21 July 2011

Western New York Phase II - Lechtworth State Park

After we left Bristol Campground and separated from the girls and their handlers we had a short, lonely drive to Lechtworth State Park in Mt Morris, NY.   We were looking forward to our stay in this park that the girls had visited and described as beautiful and fun!

It is a long north to south park relative to its width.  About 17 mi long and its dominating feature is the deep gorge that runs thru it with a river at the bottom of the gorge which is nearly 600 feet deep in much of the park.   The river had caved the gorge over the millennium and in the last several hundred years had been the source of repeated flooding of Rochester and other cities downstream.   To control the Genesee River and the devastating floods the US Corps of Engineers built Mt Morris dam which is in the park.   Also, in the park are three pretty waterfalls - the Lower Falls, the Middle Falls, and the Upper Falls on the Genesee River.

Genesee River at bottom of gorge
Mt Morris Dam on Genesee River
We started off with a tour of the dam.   It was an impressive structure but did not seem to have much water behind it.  At that point the river seemed like a lazy, small river meandering down the middle of this huge gorge!  We learned this was a dry dam and it rose about 230 ft above the river bed! At its base passing thru the dam were 9 large rectangular conduits that could be opened or closed to allow the water to pass through.  The dam was constructed to control the water flow by opening and closing these conduits.  During normal weather conditions only a few of the conduits were open and the water passed through pretty much unimpeded.  However, during high water events the conduits could be closed and water pooled behind the dam rather then ravaging the valley below the dam as it had done about every 7 years since the early 1800's causing large economic loss and extreme problems for the folks downstream.  

During the 1972 event this section of the gorge  was under several hundred feet of water!
This waterfall was barely a ripple in the pool behind the dam in 1972!

The dam was finished in 1952 at cost of $25 million dollars and it has proved its worth about every 7 years since.  In 1972 the remnants of Hurricane Agnes dumped abnormally huge amounts of water on the area.  There was more rain then ever recorded in the area prior to (or since) and the pool behind the dam was about 15 miles long and the water came within 4 feet of topping the dam!  Estimated damage to Rochester would have been in excess of $300 BILLION, but no damage was incurred because the Mt Morris dam was there and performed as designed!
The 1972 pool nearly filled part of the gorge!
BJ the rock hound at one of the streams

Remains of the CCC camp that had existed here.
Also, in the park were some beautiful hiking trails (but the roads were generally too hilly for any carving on the Trikkes).  We did enjoy some nice hikes with beautiful overlooks however. 

Another view of the gorge

A stream that feeds into Genesee River

While we enjoyed our stay here it was time to move on by the end of the week.  We were headed for a Thousand Trails Campground in OH.  Thousand Trails is a membership organization we belong to and use there campgrounds barely enough to justify membership.  We were ready for full hook-ups and some downtime from traveling and moving every week or less which we had mainly been doing since leaving FL in April!

11 July 2011

Western New York Finger Lakes Region - Phase 1

After our last fabulous weekend in New England we headed west with the girls and their handlers.  We left from MA and spent Sunday night in western MA and met up with them Monday late AM and had lunch together.  Then Jenna and the girls joined us in our RV and Rob went on to make better time by himself so he could get a head start at the campground setting up their trailer before we all got there.

BJ and I had dug out the safety belts from the couch that morning before we hit the road and we belted the girls in and hit the road.  Jenna joined me up front and BJ was having a ball with the girls behind us.  It was all Interstate highway (I-90 WB aka the New York Thruway) and traffic was not bad all day.  Jenna and I enjoyed some adult visiting and BJ was totally absorbed with the kids and they with her.
On the road with the girls safely buckled in

We arrived at Bristol Woodlands Campground about 1830.  Had a nice trip except for the last mile which was unpaved road with steep hills for about a mile.  But, we got there and Rob was well into setting up camp.  We followed suit and in short order were set up in the spot next to them.  The spots were widely separated and the campground had a lush grass cover between the spots, so all in all we had a nice set up.

A little rain and the girls are in it - note green space between RV's in background!

During the following week we enjoyed the scenic area very much.  Lake Cannidaega one of the larger Finger Lakes was about 20 miles away, Lake Honeoye was about 9 miles away and there was a small village on its northern end that was only about 9 miles from the campground.  We toured both lake areas with and without the girls.  Rob & Jenna toured the area while we kept the girls several different times - win-win for us both.  We got some extra time with the girls and they got some adult time together in an interesting place.

BJ and I took Thursday and went down to Corning NY about 60 miles south of us to visit the Corning Glass Museum.
The invisible Black Box - can you see it!

A glass tire - now that I can understand!
It was a return visit for us as we had visited it about 7 years ago while staying at Watkins Glen, NY during one summer of traveling.  It is a spectacular museum with a full array of displays ranging from ancient biblical times to how glass on the Space Shuttle is made and fitted.  Lots of interactive displays. Some were a little too esoteric for my simple mind such as the black glass box that the glass was suppose to make invisible to represent the importance of unseen things that are part of our living space - huh!!  I like the glass tire - I knew what it was and what it did and how it fit into my world!!  All very well done.  Afterwards we had lunch in a local deli in downtown Corning.  There is an obvious effort downtown to revive the downtown section and develop it into a tourist destination.  We enjoyed our lunch and the visit before we headed back to Bristol via a different return route through Penn-Yan.   We got back about 1800.

