Sunday, August 5, 2012

August 5, 2012


Arrived home around 9:30 this morning.  I had left Batavia, NY early in anticipation of heavy thunderstorms that (thank goodness) never transpired.

Been a great trip, saw lots of interesting stuff and beautiful scenery, good to be home.  Total mileage was 6,119 total.

Next year...thinking about doing Canada again, with a different route.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August 4, 2012

I left Watertown to clear skies and rising temperatures all day.  Took Hwy 3 south along the Lake Ontario to the town of New Haven, where I picked up Hwy 104 to Rochester.  Along the way, I passed through Mexico and Texas...the towns thereof, anyway.  Along the way, I diverted to catch the Ray Bay lighthouse, which turned out to have been converted to a private residence with lots of no-trespassing signs.  I did get a shot of it, though, and it's very nice:

The little town of Ray Bay was located on Ray Bay, on Lake Ontario, and consisted of about 100 or so homes.

I followed Hwy 104 all along Lake Ontario through Rochester and then took I-90 over to Buffalo for the Buffalo Transportation Museum.  This summer, I had read that the Museum has had a make-over and I wanted to see it.  There were many automobiles produced in Buffalo over the years, and there still is a GM engine plant and a Ford stamping plant in the Buffalo area.  The two most famous makes produced in Buffalo were the Thomas (of Thomas Flyer fame) and the Pierce Arrow.  Pierce went bankrupt in 1936, but the original factory still stands, although, unfortunately, the museum is not located in it.  Any, the museum was pretty interesting and the facility has certainly been upgraded.

This is the entrance to the museum:

And sitting in the parking lot was this:

Unfortunately, not the real thing.  It's a 1980's Replicar of a 1936 Auburn Speedster.

Inside the museum were a number of interesting exhibits.  I didn't know it, but Pierce built horse carriages, bicycles, and motorcycles in addition to cars.  I thought Frank Kramer here looked particularly determined:

And this is a 1904-model Pierce motorcycle:

Here are a few of the more interesting cars they had on exhibit:

A 1934 Pierce-Arrow.

An absolutely gorgeous 1957 T-Bird with removable hardtop.

 1963 Chevy Impala 409 with 4 on the floor and the original interior and paint.

An early (I think prior to 1910) Model-T Roadster from the days before "you can have any color you want as long as it's black."

And, finally, this 1929 Stutz with someone's grandmother helping sell car wax.

All in all, a very nicely done museum.  I'm in Batavia, NY for the night and will be home tomorrow.

Miles today:  278
Total:  6,008

Friday, August 3, 2012

August 3, 2012

I left Lake George this morning to cloudy skies and a spattering of rain.  I expected to get wet all day, but the clouds disappeared by about 10:00 and it was beautiful from there on.  I rode north from Lake George on US9 and then up NY73 to Lake Placid.  Most of New York north of Lake George is part of the Adirondack State Park and it has some really splendid scenery.  I took this shot along Hwy 73 about 40 miles southeast of Lake Placid:

Lake Placid was interesting.  Of course, it was the site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, and a lot of Olympic training is still conducted there.  As I rounded a turn about 2 miles from Lake Placid, I came upon this:

These are the two towers built for ski jumping during the 1980 Olympics.  One is a 120-meter (394 feet) tower and the other is 90 meters (295 feet).  The distance refers to the "ideal" jump distance that would result under perfect conditions.  It's also the distance against which the jumpers are scored.  I got to go up the ski lift to the base of the towers and then up the elevator to the top of the 120-meter tower, some 250 feet above the base.  Here is a view of the slope and the towers from the bottom:

They actually practice jumping during the summer from the 90-meter tower on the left.  What you see is a synthetic surface they jump on. 

This picture was taken from the ski lift going up the hill.  What you're seeing is the landing area for the 90-meter jump.  You can appreciate how steep it is.

This is a view from the bottom of the two towers.

And, once you make it to the Olympics, this is the view you'll have from the starting gate.

Here are a couple views from the top of the 120-meter tower:

This was the 90-meter tower from the top of the 120-meter tower:

And, as I left, off to my left were some kids training for free-style jumping.  They jumped off the hill, did a 360, and landed in a big pool.  Look closely and you can see the jumper:

I left Lake Placid and headed on over to Watertown for the night.  Tomorrow, it's cross-country to Batavia, NY for the night.

Miles today:  295
Total:  5,730

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August 2, 2012

I left Rutland this morning to clear skies and bright sunshine for a change.  I headed back east on US 4 to Windsor, NH, to visit the American Precision Museum.  Along the way, I stopped in Woodstock, VT to take a few pictures.  I had passed through Woodstock on the way up a couple weeks ago and it's really a pretty, picturesque New England town.  Here are a couple shots:

Above was one of the side streets off the main square.

