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1997 Travel Log #2 - June 19 to June 29


Thursday June 19

When the Ferry landed in Tobermory, Ontario, I called my friend Jeff Morgan in New Jersey to let him know I would be passing his way (just slightly out of the way to Nova Scotia). After buying pretzels and a coke, I then proceeded to the Welland Canal. I knew from before that ships actually go over the road in one or more places and I wanted to see it again when I could spend more time.

Welland Canal

That night, I stayed in a Motel in Welland, Ontario about 10 miles from Niagara Falls. That way I could get up and investigate the famous Welland Canal the next day.

Friday June 20

In the morning, I started at the Lake Eire end (south, upstream end). There I discovered Lock #8 and the lake freighter `Capt. Henry Jackman'. I decided (impromptu, again) to follow her (??? him ???) and photograph her through all 8 locks Capt. Henry Jackman. My truck is much faster than a lake freighter but I got lost a few times trying to find the closest road or highway to the Welland Canal. The weather was mixed: Some rain and some sun. As I proceeded North (toward lower and lower levels), I only traveled 26 miles, but when I got to Lock #3, the main tourist viewing area, I discovered it takes 11 hours for a ship to go from one end to the other. A whole day shot! Boy, it's good I can take an extra day off now and than.

As I followed the "Capt", I found many wonderful things. Like where two of these suckers have to pass in tight quarters, like a very high lift bridge for cars and trucks and the 2 places where the canal goes over the road. Additional views near Locks

After following the "Capt" all the way to Lake Ontario, I proceeded along the coast road to the Niagara River through wine country (wasted on me, but very scenic) all the way to the Falls. I continued south (toward Lake Eire) to look for a campground for the night. Having pitched my tent, I went back to see Niagara Falls at Night. What a sight (no pictures, there so COMMON). An added bonus, they were shooting off fireworks just as I got stuck in traffic. What good luck. Parking was $8. I got to see it all, with a little strain on the 'ole clutch leg' for free, and ring side seating too!

Saturday June 21

Put the tent away in the Morning and crossed the Peace Bridge into Buffalo, NY. I took back roads to the "finger lakes" region of upstate New York, then south through Elmira (of Jane Roberts fame - the author/channeler of "Seth" books). I continued on back roads into Northern Pennsylvania until I reached the PA Turnpike extension which I took to Philly and across the Ben Franklin Bridge into New Jersey.

Sunday June 22

I setup my PC, printer, scanner, etc. on my friend's dining room to do my first printed newsletter and my 2nd E-mail report. In the evening, we took Jeff's lovely 2 kids to the Jersey Shore to visit their Grandparents. About a 2 hour ride each way.

Monday June 23

Jeff played hooky and we went to Philly to see the marine museum, an old submarine from W.W.II, and a battleship from 1898. No pictures. I continued to work on the Newsletter and E-mail. I also help Jeff get his modem problems straightened out. I just lucky with communications things, I guess. I also figured out how to set up a web page through AOL. Printing the newsletter was a little slow. I made 56 the first time. It takes my reliable but slow Canon printer about 3 hours per side to do full color graphics pages. I was up well past midnight.

New York City

Tuesday June 24

I finished the web page and E-mail's and went to (my old) work to have lunch with Jeff and Gene, another co-worker. I ran into my old boss, so I asked him for my job back. After the laughter died down, Jeff, Gene, and I went to lunch and I headed back to Jeff's place to re-pack my truck. I was still at it when Jeff came home from work. That made it a tight schedule to meet my daughter in New York City by 7:30 PM.

As my continued good fortune would have it, her presentation got delayed until 6 PM. I drove quickly (read - `about 20 over') up the NJ Turnpike to "the City" I less than a hour and 20 minutes I as at the toll both. Great plenty of time. Wrong! The Lincoln Tunnel at rush hour. Manhattan rush hour traffic. Makes Pinellas driving seem pleasant...

I found the Park Meridian Hotel easily enough, parked, and went inside to find Sherri. She had only been waiting about 5 minutes because she too had to go through traffic to get back to the Hotel. It's cheap in the City, really it is. Because she was staying at the Hotel, it only cost me $32 to park for the night. If she wasn't a guest, I could not park! I rationalized it this way. Most of my motel bills have been $32 to $35 a night. This is the same cost.

That night we had a ball, on foot we toured the area: Times Square and Broadway all light up and buzzing with people. Then we went by Central Park but didn't go in after dark. Stopped at Martini's for a drink, and talked about father - daughter things.

I didn't take any pictures so I cheated and scanned 2 from a magazine. New York City, The Chrysler Building.

Wednesday June 25

I slept on the sleep/sofa in her room. She checked out. Lucky for us Microsoft was footin' the bill: 2 night's plus phone calls (but not my parking) came to $674.xx. See, It's not so expensive in NY City. That includes a special discount because of the client she went to see, otherwise, add $75 per night.

