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Day 32 (10.3.07) - Mom Veto's the Turnpike

We find a beautiful waterfalls and a great Old Erie Canal Museum

sunny 0 °F
View (Re) Discovering America on jl98584's travel map.

Starting Mileage: 114850
Ending Mileage: 114986
Weather: Sunny, some clouds, warm (78 F)

Mom wasn't very happy staying at Wal-mart last night, probably because she couldn't take a hot shower. Actually she could have, but she doesn't like the one in the RV very much as it's a bit small. There was a pond next to where we'd parked and it was full of ducks & geese - quite a noisy bunch (in a fun sort of way). I threw them some bread in the morning, but the seagulls were so aggressive I couldn't get any to the ducks.

We drove across the parking lot to the Toyota dealership and they fit us in for a lube & oil change (LOF). They didn't look at my battery problem since it was in the living unit, but they checked everything else and said things looked good. I will try not to panic at every little noise. I did go to a car parts store and put a new battery in the living unit - so far I have plenty of juice (unlike most night's when I can't plug in), so we'll see.

While we were at Toyota, I took advantage of their free wi-fi to update the blog a bit, including a video on Day 29! Last night, I found the software I need to install so that I can edit video's (not just upload simple shots). Given time, I might even become reasonably competent at this (ha, ha).

After we completed our RV maintenance, my plan was to jump onto the Interstate and drive hard towards Boston - we had decided to go to the Fairbanks House first since it closes October 15th, then go back up and visit Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. So I figured the quicker we got there, the quicker we could get back to our original route. However, Mom really objected to the Interstate. It is true that we've seen much more interesting things by taking back roads, so she wanted to continue travelling in this fashion. I relented and we headed off into parts unknown.

The first thing we bumped into was a section of the old (original) Erie Canal - that still had water in it. NY has made a number of these sections into state parks with walking/riding trails alongside, which is really nice. Mom is acting silly here, but it was a good picture of her acting silly, so I decided to include it anyway (reminds me of my son).

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We continued East on Hwy 5 and passed several neat looking things without stopping (and historical signs without photographing). Maybe Mom was thinking I'd pass everything cool, so when we drove through a small town that had a sign saying "Chittenango Falls State Park", she asked me to turn. Later when the drive turned out a bit longer then we'd expected, she said I didn't really need to turn there - but we were both glad we did. Chittenango Falls are very beautiful. They are 167 feet tall, not as much water as Niagara Falls of course, but interesting in their own right. The top half lands on a flat rock platform, then cascades again in many riverlets over the bottom half. I hiked down a steep, rocky path to the bottem where I met some very nice people from New York who shared digital camera stories with me.

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This is again from the digital still camera, I'll replace it later with a better quality video if I can:

Eight miles later, we almost got back to the village of Chittenango and I remembered seeing an unusual barn on the way up - so stopped to get a picture. Maybe this isn't all that unusual, but I thought it was very well done.

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I was looking for a gas station before continuing on when I noticed a brown Historical Marker for "Chittenango Landing". Since we'd passed so many of these by, I suggested we check it out thinking that this would just take a few minutes. It turns out that "Chittenango Landing" was a stop on the Old Erie Canal. In about 1855, someone built a drydock for repairing canal boats and a boat construction facility. After the canal was rerouted to the Barge Canal, the old landing was obsolete and forgotten about. People farming the land filled the repair bays in with junk and the place was pretty much forgotten about. In 1985, the townsfolk rediscovered the site and began excavating, studying it's history, and have reconstructed most of it using historical photos. They have also built a nice museum, put up informational signs throughout the site and help visitors (like ourselves) find their way around and learn about the place.

Landings like this were an important part of the Erie Canal. In addition to being able to purchase a canal barge from the boatworks there (for about $2,500 - $3,000), boat people could have their boats repaired and buy supplies at a general store. Industry formed along the canal since the boats could be used to shop goods to markets on the east coast. In Chittenango, a Cannery was built at the landing which produced mostly canned peas and corn grown by local farmers.

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The general store was also reconstructed from old photo's and contained a lot of interesting things.

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Well, so much for making tracks today - between the waterfalls and the canal museum, it was already 4 PM! We continued East, but it was so late I thought once we got to Utica, we'd for sure jump on the turnpike (I90) and try to make time. Mom however was as insistant as ever that we stay on Hwy 5. I'm not sure it cost us much time however, other then the stops - it was quite windy today and my RV goes just fine in the wind - as long as I keep it under 50 mph!

So we passed more historical markers, interesting and old buildings. Here is an old mill that has been converted to a shopping mall. Mom liked the rusty truck in front of us - they must salt the roads here in winter. In Buffalo, a lot of old factories are still standing, but they are empty and kind of any eyesore.

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We were stopped at a light when I noticed the sign for this house. It was the home of one Webster Wagner, the inventor of the Sleeping Car (on a train) in 1858 - so I assume the house is of a similar vintage? (And I didn't even have to pull over this time).

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A little later, we passed a sign for Fort Klock, which was built as a fortified house in 1750. The house & gift shops were closed (my wallet is greatful) since it was after 5 PM, but we enjoyed touring the grounds. I tried a shot of the home's interior through the glass, it gives you some idea how the people would have lived in the mid 1700's.

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We passed more interesting and historical homes, but it was getting darker and we were getting tired, so we didn't stop for these. (I think we are also realizing that we will NOT be able to stop for every bit of history in New England - no more than we have been able to stop for everything of interest in any other state!)

There might be RV campgrounds in this neck of the woods, but they don't seem to be on Hwy 5 or aren't very well marked. Finally we stopped in a small city park off the road. We may not be allowed to stay here, but we are tired and it's nice and quiet so we'll see. If someone knocks on the RV and tells us to leave during the night, we will - otherwise, it's lights out.

Posted by jl98584 18:28 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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