Tuesday, August 5, 2014

TR, Niagara Falls and the Erie Canal in one day!

Another quick stop with lots packed into one day- whew!  Spent two nights in Buffalo, but really only had one day to see some of the sights.

So quick get up and head out to our first stop in Buffalo, a tour of the Ainsley Wilcox home, where Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated. We do seem to be following TR on this cross country jaunt that we are taking.  Ainsley Wilcox was involved in social work and civil service reform, so he and TR had met previously.    President McKinley had been shot, but seemed to be recuperating so TR went off mountain climbing in the Adirondacks. Before leaving TR had given Wilcox a copy of his itinerary.  Suddenly, McKinley was dying with gangrene infection and other complications from his gut shot wounds.  They send someone to bring TR back into Buffalo to take the oath of office in Ainsley Wilcox's home.  Interestingly there is no bible involved in the swearing in. TR did spend a few days here after the swearing in to plan and organize his next steps.   An interesting time in history.
Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in in front of these windows

actualy desk his used after during days spent in house as President

Inaugural Site

Next run back to Mr B and head to Niagara Falls nearby.  The Falls are the dramatic tourist stop.  I think everyone who was in the area that day showed up at the Falls at the same time as we did.  It is a bit disorientating, since the area around the Falls is not well marked.  We had to work at finding the path up top to do some viewing.  We did go out to the pay viewing platform and take the elevator down to another viewing area.  You do find yourself getting the full effect of mist on you when below.  We opted to not take the boat to go out and really get soaked right next to the cascading falls.  We heard the roar and felt the wet, so we were satisfied. We then spent some time checking out a few of the MANY gift areas.  For only $5 you could buy a bottle on a chain with Niagara Falls water inside. OH LA LA!


Finally headed out to our last and final stop for the day Lockport, NY to visit the Erie Canal Discovery Center. The Erie Canal was a 363 mile long canal system built between 1817-1825.  It connects the Atlantic Sea board with the Great Lakes.  The plan was to move goods faster and easier using the Canal system.  What an incredible endeavor, moved both goods and people.  At Lockport we saw the only section that included 5 locks in the Canal.  It is currently being cleaned and refurbished, quite a job even today.  There are many areas where you can take a boat tour on the Erie Canal, just paddle on your own  or bike ride along on a parallel  trail.  It was really interesting to finally see something we have just learned in school.  There are various visitor centers along the Erie Canal that you can stop to learn more.

Erie Canal


We press on......Cooperstown next stop
Michelle and Fred
Traveling the country so you don't have to!

Cleveland Rocks

Our visit in Cleveland was very quick, just two nights. We arrived at our hotel around 2pm, again difficult finding camping near town and quickly headed out to LakeView Cemetery. There is a visitor information office, where you can get a map of the park-like cemetery.  President Garfield is buried here is a large memorial building.  Upon entering you find yourself viewing a large statue of the President in a highly decorated rotunda.  A steep circular stone stairway takes you to a view balcony above the statue and eventually to the top of the monument.  A great view of the city and Lake Erie, if it is a clear day.  Stairs below the stature take you to the tomb which holds Garfield, his wife, their daughter Lucretia and her husband.
Jeptha Wade, founder of the Western Union Telegraph Company, is also buried here.  He is in a granite mausoleum with a glittering interior designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.  It was beautiful with the sun shining thru the Tiffany window.
Also buried here are John D Rockerfeller, Eliot Ness, Marcus Hanna, members of Lincoln's cabinet and more.  This is more like a park with statuary than a cemetery.

President Garfield statue

President Garfield Memorial

Eliott Ness 

John D Rockerfeller - one piece of granite


After that, we were ready for a good meal, so headed to Little Italy, less than 5 blocks away.  Lots of restaurant options here, but parking is tight so we headed a few blocks further to park Mr B.

Little Italy

Next day we head off to our reason for being here, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.  It's a Sunday, so parking is free, but hard to find since the Cleveland Triathlon is happening in the area.  Our travelers luck held out and we parked about 6 blocks away.  :)  Spent the whole day looking at exhibits, watching numerous videos of performers and listening to lots of music.  Not to be missed.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum


We press on.....Buffalo NY.
Fred and Michelle
Traveling the country so you don't have to!

