck limped in to get repaired.

But the crew here made it a priority to get me back on the road again.  When work started on my vehicle they brought in an RV trailer for me to stay in, then they drove me to the laundromat and to the grocery store when I needed a ride.

There were several times they worked on Spirit until 11pm and over the weekend in an effort to get caught up.

Certainly there were bigger jobs but no one else was living there for over two weeks.

I got to watch Spirit get a new paint job, rear end, 

Brett decals, and a thorough clean up.

I owe these guys a million thanks...Matt, who doesn't like his picture taken,

Margie, who even cleaned the workshop shower for me and brought me clean towels (!),

And Ken, who never stopped working the entire time I was there.

Thank you so very much.

Even though my trip was at a standstill for over two weeks, I had this scenic area across the street for me to walk and explore.

It is another section of the Erie Canal that flows out of Oneida Lake.

There were restaurants, marinas, boat launches and just nice sitting areas for blocks along the canal,

and I explored it all.

It was so very frustrating to be sitting still while summer marched on.

I had a lot of miles to cover ahead of me and I felt the pressure of time melting away.

As lovely as the canal was, there were spots along the way that made me cringe.

Why do we use the water as a garbage can?

These wildflowers are growing right in the midst of slabs of discarded broken cement and chunks of rusted metal.

And that stretch of green grass was so covered with dog poop it was impossible to get to that table.

So I just looked for the pretty spots and wished that humans would become better stewards.

Finally I was on the road again and on my way back to Canada.