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Category Archives: driving

On to the Overlook!

So last night I had to drive the the Overlook Mansion in Little Falls.  I had never been there, but I figured I could find it.  Little Falls isn’t that big, is it?  Silly me.  I forgot how talented I am at getting lost.

Before leaving, I went to the Overlook’s Facebook page and clicked on About. That showed me a map, which I also clicked on.  I typed in a couple of different starting places and studied the lines the map showed me.  I asked Steven to write down “Ann Street to Monroe to Lewis to Douglas.”  55 Douglas is the address.  Steven wrote it on his pad of paper with a picture of Underdog on it.  “There’s no need to fear!  Underdog is here!”  I set out.

Finding Ann Street was easy enough.  I looked for Monroe.  Soon I was running out of Ann.  Ah, Ann ends making a T with Monroe.  Naturally I had not made a note of which direction to turn.  Still, I had a 50/50 chance of being right.  Uh, of being correct.  But I did turn right.  And kept looking for Lewis.  As the road went up, I thought I must have chosen the correct direction.  Would not a place called Overlook be on top of a hill?  Soon I was driving out of town.  Oh dear.

At least it was a scenic road to be lost on.  I enjoyed the beautiful views of farmland and mountains.  You can see for MILES!  I especially enjoyed the blues and greys of the cloudy sky as the sun set and it turned to dusk.  I finally turned around in somebody’s driveway and headed back to Little Falls.

At last I found Lewis. Phew!  And the road started up again.  Silly me, it is a mountainous area.  Almost any direction is bound to go up eventually.  And there was Douglas.  Soon I was driving up the driveway to the Overlook.  It is a narrow road surrounded by trees.  I found it a little spooky, which is a quality I enjoy in a road.  And there was the Overlook.

What a place!  I think I’m in love!  I must, I positively must learn how to add photos.  I’ll write more about the place in future posts. In the meantime, you can go to their website, http://overlookmansion.com/mansion/, or Facebook page.

 

And Then Another Left…

Regular readers know my usual sphere of activities is Herkimer, Ilion, Mohawk and Frankfort, with an occasional foray into Little Falls.  However, I used to spend quite a bit of time in New Hartford.  It is my old stomping ground.  No, really, I used to stomp around a lot when I had to go to work there.  Today I had reason to drive from Ilion, where I work, to Slocum-Dixon in New Hartford, where I had a doctor’s appointment.  It was an adventure.

Let me interject here that I was not having a good day today, for reasons which I will not air in this space (more air wouldn’t help anyways).  But I thought, a nice drive on a nice day might cheer me up.  It was a nice day, hazy sunshine, not too hot. I drove down 5s, a little surprised at the amount of traffic.

Now, when I was driving to New Hartford five days a week, I worked at the mall.  There are a couple of different ways to get to the mall, and I knew that one of them takes you right by the turn for Slocum-Dixon.  This would be no problem.

And it would have been no problem, if I had taken the right way.  I was buzzing down Commercial Drive (or was it Oriskany Boulevard?) (I knew where I was; I just don’t remember the street names) when I realized:  This wasn’t the way I wanted!  Damn!  Now what would I do?  Oh, I know, I’ll go into Whitesboro and from there… someplace.  Here was the turn.

Did you already guess that it wasn’t the turn?  There I was driving down a residential street with NO idea where I was!  At least before I knew where I was, even if I didn’t know how to get where I was going.  I cursed my stupidity.  Then, while stopped at a stoplight, I saw what looked like a busy street to the left.  A busy street was surely more likely to get me where I was going.  I turned left.

And found myself right where I would have been if I hadn’t tried to go through Whitesboro.  At least I knew where I was.  I kept driving.   I seemed to remember my father telling me a turn I could take along this road to get to Slocum-Dixon.  But was it a right or a left?  Hmmm…

When I got to the road, I saw an H sign with an arrow pointing left.  Yes!  Slocum-Dixon is right near the hospital.  This must be the right way (left way?)!

