Monday, July 23, 2012

Passing south of Lake Erie

Yoko and her man, sleepy in the morning. 
 Sunday, July 22: Yoko didn't want to get up today. We finally went outside and explored the weird thistles growing near the dumpsters of the Red Roof Inn. 

 We left Rochester area today, and got myself a lot further down the road.  It was 76 degrees F when I left at close to 9:30 AM. Only 60 miles to Buffalo, and then dot to dot all the way to Elkhart, Indiana. About 550 miles. Sounded easy.
I looked at a lot of corn today, and in the past when I’ve traveled west, the corn has been much taller this time of year.  Any planter who was relying upon Mother Nature to water his acreage now has pretty dead corn.  I did see some irrigation going on, but not enough. Some fields were only waist high with brown dead stalks down at the bottom. Even if it was green, the height of the corn was generally low all across New York and the tab of Pennsylvania and  Ohio. And in Indiana, it got worse.  

 Read it and weep, many people here are:

One thing that is doing quite well in New York, though, is the poison sumac trees.  They had their big red bunches of fuzzy things in full color beside the highways. Saw my red hawk totem twice today, once leaving New York, he was tipping a good-bye to me before lighting up on the top of a tree, and as I entered the RV capital of the world (Elkhart, Indiana), a red-tailed hawk flew straight for the Lakota horse trailer billboard and then swooped up it to sit on the top.  Stunning acrobatics, I told him, as I put on my blinker for exit 92.  And I also think he was trying to tell me to buy a horse trailer. 

To be fair, the wildflowers were quite pretty along the road in New York for awhile, until I got to the Buffalo mess. Wild turkeys gleaning on the side banks were nice, too. It was pretty in New York until the turn off for Niagara Falls, and I was jealous. I wanted to turn up there, too, as the temperature was steadily rising. But I hit the Buffalo infra-structure instead. And after Buffalo (actually, the big loop around it), it did get nice and country again, so I’ll stop whining. 
Buffalo power grid

vineyards across western NY and Pennsylvania tip

Lots of vineyards along the highway from western New York across PA. Very good healthy looking vineyards on the sides of the road.  I hope they get a good crop. 
I stopped at just about every good looking toll road rest stop along the way, to pick up another drink and let out the last drink.  Hydrate, hydrate! Yoko had her own 2 quarts of ice water on the back seat. She didn’t spill today. 
Many rivers I crossed over were way down, such as Silver Creek, just before Exit 58 in Pennsylvania. Nothing silver about it. Finally got some pictures of the vineyards at the Pennsylvania visitors center. 

The temp was up to 82 degrees, so I had to hurry in the bathroom. Yoko in the car, window open. I can go in 4 minutes if I don’t have to wait for a stall. They were playing polkas on the radio, and then Garrison Keiller came on. The show was about family road trips, and I enjoyed it till it got lost in static.
Lots of construction on the other side of Erie. 

I saw lots of rusting bridges, and then some new ones, which would translate to: construction.  Like at Exit 235, a new bridge!  And after the 18 miles of construction, open road again. . .but something is killing the very tall (white?) pine trees along the highway here. Saw lots of dead trees, red pine needles.  Torches if sparked by lightening.
HAD to get off the toll road for a break, so I pulled into Painesville, Ohio, just for kicks and to get gas. Nice little town from what I saw.  They had blocked off their Main Street and were having the “Largest Ohio Free Music Festival” down there. Very nice. It was 87 degrees, but music helps. The first big building that I saw though, as I entered the downtown area, was a Chase Bank, and it had the nerve to live on Liberty Street.  Lots of motorcycles, a busy railroad track (single), a gold domed City Hall, cute little 2 story houses that wouldn’t have seemed little until the 1990’s, and. . . a dedicated bike trail!  I saw a bike bridge over a highway.  Nice. 

Heading for Cleveland, it was up to 94 degrees. I don’t much like going around Cleveland, but it’s a necessity to take that by-pass. So I did.  Phew. Lots of tractor trailer trucks and traffic, including the high-speed weavers.  Then 75 miles to Toledo. Cornfields look OK here! I think they are irrigating. And then going past all those exits for Sandusky. . . ick.  Maybe they should change their city’s name after the big Penn State scandal.  Penn State, you are going to get spanked hard, just watch.
But, gag, then there’s the Sandusky River just before Exit 91 to Port Clinton.  It’s very flat and very hot. Three lanes of open road. I took a nice picture of a barn with many roof angles.  I hope you can see them. I was doing 70.  If you hate school in Ohio, and the teacher is boring, you can “be challenged” by going on-line and taking up your schooling, totally customized to keep your mind as sharp as a tack. For free. That’s what the radio ad said:  
Let me talk about the way some people drive.  I take my camera, turn it on, hold it in the direction of what I want to capture without taking my eyes off the road, press down on the button half way and hope it’s focusing on something, and then click it.  I throw away 75% of the shots.  Dump them.  But that seems to be the way some people drive.  I think it’s their cruise control.  They have their car set for, say, seventy five, and they are not going to hit the brakes for anything, no way.  They are steering, but they don’t slow down. They cut you off. They realize that they don’t have any room to merge, so they push you over. They cannot move that foot to the brake pedal, they’d have to re-set their cruise control.  I call it point and shoot driving. I saw a lot of that today.  I survived, luckily. Because I do use my brake pedal.
All the way to Indiana on Route 80/90. . , more of the above. Hot. Very quick trips into the rest rooms so my car would not lose its frigid ice box feeling. I’m thinking of getting Yoko a fake “service dog” vest so she can come in with me.  She does me a big service. She keeps me from spending lots of money in stores and restaurants. That’s a very great service, I feel. 
Pennsylvania travel plaza

Ohio travel plaza

Why I don't use GPS device

One more thing I have to tell you that I learned today:  Indiana has horrible travel plazas.  I couldn't bear to take a picture. Ohio’s were much nicer. Pennsylvania's too. Best of all. . . New York’s (the ones that were open). The New York travel plazas have drive-though windows. I can drive through and get the next iced drink.  But travel plazas are an eastern thing. Once I get out past the anemic Mississippi, then I will find no travel plazas, and will have to rely upon fast food drive through’s. They have salad. And Yoko likes chicken.
Check it out!
Yoko salivating at a fast food drive-in! 

Didn't even know these food drive-ins still exist!  Elkhart.

Don't know what this crop is. Greens Look like pineapple tops, but couldn't be. Maybe they chopped off the dead corn to feed the cattle. And left a foot or so. 

Just off the Interstate in Elkhart
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So Yoko and I are at another Red Roof Inn, because they allow dogs. She is sleeping in her bed.  She does not know about the horrific dust storm that Arizona had to leave through yesterday and today.  If you ever wondered what it was like when the Dust Bowl era hit the US, you can now go find out. Today, I saw dark clouds at the end of the day, but no rain fell out of them. Maybe tomorrow. 
What I'm not driving.  My Rav 4 is getting 27 mpg at full A/C. Like that!
Yoko deciding whether she can pee in 95 degree heat, Ohio
Some trees trying to change color now. In July!  New York.

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