At last! On the Road...

Trip Start Mar 27, 2014
Trip End Sep 20, 2014

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Flag of United States  , New York
Thursday, May 29, 2014

Yes indeed! On the road at last- only a day late, but I've never gotten off on time yet.  Something always comes up at the last minute and this year was no different… but at 1:00 PM on Thursday, May 22d, we pulled away from the curb heading off on this year’s adventure.  My mind was going a thousand miles an hour over mental checklists, recalling what was in each drawer, cabinet, and carry bag.  For the first time I had not forgotten anything and we cleared the city limits of Shreveport without having to return home for something (or several things).  Could it be that my memory is getting better?  I had allowed myself a week to make the trip to upstate New York and so we stopped in Arkansas, just east of Memphis for the first night.

The first stop to see something en route was Bowling Green, Kentucky, at the National Corvette Museum.  I wanted to see the hole thing… and it was open.  In case you didn’t know or have forgotten, several months ago a huge sinkhole opened up beneath one of the display areas of special Corvettes and swallowed eight of them, including the 1,000,000th Corvette produced, and the 1991 ZR-1 Spyder.  They have been pulled out and the remains are on display in the museum... a number of Corvette aficionados were seen standing around them weeping.

It was Memorial Day Weekend and on Saturday evening, I stopped in a rest stop.  There was trailer there set up by the local Rotary Club offering coffee, soft drinks and snacks to drivers.  I had a wonderful talk with Vicki who was manning (womanning) the trailer including where I could find a campsite for the night.  There were several campgrounds nearby, but on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends it is hard to find a space without reservations.   She and her husband offered their driveway if I couldn’t find a place… isn’t that awesome!  There are some really great people in this country.  I did find a place, so I didn’t take them up on their offer, but I won’t forget their offering of hospitality.

New York State has added a notice on their rest area signs- "Text Stop"- a good idea, but I still passed several people weaving along, bent over their cell phones at 70 MPH.

As I did last year, I stopped to visit my great friend Stirlin Harris and his wife Beth at their horse farm in Geneseo, NY.  He and I were classmates (’59) at Deerfield, went to the 1960 Olympics in Rome and on skiing trips with his family for a number of years after Christmas at Mt. Tremblant, Canada.  They are boarding a mare for a neighbor that just foaled about 5 weeks ago.  The little one is beautiful and frisky, all legs and likes to pose for the camera.  Stirlin and Beth are involved with the Pony Club and Genesee Valley Hunt which manages to take a lot of time.   Stirlin is also a member of The National Warplane Museum which is headquartered in Geneseo.   Currently one of the planes they restored- “Whiskey 7”, a C-47a which was the lead aircraft of the second wave of paratroopers on D-Day, flew to Europe via the northern route through Iceland and Greenland a couple of weeks ago and is preparing to repeat the drop at Normandy on the 70th anniversary of D-day, June 6th

The museum is fascinating and I was given the grand tour.  They have (in pieces) a B-23 bomber, of which only 33 were ever built and none are flying today.  Also a C119 “Flying Boxcar” which served in Burma during WWII.  It was flown in to the museum site, parked and then gutted by the crew.  It is slowly undergoing the restoration process.  I was able to help a little with the work on the loading ramps while Stirlin was mowing the grass airstrip, some 5,000 feet long.  The museum has a number of aircraft as well as displays of uniforms, equipment, and life at home during the war.  Their B17 bomber, one of ten that still flies and painted like the famed “Memphis Belle”, is leased to a private company and recently flew in to Shreveport giving tours and taking people for rides.

On the way home from the museum we stopped at the kennels for the Genesee Valley hunt’s foxhounds.  They have 70 hounds, and the most amazingly well-behaved and trained dogs.  Just as we got there, Marian, one of the trainers, was returning with her husband and about 30 hounds from a ride where the hounds were learning to work with horses.   As I was standing in the middle of the pack surrounded by the hounds I kept wondering how I was going to explain it all to Lacey.  Actually, when I got back to the camper, she took a couple of sniffs and gave up.

Stirlin’s youngest son, Sean, is preparing to leave in late summer for an internship teaching in Japan.  Sean is a great guy, very talented and with a great future.  He has built a cool rifle/pistol range behind their indoor riding ring and we spent several hours shooting.  It was the first time I had fired my Colt Anaconda, .44 magnum and it’s really sweet.  I plan to take it and a can of bear spray when I go back up to Kirwin, the ghost town in the mountains south of Cody, WY, for that is Grizzly country.

It was a great visit- old friends are like gold.  I hated to leave, but the road was calling and I had an appointment waiting down the road.

(Click on photos to enlarge them.)
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