Part 2 Late June 2016 through December 2016 Year in Review - January to June
Birds and Beach Before the Storms
This is the second part of our year in review. The first part including the birth of our Granddaughter can be seen from the blue link above.
Here’s the map for our summer travels.
We reluctantly leave our girls and the man who loves them in Maryland. We are only on the road about 75 miles when BOOM, the tow dolly tire has a blow out. We spend several hours trying to find a replacement on a Sunday and end up with the wrong tire but it will get us to New York.
Our first stop is Shawnee State Park in Pennsylvania where we stay for 3 nights enjoying the lake and the trails around it and Bedford County’s 14 covered bridge.
We spend the next 5 days at Allegany State Park in New York which has a lovely lodge with a wonderful view and a very nice restaurant as well as numerous hiking trails. While at Allegany we take a day trip to Chautauqua with its gorgeous Victorian homes and buildings on its beautiful grounds. It’s one of my very favorite places in the East.
We are pleased to find Four Mile Creek State Park another excellent New York State park this time on Lake Ontario near Niagara Falls. In fact, there is nothing between the back of our site and the lake. SWEET!
I’ve never been to Niagara Falls and it definitely lives up to its billing. I am most impressed with the beauty of the US side in comparison with the comercialization of the Canadian side.
The first week of July we move on to Letchworth State Park which we have been told by several people is a must not miss. Thank you to friends and commenters. You were absolutely right. We loved it!
It is billed as the “Grand Canyon of the East”. David and I both agree that it is a beautiful canyon and we really loved exploring it there but we think it’s actually unfair to compare it to THE Grand Canyon.
We spend 8 days exploring the trails, the river and the numerous falls of all sizes on the Genesee River which continues to cut the canyon. Remember as you look at these pictures that the Finger Lakes region and all of upstate New York was in an historic 8 month drought when we were there this summer. We’d sure like to come back and see them at their full glory if this isn’t it.
We have lunch at the turn of the century home of the man who donated his estate to New York to be made into the park. His home has been turned it into a wonderful inn with a sweet dining room
We are also lucky enough to be at Letchworth during the Perry New York Chalk Art Festival.
What we see is amazing. Really hard to pick just one for this review but I loved Rick Hauser who drew himself into the picture of the Native and Libery Lady. The theme was I Love New York.
We spend our two weeks at Sampson State Park on Seneca Lake. David and Sharon Rassmussen of Two Lanes of Freedom arrive for one of those weeks and we really enjoy hiking and biking and eating with them including a wonderful hike in beautiful Watkins Glen. We climbed the amazing gorge passing waterfall after waterfall amid the water sculpted rocks. A couple of pictures won’t do this gorge justice so check out the blog post from there to see how really fantastic it is.
Other highlights of these weeks are dinner at The Moosewood Restaurant, the Mothership for Vegetarians, a visit to Sapsucker Woods, the Cornell Ornithology Lab, both in Ithaca New York, and a visit to Ganondagon which was a spur of the moment decision and one of the real treats of this stop.
Sapsucker Woods was amazing both inside with its murals and outside with its statue of the extinct passenger pigeon and Andy Goldsworthy’s Sapsucker Cairn.
We so much enjoyed the Seneca Culture Museum at Gonandagon and the grounds that we went back a second time for their Festival with music and dancing. If you are in this area don’t miss this center of history and culture for the People of the Long House, this area’s First People.
We could have stayed much longer at Sampson State Park but it was time to move on to our reservation at Cayuga Lake State park on Cayuga Lake in Seneca Falls New York. The campground wasn’t much but its location just outside of the town was fantastic.
We spent days visiting the Seneca Falls Visitor’s center which has done a wonderful job of the history of the town, the National Historic ParkWomen’s Rights , The Women’s History Museum, and the It’s a Wonderful Life Museum in town and visited the homes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Harriet Tubman. Two weeks wasn’t nearly enough time.
During our first week the Stampers Antique Car Rally drove into town with 50 plus truly Antique cars. No hot rods. All perfectly restored. If you love cars of the teens and 20’s check out that post.
Our visit at Cayuga lasted through the first week of August. We hiked several days in the large nearby Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge as well as Seneca Meadows Wetlands. We kayaked on the Seneca River and the Erie Canal
Beautiful Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
We made a day trip to the Sterling Renaissance Festival at the end of our last week at Cayuga and were lucky enough to see Queen Elizabeth I on the arm of Sir Walter Raleigh.
On our way to our next stop at Glimmerglass State Park named for the name in the Leather Stocking Tales by James Fenimore Cooper from nearby Cooperstown NY, we drove right by a car show and of course had to stop. They weren’t all antiques but we really enjoyed it.
