Saturday, August 29, 2009


As I am writing my pathetically inadequate blog this Saturday night there is another heavy rainstorm passing over us. My Internet connection is blinking on and off and a solid connection will be iffy when I’m ready to schedule this post. We will be leaving early in the morning for Long Island and hope to spend most of the day doing some genealogy exploring so I decided to write this tonight. I will try to schedule for early tomorrow morning depending on the storm.

This will be a very short post. We have been living in the slow lane and things have been pretty quiet around here. The daytime temps have been in the 90s so doing anything outside has been less than appealing. We have done some shopping, drove the back roads on a couple short road trips and went to the movie, Julie & Julia. What a hoot! I loved it and Phil liked it too. Meryl Streep and Amy Adams were wonderful and the story is very funny! I give it my highest recommendation. Don’t you just love a movie that leaves you smiling?

Hopefully, I will have something to talk about next week so please come back and take another look on the Labor Day weekend post.

Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time …

Probably thousands of these duplexes were built in the early 20th century in the east and we were pleased to see so many that have been well taken care of are still occupied.

Many family members have asked us how we could tolerate living so close to our neighbors when staying in an RV park.
This is typical row housing in the east, this one being in Lancaster, PA. RVers aren't the only people who live close to one another :)

We stopped here just outside Lancaster PA to look around because of all the cars (the parking lot was huge) and found the biggest grocery store we have ever been in. Mostly Amish employees and we only walked the perimeter but still it took over an hour. Neither of us have ever seen anything like it! I can't imagine having a store like this to shop in whenever you like.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Nearly every day since our arrival we have maintained a high alert for incoming severe weather here in eastern Pennsylvania and it has come to my attention that I am becoming a weather whiner. For that, please accept my apology but I just can’t help myself. Phil and I were raised in western WA and that equates to growing up most years in unrelenting rain. The Evergreen State is aptly named on the west side of the Cascade Mountains (it should be called the golden state—they grown a lot of wheat, on the east side of the mountains) but being green comes to pass from all that wetness falling out of the ever present cloud cover. That said, the incessant showers do little harm. Some flooding and the inconsequential and rare lightning strikes as well as an occasional tornado are infrequent topics in everyday conversation. Once in a blue moon, when a really fierce storm does come along, it is so uncommon; the residents can usually remember exactly when it happened and what they were doing at the time. These past months of travel through tornado alley and the northeast has made us appreciate the benign weather where we come from and I don’t think we will be doing much complaining about WA weather in the future.

Our days this past week here in Hatfield, PA have been mostly R & R. We needed some downtime and with the stormy weather, we decided it was just as well that we kept our unexciting (for now) adventures close to home. Even though we have had one storm after another passing over us, it has been hot (80s and low 90s) so the two air conditioners in Penny have been earning their keep. We only have 30 amps so just use one at a time and we switch back and forth to keep our home comfortable. Phil has decided we will stay put until after Labor Day so we have another two weeks in this location. That will give us plenty of time for new adventures in Philadelphia and the New York/Long Island area. This part of the country is so interesting and historic which goes without saying so our GPS, (Carmen Garmin) has been working overtime. There are dozens of back roads that crisscross the area so we can take a different road every time we go out to get to the same area … I love that!

Our site here at Village Scene is backed up to the bathhouse and laundry room so I will try and get a few loads done before we leave and there is a couple movies I want to see—Julie and Julia and The Time Traveler’s Wife while we’re here. There is an abundance of farm stands in every direction and we have pigged out on fresh corn on the cob and fresh peaches are cheap right now, as are tomatoes and cucumbers and of course, zucchini, yellow necks, peppers, etc. are abundant as well. We found a sugar-free coconut cream pie at the last stand (they also sell fresh baked goods and lots of jams and jellies) that is absolutely delicious (see pic below). Our choices for a place to eat are definitely “diners” (and there are plenty of them). Good food, open 24 hrs and although not cheap the service is good and the servings are substantial, more than enough for two meals for me. We will start some serious exploring if this darn weather ever clears up! Phil commented that if hurricane Bill turned inland he would up anchor and head west! Although not as sure about that, I understood his frustration. Fortunately, Bill stayed out to sea and bypassed New England.

Thanks for stopping by …
Until next time,

Here is our Penny the Pace on site at Village Scene in Hatfield, PA.

It is hard to believe this coconut cream pie is sugar free. Delicious!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A gaggle of geese stopped traffic both ways as they slowly waddled across the road ... no hurry. Everyone was so patient it was like something you would see on TV.

Thought you might like to see that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel ... :)

Our destination for this day trip. However, we were literally rained out. After the storm passed, there was a lake between the parking lot across the street and the entrance.
We decided to come back on another day when it wasn't raining ... whenever that might be!

I caught a look at this place as we were driving on PA highway 32 along the Delaware River. Phil made a U-turn and went back to give them a try.
Delicious food!!! (sorry no pics)

This charming "tavern" was lovely and we overheard a conversation saying it is filled to capacity every evening. Reservations needed for dinner but we nearly had the place to ourselves for "linner."