Or was it?  The road seemed to go on for a while with no other H signs.  Oh dear.  Then I could see the highway in the distance.  That was the highway I was supposed to be on.  Ooh, maybe everything would be all right.  The highway did not seem to be getting any closer. In fact, if anything, it was getting further away.  Oh dear.  Was that a turn I should take?  Why wasn’t there another H sign???

Getting a little further up the road, I saw… IHOP!  I knew there is an IHOP near where I wanted to go!  Yay!  I wasn’t lost!  Um, I wasn’t lost ANY MORE.

I was on time for my appointment.  It was not the thrill I was hoping for, but it would be tiresome to go on about my health problems.  I can’t say my day got a whole lot better, but, you know, now that I got my blog post done, things are beginning to look up.  Happy Thursday, everyone.

 

Surviving the Squall

I had an adventurous drive on Sunday which I thought might be good for a blog post all on its own. We’ll see.

My destination was Chadwicks, to meet my sister and members of her family for church. She had told me directions over the phone Saturday night, which I had written down in a sloppy fashion in a notebook I happened to have handy. I wrote them out again in a slightly more legible manner (I am known for my terrible handwriting).

The directions seemed pretty straightforward: Higby to Graffenburg to Oneida Street. I knew that Higby Road was anything but straightforward: hills, twists, turns. Steven and I once had a rather alarming experience getting lost in the fog on Higby Road. However, no fog threatened Sunday morning. Just a little snow. What could possibly happen?

I had meant to allow get lost time, as I usually do when going to a new place, but I forgot I had to gas up. I almost took a chance on the gas, because “you go by a gas station” was included in the directions, but I thought better of it. Well, I probably still had plenty of time. I usually over-estimate these things. Anyways, it’s OK if you’re a little late for church. You just sneak in quietly and sit in the back.

I had also forgotten just how steep parts of Higby Road are. Up, up, up I went. Like many vehicles, mine does not like to go uphill for sustained periods of time. However, we both persevered.

More worrisome was the snow. It had been coming down in a gentle, Christmas-cardlike fashion when Tabby and I had taken a walk in Herkimer earlier. Now it was finer, more determined, and blowing. A mean snow. It was not exactly a storm, I told myself. More like a squall, perhaps exacerbated by the wide open farmland I was driving through.

Parts of the road were covered with snow, so I drove with care. I could rock this. The twisty, turny nature of the road was a little troublesome, but that, too, I could rock. Still, it seemed to be taking a long time to get to Graffenburg Road. Ah, there was the golf course sign. Easy to find.

And then things began to suck. The road had lots of snow on it. The wind blew curtains of white across my windshield. I slowed to a crawl and put my vehicle in 4-wheel drive. Not full 4-wheel but the “Auto” setting, which is kind of in-between. I wondered if I shouldn’t have chosen full 4-wheel but contented myself with going extra slow. It would be perfectly fine if I was late for church.

I soon found myself laughing out loud. I may have mentioned my odd quirk of laughing at bad weather. It usually happens when I am right out in it, not so often in my car when I am concentrating on staying on the road. I actually was not sliding around much, and the humorous aspect of the situation began to tickle me. It’s March, for heavens’ sake! I started running again. What is with these blizzard conditions? I wondered how late I would be for church and pondered an alternative route home.

At last I reached the turn for Oneida Street. According to my directions I was three or four minutes from my destination. I looked at my clock. 10:26. This could work. Once I was in the village the weather seemed calmer. Perhaps all the houses tamed the wind somewhat.

I made it to church just on time. I found my sister and her family. I could see the day brightening as the sun came out. Perhaps my ride home would be fine. As it turned out, we drove into Washington Mills for breakfast and I went home a slightly different way: lots of Higby, no Graffenburg. I was happy to get home where I could nurse the headache I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

Some readers may now be saying, “Ah yes, that headache. Could it be that the drive was NOT that sucky but the headache made it seem so?” I say keep your tabletop psychology for yourself. I braved the elements and lived to tell the tale.