Glimmerglass State Park is on Otsego Lake. We kayaked the stream through the park under a covered bridge and out into the lake. We biked around the park including through the covered bridge and hiked some great trails there including one that led to the Hyde Hall Estate Mansion.
The Farmer’s Museum is much more than a wonderful living history village. It is also the site of the beautiful New York State Carousel. Where else could you ride a beaver, a loon a skunk or a moose?
The Fenimore Art Museum is across the street from the Farmer’s Museum and both were the estate of James Fenimore Cooper’s Brother. It is his wonderful stone barn and beautiful home that house the museums.
The Fenimore Art Museum is the showcase of the New York State Historical Society. I was SO lucky to see a traveling exhibit of the early works of Ansel Adams as well the permanent exhibit of one of the most spectacular displays of Native American Artifacts and period crafts I’ve ever seen.
One wing of the basement gallery is devoted to Adams and the other to the Native American Exhibit. The stairway is definitely a grand entrance. The Adams exhibit is straight back in the middle and off to both sides of the staircase wings.
There are at least a dozen other exhibits on the 3 floor museum. The largest is the Native American exhibit. You look into it as you come down the stairs. The pieces on display are exquisite. Here is the link to the post if you’d like to see more, but even better, plan a trip to see it in person.
We also visited the local Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave New York. The museum is in the shape of a Long House and was so interesting we got there when it opened and were on its trails when it closed.
All the artifacts are from or by the local tribe.
There are carvings, pottery, beedwork, basketry, paintings, clothing and all of it whether from the 19th century as these two below or from the hands of current Iroquois artists, are amazing.
Keeping their culture alive is most important to all Native Americans and the basement of the building is devoted to a children’s area. I spent at least half my time down there. The learning exhibits are hands on and just excellent. I particularly liked the giant basket for learning to weave with ribbons.
We leave Cayuga headed for Vermont and Winnhall Brook Campground on the Winhall River. It’s a favorite of ours despite the white knuckle bridge you must thread to get to the sites with electric which are wonderful but not so level.
The nice thing about returning to a favorite place is that we know the best trails and kayaking spots to return to. We’re here for the Londonderry Farmer’s market for two Saturdays in a row. It’s a REAL Farmer’s Market if you know what I mean. And we make a stop at the Vermont Country Store where this time we buy nothing but it’s sure fun to look at all their interesting and unique “stuff”.
Lovely campsite, seriously unlevel.
The hike to Angel Falls leaves right from the campground. Big points for that.
Our paddle on Lowell Lake is fabulous as always, loons, pitcher plants in flower and venus fly traps among other wonders.
I hike a section of the AT in Vermont where it runs with the Long Trail. This makes the 5th state in which I have hiked on the AT. We visit Northshire bookstore which for a bibliophile is to die for.
There is some bad news in the midst of this two weeks of fun. When David’s numbers come back higher again, his Myeloma Specialist says its time to try something else. This treatment has failed. Arranging something else while on the road and away from your doctors is quite tricky and David spends a lot of time trying to get it set up.
We leave Vermont at the end of August and turn back south to a stop in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area which surrounds the Delaware River in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We stay in the Recreation Area at Dingman’s Campground. The only one in the Recreation Area.
As in the Finger Lakes there are lots of waterfalls here. And similarly they are all pretty low due to the drought. We definitely picked the wrong year to go waterfall hiking. But here we get to follow wet bear tracks up to Dingman’s Falls early one morning.
We do hikes, hikes and more hikes to more waterfalls than we can count including a very steep hike up from Buttermilk falls to hike a section of the 72 miles of the AT in New Jersey.
It’s a steep and very rocky 2 miles up to the AT and when we get to the top we see the sign going down has scrawled in the post “Don’t Do It”.
Buttermilk when we hiked up and up and up. Buttermilk with full water in previous years.
Rocky Rocky up up.
David had finally gotten a new oral treatment started and received the medication. He’d taken his second dose the day before this hike. When he finished the hike he was totally exhausted. We thought it was just the hike but 3 days later his fever had spiked to 100.5 and I had to take him to the hospital where he stayed 4 days with a severe reaction to the drug.
We spent one week enjoying the gap and the second week with his reaction, hospital stay and then a zip trip back to Virginia. I sadly cancel our two week reservation on the ocean front at Assateague National Seashore but these are the realities when traveling with Multiple Myeloma and chemotherapy. Dingman’s campground was absolutely fabulous in giving permission for us to stay beyond our 14 day limit had we needed to. As it was, we left exactly on the day our reservation was up. Not much fun that last week of it for sure.
The map for our fall and winter travels.