A narrow old bridge (one of two) still in use between New Jersey and Pennsylvania at Trenton so ...
this is a picture of Joy and Phil preparing to cross the Delaware :)

Monday, August 17, 2009


It has been an unsettling nine days. I can’t believe I so lost track of time I missed posting the blog! Two days before we left Holland, NY a severe storm moved through the area about thirty miles south of us and did some serious damage. We were so lucky to be out of the direct path but felt the edge of the storm for about half the night. It had all the bells and whistles of the typical northeastern storm. There was lots of wind and lightning with booming thunder and rain coming down in sheets. Fortunately, the worst of it passed us by midnight so I could get some sleep. We didn’t know about damage south of us until the next day. We went for a drive and heard later that Gowanda had been evacuated and it as well as Springville was declared a disaster area. These two villages in particular really got hammered.

We had intended to go NE from Holland, NY but changed our plans when we discovered one of the main reasons for going no longer existed. In 2005 we found a wonderful buffet restaurant in a tiny village named Moriah near the shores of Lake Champlain. With the memory of the wonderful meals we enjoyed at Gloria’s Restaurant on our minds; we had hoped to repeat the pleasure. Not to be … it closed last year so since we had explored that area extensively in 2005, we decided to head east and south. We had over 300 miles to our next destination (somewhere close to Philadelphia and New York) so we broke our usual pattern and drove a little over 100 miles and stopped for two days at Camp Bell Campground in Campbell, NY then drove on to Quakertown, PA on Friday.

You can see the results of that last stop in my pictures below. What a joke! Earlier, when Phil called, the owner of the campground assured us he had a spot where we could lock on our satellite in the southern sky. Wrong! There wasn’t a square foot of open space in the canopy of this thickly wooded campground. I had no Internet because my desktop is hardwired into our Datastorm but Phil connected to the park’s WiFi with his laptop and found the place where we are staying now. It was another 17 miles south, in Hatfield, PA and is named Village Scene Mobile Home Park. In addition to the many permanent residents, it has about 25 RV sites with full hookups they rent on a daily or monthly rate. Once we got here and hooked up, we could finally relax!

I received an email from my cousin in SC with a couple pictures of his granddaughter, Erin telling me about her success in the America’s Next Top Model competition. I asked permission to put the info on my blog and we are all rooting for her. Not even the family knows who the winner is even though most of the segments have already been taped. They must swear the competitors to secrecy. Although I have never watched the show before, you can bet I will be tuning in this season.

I hope the delay in posting hasn’t discouraged you from reading my blog and again I apologize and thank you for stopping by! Remember you can double click on my pictures to enlarge them.
Until next time,

Sunday, August 16, 2009

This beautiful girl is my cousin Eddie's granddaughter, Erin Wagner. She is on this falls “America’s Next Top Model” on the CW Channel, hosted by Tyra Banks. The fall series begins on September 9 and ends around Thanksgiving. We don’t know how Erin finishes yet, but she is in the final group of 12 who get to go to the “House” after the initial auditions started with 3600 girls. Click the link above for more info on Erin who will be 19 in September.

The infamous ... remember the riot in 1971?

Looks a little like a castle ... hmmmm?

Welcome sign surrounded by downed trees and limbs.

Flooded fields ...

Water over the roads, bridges washed out ...

Just one of hundreds down ...
The homeowner saw Phil taking pictures and invited him into his back yard. Fortunately, nothing hit his house.

Two cranes removing a tree that crashed over on top of this house.

In Quakertown, PA, what part of "Woods" did we not understand?
No way to assess the sites from the road.
Oh well, we will give it a try ...

Our brave Penny the Pace lost in the woods ... ha! The moral of this story is that you cannot take anyone's word there is a clear shot of the southern sky for your satellite internet! We were out of there the next morning.

Will post tomorrow ...

Sorry, but to be perfectly honest, I absolutely and totally forgot about posting this morning! We got off schedule in our travel day ... had to travel yesterday ... and it broke my stride.

I will be back tomorrow morning for sure!

Sunday, August 09, 2009


Our last day in Huron, Ohio Phil had to take our wonderful and dependable Lone Ranger into the shop. Turns out, he needed new ball joints on the driver’s side, the wheel bearings needed to be repacked and then a front end alignment. Fortunately, we have a maintenance Kitty for this sort of unforeseen expense (a little over $500.00 which was a bit higher than anticipated). However, since we really depend on our little truck to transport us safely in our sight seeing, it was a necessary fix.

Last Wednesday we arrived in western New York State. Our home for this week is Three Valley Resort, a Coast-to-Coast Park that is off the beaten path on NY State hiway 16 near Holland, NY. The sites for C-to-C patrons are grassy, large and almost level with water and 30-amp (50-amp for seasonals only) electric. C-to-C members haven’t been singled out; there is no sewer available anywhere in the park as the Internet web site advertises. We pointed that out to the office and they said they would take care of the error. Lots of trees around the perimeter but no problem finding our satellites for Internet and TV. Lots of seasonals with permanent decks and adornment. It is very handy to the attractions we were planning to see in this area so it serves our purpose and the price is right!

