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User Content => Road Trips => Topic started by: noelbotevera on May 02, 2020, 01:36:57 PM

Title: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on May 02, 2020, 01:36:57 PM
On Tuesday May 12th I'm planning to travel to Lock Haven to start driving PA 120, generally staying north of I-80. Might be able to stretch this into a 2 day trip, making sure we return to Chambersburg (South-central, Susquehanna Valley) sometime before 8 PM. Some questions I have:

-Any noteworthy restaurants/state parks/roads? (in terms of counties I'll definitely get Cameron) This is after quarantine orders end, so restaurants should be open by then.
-Gas availability? Apparently PA 44 is sparse on gas (one thread, "longest distance between gas stations in your state", states a 56 mile gap).
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: 74/171FAN on May 02, 2020, 02:35:19 PM
You do realize that the stay-at-home orders are only ending in the part of the state you are planning to drive to.  It will still be in effect where both you and I live.

Yes, I do plan to take a short trip once the Harrisburg area is out of the stay-at-home order, but restaurants will still be takeout/delivery only (https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#PhasedReopening), and I will most definitely be limiting stops.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: oscar on May 02, 2020, 03:02:57 PM
-Any noteworthy restaurants/state parks/roads? (in terms of counties I'll definitely get Cameron) This is after quarantine orders end, so restaurants should be open by then.

In other states, restaurants have been slow to reopen for indoor service even after they get the green light to do so.

But if you reach Emporium (county seat of Cameron County), you'll find a Sheetz gas station, with an MTO (made-to-order) takeout food counter in the store. No room for sit-down eating (it's among the smallest Sheetz stations I've ever seen), but not so small it can't offer MTO.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: noelbotevera on May 02, 2020, 03:23:03 PM
74/171FAN: Yeah, I've heard Franklin County extended their orders. Oh well.

-Any noteworthy restaurants/state parks/roads? (in terms of counties I'll definitely get Cameron) This is after quarantine orders end, so restaurants should be open by then.

In other states, restaurants have been slow to reopen for indoor service even after they get the green light to do so.

But if you reach Emporium (county seat of Cameron County), you'll find a Sheetz gas station, with an MTO (made-to-order) takeout food counter in the store. No room for sit-down eating (it's among the smallest Sheetz stations I've ever seen), but not so small it can't offer MTO.
So by "reopening restaurants", does this generally mean they'll reopen for delivery/takeout and then dine in? Or reopen for dine-in given a couple weeks?

In either case that Sheetz sounds like a good spot to eat if we're still in Cameron County at night, so thanks.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: 74/171FAN on May 02, 2020, 03:48:01 PM
Quote
So by "reopening restaurants", does this generally mean they'll reopen for delivery/takeout and then dine in? Or reopen for dine-in given a couple weeks?

The link I referenced in my earlier post indicated that dining in (including outdoor seating) will not be allowed until the green phase.  Having said that, there is also a Sheetz in St. Mary's that I stopped at when I clinched PA 120 last summer. 
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: jeffandnicole on May 02, 2020, 03:59:26 PM
74/171FAN: Yeah, I've heard Franklin County extended their orders. Oh well.

-Any noteworthy restaurants/state parks/roads? (in terms of counties I'll definitely get Cameron) This is after quarantine orders end, so restaurants should be open by then.

In other states, restaurants have been slow to reopen for indoor service even after they get the green light to do so.

But if you reach Emporium (county seat of Cameron County), you'll find a Sheetz gas station, with an MTO (made-to-order) takeout food counter in the store. No room for sit-down eating (it's among the smallest Sheetz stations I've ever seen), but not so small it can't offer MTO.
So by "reopening restaurants", does this generally mean they'll reopen for delivery/takeout and then dine in? Or reopen for dine-in given a couple weeks?

In either case that Sheetz sounds like a good spot to eat if we're still in Cameron County at night, so thanks.

Generally, restaurants are allowed to be open now for takeout/delivery already.  When restaurants are allowed to have indoor seating, most states are requiring that they can max out at 25% - 50% of capacity, and keeping tables at least 6 feet apart.  In some restaurants, they would lose money even if every table was filled, so you'll find many that will continue to only allow take out and delivery.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: noelbotevera on May 14, 2020, 06:25:55 PM
Okay, now I can write about this.

I left Chambersburg at 8:15 AM and arrived at Lock Haven at 11, using the usual route; US 30 to PA 75, through Cowans Gap State Park, to US 522 to US 322. Diverged a bit to head up PA 144 to PA 26, PA 64 (clinch), and PA 150. Had brunch at a food truck in Mill Hall (near Lock Haven); water, ice cream sandwich, fries, sausage w/onions and peppers. Not half bad and filling for the price of $11. I began my clinch of PA 120 to Ridgway (made sure to hop on US 220 briefly for a full clinch).

I saw few cars throughout my clinch except through Emporium and west of St. Marys. In one instance, I did not pass a car once in 30 miles, between Sinnemahoning and Emporium. Notable about Cameron County is that I believe there are only two traffic lights in the county, both in Emporium: PA 120 at Broad Street and PA 120 at PA 46. Notable about Emporium are the century old houses (along PA 120 at least), and old pedestrian signals. Anyways, PA 120 was definitely worth the drive though I did skip out on Hyner View State Park.

PA 120 ended at US 219 and I traversed US 219 north to US 6. I took US 6 east to Kinzua Bridge State Park, arriving at 3 PM. Told my father and brother some history about the park and witnessed the beautiful wreckage known as the Kinzua Viaduct. The view atop the remaining viaduct was equally breathtaking, though looking down isn't exactly confidence inducing. After capturing some photos, I had a steep climb to the valley floor, grabbing some photos of the remains and even climbing on parts of it (I didn't dare walk out, at the risk of the wreckage collapsing or people seeing me). I crossed Kinzua Creek and the trail only got muddier and muddier, but nonetheless I managed to make it halfway up the other side before the trail devolved into loose rock. Convenient, because it started snowing (!) at that point which meant it was time to return.

After a bathroom break we left Kinzua Bridge at 5, making our to PA 59 east, which became US 6. There wasn't enough time to cover PA 44 from NY 417 -- I think PA 44 enters NY, according to field signage (https://www.google.com/maps/@41.9995034,-78.2695594,3a,75y,140.35h,82.34t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sdblDGhKLupsTZKc9mzJIwQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656) -- to US 6. I settled for the section between Coudersport and Jersey Shore, embarking along the longest gas gap in PA: 71 miles. Still enough gas, after a refuel in Emporium. PA 44 reminded me of Skyline Drive in Virginia but woodier, though what made it special was Cherry Springs State Park. Unbeknownst to me, the park was for stargazing and I saw nary a cherry tree. In either case, I consider PA 44 a better drive than PA 120 (less traffic, more curves, arguably more scenic) although it loses out on small town charm.

Dinner was at a taqueria in Jersey Shore -- not the best tacos but we wanted anything at this point. Passing through some charming architecture, I continued my travels on PA 44 to US 15, taking us through Selinsgrove and the CSVT (looks about ready to open) to I-81 and home at 10:30.

An epic trip considering it was a single day, and I'll be back in northern PA next week.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: jemacedo9 on May 14, 2020, 08:16:23 PM
In either case, I consider PA 44 a better drive than PA 120 (less traffic, more curves, arguably more scenic) although it loses out on small town charm.


I've driven both and I tend to agree.  PA 120 has a few cliffside sections that are spectacular...but the forest of PA 44 is as remote as PA gets.  You were probably a little early for the mountain laurel blooms on PA 44...it's a special drive.  It's a close call which one I like better.

It's a shame you couldn't get to Hyner View State Park (off PA 120) - the view is outstanding. 
PA 414 east of PA 44 is also wonderfully remote.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: noelbotevera on May 14, 2020, 08:52:32 PM
In either case, I consider PA 44 a better drive than PA 120 (less traffic, more curves, arguably more scenic) although it loses out on small town charm.


I've driven both and I tend to agree.  PA 120 has a few cliffside sections that are spectacular...but the forest of PA 44 is as remote as PA gets.  You were probably a little early for the mountain laurel blooms on PA 44...it's a special drive.  It's a close call which one I like better.

It's a shame you couldn't get to Hyner View State Park (off PA 120) - the view is outstanding. 
PA 414 east of PA 44 is also wonderfully remote.
Only issue with PA 120 is that traffic seems kinda heavy (on that day it was for me) from Ridgway to St. Marys. PA 44 has little traffic and both mountaintop and cliffside sections, so I placed it over PA 120.

And Hyner View - definitely a miss (it looked fairly unassuming on the road) but based on Internet pictures I wouldn't call it the best view in PA (that would be an outlook near Cowans Gap State Park...you can see three sets of mountaintops but miss a river).
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: Roadrunner75 on May 14, 2020, 09:29:26 PM
PA 120 ended at US 219 and I traversed US 219 north to US 6. I took US 6 east to Kinzua Bridge State Park, arriving at 3 PM. Told my father and brother some history about the park and witnessed the beautiful wreckage known as the Kinzua Viaduct. The view atop the remaining viaduct was equally breathtaking, though looking down isn't exactly confidence inducing. After capturing some photos, I had a steep climb to the valley floor, grabbing some photos of the remains and even climbing on parts of it (I didn't dare walk out, at the risk of the wreckage collapsing or people seeing me). I crossed Kinzua Creek and the trail only got muddier and muddier, but nonetheless I managed to make it halfway up the other side before the trail devolved into loose rock. Convenient, because it started snowing (!) at that point which meant it was time to return.

Coincidentally they just showed the Kinzua Bridge on an episode of Mysteries of the Abandoned on the Science Channel last night.  My ears perked up when I heard Pennsylvania and I had to jump to Google Maps to see if I could find it on aerials.  Some day I hope to get out there to see it - We'll add it to the Western PA list along with Fallingwater.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: noelbotevera on May 17, 2020, 05:38:03 PM
So, northern PA round two. Probably gonna be more like western NY, but hey. Planning to leave at 8:30 AM on May 19th. Here's a potential timeline.

I. Arrive in Bellefonte at 11 AM for brunch, using the same roads we used to Lock Haven except for staying on PA 144.
II. Detour to Hyner View State Park via PA 144. Might get there at 12:20.
III. Clinch PA 144, reaching US 6 at 1:30.
IV. Take US 6 west to Coudersport, then PA 44 to NY 417. This leaves a 28 mile stretch of PA 44 from I-80 to US 15 that I need to clinch.
V. From there, choices.
- NY 417 west to Buffalo (Anchor Bar is still open) w/o Niagara Falls since crossing the border is prohibited and the American view is inferior to the Canadian side. Have no clue what else to do in Buffalo; maybe head up NY 18 and visit a beach?
- NY 417 east to Corning to visit a friend, then north to the Finger Lakes.
- I-86, NY 36, and I-390 up to Rochester (any ideas?).
- Back south into PA, taking a long route home.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: Ketchup99 on May 17, 2020, 11:25:18 PM
Looks like fun, it's good to get out in safe ways in times like this. Enjoy Bellefonte. If we were in normal times I'd say head northeast down PA-45 to Millheim where the Elk Creek Cafť is really good, but pandemic...
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 18, 2020, 12:45:46 AM
So, northern PA round two. Probably gonna be more like western NY, but hey. Planning to leave at 8:30 AM on May 19th. Here's a potential timeline.

I. Arrive in Bellefonte at 11 AM for brunch, using the same roads we used to Lock Haven except for staying on PA 144.
II. Detour to Hyner View State Park via PA 144. Might get there at 12:20.
III. Clinch PA 144, reaching US 6 at 1:30.
IV. Take US 6 west to Coudersport, then PA 44 to NY 417. This leaves a 28 mile stretch of PA 44 from I-80 to US 15 that I need to clinch.
V. From there, choices.
- NY 417 west to Buffalo (Anchor Bar is still open) w/o Niagara Falls since crossing the border is prohibited and the American view is inferior to the Canadian side. Have no clue what else to do in Buffalo; maybe head up NY 18 and visit a beach?
- NY 417 east to Corning to visit a friend, then north to the Finger Lakes.
- I-86, NY 36, and I-390 up to Rochester (any ideas?).
- Back south into PA, taking a long route home.
Jealous of your road trips. I haven't been in a car since March!
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: jemacedo9 on May 18, 2020, 08:24:03 AM
If you're into scenic views, you should visit Letchworth State Park in NY...it's outstanding.  With that, you could then still opt to go up to Rochester or over to Corning/Finger Lakes. 

NY 417 isn't a bad drive.  You could take that to NY 36, then to NY 70, then NY 436 to NY 19A to the south entrance of the park.  Once you're through the park, take NY 36 and/or I-390 to Dansville, then NY 36 into Dansville to NY 63 South, NY 21 North to Naples. then NY 53 South then CR 21 towards Italy Valley. 

The roads in the Italy area are wonderful.  CR 21 turns into CR 18.  There is a fork in the road where CR 18 branches to the left and CR 34 branches to the right.  Take either, whichever your preference.  The left fork eventually ends up at NY 364 and towards Penn Yan, and if you then take NY 54 North to NY 14, you'll get a long drive down the east shore of Seneca Lake. The right branch eventually ends up on CR 32 and into Branchport at NY 54A. You could then take NY 54A north to Penn Yan, or a twisty NY 54A south along the short of Keuka Lake to Hammondsport.  Either way you could eventually head south to Corning.

Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: webny99 on May 18, 2020, 10:09:06 AM
V. From there, choices.
- NY 417 west to Buffalo (Anchor Bar is still open) w/o Niagara Falls since crossing the border is prohibited and the American view is inferior to the Canadian side.
The American side of the Falls are very much worth visiting in normal times, although I'm not sure what's open right now.
There's Goat Island, the Cave of the Winds, and the Maid of the Mist. Sure, you don't get "the" view, but you can get much closer to the actual falls, and it's a much more authentic and less touristy experience compared the Canadian side.

Have no clue what else to do in Buffalo; maybe head up NY 18 and visit a beach?
Depends what you're into. The Bird Island Pier is a nice, interesting walk that goes right under the Peace Bridge. Canalside is a cool recently revamped area with lots to do normally, but Western NY hasn't met the Phase 1 reopening criteria yet, so a lot of places will likely still be closed. If you want a beach... just my opinion, but there are none worth visiting between Evangola (Lake Erie) and Hamlin (Lake Ontario). There are plenty of cool hikes along the Niagara Gorge, though, most starting at either Whirlpool or Devil's Hole State Park.

- I-86, NY 36, and I-390 up to Rochester (any ideas?).
If you're into scenic views, you should visit Letchworth State Park in NY...it's outstanding.  With that, you could then still opt to go up to Rochester or over to Corning/Finger Lakes. 
Nice plug! Absolutely agree with and second that. Spring has officially sprung around here, so the gorge should be looking lush and green.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: jemacedo9 on May 18, 2020, 10:56:03 AM

Have no clue what else to do in Buffalo; maybe head up NY 18 and visit a beach?
Depends what you're into. The Bird Island Pier is a nice, interesting walk that goes right under the Peace Bridge. Canalside is a cool recently revamped area with lots to do normally, but Western NY hasn't met the Phase 1 reopening criteria yet, so a lot of places will likely still be closed. If you want a beach... just my opinion, but there are none worth visiting between Evangola (Lake Erie) and Hamlin (Lake Ontario). There are plenty of cool hikes along the Niagara Gorge, though, most starting at either Whirlpool or Devil's Hole State Park.
I like the drive along NY 18 and the LOSP.  I always found Olcott Beach a neat little town for a short stop.
And Fort Niagara SP is a neat place...if it's open.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: webny99 on May 18, 2020, 02:44:14 PM
I like the drive along NY 18 and the LOSP.  I always found Olcott Beach a neat little town for a short stop.
And Fort Niagara SP is a neat place...if it's open.

Yeah, Fort Niagara is a great stop. For me it's got both some real history, and some personal history given the many trips there as a kid.

As far as NY 18, I completely agree. If you want the true middle of nowhere in New York state, I think NY 18 is the place to find it. The LOSP has unfortunately gone completely to pot west of Hamlin... but east of Hamlin finally got paved, so it's a nice road from there into Rochester.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: noelbotevera on May 20, 2020, 04:36:03 PM
The first part of my western NY daytrip started much the same as last week; left Chambersburg at 8:15, arrived in Bellefonte at 11 for brunch. The difference being my non-roadgeek family being cooped up in a car for nine hours. Brunch cost $35 for the entire family; I had a meatball sub with a bottle of water. Let's just say I didn't drink enough water on this trip.


