Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gettysburg: The Battlefields Tour

Today was a history lesson. Anyone who knows anything about us at all knows that Wayne has a deep love of military history. 

We arrived at Gettysburg and took a campsite in Artillery Ridge Campground and National Riding Stables. The smell of horse poo is dreadfully strong and there are horse enthusiasts everywhere, but we're managing. You won't be able to make out the wording on the sign over his head in the photo below.  It reads: "Ride into history on HORSEBACK.  Battlefield tours." Can you imagine.  No, we didn't ride horses.

This morning we headed to the National Park Visitors Center to see what information we could gleen for our visit to the area.  While today's weather is pretty nice, rain from a tropical depression is due to move in tonight with heavy rain expected tomorrow.

We opted to purchase a field guide with tour CD and tour from the comfort of our own car. Two other options were available for touring the battlefields:  Personal guide or tour bus. Ugh.

Here is some of what we saw today with captions where I can remember what they are:

Statue of Abner Doubleday, a Union General and the inventor of the game of Baseball.
Refer to our trip to Cooperstown, NY two weeks ago for more...

Yours truly standing at the North Carolina Monument

Tennessee Monument

General Robert E Lee and the Confederate Soldiers Memorial
From very near this monument, General Lee watched the battle of Picket's Charge 
Picket's Charge area from the point of the Confederacy

The farm and home of President and Mrs Dwight D. Eisehower

Wayne on Little Roundtop

Wayne is standing at a famous photographic place known in an area known as Devils' Den.
A photograph of a dead Confederate soldier was taken here. 
The photo was published widely throughout the country.
Later it was learned the photograph had been staged.

High Water Mark - Picket's Charge. This area was known as "the angle".
Final decisive point in the battle of Gettysburg giving the Union it's victory here
and turning the tide in the war's eventual outcome.
We have yet to visit the Farm and Home of President Eisenhower so we'll be doing that, visiting the cemetery, seeing the cyclorama and the museum before we pull out of Gettysburg.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Visit to the 9-11 Flight 93 Crash Site

Leaving Indiana, Pennsylvania today we decided to go to the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.   The crash occured in a field near the town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 

The site is now a National Park.  The old metal building that served as a command headquarters immediately after the crash serves as the temporary memorial house.

Temporary Memorial for Flight 93
 Because of load restrictions on the approach road to the site, we had to leave the motorcoach parked at a nearby metal shop.  An employee of the shop told us of seeing the plane as it flew directly over the workyard in route to it's crash. He said the outside workers could see the people in the plane as it flew just a few hundred feet off the ground.  None of the employees knew the plan had been hijacked until much later in the day.

It was a sobering and moving sight on a cool, overcast day. 

We are in route to Gettysburg.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Indiana, Pennsylvania: Home of Jimmy Stewart

On our crawl in a quasi-southern direction, we took a series of federal, state and county roads off the beaten path.  Here is some of what we saw:

Plenty of colorful foliage and apple festivals in these parts. 

We drove through the Allegeny National Forest
 We went to Wheel-In Campground where we stayed two nights in a mostly deserted campground.  With school in session and cool, damp weather, we nearly have the park to ourselves. 

Our GPS really let us down this time. 
We weight 21.5 tons!
We had to unhook the car and back big Mona up the road!

We're really not "movie star groupies" but decided to add the small town of Indiana, Pennsylvania to our itinerary when we learned it was the hometown of the actor, Jimmy Stewart.

Wayne wanted to steal Harvey

This statue of Jimmy Stewart is in front of the court house

Indiana, Pennsylvania is an old town with a long history of service to the country.  We were impressed by the honor paid to their servicemen...

Jimmy Stewart was born here and lived here until he went off to college at Princeton.  The museum was packed with personal, family and movie memorabilia.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jamestown, NY: Lucille Ball's Hometown, Grave and Museum

Last week I learned  that Lucy-Desi Museum, Desilu Playouse, childhood homes and the grave of Lucille Ball were all in nearby Jamestown, New York.  I happily convinced Wayne to make the small sacrificial trip detour.  We stayed at nearby Hidden Valley Campground where it's unseasonably warm (mid 80's) and large gnats swarm all around your head. There's been no frost here yet, but it's not far off...

