Friday, June 29, 2007

Lake Erie

In case you haven't realized this, Lake Erie is BIG!!! From the shore, you can only see water on the horizon. No shoreline. With the wave action we saw, it was easy to think you might be on the Atlantic coast. The Lakeside Campground we stayed at in Ripley New York was located on the shore between Erie Pennsylvania and Buffalo New York. Unlike our familiar Kerr Lake, the shore line was very rocky at the campground. No swimming was allowed by state law. There must have a lifeguard to swim. This didn't stop folks from doing it, just wasn't allowed by law. Good thing this doesn't apply at Kerr Lake. I don't think there are lifeguards anywhere on that lake.

The sunsets at night were gorgeous. Different every night.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada

For the past two days we've traveled from our Lakeside Campground base in Ripley, New York to Niagara Falls, Ontario. We had been advised by the local folks we've met to go over to Canada for the best views of the falls. They were right. On the American side the view of Horseshoe falls is limited by the angle of the river. You have a good view of the American and Bridal Vail falls.

Monday morning we left about 7am and went up to Buffalo.
We crossed into Canada on the Rainbow bridge. It was about mid-morning and the border crossing was quiet. Something triggered the guards and our truck was searched inside out. Don't have a clue as to why this happened, but it made for an interesting way to start our visit to Canada. Maybe the guards were bored and wanted something to do since we were the only vehicle there at that time.
We next went to the Welcome Center. We'd also been advised to get a visit package that included the Maid of the Mist, Journey Behind the Falls, the White Water Walk, the Butterfly Conservatory and all day rides on the People Mover(bus). Parking was $18.00 for the day. (I thought Disney was expensive...)

We went on the Maid of the Mist boat first. The boat travels right next to the American and Horseshoe falls. We were given plastic rain ponchos and these were definitely needed.

Even having them we still got pretty wet. Hair, shirt, and shoes/socks soaked. IT WAS GREAT!!! The power of these falls is awesome.

After lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (expensive!!!), we went on to the Journey behind the Falls. This tour takes you down an elevator behind the falls. We went down some tunnels to get to the back of the water fall. There was also an outside platform that was RIGHT BESIDE the falls. We got wet again but not as much.
We also went to the Butterfly Conservatory. This reminds me of the one in Durham at the Museum of Life and Science. However, this one is quite a bit larger. Many different types of butterflys flying free in the atrium. The atrium is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

On Tuesday we went back via the Peace bridge. This brings you into Canada near Fort Erie. Very scenic route down the river. Looked quite like rural North Carolina. Lots of trees and other greenery. Gary thought it was a boring route to take. Same thing for several miles.

We went to the White Water Walk when we arrived. Again down an elevator to the river level.

At this point of the river the rapids start. They are listed as Class 6 the most extreme in the world. The pictures don't do justice to this. Imagine trying to go down these rapids in a raft. Do you have good life insurance?? Currently it isn't legal to try. $10,000. fine when you are caught.

Since we had kept our truck handy in the Walk's parking lot (free) we spent a hour or so just driving around the town. We stopped at the Whirlpool Aero Car ride. This ride takes you over the river in a cable car. But, it was closed for orientation safety training of new student workers.
Oh well..might have been a little bit scary anyway.

We also stopped at the Rossi Glass Blowing shop. The shop offers demonstrations of glass blowing. Very interesting and HOT!.. Beautiful and bizarre glass for sale also.

Dinner tonight was at a Perkins (yes, almost just like the US). Same menu but higher prices. Over $40.00 for dinner. Baloney sandwiches are on tonight's menu. What would we do without baloney and PB&J?

We stayed until dark so we could see the falls lite up. Most of time we were there the lights they were using were green. I was hoping for pink or blue. My camera just couldn't get great pictures using the ambient light. Maybe I need a new one??? :)

Ohio Amish

Did you know Ohio has more Amish residents than anywhere else? We didn't but were told that at a tour of an Amish farm. We went down to Holmes county to visit the Heini's Cheese Factory and the Yoder Amish farm last week. We enjoyed both tours very much.

