Autumn Leaves - USA Northeast 2009

 

We crossed the Atlantic early october for a (first) visit to northeastern parts of the USA plus parts of Canada. Our visit coincided with the Autumn Leaves season and we were fortunate to have several extremely sunny days, which brought out the colours very well.
When we checked in we learned we should have filed an application by internet to the 'ESTA' website, to enable to travel to 'Fortress USA' under the Visa Waiver Program. One last time we would be allowed to travel with a written I-94 form, but next time we would be denied access and/or be heavily fined! When will the EU make travel to the Europe as miserable for US citizens as what we have to endure?!
As stated on previous travelogues, I am a reluctant airline traveller, as air travel these days has the passenger reduced to a potential criminal by security paranoia and airlines have thrown out all service (esspecially on the ground) due to cost savings and complete indifference to all & sundry except the revenue.
And indeed, the airline industry again lived up to this image.

 

Welcome...

We flew with US Airways to Philadelphia. A computer failure with Scottish Air Traffic Control grounded all planes destined to cross Scottish airspace for routes across the Atlantic.
Fortunately for us, US Airways quickly took action and planned a route around it and we were able to depart with only one hour delay. The extra flighttime was about one hour and the Boeing 757 had to refuel at Bangor,ME. This made us three hours late at Philadelphia, but other airlines saw much bigger delays, while awaiting computers to be repaired with Scottish ATC. They probably wanted to avoid the costs US Airways incurred due to extra flighttime and an extra landing.
After an otherwise rather nondescript flight, we arrived at Philadelphia. We suffered through the tedious immigration procedures and collected our bags. When I photographed the famous words as shown above, I was told to move along by officials: it is clear that people in the US no longer 'see' this message.

 

Bags ready to roll
>Our battered suitcases were piled up on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is Life< - Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Planning this roadtrip in these northern parts, I had braced myself with conservative expectations regarding the sun's presence and support. But as one can see, we woke up to a pleasant day in our Knight's Inn motel in Allentown.
We had left Philadelphia for what it was and found a place to sleep in Allentown,PA which is about 01hr30 drive on the route we were planning to travel. Places to go, sights to see...

 

Family Diner
Jukebox - new style Present day juke box, with cd discs!
The Knight's Inn had two busloads of students staying with them, so we found the area for the complimentary breakfast crowded. So we opted instead, as is my tradition for the first morning, for a full & hearty breakfast with all the trimmings, in a nearby family restaurant: Izzy's. This proofed to be a good choice. Customers included some grizzled, unhurried workmen in uncomplicated conversation (one guy held a subject 'duct tape sold at certain store' in conversation for at least 10 minutes) with all and sundry.
I always find, when I have passed 'the gates of fortress USA', things to settle down for me. You just have to avoid dealings with US Immigrations, government burocrats and police, as personal experience have showed me that one might as well be in (e.g.) Iran (to be fair: I haven't been in Iran yet).
Security paranoia reigns here in the US like in no other country.
-To The States-

To the States or any one of them, or any city of the States,
Resist much, obey little,
Once unquestioning obedience, one fully enslaved ,
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, of this earth ever
afterward resumes its liberty. -Walt Whitman

 

Hope

Sportsman interested in antiques Autumn Leaves - to fully enjoy the rich colours of the trees and that special light in this time of year, one does need to have the sun out in full force. The first few days were no disappointment and we cruised at a leisurely speed across small, scenic roads. This is Hope in New Jersey.

Could anyone explain that large star on the antiques shop? We saw that star on many houses and I suspect it signifies something religious, but would like to learn the details.

Hope Township is one of the earliest planned communities in the United States, having been established by German Moravians in 1769.
The Moravians were a religious group whose formal name was the 'Unitas Fratrum' or Unity of the Brethren. They were followers of Jan Hus, the reformer from Prague who protested against the Roman Catholic Church in 1415 and was finally burned at the stake for his rebellion. [Wikipedia, more..]

 

farm structures

 

Nicehouse but car for sale

We crossed the border from New Jersey into New York and immediately found ourselves in a traffic jam. Outside Warwick,NY there was a farm-fest and the traffic congestion continued while we passed through the city center.
The crawling pace enabled me to take in the surroundings and also photograph this house with that splendid car in front, which was for sale (sign of the times?).

Remarkable car
Parked near the streetfair in the center of Warwick, I (and many others) noticed this wonder on wheels!

 

Streetmusic
Music and dancing (well, not exactly dancing) in the streets!
Applefest!
When exiting Warwick we noticed this sign and finally knew what was going on.

 

Night traffic
We stopped for the night in Newburgh,NY and had an excellent sushi meal in JAK Restaurant.

