Thursday, September 27, 2018

Upper falls in Letchworth State Park

Wow, it's hard to believe but we have only two more weeks left here in New York before we'll start heading south for the winter! 
Time has certainly gone by fast, although part of it is due to the fact that we took a few weeks longer to get here, and arrived a little later in the season than we normally do.

So far we've seen pretty much what we wanted to see here, but we had two more items on our 'to-see-list' left. 
So when last Sunday promised to be a beautiful day, we decided to check out one of them and drove to Letchworth State Park, about 60 miles to the south of us.

And we were very happy we did, because this Park is a absolutely gorgeous!
Voted America's #1 State park (in 2015, but let's not get too knit-picky) and known as the 'Grand Canyon of the East', the park is roughly 17 miles long, following the course of the Genesee River as it flows north through a deep gorge with three major waterfalls and cliffs as high as 600 feet, surrounded by lush forests.

We entered the park at Perry in the North and drove the 10 mile park road, following the gorge, to Portage Canyon in the south where the waterfalls are located.
Along the way you come across several viewing areas, located high above the muddy river ...

Unfortunately we were a little too early for any significant fall colors, but here and there we came across the red leaves of a maple or two and a whole lot of acorns ...


It's a really beautiful drive ...

Eventually you reach the Middle Falls, which is the largest of the three ...

We took a break here and had a great lunch at the historic and restored Glen Iris Inn, former residence of William Pryor Letchworth, the founder of the park, which has a beautiful view of the falls.
Showing your $10 entrance ticket gives you $10 off the bill. Not bad!

Afterward we took the foot-path in front of the Inn that eventually brings you to the Upper Falls. First you get a good look of those Middle Falls though ...

Lots of moss is covering the high cliffs in front of the falls, they love the constant spray ..

We even caught a double rainbow!

A short walk along the rim of the gorge brings you to the Upper Falls, arguably the most scenic of them all:

We agreed that two of the tree waterfalls were probably all we wanted to see, so we left the lower Falls (which also involved a 4 mile hike) for what is was, and went home.
In hind-side we should have visited the Humphrey Nature Center that's supposed to be very nice, but somehow I missed the information about it's existence/interest. 
Oh well .. it was a beautiful park and we're glad we took the time to visit.

Back home, I decorated for Fall. Off course!

And I had a helper. Off course!

James worked on putting up a T&G wooden ceiling in the exercise room, next to the pool:

I actually helped them out for a while, since they were short a 'runner', who'd bring the planks to and from the guy managing the table-saw outside.
Now everything went a lot smoother and we put it up in a day! 

So, two more weeks, and counting .. down, that is ...
Before we leave we'd like to visit the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge one more time, and we also need to do a little more maintenance on the truck and RV, but other than that we're pretty much 'done'.
The route is roughly set and we're getting excited to get 'on the road again'. Soon!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Yes, yes, yes! It's FALL!

It's the most wonderful time .. of the year ..   Well, for me it is. I LOVE Fall, can't you tell?!
Here's an impression, from around the campground:

There's berries, (some) colored leaves, asters and even some mushrooms! 
The temperature has been down overall, although today is one of those fluke 80-something days, but not for long! The forecast for the whole next week looks great, 60s and low 70s! Yeah!
I'm so happy!

OK, moving on, James did a big job on the truck this week! 
We've been leaking steering fluid for months already and knew we finally had to do something about it, so with our finances in a little 'rosier' place, we ordered a (refurbished) steering box ($425) and while we were at it, we also got a new steering column (we only needed a small part of it but they only sell the whole thing so .. sigh .. it is what it is ..).

                   Look how shiny!

But first came a lot of nasty, dirty, knuckle-busting dismantling! Thank goodness James got 2 new tools (a Pitman arm puller and another ) otherwise he would have never been able to get it done.
It set us back another $85 but otherwise, as James kept reminding me, it would have cost us $1000 to bring the truck to a repair shop ... whatever!