Confessions of a Bad Blogger

I blew through a red light this morning. It was a really boneheaded thing to do. I was looking ahead at the next light, thinking how I would be hitting that one red, and I completely forgot about the one I was approaching. I saw that it was red as I reached it. I could perhaps have slammed on my breaks at that point, making an unpleasant squealing noise with my tires and causing my bags to tumble off the seat. I did not react quickly enough. I just breezed through, much to the disgust, I am sure, of the motorists waiting sedately and legally to proceed in the opposite direction.

My question now is: Is this worthy of a blog post? And if I deem it unworthy, is that merely because of my reluctance to broadcast that I am an even worse driver than I am a blogger (after all, I have never done anything illegal in my blog)? Next I begin to wonder if this is half-baked philosophy more fit for Lame Post Friday or is it a legitimate Monday Middle-aged Musing?

Welcome to my life.

I bet my readers are now divided into two distinct groups. One group is saying, “Hey! I thought she was going to write about the DARE 5K!” The other group is saying, “Well, at least she isn’t still writing about that DARE 5K.” Still another group has by now stopped reading. We need not concern ourselves with that group.

Full disclosure: My husband Steven suggested that headline for an entirely different post. I did not use it then, but I thought it was too good to waste.

What Exit?

I did not go running this morning, so I can’t have a Saturday Running Commentary. I did have something of an adventure, which in fact I said I was going to write a blog post about, but now as I sit here, typing, I hesitate.

NOOOOOoooo! screams the critic in my head (impersonating a hypothetical reader), not another post about Why I Can’t Write a Post! Nobody wants to read that!!! (Yes, the inner critic speaks using multiple exclamation points; I just calls it like I sees it). Oh, OK, I will just try to write the post.

I was due at my sister’s house in Marcy, NY at 8 a.m. I set out in plenty of time, putting a Roomful of Blues CD in my player and prescription sunglasses on my face. It was a beautiful morning for a drive: sunny but not too hot. This was going to be great.

And it wasn’t too bad. Traffic was light, I didn’t run into any construction, soon I was on Route 49 and breezing along at a good clip. I’ve driven down this road many times, going to Marcy or to Rome. It was and is still a mystery to me how I drove right by the exit I wanted.

I was not daydreaming or even singing along to the CD. I saw one exit and said to myself, “The next one is the better one.” Then I saw the next one and thought, “Oh, that’s not it.” Then I kept driving and not seeing the exit till I started thinking, “Was that the exit?”

Did I ever feel dumb! And now I was late! I hate to be late! This was terrible! I found a place where I could turn around. I hit the gas! Maybe I wouldn’t be too late. Then I remembered that this stretch of 49 is famous for cops. I slowed down, but rehearsed in my head what I would say to a cop if he stopped me.

“I understand you have to give me a ticket, but could I please just call my sister and tell her I’m delayed, because she is waiting for me?” Luckily no cop stopped me, because I’m pretty sure that little bit of reverse psychology would not have worked and I would have gotten a ticket.

I got to Marcy not too much later than expected. My sister was wondering where I was, because I am more often early than late. Alas! The adventure continued, but I think the most striking part is me driving right by an exit I have taken many times. Does this happen to other people? Or am I uniquely talented at doing dumb things? Oh well, it fits my new saying: It’s not easy being me, but at least it’s not dull.

Or has this been a dull post? Oh dear, it’s that inner critic again…

There’s the Bridge!

Yesterday (Saturday) I set out with my friend, Phyllis, intent on having a Mohawk Valley adventure. I guess you could say we had one.

We headed to Little Falls, intending to visit the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts. For one thing, I knew I could purchase post cards there. I don’t often drive to Little Falls, but how hard could it be? Then again, this is me we’re dealing with.

We drove out State Route 5, which goes right into Little Falls. Perfectly familiar. And then it didn’t look so right.

