First we must record the absolute Joy it is to have "Our Sister Beth" along for part of the trip. She joined us at Letchworth State Park for a quick tour of the Waterfalls, then on to Pine Creek for biking. Perhaps the presence of a professional editor on board inhibited blog production, but somehow our visit to Watkins Glen State Park went unrecorded.
Watkins Glen IS spectacular, even breathtaking. It is also a little like Disneyland with its engineered walkways and crowds. We decided these were advantages, since it would be hard to concentrate on the treadway when each step reveals a new wonder (and it is nice to have someone nearby to share a gasp of appreciation with.) The walk is less than two miles, but we took our time to study each nuance.
Beth left us in New York on an AMTRAK headed for Milwaukee. (400 passengers, nearly two days with delays and NO WATER or toilet facilities). The algae bloom that closed water supplies along the great lakes left the train travelers with no resupply. It's a horror story that deserves a minimum of retelling.
But we have no shortage of toilet stories. Prologue: We enjoy retelling the first advice we heard about RV maintenance on the road.
" If you have a problem, stand in front of the RV and scratch your head. In minutes a crowd of at least 10 will appear. Half will have heard of this problem, at least three will have a solution and ONE will have the tools."Our friend Doug (who routinely disassembles Airstreams in campgrounds all over North America) added. "If you really want to draw a crowd, toss your toilet out on the lawn."
We tested this at Lakeside State Park in New York after a sixty mile trek to Camper World for a replacement, and a 120 mile return trip to actually get the right size. Sadly, there was less interest in helping with this project than expected.
Then there is the tale of the old man who carried replacement headlight bulbs around for two weeks. (Thanks to all who pointed that burned out bulb to us). He studied videos of the rather detailed dis-assembly required, priced the required fender bolt removal device, vowed to do it himself (in the grass, after he replaced the damm tongue jack). Then, on his third trip into town for tongue jack whizzits, he approached the Elsworth Maine Pep Boys. The bright young mechanic wanted to see what was involved (having spent a couple hours lately on another GM bulb replacement.) The ole man dutifully, but humbly, showed him what he had learned from the videos and sought an estimate. The cheerful young man didn't open a ticket, whipped it into a bay and before the ole man could mutter "young whippersnappers", he was back in the waiting room asking what to do with the old bulbs. He would not make a charge for his work. The ole man emptied his cash poor wallet and told him it was worth far more to him. The mechanic just smiled the smile of a young man on the top of his game. "See you next time."
Whenever sister Beth is aboard there is the requisite "milling and muttering" also known as a visit to the Museum. Any museum will do, just so it is cluttered, crowded and in close proximity to some adequate eats.
Corning New York made this easy on us. The parking was simple with the 'stream in tow; shuttle bus runs to the Corning Museum of Glass, the Rockwell Museum of Western Art and the Gaffer District of galleries and eateries.
The Glass museum features work both ancient and modern,
I liked the craft and imagination displayed in this Chess Set with Jewish and Christian pieces.
Fortunately, we all got hungry before Chihuly overload overtook us and we found sustenance in the Gaffer District.
Patty hung back from the ice cream ordering then scored BIG.
We returned a second day to visit the Rockwell. There you can see a large collection of the art that spurred our leaders to fund the first National Parks.
and a really well presented collection of ancient and modern Southwestern Pottery with notes that were coherent without all the usual pomposity.
The traveling exhibit was really a treat. Who knew that the Inuit and other circumpolar peoples had contact with the Viking-Norse settlements? How might their traditions and stories intermingled?
Sculptures in Brazilian soapstone that you want to touch (Don't) and study from every angle...