 

Fuel prices
Nice building
The photos on these pages were taken rather randomly, showing what I set out to find, what fascinated or surprised me. Or otherwise took my fancy.
These buildings caught my eye and I also took the opportunity to record fuel prices at this time.

 

O highway I travel, do you say to me Do not leave me?
Do you say Venture not - if you leave me you are lost?
Do you say I am already prepared, I am well-beaten and undenied, adhere to me?
O public road, I say back I am not afraid to leave you, yet I love you,
You express me better than I can express myself,
You shall be more to me than my poem. -Walt Whitman (quoted in part)



View for eternity


The Northeast and New England,
these routes now I have chosen to navigate,
I know of no famous rivers, no mountains glorified in song or poetry,
A history lacking the gloss and glamour portrayed in Hollywood drama,
The large towns I do not particularly care for, be they grand or doomed,
I am grateful for Nature's colourful dress, the varicolored, kaleidoscopic
Autumn Leaves,
While I venture out,
chance the Open Road.
satisfy my senses to distraction, sooth my anxieties,
on the Open Road. -RL

 

Crossroads

 

Halloween
People were preparing for Halloween, a tradition that hasn't really caught on at home (though we do have a similar tradition, albeit in more modest, less-commercialised way).
Anyway, I like the way many people make work of this tradition.

 

Ukranian Church
Saint John The Baptist - Ukranian Catholic Church (1962)

We came across the beautiful church while driving NYS Route 23, exiting the Catskills on the north side and heading for North Blenheim. I have read it being referred to as on the rightside of Rte 23, about halfway between Hunter and Lexington (coming from Hunter, immediately after passing County Road 17).
It seems that this 'basilica' has been built entirely without the use of nails!
ukranian Church
Ukranian Catholic Church

 

Covered Bridge at Blenheim
Blenheim Covered Bridge, allegedly the longest single span wooden bridge of its type in the world!
Covered Bridge at Blenheim
The signs says; 'fine to ride or drive this bridge', or does it?
Historical Information
Historic details of this National Landmark

Inside the Covered Bridge

 

Stopping for lunch
One of many diners we visited for lunch, during this entire trip: unassuming but pleasant food & quick, friendly service.

 

Farms left and right

A lot of flat country in these parts, dotted with many farms.
I liked the 'Dutch windmill touch!' Only for decoration or perhaps a showcase of the owners' Dutch ancestry?

 

Amsterdam
More Dutch connections: the sign announces the city limits of Amsterdam! Nearby was Rotterdam too.

We were heading for Amsterdam, for an easy access to the Adirondacks the next day, looking for an American Best Value motel. But we couldn't find it by the directions shown in the Roomsaver.com couponbook. We weren't impressed with the US version of Amsterdam, a dump for what we saw of it, so we quickly headed east on the Mohawk Turnpike / County Highway 2 and tried our luck at Schenectady. The Days Inn there we couldn't find either, so we headed back onto Interstate 890 & I-90 and found an excellent Quality Inn at Albany Airport, Latham. Things started looking even better when we found a fine-dining restaurant, Filet 7 West, on the premisses.

 

Matching colours
Huge truck passes building in matching colours...

 

look at those two!
Traffic lights
Nice mural!
 
Picture postcard
-On Journeys Through The States-

On journeys through the States we start,
(Ay through the world, urged by these songs,
Sailing henceforth to every land, to every sea,)
We willing learners of all, teachers of all, and lovers of all.

We have watch'd the seasons dispensing themselves and passing on,
And have said, Why should not a man or woman do as much as the seasons, and effuse as much?

We dwell a while in every city and town,
we pass through Kanada, the North-east, the vast valley of the Mississippi,
and the Southern States,
We confer on equal terms with each of the States,
We make trial of ourselves and invite men and women to hear,
We say to ourselves, Remember, fear not, be candid, promulge the body and the soul,
Dwell a while and pass on, be copious, temperate, chaste, magnetic,
And what you effuse may then return as the seasons return,
And may be just as much as the seasons. - Walt Whitman

 

Old roads through Adirondacks
Above: old roads in the Adirondacks / Below: a present day situation!
Modern roads!
The road we drove through the Adirondacks had historical markers. One offered the following info-
"This section of NYS Route 28 is in the town of Johnsburg. Founded in 1805, one of the Town's early business matters was surveying new roads and appointing Path Masters (!) for keeping them clear of weeds. Much of today's network of local roads dates back to the 19th century.
The road was an important link for Johnsburg hamlets such as North River, North Creek and Wevertown. It was also critical to the area's early economic development. For example, in the 1850s and 1860s, it was used by the North Creek Tannery for the transport of tanbark and hides. in the 1890s the road was essential to frank Hooper, a pioneer in new technology for removing garnet. He used it to haul heavy equipment, such as rock crushers, 10 miles by horses to his first mine on nearby Ruby Mountain, as well as for delivering garnet ore to the railroad in North Creek.
By the 1890s, NYS Route 28 had become well established as a major route for travel to Blue Mountain Lake and the interior of the Adirondacks. It was used by stagecoaches filled with tourists, along with supply wagons.
(...)
In winter, horse-drawn sleighs replaced wagons.
In the 1900s, the first motorcars drove on NYS Route 28. Rugged conditions and undependable vehicles made the trip a slow adventure.
(...)
NYS Route 28 was paved in 1926 but remained challenging for travellers for many years until it was slowly improved."