In September David recovers from the severe stress to his immune system. I do some hiking in Shenandoah National Park, more waterfalls.
We order all the expensive parts for towing 4 down and David installs them with numerous calls to Blue Ox to deal with their horrible installation instructions and missing parts. They “may” make a good product, time will tell, and they are willing to work with you on the phone but their quality control is terrible. David recovers enough by the end of the month to take on the installation.
The man can do nearly anything and saves us at least $1000 on the installation. We now have a Blue Ox baseplate, wiring and Towbar and a Patriot Braking System. The dolly is FOR SALE!
A street light post jumps out at Winnona and hits her back slide topper. The female driver “may” have pulled out too sharply and underestimated the rear end swing out. The repair on that takes a good bit of time to arrange especially since it requires two different shops. We get the body work done in Charlottesville and then take her 90 miles to Richmond only to find that the company has sent the wrong topper. We give it up and head back south with the slide in until we can get it repaired at Southern RV in Deland, Florida.
The best part of these weeks is when Carrie and Celia come to visit in October. Celia is now 5 months old and as cute as ever. She’s grown so much since we last saw her in June. She’s interested in everything and moving all the time.
Celia still doesn’t have much hair but mom fixes that with one of Celia’s Great, great, great Aunt Carrie’s bonnets with the brim turned back. Mom seems to think it’s a riot. Not sure about Celia.
Time for a nap in her Mama’s childhood bed.
This is my favorite picture of our two girls. We’re sad to have them leave but we’ll be seeing them again in December at their house and that’s not tooooo far away.
By late October we’re on our way south with 4 down towing and a closed bedroom slide.
We spend two weeks at Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine on their beautiful beach walking off our deep concern over the Presidential election. Love being camped again in “the Real Florida”.
I spend a lot of hours making patchwork stockings for Matthew and Celia to match the one I made 35 years ago for Carrie and longer ago than that for David. Every stitch done by hand with love.
The layout Sewing the patches together
I’m pretty much sewing some each day and every night even as the election returns become unbelievable.
We enjoy many beautiful sunrises over the Atlantic and the wonderful variety of birds, a paddle in the Salt Run at the park where we watch both osprey and pelicans catch fish around us.
We learn all about a history unknown to us with a visit to Fort Mose and bike over to the Farmer’s Market just outside the park..
From Anastasia we move to our favorite site at Gamble Rogers and spend another two weeks even closer to the Atlantic. Sunrise out our window. Sunset just on the other side of the ocean front highway. We bike to the farmer’s market, hike familiar trails, read and walk on the beach, eat on the patio and just enjoy being right on the ocean front with its fabulous sounds and smells.
At the beginning of December we move to Blue Springs for a few days. On the way there we stop in Deland at Southern RV where James did an efficient and excellent job of getting the right part and installing it. We highly recommend them.
Every morning the manatee are in the spring run until the sun warms the St. John’s river enough for them to go out for breakfast.
We spend an afternoon kayaking the beautiful and bird filled Snake Creek.
We visit Lyonia Preserve where we don’t see any scrub jays until near the end of the trail. On our last visit there we quite a few jays. We think perhaps the time of day was the problem. This visit was in the afternoon.
I spend the days around my birthday in Disneyworld where I see the Tigers and get a hug from Winnie the Pooh.
From there we return to St. Augustine where we light a candle in the serene and lovely St. Photios chapel and see the impressive holiday Nights of Lights.
As we head out to move to Silver Springs, Winnona’s oil light comes on. Turns out that the Fram filter David used when he changed the oil a few days ago is faulty and no oil is getting through it. That will be the last Fram filter we ever use. We have to unhitch Ruby, return the falty filter and pick up a new Mobile 1 Filter. Once that is installed right there on the side of the road in Anastasia State Park, we are good to go.
At Silver Springs of course we spend our time kayaking the Silver River where I spend an amazing amount of time with a pair of wood ducks. What magnificient birds!
From Silver Springs we move Winnona to Barry and Millie’s house where she is going to wait for us while we fly from Jacksonville to Baltimore to visit Carrie and her family for the holiday.
Celia has grown so much and is now 7 months old and full of energy, smiles and has two front teeth.
We’re really happy to see our girls again.
She plays with Grandpa and then he takes her shopping. What a bad influence.
Carrie likes the stockings, not sure about Celia. Hers isn’t as big as her moms. <grin>
The stockings look perfect hanging on their mantel.
Lots of presents to open. Celia shows daddy the paper which she finds most interesting.
Too soon its time to leave our little Christmas elf and fly back to Winnona.
I think we tired her parents out as much as we tired her out. And that’s it for our 2016!