I took this picture of the only open sunflower yesterday. It is the shortest one, the others are now over 2 feet above the top of the fence, so may need a ladder to get up to them once the buds open.
Sunflower blossom

Bode and I traveled most of last week, international travel at that!

A week ago today at 6 am Bode and I drove on Route 66 and 28 north through New Bethlehem then on Route 66 to Clarion. By that time my accelerator and brake foot was starting to hurt, so we left the secondary roads for I-80, put on the cruise control, and continued west to I-79 toward Erie, then on I-90 east to I-86 east exiting at NY Route 394 for Chautauqua. We made two stops for snacks and “walkies” on the way.

We arrived at the Chautauqua Institute at about 10:45 and parked in the overflow lot. It took a while to get onto the grounds and find the amphitheater. The jitney service didn’t accommodate rollaters nor dogs, so we walked in. It looked like rain and but it was too hot to put Bode in the car with the windows rolled up. There is a provision for dropping people off at the entrance, but you needed a second driver for that. Once inside though it was beautiful. Besides the programs, the Victorian architecture and gardens were a delight.
Chautauqua houses and lake

We had ice cream for lunch and looked around until about 2 PM and felt the first drops of rain as we returned to the car. We got to Falconer, just east of Jamestown, checked in and got the car unloaded before it started to rain hard. I had a snack from the cooler and a rest while waiting for Ron, Debbie, and Dave who arrived just before 5 PM from Rochester. It was raining hard and steady then, so we decided to stay indoors and visit instead of looking around. Dave had photos from several Tall Club events on his laptop:
Dave at laptop computer

Ron recommended we stop at a Tim Horton’s restaurant for dinner, the first time I had been at one. We took Bode along, hotel policy was dogs allowed but not in a room alone, and when got back into the car, Bode had taken over Debbie’s seat. She got him shoved over but he rode with his front paws on the floor and his butt beside her on the seat. Not sure if he wanted to sit on her lap or was just his crazy Beardie sense of humor.

We turned in early, they were feeling the activities since Friday evening and I was tired from the Chautauqua visit. We set the radio alarm clock in the room Debbie, Bode, and I shared for 5:30 am and agreed to call Dave and Ron’s room to get them up.

On Monday morning Bode was up by 5 and ready for “walkies” so we went out by way of the beverage machine where I got a cup of hot cocoa. It was still dark out, but there was a break in the rain. By the time we saw Dave and Debbie off it was raining hard again. We had some time to snooze, but I was just getting settled when Ron knocked at the door with Dave’s forgotten cell phone in his hand wondering what we should do. Neither one of us even knew how to turn it on! We decided that Dave and Debbie would be on the expressway by then, so decided to wait and see if they came back.

We left around 8 am, had breakfast at McDonalds then traveled through the vineyards along Lake Erie using Route 20 which parallels I-90. It was foggy at first, but soon cleared. We stopped in Fredonia NY at a cafe for coffee and tea and to give Bode a chance to stretch. Ron advised that gasoline would cost more once we crossed the border, so we stopped to fill the tank even though it was only 3/4 empty before we got to Buffalo. Route 20 turns into Route 5, which we followed to the border.

Ron guided me through customs and to his sister Louise’s house in Toronto where he picked up his car. I was doing all right, so decided to follow him on to the Hutchison family farm near Peterborough.
Hutchison farm house
Ron fed his two orphan calves right away, then got hay for the others. He and his cousin take care of each others farms when they travel. Ron said the pasture dried up over a month ago, so they had to feed them hay a lot earlier than usual.
Ron giving hay to his cows

We called Dave at home and left a message that we had his cell phone. When Dave called back, we learned he had called the hotel to ask if they found it but they said they didn’t know anything about it even though when Ron and I checked out we had asked them to tell him we had it if he should call.

I called home Tuesday morning to let my parents know where I was. Ron showed me around Peterborough, including the famous lift lock, a huge elevator that moves barges down from the level of the canal from Lake Huron. The area around Peterborough reminded me a lot of Wisconsin. Ron got me an Ontario map which we used to plot the next part of the trip.

I discovered that even in the fast food places, you get a very nice cup of tea in Ontario!

On Wednesday I drove east using Route 401 and secondary roads along the shore of Lake Ontario to the Thousand Islands. We got on the parkway near Ganonoque where I stopped once and waded in the water, then made a second stop and slipped into my swim suit and really enjoyed the dip. Bode was a bit reluctant, but with some encouragement he did wet his paws.
Thousand Islands, near Gananoque

I pulled on a shirt over my swim suit and wrapped a towel around my waist and went through US customs fairly damp.

We got onto I-81 stopping to fill the tank at Watertown, then on through Syracuse to Cortland. From there we went on Route 13 through Ithaca to Elmira NY where we stayed over night.

Thursday morning it was foggy but still nice out. I had a Denver omelette with potatoes, some of which I saved for Bode, then we drove on Route 15 to Williamsport PA, then west on Route 220 with a stop at Woolrich. Near Lock Haven we got back on I-80 west stopping for a snack and stretch at the rest stop at Snow Shoe. It started to sprinkle before we left, then we got into some fairly hard rain. We turned onto Route 28 at Brookfield. The rain had slowed by then, but set in steady the rest of the way home.

I unloaded a few things from the car, then we went inside to wait for a break in the rain. I saw right away that the sunflowers by the fence had grown over a foot while we were gone! The yard and plants looked good. There was no evidence of a raccoon visit to the deck, but it turned over and emptied the soil from a potted geranium that night.

When the rain slacked off I brought in more stuff from the car and put Bode on his leash for a walk. It started to rain hard when we were about a block from the house, so we turned back.

It was a good trip, think I discovered the right combination of secondary road and expressway driving to be able to keep going without pain. Stopping frequently and allowing one rest day for every two days driving helps. Sitting in the car seat and driving with cruise control was actually a lot less taxing that what I often do at home.

About Kathy

Perl, MySQL, CGI scripting, web design, graphics following careers as an analytical chemist and educator, then in IT as a database administrator (DBA), programmer, and server administrator. Diagnosed with Mitochondrial Myopathy in 1997.
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