Beginning my clinch of PA 144, I made it to Renovo at 1:00 and detoured to Hyner View State Park. Somehow Hyner View took an hour; turns out we needed to pick up some snacks, then the road was longer than I thought (five miles up a winding road that you can't go faster than 40 MPH), and then we spent a lot of time up there. Actually a pretty good view, as you're able to capture a panorama of the valley PA 120 runs through. I got some more personal shots by going below the wall, and discovering a hang-gliding platform and some stable rocks to take photos of. Also, the bathrooms are open, likely because of their simplicity using pit toilets and hand sanitizer.

Only issue with the way up PA 144 was the lack of traffic, mobile data, and radio reception. It felt pretty boring making our way up to Galeton (prefer PA 144 between US 220 Alt and Renovo as PA 144 stays high up affording for some neat views). Nowhere near as fun as PA 44 between US 6 and Jersey Shore however.

It's 3:30 and we're all feeling antsy and annoying. We haven't even left PA yet, so I had to cut some parts out. I decided on a clinch of PA 449, spotting the puny Genesee River near the namesake town. PA 449 became NY 19, where the road quality markedly increased. Following some construction in Wellsville, I took NY 417 to NY 21, then NY 17 to NY 36, and finally to NY 70 for a final clinch. Notable was the fairly mountainous Southern Tier; although NY 417 is far less rugged than US 6 in PA (from the brief time I was on it), some routes like NY 21 and NY 70 did remind me of parts of PA especially the crappy pavement at times.

Arrived at Letchworth at 5:30, following another break. I made a tourist mistake by immediately stopping at the Upper Falls to take a picture of the Norfolk Southern RR bridge (apparently had a reconstruction lately into a neat arch). Then I spot a staircase, seeing a huge waterfall. Turns out this was a very long staircase taking you to the bottom of the Upper Falls, and at the bottom exists a parking lot also connected to the Middle Falls. Oh well. Luckily, I was able to capture both the Norfolk Southern bridge and the Upper Falls in one shot, making for a cool photo.

I also realized that this was the Genesee River - the same stream I passed in PA - widening out to a grand river through the park. For what it's worth, I far preferred this park over Niagara Falls, given the increased foliage, geological and biological interest (the moss growing up the side of the cliffs make for a better shot, but you can't capture both Upper Falls and Norfolk Southern).

I continued to the taller Middle Falls, which although taller (70 feet drop for Upper, 107 feet for Middle) is harder to take pictures of. A couple of family photos were shared here, more than at Upper.

We had to pick up the pace, and so I'll point out where we did stop.
-Great Bend Overlook, the highest point of the gorge, at 550 feet above the river
-A vantage point above the Lower Falls; we were running out of sunlight to hike the trail down to the falls
-Inspiration Point

Completely skipped out on the Mount Morris Dam and the Highbanks area. Interesting to see after exiting the park was crossing the Genesee on NY 36; it looked wider, but nowhere near as spectacular as in the park.

Left Mt. Morris after dinner at 8:50 (Rochester restaurants closed at 8; we left the park at 7:40), arriving home at 1:30 AM. Yes, I was exhausted.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: webny99 on May 20, 2020, 08:02:33 PM
So cool that you had a chance to visit Letchworth, and a perfect time of year for it, too! I don't think you're the only one that prefers it to Niagara. It is truly a spectacular place.

Yes, the railroad bridge was recently reconstructed. I believe the tourist mistake you refer to is a new phenomenon, since there didn't used to be a parking lot next to the railroad bridge, at least not a formal, paved one. People did used to climb up to the old bridge and walk across, but that's much harder to do now (not impossible though... you can still access the tracks from a side trail beyond the far end of the fence, but it's illegal and often patrolled, so I wouldn't recommend it).

(Edited to remove incorrect info re: the former bridge)
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: noelbotevera on May 20, 2020, 08:10:27 PM
So cool that you had a chance to visit Letchworth, and a perfect time of year for it, too! I don't think you're the only one that prefers it to Niagara. It is truly a spectacular place.

Yes, the railroad bridge was recently reconstructed, but it was always an arch. The new one looks similar to the old one, it's just slightly taller. I believe the tourist mistake you refer to is a new phenomenon, since there didn't used to be a parking lot next to the railroad bridge, at least not a formal, paved one. People did used to climb up to the old bridge and walk across, but that's much harder to do now (not impossible though... you can still access the tracks from a side trail beyond the far end of the fence, but it's illegal and often patrolled, so I wouldn't recommend it).
It is a formal paved parking lot that looks unfinished (still some chain link fences erected). Another shame with the old bridge is that it dated to 1875 and looks similar to the Kinzua Viaduct. Have no clue why NS chose to replace vs. refurbish, though I'm guessing the nightmare is having to set up construction equipment with the topography adjacent to the Genesee.

Wonder if NS was considering to install a pedestrian walkway a la New River Gorge Bridge; if so that would provide a killer view of the Genesee.

I'm hoping to return in June and visit Hamlin Beach, Stony Brook, Watkins Glen, and the Italy Valley.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: jemacedo9 on May 20, 2020, 08:13:16 PM
I agree with your assessment of PA 44 vs PA 144 in that area...

I'm glad you stopped at Letchworth...but Webny99, the prior bridge was not an arch...the old bridge was a trestle bridge.  The trestle bridge was still there when I last visited in 2016, with the new arch bridge constructed mainly in 2017.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesee_Arch_Bridge (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesee_Arch_Bridge)
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: jemacedo9 on May 20, 2020, 08:15:20 PM
So cool that you had a chance to visit Letchworth, and a perfect time of year for it, too! I don't think you're the only one that prefers it to Niagara. It is truly a spectacular place.

Yes, the railroad bridge was recently reconstructed, but it was always an arch. The new one looks similar to the old one, it's just slightly taller. I believe the tourist mistake you refer to is a new phenomenon, since there didn't used to be a parking lot next to the railroad bridge, at least not a formal, paved one. People did used to climb up to the old bridge and walk across, but that's much harder to do now (not impossible though... you can still access the tracks from a side trail beyond the far end of the fence, but it's illegal and often patrolled, so I wouldn't recommend it).
It is a formal paved parking lot that looks unfinished (still some chain link fences erected). Another shame with the old bridge is that it dated to 1875 and looks similar to the Kinzua Viaduct. Have no clue why NS chose to replace vs. refurbish, though I'm guessing the nightmare is having to set up construction equipment with the topography adjacent to the Genesee.

Wonder if NS was considering to install a pedestrian walkway a la New River Gorge Bridge; if so that would provide a killer view of the Genesee.

I'm hoping to return in June and visit Hamlin Beach, Stony Brook, Watkins Glen, and the Italy Valley.

In my time living in Rochester, three of my favorite places were Letchworth, Stony Brook, and Watkins Glen.  In some ways they are similar but there are also some significant differences.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: noelbotevera on May 20, 2020, 08:24:40 PM
So cool that you had a chance to visit Letchworth, and a perfect time of year for it, too! I don't think you're the only one that prefers it to Niagara. It is truly a spectacular place.

Yes, the railroad bridge was recently reconstructed, but it was always an arch. The new one looks similar to the old one, it's just slightly taller. I believe the tourist mistake you refer to is a new phenomenon, since there didn't used to be a parking lot next to the railroad bridge, at least not a formal, paved one. People did used to climb up to the old bridge and walk across, but that's much harder to do now (not impossible though... you can still access the tracks from a side trail beyond the far end of the fence, but it's illegal and often patrolled, so I wouldn't recommend it).
It is a formal paved parking lot that looks unfinished (still some chain link fences erected). Another shame with the old bridge is that it dated to 1875 and looks similar to the Kinzua Viaduct. Have no clue why NS chose to replace vs. refurbish, though I'm guessing the nightmare is having to set up construction equipment with the topography adjacent to the Genesee.

Wonder if NS was considering to install a pedestrian walkway a la New River Gorge Bridge; if so that would provide a killer view of the Genesee.

I'm hoping to return in June and visit Hamlin Beach, Stony Brook, Watkins Glen, and the Italy Valley.

In my time living in Rochester, three of my favorite places were Letchworth, Stony Brook, and Watkins Glen.  In some ways they are similar but there are also some significant differences.
Missing out on Stony Brook makes me feel like an idiot; if I had known it was a couple miles south of 390 (and north of NY 70) then I would've made a stop there. Watkins Glen looks like a significant amount of legwork from Letchworth or Stony Brook - no way I could've made it there.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: jemacedo9 on May 20, 2020, 08:26:37 PM
So cool that you had a chance to visit Letchworth, and a perfect time of year for it, too! I don't think you're the only one that prefers it to Niagara. It is truly a spectacular place.

Yes, the railroad bridge was recently reconstructed, but it was always an arch. The new one looks similar to the old one, it's just slightly taller. I believe the tourist mistake you refer to is a new phenomenon, since there didn't used to be a parking lot next to the railroad bridge, at least not a formal, paved one. People did used to climb up to the old bridge and walk across, but that's much harder to do now (not impossible though... you can still access the tracks from a side trail beyond the far end of the fence, but it's illegal and often patrolled, so I wouldn't recommend it).
It is a formal paved parking lot that looks unfinished (still some chain link fences erected). Another shame with the old bridge is that it dated to 1875 and looks similar to the Kinzua Viaduct. Have no clue why NS chose to replace vs. refurbish, though I'm guessing the nightmare is having to set up construction equipment with the topography adjacent to the Genesee.

Wonder if NS was considering to install a pedestrian walkway a la New River Gorge Bridge; if so that would provide a killer view of the Genesee.

I'm hoping to return in June and visit Hamlin Beach, Stony Brook, Watkins Glen, and the Italy Valley.

In my time living in Rochester, three of my favorite places were Letchworth, Stony Brook, and Watkins Glen.  In some ways they are similar but there are also some significant differences.
Missing out on Stony Brook makes me feel like an idiot; if I had known it was a couple miles south of 390 (and north of NY 70) then I would've made a stop there. Watkins Glen looks like a significant amount of legwork from Letchworth or Stony Brook - no way I could've made it there.

For your first trip and pressed for time, Letchworth was the right pick IMO.  And yes, Watkins Glen is a fair piece away from the other two.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: webny99 on May 20, 2020, 09:21:27 PM
I'm glad you stopped at Letchworth...but Webny99, the prior bridge was not an arch...the old bridge was a trestle bridge.  The trestle bridge was still there when I last visited in 2016, with the new arch bridge constructed mainly in 2017.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesee_Arch_Bridge (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesee_Arch_Bridge)

Wow, you are correct. I guess I've been there so many times since 2017 (six times last year, IIRC...) that I had forgotten how much different the old bridge looked. They are similar in height, but not much else. Apologies for the confusion on that.
Title: Re: Northern PA daytrip
Post by: jemacedo9 on May 21, 2020, 08:07:01 AM
I'm glad you stopped at Letchworth...but Webny99, the prior bridge was not an arch...the old bridge was a trestle bridge.  The trestle bridge was still there when I last visited in 2016, with the new arch bridge constructed mainly in 2017.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesee_Arch_Bridge (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesee_Arch_Bridge)

Wow, you are correct. I guess I've been there so many times since 2017 (six times last year, IIRC...) that I had forgotten how much different the old bridge looked. They are similar in height, but not much else. Apologies for the confusion on that.

It's crazy, right?  John Kucko did an amazing job on FB documenting the demolition of the old bridge and the building of the new bridge, via photos and drone footage.  It was completely fascinating. 
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on June 03, 2020, 12:09:04 PM
I've decided to retool this thread as my general purpose road trip thread - and help cut down on the clutter.

On June 7-9, I'm paging Rochester/Syracuse natives for interesting places and good restaurants in the Finger Lakes region (I'll define my boundaries as: east of NY 19, west of NY 34 and Oswego). I'm staying at an apartment owned by my siblings (which they cleaned out and has been empty for over two weeks, so it's safe) in State College, PA. Can't go any further than three hours from State College, but if something worthwhile is outside that range then I can try to convince them to go there.

Ideas I had:

-Watkins Glen State Park
-Stony Brook State Park
-Chimney Bluffs State Park (outside of the 3 hour range - worth it?)
-Seneca Nation/Allegany State Park (west of NY 19 - worth it?)
-"Burned over district" and Seneca Falls (lots of history in the Finger Lakes, particularly religious movements and women's rights)
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 03, 2020, 12:48:37 PM
I'm not much help with regards to restaurants, but glad to offer suggestions for things to do.
Watkins Glen, for sure. Stony Brook is cool too, but go with Watkins if you have to pick one.

Ithaca is a cool up and coming college town, with tons of waterfalls: "Ithaca is Gorges", as the saying/pun attempt goes.  :)
Taughannock Falls is probably the best waterfall in the Ithaca area. It's the tallest waterfall east of the Rockies - yes, even taller than Niagara! and there's good viewing points at both the top and bottom. It's an easy drive to the top to see the view, but it's a 3/4 mile walk to the base. It's popular in the summer with families/kids walking right in the stream, but there's a proper path as well if wet feet isn't your thing.

Chimney Bluffs is super cool, almost otherworldly, but it's on a remote stretch of lakeshore that's not very developed. There wasn't even public restrooms in the area until a few years ago. Another important note: the main ridge trail was closed for renovations last year, and I'm not sure if it's reopened yet. My recommendation would be: by all means check it out if you're in the area, but don't go hours out of the way for it. Much of the territory you'd be driving through to get there (Wayne County) is pretty boring.

Allegany State Park is worth a visit. Great scenery, great biking trails, camping, lakes for kayaking and paddleboating; an all around outdoors experience. Geneva-Waterloo-Seneca Falls are interesting from a historical perspective, but not super thriving or fun-filled these days. If you're looking for quaint and charming, Canandaigua and Skaneateles are probably the most quintessential Finger Lakes towns.

The area between Canandaigua and Seneca Lakes is our Amish country... probably one of the more widely known Amish regions outside of Lancaster County PA. You're likely to get a good glimpse of Amish lifestyle and see a few horse and buggies on roads like NY 14A and NY 54, so there's that.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: vdeane on June 03, 2020, 01:40:43 PM
One thing that's worth noting is that if you want to clinch any ASP routes (https://www.google.com/maps/@42.0028498,-78.7214848,3a,48.4y,255.5h,91.49t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1seHB_NJiOVdBeXGHCOEyRsw!2e0!7i3328!8i1664), you'll have to go to Allegany State Park.  I'm not as familiar with it scenery-wise.

Another thing to note is that the famous gorge trail in Watkins Glen is closed due to the pandemic.

Watkins Glen, Stony Brook, and Chimney Bluffs have all been featured on Kucko's Camera (https://www.rochesterfirst.com/kucko-camera/) and on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JohnKuckoDigital/) again and again.  His coverage is a wealth of inspiration, especially in the area you're looking at.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on June 03, 2020, 02:35:04 PM
One thing that's worth noting is that if you want to clinch any ASP routes (https://www.google.com/maps/@42.0028498,-78.7214848,3a,48.4y,255.5h,91.49t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1seHB_NJiOVdBeXGHCOEyRsw!2e0!7i3328!8i1664), you'll have to go to Allegany State Park.  I'm not as familiar with it scenery-wise.

Another thing to note is that the famous gorge trail in Watkins Glen is closed due to the pandemic.

Watkins Glen, Stony Brook, and Chimney Bluffs have all been featured on Kucko's Camera (https://www.rochesterfirst.com/kucko-camera/) and on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JohnKuckoDigital/) again and again.  His coverage is a wealth of inspiration, especially in the area you're looking at.
That defeats the point of going to Watkins Glen...sigh.

Would you recommend the Ithaca area as an appropriate substitute? Perhaps a return to Letchworth?
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: vdeane on June 03, 2020, 09:41:13 PM
The other trails are still open, but yeah, not the signature one.  Taughannock Falls is near Ithaca, as is Buttermilk Falls and Robert H Treman State Park.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 03, 2020, 11:25:09 PM
The other trails are still open, but yeah, not the signature one.

Darn, sorry to hear that. However, I have to say it makes sense. Social distancing would be completely impossible on that trail. It's quite narrow, and can get incredibly crowded in the summer, almost to the point of losing some of its charm.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on June 04, 2020, 12:14:13 AM
The other trails are still open, but yeah, not the signature one.

Darn, sorry to hear that. However, I have to say it makes sense. Social distancing would be completely impossible on that trail. It's quite narrow, and can get incredibly crowded in the summer, almost to the point of losing some of its charm.
Dumb question, but would it be possible to jog the trail, grab some pictures, and get out without being caught?

In PA, parks remained open with few rangers, so I wonder if I could get away with this.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Rothman on June 04, 2020, 12:38:39 AM
The other trails are still open, but yeah, not the signature one.

Darn, sorry to hear that. However, I have to say it makes sense. Social distancing would be completely impossible on that trail. It's quite narrow, and can get incredibly crowded in the summer, almost to the point of losing some of its charm.
Dumb question, but would it be possible to jog the trail, grab some pictures, and get out without being caught?