Heini's Cheese was started by John (Hans) Dauwalder who trained as a master cheesemaker in Switzerland. He came to the United States in the 1920’s. After several successful years at the Bunker Hill Cheese Co-op, John decided to return to his hometown in Switzerland. He renewed his romance with Lili Mueller. The two fell in love and were married in 1933.
In 1948, John and Lili, together with their two children, Peter, and Marguerite, sold the family farm in Switzerland and joined John’s Brother Crist in the United States. Crist had purchased Bunker Hill Cheese in 1935 and asked John to join him in building the family cheese business.
In 1962, Peter and his wife Nancy, acquired Bunker Hill Cheese. The family business continues to be the primary outlet for the Amish farms in the region. The Amish farmers provide their milk to the factory in traditional milk cans, the same way their forefathers did.

I sampled about 15 kinds of cheese. They even had Chocolate cheese. It was all delicious. I bought some Chocolate w/ nuts and Chocolate and Coconut. Yum!!

After lunch we visited an Amish family farm. The farm was opened to the public for visits over 20 years ago. Our guide Sally showed us two homes. The small house on the right in the picture was used by the Yoder family in the 1800's. When the family outgrew the house a second house was built and lived in. There isn't any electricity used in either home. We learned about the Amish history and how the family lived. A lady was baking in the second house using a gas stove. The brownies smelled wonderful but we didn't try any. You may visit their web site to learn more.

We also went on a buggy ride. This was very pleasant even though it was a very hot day. We were surprised how comfortable the buggy rode. The last part of the tour was a visit to a model of an Amish school. Children attend there schools until the 8th grade. They don't attend high school or college. The teachers are selected by the school board and don't have college degrees. If the school has more than 30 or so students a curtain is hung down the center of the building and there are two teachers in the building. All grades are in the same room. The 10 Commandments are posted on the wall. Each day includes bible study as well as academic studies.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rock On!!!

On Sunday we moved from the Cracker Barrel to Ridge Ranch Campground in Newton Falls,Ohio. This campground is a nice place. Owned by Jack and Cheryl Morris and Barney. They bought the campground about 4 years ago and have worked very hard to make it a fun place to visit. We enjoyed our time there and would recommend it to anyone in the area. Lots of kids over the weekend, but quiet during the week.

On Monday we went up to Cleveland. The one place Gary had requested we see on our journeys was the Rock'n Roll Hall of Fame. Here is a link to their web site.
It is located in downtown Cleveland on the shore of Lake Erie.

This is an excellent museum. To quote Gary "Like totally awesome dude!"
We got there at about 10:30am and didn't leave until after 5:00pm. There is so much to see and hear. Lots of original memorabilia. Pictures, posters, letters, albums, you name it and they have it. 6 floors of exhibits and music. We even had a good lunch at their cafe. We couldn't take pictures inside..and I even had to check my camera before we could go into the exhibits. Bah!! That is the only part I didn't like. You know me. I like to take pictures to help my fading memory later. We could take them in the lobby and outside. So I do have a few to help me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Crossing Pennsylvania

We left Cedar Lake on Saturday and traveled across the state on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. To get to the Turnpike we were supposed to pick it up near Carlisle PA. We managed to miss the turn somehow..I'm blaming it on the GPS (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). About 10 miles down a bumpy road we re-evaluated the route. What we learned as we bumped down these very hilly roads is that PA only allows access to this road at certain places. And we couldn't find those places for miles and miles and miles. But hey...we're not on a time table.
The country side along this area is farm land. Farm after farm. Nice to see this. NC sure doesn't have these in our area any more.
Eventually we made it onto the Turnpike. Sad to say the condition of this road wasn't much better than the single lane hilly bumpy roads we'd been on for the previous couple of hours (that may be an overstatement but it seemed longer). We crossed on into Ohio and stopped in Austintown and spent the night at our favorite boondocking stop, a Cracker Barrel. Very good food and nice folks who don't mind that you "rest" in their parking lot. We "rested" until about 9AM on Sunday. Happy Father's Day.
Located next door to the Cracker Barrel, was a resturant named Quaker Steak and Lube. Very snazzy. We didn't go there but many folks seemed to enjoy it(open until 2am).