“I think I’ve driven past my turn,” I said. “Oh, wait, no I didn’t.” And then I did. Oops. Well, at least I knew where it was now.

Little Falls seems to be all one way streets, but I found a place to make a left turn, went up a hill and waited at a stop light to make another left going back towards my turn. That was a steep hill. My SUV acted like it was going to roll backwards as I moved my foot from the brake to the gas, and I don’t drive a standard. Just to give me another challenge, the guy turning right from the opposite direction stopped directly in front of me to pick up a passenger. The guy couldn’t have gotten in at the light, I suppose.

No matter, we were headed towards the bridge I wanted.

“Go right where that blue car went,” Phyllis said. I couldn’t see exactly where the blue car was going because of a big truck in the way. From where I was sitting, it did not look like the turn. I was past it when I realized it was so the turn.

“Can I make a U turn here?” I asked, fully intending to do so anyways. However no signs forbid it, so I guess I was legal. I almost got in the wrong lane and missed the turn again, but Phyllis was watching and directed me.

Once I got on that bridge, everything was easy.

“I’m going to write my blog post just about the drive here,” I told Phyllis. So I did.

On the Road to Vermont

I like to write posts about driving somewhere. My only concern is to not tell the same things when I’m writing about the same route I’ve been over before. Then again, it’s been over a year since I’ve been to Vermont. Maybe if I do repeat myself nobody will notice. Here’s hoping

Steven picked me up at my place of employment in Ilion and we left from there, so right away it was a little different. Usually I go home first and shower and make my blog post, so we don’t leave till closer to five. This got us on the road almost an hour and a half sooner. Woohoo! As we drove through Mohawk I further suggested we go down Route 5S to Little Falls rather than our usual State Route 5 through Herkimer. This brought us alongside a canal path we’ve walked and I’ve run along, and by Herkimer County Humane Society, site of at least a couple of good blog posts (or do I flatter myself?). It’s a nice country road, and I admired several houses, although I don’t think I’d like to live right on a highway like that.

Soon we were in Little Falls. After one wrong turn (Little Falls can be a little confusing), we were on our way out of Little Falls and on the familiar road to Vermont. We passed Nellis Tavern, where we attended a rhubarb festival. Yum! Must plant some rhubarb next year. I love looking at the mountains. I don’t mind the twisty roads a bit, even if I am the one driving (I was not in this case; I was free to make observations and silly jokes).

At one point there were three cars ahead of us and they all turned left.

“Oh, they’re all turning,” Steven remarked.

“They’re probably going to a party we’re not invited to,” I complained. Sure enough, as we drove by we saw a handpainted sign on a tree, “Hunter’s Party.” It was true! Those bastards WERE going to party and I WASN’T invited! “What the hell, Hunter?” I demanded. Of course, I don’t know anyone named Hunter. For all I know it was a hunters’ party and the person who made the sign had put the apostrophe in the wrong place.

Eventually we got to Saratoga, often a tricky place to drive through, due to heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic. I’ve always wanted to spend some time there.

“I love Saratoga,” I said. “It is so cool looking.” Three red lights later I said, “I hate Saratoga! There are too many traffic lights!” Steven laughed.

Outside of town I saw a sign at an intersection advertising a new queen-sized mattress for sale. A few miles later at a stop light we saw a pick up truck with a matress and box spring in the back. I speculated it was the one advertised, but I suppose we will never know.

I enjoyed my drive to Vermont, and I must say, leaving earlier is the Way to Go. I didn’t feel nearly as tired when we arrived and it was still early enough to enjoy a chicken barbecue (which I may blog about tomorrow) as well as time on the deck with my sisters-in-law.

I Waited Five Minutes

How about that Mohawk Valley weather we’ve had lately? (Um, you do get the headline, right? If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes)

That’s not such a lame comment as I was thinking (check with me tomorrow for Lame Post Friday, of course). The weather guy on WKTV this morning said we had “lots of weather” going on today. That struck me as kind of funny. I mean, good or bad, active or quiet, it’s always weather outside. I didn’t think a meteorologist would think of it in terms of different amounts.