In PA, parks remained open with few rangers, so I wonder if I could get away with this.
That is a dumb question.  No, it is not possible.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 04, 2020, 09:25:34 AM
The other trails are still open, but yeah, not the signature one.
Darn, sorry to hear that. However, I have to say it makes sense. Social distancing would be completely impossible on that trail. It's quite narrow, and can get incredibly crowded in the summer, almost to the point of losing some of its charm.
Dumb question, but would it be possible to jog the trail, grab some pictures, and get out without being caught?
In PA, parks remained open with few rangers, so I wonder if I could get away with this.

Without seeing exactly how the closure is posted/enforced, I would not say with 100% certainty that it would be impossible, but it sounds highly unlikely to work and I wouldn't recommend trying it. In addition to concerns about getting caught, the trail is narrow and winding with lots of steps. Definitely not a joggable trail under any circumstances.

There's a lot of 360 degree imagery that people have added that might be interesting for you to browse through, like this (https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3743273,-76.8758618,3a,90y,132.73h,77.82t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sAF1QipN56M5pxIM3joMk1ylNFxVcx2yF1I-4Woubdrst!2e10!3e11!6shttps:%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipN56M5pxIM3joMk1ylNFxVcx2yF1I-4Woubdrst%3Dw203-h100-k-no-pi-0-ya172.57025-ro-0-fo100!7i8704!8i4352!5m1!1e1), which should help illustrate why it would be risky and infeasible to use the trail while closed.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on June 04, 2020, 12:51:50 PM
The other trails are still open, but yeah, not the signature one.
Darn, sorry to hear that. However, I have to say it makes sense. Social distancing would be completely impossible on that trail. It's quite narrow, and can get incredibly crowded in the summer, almost to the point of losing some of its charm.
Dumb question, but would it be possible to jog the trail, grab some pictures, and get out without being caught?
In PA, parks remained open with few rangers, so I wonder if I could get away with this.

Without seeing exactly how the closure is posted/enforced, I would not say with 100% certainty that it would be impossible, but it sounds highly unlikely to work and I wouldn't recommend trying it. In addition to concerns about getting caught, the trail is narrow and winding with lots of steps. Definitely not a joggable trail under any circumstances.

There's a lot of 360 degree imagery that people have added that might be interesting for you to browse through, like this (https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3743273,-76.8758618,3a,90y,132.73h,77.82t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sAF1QipN56M5pxIM3joMk1ylNFxVcx2yF1I-4Woubdrst!2e10!3e11!6shttps:%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipN56M5pxIM3joMk1ylNFxVcx2yF1I-4Woubdrst%3Dw203-h100-k-no-pi-0-ya172.57025-ro-0-fo100!7i8704!8i4352!5m1!1e1), which should help illustrate why it would be risky and infeasible to use the trail while closed.
Yeah, I won't doubt the words of a local. Is there anything else worth seeing or is it a total wash?
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 04, 2020, 04:04:03 PM
Looks like the other trails are open, but they're nothing like the Gorge Trail... this kind of thing (https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3722822,-76.8867626,2a,75y,115.3h,83.47t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sJhHJoOAzpCsG2uZRTJlFQw!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo2.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DJhHJoOAzpCsG2uZRTJlFQw%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D358.20508%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e1) for the most part. Just my opinion, but it's not really worth going to Watkins if you can't do the Gorge Trail. I would recommend the Ithaca area as an alternative. It has cool vibes and tons of hiking and waterfall choices, as mentioned upthread.

Even a place like Fillmore Glen (north of Ithaca, near Moravia) is comparable to Watkins Glen in some ways. Not at the same level, more like a Watkins-lite... but still a great place for a visit that's rarely crowded.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on June 05, 2020, 03:58:59 PM
Well, I think I can visualize how this will play out.

June 7:

8 AM - leave home
10 AM - arrive in State College, unpack, rest
2 PM - arrive in Ithaca; Buttermilk & Taughannock Falls, Tremain State Park, Fillmore Glen
(if time, before 6 PM) - Stony Brook State Park, via the Italy Valley
(after 6 PM) - Do more state park stuff. Dinner in Ithaca, unless anyone suggests a local restaurant (do they serve garbage plates in that area?)

June 8:

Allegany State Park
Stony Brook State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park
Delaware Water Gap

Catskills? Harriman? Minnewaska?
Is it even a good idea to go to New York City?

June 9:

Pack up, arrive home in the afternoon from State College
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: ozarkman417 on June 05, 2020, 04:32:06 PM
While NYC is getting a lot better in terms of COVID-19, there is still a risk for that, but I would be more concerned about the ongoing riots. Besides, some sites such as the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island are still closed.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: vdeane on June 06, 2020, 10:31:18 PM
This might be a bit late for your trip, but I heard yesterday after I was on the forum that one third of the gorge trail at Watkins Glen has reopened (the area known as Lover's Lane, accessible from the rim trails near the main entrance).  Also, Stony Brook closed the gorge trail for construction for the next 45-60 days, but the rim trails are open.
https://www.facebook.com/JohnKuckoDigital/photos/a.1746971242240091/2628577210746152/?type=3&__tn__=-R
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on June 10, 2020, 12:40:28 AM
Write up time!

On June 7th I left for State College at 9, arriving at 11. Ate lunch at a place called Little Szechuan, plus some bubble tea from Momotaro (dessert place/cafe) next door. Ordered crispy pig intestines - Chinese style chitterlings - while my family unpacked at my siblings' college apartment. Left State College at 1:30, taking US 220 -> I-80 -> PA 144 -> PA 879 -> Quehanna Highway -> Wykoff Run Road -> PA 872 -> PA 44 -> NY 417 -> NY 17 (with help from NY 16) to Allegany State Park. Side note: Allegheny River but Allegany State Park?

Coudersport and PA 44 was interesting, considering it was the home of Elliott Ness - the guy who caught Al Capone. I'm surprised he hailed from the middle of nowhere. Road wise, PA 44 north of US 6 isn't as interesting as south of it. I did it for clinching, only needing to complete the southern 28 miles (I-80 to US 15). It's still a twisty ride to NY 417, but nowhere near as desolate and with gentler curves. Curious is the choice of Olean as a destination - why not Salamanca?

NY 417 still has reference markers referring it to NY 17 for some reason. Made more confusing, as NY 17 is referenced as both NY 17 and I-86 (or 86I). I also don't know what the second and third lines mean - county mileage and then boundary crossings (between city/town, village) is my guess. Also, NY 417 is a real slog through Portville to Olean, with a constant 35 MPH speed limit because of a few houses that are parts of "towns". No, I don't why New York towns are so large in land area.

Allegany State Park was a curious one, considering it has a system of park roads. I'm not sure if they're legitimate routes - I didn't notice any reference markers nor references to it on NY 17. Road wise it's twisty but any scenery is foiled by dense foliage. There's also no mileposts on the roads, so they feel longer than they actually are. Scenery wise, Allegany has incredibly clear lakes and rock formations. Quaker Lake in particular - our arrival at 7:30 meant it made for an incredible sunset. Falls flat in falls terms, as Bridal Falls - no relation to Niagara's - isn't really a falls and more like a trickling of water over a short cliff. Notable was the park's attempt to build a zoo and ski resort - skiing I can understand, but a zoo in the middle of nowhere?

It was getting late, and by this time everything in Salamanca was closed. We headed south on US 219, which was horrendous, pointing out the "bear warning" signs. Deer - sure, but bears?

Dined in for pizza and subs in Bradford. Had a tense ride down US 219 -> PA 153 -> I-80 -> US 322 -> US 220 and back to State College.

Awoke the next morning at 9 AM, and left for Ithaca at 10:30. Used US 15 -> NY 17 (stopped in Corning) -> NY 13. Arrived there at 1:30, surprising considering that NY 13 is a slog - not helped by copious roundabouts. After an aborted attempt at BBQ for lunch, we decided on a ramen shop (Maru Ramen) in downtown Ithaca. Lunch ran on until 3:00 (my family takes a long while to use the restroom), which is when we arrived at Buttermilk Falls State Park.

Not a very accurate name; it's more of a glen than anything else. Not in a very conspicuous location, your only hint of its existence being its entrance road from NY 13. Was surprised at having to pay for parking, since our fees at Letchworth and Allegany were waived. Eight dollars for the privilege.

Started to regret that price for the steep hike on the Rim Trail, considering your greeting is the falls itself. I guess they don't mention the hike up there. Paid off for the Gorge Trail, with waterfalls all the way down. Took the opportunity to wade in Buttermilk Creek, with my brother jumping into a watering hole from the path. Definitely worth the price of admission. Had a spell of bad luck when I tried to avoid a puddle, instead slipping on conspicuously dry rock and hurting my hip (nothing broken at least).

Left Buttermilk at 5 for the main attraction, cutting our losses to visit Treman and Fillmore Glen (for another time, I suppose). Drove to Taughannock Falls, previewing it by using the overlook then entering the park (using the beach's parking lot, the falls' own lot was full). Entrance fee was waived, oddly enough.

What surprised me was the fact that Taughannock Creek was mostly dry, before figuring out that it was once a riverbed. 400 feet above us on high rock walls must've been ground level millennia ago, since weathered down to form the falls and the creek's path into Cayuga Lake. The falls trail could also be theoretically hiked by going against the creek (it's very shallow), if you don't mind wet feet.

On the way there, I noticed several small rockfalls - only a few pebbles at a time. I feel that the whole park could cave in overnight.

And the falls - I took the opportunity to observe the layers upon layers of rock, and the impressive drop. Although the spray is weaker than Niagara Falls, it allows you to get much closer to appreciate the height. Although I missed out on Montmorency Falls - hey, I got to see Old Quebec City instead - this could be an appropriate substitute.

Left Ithaca at 7:30 - had dinner in Corning to meet up with a friend. Noted Watkins Glen State Park (right in the center of town). Went back to State College, spent most of the next day relaxing at the apartment, and arrived home home at 9 PM on June 9th. A fun roadtrip in these trying times.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 10, 2020, 08:07:55 AM
Side note: Allegheny River but Allegany State Park?

Yup. Allegheny is the PA spelling (same as the county that contains Pittsburgh), Allegany is the NY spelling.


We headed south on US 219, which was horrendous, pointing out the "bear warning" signs. Deer - sure, but bears?

Horrendous no doubt referring to the pavement quality, which is pretty bad as I recall. :paranoid:
There's definitely bears in the Allegany Park itself, as well as the surrounding wilderness. Considering US 219 runs along the eastern park boundary, that's probably why they have those signs posted.


What surprised me was the fact that Taughannock Creek was mostly dry, before figuring out that it was once a riverbed. 400 feet above us on high rock walls must've been ground level millennia ago, since weathered down to form the falls and the creek's path into Cayuga Lake. The falls trail could also be theoretically hiked by going against the creek (it's very shallow), if you don't mind wet feet.
...
And the falls - I took the opportunity to observe the layers upon layers of rock, and the impressive drop. Although the spray is weaker than Niagara Falls, it allows you to get much closer to appreciate the height.

Yeah, walking in the water is OK at Taughannock, unlike Stony Brook and Fillmore Glen where it's prohibited, sometimes even enforced by park rangers. That's partly what makes Taughannock more popular with families, plus the fact that it's quite flat with no major elevation changes. The water flow also seems to vary significantly. I've seen the falls look like hardly a trickle sometimes, while other times they're quite rushing and powerful. Spring is the time to go if you want to ensure the falls are more than this (https://www.google.com/maps/@42.5368552,-76.6095254,3a,53y,225.65h,98.68t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sAF1QipNAvAgZgr_XdsPkMBh5N9j7bkV10CYk2aqAZjVY!2e10!3e11!6shttps:%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipNAvAgZgr_XdsPkMBh5N9j7bkV10CYk2aqAZjVY%3Dw203-h100-k-no-pi-0-ya32.80237-ro-0-fo100!7i6144!8i3072!5m1!1e1)... which would be pretty disappointing IMO for a first-time visitor. This (https://www.google.com/maps/@42.5363183,-76.609777,2a,75y,209.01h,95.64t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sDy-YHJwSP5VsWVIqrADhfg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e1) is more like it!


Left Ithaca at 7:30 - had dinner in Corning to meet up with a friend. Noted Watkins Glen State Park (right in the center of town). Went back to State College, spent most of the next day relaxing at the apartment, and arrived home home at 9 PM on June 9th. A fun roadtrip in these trying times.

Sounds fun - glad you enjoyed! Hopefully you can make it back to do Watkins Glen sometime.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: 1995hoo on June 10, 2020, 08:13:51 AM
I thought the pavement quality on US-219 between I-86 and the state line was particularly atrocious when we passed that way last June on our way back from Toronto.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on June 10, 2020, 02:27:36 PM
I thought the pavement quality on US-219 between I-86 and the state line was particularly atrocious when we passed that way last June on our way back from Toronto.
Still is. Pavement quality improves when you enter PA which is almost never the case.

Also learned the truth between the Alleghenies. Allegheny is French (translated from Lenape), Allegany is English (the Seneca use this), and Alleghany is what John Norton (Mohawk chief) used to refer to the same mountain chain. In other words, blame differing tribal languages and translations for creating three Alleghenies.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on June 14, 2020, 04:36:29 PM
I've somehow turned this pandemic into the year of roadtrips, so...

Next month is my third Western New York excursion - webny99, paging you - sometime around early July (July 5-7 or July 6-8, when my dad is off for three consecutive days). Proposed plans are:

-Watkins Glen attempt 2; I feel like it might reopen by then. Finally have a natural waterfall shower (not sure if bathing in the glen is prohibited). If Watkins Glen is closed, I'll visit Treman or Fillmore Glen in the Ithaca area. (For that matter, Ithaca is essentially a smaller version of State College; although more scenic it's just another college town to me. It even has a Wegmans, but no Trader Joe's - that's a point for State College!) Buy some Finger Lakes wine, since that seems to be the local specialty.

-Spend the next day in Rochester; Hamlin Beach, Letchworth Round 2, Chimney Bluffs. Eat a garbage plate.

-Or, detour to Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Explore Cave of the Winds, Goat Island, Fort Niagara.

-Go to the Catskills (from State College), namely Minnewaska or the Bear Mountain area - clinch NY 218 while I'm at it, for example.

-Spend the next day in New York City, taking a scenic route (Bear Mountain Bridge, US 202, Taconic?).

-Finish off the worthwhile state parks in PA, such as Delaware Water Gap or Ricketts Glen.

This should cross off my list for the worthwhile stuff in western NY, or alternatively explore upstate NY which I've breezed by on the Taconic and I-84. Adirondacks are probably impossible given my range (no more than four hours from State College), but maybe I could do some persuasion to make the trip worth it. Unfortunately it seems that NY has resumed park entry fees, which is a shame since I pay double for being out-of-state.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 14, 2020, 05:09:03 PM
Sounds like you could probably fit in at least two of your first three options if you've got a full three days. Hamlin and Chimney Bluffs are opposite directions from Rochester, but both very doable as day trips. Hamlin is a nice beach by Great Lakes standards, with lots of open space, but not particularly stunning scenery-wise, and not tons of other stuff to do in the area.

If you've got a choice between Treman and Fillmore Glen: The hike at Treman is a good 2 miles, and the best scenery is near the far (upper) end, so it would be 4 miles round trip from the bottom. So if you're not in great hiking shape and limited to one car, that's something to consider - I might lean towards Fillmore in that case. Fillmore does have a large set of stairs at the beginning, but is pretty manageable once you get past that.

Oh, and I should note, bathing in the glen is prohibited at Watkins - the glen is much too narrow, winding, and dangerous, with many drop-offs - although there is the famous waterfall that tumbles right over top the trail. Stony Brook is probably actually your best option for a natural waterfall shower. People do it at Treman, too, but there are signs prohibiting it and you have to meander off the trail to get to that part of the creek bed.

Ricketts Glen is on my bucket list too. I've been many years ago, but hardly remember it.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: vdeane on June 14, 2020, 09:06:50 PM
My understanding is that more of the Watkins Glen gorge trail has reopened.  Not all of it, but enough that it's accessible from the main entrance now, and at least one of the signature views is open again.

With respect to Bear Mountain, keep in mind the park closes as soon as they reach the capacity where social distancing is possible - and this can happen as early as 10 AM some days.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on June 14, 2020, 09:42:08 PM
My understanding is that more of the Watkins Glen gorge trail has reopened.  Not all of it, but enough that it's accessible from the main entrance now, and at least one of the signature views is open again.

With respect to Bear Mountain, keep in mind the park closes as soon as they reach the capacity where social distancing is possible - and this can happen as early as 10 AM some days.
Do any other parks in that area follow capacity rules? I might consider the area a wash considering the idea that I have to wake up as early as 5 AM.

