Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, Libby made a memorable quote. We were watching a large flock of geese beside the canal. There were about 40 Canada geese and two geese of some other variant. Libby said, "Look - there are two gooses in with the geese."
Speaking of geese, Dave and I heard a really surprising story on the news the other day. The while Northeast USA is blighted by a non-migratory kind of Canada Geese. They just stay around all year and multiply and defecate. They are pests. The news is that New York decided to get rid of 375,000 of the estimated 400,000 geese in the state. Hooray for that!
The bad part is that the state did not just declare them to be pests and to allow citizens to kill them at will and take them home to eat (yummy). Instead, the state will spend money to capture and gas the geese, while still forbidding citizens to kill them. That's so stupid and so symptomatic of runaway government that I find it hard to believe.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
New York Thruway
42 59.31 N 079 56.06 W
We couldn't drive all the way from the Rockies to Rome, NY without finding an attraction to see. I don't need to tell you where. The picture speaks for itself.
Was it fun? YOU BET.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Our blog readers are so wonderful and so knowledgeable that I'm posting this question here. I'll delete this post before Libby gets to see it.
Libby loves newfoundland dogs. She owned them as a child. We decided that we can't own a dog on Tarwathie; it's not fair to the dog. However it breaks my heart to see the love in Libby's face whenever she sees a newfie.
I got the idea that we might be able to borrow or rent one for a few days. Can anyone help me?
39 53.80 N 83 43.78 W
We did it! 600+ miles yesterday. We weren't deprived though. I didn't see a single sight all day that inspired me to grab my camera. We decided to bypass the major attraction of the day; the prairie dog town with the five legged steer Cumberland(no kidding). It appears that we'll end up in the vicinity of Akron or Cleveland, OH tonight and that we'll arrive at John's house near Rome, NY tomorrow afternoon. That will mark the official end of our cross country trip. Poor Dave has already driven more than 7000 miles ( 11000 Km ) so far.
We crossed the Mississippi this morning. As a boater, I was quite interested. The river was flooding its banks. The current appeared to be 5-6 knots. That would be very dangerous for a boat like Tarwathie.
Dave and I learned that we share a common fantasy. We would like to visit every one of the 1500+ Waffle House restaurants. Did you know, if you lined up all the bowls of Bert's Chili® Waffle House serves in a year, it would stretch the length of Florida's coastline on both the Atlantic and the Gulf coasts? Aha! There's the answer to the Gulf oil spill crisis ;)
Technology Fail: My all time favorite film is the 1984 classic Brazil. A theme in that movie was advanced, but dysfunctional, technology. Last night Dave and I lived that story. It was supper time and we hankered for some Kansas City beef.
Dave used his Tomtom GPS to get directions to the ne arest BBQ restaurant. It directed us to the DPW garage: FAIL.
I whipped out my Droid with Google Maps. It sent us on a 15 mile wild goose chase that ended in a corn field. It even showed a picture of the empty field when we got close. FAIL. .
Sunday, July 25, 2010
39 03.93 N 096 18.45 W
Well, we had our fun but now it's time to pay the piper. Dave also needs time in the Northeast to visit family. To get back on schedule, we need to drive 1,800 miles in three days. Of course we'll have fun but we can't take every scenic byway and diversion we come across.
Here's my recommendation. Take a push pin and stick it in the map at the San Francisco Mountains in Arizona. Then draw a circle with radius 100 miles (maybe 150). Explore everything within that circle. The number and diversity of the places and things inside that circle should satisfy anybody.
My second recommendation is harder to follow. To give your mind the time it needs to absorb the reality of what you see, limit yourself to one or two new experiences per day. Travel no more than 25-50 miles per day. That means you can't experience the west in a vacation or a trip, you need to make it a lifestyle .
Land cruising by RV or by motorcycle is too fast. Traveling at five miles per hour on foot or bicycle is the way to go. For Libby and I it's a little too late in life to tour on foot. We'll have to be content and thankful that we are able to cruise by boat.
I'm I'm also thankful that Dave and I had this once in a lifetime chance to spend this time together having fun.
Man oh man, what a day. We started with a view of the Evaluate Grand Staircase. Then we came to a magical badlands region with hills and valleys of bare rock. Then er crossed a ridge and the rock was covered with soil and sagebrush.
Why should the land east of the ridge have soil, while land west of the ridge is bare? Dave and I wrestle with such puzzlers as we travel through this marvelously varied land.
Soon we came to a lovely green oasis valley and the town of Boulder, Utah. After that we passed through pine forests, and finally Aspen forests.
At one point we came upon some steers in the road. There were two cowboys and two border collies trying to round them up. We stopped to watch the fun.
At mid morning we entered Capitol Reef National Park. Dave spotted a scenic byway road so we took it. After a while Dave saw a dirt trail with a sign saying, "Grand Wash. Do not enter if a storm threatens." We took that road too.