Many of us have been loving this winter. Snowmobilers, skiers, people who make money plowing snow, etc…. not so much. Sorry, guys. For someone with a bad back, a husband with a worse back, and a second hand snow blower we have never gotten to work, I’m grateful for the relative lack of snow. Oh well, whatever happens, somebody’s going to be happy, somebody else not. My turn for happy. Yay me (Ooh, was that half baked philosophy? I’m sorry, that should have gone on Lame Post Friday).

This morning we got some authentic winter. There were even a few school delays, although not in our immediate vicinity. Apparently things were not so bad in the valley, but terrible in other places.

So I got ready early, figuring I’d have to scrape and drive to work slowly. And the fewer cars in the parking lot when I got there the happier I’d be. Steven actually went out to scrape for me, but it turned out not to be necessary. When I stepped outside it was regular rain, not freezing. A welcome anti-climax. There was slushy snow on the driveway and road. I backed out with caution, figuring there might still be slippery on the road’s surface.

Indeed there was. I almost fishtailed. Better get some weight into the back of my truck (maybe it would have helped if I would NOT have gone on the South Beach Diet). Not much traffic was on the road, but a pick up truck was coming up Caroline as I got to the three way stop. I was already at the stop sign, so clearly I should go; I just hoped the guy was turning the other way. Headlights behind me soon dashed that hope. I continued down German, trying to strike the balance between safe and not slow enough to piss people off. I hate to piss people off. Then I said, “To hell with it, safe is better, they can pass me on the highway.” Which they did. That was when I saw that it was a little red car, not the pick up truck I had seen on Caroline. How the hell did that happen? Then again, it wouldn’t do to spend too much time gazing into my rear view mirror to keep track of these things.

I made it to work without further incident and parked in the snow covered parking lot. I pulled in carefully parallel to another car, since the lines were hidden. Imagine my chagrin when I left this afternoon and discovered I was by no means parallel to the painted lines. All the surrounding vehicles were gone, too, so it looked as if I’d just parked like an asshole. I can only hope my co-workers understood.

So that’s my weather story for the day. I guess my driving story too. I hope this weekend to get out and do some real Mohawk Valley stuff to blog about. In the meantime, though, I’m off the hook, because tomorrow is Lame Post Friday. Woo hoo!

Winter Comes to the Mohawk Valley

Perhaps I jinxed things the other day, when I mentioned I was pleased about the green Christmas. Nah, that can’t be it; people have been remarking about the lack of snow for a while now. Be that as it may, I thought Wednesday’s weather was worthy of a post.

I first encountered the winter Wednesday morning. I was feeling rather bah humbuggish as I experienced problems trying to wrap presents for Christmas II at my parents’ house that evening. I thought a little fresh air would help, so on went the sneakers (me) and the leash (Tabby), and out the door we went.

It was cold! Once again I had not put a scarf around my face, to my regret. Little white flakes swirled around us, then moved faster as the wind picked up and got mean. Tabby only wanted to go around the block, even taking the short cut through the apartment building parking lot, which was OK with me. At least it blew the bah humbug out of me and I was able to complete my Christmas preparations with equanimity and even a little joy.

As the day wore on the snow kept falling. Perfect weather for a cup of hot tea (I had finished most of my chores by then). Then I thought I would take Tabby for a more lengthy perambulation (we avoid saying the “w word” in our house) before our drive into Rome (about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on traffic and how seriously I take the speed limits). I struggled into my army winter boots and we set out.

It was a little warmer since the wind had died down. I was glad of the boots, as the snow had started to drift across the sidewalks. Not too deep yet, but a preview of things to come. One man was out with a snow blower, blowing out the driveway and walk of the apartment building. I encountered some iciness crossing the streets, but no mishaps. Tabby went about two blocks down German Street, then turned around without fanfare or even an inquiring look at me, and led me back home. After we turned around the wind picked back up, and I was once again regretful I had forgotten a scarf (will I ever remember that scarf?).

