We are now in Saratoga Springs for a week of horse races.
We started off our stay in the Finger Lakes region with a visit to the Corning Museum of Glass. We had both been here before, Josie many years ago and I had visited it with my navy buddy Tom Ney on a New York minor league baseball stadium tour in 2011. We enjoyed the glass blowing demonstrations the most. We then had a nice lunch near the town square.
We hiked the Watkins Glen Trail one morning with a few hundred of our closest friends. Despite the trail being very crowded and many people jams at spots in the trail that were very narrow, we enjoyed the beautiful gorge.
While in the area we decided to visit the Watkins Glen International Race Course. I attended the US Grand Prix here 53 years ago, right after getting back from a West Pac Cruise while in the Navy. I have included two pictures from that race in 69 at the end of this section. We discovered you could drive your own car for three laps around the track and we had a blast doing it. Josie was our camera lady and did a great job. We did not set any speed records but I tried to test the limits of the Jeep on a few of the turns. We cannot upload video on the blog, but we did post it on Josies Facebook page.
For my birthday, Josie treated me to a dinner cruise on Seneca Lake aboard the Seneca Legacy. We had a nice dinner while enjoying the scenic shore line of the lake.
On our last day in town, we met up with my cousin Mike's daughter, Erica and her husband Chris, who live in nearby Ithaca, at a local airfield where Erica is a member of a skydiving club. We enjoyed watching her prep for a jump and then seeing her make a perfect landing right in front of us. Afterwards we stopped a Two Goats Brewery, overlooking Seneca Lake and enjoyed the view while trying one of their beers.
We are now in Saratoga Springs for a week of horse races.
We had visited Erie many years ago on one of our summer trips in the van, but we stayed only one night to see an Erie Seawolf's baseball game. Since Josie's son-in-law, Scott is from this area we decided to visit for a few days. One of our first stops was the Bicentennial Tower which gave us a nice view of the downtown area and the waterfront. A few days later we had Rum Runners at the restaurant by the same name in the shadow of the tower. While having diner Captain Jack Sparrow came by in his dingy with a water cannon to spray the kids at the restaurant, they really enjoyed it.
We then visited the Erie Land Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the great lakes built in 1818. From there we drove to Presque Isle State Park. Presque Isle means almost an island in French. We took in both of the lighthouses in the park along with the monument honoring Commodore Perry, a Naval hero in the War of 1812. We were surprised to see a floating house community in a cove at the park. On the way out of the park I saw a lady with a camera like mine standing on the side of the road taking pictures of something in the trees. Turned out to be a gray morph Eastern Screech Owl.
Scott had told us we had to visit Sara's Dinner during our visit. Sara's is just outside the park entrance and it was packed. We lucked out and found a parking space and put in our order for a hotdog, hamburger and onion rings. Despite four lines of at least 6 people in each line we were in and out in less than 30 minutes. We like it so much we went back the next day and this time ordered the Orange Vanilla Twist ice-cream cone. Delicious!
We spent one afternoon at Presque Isle Downs betting on the horse races. We had a lucky day and won money in all 7 races we made wagers on, coming away with $135 dollars in winnings.
On another day we visited Schaefer's Auto Art, which is home to a variety of sculptures made from recycled metal and auto parts. Josie was happy to see an old Nash Rambler, which was the first car she ever owned. On our way back to the RV Park we stopped at another of Scotts recommended places, Romolo Chocolates. We did not leave empty handed.
We arrived in Lake Orion just in time for "Flare Night" a tradition where the home owners all around the lake set off flares on the shore the night before the Fourth of July fireworks. It is very beautiful and Michael, Josies son, had plenty of them to line his shore line. On the fireworks night, which was on the 2nd this year, everyone went out in their boats to watch the fireworks, which are shot from a barge in the middle of the lake. The lights from the boats along with the fireworks, make for a beautiful sight from the shore where Josie and I watched them.
On the 4th of July, Josie and I went into Detroit to see the Tigers take on the Guardians. It was a great day for a ball game and the Tigers won!
We spent some time around the lake with Josies family. Cathy and Scott were in from Florida as well as their father, Jim and Aunt Gail. Cathy tried her skill at riding the paddle board, and was able to get up and around the lake. Josie's grand-daughters, Abby and Anne were very adept on the paddle boards and scooted all over the lake. We had a few nice dinners together and one evening played a lively game of beer pong. We also had a bourbon tasting one evening that proved that no matter how much you pay for a bottle of bourbon sometimes the cheaper ones taste better.
We spent a few hours one day at the Oakland County Fair. It was the first day of the fair so many of the livestock exhibits were not open yet, but we did see the pig races, and the chainsaw artist carving an owl. Josie got to feed the cows and goats. She even tried her hand at milking an artificial cow which she was very good at having milked a real cow once at the Purina Farm in Missouri. Of course, what would a fair be with out eating fried food, and we shared a fried snickers bar, sooooo good!
We have been having a lot of fun finding Geocaches here in Lake Orion. We found all of them in the park where we were staying and even repaired one of them that had cracked open. We found one of them inside of a sign in a cemetery and we found one in a small birdhouse. Another interesting cache was located near the grave of Minour Yamasaki, the designer of the World Trade Center in New York. Odd that he and his wife are buried in such an out of the way cemetery in Lakeville, Michigan. We leave golf tees in the caches that are big enough to hold them. We got that idea from Mike Weirich, who got us started on this treasure hunt. We also are unable to find a few of the caches, which makes it frustrating.
One evening we had dinner and dessert at the two of oldest and highest rated restaurants in Rochester, Michigan. Lipuma's Coney Island, where we feasted on Coney dogs and French fries by the river. Then we walked up the street to Sander's Chocolate and Ice Cream Shoppe, where we split their famous Cream Puff Sundae, A cream puff split in half with ice cream added between the halves and then covered with chocolate and caramel sauce.
I played the Old Course at Indianwood with Glen and then a few days later we played at the Flint Country Club, both courses were in top shape. The Old Course is a Links Course and the Flint course was lined with beautiful trees. The next week I played with Russ, one of our fulltime RV friends. We played the Hadley Acres Golf Course with a front nine made up of tight fairways and very small greens and a back nine with larger fairways and much bigger greens.