Sounds like you could probably fit in at least two of your first three options if you've got a full three days. Hamlin and Chimney Bluffs are opposite directions from Rochester, but both very doable as day trips. Hamlin is a nice beach by Great Lakes standards, with lots of open space, but not particularly stunning scenery-wise, and not tons of other stuff to do in the area.

If you've got a choice between Treman and Fillmore Glen: The hike at Treman is a good 2 miles, and the best scenery is near the far (upper) end, so it would be 4 miles round trip from the bottom. So if you're not in great hiking shape and limited to one car, that's something to consider - I might lean towards Fillmore in that case. Fillmore does have a large set of stairs at the beginning, but is pretty manageable once you get past that.

Oh, and I should note, bathing in the glen is prohibited at Watkins - the glen is much too narrow, winding, and dangerous, with many drop-offs - although there is the famous waterfall that tumbles right over top the trail. Stony Brook is probably actually your best option for a natural waterfall shower. People do it at Treman, too, but there are signs prohibiting it and you have to meander off the trail to get to that part of the creek bed.

Ricketts Glen is on my bucket list too. I've been many years ago, but hardly remember it.
You mentioned earlier that Chimney Bluffs is on an undeveloped lakeshore - is it possible to reach the bottom of the bluffs safely? If not, is it worth it to backtrack ~15 minutes to Sodus Point for beach time? Hamlin Beach (based on Google Maps) does look like it's in the middle of nowhere, so I suppose Chimney Bluffs is the better choice.

As for Treman - there's parking at the upper end. Is it worth it to hike half the trail and turn around, capturing the best sights? It looks like Treman prides itself on its waterfalls, and if it's too much of a hassle - then I'll stick to Fillmore Glen. Considering more of Watkins has reopened, this probably won't pan out.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: vdeane on June 14, 2020, 09:59:31 PM
I think they all technically have capacity rules, it's just much more of an issue downstate due to the large population in close range.  Also, a lot of those stories were from spring towards the end of the lockdown when people were desperate to get out of the house, so things may have improved a bit (though I'd still be cautious).
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 14, 2020, 10:13:18 PM
Seeing the incredibly cavalier attitude of noel, I honestly think the Canadian federal government should keep our border completely shut forever.

Obviously you donít want to follow the rules.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Alps on June 14, 2020, 10:47:49 PM
Seeing the incredibly cavalier attitude of noel, I honestly think the Canadian federal government should keep our border completely shut forever.

Obviously you donít want to follow the rules.
As long as it keeps you out.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 14, 2020, 10:51:20 PM
So be it, enjoy getting your nice side of the 'Rona.

Somehow it's ok to enter into these riots and have no COVID-19 concerns, 166k cases in your state, and how many people live in your state. That's over 2% of your state's population infected.

Want to hear about how many cases there have been in many of the Canadian provinces....exactly you don't.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 14, 2020, 11:01:33 PM
Crickets, I see, I am incredibly furious over a story of a family from Texas who camped in Banff by using the Alaska loophole.

Really, that family should have the RCMP escort them all the way back to the US border. Or better yet, charge them with intention to cause bodily harm.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 14, 2020, 11:04:04 PM
Crickets, I see, I am incredibly furious over a story of a family from Texas who camped in Banff by using the Alaska loophole.

Really, that family should have the RCMP escort them at gunpoint all the way back to the US border.
Oh my god camping such a dangerous activity omg how will Canada ever survive.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 14, 2020, 11:06:17 PM
Crickets, I see, I am incredibly furious over a story of a family from Texas who camped in Banff by using the Alaska loophole.

Really, that family should have the RCMP escort them at gunpoint all the way back to the US border.
Oh my god camping such a dangerous activity omg how will Canada ever survive.

Because it's the law. Anyone entering Canada is required to quarantine for 14 days. They entered Canada because of an Alaska loophole, that is being allowed passage through Canada because their final destination is Alaska. Tell me exactly how someone ends up in Banff?

They can be infected, and by speaking to someone else can infect hundreds of other people.

New Brunswick and Newfoundland have an extremely hard border, you are only allowed in those provinces unless your primary address is there. Look how many cases there are in Newfoundland and New Brunswick and you'll see.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 14, 2020, 11:07:22 PM
Crickets, I see, I am incredibly furious over a story of a family from Texas who camped in Banff by using the Alaska loophole.

Really, that family should have the RCMP escort them at gunpoint all the way back to the US border.
Oh my god camping such a dangerous activity omg how will Canada ever survive.

Because it's the law. Anyone entering Canada is required to quarantine for 14 days. They entered Canada because of an Alaska loophole, that is being allowed passage through Canada because their final destination is Alaska. Tell me exactly how someone ends up in Banff?
If you don't want Americans in the country, don't let them in the first place. Nobody follows 14 day quarantines anymore. Make them fly to Alaska.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 14, 2020, 11:08:25 PM
Oh, so you think it's ok to not follow the law regarding this incredibly serious situation?

There's 100k cases in your state, 7 million people, around 1.4% of your population.

The province of Ontario isn't even at 0.5% yet, and our actions have caused the low infection rate.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 14, 2020, 11:09:20 PM
Oh, so you think it's ok to not follow the law regarding this incredibly serious situation?
No, but don't trust people to self isolate and follow rules. Make them fly to Alaska, flights are still running.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 14, 2020, 11:11:53 PM
Oh, so you think it's ok to not follow the law regarding this incredibly serious situation?

There's 100k cases in your state, 7 million people, around 1.4% of your population.

The province of Ontario isn't even at 0.5% yet, and our actions have caused the low infection rate.
Also, maybe not you, but I noticed that many Canadians are extremely condescending towards Americans lately. So much for being polite. According to them our country is burning down and Canada is some shinning beacon of hope. New Zealand would be the example.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 14, 2020, 11:14:28 PM
The idea I'm saying, is that Americans generally don't like to follow rules when it is paramount to follow rules in this situation.

I traced this back to the founding of either country, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" vs "Peace, order, and good government"

Those who disobey the order can have fines of $750,000 and/or six months in prison.

Yes, these quarantine rules are very serious.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 14, 2020, 11:17:00 PM
The idea I'm saying, is that Americans generally don't like to follow rules when it is paramount to follow rules in this situation.

I traced this back to the founding of either country, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" vs "Peace, order, and good government"

Those who disobey the order can have fines of $750,000 and/or six months in prison.

Yes, these quarantine rules are very serious.
I know, the 14 day quarantine within the states is laughingly enforced, so people probably don't take these things seriously. Although sometimes I wish I lived in Canada...
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 14, 2020, 11:24:13 PM
The idea I'm saying, is that Americans generally don't like to follow rules when it is paramount to follow rules in this situation.

I traced this back to the founding of either country, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" vs "Peace, order, and good government"

Those who disobey the order can have fines of $750,000 and/or six months in prison.

Yes, these quarantine rules are very serious.
I know, the 14 day quarantine within the states is laughingly enforced, so people probably don't take these things seriously. Although sometimes I wish I lived in Canada...

And that's the thing, if the orders are strongly enforced then maybe all of us could end this and get back to normal.

But as we see, we have people thinking that they should travel around the country during a pandemic. Which leads to more possibility of spread.

Just look at my previous posts on here, I'm perhaps the most pro-American Canadian poster on this forum. But when it comes to this virus, I am horribly disappointed. The border needs to remained closed until all the states can "shape up" and get the situation under control.

Things are NOT back to normal, none of the Big 4 sports leagues are running right now, yes technically only 1 is normally in operation at this point, but the NHL and NBA have not made concrete plans for a restart. Obviously, if pro sports, a place with big crowds can't restart, than why should people think that they have the right to go wherever they want in the country. For the record, only lockdowns and strikes have ever paused baseball, no events of war or natural disaster have effectively shut down the season pretty much "permanently". Yes, I remember 9/11 and I went to the first Jays game after 9/11, but we all knew that things would start to ease up in a week after that horrible day.

As for this time period, we still do not know.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 14, 2020, 11:25:43 PM
The idea I'm saying, is that Americans generally don't like to follow rules when it is paramount to follow rules in this situation.

I traced this back to the founding of either country, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" vs "Peace, order, and good government"

Those who disobey the order can have fines of $750,000 and/or six months in prison.

Yes, these quarantine rules are very serious.
I know, the 14 day quarantine within the states is laughingly enforced, so people probably don't take these things seriously. Although sometimes I wish I lived in Canada...

And that's the thing, if the orders are strongly enforced then maybe all of us could end this and get back to normal.

But as we see, we have people thinking that they should travel around the country during a pandemic. Which leads to more possibility of spread.

Just look at my previous posts on here, I'm perhaps the most pro-American Canadian poster on this forum. But when it comes to this virus, I am horribly disappointed. The border needs to remained closed until all the states can "shape up" and get the situation under control.

Things are NOT back to normal, none of the Big 4 sports leagues are running right now, yes technically only 1 is normally in operation at this point, but the NHL and NBA have not made concrete plans for a restart. Obviously, if pro sports, a place with big crowds can't restart, than why should people think that they have the right to go wherever they want in the country. For the record, only lockdowns and strikes have ever paused baseball, no events of war or natural disaster have effectively shut down the season pretty much "permanently". Yes, I remember 9/11 and I went to the first Jays game after 9/11, but we all knew that things would start to ease up in a week after that horrible day.

As for this time period, we still do not know.
Pro sports are a lot more dangerous than other activities, because a lot of people are in contact, even without fans.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 14, 2020, 11:26:41 PM
The idea I'm saying, is that Americans generally don't like to follow rules when it is paramount to follow rules in this situation.

I traced this back to the founding of either country, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" vs "Peace, order, and good government"

Those who disobey the order can have fines of $750,000 and/or six months in prison.

Yes, these quarantine rules are very serious.
I know, the 14 day quarantine within the states is laughingly enforced, so people probably don't take these things seriously. Although sometimes I wish I lived in Canada...

And that's the thing, if the orders are strongly enforced then maybe all of us could end this and get back to normal.

But as we see, we have people thinking that they should travel around the country during a pandemic. Which leads to more possibility of spread.

Just look at my previous posts on here, I'm perhaps the most pro-American Canadian poster on this forum. But when it comes to this virus, I am horribly disappointed. The border needs to remained closed until all the states can "shape up" and get the situation under control.

Things are NOT back to normal, none of the Big 4 sports leagues are running right now, yes technically only 1 is normally in operation at this point, but the NHL and NBA have not made concrete plans for a restart. Obviously, if pro sports, a place with big crowds can't restart, than why should people think that they have the right to go wherever they want in the country. For the record, only lockdowns and strikes have ever paused baseball, no events of war or natural disaster have effectively shut down the season pretty much "permanently". Yes, I remember 9/11 and I went to the first Jays game after 9/11, but we all knew that things would start to ease up in a week after that horrible day.

As for this time period, we still do not know.
Pro sports are a lot more dangerous than other activities, because a lot of people are in contact, even without fans.

Then where do you stand on theme parks, I hear the theme parks in Ohio plan to reopen next month. To me, a big crowd at this point is not a good idea.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 14, 2020, 11:27:40 PM
The idea I'm saying, is that Americans generally don't like to follow rules when it is paramount to follow rules in this situation.

I traced this back to the founding of either country, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" vs "Peace, order, and good government"

Those who disobey the order can have fines of $750,000 and/or six months in prison.

Yes, these quarantine rules are very serious.
I know, the 14 day quarantine within the states is laughingly enforced, so people probably don't take these things seriously. Although sometimes I wish I lived in Canada...

And that's the thing, if the orders are strongly enforced then maybe all of us could end this and get back to normal.

But as we see, we have people thinking that they should travel around the country during a pandemic. Which leads to more possibility of spread.

Just look at my previous posts on here, I'm perhaps the most pro-American Canadian poster on this forum. But when it comes to this virus, I am horribly disappointed. The border needs to remained closed until all the states can "shape up" and get the situation under control.

Things are NOT back to normal, none of the Big 4 sports leagues are running right now, yes technically only 1 is normally in operation at this point, but the NHL and NBA have not made concrete plans for a restart. Obviously, if pro sports, a place with big crowds can't restart, than why should people think that they have the right to go wherever they want in the country. For the record, only lockdowns and strikes have ever paused baseball, no events of war or natural disaster have effectively shut down the season pretty much "permanently". Yes, I remember 9/11 and I went to the first Jays game after 9/11, but we all knew that things would start to ease up in a week after that horrible day.

As for this time period, we still do not know.
Pro sports are a lot more dangerous than other activities, because a lot of people are in contact, even without fans.

Then where do you stand on theme parks, I hear the theme parks in Ohio plan to reopen next month. To me, a big crowd at this point is not a good idea.
Are they opening with any capacity restrictions?
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 14, 2020, 11:33:38 PM
Yes, with limited capacity using an online reservation system. From what I hear at Kings Island, the sister park of Canada's Wonderland outside Cincinnati, is that they are doing a pre-visit health screening and a temperature check before a guest can enter the park. While once inside, all guests must wear masks.

It does make me wonder though, suppose you have a roller coaster that has rows of 2 seats per row, at best you could only have 1 guest in a seat per every 2 rows of the ride. In essence, a ride operating at 25% capacity. Even with reduced capacity, it's difficult to fathom how exactly queues will work, considering everyone standing six feet apart....there will be many queues spilling out onto the midway with also possibly more contact from other passerbys.

I have a soft spot for the theme park industry in case you were wondering.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: oscar on June 14, 2020, 11:41:03 PM
Oh, so you think it's ok to not follow the law regarding this incredibly serious situation?
No, but don't trust people to self isolate and follow rules. Make them fly to Alaska, flights are still running.

Where they'll encounter Alaska's own quarantine rules (though you can shorten that quarantine period by getting a negative test result soon before your departure, and again upon arrival).

The "Alaska loophole" for passage through Canada is news to me.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 14, 2020, 11:46:16 PM
This story angered me but here it is.

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.5610417
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on June 15, 2020, 12:51:53 AM
I mean, I haven't done anything intensely stupid like go to a concert or whatever. I've kept my distance from people, I've worn masks where it's necessary. I've limited exposure by keeping trips short. I've slept in clean places - my home and a clean apartment. And so I've broken the quarantine rules. Great, I've broken the law - so have others on this forum who trespass on provincial/state property by exploring abandoned alignments or active construction sites.  I won't say I'm a saint, but I certainly haven't been the direct cause of undue harm.

Rhetoric implying that quarantine violators are equivalent to terrorists or serial killers is extreme. In other words: dude, chill.

For what it's worth, my family all tested negative.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 15, 2020, 11:22:55 AM
I mean, I haven't done anything intensely stupid like go to a concert or whatever. I've kept my distance from people, I've worn masks where it's necessary. I've limited exposure by keeping trips short. I've slept in clean places - my home and a clean apartment. And so I've broken the quarantine rules. Great, I've broken the law - so have others on this forum who trespass on provincial/state property by exploring abandoned alignments or active construction sites.  I won't say I'm a saint, but I certainly haven't been the direct cause of undue harm.

Rhetoric implying that quarantine violators are equivalent to terrorists or serial killers is extreme. In other words: dude, chill.

For what it's worth, my family all tested negative.
Wait how have you broken the law?
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: vdeane on June 15, 2020, 01:38:38 PM
Oh, so you think it's ok to not follow the law regarding this incredibly serious situation?

There's 100k cases in your state, 7 million people, around 1.4% of your population.

The province of Ontario isn't even at 0.5% yet, and our actions have caused the low infection rate.
Also, maybe not you, but I noticed that many Canadians are extremely condescending towards Americans lately. So much for being polite. According to them our country is burning down and Canada is some shinning beacon of hope. New Zealand would be the example.
Hospitality goes out the window real quick in a pandemic.  It's not even restricted to non-Canadians - driving in British Columbia with Alberta plates is a good way to get one's car vandalized.

It's worth noting that Canada's travel restrictions are more stringent than the ones in the US.  Border restrictions in the US are usually much looser and less enforced than their Canadian counterparts (Alaska and Hawaii being the main exceptions), where they even exist at all.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Ketchup99 on June 16, 2020, 01:58:14 PM
Visiting old highway alignments and breaching quarantine laws are two very different things. In the middle of a pandemic, people need to show more than a whit of self control and selflessness so that people don't die. I hate it too. I've been sitting in State College for the past three months and have cabin fever to no end. Traveling sounds like a lovely idea. I would love to. But I'm temporarily putting my self-interest to the side so that seniors in this country don't die. Your desire to go drive around on some roads does not override the population's right to live. So just sit it out like everybody else, complain about how much it sucks, and help to be a part of the solution instead of the problem.

(This goes out to anyone ignoring quarantine rules because they want to travel.)

