October, 2001 Trip To New York State

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Saturday morning at 7:30 AM, Elaine and I decide to take a 3 day trip up to New York state to view the fall colors.  Even though the weather forecast is not all that great for that area, we decide to take a chance.  By 8:05, we had thrown some food and a few clothes into the camper and are on our way.
Lehigh TunnelWe head north on I-95 into PA., where we pick up I-476 north. Stopping at the Allentown rest stop, we pick up some fresh fruit at a farmer's market and also a small pumpkin cake roll-up with cream cheese filling. Realizing that we haven't had breakfast yet, we hop into the camper and eat some pumpkin cake. It sure is delicious! We try to get some fuel, but the operator at the service plaza doesn't know how to turn the pump on. I bet they aren't selling much fuel this morning. We head north and come to the Lehigh Tunnel seen here. The fall colors are just starting to change on this side of the mountain.....
Fall colors...but as soon as we drive through the mountain, the leaves definitely start to show more color.  I'm always surprised at the difference in fall colors from the south side of this mountain to the north side.  Traffic is very light this morning.  Heading north, we stop at the next service plaza to fill up on fuel and swap drivers.  Time for me to take a break and Elaine needs to get some driving experience with the camper on the truck.
Fall colorsThe farther north we go, the brighter the fall colors are getting.  With Elaine doing the driving, I get to play with the camera and take a few photos.  She is doing a great job at driving the truck and even passes through three toll booths with ease, but is not getting much experience shifting the six speed transmission on this interstate.  I'll need to find her some back roads to practice on.
Leaning siloAt the end of I-476, we pick up I-81 north to Binghamton, NY.  Here we head west on I-17 to exit 64 where we pick up routes 96 and 96B north toward Ithaca.  Some place along the way, we pass this old silo and just have to turn around and grab a photo of it.
WaterfallComing into Ithaca, we wander around town and stumble upon this waterfall.  The small parking area is located up a very steep gravel road.  It is times like this that we're glad we have a smaller camper and can get into these places.  We drive over to Buttermilk Falls, but the water level is so low that we don't even stop.  We head north out of town along the west side of Cayuga Lake on route 89.
WaterfallWe stop at Taughannock Falls State Park to get a site for the night.  After getting our site, we drive up to the overlook above the falls to find the water level very low this time of year.  Taughannock Falls is a 215' vertical drop. Having been here years ago when the water level was much higher, I am very disappointed but Elaine having never been here before, is enjoying the view and notices the heart shape of the trees around the falls.  On the way back down to the campground, six deer run across the road in front of us but we can not grab the camera quick enough to get a photo.
Roasting turkeyAll the electric sites have been taken so we get a site with no utilities but it is fairly level.  After parking the camper on our site, we take a walk around the campground where we spot this six year old basting a turkey that is rotating on an electric spit over a fire.  It sure does look tasty.  We just have to grab a photo.  The rest of the family is here along with her great grandfather.  Great grand dad is passing down to the younger family members some of the many camping tricks that he has learned over the years.
Homemade van camperWe stop at another site to talk with the family that owns this unusual camper.  It had been a one ton Chevy van school bus in a past life but has been cut down and had a truck camper installed on the back of it.   One of the most inventive aspects of it was the gray water holding system.  The older truck camper did not come with a gray water tank but in having to raise the camper up to fit on the truck, there was some space left between the camper floor and the truck bed.  The owner has installed a series of 4" plastic pipes in that space that are connected together and form a 27 gallon gray water storage area.    A very ingenious solution!
Fall colors on the hillsidesThe campsite here cost us $13 plus tax which came to $14 and some change.  Upon awaking Sunday morning we decide to head for Watkins Glen to do some hiking in  the gorge.  The weather yesterday had been a little cloudy but other than a couple of small showers, was dry.  Today looks to be another fairly nice day... good thing we didn't pay too much attention to the poor weather forecast.  We take routes 96 and 79 over to Watkins Glen, passing many beautiful views such as this hillside farm....
Fall colors..and this beautiful valley painted in all the colors of fall.
Bright yellow treeReaching Watkins Glen, we park next to this golden tree.  Having stayed in a state park last night, we get free admission to all state parks today... not a bad deal!  A cute but very small class "C" type camper that we have seen 3 times in the past two days parks close by and just as we are looking it over, people wave from inside then open the door to invite us in.  They are from Colorado and have been on the road for some time now.  We enjoy a short visit then invite them back to check out our camper, which has a lot more room.  After exchanging names and addresses, we grab the camera and head for the gorge.
Entrance to Watkins GlenThe entrance to the gorge is through the cave at the top of the ramp, up some steps and across the bridge that is just above the light in center of the photo.  The sign to the right says that the gorge is one and a half miles long and has 832 steps... do wear comfortable shoes.  This is one of two entrances as there is also one at the other end of the gorge near the Watkins Glen State Park campground.

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