And this was Main Street.

About 5 miles further east on US 4 is the town of Taftsville.  I had seen this when I passed through a couple weeks ago, but wanted to stop and take a couple pictures.  Below is a 200 year old covered bridge that was almost completely destroyed in the 2011 storms that hit New England:

And beside it is a hydro power plant that was flooded and is still out of commission:

There was an article in the Rutland paper this morning that the State plans to have the bridge rebuilt in 2013.  I didn't read anything about the power station, but through the window, I saw one of the generators disassembled.

On down to Windsor, NH and the American Precision Museum.  The museum itself is housed in a factory building built in 1846 to manufacture firearms:

The factory produced the first firearms made with interchangeable parts, a real first in American manufacturing.  It meant that the firearms didn't have to be individually made by a craftsman, but could be manufactured in bulk using standardized parts.  The factory also produced the machines that were used to produce many of the firearms that the Union Army used during the Civil War.  The museum will filled with early-to-mid 19th Century machinery and was very interesting.  Unfortunately, the batteries in the camera died while I was inside, and I had parked about half a mile up the road...

After Windsor, I headed back west on US 4 to Saratoga Springs, NY and the Saratoga Auto Museum.  This museum is housed in the old bottling plant at the Saratoga Springs Spa and is featuring some of the early cars from the early days of NASCAR. It was very interesting.  A few that I thought particularly interesting were these:

This is an actual 1939 Ford Coupe that has been modified to carry moonshine and outrun the "Revenuers".  Many of the early NASCAR drivers got their start evading the law and carrying illegal (i.e. untaxed) liquor to market.  This included Jimmy Johnson, who spent 11 months in prison after he got caught.

This is a 1952 Hudson Hornet driven by Herb Thomas.

A 1960 Ford Thunderbird, back when race cars looked like a real car.

And this is Richard Petty's 1985 Pontiac.

The museum was really worth the stop and very interesting.

Tomorrow it's off to Lake Placid and then to Watertown, NY for the night.

Just so's you'll know, this is my little cabin in the woods for tonight:

Miles today:  200
Total:  5,435

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1, 2012

I left Bangor this morning in a pouring rain that lasted for about 100 miles, more or less to the New Hampshire border.  By the time I got to Gorham, the skies had cleared up enough that I decided to go ahead and try the Mt. Washington Auto Road to the top.  The auto road was opened in 1861, making it the oldest man made tourist attraction in the US.  The road is 7.6 miles long and climbs 4,618 feet from the base to the top in that distance.  Almost one mile and almost straight up.  The start of the road, at the base, looks like this:

You can see the road climbing up.  Nice, paved not real steep, right? Ha!

This was from a pull-off about half way up the hill.  The road is quite a bit narrower now, and quite a bit steeper.  There are pull-offs about every half-mile down the hill and signs encouraging you to use first gear and stop and let your brakes cool off.  For some reason, about 5 miles up the hill, there is a section a mile or so long that is DIRT.  Now, I paid $15 for a motorcycle to go up the hill.  Cars paid $25 for the privilege.  Now, you're gonna tell me they couldn't widen and pave this last darn mile?   (It did also get narrower.  Looks like one of those roads in South America that clings to the side of the mountain where trucks fall over the side on a regular basis.)  Well, I did manage to make it up without dropping all 4,618 feet to the bottom, and the trip down was actually a little easier.

With all the rain we'd had today, the top of the mountain was pretty well clouded in.  I did get a couple shots on the way down below the clouds, and on a clear day the scenery would have been spectacular.  (Did I mention there are no guard rails to get in the way?)

At the top of the mountain is the weather station where, on April 12, 1934, winds were measured at 231 miles/hour:

I wonder who stood out there holding the anemometer??

The top was interesting.  It's dominated by the weather station, which is manned year-round.  I'd love to be up here in the winter.  Tip Top House is one of the original structures on the mountain, having been built in 1854:

And, if you have any doubts about the weather up there, these are chains holding this building down:

Anyway, pretty interesting and probably more so on a clear day.

I arrived in Rutland, VT around 5:30 for the night.  Tomorrow, it's the Norman Rockwell Museum in Rutland, a museum in Windsor, NH, the Saratoga Auto Museum in Saratoga Springs, and on to Lake George for the night.

Miles today:  356
Total:  5,235

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012

Sorry, no pictures today.  I left Moncton this morning and headed west on the Trans-Canadian Highway to the US border between Woodstock, NB and Houlton, ME.  Weather was really nice, a few clouds this morning, but they were gone by 10:00 or so.  Crossed the border without incident, then headed toward Bangor on US2A and US2 through the back country.  I was a little surprised that Maine is as flat as it is, but I guess that's the glaciers plowing everything down.  Lots of scrubby trees and lots of pulpwood trucks hauling logs somewhere.  I went through downtown Bangor, which is actually pretty quaint.  Staying at a Motel 6 on the south side of town.  I'll be heading across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont on US2 tomorrow to stay off the interstates.  Tomorrow night I'll be in Rutland, VT for the evening.