Autumn colours and brook

 

Adirondack Lake
We stumbled on something here. I noticed people working around that seaplane and stopped the car. I got to talking to the guys: they were transferring from a truck to that seaplane buckets of small brook trout and were restocking several lakes in the area with some 17.400 (!) brook trout that day. For this they used that morning 2 Cessna floatplanes and a helicopter. They were flown by local people, who were well acqainted with the area. The restock program attempts to fight the dwindling number of brook trout in these lakes. The young ones are in a 50 - 50 mix of locally raised and imported from a lake in Canada.
Seaplane
Is that really a moose?
Airborne!

Rugged Lodge

The Adirondack Mountains, consisting of rocky peaks, sheer cliffs, and narrow valleys, also have wooded slopes and sparkling lakes. Forthy-three mountains have elevations 4.000 feet or higher. Mount Marcy, with an altitude of 5.344 feet, is the highest. Near Marcy's summit is Lake Tear-of-the Clouds, the source of the Hudson River.
Iroquois Indians derisively gave the name Adirondack meaning ("tree-eater") to some of the Algonkians, their enemies. Used as Indian hunting territory, the vast wilderness was not penetrated by white men until the late 18th century. Mining began at the end of that century, and Adirondack mines have yielded such ores as iron, zinc, titanium, talc and garnet. The great wealth of the Adirondack forests supplied demands for timber in the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th. Alarmed over the denuding of this natural treasure, New York set up the Forest Preserve in 1885. the Adirondack Park now consists of more than two million State-owned acres. [From a Historical Marker en route]

The Adirondacks

 

Scenic flight over Adirondacks

Helms Aero Service: office closed. We took lunch (right), but that delay did not create ...
Lunch
Seaplane at Long Lake

...the opportunity for a scenic flight. The weather also changed for the worse. Drive on!

 

 
Restaurant unwelcoming

 

What's on the varanda, or what isn't

Remarkable houses; we're used to seeing many (if not most) gardens unattended, but these varandas can look a real mess too!

 

Dinner at Applebee's
Dinner at Applebee's. Compared to our travels in Western US states, we found it easier to enjoy a glass of beer or wine with our meals in these parts. Applebee's and TGI Friday's were good places to visit, we hardly saw a Denny's Restaurant (so common in the West) but that may have been coincidence.
We like Mexican food.

Shortly before going to dinner we visited the Salmon Run Mall of Watertown,NY and managed to find a large number of our projected shopping items: jeans & sweaters (Sears) plus books & cd's (Borders).
Nothing like a good long, scenic drive, some successful shopping, a satisfying meal with a glass of wine and retire to the untroubled quietness of the motelroom with some nibbles picked up at the gasstation.... aaahhhh, bliss!

 

motels, we saw plenty
Knight's Inn, Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Days Inn... places we stayed in.


I generally prefer to stay in hotels of the Choice Group, having found good value-for-money stays in Comfort Inn and Quality Inn over the past years. But cost-conscious as we are, while travelling in the US, I try to pick up a Roomsaver.com couponbook (in stands at diners & gasstations) and determine my town for staying the night by the coupons (you can also download the brochure on www.roomsaver.com). As described above, it doesn't always work out like you expect to.
When a hotel is expecting to become fully booked for the night, they may not accept the coupon. Read the small print on the coupons! Also look what they offer (wireless internet?). A continental breakfast may be just coffee and muffins or much grander (but almost certainly no hot items such as waffles, meat patties or fried eggs); a Deluxe Continental Breakfast will probably include hot items. The dining area may be small and cramped or large and spacious.

We had no trouble in availability of the rooms, the global economic crisis have dwindled the numbers of travellers. The photo shows the room we enjoyed at the Days Inn. For Watertown, or anywhere in the area, our couponbook had no offers to make our stay more affordable, unfortunately, but AAA-discount helps.
Watertown was to be our springboard to cross the border into Canada.

 

 

 

Autumn Leaves, continued: CANADA 2009
Autumn Leaves - USA New England 2009

 

 

 

 

 

Created: 26Oct09 - Updated: 18 November, 2009