On each side of the wash were vertical cliffs I estimate them being 1000 feet high. Spectacular. We came to a spot called echo cliff. Dave walked 300 yards away and yelled. Good echo. Then in a normal voice, I said, "Can you hear me?" He could. Then in a very soft voice I said, "Now?" Dave answered, "There are no secrets here." I said, "For Gods sake, don't fart."
Soon the wash became too narrow for the truck so we continued on foot. Dave was so enchanted, he said, "This is better than Bryce." We hiked for 2.5 hours.
After the hike, we just drove. The rest of Utah and Colorado bored us. We came to Aspen and found it to be a somewhat revolting enclave for the rich, so we didn't stop there.
The day ended with a bang. Exactly at sunset we arrived at Independence Pass. 12,095 feet and the continental divide. The sights were stunning. So much beauty.
Tonight, we're heading for Colorado Springs.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
37 47.29 N 111 37.89 W
We learned that we're following the exact path of Powell's second expedition. This area was the last unmapped spot in the lower 48. Very cool, and very very beautiful.
We've seen so many beautiful scenes today that it is impossible to remember them all. Each scene is so stunning that it deserves to become a lifelong memory. However, before the brain transfers it from short term memory to long term you must think back on it a little bit. Today though, each amazing sight is replaced immediately with another equally amazing sight.
In the East when the bear goes over the mountain, the next mountain and valley look much the same as the previous one. Ditto for cyprus swamps, and salt marshes, and mangrove forests, and cays. Not so out here. Each vista has colors and textures and shapes unlike the others and unlike any other place on Earth.
Now even before the day is done, I have trouble remembering the specific sights we've seen.
When Dave came back up from his walk among the Bryce hoodoos his quote was, "I didn't think that anyplace on Ewart could look like that."
This state park is nice. It has great facilities, nice sites, and a mountain to climb with great views and a petrified forest on top.
It's still not over. After dinner Dave and I will hike up the petrified forest trail for the sunset. The only word I can muster is WOW.
Friday, July 23, 2010
My phone cropped the picture in the previous post wrong. I don't know how to fix it so here's a second try.
We drove from GC to Bryce. Along the way we stopped to see the Little Colorado Canyon and the Glen Canyon Dam (see the picture). We also saw more natural beauty than the mind can handle.
Right now Dave is hiking the steep trails here at Bryce. I'm sitting this one out.
Next we are going to take 220 miles of back roads through Escalante to Green River. Probably no phone signal tomorrow: no blog.
My friend Glen emailed from Schenectady that he's going on a severn day trip through GC by raft. I'm jealous Glen, have a ball.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
32 02.41 N 0
As we walked the canyon rim with the other tourists, we heard over and over three very human themes that must repeat here thousands of times every day.
1) Mothers with young children say,"Hold on to my hand. "
2) Mothers with older children say,"Wait! Stop! Don't go any closer!"
3) Middle aged men say to their wives, "OK just one more step back."
It is also very international on the rim. I estimate that only 50% of the people were speaking English. I heard Spanish, German, Swedish, Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Yiddish, and many other languages I couldn't identify. But now I think I learned how to recognize a few phrases in each of those languages: "Hold my hand. Wait. Stop. Don't go any closer. OK, just take one more step back. "
This is my third time here. The first with Libby. The second with my father Jerry. Now the third with my son Dave. My favorite part is to see the astonishment on my companion's face when they get their first glimpse.
Nobody can describe the Grand Canyon to you. No picture or video can show you. You must simply see it with your own eyes.
Wow, what a day. We started in Kingman. We drove East to Flagstaff. Once there we searched Route 66 for that quaint strip of old motels and diners I remembered. I wanted the diner that made the worlds best hash browns.
Alas, they are all gone. The strip is full of national chains and fast food.
We went to the Meteor Crater, then to Sunset Crater volcano, then to the Hoptaki Indian dwellings. Each of those is a wonderful experience.
On a trail I illegally picked some pieces of lava and ponderosa pine needles for Libby to make a new basket.
The high point of the day came when Dave found a little side road and took it. He is more adventuresome than I at such things. Soon we had crossed the Painted Desert. The constantly changing beauty all around was wonderful. Then we came to the Little Colorado River. Instead of a canyon, we found a ford. I never forded a river before. It was fun. There were big thunderstorms around, but luckily no flash flood. We kept going, but soon we realized that we were on Navaho land, so we turned back.
Best sight of the day: We could see a furiuos thunderstorm on the West side of the San Francisco Mountains. It was trying to move our way but it couldn't get past the mountain ridge. It stayed sunny but very windy on our side. Cool.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I'm blogging at my gate at the Philli airport. Boy am I out of practice at this stuff. I used to take 50-60 business trips per year. Now is my fist time on a plane in several years. Airports haven't changed but I have.