EDIT: Apologies to noel for saying he said he went to Canada. I could have sworn it said somewhere that he did but I was wrong. Sorry about that, I edited my post accordingly.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 16, 2020, 01:59:09 PM
@noel, visiting old highway alignments and breaching quarantine laws are two very different things. In the middle of a pandemic, people need to show more than a whit of self control and selflessness so that people don't die. I hate it too. I've been sitting in State College for the past three months and have cabin fever to no end. Going to Canada sounds like a lovely idea. I would love to. But I'm temporarily putting my self-interest to the side so that seniors in this country - and in Canada - don't die. Your desire to go drive around on some roads does not override Canada's right to sovereignty and their population's right to live. So just sit it out in Chambersburg like everybody else, complain about how much it sucks, and help to be a part of the solution instead of the problem.
He never went to Canada. Did he want to? He can't.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Ketchup99 on June 16, 2020, 02:21:13 PM
@noel, visiting old highway alignments and breaching quarantine laws are two very different things. In the middle of a pandemic, people need to show more than a whit of self control and selflessness so that people don't die. I hate it too. I've been sitting in State College for the past three months and have cabin fever to no end. Going to Canada sounds like a lovely idea. I would love to. But I'm temporarily putting my self-interest to the side so that seniors in this country - and in Canada - don't die. Your desire to go drive around on some roads does not override Canada's right to sovereignty and their population's right to live. So just sit it out in Chambersburg like everybody else, complain about how much it sucks, and help to be a part of the solution instead of the problem.
He never went to Canada. Did he want to? He can't.
I could have sworn he said somewhere he did but looking back, he didn't. Sorry about that...
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 16, 2020, 02:52:18 PM
Obviously, international travel is restricted right now, but traveling unto itself is not really that big of an issue. It's certain types of activities that result from travel that could be problematic, like large gatherings. But driving around, seeing scenery and visiting parks, isn't going to cause spread of the virus as long as you keep your distance and take the proper precautions.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 16, 2020, 02:56:22 PM
Obviously, international travel is restricted right now, but traveling unto itself is not really that big of an issue. It's certain types of activities that result from travel that could be problematic, like large gatherings. But driving around, seeing scenery and visiting parks, isn't going to cause spread of the virus as long as you keep your distance and take the proper precautions.

But if you drive around randomly and unnecessarily and get into a serious crash, where will you go then? Driving around does have the potential of spreading the virus more than you may think.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 16, 2020, 02:59:52 PM
Give me a break. The chances of an accident were small before the pandemic, and they've gotten even smaller since. Besides, testing is so easy now, you can just get a test before you go anywhere out of state if you really want to cover the bases.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 16, 2020, 03:14:40 PM
And this is brings me back to my original point. This cavalier attitude is why we canít reopen the border yet.

It seems Ketchup99 actually does understand the issue Iím having.

For the record, I have not even left my home region (like a county) since this all started and Iím not far at all away from the next region. (York Region)

That highway in my display pic, I honesty canít tell you the last time I drove on it because itís been so long ago.

Noel needs to understand that these pandemic rules are much more serious than skateboarding in a public park. (assuming you arenít allowed to)
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: vdeane on June 16, 2020, 03:51:44 PM
It's worth noting that neither New York nor Pennsylvania have bans on non-essential travel any more (and NY might not have ever had a strict one... our orders focused more on business closures, we're not like Europe where one needed a government permission slip to leave the house), and neither state is in the list of states where the pandemic is getting worse.  NY's infection rate is actually the lowest in the country.  So, leaving aside whether one should clinch roads or take "daytrips" to parks, I'm not sure what law is actually being violated here.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: hbelkins on June 16, 2020, 04:03:49 PM
Kentucky's governor has been one of the more heavy-handed ones in terms of shutting things down via executive order, and even during the height of what he called "Healthy at Home" he encouraged people to get out and go for a drive. Communities were organizing things like "bear hunts" where people would put stuffed animals in their front windows and people would go out and spot them, or classic car parades around the community where people could drive their vehicles around so folks could watch from home. So recreational travel wasn't banned here the way it may have been in places like Pennsylvania or Michigan.

That being said, there have been some pretty personal attacks levied in this thread that appear to be against the rules of the forum. I'm not calling anyone out or reporting any comments, but some of the participants probably should take a chill pill. Also, a lot of this discussion should either be deleted or moved to the pandemic thread in Off-Topic, in my opinion.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 16, 2020, 04:19:59 PM
It's worth noting that neither New York nor Pennsylvania have bans on non-essential travel any more (and NY might not have ever had a strict one... our orders focused more on business closures, we're not like Europe where one needed a government permission slip to leave the house), and neither state is in the list of states where the pandemic is getting worse.  NY's infection rate is actually the lowest in the country.  So, leaving aside whether one should clinch roads or take "daytrips" to parks, I'm not sure what law is actually being violated here.

And that's the thing, technically Ontario has no laws against this and arguably never had any such laws. HOWEVER, does that make it the right thing to do even though it's not illegal. Here in Canada, you can smoke weed legally but is it something you should do? That's the kind of thing I mean.

Ontario never did have any restrictions from entering the province from another province, unlike say Newfoundland where a 14 day quarantine must occur after you enter Newfoundland.

Although you are now just over 600 cases now a day, NYS isn't entirely clear of this yet, Ontario for the past few days has had sub 200 cases each day.


But if you get into an accident and end up in the hospital with other sick COVId-19 patients, you can easily catch it as well.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 16, 2020, 04:21:40 PM
Kentucky's governor has been one of the more heavy-handed ones in terms of shutting things down via executive order, and even during the height of what he called "Healthy at Home" he encouraged people to get out and go for a drive. Communities were organizing things like "bear hunts" where people would put stuffed animals in their front windows and people would go out and spot them, or classic car parades around the community where people could drive their vehicles around so folks could watch from home. So recreational travel wasn't banned here the way it may have been in places like Pennsylvania or Michigan.

That being said, there have been some pretty personal attacks levied in this thread that appear to be against the rules of the forum. I'm not calling anyone out or reporting any comments, but some of the participants probably should take a chill pill. Also, a lot of this discussion should either be deleted or moved to the pandemic thread in Off-Topic, in my opinion.

And what kind of personal attacks are those, hbelkins, try to understand that close to 120,000 people have now died of this in the US alone, abiding by the rules in this case is paramount.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 16, 2020, 04:48:21 PM
Kentucky's governor has been one of the more heavy-handed ones in terms of shutting things down via executive order, and even during the height of what he called "Healthy at Home" he encouraged people to get out and go for a drive. Communities were organizing things like "bear hunts" where people would put stuffed animals in their front windows and people would go out and spot them, or classic car parades around the community where people could drive their vehicles around so folks could watch from home. So recreational travel wasn't banned here the way it may have been in places like Pennsylvania or Michigan.

That being said, there have been some pretty personal attacks levied in this thread that appear to be against the rules of the forum. I'm not calling anyone out or reporting any comments, but some of the participants probably should take a chill pill. Also, a lot of this discussion should either be deleted or moved to the pandemic thread in Off-Topic, in my opinion.

And what kind of personal attacks are those, hbelkins, try to understand that close to 120,000 people have now died of this in the US alone, abiding by the rules in this case is paramount.
Driving in a car is one of the safest activities to do during a pandemic.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: oscar on June 16, 2020, 05:31:39 PM
And what kind of personal attacks are those, hbelkins, try to understand that close to 120,000 people have now died of this in the US alone, abiding by the rules in this case is paramount.
Driving in a car is one of the safest activities to do during a pandemic.

And it usually is "abiding by the rules" (whatever you might think of our rules), unless you happen to live in one of the few U.S. jurisdictions still under strict "stay at home" orders, or you have been put under a quarantine/self-isolation order.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 16, 2020, 06:36:58 PM
And what kind of personal attacks are those, hbelkins, try to understand that close to 120,000 people have now died of this in the US alone, abiding by the rules in this case is paramount.
Driving in a car is one of the safest activities to do during a pandemic.

And it usually is "abiding by the rules" (whatever you might think of our rules), unless you happen to live in one of the few U.S. jurisdictions still under strict "stay at home" orders, or you have been put under a quarantine/self-isolation order.

Just because it is now permissible does not make it right.

Do I need to repeat the recommendation nice and clear.

It is three words

STAY

AT

HOME
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on June 16, 2020, 07:04:02 PM
Look man, this is a "I need help planning/here's my recent road trips" thread not a "share your political beliefs on quarantine" thread.

If it makes you happy, I haven't really left the house ever since June 9th. The only time I leave the house is for shopping, exercising, and yes - the occasional road trip. I'll admit what I'm doing isn't okay, but I'll also stand by the belief that I've been reasonable and safe in my travels. If we're going to debate, then let's do so over private messaging. I'm not interested in getting this thread locked.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadrunner75 on June 16, 2020, 07:17:38 PM
What you're doing is fine.  Enjoy your road trips.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 16, 2020, 08:04:09 PM
What you're doing is fine.  Enjoy your road trips.


And you have just given me more reason to contact my MP and demand the border closure remain in place until next winter. Very cavalier attitude with no regard for anyone else. Hope your grandfather doesnít die because of that careless attitude.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadrunner75 on June 16, 2020, 08:56:19 PM
What you're doing is fine.  Enjoy your road trips.


And you have just given me more reason to contact my MP and demand the border closure remain in place until next winter. Very cavalier attitude with no regard for anyone else. Hope your grandfather doesnít die because of that careless attitude.
I live pretty much right in the original epicenter.  I have multiple very close family members with serious medical conditions and compromised immune systems that could get it.  My uncle, aunt and cousins already were in the hospital with it.  I take it seriously.  I'm not worried about him driving around rural Pennsylvania and New York in his car.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 16, 2020, 09:59:27 PM
What you're doing is fine.  Enjoy your road trips.


And you have just given me more reason to contact my MP and demand the border closure remain in place until next winter. Very cavalier attitude with no regard for anyone else. Hope your grandfather doesnít die because of that careless attitude.
I've said this before, road trips are not killing anyone! He's not gathering in large groups.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 16, 2020, 10:03:15 PM
And you have just given me more reason to contact my MP and demand the border closure remain in place until next winter. Very cavalier attitude with no regard for anyone else. Hope your grandfather doesnít die because of that careless attitude.

Seriously, you're losing your credibility by claiming that every American / every person that posts to this thread is careless and doesn't care about the virus. The people that actually live in the US, including the region in question, have a pretty good idea of the situation on the ground. It is not a problem for noel to visit Upstate New York, as long as social distancing and proper precautions are observed, and it is pure trolling, not to mention unfair to him and everyone else, to continue to waste time claiming otherwise.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 16, 2020, 10:39:45 PM
And you have just given me more reason to contact my MP and demand the border closure remain in place until next winter. Very cavalier attitude with no regard for anyone else. Hope your grandfather doesnít die because of that careless attitude.

Seriously, you're losing your credibility by claiming that every American / every person that posts to this thread is careless and doesn't care about the virus. The people that actually live in the US, including the region in question, have a pretty good idea of the situation on the ground. It is not a problem for noel to visit Upstate New York, as long as social distancing and proper precautions are observed, and it is pure trolling, not to mention unfair to him and everyone else, to continue to waste time claiming otherwise.

Yeah, and there were how many cases in The Copper State today? Almost 2400 in Arizona today!

There is a difference of following rules across the border sadly, ever notice that when you cross into Canada, you donít see a single fence over an overpass, because people up here donít throw objects off overpasses, those kind of attacks are very rare here. Itís a fact that there seems to be a stricter adherence to social norms in Canada.

New York has gotten its cases tremendously under control and I commend that, but letís not mention that there are Canadian provinces who havenít had any new cases in weeks.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: csw on June 16, 2020, 10:52:54 PM
Again, this seems like a case of, "Canada rules, America drools!"
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 16, 2020, 11:03:11 PM
There is a difference of following rules across the border sadly...  Itís a fact that there seems to be a stricter adherence to social norms in Canada.

That may be true, and good for you, but it's not relevant or productive to be arguing about it in this thread.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 16, 2020, 11:05:32 PM
Again, this seems like a case of, "Canada rules, America drools!"

How do you figure?

I do acknowledge that Canada is finished without the US, but Iím curious as to why these social behaviors differ. Why is it that I can be trusted to pump gas here before walking into the store and paying for it but canít in the US. I used an example of overpass fencing assuming that overpass attacks on vehicles are very common. Otherwise, why fence off the overpasses?

Again, Iím not going to be a stupid person here and make pointless references to the War of 1812, I donít hate the US, but seeing how the US is in a lot worse shape than we are, it only makes sense to close the border for now.

Attitudes about social norms is why there is a more cavalier attitude towards the lockdown rules than here.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: MisterSG1 on June 17, 2020, 12:26:50 AM
What you're doing is fine.  Enjoy your road trips.


And you have just given me more reason to contact my MP and demand the border closure remain in place until next winter. Very cavalier attitude with no regard for anyone else. Hope your grandfather doesnít die because of that careless attitude.
I've said this before, road trips are not killing anyone! He's not gathering in large groups.

Yes, but he will have to use the bathroom eventually, the virus can spread within public bathrooms. He gets food on the road somewhere where the worker is infected, he gets infected, and then he can pass it on to other people.

Let's look at our infections in Canada today,

Ontario 184
Quebec 92
Alberta 20
British Columbia 36
Saskatchewan 18
New Brunswick 3

ALL THE REST HAVE ZERO.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 17, 2020, 10:46:36 AM
What you're doing is fine.  Enjoy your road trips.


And you have just given me more reason to contact my MP and demand the border closure remain in place until next winter. Very cavalier attitude with no regard for anyone else. Hope your grandfather doesnít die because of that careless attitude.
I've said this before, road trips are not killing anyone! He's not gathering in large groups.

Yes, but he will have to use the bathroom eventually, the virus can spread within public bathrooms. He gets food on the road somewhere where the worker is infected, he gets infected, and then he can pass it on to other people.

Let's look at our infections in Canada today,

Ontario 184
Quebec 92
Alberta 20
British Columbia 36
Saskatchewan 18
New Brunswick 3

ALL THE REST HAVE ZERO.
Drive through is also pretty low risk. We can't just lock ourselves in our home until there is a vaccine. Also a lot of the places with 0 have much fewer people than any US state.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 17, 2020, 11:11:27 AM
Also a lot of the places with 0 have much fewer people than any US state.

And a lot fewer borders/entry points with other states/provinces/countries.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: 1 on June 17, 2020, 11:17:10 AM
Also a lot of the places with 0 have much fewer people than any US state.

And a lot fewer borders/entry points with other states/provinces/countries.

Alaska and Hawaii have started going up quickly within the last week.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 17, 2020, 11:18:30 AM
Also a lot of the places with 0 have much fewer people than any US state.

And a lot fewer borders/entry points with other states/provinces/countries.

Alaska and Hawaii have started going up quickly within the last week.
Hawaii announced only 4 new cases? Hawaii is also much more densely populated than the Canadian territories, even Alaska has more people.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: csw on June 17, 2020, 11:56:32 AM
Let me tell you what I did when I took my overnight trip to Pennsylvania a few weeks ago.
This blueprint works for me because I only really take trips to go hiking, so I'm prepared to sleep in my car or a tent. I think I did ok.

I do agree that there are way too many people completely disregarding the mask and social distancing guidelines. As hard as you try at a place like the grocery store, someone will always come around the corner and walk right next to you without a mask on, ignoring the guidelines.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: hbelkins on June 17, 2020, 01:30:02 PM
And what kind of personal attacks are those, hbelkins, try to understand that close to 120,000 people have now died of this in the US alone, abiding by the rules in this case is paramount.

Did I say anyone specifically had engaged in a personal attack? No, I didn't, but if you think my comment was in reference to something you said, then maybe you ought to look at what you've said.

As to the number of deaths, there's inherent risk in anything you do. Myself, I've been under a "telecommute as much as possible" dictate from work. I've been going to my office once every two weeks to pick up mail and do things on the office computer I can't do at home. The very first time I went to the office, I nearly got run out of the road by an oncoming car that had veered into my lane in a curve. Fortunately, I saw the car coming in plenty of time and I practically came to a stop and the car got back in its lane. But that was the closest I've come to being in any danger since this whole thing started, and it wasn't from the virus.

People should be free to do as they wish with knowledge of the risks. People who are most at risk should not get out and expose themselves, nor allow anyone who has been out and about to come near them, if they are so afraid of catching it. I haven't really altered my behavior beyond work dictating I telecommute, because I wasn't doing any personal or leisure travel anyway, but if I was still caring for my elderly dad, I probably would.