Since Sherri's meeting was delayed, she re-booked her flight for Wednesday evening which gave us the whole day to see Manhattan. First stop, Central Park. After walking through the South end, we took a buggy ride through it. Then, on foot, we headed for the Empire State Building, Macy's, and Time's Square in the daytime. We got a bite to eat at a New York Deli. Wow, what a meal. Then, she caught a cab to Kennedy Airport and I proceeded to leave downtown New York City in rush hour traffic. It was stop-and-go (I got a clutch, remember) all the way into Connecticut. I'll never complain about Pinellas traffic again (well, maybe a little).

I visited my x-sister-in-law, Jeanette, in Cheshire, CT. and stayed the night. My x-grandma is 88 years young and still motivating about (albeit, slowly - bless her heart).

1000 Islands

Thursday June 26

Wow does this take a long time. It's 11:30 PM already.

I headed up Hwy. 8 to Massachusetts Hwy. 8 to the "Mass Pike", I-90 and headed West toward New York and the 1000 Islands. I got there in the evening, book a Motel room, and checked out Alexandria Bay for tourist attractions.

Friday June 27

In the morning, I went to "Mazeland". Really neat! Five different full-size mazes, some of hedges, some of colored canvas. There was a hidden ink pad and stamp in each on. If you find them all and stamp the letter in the correct box, you get 20% off on all gifts in the gift shop. Oh Boy! But it was found and harder than I thought.

Then I went to the Uncle Sam Tour boat dock and took a 2 hour tour amongst the various islands and homes. At the end of the 2 hours, the boat stops at Boldt Castle, built by George Boldt as a Valentine Gift for his wife. She died before it was completed. He never finished it, it fell to ruin, then about 8 years ago, it was made into a public attraction to get funds to restore it. George started on it in 1895. He was the highest paid salaried employee in the US at the time. He worked as manager for the Waldorf-Astoria and contributed significantly to it's success in those days.

Boldt Castle, close-up, and kids play house, Boldt boat house, power house, and "mother-in-law house". 1000 Islands web page.

That night, I camped on Wellsley Island in a New York State park. I dug out my roller-blades and did my thing. There are 5 bridges, see photo's, connecting the US and Canada at 1000 Islands. Wellsley Island is the terminus of the first (US) bridge.

Saturday June 28

In the morning, I headed to Canada and East along the St. Lawrence River/Seaway. I traveled through Montreal and onto Quebec City. This is French-speaking country, so to play it safe, I stopped at McDonald's and ordered by number: #4 - two cheeseburgers, fries and a drink. When I recognized the word "pop", I repeated it and got what I wanted. Wow, am I learning French?

At Quebec I crossed the St. Lawrence to travel along it's southern shore and proceeded to Riviere-du-Loup. I turned off of the freeway to head for Nouveau-Brunswick. I camped at Lac-Baker. It was my longest drive in one day: 502.8 miles. I wanted to get back to English speaking people. In New Brunswick they speak both French and English fluently. I setup camp and dozed off quickly considering the live entertainment at the campground.

Fort Kent, Maine

Sunday June 29

Lac-Baker is just a few miles from Fort Kent, Maine, my destination. Guess what? It's Sunday and the Post Office is closed. I got here a day too early. You see, I get my mail forwarded each week and this week's mail was sent to Fort Kent because I knew I would be going through it. Why? Because it is the Northern end of US Highway 1 which ends in Key West, Florida. Many times I've seen the Key West end but not until today did I see the Fort Kent end. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

U.S. Customs decided not to let me pass with out checking things out. It's seems that they weren't quit sure what I was and what I wasn't bringing from Canada with my clothes, tent, PC, VCR, etc. all packed neatly in the truck. But after filling out a Customs Declaration (with nothing to declare), I was allowed to pass. 1st order of the morning - Gas, then food, then find a Motel that will let me setup my computer.

With a little help from the waitress, I found the sign: Northern Terminus - US 1 south to Key West, FL. If you're going to drive US 1, go from the Key West direction. That sigh (before it was replaced) said: "Fort Kent, Maine, 1793 miles North". The sign in Fort Kent says: Key West, Florida, 2209 miles South". Which is it? Well, by my own travels, I've covered 4,195.0 miles since I've left Pinellas county. Maybe I didn't take the most direct route. [See maps]

Next, get the 1000 Island pic's developed. What, no 1-hour photo in Fort Kent? So I drove to the next big (big?) town to get the pictures developed. 1/2 and hour there, 1 1/2 hours to get pictures, and 1/2 hour back. You see, there was a parade today, so the traffic and extra photo business delayed things. But all is well that ends well. Besides, it cost less than 10 bucks for 36 pic's. Cheapest 1-hour anywhere except Price-Costco in Florida.

[Now it's after midnight and I still haven't finished yet.]

The pictures I've taken of the US 1 sign and the historic fort at Fort Kent haven't been developed yet. They will appear on the next update to "George's Travels".

When I checked in, I unloaded my PC, monitor, printer, and scanner but crashed for a nap first. Then I set it up and checked my E-mail. Wow, really good response. Then I scanned in the pictures, converted them to .JPG format to save space and download time, and started updating my web page. After that, I'll send a E-mail to let everyone know that I've updated my web page.

TO BE CONTINUED...