DAILY UPDATES.... This page will have updates from my trip, I'll try and post something everyday. If you have any comments or ideas please send me an email.

  APRIL 6 - 12     APRIL 13 - 19     APRIL 20 - 26      APRIL 27 - MAY 3    MAY 4 - 20     MAY 21 - 27     MAY 28 - JUNE 5

JUNE 6 - 15       JUNE 16 - 30      JULY 1 - 8       JULY 9 - 16


April 6, 2005
YES, the road trip started today - I officially left from Jersey Mike's Sub Shop (they make great subs!!)  at 7:30pm with a large turkey sub (light mayo) and a cold Pepsi in hand. I was on the road less than an hour when I had the chance to exchange some banter with a NJ Trooper, he said I was going "a little fast," I let him know of my prior profession and he was kind enough to send me on my way. As I was approaching Albany, NY I was stopped again, I guess it's time to check my speedometer because I'm sure I wasn't going any faster that the posted speed limit!

Now, I've only been on the road for 8 hours and I've already learned some very important things about staying at roadside motels. Here is a list of things that should make you re-consider sleeping in the car:
1. If the man at the front desk only has four teeth, total!
2. If he says, "Are you a trucker?" when you ask the room price.
3. There are 40+ rooms at the motel and only three cars in the lot.
4. If he asks, "Do you want me to turn on the phone, for local calls?"
5. If the room smells like a subway station.

Looks like I'll have to pony up a little more for hotel rooms in the future or get used to sleeping in the back of the car.

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Joe, Morgan, J.B. and Liana

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This is a 5 Star hotel!!

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Albany, NY

April 7, 2005
I hit the road at 11:30am and drove on Route 20 from Albany to Cooperstown, along the way I had to stop and take a few pictures.

The Hall of Fame is a definite stop for the baseball lover, but how many autographed baseballs, baseball jersey and baseball pictures are too much! Well, if you want the answer to that question, go to Cooperstown! The town is nice, but all they have is gift shops and a couple restaurants and bars.

The most entertaining part of the day was the guy who filled up my car with gas in Cooperstown. He saw me with my map and asked where I was going on vacation, I told him Seattle and he thought that was cool. He told me he wanted to go on vacation, it would be his first vacation in five years - I can't even begin to imagine working for five years straight! :)

He said he wanted to go to Tennessee, of course I asked WHY? And he told me that he wanted to go there this summer for the "Dukes of Hazard" convention - who knew..... So of course I had to ask, "Do you have a General Lee," with a slight smile he told me that he was building one but it wouldn't be ready for this years convention. I then said, "I'll bet the ladies are into the General Lee," that's when his smile became huge and he confessed his real reason for building the car - the ladies! I told him "right on," and wished him luck with the General Lee. 

I've also already broken my first rule, I got on the NYS Thruway this evening because I couldn't take it anymore. I know this is a profound statement, but when you only average 45mph it really takes a long time to get places, going fast really does get you there faster!


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Tepee gift shop

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...next to the burned house

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I just had to take his picture

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The chicken farm

April 8, 2005
This was a long day, it started at 55 Mariposa Street, Rochester, NY (that's where my parents lived, pre-J.B.) and ended at the Lakeside Market, Porter, NY (that's where I parked my car and slept for the night).

I went to find the house that my parents (and Debbie and Suzie) lived in when they were in Rochester. While taking pictures of the house I caught the attention of Gill and Marilyn Krepps who live across the street. I talked with these people for a bit and they were kind enough to give me a map of Rochester and a quick rundown of the local area. The next stop was Kodak (they seem to have a pretty good hold on Rochester) and the waterfront of the Genesee River.

The George Eastman house continued to fuel my love/hate relationship with photography. The museum and mansion are beautiful, but the photographs inside made me question what photography is all about.

I left the museum at 5pm, grabbed a quick happy hour drink, and then headed toward Niagara Falls. On the way, I made a stop at Ontario Beach to watch the water and the sunset - this is a beautiful beach with a great view of lake Ontario and a light house at the end of a long pier.

Still thinking I could make it to Niagara Falls before 10pm I started off again, this time I was side tracked by some fishermen (picture to the right), however the icing on the cake was my stop at Boyer's Bar in Who Knows Where, NY. The bar had a handful of regulars who were discussing their various states of marital hardships - it appears that almost everyone at the bar was divorced at least once, had a couple kids and was familiar with every aspect of the local family court.

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55 Maraposa Drive

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Kodak office building

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Ontario Beach, NY

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Fishing in Lake Ontario

April 9 & 10, 2005
Here are my thoughts on Niagara Falls:
- I guess it would be really cool if I just turned 19 and was finally legal to drink. 
- USA customs officers need to relax, Canadian customs officers must be part Hawaiian - they have know worries... And why do the USA officers keep asking me if I have a job, they seem puzzled when I tell them I just "Nah, I don't have a job right now, I just taking pictures."
- The USA side is like Atlantic City, the Canadian side is like Vegas.
- The Falls still have snow and ice on them and it's brown and dirty.
- The Maid of the Mist doesn't sail when their is ice on the Falls, so I enjoyed the view from the sidelines.
- The look-outs (in the USA parks) close to the Falls are closed, they let mother nature do the snow removal. And with temperatures in the low 40's it may be months before the snow melts.
- Prices for parking in unbelievable - average parking is $10, but the casino is more than happy to let their VIP's park for free  :) 
- If you're going to visit this place come in the summer, it seemed like a ghost town when I left on Monday.
- The dollar is worth more - but Canadian prices are high!


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My Friday night hotel

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On the way to Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls

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Jersey Mike's - Niagara Falls

April 11, 2005
Not much to say, I made it to Buffalo, this town needs some serious revitalization! I stopped at the Anchor Bar, the wings were good and the atmosphere was like TGI Fridays - just what I would expect from Buffalo, mediocre at best.

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The Anchor Bar

April 12, 2005
Monday night was another car/hotel night, I figured sleeping in the parking lot of the American LaFrance fire truck factory would be a safe place as fireman are generally nice people.

The kazoo factory was interesting, not much technology there, just good old fashion machines and hard work. I spoke with one of the workers (he's the guy standing in the door way of the picture)  during his smoke break and he told me of the whopping minimum wage salary and his 5 cent per kazoo bonus! I guess the owner is getting rich or the profit margin is tiny.... 

After getting on the highway and heading out of NY I decided to go for a long shot and stop in Erie, PA (the books said just roll on by). This is a great little (Princeton sized) town - I give it 4 stars.  The water front is very nice and they have nice restaurants, cultural/art and a great beach (Presque Isle State Park).

The town sponsored an art exhibition/contest which involved creating fish (last year) and frogs (this year). The artwork can now be seen all over town (look on the pictures page for some of the art) as many of the local businesses bought the art to support local programs. 

The PI State Park has 7 miles of beach on Lake Erie and plenty of fishing. They also have house boats that are anchored in one of the coves, not sure what the deal is with them but I think it would be cool to spend a weekend. Sounds like I work for the Chamber of Commerce, but this is a nice town and they have a nice airport that's only 3 hours or so from Robbinsville. 

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My Monday night hotel

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USA's favorite instrument

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Bicentennial Tower
Erie, PA