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What's New from September 2002

September 3
I have just uploaded two new articles. Ron's newest article is titled, What a Mess!!! My new article is You've Got to be Kidding.

We had a great weekend and hope you did too. Saturday we attended a tail gate party on the campus of Michigan State University. I have several nephews who attend there so my whole family (sisters and brother) and their children gathered for a fun get-together.

My brother, Don, with Ron              My baby sister, Beth, with me.

Nearly everything and everyone was decked out in green even baby Will. 

After the festivities at MSU we got the motorhome and drove north to Carson City, parked in our favorite little campground, Red Pines, then took off to visit Ron's family who were all nine miles away at Ron's daughters cottage which is on Crystal Lake. 

Marty and Bryan are the same couple who have the big house we parked at in DeWitt just before coming north. How about this cottage and the view from the upstairs (loft) window.

Ryan, Bryan and Bob                              Ron and daughter Marty
Activities at the lake include boating, jet skiing, eating and visiting. Marty always has a house full and this weekend was no exception.

Ron and his youngest son, David.                              Ron's youngest daughter Susanne with her fiancé Thorston.

New Mystery Picture
Where were we when we took these pictures? 
Only two or three answered correctly last month and I'll bet this month will be really hard. I will give you a couple of  hints: The  town where these pictures were taken is in the northwest and everywhere you go in town you will see these figures. There are even figures on the hills before you actually get to town and it doesn't matter if you are going from east to west or visa versa. To play please go to our Guess Page.

September 6
We are heading into Canada for only one night. Then we will be in Gasport, NY, by Saturday. I have just uploaded this page with a link to our January schedule at Lazy Days. I hope you will come to see us there. 

September 7
Several told us that it would be terrible getting through Canadian customs and that they wouldn't let us in if we didn't have brakes on our toad. Neither of those things were true. All we had to do was show our drivers licenses and answer a couple of questions. They first asked if we had any guns and we told them the truth which was "no." They also asked if we had any booze on board and we explained that we had some opened bottles. That was not a problem and we knew it would be okay. They also wanted to know how long we would be in Canada and we explained that we were just taking a short cut to New York and would only be spending one night. She entered that information in her computer and off we went. 

We had a short drive to Pittock Conservation area in Woodstock, Ontario and that was an enjoyable stay. Once there and set up, we went into town and did some grocery shopping. I love to shop in Canadian stores. It is fun to buy things we don't have in the states like tarts and English candies. We just bought a tiny bit of those goodies, because we are still Weight Watching.  It is really a bargain to shop in Canada and camping was inexpensive too. The Canadian price for water and electric was $25.00 but it translated to $15.00 American. Such a deal. 

We are in a Good Neighbor (coast to coast) park north of Gasport and we are going out to stop at some of the many vegetable stands we passed on our way here. The produce here is wonderful at this time of year.

Getting email may be sporadic for a few days. We are going to a state park and they don't have modem hook ups.

September 8
It's  not fun to play tourist when sick and I have just come down with a bad cold (is there a "good" cold?). But we did go driving yesterday and enjoyed the sights. This part of New York is very rural and I just love the big old houses, the vegetable stands along the highway and little towns and thought you'd like to see some of what we saw yesterday. We took these pictures along NY Route 104.
I remember when I was 9 and our family drove from Detroit to this part of New York (I was born in Hornell and all of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins lived there) in a 1939 Ford. We would stop at gas stations such as this along the way. Dad let me be navigator. Our route back then took us across Canada the same as we just did. There were no limited access roads and it seems that the towns were smaller then. I still associate the names of the towns in Canada and here with that trip back in 1946. I think I just dated myself.

Looking for a motorhome?

We bought beans, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, a melon, and cabbage. Our dinner for last night was beans, corn and tomatoes. Delightful. Some of the many vegetable stands do self service around here. I took the picture on the right to show how they do it. We will leave about noon today (check out time) and hope to get into Letchworth State Park 80 miles south and east of here. We stayed there 13 years ago with our little 24 foot motorhome. We are not spending much time in each spot here because our goal is to spend almost three weeks in Vermont. I hope I feel better and can do the biking that I wanted to do.

September 12
We are now in Poland, New York, at the base of the Adirondacks. Tomorrow we leave for Lake George. 