Great day, no incidents to report, didn't get hauled into jail at the border!

Miles today:  311
Total:  4,879

Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012

I left Sydney around 7:00 this morning in a rain that lasted until around noon.  Stopped in St. Peter's for breakfast, and then boogied down the Trans-Canada Highway to Moncton, NB for the night.  I stopped at the Nova Scotia Museum of Industry in Stellarton, and that was quite interesting.  I didn't realize it, but in the 19th and up to the 1960's or so, Nova Scotia was a big coal-mining, iron-and-steel-making, and manufacturing hub for railroad equipment.  As times changed, though, those industries slowly faded away, and the province is struggling with replacing those jobs.  The mines in and around Stellarton were particularly deadly, as they released a relatively lot of methane gas, and consequently, were prone to deadly explosions.  Some of the exhibits in the Museum are below:

This is the "Samson", the first locomotive in Canada and the first locomotive in North America that ran on iron rails instead of wooden rails.  It was build in 1838 and shipped over to Nova Scotia for service in the mines in and around Stellarton.  Interestingly, the engineer sat on a stool to the right in the picture and the fire box, where the fireman would shovel coal, was in the front of the engine.

This is an ingot of steel about 6 feet long and 2 feet square as it was cast in a Nova Scotia steel mill.  It weighs about 10,000 lbs.

This is a 1912 McKay automobile produced by the McKay brothers in Kentville, NS.  Pretty nifty, but the company only built about 175 cars before folding up in 1914.

At any rate, the museum was interesting with a lot of unique displays.  I left Stellarton and headed west toward Moncton for the night.  Tomorrow, it's on to Bangor, Maine and the good ol' US of A.

Miles today:  302
Total:  4,568

Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 29, 2012

I left Baddeck this morning early and in a little fog and headed south on Hwy 105 to Port Hastings and then back up the eastern side of the island.  First stop was Lenoir Forge Museum in Arichat.  Unfortunately, since this was Sunday, the site didn't open until 1:00 and I was way early.  You can see from the picture of the harbor, though, that the town was pretty picturesque:

Even if I didn't get to see the site, the scenery was beautiful. 

Next stop was the town of St. Peter's, home of the St. Peter's canal and locks.  This was pretty interesting.  St. Peter's sits on an isthmus between the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast and Bras d'Or Lake, which occupies the entire center portion of Cape Breton Island, to the northwest. The canal connects the two, is 2600 feet long and was completed in 1869.  It replaced an old "haul road" where vessels were hauled over the hill on a road made of logs.  The other interesting thing is that this is the only canal in the world constructed with double lock gates, one set facing in each direction.  This is because, at times, the level of the ocean side might be higher or lower than the level of the lake, and they had to be able to operate under either condition.  Pretty interesting stuff! 

You can see the hill on the right that had to be removed to build the canal.

And here, you can see the double lock gates.  Pretty place.

And this is the end of the canal facing the Lake of Bras.

Next, it was on up to Louisbourg and the Fortress of Louisbourg.  This was also very interesting.  In 1713 the French build a fort at Louisbourg where they had a thriving village of Cod fishermen.  As the docent explained it, there are some 145 days a year that French Catholics don't eat meat, and they ate Cod on those occasions.  The fort was seized by the British in 1745, ceded back to the French, and recaptured by the Brits in 1758, after which it was systematically destroyed by British engineers.  During the 1960's through the 1980's, the Canadians restored the fortress and surrounding village, creating something that reminded me of Colonial Williamsburg, complete with guides in period costume.  The site is about as big as Colonial Williamsburg, too, so there's a lot to see.

Above is the main gate into the fortress, and you can appreciate the workmanship that went into the whole facility.  Interestingly enough, the guns were mostly facing the sea and, of course, the British came from the land side to seize the fort both times. 

Here you can see part of the village to the left, part of the fortifications to the right, and the main barracks building in the center.

This is a picture of some of the buildings in the village.  They had houses, a blacksmith's shop, bakery, restaurants, you name it.  All staffed with local people in period costume who really knew what it was they were portraying. 

Above is the village smithy making a tool of some kind.

And, finally, this is a shot of the village from the ramparts of the fortress.  Anyway, very interesting and very well done.

Tomorrow, I'm starting back home and will be riding down Hwy 104 all the way to Moncton, NB for the night.  I had stayed in Moncton two nights on the way up.

Miles today:  265
Total:  4,266