I forgot to take a picture of the steer box we removed, but it looked something like this:

(We had to pack this up to send it back to the manufacturer to get our money back).
It took about 4 hours to get everything done after which we, sorry, James, also replaced the part at the fuel tank he 'mickey-moused' together last fall when the thread of a blown tire ripped it off ..


By the way, here's a look of all the Ryobi tools James owns (and that's not even all of them) that couldn't get the job done .. can you imagine? 
What other tool can you possibly need .. sigh ..

Any-who, we're very happy that it's done, and that things went really smoothly, and that we're not leaking oil anymore, and that the steering has greatly improved and that the fuel tank cannot explode on us anymore .. just kidding ..

I got a few nice walks in this week and snapped some random bird-shots.
That's a cute little Downy Woodpecker on the left, and on the right the first of some of the ducks that are going to pass through here on their winter migration (hopefully).


I even spotted some Green-winged Teals. These are females and they're so cute, about half the size of the Mallards above!

Also, I missed this sign last week when I did my collage. Actually, it might be my favorite ..


With the temperatures dipping in the 50's at night (true!), I started some new, warm socks:

I love these colors and it's self-striping, so cool!
Let's see, what else did we do ... oh, we had a little impromptu BBQ, put on by Patrick, one of the guys James works with, who had bought too much steak and invited us over to help eating them!

Hah! Free food .. you know us .. count us in!

And that's about all I can think of for this week. Not very exciting but we got a lot accomplished.
Life is good!

How's this for a sunset:

Thursday, September 13, 2018

One of the many fun signs at the campsites ..

I guess I should complain more, about the weather, that is..
Last week we went from 91F(30C) to 50F(10C) in 3 days, how about that!

No complaints here, I was 'tickled pink' as they say. Unfortunately it was short lived, 3 days, and we're back to 80F(25C) today.
Oh well ... like I said last time, it IS coming!

I've started watching the Fall Foliage Prediction Map and the Nationwide Peak Leaf Forecast on the web and parts of Northern New York are the first parts of the country with 'minimal' change.
I'll say it again ... it is coming!

Not much to see on my walk yet, lots of Cottonwood leaves are falling but not much color and I notice more and more berries, like these from the Grey Dogwood:

                                                               Or these little Crab-apples

And these large seed-pods are from the Milkweed I photographed earlier in the season ..


There are still some Butterflies around. This is a Cabbage White (I think), although this one looks a little 'off-white' ...

And this might be a Mustard White:

When I'm not walking around the lake I walk around the campground and besides all those different RV's and trailers I also come across these:


We're such a happy bunch aren't we, us campers. And no, we don't feed the Sasquatch! (top left in the next pic)

Cooler temperatures always make me want to go in the kitchen and bake or cook or stew something. 
It started with making dough for pizza, which is such an easy dough and so pretty and soft ...

And than I decided to make a free-style 'no-knead' bread which came out great too:

And while I was at it, and I have a sweet tooth more than anything else, I made Blueberry Muffins. I used a different recipe with sour creme, and they are a little denser but delicious!


And than I needed some 'in-between' cookies so I baked up some 'ready-to-bake' Nestle chocolate chip ones ... m-m-good!

While I was happily busy in that department, James worked on the exercise room, next to the pool:

And put marble counter tops on the kitchen cabinets in what's going to be a 'snack-bar' area, at the main building.

Well, there you have it. Another week in the live of the Hess's. Aren't we a lively bunch?
O, I almost forgot, we golfed ... of course!
This time at the private Caledonia Country Club:

It was a little bit of a dark day, and we had somewhat of a very light drizzle going on during the back nine, but it was a nice course and we didn't golf too bad either (for a change)!

The front nine were a fun up-and-down as you (might be) able to see there behind James ..

And look at this interesting hole:

To be able to see if the green has cleared below, you have to climb the stairs to take a peak. Funny!

Alright, I think that really was it this time. 
Here's another sunset one. Not as colorful as the previous, but it works good for 'the end', so there you have it ..