Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Eisenhower Lock on the St Lawrence Seaway

Aug 27, 2012 Mon
Today I visited the Eisenhower Lock on the St Lawrence Seaway. They have a viewing platform that allows you to watch a ship come into the lock.
A ship enters the lock. The doors are closed and then water is either fed in or drained out depending on whether the ship is bound up river or down. Once the water level is equal to that of the direction the ship is going the ship exits the lock. They can fill the lock with water in 7 minutes. That’s pretty amazing.
To reach the campground I had to pull my trailer through a tunnel that goes under the Eisenhower lock. I admit I had some trepidation at first, then I just drove really fast till I reached the other side.
Ship entering the low water end of the dock. After the gate at the end of the lock is closed, the water will be raised to the high water mark you see on the side of the lock.
High water end of the lock where the ship will exit
Ship in the lock passing over the tunnel that leads to the campground.
Camping on the St Lawrence Seaway. The ships that pass through the lock also pass by the campground.

1000 Islands on the St Lawrence River NY

Aug 25, 2012 Sat
On the suggestion of my younger sister I visited Alexandria Bay on the St Lawrence River in New York state and took a tour boat ride through the 1000 islands area of the St Lawrence River. She said “it’s so beautiful you must see it” Well I thought "beautiful" meant scenery. To my surprise this area is a playground of the rich. We’re talking the top 10% rich. My sister and I have different ideas about beautiful. She’s more the “Home’s and Garden” type and I’m more the National Park / wildlife type.
I imagine the area was gorgeous before humans decided to build on the islands. There are no sewer systems on the islands. The properties have huge holding tanks and honey wagon barges come around and empty the tanks.
The water traffic on the river boarders on dangerous in both volume and speed. Our boat pilot had to dodge more than one boat that cut in front of us. He would blow the VERY loud horn. One time our tour guide gave a boater a good scolding.
There are small patches of undeveloped areas and a state park in the area.
Big House 1
Big House and Big Boat House
Big House 3
Really Big Housse with Really Big Boats
Oldie but Goody
1000 Island NY Tour Boat
Speed Boat

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Seneca Falls NY

Aug 24, 2012 Friday
I visited the town of Seneca Falls NY today. For those of you who may not be familiar with this town or the historical significance of Seneca Falls here is a crash course.
As early as the 1840’s Seneca Falls was gaining a reputation for social and religious reform. Abolition of Slavery and the Underground Railroad, the Temperance movement and women's rights were among issues supported by local residents. On July 19 and 20, 1848 the first Convention on Women's Rights was held at the Wesleyan Chapel on Fall Street in Seneca Falls. Organized by Jane Hunt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Ann M'Clintock and others, it was the birth of the Women's Rights Movement.
If you are a woman and you appreciate the fact that you can not only earn a wage, but keep the money for yourself and not turn it over to your husband or father, or you appreciate being able to own property, and appreciate the right to vote, then you should put Seneca Falls NY on YOUR bucket list.
I visited the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Women’s Rights National Park while I was in Seneca Falls.
The Women’s Hall of Fame is a small space, but they have purchased a new building – actually it’s an old garment factory – so they can display all the artifacts that have been donated to them from the friends and families of the Hall of Fame inductees. All they need is about a million dollars to complete the project. The current space has mounted photos of the inductees with a short bio included.
The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor American women who have made valuable contributions that have helped to develop the country in one of the following fields: government, arts, business, philanthropy, science, athletics, education, or humanities.
The Women’s Rights National Park is a two story building that celebrates the history and ongoing struggle of women to gain equality. If you should visit this national treasure, be sure and take the time to view the film that is shown throughout the day.

You women rock
And just across the street
WRNP Display
WRNP Display
Dressn' up
Statues at the WRNP
One of my faves
Future home of the National Women's Hall of Fame

Eastman House and Hamlin SP NY

Aug 23, 2012 Thur
Check one off the bucket list. Rochester NY is home to the Eastman House. This was the home of the late George Eastman (I’m sure you have heard of Eastman Kodak).
George Eastman was the inventor of the first film in roll form in1884 and the Kodak camera in 1888.
Eastman House is not just his mansion. It’s also a series of galleries containing a large amount of photographic history. There is an underground archive that contains photographs of famous people and events in history and even Hollywood movies.
The mansion has a lovely garden area where special events and concerts are held. While I was there an on loan exhibit of bronze statues was being displayed in the gardens. These sculptures were created by artist Todd McGrain. The name of the exhibit is "Lost Birds". Each bronze bird sculpture represents a North American bird that has been driven to extinction. The artist seeks to permanently install the bronze memorials in the locations where the birds were last seen alive in the wild.
I’m camped at Hamlin Beach SP just south of Rochester NY. There is only 20 Amp electrical and you have to pack your trash out with you. Other than that it’s an awesome campground. The sites are far apart and separated by dense growth underbrush and trees. There is a huge groomed area along the shores of Lake Ontario.
Carolina Parakeet
Great Auk
Labrador Duck
George's House - Big Bucks - Never Married - No Children
George's Staircase
Lake Ontario at Hamlin Beach State Park