Earlier on Wednesday, Rob & Jenna had visited Lechtworth State Park about 40 miles west of us on the western edge of the Finger Lakes region.  They described a beautiful park with a deep gorge running through it and a dam at the northern end of it.   Scenery was beautiful and they had lots of camping spaces even though only limited hook-ups (only electric).  On Thursday while we went to Corning, Rob & Jenna took the girls to Lechtworth and so when we got back we heard not only from Rob & Jenna how nice the park was but also from the girls.  They talked about waterfalls and trails and obviously had a fun time there.  So read about Lechtworth State Park - the Grand Canyon of the East in Phase II of our blog on Western New York.

We will miss them!  I have a pool going on when BJ will fly back to see them - maybe me too! 
All Good things must come to an end and our time with the girls was the Best of Great!  The next AM (Friday) Rob & Jenna and the girls packed up the travel trailer first thing and move out.  They were headed back to RI in an indirect way since Rob was out of school for the summer.  They were going to do Niagara Falls for a few days and then the Adirondack Mountains before returning home to RI.  BJ & I were going into withdrawal pains while they were traveling without us!! It had been a wonderful, glorious month we had been with them!!

We had been planning on getting a good days journey west on Friday but based on their description of Lechtworth State Park we decided to head there instead.  So after they left, BJ & I packed up the RV and hit the road and in about an hour were at Lechtworth and checked in.  Weather was still wet and cool but the park was beautiful. 

Coming soon to a computer near you - Phase II of our Blog on Western NY - Lechtworth State Park!

02 July 2011

What a Fabulous Weekend!!

We are in the middle of the 4th of July weekend and enjoying some good weather at last in OH, just east of Cleveland.  But, I must catch up and tell you of a really FABULOUS weekend we had several weekends ago!  It was the weekend after the week we spent at 4th Cliff with the Girls and their handlers.  Friday they headed back to Newport and we met up with Jim and Ann.  They came down to 4th Cliff Friday afternoon and we moved up to Wompawtuck State Park about 18 miles north of 4th Cliff and a few miles from their weekend condo at Hull, MA.  

What a great weekend we enjoyed with these old friends touring SE Boston area on MA Bay.  We started off with a late lunch at the Beer Works, a micro brewery on the water in Hingham.  Food was fantastic and the variety of beer brewed on-premises seemed to be unlimited.  It included one that came with a slice of watermelon. 
Ann & her watermelon beer! 

Hull is a peninsula out into Massachusetts Bay southeast of Boston.  The south side of the peninsula is beach that at low tide is very wide and firm sand.  Tide was going out and the 4 of us walked down the beach for aways and Jim explained the 4th of July tradition that has developed in the community.  There are a number of streets that cross the peninsula and dead end at the beach (the other end of the street ends at the waterfront that is a too rocky to enjoy).   Over the years the community has developed this unofficial 4th of July contest where each street builds a large bonfire on the beach that evening and then after dark puts on a fireworks display.   So imagine this wide beach with 2 dozen or so bonfires burning on the beach in the 4th of July night, that alone sounds beautiful.  But top it off with a fireworks display from the vicinity of each fire!  And, the friendly rivalry between the streets has grown each year and insured increasingly great displays.   

low tide on Nantasket Beach, imagine the fires and firworks.
Later we went to a bar & grill at the end of the beach, named Beach Fire.  It was close to dark and Jim & Ann described the view from there when the beach was "afire" in the dark.  Nantasket Beach is formed as an arch and the Beach Fire is at the end so you have a full view of the entire beach, pretty anytime; but has to be spectacular with the fires and fireworks!!

The next day we headed to an Art Fair in nearby Cohassett.  On the way we stopped and I showed them about geocaching.  We found a geocache at a nearby covered bridge walkway leaving the park.  Just about didn't find it until I got homed in on the correct end of the bridge!!   Ann and BJ really enjoyed the Art Fair and Jim and I traded war stories from our days together as 2/Lt's in Boston.  He was from the area and after his stint in the USAF returned there after some adventures in other parts of the world.  We had last seen him and Ann in Germany in 1975 then lost track of each other for a number of years.  We had reestablished contact about 6 years ago but this was the first time we had visited. 

After leaving the Fair, we enjoyed another great lunch at a restaurant on the water.  TKO Malley's is on scenic Scituate Harbor.  We enjoyed some beautiful weather and great conversation at TKO Malley's dockside area.  Reminded us of Capt Hiram's in Sebastian at home!  We finished our last full day in New England back at Nantasket Beach enjoying the view from upstairs of the Red Parrot.  Later they dropped us off at the RV with detailed instructions on how to get to their place in the AM for our grand finale at Hull - breakfast at  Jo's Nautical Bar near the end of the Hull peninsula.  It is a waterfront bar overlooking the harbor and they serve an exceptionally great Bloody Mary.  Except they don't call the ones they serve on Sunday AM a Bloody Mary, just call it breakfast.  Since we were hitting road after breakfast we had to limit ourselves to one serving, but it is the best I ever had.  So good, I had to call my sister, CC and tell her I found one better then her's at last!  To top it off the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed breakfast on the deck outside overlooking the harbor.  We lingered much longer then we intended to, but did not regret it a moment.
Bob & Jim contemplating breakfast at Jo's Nautical Bar
However, all good things must come to an end and the next day we were scheduled to meet up with the Girls and their handlers on the road to NY Finger Lakes Region.  They were leaving Newport Monday AM and we were going to make the Finger Lakes together Monday evening.  But, that is another story for later.  This one is about the fabulous weekend we spent with our great friends in Hull!