We loved our visit to Letchworth State Park near Perry, New York. This park is so beautiful as are the nearby towns that I am working on a separate article to link to the Places page. I will have it done in a few days but I wanted to let you know where we are and where we have been. Camping in most state parks is a treat because the sites are generally large and the setting is beautiful. Letchworth is no exception. All of the 270 sites are so large that you hardly know there are other campers nearby. Although the park campground only has electric sites, water was nearby and they have a dump. We spent a lot of time talking to our neighbors, Royetta and Charlie from Ontario and they were saying that they can't figure out why most of their friends with big rigs like ours feel they need to have full hookups in commercial campgrounds instead of enjoying the state parks. 

This park is especially meaningful to me as it is less than 50 miles from Hornell, New York, the town I was born in and something else. See that railroad trestles in the picture below? My grandfather Dodd and two of my uncles (Floyd and George) worked on the Erie railroad. Grandpa and Floyd were both engineers and they talked many times about traveling over the gorge at Letchworth. It was pretty scary just to look up at it. 

September 13 (Friday)
OOPS!!!! I forgot to upload the maps yesterday. I just did that. We are on our way to Lake George. I hope they have a modem hook up so I can catch up.

September 14
We are now near Lake George, New York, in a very nice Coast to Coast campground and will be here until Monday when we travel the short distance to Middlebury, Vermont. I am still getting over my cold but wanted to catch up on where we have been and what we have been doing.

We have traveled in this part of New York before (1989 and 1992), but that was before we were writing that much so we wanted to do some of it again and share it with you. As we were traveling along US 20 when we left Letchworth, I was writing on the laptop. Here is what we saw and thought.

U.S 20 is a treat for the eyes. Gently rolling hills with big farms are punctuated now and then with towns which have wide streets and a friendly look. We see people talking with one another on main street and waving at each other. The houses are generally big and set back quite a ways from the street. The lots are big also. Most of the houses are two story and have a style that says, New England. Some of the houses look like big farm houses others have a Victorian or Greek look. Many of the houses have cupolas, and fancy work I call "gingerbread."  Every town has one or more big church with a steeple reaching to the sky. They are generally brick or white. 

The hills are steeper now at West Bloomfield. This is the Finger Lakes area. Big finger shaped lakes created by glaciers way back in the ice age. Occasionally we see old gas stations long out of business or tiny little motels of the sort famous when America really began traveling at the end of WW II.

Ron worries a bit about the overpasses. They are not very tall here in the east. Our rule is to travel the red roads (not the pink ones) because the US Routes are built to certain specifications. As we were traveling along US 20 we came to a sign saying clearance 10' 6" two miles ahead. Ron got quite excited since we are 12' 3" tall. Thankfully US 20 turned and the sign stated that vehicles taller than 10' 6" should follow route 20. As we come up to overpasses, they all look so short, but he breathes a little easier when he sees the actual height of 13 or 14 feet. 

The houses in Skeaneateles are the prettiest anywhere. They are big and well kept. One big one right on the lake had a "for sale" sign so I told Ron that I want it. He just laughed. Oh it was so very nice. 
After Skeaneateles, the road turned very hilly with steep grades. We remembered that 10 years ago with the Mallard, we had to un hook the car in order to make it up the hills easier. Twice now the Dream has shifted down to second gear which is very unusual. Good thing we have the engine brake. We have gone from vegetable farms to apple orchards. Pumpkins are listed as for sale also. This is sure beautiful country. 

We pulled over on main street in Calzonia to have lunch. Very charming town. More big houses. 

The above houses were right next to where we stopped for lunch. Because we generally travel "red" roads (US and major state routes) people always ask where we stop for a break or lunch. It is usually easy to find a large parking spot on main street (a few blocks from the town's center). 

We stayed at the West Canada Creek RV Park in Poland, New York, on the edge of the Adirondack mountains because we happened to notice a town named Hoffmeister near by. The campground was very nice, but rather expensive ($29.00 with discount). It was billed as having  "big rig" sites and the sites were nice, but I thought their charge of $1.50 to use their modem (each time) was excessive. Most campgrounds offer a modem for no extra charge or perhaps a fifty cent charge at most. Because I had been without cell phone coverage (and unable to get on line) I gave in and spent the money. Then when I forgot to upload the map, I had to pay a second time to get back on line.

We took the drive up route 8 and found the little berg of Hoffmeister. Notice there are two "fs" in the name. Well it was close or at least we thought it was until we talked to Ron's daughter's fiancé, Thorston, who is from Germany. The two "f" spelling has a completely different meaning and so they are not the same at all. Oh well, we had fun on our drive. 