Jenny and I convinced Libby to stay on a mooring while I'm away. It is expensive but we wont worry about her
I'll meet Dave in Las Vegas tonight Don't know where we'll stay.
Big brave act: I left my laptop home. We (you and I) will be dependent on my Droid to write blogs. So far so good.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
We are also looking at a glory up in the sky. There is a band of cirrus ice clouds. The sun is setting. In one spot, the angle of the sun is just right for us to see a bright spot rimmed with the colors of the rainbow. It's a fitting welcome.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
This is the area which General Burgoyne's army found so difficult to traverse in 1777. For 20 miles they had the choice of steep wooded hilsides or swampy ground on the flats. It was not good for transporting artillery, Burgoyne's furniture and chests, plus other heavy cargo.
Tomorrow, we reach Lake Champlain once again. :)
|Kyle, Abagail, Eliza on Tarwathie|
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
We managed another great reunion while in Amsterdam. Paul was my boss at my first engineering job at G.E. in Schenecatdy. Paul was a wonderful mentor. He guided andj educated me throughout my early career. I dearly love Paul. He's a wonderful person.
My best friend John is also my contemporary. John worked for Paul at G.E. the same time I did.
Neither John nor I have seen Paul for quite a while. Monday, we fixed that. John and his wife Mary Ann picked up Paul and his wife Marge and brought them to Lock 20 for a mini reunion. Mary Ann took the picture below of the whole group except herself.
|Dick, Libby, Marge, Paul and John|
Paul is sharp as ever. Indeed his memory of things past are better than mine. It was a great pleasure to see him again.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
42 47.26 N 073 49.80 W
I must admit to a touch of nostalgia as we pass through this region. Today we passed under five consecutive bridges; each of which was my primary work commute path over the years. The 890 Bridge, the Scotia Bridge, Freeman's Bridge, Rexford Bridge and The Twin Bridges on I87. Four of the five bridges are in Schenectady County. Both Libby and I have crossed each of those bridges countless times.
We have been meeting the Grand Erie up and down the canal for the past month. She is a floating hotel for canal workers. She has a galley, a cook, a lounge, and a private room with TV and AC for each employee on board. She moves up and down the canal to the sites of working projects. In Amserdam last weekend we saw her getting what must be the 5,000th coat of paint.
Today, she passed us doing about 8 knots. That means she must pack a lot of horsepower under the hood.
|From Drop Box|
Monday, July 12, 2010
|From Drop Box|
|From Drop Box|
Before galvanizing, I spent a day with paint stripper tools to remove rust, and at the yard, they had to let them soak in acid for two weeks to remove surface salt that wouldn't chip off. Hubbell Galvanizing in New York Mills, NY is a great company. They charged only $75 each to do the anchors.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Monday, July 05, 2010
Sunday, July 04, 2010
On Friday we took our granddaughters Katelyn and Victoria on board once again to spend a couple of days with us. Need I say that having grandchildren aboard is a great pleasure.
In the evening we taught the girls how to play Bananagrams. It is a word game remotely similar to Scrabble, but lots more fun. They both liked that a lot.
We also played Jenga; the game where you build a tower of wooden blocks higher and higher until it topples. That was fun too. It even suggested a marine variant of the game because sooner or later some wave comes along that rocks the boat and topples the tower. Imagine the pressure if it is your turn and you see the wake of a big boat coming our way. If you finish your turn in the seconds before it come, then it becomes your opponent's turn.
Saturday night we were joined by their parents, John and Cherly. All of us went to the Fourth of July celebration in Fort Plain.
Fort Plain puts on a grand traditional Fourth of July celebration. A big and elegant fireworks show is, of course, the centerpiece. But they also had a bonfire, hot air balloon rides, a fishing derby, three legged races, egg tosses, clowns, and balloon artists among other things. We all had a great time.
Today, Sunday, it us just Libby and I alone on the boat. It is 93F (34C) outside and humid. I'm spending the afternoon in air conditioned comfort at the library reading the Sunday New York Times.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
43 08.59 N 075 17.51 W
This morning I went for a walk and gathered local wild flowers. Libby likes them a lot.
This afternoon, we had a visit from Dean. Dean is one of the few blog readers who read all of our 1527 posts here. This is the first time Dean and Libby met, but I've known Dean from work. It is remarkable that we didn't know each other for many decades; our circles of contacts and experiences have very much in common. Nevertheless, I met Dean for the first time at the NYISO sometime after 2001 when I started working there.
I sent Dean home with my copy of Joshua Slocumb's "Sailing Alone Around The World." Who knows? May he too may be bitten by the urge to cruise after reading that book.
An hour from now, the free concert will start. Tonight they have The Big Band Sound of Easy Money. Just perfect for old farts like us. It is part of The Betsy Concert Series.
Boy, it will be hard to leave Lock 20 tomorrow. This is so ideal. It's like being at summer camp.