Detroit or Ford, Ford and more Ford

Spent a week in Ypsilanti, not far from Detroit, at the Detroit-Greenfield RV Park.  It isn't easy to find camping once you get to the big city.  Come on a weekend and this campground is packed!  Has a lake for swimming & boating and rents bikes for family fun.  During the week, it is a slow sleepy little place.  Works well for us, since we are out most days anyway.

First day was spent at the Detroit Institute of Art.  We figured if we could do the Louvre in a day (almost), we could do this museum in one day (almost).  It is very large and has an extremely varied collection, from Native American, American, masters and much much more.  They do family programs, Friday movie nights and more.  Quite a lively place on the Sunday we were there.  Exhibits are well set up with information panels about what was happening during a certain art period you are viewing.  We both loved the "why this is important" info also when looking at various art pieces.  A wonderful visit.

Detroit Institute of Art

Day two we begin our first of three days to visit the Henry Ford Museum.  We spent the first day at the museum, which is an enormous history place that Henry Ford started. It includes lots of automobiles of course, not just Fords, the Dymaxion House-Buckminister Fullers project, the rocker that Lincoln sat in when shot, the Kennedy limo and so much more.

Henry Ford Museum

Day three we went into Detroit to visit "Hitsville USA" the Motown Museum.  This is the Barry Gordy house where such greats such as the Marvelettes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes started.  Guided tours only here, so it's a quick tour, but you see lots and lots of pictures and go into Studio A, where all the recording took place.  No pictures allowed here.  The exit is thru the gift shop, so you can leave with a souvenir of your visit.

"Hitsville USA"

Driving around this area of Detroit is quite an eyeful.  We saw many large old stone houses that were abandoned/boarded up.  What was once a seemingly beautiful area is now creepy to even drive through.   Streets are in poor shape, so we were hoping nothing broke or fell off "Mr B".

After that, we went to our second visit at the Henry Ford - the Rouge Factory Tour.  Henry Ford decided that he would build this factory, where raw materials would come in one end and Model T cars would come out the other end. It is built next to the Rouge River, thus the name. The production line on the day we were there was F150 trucks.  Unfortunately, no pictures allowed inside.  What a hive of activity, as parts of cars move over and under you as you follow along on a 1/3 mile walkway.  It is a noisy, hot working space and it seemed obvious that some of the workers are bored out of their minds. Right at the start of the walk one of the floor guys below us yelled up to a little kid next to us " Go to college and go more than 2 years".  Fred loved seeing another guy who was screwing in door panels, dropped a screw and just went right on as though everything was done....no problem, that door rattle will get fixed by the dealer later???  Video stations setup at various spots showing you more detail about what you are seeing.  This was amazing and worth the time to visit.

Ford Rouge Factory Tour

Day four in Detroit: we took a day off to relax our feet and legs.  Instead spent the morning relaxing, showers, reading.  In the afternoon we went to the movies " Dawn of the Planet of the Apes". Entertaining movie and only $10 for the two of us.  Loved the large power reclining seats with foot rests and large cup holders, yup you heard me.  What a surprise and totally wonderful movie experience.

Day Five: back to the Henry Ford, this time to spend the day at Greenfield Village.  Henry wanted to gather as much history as he could in one place.  The home where he grew up is here, as well as the shop and home of the Wright Brothers, Robert Frost home, Edison's home and factory, even an English Cotswold cottage where we had tea!  Everything is spread out in a large park like setting.  Plan a full day for this one too.
Wright Brothers House

Large Pottery

Model T ride

enjoying tea in Cotswold Cottage

Ford Greenfield Village

Day six:  Headed off to the movies for the early show opening of Hercules.  An entertaining movie.  We were back at the same theatre as before, but not same room, so though the seats were super comfortable they did not have foot rests this time.  Ah!
Not sure if we will ever be back in Detroit, but glad we spent the time here now.  Next stop is Cleveland.
Fred and Michelle
Traveling the country so you don't have to!