"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Niagara Falls, NY

The Grand Finale of falls

We never stopped at Niagara Falls in our trips across New York in the past. This time we were too close to not stop. Even though we prefer to avoid the tourist areas, it turned out just fine. The crowds weren't too big in the early mornings. The rain would let up enough for us to get out and see the sites for a while every day.

We stayed on Grand Island which is 15 minutes across the bridge from the Falls. It has to be the  flattest island we have ever stayed on making it great for biking riding with its wide bike lanes and paths.
Niagara Falls State Park has many walking and biking trails and continues to have improvements being made to make the area a nice place to walk and enjoy the surroundings.

 Looking over the Horseshoe Falls from Goat Island.

The Park trolley was a great way to explore the area and get a feel of what the park has to offer. After paying our $3, we climbed aboard and got off at different stops.  At one stop, we walked across bridges to the Three Sister Islands in the Canadian part of the Niagara River.
I had to ride the Maid of the Mist. We arrived at 8:30am as the ticket sales opened and boarded the first boat from the US side (we wore blue, Canada had the red). Our boat was only 2/3 full with plenty of room to move about the deck.We could feel the power of the falls as we floated past the US
Falls. As we entered the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, the mist turned to a heavy rain. The short 20 minute ride was awesome and powerful, becoming peaceful as we exited the roar of the falls.

Our last evening was without rain. We were sitting out in front of our trailer to avoid the swimming hole in front of our doorway. People started stopping by to visit and pretty soon we had a small party going on with everyone sharing their stories. We met a couple that winter just a mile from where we stay and another that stays in Queen Creek.

Every afternoon the heavy rain came in. So we decided to pass on the fireworks, which I doubt were fired off, and the lighted falls.

The Rainbow Bridge provides a walking path to Canada.
 We got an early start as we left Grand Island since we had two border crossings ahead of us. As we entered Ontario, Canada,the border guard looked tired as if  he was ending his night shift and we sailed through. The east coast has lots of toll roads and there was a toll booth as we entered Canada requesting  a toll road fee of $11.25. The roads were fabulous and smooth as we sailed along at 100 km/hr (62 mph) of smooth roads along Lake Ontario.

Canal to Lake Huron

Returning to the US in Michigan was slower with long lines at the border crossing. Fortunately, we did not get inspected at either stop. The roads in Michigan were not smooth as our heads bounced off the headrest on our seats as we drove down the highway. The gravel road as we drove into the campground was smoother that the interstate.

 Lighthouse overlooking Lake Huron

 Back in the US

This ominous looking cloud was greeting us as we entered our campground in Attica, Michigan. It prompted me to ask about a tornado shelter. It soon broke apart as we settle  in.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

More waterfalls of upstate New York

Another day of hiking

Taughannock Falls

We got up early for a morning hike as the temps and humidity were on the rise. The trail to the falls which is 8 miles north of Ithaca was a shady and pleasant walk. Getting up early also means that we could beat the crowds.

The humidity has not been nice to us or our camera. The shutter was sticking shut at times. Maybe, it just needed cleaned.
 At the end of the canyon, Taughannock Falls plunges 215 feet past rocky cliffs that tower nearly 400 feet above the gorge.
The stream from the falls joins Lake Cayuga and eventually Lake Ontario. These falls can dry up in a drought but were flowing after all of the recent rain.

 Lake Cayuga

Seneca Falls, NY 

We took a drive to Seneca Falls and found a National Park at the site of the first Convention for Women's Rights. It was very nicely done with a lot of information and an interesting ranger that gave a talk about the people that started the movement.
The 1848 Seneca Falls Woman's Rights Convention
 marked the beginning of the women's rights movement in the United States.

Women’s Rights National Historical Park tells the story of the first Women’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls, NY on July 19-20,1848.  It is a story of struggles for civil rights, human rights, and equality, global struggles that continue today.  The efforts of women’s rights leaders, abolitionists, and other 19th century reformers remind us that all people must be accepted as equals.
Sculptor Lloyd Lillie's "The First Wave" features life-size bronze statues of the five women who organized the First Women's Rights Convention, and a few of the men who came in support of social, political, and religious equality for women.
The park commemorates women's struggle for equal rights, and the First Women's Rights Convention, held at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, NY on July 19 and 20, 1848.

 An estimated three hundred women and men attended the Convention, including Lucretia Mott and Frederick Douglass. At the conclusion, 68 women and 32 men signed the Declaration of Sentiments drafted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the M'Clintock family
The firsts convention was held at the Wesleyan church. The men and women driving the movement were Shakers. 
At that time, a woman that was expecting a child and showing was not allowed out in public. One of the ladies was 7 months pregnant and was greatly harassed for being involved in the assembly. Also, it was very hot in July and they wore heavy long dresses. No air conditioning back then.

There was a presentation about the Article IX that was passed when I was in high school. I remember the concern over girls being allowed to participate in sports in high school. I also remember when we were allowed to wear pants to school and what a big deal that was. That was the 1970s.

The Seneca Falls Mill will become the Women's Hall of Fame.
It was interesting and awe inspiring to visit this area and learn more about the people that were a driving force in the Equal Rights Movement's beginnings.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Finger Lakes

New York's Finger Lakes

It was good to be back on our road bikes in the Finger Lakes of upper New York. Riding on the backroads between the farms and vineyards was lovely. Our campground is in a small town of Ovid between Lake Cayuga and Seneca Lake. Very little traffic other than the Amish carriages and a few tractors were on the roads.
By the second day of riding, we set our alarm clock for 6:30 since the heat and humidity were increasing.


Finger Lakes, NY

The Finger Lakes consist of 11 lakes with over 100 wineries. Many of the wineries have music in the afternoons.
We found several U pick berry places and Juneberry had some great looking blackberries with our names on them. Many of the roadside stands have serve yourself boxes with a place to drop our money. We did get some tasty tomatoes.


A mile from the end of our ride was a winery with copper pizza ovens.

Winery overlooking Lake Cayuga

The apple cider was refreshing.

The sangria was ok. It looked prettier than it tasted. Cranberry wine just doesn't do it for me.

Watkins Glen, NY

Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks. Within  a two mile walk,  the glen's stream descends 400 feet past 200-foot cliffs, generating 19 waterfalls along its course. The gorge path winds over and under waterfalls and through the spray of Cavern Cascade. Rim trails overlook the gorge. We climbed the 840 steps which were fortunately shaded to keep us cooler.

The spray from the falls was refreshing.

We walked down the Spiral Tunnel to walk behind one of the falls.

I was surprised how long it took me to get over the pneumonia I got while in Maine. Our hikes and bike rides are getting longer each day. I ride a slow 15-20 miles before Mike drops me off and finishes his ride. It is good to know that someone has your back when things get tough.
Getting knocked down can be humbling.