Aug 22, 2012 Wed
Here I was driving down the highway with a plan to visit the Pocono Mountains. Why? I’m not really sure. I think I saw them in a 1940’s movie or something. Go figure. Then I saw a sign that read “Niagara Falls 20 miles”. I really had no intention of visiting Niagara Falls, but come on – 20 miles. It was not quite noon so I thought I could get a campsite for the night, unhook and check out the falls that afternoon and get back on the road the next day. That’s just what I did. So now I can say I’ve seen Niagara Falls. They are a pretty magnificent natural feature. The area around the falls is very commercial.
I found the Niagara River to be quite impressive on its own. It's very wide and swift just up stream from the falls. You can view the river from Goat Island. Goat Island is part of the the state park just over a small bridge from the main viewing area.
Horseshoe Falls from a distance
American Falls
American Falls - Yes I was that close. AWESOME!!!
Niagara River NY
Niagara River section going through Three Sisters Islands off of Goat Island

Friday, August 24, 2012

Allegheny National Forest PA

Aug 21, 2012 Tue
I’m spending the night in the Allegheny National Forest PA. I’m sitting at my campsite and all I can hear is the wind in the pines and the drum of a Pileated Woodpecker echoing through the woods. I visited the Kinzua Damn visitor center on my way to the campground. They can run water through the damn to generate electricity and then pump the same water up to a reservoir and run it through again. This is the first time I’ve seen this. Nice concept.
Camping in the Allegheny National Forest PA

Allegheny River PA

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lake Erie at Geneva OH

Aug 20, 2012 Sun
This is twice now that my schedule has worked out so that I could go through the big city on the map, this time Cleveland, on a Sunday morning. It makes it so easy. I wanted to continue my journey along the Great Lakes and was lucky not to have to either go around Cleveland or sit in traffic. There were a dozen other people and myself on the highway all the way through Cleveland. Yahoo!
The map indicated there was a state park in Ohio on Lake Erie and I could get there via highway 20 and miss the toll road. I was driving east on 20 when I came to a sign that said “Welcome to Perry”. Perry…. Perry….. Why does that sound so familiar? About half way through Perry I remembered my friend Kathy used to talk about her hometown of Perry Ohio. Well isn’t this a small world. I noticed two ladies sitting at a couple of tables with items for sale and a big sign that read “Perry Flea Market”. I took a photo of the sign and sent it to Kathy. She got a kick out of it. I received a text message from Kathy and her partner informing me of a couple of good restaurants in the area. Unfortunately they were both closed on Monday, my only day in town. I did have a nice lunch and a beer on the shores of Lake Erie.
Geneva State Park is a nice State Park with electrical hookups. As with most state parks it’s a zoo on the weekends.

Lake Erie at Geneva OH

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore MI

Aug 17, 2012 Fri
Spending a couple of nights in Traverse City MI
Laundry – check
Truck washed – check
Took a side trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore today after I completed a couple chores.  I drove the scenic drive through the park and played “tourist with a camera”.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Lake Michigan
Glen Lake MI

45th Parallel Sign MI

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Seney National Wildlife Refuge MI

Aug 15, 2012 Wed
Today I visited the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. I had a wonderful day driving the 10+ miles of auto tour routes in the park. This was my first time observing Trumpeter Swans and the Common Loons in the wild. The swans are so majestic. The Seney NWR was created to protect these two birds and provide a breeding habitat for them. I thought I would find the beginning of the warbler southern migration, but I think I’m just a little early. I did see a yellow, a golden-winged, and pine warbler, but alas, no photos.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge
Trumpeter Swan with Young
Trumpeter Swans
Trumpeter Swan
Common Loon
Common Loon With Young
Common Loon Young
Beaver Hutch
Spider Web With Dew Drops

Indian Lake State Park MI

Aug 14, 2012 Wed
So I left the lovely little park on Lake Superior and headed east. I stopped at a Michigan Welcome Center and after explaining my travel plans and interests to the young woman behind the counter she suggested I check out Indian Lake State Park and Seney National Wildlife Refuge. So off I went. Indian Lake SP campground is a well maintained campground with a decent amount of space between sites. All sites have electrical hookups.
Indian Lake State Park Michigan's Upper Penninsula

Sunset on Indian Lake MI

Manisitque Lighthouse Michigan's Upper Penninsula