After we got back and I had gotten Tabby inside and cleared the caked snow off her feet, I went back outside and shoveled a little. Just the end of the driveway and the sidewalk in front of the house. It was really quite easy. Not much snow had piled up and it was light enough to push.

A check of Facebook revealed a couple of cancellations in Frankfort and Utica, and some comments by people of how some roads were getting bad. Oh dear. I called my Dad and asked how things were in Rome. After some discussion, we decided I would start the drive and turn around at the Frankfort bridge if things seemed bad.

When I got ready to load the car and go pick up Steven, I put on my other boots. I had been delighted to get these boots for 50% off at K Mart last year. The army boots are excellent for dryness, warmth and traction, but they are a royal pain in my rear to get into and out of. The K Mart boots are slip on and perfectly warm.

As I brushed off the car (another joy, because it is my height, which the truck is not), I questioned my delight in the slip on boots as a big clump of snow fell right into them. Never mind, I told myself, I can borrow dry socks from Mom. Tabby eagerly jumped into the car and her kennel and we were off.

Village streets were predictably bad, but State Route 5 seemed OK. As Steven got into the car, I explained my plan. So far so good. Things started to get dicey as we neared the Frankfort bridge, but I suggested we give it to the four corners. Not the Historic Four Corners I blog so much about, but the ones near Dave’s Diner. From there it would be easy enough to get on 5S and go back home. 5S has the added advantage of two lanes of traffic. I can go slow, and impatient people can go around me at their own risk.

We did not get that far. We got as far as the Market Place Deli (formerly the Snack Shack), and that seemed to me a very good place to turn around. Snow was accumulating on the highway, and I felt a skid or a fishtail could easily happen. We went back home and called my disappointed but understanding parents.

I suppose some would call me a wimp for such behavior. These people would shake an admonitory finger at me and ask me how long have I lived in the area, and don’t I know what to expect in December? Apparently I do. After all, I own two pair of boots and a snow shovel. And I know that sometimes plans have to change. Maybe I can plan something more exciting for my next blog post.

My Saturday Morning Adventure

We began our Saturday in the Mohawk Valley with breakfast at Philly’s, formerly known as Chet’s, on South Caroline Street in Herkimer. I’ve blogged about Philly’s before, but it’s worth another mention. The food is good, and the service is fast. We both had eggs over medium with bacon and sourdough toast.

After breakfast we headed to a garage sale Steven had read about in the paper. It was a multiple household sale, so there was a lot of stuff. They had some old yearbooks, which I find fascinating. I remember looking at my mom and dad’s yearbooks when I was a kid. Different times. I found a compact and an old bowl I liked. They had a bunch of books that were free, so I took a few of those, too.

From the garage sale we drove to Middleville for a rummage sale at the Methodist Church. We had been at a rummage sale there before, so Steven knew right where it was (I had forgotten). Past Lady Carousel Woodworks, the Crystal Chandelier Restaurant, and the Diamond Mines, all potential future blog topics. There is an old graveyard behind the church I’d like to walk through sometime.

At the rummage sale we found a couple of books, a nice tin and a Christmas decoration (can’t have too many of those). They were having a bake sale as well, so we treated ourselves to some frosted sugar cookies. Yum! We peeked in the church itself before we left. It is quite beautiful.

We hit another garage sale, then drove back into town by way of some back country roads we had not been on before. That was an adventure. The roads twisted and turned through the hills, and we saw some lovely views of the countryside. Herkimer County is blessed with many such country roads. We made up our minds to drive through them again when the fall colors are at their peak.

One more garage sale tempted us before we got home. We purchased about four Christmas tins and an old fashioned Santa Claus candle. We returned home with our loot, all of which I have not even mentioned, much to the delight of our loyal dog. It wasn’t even noon. Plenty of time for further Mohawk Valley adventures.