You (not meaning you specifically, but the population in general) can choose to live in fear, you can take whatever precautions you deem necessary to protect yourself, but don't expect the rest of us to live our lives according to your panic. If Alex wants to go for a drive or a hike with his dad, then that's not hurting a soul. Especially not someone north of the border where they aren't allowed to be, anyway.

What you're doing is fine.  Enjoy your road trips.


And you have just given me more reason to contact my MP and demand the border closure remain in place until next winter. Very cavalier attitude with no regard for anyone else. Hope your grandfather doesnít die because of that careless attitude.
I've said this before, road trips are not killing anyone! He's not gathering in large groups.

Yes, but he will have to use the bathroom eventually, the virus can spread within public bathrooms. He gets food on the road somewhere where the worker is infected, he gets infected, and then he can pass it on to other people.

But these behaviors take place whether someone is going out for necessary supplies or taking a leisure trip. People are still using the restroom at Walmart. Restaurants were encouraged to operate with drive-through or carryout sales despite being closed to dining, and our governor actually bragged about getting takeout to support an industry that was struggling (but, sadly, due to his own orders shutting them down.) What's the difference between having to use the restroom at a local business or using one while you're on a road trip, or driving through a restaurant a mile from home vs. one 150 miles from home?

What you're doing is fine.  Enjoy your road trips.


And you have just given me more reason to contact my MP and demand the border closure remain in place until next winter. Very cavalier attitude with no regard for anyone else. Hope your grandfather doesnít die because of that careless attitude.

Interesting. Around here, most people are contacting their legislators and urging them to restrain the executives from their orders.

I find it funny, though, that closing Canada off from the US is something that needs to be done, while too many here reacted in the opposite manner when the US moved to close down travel from China, where the virus originated. Why is one act good while the other is bad?

Look man, this is a "I need help planning/here's my recent road trips" thread not a "share your political beliefs on quarantine" thread.

If it makes you happy, I haven't really left the house ever since June 9th. The only time I leave the house is for shopping, exercising, and yes - the occasional road trip. I'll admit what I'm doing isn't okay, but I'll also stand by the belief that I've been reasonable and safe in my travels. If we're going to debate, then let's do so over private messaging. I'm not interested in getting this thread locked.

And his advice, given repeatedly, is that he thinks you shouldn't be traveling at all. We get his point to the point of weariness, even if his advice doesn't coincide with a number of government officials who've said that going out for a drive is fine.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Duke87 on June 17, 2020, 11:59:25 PM
But if you get into an accident and end up in the hospital with other sick COVId-19 patients, you can easily catch it as well.

Covid patients are kept isolated. You're not going to catch it from them by being in the same hospital. Frankly, a hospital is probably one of the places you're least likely to get infected right now - everyone is wearing masks and constantly washing their hands.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: cl94 on June 18, 2020, 05:07:05 PM
If you're not coming in contact with other people, I don't see how traveling is any more dangerous than staying at home. I'm planning to visit Hamilton (https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1622448,-74.8113882,12z) this weekend, might pop over to Burlington as well.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: 1 on June 18, 2020, 05:22:01 PM
If you're not coming in contact with other people, I don't see how traveling is any more dangerous than staying at home. I'm planning to visit Hamilton (https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1622448,-74.8113882,12z) this weekend, might pop over to Burlington as well.

Before I clicked the link, I was thinking Hamilton ON and Burlington ON.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 18, 2020, 05:36:16 PM
If you're not coming in contact with other people, I don't see how traveling is any more dangerous than staying at home. I'm planning to visit Hamilton (https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1622448,-74.8113882,12z) this weekend, might pop over to Burlington as well.

Before I clicked the link, I was thinking Hamilton ON and Burlington ON.
Yeah me too! totally ambiguous. I was thinking, "wait isn't the border closed?"
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: cl94 on June 18, 2020, 05:38:43 PM
If you're not coming in contact with other people, I don't see how traveling is any more dangerous than staying at home. I'm planning to visit Hamilton (https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1622448,-74.8113882,12z) this weekend, might pop over to Burlington as well.

Before I clicked the link, I was thinking Hamilton ON and Burlington ON.
Yeah me too! totally ambiguous. I was thinking, "wait isn't the border closed?"

...

Remind me to never post a joke like this again in the forum.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: 1 on June 18, 2020, 05:40:37 PM
If you're not coming in contact with other people, I don't see how traveling is any more dangerous than staying at home. I'm planning to visit Hamilton (https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1622448,-74.8113882,12z) this weekend, might pop over to Burlington as well.

Before I clicked the link, I was thinking Hamilton ON and Burlington ON.
Yeah me too! totally ambiguous. I was thinking, "wait isn't the border closed?"

...

Remind me to never post a joke like this again in the forum.

I thought you were being serious.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 18, 2020, 05:42:07 PM
If you're not coming in contact with other people, I don't see how traveling is any more dangerous than staying at home. I'm planning to visit Hamilton (https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1622448,-74.8113882,12z) this weekend, might pop over to Burlington as well.

Before I clicked the link, I was thinking Hamilton ON and Burlington ON.
Yeah me too! totally ambiguous. I was thinking, "wait isn't the border closed?"

...

Remind me to never post a joke like this again in the forum.
That's not clearly a joke. Not even close, it didn't even sound like you were joking.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 18, 2020, 05:47:47 PM
If you're not coming in contact with other people, I don't see how traveling is any more dangerous than staying at home. I'm planning to visit Hamilton (https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1622448,-74.8113882,12z) this weekend, might pop over to Burlington as well.
Also, do you really think that traveling is any more dangerous than staying home?
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 18, 2020, 05:48:59 PM
I totally thought of Hamilton and Burlington, Ontario, too.. been to both cities many times.

If I had to guess, it's probably a chat-related joke.
In which case, don't waste too much time trying to figure it out.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 18, 2020, 05:51:26 PM
I totally thought of Hamilton and Burlington, Ontario, too.. been to both cities many times.

If I had to guess, it's probably a chat-related joke.
In which case, don't waste too much time trying to figure it out.
I never go to the chat. I haven't been there since 2017.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: cl94 on June 18, 2020, 05:54:00 PM
It has nothing to do with chat and everything to do with somebody in here getting pissed at Americans for entering Canada.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 18, 2020, 05:56:32 PM
It has nothing to do with chat and everything to do with somebody in here getting pissed at Americans for entering Canada.
But both Hamilton and Burlington are American cities too.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: SSOWorld on June 18, 2020, 06:08:31 PM
back on topic please.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 18, 2020, 11:43:57 PM
I guess my reply a few days ago was the last on-topic thing that was posted, so might as well bring it to the forefront. (I removed the previous post.)


You mentioned earlier that Chimney Bluffs is on an undeveloped lakeshore - is it possible to reach the bottom of the bluffs safely? If not, is it worth it to backtrack ~15 minutes to Sodus Point for beach time? Hamlin Beach (based on Google Maps) does look like it's in the middle of nowhere, so I suppose Chimney Bluffs is the better choice.

Yep, you can walk along the lakeshore at Chimney Bluffs, at least you could whenever I've been there. However, water levels were very high in 2018 and again this year, so that may have impacted things. Note that the best access to the lakeshore is on the eastern end of the park, using the parking at the end of East Bay Road. The pavement kind of just ends and it's a bit of a scramble down to the water - doable, just use caution. There's no swimming at Chimney Bluffs, though. It's too rocky, and there's not much of a beach. The ridge trail has the best views, but go for that and the lakeshore if you have the time and energy!

Regarding an actual beach, I'd go with Fair Haven over Sodus Point (IMO). Fair Haven is further away as the crow flies, but is actually very comparable time-wise because you don't have the Sodus Bay in the way! Fair Haven does have the state park fee, but it's clean and spacious, with a nice long pier and new restrooms. Sodus Point can be seaweedy, and you might end up in someone's backyard in search of a spot to yourself.


As for Treman - there's parking at the upper end. Is it worth it to hike half the trail and turn around, capturing the best sights? It looks like Treman prides itself on its waterfalls, and if it's too much of a hassle - then I'll stick to Fillmore Glen. Considering more of Watkins has reopened, this probably won't pan out.

Yeah, it makes sense to park at the top if you're after the scenery; you'll get most of the sights early on. Lucifer Falls is about 1/4 of the way down, and it levels out after that. The bottom half of the hike is quite hilly and rugged, and strays away from the creek bed before connecting to the lower parking. The main attraction at the bottom of the park is the famous swimming hole at the base of the lower falls, which is closed until at least June 30th this year.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on June 24, 2020, 06:01:46 PM
I'll preface this post by saying that I have a driver's permit, as of 4:30 PM June 24th. December 24th and later is when I'll take the road test for a full license.

Anyways, I think I've planned out what to do, thanks to webny99 and vdeane among others:

-Stony Brook State Park and the Italy Valley
-Watkins Glen State Park (fully reopened, limited to daytime hours)
-Chimney Bluffs State Park and the Rochester area

These three will likely have a full dedicated day; if there's time to spare I plan on revisiting Letchworth.

I still need feedback from downstate NY or Adirondacks folks - Mt. Marcy might be interesting, along with roads like US 9 and NY 28 through the area. Downstate the Catskills are the focus, with NY 218, the PIP, and US 44/NY 55 probably the roads I'm focusing on.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: vdeane on June 24, 2020, 09:21:11 PM
The High Peaks trailheads (like Mount Marcy) fill up quickly - there are people who arrive at 7 or 8 AM to find the parking already full (and the no parking areas on NY 73 are strictly enforced).  This was true before the pandemic, and I've read that it's even true now, with the Canadian border closed.  They've been using shuttles to help manage it, but I'm not sure what the current status is with the pandemic.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadrunner75 on June 24, 2020, 10:19:45 PM
I'll preface this post by saying that I have a driver's permit, as of 4:30 PM June 24th. December 24th and later is when I'll take the road test for a full license.
Congrats.  Now you can really hit the road.  I remember my road test.  At least in NJ (where the licensing age is 17), you would pass the test, they would stamp the permit or give you something as a temporary license and you could roll right over to the DMV to get your full license.  I took the test, went right to the DMV and I was out driving around with my friends being a public nuisance in my $400 Chevy Citation that night.  In those days there was no graduated license - Your license at 17 was a full license with no restrictions.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on June 24, 2020, 10:44:16 PM
I still need feedback from downstate NY or Adirondacks folks - Mt. Marcy might be interesting, along with roads like US 9 and NY 28 through the area.

If you're able to make it up to the Adirondacks, there's lots to do in the Old Forge/Inlet area, which is one of the closest parts of the park to Western NY/PA. Bald Mountain is a great hike that's popular with families. It's about an hour each way, with incredible views throughout and especially at the end.

The NY 12/28 multiplex and standalone NY 28 north of the multiplex are both great roads IMO - the latter not so much after dark, though that shouldn't be a problem before 8:30-9PM this time of year.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on July 17, 2020, 04:23:41 PM
Decided to wait a week before posting, but here's my third and probably final trip to the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes.

July 5th started off lazily - my dad returned home from a late night shift, meaning we couldn't leave until 3:30 PM. Oh well, that's how life is; we got started up I-81, to US 15, US 11, PA 147/I-180 to Williamsport. Nothing much to say aside from copious amounts of closed adult stores on US 15, one ironic case being located underneath those "God saves" billboards (I think they covered their bases well, giving you a choice: relief or religion?). The CSVT bridge looks almost complete, with all the piers placed but lacking roadway to sit on them. Still no pavement laid for new US 15.

Williamsport itself was dead for a Sunday, likely due to two colleges closed for the year. Although there's nice neighborhoods and houses along Fourth Street, and there's good restaurants, nothing beats a good hole in the wall. It was a chicken place also serving lamb gyros (I got one) near the corner of Market and Fourth Streets, just off I-180 exit 27A. In my eyes, Williamsport felt like a smaller Pittsburgh, considering its surroundings - overall an unremarkable city.

To spice up the drive, we took US 15 north to PA 14, staying on that until New York. Arguably a better choice than US 15 - there's even less traffic than US 15, and isn't much more windy (still has its share of curves), allowing us to sustain 55+ MPH speeds. It's also more scenic north of US 6, going through some pretty countryside near the NY state line. By the time we made it to NY, the sun was setting, enhancing the countryside. I clinched PA 14, and arrived at our hotel in Big Flats (near Elmira) by 8:15. That was the entire day; we decided to buy ice cream at King Kone in Elmira to close the day, noting the at times shoddy neighborhoods and late July 4th celebrations. What can I say about Elmira? It's got Mark Twain's childhood home, I guess.

Time to head to Watkins Glen. News hit this morning that Ennio Morricone died, so guess what we listened to?

From the hotel (a Country Inn, it was clean and it was cheap, so it was perfect), I used Chambers Road, Caitlin Hill Road, Morehead Road, Schuyler CR 18 to NY 414 north. Not a spectacular drive, though what was spectacular is Watkins Glen State Park; this blew Buttermilk Falls out of the water. I won't spoil the experience, but know that the glen keeps things cool, even in summer. The only strenuous parts was the stairs, and there are moments where there's a lack of shade - especially near the entrance. Definitely worth the $8 for parking, although getting through the town is a drag.

Lunch was in Watkins Glen's former railroad station, right on Seneca Lake. Scenic, yes, but also surprising - a tourist rail line runs in front of the restaurant. It was one of the lucky days that I got to see a train; apparently the line is used infrequently enough to warrant a STOP sign. The food was also okay - it's not New England seafood but it isn't terrible. Onwards to Stony Brook State Park.

I used NY 14 north to NY 54 west. On NY 54 I visited the Spotted Duck Creamery, notable for using duck eggs to create creamier ice cream. You also get to feed the ducks, hens, and turkeys; the turkey was the biggest bird there, and scared off all the other birds (but it didn't want food?). It's probably my favorite ice cream place ever, considering they also put effort into making the cones taste good. In Penn Yan I turned onto NY 364 west, continuing on that to Italy Valley Road. I made my way through the Italy Valley - it fit the Ennio Morricone music with the operatic landscapes, but still paled in comparison to northern PA's mountains. That ended on NY 53, which I took north to NY 21 south, taking that to NY 63, then to NY 36. All of that effort and a two hour drive for...it's closed.

Oh well. I guess I'll get my waterfall showers. Onward to Treman State Park. I-390, NY 17, NY 226, Schuyler CR 23, CR 28, NY 414, NY 79, NY 327. Have I mentioned that there's no data coverage except in major towns like Watkins Glen, Elmira, Ithaca, and so on throughout the Southern Tier? And radio reception is intermittent? I'd hate to live out there.

Paid another $8 for Treman. I hadn't swam in a while, so to warm up I practiced a bit. I noticed that the waterfall is near the diving board - so why not dive, then swim there? So I then attempted the diving board; fear overcame me and I bowed out. My dad was also filming me, making it more embarrassing. Okay, round 2; a bit more swimming, I feel confident. I ask how deep the watering hole is; it's 18 feet. I was never used to the deep end, but I was encouraged by a girl telling me to just tread my way there - easy enough. I forget to tell my dad, and I jump; I managed to make it to the waterfall and grasp onto the rocks. My fingers slip, and I begin to sink - I panic and call for help, along with reaching out to somebody. That same girl (who told me that I'll be okay) supports me for a moment while a lifeguard saves me from drowning. I escaped with a nosebleed, numb legs, and a rapidly beating heart.

Alright, I deserved that. I shouldn't have pushed myself to jump off if I couldn't do it the first time. We get dinner in Ithaca, at a street food place near Cornell. Dinner was scrumptious - duck fat fries with Korean short rib tacos. Pair that with some donuts and that was a full meal. I return to Elmira via NY 13 to I-86.

July 7th began with us packing up and finishing leftover dinner for breakfast. With the trunk packed, we decided to revisit Watkins Glen, because it's just that good. Took the same route as yesterday. Next was to visit Rochester, with cheesy songs to accompany us (specifically, Taylor Swift and "We Are the World" - do they really need to repeat that to fill eight minutes? Felt like a waste of time). NY 14 wasn't a terrible drive, except near Geneva. Do wish the Seneca Lake views were more frequent.

I hit the Thruway and was welcomed with a boring 23 mile drive. At the very least, I saw diverse plates on trucks (the farthest being Wisconsin). I took exit 45 onto I-490 west towards Rochester. I took exit 18 there onto NY 31 west to Dogtown! A venerable Rochester institution, where I enjoyed their version of the garbage plate - two hot dogs on top of a bed of mac salad and home fries. Paired with a bottle of Stewart's, I felt like I was truly a New Yorker. The food was good and cheap enough that we ordered two hot dogs to go - their Golden Retriever (bacon and cheese) and some other hot dog with a litany of European topping (Greek?).