Family and friends know this bit of trivia but many readers might wonder about what appears to be my eagerness to review restaurants we find along our route as we travel. Well, you can take Joy and Phil out of the restaurant business but you can’t take the restaurant business out of them! I worked the food and beverage business for 35 years and was in management for the last ten years making lots of money for others before I took a desk job for the state of WA. Phil owned his own restaurant for several years. We just can’t help ourselves and when we stumble across an outstanding eatery, we have to share the pleasure with our readers. Likewise, if it is less than wonderful, it does not even get an honorable mention in Backroad Chronicles. Well, I am happy to report we got lucky and found a jewel just down the road from our park this week! Then to top it off, we found a second place winner on the way back from our day trip to see Lake Ontario last night! Wow! Two winners in one week … now that’s really wonderful!

It is called “Zider Zee Restaurant” and is named after a song that references an ancient and long since vanished “South Sea” near Amsterdam in the small country of Holland. Holland, NY … get it? What makes this place so special is the manager, Sally. In her six years on the job, she has been the driving force of this small but professional operation. The mother of three sons (the youngest is 17) she just became a Grandma when little Alexia Dawn was born a couple months ago. Her energy and smiling face greets everyone who comes through the door with a friendly hello and … come through the door they do … by the dozens every day! Sally does it all. You might find her waiting tables, then hopping over to the exhibition grill where you can watch her cook your order. She comes in at 4:30 AM every day but Wednesday (her one day off) to make the soups, mix the "to die for" sausage (her own secret formula) and bake all the pies, pastries and breads for the restaurant and they are very, very good. Sally says she has her mother to thank for her expertise in the kitchen. The Zider Zee has been written up in Fortune Magazine and the local paper with kudos by a resident radio personality on a regular basis. Sally loves her job and gives much credit for her success to her employees and fellow workers who are good friends as well as hard working and dependable. We heartily recommend this rare find in the world of restaurants if you are in the area. Bon appetite!

We had a wonderful day to visit Niagara Falls and see all the sights. It was my second visit and Phil’s first. Then the next day we drove north to Lockport to take a well-narrated cruise on the famous Erie Canal that we also enjoyed very much. After our canal ride we drove north to get our first look (and possibly last) of Lake Ontario and although the sky was overcast the weather was near perfect. It started to sprinkle as we came back to the dock and on our way home it began to rain in earnest but it was only rain … no thunder or lightening. We are from Washington … we know about that kind of rain! No problem. After we arrived home, the cloud cover really socked us in and we lost our Internet signal and then our TV signal for an hour or so and I gave up trying to schedule the pictures for the blog and went to bed. The rain seems to be abating for now so I think we will try to go to the local rodeo in Attica today.

Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time …

Penny the Pace at Three Valley Resort in Holland, NY.

The Zider Zee Restaurant of Holland, NY has been operating since the mid-50s and started out as a hot dog stand.

This pretty lady is the chief cook and bottle washer, Sally.

Phil's ham, cheese, vegie omelet with homemade white toast. It was huge and yummy!

My breakfast of sausage ("to die for") and eggs with heavenly homemade wheat bread. All was delicious and perfectly cooked.


A beautiful rainbow across the falls ...

Phil enjoyed his first visit to Niagara Falls. Here he is with Horseshoe Falls and the Canadian shore across the Niagara River behind him.

Look what we found! A fellow traveler from Washington ... what are they odds?

Phil spotted this gorgeous skyscraper in Niagara Falls, Ny. It is the Seneca Niagara Casino.

The line of visitors waiting to get on board. Lots of noisy kids ... when does school start?
Our boat awaits ...

Captain Bob, a former Great Lakes Pilot at the helm.

Here we go. Pretty exciting stuff for two old folks that have never been through a lock of any kind before.

The water is almost to the top of the water line!

Here we go ... through our first of two locks going south towards Buffalo, NY.

Built over the Erie Canal in the historic village of Lockport, NY.

This is what it looks like from underneath :)
Very peaceful view from the front deck.

A group of hiking visitors on a walking, narrated tour of the canal along the "tow road."

Here we are, back where we started at the Erie Canal Cruise office after a one hour and 45 minute tour.

Our first look at Lake Ontario at Olcott Lighthouse, built in 1873 on the edge of the lake in Olcott, NY.

We have accomplished another of our goals ... we have now visited all five Great Lakes.
Even with overcast skies and a light rain falling it was a spectacular sight.

I caught this restaurant out of the corner of my eye as we drove past on NY state hiway 77 at Indian Falls, NY. Phil drove around the block and the Log Cabin's parking lot was full which is a pretty good sign the food is good.
We were correct in our assumption!