It's been a long 11 months since the Captain and I have been on the road. We came home early from last summer's trip due to my brother having some health problems. After a stroke and then a heart attack we had to place him in a nursing home. Unfortunately, dementia had set in and he was not very happy or pleasant to deal with. He lingered on for several months and finally died in January. To make matters worse, our son-in-law, Rob, our daughter Beth's husband and father to our two oldest grandchildren, passed away unexpectedly the day before Thanksgiving of a massive heart attack. He had just turned 50 so it was quite a shock to the whole family. We limped through the holidays as best we could hoping for a better 2014.
We decided against our trip to Florida for the winter months staying home, instead, and remodeling our daughter Beth's house. It was quite a job and both the Captain and I decided our age is starting to show. More aches and pains than when we built our house but we persevered and finished up in middle-May. The Captain and a neighbor also spent some time working on the overflow valve in our lake. As the lake level raised the water was supposed to flow over the top of the drain and into a creek below the dam. Evidently a tree trunk got caught in the bottom of the overflow, 25 feet down, ans stopped most of the water flow.
|The Captain and our neighbor, Gary, poking a rod into the overflow pipe trying to break up the tree stump.|
|Trying not to capsize Gary's floating dock while forcing the rod up and down into the stump.|
|State of the art technology used for looking deep into the pipe for clues to a resolution. The umbrella covered a flashlight used by Gary.|
|This is Daisy. She is a little smaller than the average polar bear but much gentler. She's a Great Pyrenees weighing in at around 125 lbs. Ask her what she thinks of winter weather! Oh , yeah!|
|She really loves the Captain even after we had her groomed and they put purple ribbons in her hair.|
|This was pre-grooming while she stayed with us for a few months and enjoyed our lake and running around on our land. You can see why grooming was important.|
|Riding in our rig. Is this the life or what......|
Okay, enough about the family. We dropped Daisy at her new home, painted a few rooms for our daughter, and finally headed north to the Finger Lakes and wine country. Finally, our summer vacation begins!!!
|On our way to the Finger Lakes of New York we passed some Amish on the highway.|
|There are over one hundred wineries in the Finger Lakes area and they can range from modest but functional to formal and elaborate.|
|This winery had formal gardens overlooking Lake Cayuga.|
|Different than most, in this winery you sat while being served the wine samples.|
|A view of Lake Cayuga from our campsite.|
There are 11 lakes in the Finger Lakes region. Cayuga and Seneca are the largest and the valley between the two lakes is where most of the wine is grown. The lakes are also known for another common product, salt.
Caused by the evaporation of a huge sea 300 million years ago, an enormous salt reserve stretches deep underground in upstate New York to Lake Erie. Commercial salt production from brine wells began in the Finger Lakes near Syracuse when it became difficult to obtain salt from abroad during the War of 1812. It quickly became their largest industry and supplied much of the salt to the rest of the country. The building of the Erie Canal allowed the bulky salt to be transported to Chicago and further west and the canal became known as, "the ditch that salt built." During the Civil War, salt production in Syracuse secured the North's supply and those living in the South couldn't buy salt at any price. Some believe the lack of salt is one of the reasons why the South lost the war.
Although the salt industry closed in Syracuse due to environmental issues in the 1920s, there are still four salt mines in operation in the area on Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. We would have loved to have toured one but they are not open to the public.
|Twenty-four hundred feet below this lake bed is an enormous salt bed that stretches under much of the Finger Lakes. Cargill Salt owns the 40 mile long mine that runs under Cayuga Lake. This is the deepest rock-salt mine in North America.|
|A view of the mining operation under the lake. Cayuga Lake is 435 feet deep and this mining operation is going on below it. It is hard to imagine that men are working under the lake while tourists are boating above during the summer months.|
|One of the salt hills in the area. |
After a great stay at the Finger Lakes we headed west to Akron, New York, near Buffalo, to meet up with RVing buddies. They stay at a park each summer near where their daughters and families live.
|Our good friends, Dick and Mary Anne Sanders.|
|We had dinner in a local restaurant and had to pay the waiter extra to snap this picture. Hey, after a few bottles of wine we didn't mind.|
|They have many bike trails in the area but I was still amazed to see snowmobile signs. I guess we've lived in the south too long.|
|The park we met our friends at was having an election for 'Mayor' of the community. This guy gets our vote!!!|
|My favorite sign as we drove out of Akron was this local funeral parlor. All they needed was a question mark !|
That's it for the great state of New York. Our next stop is Michigan where we plan to spend several weeks working our way north to the Upper Peninsula. Peace!