Next stop in Rochester was the abandoned subway; the best way to view that was the Broad Street Bridge. I took Monroe Avenue until it curved into Chestnut Street, and turned left onto Broad Street. As for the bridge - architecturally interesting yes, considering the arches and double decker design (apparently it once held the Erie Canal?). I didn't feel like climbing, so I stayed near a platform that let me look into the lower level; the subway quickly faded into a dark tunnel, but the bridge was full of graffiti. It may have continued across the bridge and under the Library of Rochester. There was also construction equipment present, signifying the possibility that the subway may be sealed soon. Oh well.

I decided to check out Ontario Beach; I turned right onto Lake Avenue and passed through Rochester's...less desirable neighborhoods (didn't have time to check out the cool stuff, like High Falls..but I've already been to Letchworth, which is the best the Genessee has to offer). I also passed by Kodak Labs and Kodak HQ, surprised at their continued existence. In fact, I feel like I passed by all of Rochester's tall buildings, including an apartment complex and Rochester's main hospital on NY 104 that webny99 pointed out. Anyways, as Lake Avenue curved into Beach Avenue, I snapped quick photos of Lake Ontario. Satisfied, I turned back south on Lake Avenue and east on NY 104 to leave Rochester. Onwards to Chimney Bluffs!

NY 104 was a pain in the rear to get through; 2 lanes east of Webster, for the 50 miles to Oswego? With traffic lights? Ugh. I stayed on NY 104 for 25 of those miles, exiting onto NY 14 and immediately exiting onto Ridge Road. I turned onto Lake Bluff Road and entered Chimney Bluffs nearing sunset. Foolish mistakes were made, namely not bringing water and not applying sunscreen. But hey, parking was free due to a broken ticket machine.

Now to hike to the bluffs. The first hour was easy thanks to the forest providing shade, along with providing dramatic views of the bluffs below. The area was also eerily silent, the only sounds being wildlife and Lake Ontario. There were some people playing music, but that was few and far between. We viewed the bluffs from above, and then hiked back for a way down to the lakeshore. Now began a hellish hike along the lakeshore. The wind and the water couldn't cool us down, and there was zero shade; and temps were still 90 degrees even at 6 PM. We took pictures of the bluffs from the bottom; while worth the hike, our return to the car meant a change of shirts and copious amounts of water consumption. We even had to buy more water - and after that hike, cold water tasted sweet.

Time to head home, but instead of slogging through US 15 (and dealing with deer because of less traffic), we decided to detour to I-81. We also needed dinner, so onward to Syracuse. NY 104, NY 370, NY/I-690. Notable about the journey is the missing NY State Fair signal on I-690 (no clue where it went), and tailing a car on NY 104 all the way to Syracuse; my dad bet that they were going to the same place as us, Dinosaur BBQ. I bet the opposite, and I won that bet when said car exited at exit 8. Dinner was also Dinosaur BBQ, on the corner of North Franklin and West Willow Streets. I was surprised to find good BBQ here in New York - surely not the first state I think of to have good BBQ, especially outside of NYC. Packing leftovers was also harder than necessary, when the vinegar sauce used for the greens made a mess of the boxes.

We took I-81 all the way south home from Syracuse, arriving home at 3 AM on July 8th and exploring more of the state that most New Yorkers probably have in their entire lives.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: kphoger on July 17, 2020, 04:53:00 PM
Paid another $8 for Treman. I hadn't swam in a while, so to warm up I practiced a bit. I noticed that the waterfall is near the diving board - so why not dive, then swim there? So I then attempted the diving board; fear overcame me and I bowed out. My dad was also filming me, making it more embarrassing. Okay, round 2; a bit more swimming, I feel confident. I ask how deep the watering hole is; it's 18 feet. I was never used to the deep end, but I was encouraged by a girl telling me to just tread my way there - easy enough. I forget to tell my dad, and I jump; I managed to make it to the waterfall and grasp onto the rocks. My fingers slip, and I begin to sink - I panic and call for help, along with reaching out to somebody. That same girl (who told me that I'll be okay) supports me for a moment while a lifeguard saves me from drowning. I escaped with a nosebleed, numb legs, and a rapidly beating heart.

Alright, I deserved that. I shouldn't have pushed myself to jump off if I couldn't do it the first time.

No, I'm proud of you for going off the board.  You worked through both the realistic fear and also the potential embarrassment.  Good for you!

Plus, you had two encouraging encounters with a nice girl, which is nothing to sneeze at.  Admittedly, the story would have been better if she had helped you out of the water herself but, then, that's what the lifeguards are for.

Some of life's best experiences end with a rapidly beating heart, and occasionally they come with a little bit of blood too.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on July 17, 2020, 05:31:23 PM
Paid another $8 for Treman. I hadn't swam in a while, so to warm up I practiced a bit. I noticed that the waterfall is near the diving board - so why not dive, then swim there? So I then attempted the diving board; fear overcame me and I bowed out. My dad was also filming me, making it more embarrassing. Okay, round 2; a bit more swimming, I feel confident. I ask how deep the watering hole is; it's 18 feet. I was never used to the deep end, but I was encouraged by a girl telling me to just tread my way there - easy enough. I forget to tell my dad, and I jump; I managed to make it to the waterfall and grasp onto the rocks. My fingers slip, and I begin to sink - I panic and call for help, along with reaching out to somebody. That same girl (who told me that I'll be okay) supports me for a moment while a lifeguard saves me from drowning. I escaped with a nosebleed, numb legs, and a rapidly beating heart.

Alright, I deserved that. I shouldn't have pushed myself to jump off if I couldn't do it the first time.

No, I'm proud of you for going off the board.  You worked through both the realistic fear and also the potential embarrassment.  Good for you!

Plus, you had two encouraging encounters with a nice girl, which is nothing to sneeze at.  Admittedly, the story would have been better if she had helped you out of the water herself but, then, that's what the lifeguards are for.

Some of life's best experiences end with a rapidly beating heart, and occasionally they come with a little bit of blood too.
My mistake was not telling my dad that I was jumping off. I overestimated my ability to stay calm in the deep end, which ended up in me panicking and nearly drowning. The right move would've been to stay in the shallower end rather than overexerting myself.

Now the girl - okay, I should've asked for her phone number (my dad pointed that out). Except it'd be a long distance relationship, so...
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on July 17, 2020, 06:31:30 PM
Paid another $8 for Treman. I hadn't swam in a while, so to warm up I practiced a bit. I noticed that the waterfall is near the diving board - so why not dive, then swim there? So I then attempted the diving board; fear overcame me and I bowed out. My dad was also filming me, making it more embarrassing. Okay, round 2; a bit more swimming, I feel confident. I ask how deep the watering hole is; it's 18 feet. I was never used to the deep end, but I was encouraged by a girl telling me to just tread my way there - easy enough. I forget to tell my dad, and I jump; I managed to make it to the waterfall and grasp onto the rocks. My fingers slip, and I begin to sink - I panic and call for help, along with reaching out to somebody. That same girl (who told me that I'll be okay) supports me for a moment while a lifeguard saves me from drowning. I escaped with a nosebleed, numb legs, and a rapidly beating heart.

Alright, I deserved that. I shouldn't have pushed myself to jump off if I couldn't do it the first time.

No, I'm proud of you for going off the board.  You worked through both the realistic fear and also the potential embarrassment.  Good for you!

Plus, you had two encouraging encounters with a nice girl, which is nothing to sneeze at.  Admittedly, the story would have been better if she had helped you out of the water herself but, then, that's what the lifeguards are for.

Some of life's best experiences end with a rapidly beating heart, and occasionally they come with a little bit of blood too.
My mistake was not telling my dad that I was jumping off. I overestimated my ability to stay calm in the deep end, which ended up in me panicking and nearly drowning. The right move would've been to stay in the shallower end rather than overexerting myself.

Now the girl - okay, I should've asked for her phone number (my dad pointed that out). Except it'd be a long distance relationship, so...
About how old was said girl?
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: mrsman on July 17, 2020, 07:58:39 PM
On another thread, someone posted the span wires that host the signals and mentioned that the state fair will no longer use the signalized crossing.  Here's an article:

https://www.syracuse.com/statefair/2019/08/this-will-be-the-last-nys-fair-with-that-traffic-signal-on-i-690.html
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on July 17, 2020, 08:29:04 PM
Wow, great trip report, noel! Found myself smiling and nodding through the whole thing.

What can I say about Elmira? It's got Mark Twain's childhood home, I guess.
Uh huh! Definitely not a world class city, so that suffices!  :-D


NY 14 wasn't a terrible drive, except near Geneva. Do wish the Seneca Lake views were more frequent.
Yes, Geneva is a slog. You can use part of US 20/NY 5 (Lake Front Drive) to bypass the downtown area, but a proper alternate for north/south traffic is badly needed. Ditto for Watkins Glen, of course.


I took exit 18 there onto NY 31 west to Dogtown! A venerable Rochester institution, where I enjoyed their version of the garbage plate - two hot dogs on top of a bed of mac salad and home fries. Paired with a bottle of Stewart's, I felt like I was truly an Upstate New Yorker.
FTFY! But yes, definitely! :D


NY 104 was a pain in the rear to get through; 2 lanes east of Webster, for the 50 miles to Oswego? With traffic lights? Ugh. I stayed on NY 104 for 25 of those miles, exiting onto NY 14
It's a nice highway through Webster... if only the freeway extended a bit further. The two-lane portion is known for parades of 20+ cars forming, as traffic allows almost no passing opportunities. Williamson to Sodus is the worst. Glad you got to experience it though, as it's one of few real Super 2's in Upstate New York. I suppose one can always dream of a second carriageway...
Sounds like a classic Chimney Bluffs experience too: sorry about the sun, we've had plenty of that lately!


We took I-81 all the way south home from Syracuse, arriving home at 3 AM on July 8th and exploring more of the state that most New Yorkers probably have in their entire lives.
Likely true, because of New York City. I know I'm an exception, and I like to think that everyone else north of the 42nd parallel has done their share of exploring, but that still leaves millions of people from the city that probably haven't seen much of their own state.

Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: vdeane on July 17, 2020, 08:30:29 PM
Notable about the journey is the missing NY State Fair signal on I-690 (no clue where it went)
It was only ever installed during the fair in late August.  The rest of the time it sits in storage, with only the wires visible on I-690.  Additionally, the Fair is cancelled this year, and they're building a flyover that will eliminate the traffic signal.
Outside of the Fair: http://nysroads.com/photos.php?route=i690&state=NY&file=100_2931.JPG
During the Fair: http://nysroads.com/photos.php?route=i690&state=NY&file=101_7644.JPG
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: csw on July 17, 2020, 08:41:04 PM
Wow, great trip report, noel! Found myself smiling and nodding through the whole thing.
Surprised you two didn't get together and turn this into a mini-meet.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Roadgeekteen on July 17, 2020, 09:38:50 PM
Wow, great trip report, noel! Found myself smiling and nodding through the whole thing.
Surprised you two didn't get together and turn this into a mini-meet.
I'm up for a mini meet somewhere but I can't drive so IDK.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on July 17, 2020, 10:13:32 PM
Wow, great trip report, noel! Found myself smiling and nodding through the whole thing.
Surprised you two didn't get together and turn this into a mini-meet.

I was actually in Maryland for the 5th-6th of July, but if I had known he was coming right through Webster on the 7th, we possibly could have arranged something.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on July 17, 2020, 10:22:33 PM
Wow, great trip report, noel! Found myself smiling and nodding through the whole thing.
Surprised you two didn't get together and turn this into a mini-meet.

I was actually in Maryland for the 5th-6th of July, but if I had known he was coming right through Webster on the 7th, we possibly could have arranged something.
I didn't have much time in Rochester/Webster - I didn't want to be in Chimney Bluffs at dark, and my dad had to work the next day. Unless webny99 wants to brave the five hour drive to Chambersburg one day, I don't think we'd be meeting in the near future.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on July 17, 2020, 10:46:28 PM
Paid another $8 for Treman. I hadn't swam in a while, so to warm up I practiced a bit. I noticed that the waterfall is near the diving board - so why not dive, then swim there? So I then attempted the diving board; fear overcame me and I bowed out. My dad was also filming me, making it more embarrassing. Okay, round 2; a bit more swimming, I feel confident. I ask how deep the watering hole is; it's 18 feet. I was never used to the deep end, but I was encouraged by a girl telling me to just tread my way there - easy enough. I forget to tell my dad, and I jump; I managed to make it to the waterfall and grasp onto the rocks. My fingers slip, and I begin to sink - I panic and call for help, along with reaching out to somebody. That same girl (who told me that I'll be okay) supports me for a moment while a lifeguard saves me from drowning. I escaped with a nosebleed, numb legs, and a rapidly beating heart.

Alright, I deserved that. I shouldn't have pushed myself to jump off if I couldn't do it the first time.

No, I'm proud of you for going off the board.  You worked through both the realistic fear and also the potential embarrassment.  Good for you!

Plus, you had two encouraging encounters with a nice girl, which is nothing to sneeze at.  Admittedly, the story would have been better if she had helped you out of the water herself but, then, that's what the lifeguards are for.

Some of life's best experiences end with a rapidly beating heart, and occasionally they come with a little bit of blood too.

Very well put. Sometimes, getting a scare is part of what makes an experience unforgettable. The setting always helps, too (https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3972624,-76.5609262,3a,75y,340.27h,114.8t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sAF1QipObTrReMec0clG7NfdOHZ1ISnP-9wn0Khhp7biO!2e10!3e11!6shttps:%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipObTrReMec0clG7NfdOHZ1ISnP-9wn0Khhp7biO%3Dw203-h100-k-no-pi-0-ya327.5322-ro-0-fo100!7i8704!8i4352!5m1!1e1)!

I got a scare at Kinzua Bridge once that was certainly unforgettable for me. I had hiked down into the valley at the base of the bridge, walked around for a bit, grabbed some pictures, and then made the grave mistake of deciding to run back up to meet the rest of my family. I started off, and just kept going, oblivious to the steep grade and the fact that I was in no shape to be doing such a climb at such speeds (you can get some idea of the dynamics of the trail  here (https://www.google.com/maps/@41.7602881,-78.5882896,3a,75y,77.5h,64.44t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sAF1QipMetCarxF3J7d2S14fPVM7_R7nESrpYa6JjL0Bp!2e10!3e11!6shttps:%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipMetCarxF3J7d2S14fPVM7_R7nESrpYa6JjL0Bp%3Dw203-h100-k-no-pi1.9261774-ya31.365084-ro-2.363643-fo100!7i7200!8i3600!5m1!1e1) and here (https://www.google.com/maps/@41.7605553,-78.5883331,3a,90y,171.32h,127.24t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sAF1QipOQKke5uboXr7hT3OYloL8_t5nMlbgKsdJbiV3p!2e10!3e11!6shttps:%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipOQKke5uboXr7hT3OYloL8_t5nMlbgKsdJbiV3p%3Dw203-h100-k-no-pi-0-ya125.11692-ro-0-fo100!7i7200!8i3600!5m1!1e1) - looks can certainly be deceiving!). All of a sudden about 2/3 of the way up, I started feeling faint, and had to stop to sit down and breathe for a while. I almost started to black out, and didn't think I was going to make it the rest of the way up the hill. It was scary stuff for a few minutes: I made it eventually, but learned my lesson and won't forget it anytime soon, either.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on July 17, 2020, 10:57:56 PM
Wow, great trip report, noel! Found myself smiling and nodding through the whole thing.
Surprised you two didn't get together and turn this into a mini-meet.

I was actually in Maryland for the 5th-6th of July, but if I had known he was coming right through Webster on the 7th, we possibly could have arranged something.
I didn't have much time in Rochester/Webster - I didn't want to be in Chimney Bluffs at dark, and my dad had to work the next day. Unless webny99 wants to brave the five hour drive to Chambersburg one day, I don't think we'd be meeting in the near future.

Well, I have been past on I-81 (twice), and even stopped at the Wendy's on US 30/Lincoln Hwy last year. So you never know!
I'd like to meet people from this forum in real life someday, but am unsure if I could ever make it work for a number of reasons I won't get into.

No hard feelings though, and I'm glad you enjoyed your trip.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on July 25, 2020, 04:48:20 PM
Yet another trip in the works: August 14th is the day I leave for New York City. My brother starts his new job on the 24th at Lockheed Martin, in the Hempstead/Uniondale plant; so we're getting him  settled in first. We'll leave NYC on August 22nd.

Anything to watch out for? Looks like NYC's been easing on the restrictions, and NYS doesn't require PA visitors to quarantine.

I might revisit the High Line and several locations in NYC; if I'm lucky I could finally visit the Catskills. And, maybe next year, I'll get to visit the Adirondacks.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: kevinb1994 on July 25, 2020, 05:32:30 PM
Yet another trip in the works: August 14th is the day I leave for New York City. My brother starts his new job on the 24th at Lockheed Martin, in the Hempstead/Uniondale plant; so we're getting him  settled in first. We'll leave NYC on August 22nd.