Lucille Ball, co-star of "I Love Lucy" was born on August 6, 1911, here in Jamestown, New York.  She lived in this area until she was a teenager when she left for New York City.  The house she was born in, and the house where she lived with her grandparents, are both still standing.  Jamestown is proud of the "Lucy connection" and residents here were pleased to have her (and her family's) remains moved to the local cemetery from California in 2003. 

 Here are my photographical treasures of our visit to Jamestown.

An "I Love Lucy" fan, yours truly.

The Desilu Playhouse contains original set pieces
from the tv apartment of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo

The house where Lucy was born.

The house where Lucy lived as a child.
Lucille Ball's grave marker 
Lakeview Cemetery in Jamestown, NY

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Erie Canal, Niagara Falls and Fort Niagara - New York

Monday, September 20th was a travel day and we drove west through New York, finally leaving the beautiful mountainous area and entering the vast flat agricultural part of the state. Huge farms with large barns, multiple grain silos and great fields of corn, soybeans and other crops fill this part of New York. Signs of autumn are everywhere in the state though, with colorful foliage in both the mountains and flat areas.

Our campground in Akron, New York

In the afternoon we arrived at Sleepy Hollow Lake Campground in the small town of Akron, not too far from infamous Attica Prison, where riots occured in the 1960's.

Tuesday brought a much anticipated day trip; first to Lockport, NY where we saw locks in operation. We were fortunate to see a boat go through the locks while we were there.  I only captured one photograph and a movie clip.

Locks #34 and #35 at Lockport, NY

From Lockport we went to Niagara Falls. Wayne had been several times, but this was a "first" for me to see the falls. It was as spectacular as I had hoped. Niagara Falls State Park turned 125 years old this year (2010) and it is the first state park created in the US. The day was sunny, about 82 degrees.

Niagara Falls State Park

American Falls and the Rainbow Bridge

Cave of the Winds walkway.

After seeing the falls and riding around the park, we headed north to Youngstown where we visited Old Fort Niagara. The fort dates back some 300 years to a time when France and Britain controlled the area. In 1813 it was taken from the US by British troops. Obviously, somehow, we managed to get it back...

Fort Niagara is at Youngstown, New York

Fort Niagara is at the point where the Niagara River runs into Lake Ontario. 
The park looks across the 50 mile stretch of water to Toronto.
On a clear day you can see the buildings in downtown Toronto.

The Old Fort Niagara Lighthouse

Finally, we drove onto Grand Island to find where Wayne was stationed while he was in the military service. We looked for an office building he wanted to see, but were unable to locate it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lake Seneca and Glenora Wine Cellars

We enjoyed our Saturday day trip around Keuka Lake so much we decided to see another of the Finger Lakes on Sunday.

There are hundreds of vineyards in the Finger Lakes area and we drove along one of the many wine trails. It seems grapes grow well along the steep sloping regions and the climate is right for them. 

Vineyard along Seneca Lake

More area vineyards...

The southern shore of Seneca Lake
 As we traveled from our campground east to the southern tip of Lake Seneca, we came first to Watkins Glen. This town is known for hosting Formula Racing but there aren't alot of visible signs of that distinction.  Our route was again, up the west shore and down the east side.  Almost all of the vineyards have daily wine tastings so we stopped at Glenora, as we learned it was the oldest for the region.

A lobster festival with live music was taking place that day but we didn't participate, opting instead to continue moving northward to Geneva, on the northern tip of the Lake. William and Smith and Hobart College is located in Geneva and it is a nice city.

Maybe we have some wealthy relatives?

Named for us, I'm sure.

Returning to the southern tip, we passed more "Smalley" signs. A garage and a street sign. Seems Smalley's are abundant in New York as this is the second and third sign by that name.

Wine taster