Day one was a whole lotta driving. The goal was to get halfway to Chicago, our first destination (as opposed to stopover) where we will visit with family and old friends. After a short night, we were awake at 4 and on the road by 5:30. Despite months of planning, I still managed to forget a few things. I left the last 4 eggs in the fridge along with the rest of the milk and some beer (a chocolate stout). Oh well. Someone will enjoy them!
Our first quick stop was in West Springfield Massachusetts where we met up with my pal Holly. We had an opportunity to put the technology to the test, the Garmin GPS gave us turn by turn directions to our meeting point, a Panera bakery/café. Two truths were reinforced: garbage in/garbage out, and question authority. We had put the wrong street address in the GPS, thus it gave us directions that made no sense to us (truth #1). Although the directions made no sense, we allowed our fascination with Jill’s British voice to overrule our common sense (#2).
The good news is that eventually we found Panera, and Holly, who gifted us with a quart of fresh picked strawberries from her local farmers market. HOORAY for strawberries!! My absolute favorite fruit and boy were they delicious. Yum.
All too soon we parted ways, heading for the shores of Lake Erie in western New York. When people think of New York, they imagine New York City or suburban communities, but midstate New York is very rural. Broad river valleys are dotted with small farms and sweeping views. We followed the Mohawk Erie Canal for much of the way, passing working locks in small towns, and pleasure boots cruising past hayfields and farmers planting crops. Some of the ridges are dotted with wind turbines, lolling motionless in the heat of the afternoon.
We passed by Buffalo, thinking longingly of Frank’s and Theresa’s famous wings, but pressed on, hungry for dinner and a chance to stretch our legs, and made our way to the night’s stop, Lake Erie State Park. The park is in Portland, New York, right on the shore of the inland sea that is Lake Erie. It is a small park, populated mostly by RVs parked on gravel drives criss-crossing a grassy lawn. It is very different from our usual camping in the trees, but the place is nicely kept and we saw lots of friendly smiles. We set up the tent, wandered down to the shore for more strawberries, ate some dinner and played cards at the campsite, then had an early bedtime. Dan noticed the Fredonia Farmers Market is Saturday morning, so we’ll stop there for lunch provisions on Day 2.
Photos later when I have better internet.