We made a circle drive that day and found a treasure on the way home. At Sailsbury Center (at the junction of 29A and 29) we stopped at the Covered Bridge Diner and had lunch. Their prices were from another era. Our good sized roast beef sandwich on rye was only $2.25. Coffee was fifty cents so our total bill with tip came to just over $7.00. We could have added a piece of home made pie for only $1.50 but we were full after the sandwich. Hamburgs there were only $1.50. 

September 17
We crossed into Vermont yesterday and are settled in a campground just a little north of Middlebury. Today we took a long drive and are busy collecting sights and storys to share, but first I wanted to let you know that I have finished the Letchworth story.Go to: In and Around Letchworth State Park.

September 18
We have been having a most wonderful time taking long drives and here in Middlebury we have had two of the most wonderfully delicious and unique dinning experiences. After we weighed in at Weight Watchers on Monday Ron asked a lady in the parking lot where she likes to eat and she immediately said, "Fire and Ice". That is where we went and there aren't enough words to describe the delicious meal we had there. We arrived in time to enjoy the "early bird" prices. Ron ordered chicken and I ordered scallops. This landmark restaurant which looks like a big house has a huge 60 item salad bar which included shrimp, breads and fresh wonderful greens and all the trimmings. 

Tonight (Wednesday) we ate at the Dog Team Tavern which is just down the road from our campground. It was another unique experience. When we entered this sprawling building which was a tea house in the early 30s and has been a restaurant since the 40s we were greeted by a hostess who was standing next to a large chalk and poster board which was leaning against a table. It listed more than a dozen entrees and included prices. We must have looked a bit puzzled because we were asked if we had ever been there before. When we told her we hadn't, she went on to explain that meals are served family style and we have to order there before we are even seated. She took our order (which seamed strange) then we were asked to sit on one of the couches until we were called. A short time later we were ushered to a small table which was set with everything including  cups of the tomato-broccoli soup that we had chosen; the soups were hot and delicious. We had only just began to eat when our server brought over huge sticky rolls, fresh bread, and a small ferris wheel of extra treats was wheeled over to stand beside our table. On the wheel were such things as horseradish spiced cottage cheese, sweet and sour sauerkraut, spiced beets with onion, corn relish, apple butter, and bean salad. A nice salad came next followed by our entrees. Ron ordered grilled scrod which he said was terrific and I ordered my favorite, scallops. When the our meals were delivered all that was on the plate was the meat; our server dished up all of the mashed potatoes and vegetable (brussel sprouts) we would want. The food was excellent and the experience charming. Since we are on vacation (we really are) we plan to experience more dinners like this.

We went for a short bike ride today and will do another tomorrow. Yesterday, on one of our drives we ended up at Ben and Jerry's (between Burlington and Montpelier). We didn't take the tour as we had done that 13 years ago but we did buy just a tiny bit of their ice cream. Yummy!!! Good thing we are exercising. 

September 22
We moved north yesterday and are in what Vermont calls the Northeast Kingdom. We are in one of the best campgrounds we have ever stayed in. Sugar Ridge RV Park between St. Johnsbury and Dansville on US Route 2 has huge sites which are level and the hookups are terrific. I will post a picture later. This highly rated campground has tenting sites in the woods as well as long wide sites for RVs. They have weekend activities and we noticed lots of families here having a great time. We will be here until Thursday so we will do some drives and fully explore the area. Our weather has been terrific and we are having fun.

September 25
I wrote a couple of days ago that we really like Sugar Ridge RV Village and Campground here in Danville, Vermont. These pictures do not completely capture how wonderful this place is so I included a link to their web site which I am sure has more pictures. The thing that impresses us is that the sites are so very wide and long and it doesn't matter if the site is in the woods or in the open; they are all big and the roads are nice and wide making turing or backing in easy. Many commercial campgrounds crowd sites close together so they can make more money per acre; not this one. We think it would be an ideal place to spend a whole summer. 

As soon as an RV leaves a site, someone rakes the site. Trash is picked up at the site, and everything from the bathrooms to the trails are well maintained. 

We leave Danville tomorrow to head south to Dorset for our final five days in Vermont. I am working on a large story which I will add to the Places section. Here's a tiny sample of some of the things we have enjoyed so far.

There are lots of covered bridges in Vermont, but more unusual is the covered bridge on the right. It is the only covered railroad bridge still in use in Vermont.

Churches, libraries, and houses make each town charming.

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