Covesville to Rochester with a stop in Corning

Saturday morning we had little to do to get underway. We had breakfast and cleaned up the interior to batten things down for getting underway. By 7 AM we were rolling, in short order it was 8, we had camped 20 miles from the time zone change, lost an hour instantly. We went though Kentucky and West Virginia and on into Virginia all on I 64 stopping only for gas and bodily needs. At 6:30 that evening we were unhooking the car to take Gee 2 back up the driveway to camping pad in Hungrytown Hollow. The kids were excited to see us the dog had clearly missed us and Malena and Dan also seemed quite happy we were there. Malena had had a procedure that provided some immediate relief and was doing more than she should. Carol and I made our own dinner and used their kitchen table. We spent time with all of them on Sunday and on Monday morning we took responsibility for Josh, this meant taking him ice skating. Carol and I are old timers at skating having grown up on the ice in Cobbs Hill Park. It is amazing how long it takes to recover those abilities. Also the ice seems a lot further away then it did then and falls are not as easy to laugh off now. We had a ball and I may actually do it again some day; after the bruise on my leg from falling on my keys heals.

Then we had a quick changing of the guard and Josh went off with Dan for haircuts, while Carol and I took over with Alex and Cory. I drew the easy job, Cory fell asleep in the stroller and all I had to do was keep him with me. Carol had to keep track of Alex who does not slow down very often. Malena has had another doctors appointment and went directly home from that. We kept the boys in town and had lunch all together at Baggbeys on the Mall. After lunch we went back to the house and caught up with Malena. The kids played and we did not do too much of anything. Dan had to get to work on his computer and somehow we all ended up with computers going.

In the morning we got up to see them all off to the first day of school for Alex and Josh. They all went for the opening day ceremony and Carol and I once more prepared Gee 2 for a long day on the road. As we rolled we decided that reaching Rochester was doable, but probably not fun. I remembered a nice restaurant in Corning, NY that we have stopped at many times before, London Underground, and suggested that the timing would be perfect if we stayed at Ferenbaugh Camps just north of town. And so it was. We sat down to a delightful dinner at 7:30 and enjoyed the meal. The time was made even more interesting as we struck up a conversation with two men at the next table. They were new Yorkers who had decided to escape the Republican Convention. They came to Corning for the Glass museum and the Rockwell and then were going on to Niagara on the Lake for some Shaw and then to Rochester to see the George Eastman House. We commended their brilliance at finding the good stuff.

The next morning we cleaned up, disconnected the utilities and hooked up the car for one last day on the road. We started up 17 to I390 and almost immediately got distracted. I turned off on to 15 and enjoyed the ride through the countryside at a slower pace. When we got to the intersection with 15A in Springwater I decided that the lesser road was more interesting and it didn’t have dump truck for me to follow. We came up the east side of Conesus lake and decided to pick up 65 coming through Honeyoye Falls and came in on Clover Road, a very new route for us in the motorhome.

Our lessons learned were not too painful. We have retained our flexibility when it comes to route selection and extended planning. I learned that the upper rear corners stick out further than I expected, fortunately my tuition was some barked rubbed on the finish on the upper right rear corner. We also will be clear about who has responsibility for watching what parts when maneuvering in tight quarters. Most everything about Gee 2 is an improvement on what we had before and it is a delight to travel and camp in.

Watch for more adventures starting in January.

Branson, MO back to Covesville

We moved on from Memphis on Tuesday as planned, headed for Branson, MO. We had a great “scenic” route laid out, but decided to take I 40 on into Little Rock and then US 65 north to Branson. This was a good call because US 65 is about as scenic as one needs to get. It cuts directly, or maybe indirectly given the curves, through the Ozarks. It has plenty of hills and curves, enough to keep both Carol and me happy and the views were just great. So I know you are all just waiting to ask the question, what is in Branson and why did you have to go there?

The what is over a 100 theaters with just about every kind of music and entertainment you can imagine. I could take my 5 year old grandson to any show without having to answer any untoward questions. It started as a Missouri Ozarks showcase of country music. Many of the big names from Nashville built their own theaters there. There are several seasons. We arrived in the lull between summer family and fall bus seasons. When school is not in session the place is filled with families (so we are told) and the family entertainment venues are jumping. The buses bring in retirees by the thousands for a few shows a couple of nights in a cheap hotel and all the chain food you can imagine, oh I didn’t mention buffets, really big.

This picture is the Lobby of The Remington Theater where we saw the Oak Ridge Boys.

We set up in Chastain’s RV Park just on the edge of the district (by about 500 feet) and set out to choose some shows to attend.

This is not easy since there are more schedules than you can think about. Many shows are offered at 2 PM and again at 8. Some are on at 10 AM. We thought we would go to a couple of them. By the time we were done we got to five shows in three days. Tuesday night we went to “Country Tonight” which had several good country singers and other entertainment of a very country nature. Wednesday we saw The Oak Ridge Boys at 3 and Acrobats of China at 8. Wednesday at 2 we went to The Magic Show with Brett Daniels and at 8 we saw Cirque produced by Neal Goldberg. All of the entertainment was well done and very professional. The performers all came into the lobby to greet the patrons after the show. The theaters are huge, holding up to 4,500 in the case of the Grand Palace and most of the audiences during this interim week numbered in the low hundreds. The performers did not seem fazed by the small audiences and appeared to put out the full effort for us. It was fun and very personal. I do not recommend Branson as a place for most readers to visit. The hotel accommodations run to Fairfield Inn and other mid to low level chains, I am sure there must be some high end, but we did not see it. The food is almost exclusively national chain. We did get into one local restaurant, Jim Owens Steakhouse which was acceptable and was able to put together a decent vegetarian meal for Carol. Not a place I would go out of my way to eat in, but acceptable.

As for why, because it is there. We don’t need to repeat this particular excursion and given its location in the Ozarks, 50 miles south of Springfield, MO, it is not likely that we will happen to be passing by.

We had been making plans for a swift return to Rochester after leaving Branson. Given the direct interstate route it was clear that we would pass through St Louis, MO, Indianapolis and Columbus, OH. We have friends in each of these places and began to set up stopovers of a couple of hours in each for a visit. Accept for the first in St Louis this was not to be. We got a call from Dan that Malena had a kidney stone and was in great pain and Dan seemed to need some help with the kids getting ready to start school and many unknowns about Malena. Since we had to go through St Louis no matter what and did not have to make any decisions until we were ready to leave there, we decided to go ahead with our visit with Carol Slepian. We three go back to Kindergarten together and the Carols were very close through school and have stayed in touch ever since. Her husband, Jake, was at work performing surgery so we could not get to see him unless we stayed over which was not to be. We spoke with Dan and Malena while we were visiting and made the decision to go through to Covesville as quickly as possible.

To visit Carol, we had gotten off the Interstate in the heart of St Louis and found our way to a synagogue near her home that had an open parking lot. Carol called the office there for us and cleared the way for us to park for an hour or so. It is Central Reform Synagogue and we acknowledge their welcome here. We managed to get out of town ahead of the Friday rush hour, just barely, and crossed Illinois and much of Indiana as darkness (and Shabbat) approached. We got to Corydon, IN and located a WalMart just off the Interstate. They gave us the expected permission to stay the night in their parking lot and so we did and I went in and bought a cantaloupe to have fruit for breakfast and to satisfy the unspoken suggestion that one repay their kindness by doing some business with them.