Sunday, June 17, 2007


From July 1st -3rd, 1863 General Robert E Lee's Confederate army fought with the Union Army of the Potomac, led by Major General George G. Meade. Lee having learned that General Meade's forces were pursuing them, ordered several brigades to travel east to scout their location and look for food and supplies for the troops. Northwest of Gettysburg, these brigades were met by the northern brigades. A skirmish started and as the battle heated up, word was sent back to both Generals that the enemy was found and reinforcements were needed. Over the next two days, Lee’s army was drawn to Gettysburg from the west and north, while Meade’s would arrive from the south and southeast. A battle, not planned, would happen by chance. This battle was the defining moment of the war. Even though the war went on for 2 more years, this battle gave a picture of what was to come.
There are over 1300 monuments to honor the men who fought and died those days. They are spread out near where the brigades fought. We easily located the monument erected to honor North Carolina. According to the Park Guide it was sponsored by a group of women from North Carolina. The faces of the men look very intense. What do you see in their faces? Determination? Pain? What else?
The tall building monument in the picture is for PA.

While touring throughout the Park we came upon a reenactment group. Turned out they were from Jacksonville, NC. The group was setting up their tents and would be living there for the weekend explaining the history from the view point of a artillery brigade.
This picture is of the Colonel's tent.

Ellie waited patiently for us.

Sachs Covered Bridge located near the park. Built in 1852 by David Stoner, this bridge extends 100 feet across Marsh Creek. It was used by both Confederate and Union troops. It was closed to auto traffic in 1968. General Robert E Lee stands atop the Virginia Monument.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


We went from Kerr Lake to Louisa VA on Monday. Stopped and stayed at the Small Country Campground for two nights. On Tuesday we went to Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's home) near Charlottesville. The grounds and gardens were very pretty. It was a beautiful day. Sunny with a nice breeze and it wasn’t too hot. There was a 30 minute tour of the house, and then we got to wander around the outside buildings and grounds on our own.

When we got ready to leave we had to wait for a while. There was only 1 way in and 1 way out of Monticello. A car carrier truck had gotten stuck at the exit. It took them a while to move the truck. Finally they decided to take us out the entrance..wrong way on a one way street. It worked..and just as we got out on the highway, here came the truck. They had used a back hoe to un-stick the truck. Gary thought they were going to pick up the back end of the truck to push it over the hump in the road where the truck was stuck. I don’t know if this is what they did, but something worked. It was free and it front of us.

Yesterday we left VA and came on up North. Thru VA, thru Maryland and on into PA. We stopped and looked at a couple of campgrounds near Gettysburg but they didn’t have a good internet connection. Something I need to work.

So, we went on north on PA 15 for a while. We kept looking for a campground. Finally we took off east following the GPS toward a campground in Dover. We wandered through the countryside for a while following it at each turn. (At least until it told us to turn down a gravel road). We skipped that turn and kept on. The sky got darker and darker. Wind started blowing. Rain came. It poured. Hail came. The size of peas at first, then larger. We kept on following the GPS. At one point we were traveling down a one land road at the side of a river. River on one side, houses on other side with just enough room for the road. Yikes!!! We just kept telling ourselves this was part of the adventure. Finally we got to the Cedar Lake Campground. Not actually the one we were heading to but the one we found. The storm ended up at the campground at the same time we got there. We had to wait in the office for a while until the wind, thunder and lightening had passed. We learned later there was quite a bit of damage in the county from straight line winds. Fortunately none where we were.

And…get Gettysburg I didn’t have any Internet connection to speak of. In the countryside near Dover I found that I had 4 bars and Broadband speed. We found that very strange. But, we’re glad of it.

Today we’ve stayed in at the campground. Gary did the laundry and I worked off and on. Tonight we took a walk around. Very pretty place with many seasonal campers on site. There is a small lake that we’re told is well stocked with fish. Not exactly like Kerr Lake. Ellie has played with a couple of other dogs and seemed to enjoy it very much.

Tomorrow we’re going to Gettysburg. Visiting the museum and cemeteries. Hopefully the weather will be a little better than today. It was 50* today. Cool and cloudy especially for a June day.

Hope you all have a good night. Bye, Deb