Anything to watch out for? Looks like NYC's been easing on the restrictions, and NYS doesn't require PA visitors to quarantine.

I might revisit the High Line and several locations in NYC; if I'm lucky I could finally visit the Catskills. And, maybe next year, I'll get to visit the Adirondacks.
I have heard of improving conditions there. But you may still want to be careful and be sure to check the official government websites for more info. The High Line I clinched not long ago before I ended up here in FL. Just let us know what the rest of your itinerary looks like. Iíve driven through the Catskills, but I have ended up in the Adirondacks.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on December 26, 2020, 11:56:59 AM
Welp.

Got my license.

That's cool.

(and yes, I've also been on several trips to NYC since - it takes time to cover them in meticulous detail given they're week-long trips)
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: kkt on December 26, 2020, 02:20:50 PM
Welp.

Got my license.

That's cool.

(and yes, I've also been on several trips to NYC since - it takes time to cover them in meticulous detail given they're week-long trips)

Congratulations!
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on January 24, 2021, 11:11:46 PM
License update: It took forever for them to mail my license; so long that my interim license actually expired. Toss in a mild case of COVID and the new year was off to a rough start. But I have my license! And everybody is fine! With that, here's my summer roadtrip ideas:

-Great Smoky Mountains - a return to my home state, with some of the finest BBQ in Asheville. Mostly an excuse to see some of the best roads in the country, like Tail of the Dragon or the Cherohala Skyway.

-Chicago - somewhere new, and the furthest west I'll have gone in a while. Depending on how summer 2021 looks like, this might not happen. Fingers crossed COVID isn't a threat by then.

Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: kkt on January 25, 2021, 12:37:39 AM
congratulations!
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on January 25, 2021, 01:06:32 AM
congratulations!
Thanks x2! So far I've done a bit of urban driving around DC and NYC - hoping that Chicago won't be too bad. The Smokies will definitely be interesting driving challenges.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on February 04, 2021, 10:43:54 PM
I've got to make a choice for next summer's roadtrip. Because of funds, we can only choose one place to go (usually we can do both). So, I've considered the Smokies of NC/SC/GA/TN, or Chicago. Both would be a week long vacation, and are new territory for me.

Some things to consider:

Smokies

Chicago

Would still have to deal with tourist traps. Maybe would ride an alpine coaster in TN to say I've done it. Still, tourist traps in Chicago are more expensive than the Smokies - though being at the top of the Sears Tower is a tempting proposition, even though I've been on taller towers (CN Tower in Toronto).

Again, feedback is welcome, especially if any of y'all have experience with these places.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Ketchup99 on February 04, 2021, 11:18:43 PM
I'd go with Chicago, just because as soon as it's safe to get into a big city again that'll be the first thing I'll do. I cannot WAIT to leave this state again, haven't crossed a state line since September. (Although I'll be going to Worcester later this month for a vaccine trial, so I can get out then.)

Good luck!
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: kphoger on February 05, 2021, 09:38:00 AM
Chicago is my favorite city to visit.  If you do go there and if you do go up the Sears Tower or Hancock, then make sure it's a clear day.  It stinks to get all the way up there, only to realize you can't see very far.  One not-so-tourist-trap thing to do in the summer is to go swimming at a Lake Michigan beach;  everyone has their favorite beach, but my two are Oak Street and Ohio Street.  The museums in Chicago are a must if you visit (assuming they're open then);  there are many different sorts, depending on what you like.  The aquarium, field museum, science and industry, plus some excellent smaller ones dotted around.  For the zoo, I'd skip the free Lincoln Park Zoo and take Metra out to Brookfield instead.  Lodging is definitely expensive in Chicago, though, so it might be more economical to find an airbnb instead.

Haven't been to the Smokies since I was so young I can barely remember.  Would be a totally different trip, though.  Do they still have horseback riding there?  If so, I'd do that.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: jmacswimmer on February 05, 2021, 10:00:25 AM
Chicago is my favorite city to visit.  If you do go there and if you do go up the Sears Tower or Hancock, then make sure it's a clear day.  It stinks to get all the way up there, only to realize you can't see very far.  One not-so-tourist-trap thing to do in the summer is to go swimming at a Lake Michigan beach;  everyone has their favorite beach, but my two are Oak Street and Ohio Street.  The museums in Chicago are a must if you visit (assuming they're open then);  there are many different sorts, depending on what you like.  The aquarium, field museum, science and industry, plus some excellent smaller ones dotted around.  For the zoo, I'd skip the free Lincoln Park Zoo and take Metra out to Brookfield instead.  Lodging is definitely expensive in Chicago, though, so it might be more economical to find an airbnb instead.

I'll second pretty much everything Chicago - I picked Oak Street Beach last time I was out there and we wanted a lazy beach day, largely because it's within walking distance of the Clark/Division L stop (and we used CTA to get pretty much everywhere, including arriving at & departing from MDW - a 7-day unlimited pass for both bus & rail cost $28 per person at the time, and we more than got our money's worth!)

We went up Sears Tower (glad we agree on its real name, kphoger :-D) at night last time and it was honestly just as incredible as, if not more than, during the day.  Lights in every direction (except to the east, of course) as far as the eye can see, and I could even see the landing lights of planes arriving at both MDW & ORD (and a sea of red taillights on the Kennedy :awesomeface:).
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: Mapmikey on February 05, 2021, 10:29:37 AM
There are no entrance fees at GSMNP or the Blue Ridge Pkwy.

But there IS lots of traffic on US 441 through the park and in Cherokee NC and Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge during the summer tourist season.

An alternative to Tail of the Dragon is TN 32 from the NC line to US 321 - has more curves, is narrower and has zero traffic.  Can be accessed from I-40 Waterville TN and dipping into NC briefly.

The US 441 portion of the park is essentially scenery only (though you can access the App Trail at Newfound Gap to take a stroll), so to see cultural exhibits and structures from the pre-park days you should go to Cades Cove.  If you are not interested in this aspect of the park, you could skip the park altogether if you drive a significant portion of the BRP.  Lots of people use Asheville as their base to do things around that region.

Haven't been to Chicago except passing through on the train, so I have no personal insight on being there.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on February 05, 2021, 11:16:30 AM
I'd pick the Smokies, because the trip would be so much better. On my two trips to Tennessee, the trips there and back were the highlight. On my two trips to (and beyond) Chicago, the trips were entirely boring and forgettable.

But purely as a destination, Chicago is a great option as well. I've never been up the Sears Tower, but I did visit the Shedd Aquarium and spend most of a morning in that area, including getting some great skyline views (https://www.google.com/maps/@41.8667867,-87.6093717,3a,56.2y,158.87h,91.93t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sAF1QipNN2JNpEWFp-nl3L2JSlmXIpOqcq_pZV_enCwfH!2e10!3e11!6shttps:%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipNN2JNpEWFp-nl3L2JSlmXIpOqcq_pZV_enCwfH%3Dw203-h100-k-no-pi-0.9449836-ya123.85435-ro-0.69067085-fo100!7i5376!8i2688!5m1!1e1). (I also remember witnessing what I'm pretty sure was child abuse at a McDonald's in that area and being pretty scared by it.)
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: ChimpOnTheWheel on February 11, 2021, 01:54:17 PM
I've got to make a choice for next summer's roadtrip. Because of funds, we can only choose one place to go (usually we can do both). So, I've considered the Smokies of NC/SC/GA/TN, or Chicago. Both would be a week long vacation, and are new territory for me.

Some things to consider:

Smokies
  • Generally cheaper; no need to pay for parking (not sure if Great Smokies NP or Blue Ridge Parkway charges admission)
  • Less overall traffic, though depends on how COVID plays out
  • Exciting trip there and back, would go through WV and over the New River Gorge
  • More distance to cover - ex. Mt. Mitchell is far from Tail of the Dragon, or even Asheville
  • Less variety of food, unless I want to drive all the way to Atlanta or Asheville. Personally, I like barbeque but still something to think about

Chicago
  • More expensive - hotels, restaurants, parking, transit, etc.
  • Boring trip through Ohio and Indiana
  • More variety - though the suburbs are boring
  • More interesting, world-class restaurants; special dishes like the deep-dish pizza can be found there versus BBQ extravaganza

Would still have to deal with tourist traps. Maybe would ride an alpine coaster in TN to say I've done it. Still, tourist traps in Chicago are more expensive than the Smokies - though being at the top of the Sears Tower is a tempting proposition, even though I've been on taller towers (CN Tower in Toronto).

Again, feedback is welcome, especially if any of y'all have experience with these places.
I live in the suburbs of Chicago, so I know a thing or two about Chicago if you decide to come here.

First of all, there are a select few things outside Downtown that are worthwhile seeing if you haven't seen them already. I always recommend the state park extravaganza in the Illinois Valley, which is just 1.5 hours west down I-80. Though the drive is boring west of Joliet, there are an abundance of canyons, and a few small little waterfalls right off the side of the canyons, at Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks. (Off Exit 81 on I-80 in Illinois)

Second of all, Chicago (and its suburbs) has a lot of diverse food too. Aside the usual deep-dish pizza, I've had some of the best Pakistani food in my life (and that's saying a lot, since I've been to Pakistan) at Bundoo Khan (Devon Ave "Little India", Chicago) & Bundoo Khan Express (Naperville). Would recommend the chicken tikka, you have the choice of spicy or non-spicy (but you gotta specify!).

Finally, the route from Pennsylvania to Chicago is indeed a snoozefest west of Toledo. If you're going in any season other than the winter, you could try one of these two partial shunpikes. (If you're crunched on time, try Shunpike #1 or stay on the normal course).

Shunpike #1: (Adds 5 miles & 14 minutes)

Take the usual route from Pennsylvania to Bristol, Indiana - then exit at Exit 101 off I-80/I-90 to IN-15.
Take IN-15 southbound to US-20 westbound (which will turn into the freeway alternative to I-80/I-90 through the South Bend area), then exit 73A to IN-2 westbound.
IN-2 goes west until it turns back into US-20, then follow to I-94 west in Michigan City, off MM 40 (I-94).

Shunpike #2: (Adds 65 miles & 51 minutes)

Take the usual route from Pennsylvania to Toledo, Ohio - then exit at Exit 64 off I-80/I-90 to I-75.
Take I-75 southbound to I-475 northbound (the Toledo bypass), then US-23 northbound (a freeway) to Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Pick up I-94 at Exit 35 in Michigan (MM 180 off I-94).
Follow I-94 westbound to Indiana.

Whether to pick Chicago or not is up to you, but these tips are from a Chicago-suburb resident to you! Enjoy.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on February 12, 2021, 03:08:53 PM
How useful is mass transit around Chicago? Are we talking New York levels where practically anywhere is reached by subway, or LA where you have to drive around and find parking?

Speaking of which, what is parking like in Chicago?
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: kphoger on February 12, 2021, 03:18:18 PM
How useful is mass transit around Chicago? Are we talking New York levels where practically anywhere is reached by subway, or LA where you have to drive around and find parking?

Speaking of which, what is parking like in Chicago?

CTA is excellent.  You can plan on getting anywhere in Chicago itself on transit with no problems.  Service is frequent and the map is covered by bus routes.  The L trains are easy to use.

Out in the suburbs, it's not quite so easy.  The closer-in suburbs have some decent Pace bus routes, but you'd need to look into that in advance.  Most Metra lines (commuter rail) are a decent option, but only if your destination is in the downtown of that particular suburb.  If your travels would take you out to the suburbs, then I recommend checking out the maps here (https://rtachicago.org/plan-your-trip/travel-tips/riding-metra-trains/maps).  Otherwise, don't worry about CTA, as it's a superb transit system that goes anywhere you need to within the city itself.

Finding street parking near tourist destinations is like searching for the holy grail.  (I have early childhood memories of hunting for street parking near Cubs games, and of my father's frustration.)  Parking garages and lots are expensive.  Personally, I don't find it to be worth the hassle, considering how good CTA is.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: dlsterner on February 12, 2021, 10:51:56 PM
I've got to make a choice for next summer's roadtrip. Because of funds, we can only choose one place to go (usually we can do both). So, I've considered the Smokies of NC/SC/GA/TN, or Chicago. Both would be a week long vacation, and are new territory for me.

Some things to consider:

Smokies
  • Generally cheaper; no need to pay for parking (not sure if Great Smokies NP or Blue Ridge Parkway charges admission)
  • Less overall traffic, though depends on how COVID plays out
  • Exciting trip there and back, would go through WV and over the New River Gorge
  • More distance to cover - ex. Mt. Mitchell is far from Tail of the Dragon, or even Asheville
  • Less variety of food, unless I want to drive all the way to Atlanta or Asheville. Personally, I like barbeque but still something to think about

Chicago
  • More expensive - hotels, restaurants, parking, transit, etc.
  • Boring trip through Ohio and Indiana
  • More variety - though the suburbs are boring
  • More interesting, world-class restaurants; special dishes like the deep-dish pizza can be found there versus BBQ extravaganza

Would still have to deal with tourist traps. Maybe would ride an alpine coaster in TN to say I've done it. Still, tourist traps in Chicago are more expensive than the Smokies - though being at the top of the Sears Tower is a tempting proposition, even though I've been on taller towers (CN Tower in Toronto).

Again, feedback is welcome, especially if any of y'all have experience with these places.

Hi Noel,

I've been to both places.  Only once to Chicago (if you don't count air transfers at O'Hare).  So I'm probably not that qualified to recommend things in Chicago.  About eight times to Gatlinburg, so I can pass on some observations there, if you are planning to spend some time there if you ultimately choose the Smokys.

You may want to watch the time of year, as sometimes it can be hard to find a room, especially if an event is happening at the Convention Center.  Parking is pretty scarce, but everything is close so you will likely leave the car at the hotel and walk (or take the trolley) wherever you want to go.  The town is quite hilly though!

Don't discount the "variety of food" - you mentioned barbecue - off the top of my head Gatlinburg has Calhoun's and Bennett's for BBQ, both of which I found quite good.  If you like freshwater trout, many places offer that.  And lots of local restaurants - no need to settle for the chain places you can go to at home.

On the other hand, it can give off a "tourist trap" vibe.  That may turn some people off, others may find it kind of charming.  Lots of souvenir shops and the like.  Ripley's museum.  Guinness World Record Museum.  Aquarium.  Miniature golf.

Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on February 12, 2021, 11:58:00 PM
Hi Noel,

I've been to both places.  Only once to Chicago (if you don't count air transfers at O'Hare).  So I'm probably not that qualified to recommend things in Chicago.  About eight times to Gatlinburg, so I can pass on some observations there, if you are planning to spend some time there if you ultimately choose the Smokys.

You may want to watch the time of year, as sometimes it can be hard to find a room, especially if an event is happening at the Convention Center.  Parking is pretty scarce, but everything is close so you will likely leave the car at the hotel and walk (or take the trolley) wherever you want to go.  The town is quite hilly though!

Don't discount the "variety of food" - you mentioned barbecue - off the top of my head Gatlinburg has Calhoun's and Bennett's for BBQ, both of which I found quite good.  If you like freshwater trout, many places offer that.  And lots of local restaurants - no need to settle for the chain places you can go to at home.

On the other hand, it can give off a "tourist trap" vibe.  That may turn some people off, others may find it kind of charming.  Lots of souvenir shops and the like.  Ripley's museum.  Guinness World Record Museum.  Aquarium.  Miniature golf.
I plan on steering clear of the tourist traps, which means avoiding Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. I also plan on staying in Franklin, NC - it's centrally located and about an hour from everything. Anything you really recommend to see? So far I plan to see

-Tail of the Dragon + NC 28 or TN 32 (Tail is closer)
-Upper Whitewater Falls
-Cherohala Skyway
-Blue Ridge Parkway (literally start at the southern terminus and drive the entire day on the parkway; if we're lucky we make it to Asheville for dinner)
-Asheville (Zoo, Biltmore Estate, etc.)
-GA 60 or Atlanta if possible (both take 2 hours)
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: webny99 on February 13, 2021, 12:11:11 PM
Cades Cove Scenic Loop (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Cade's+Cove+Scenic+Loop/@35.6373651,-83.6839858,12z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x885ea568b96c84bf:0x136ca337faf9d544!8m2!3d35.6065101!4d-83.7740993!5m1!1e1) is classic Smokies and a great spot to potentially see black bears, if that's something that interests you.

When I visited I was staying in the Knoxville area, and it was actually quicker to return via US 321 and TN 33 (thus avoiding the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge mess altogether), which was really nice.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: dlsterner on February 13, 2021, 10:49:07 PM
I plan on steering clear of the tourist traps, which means avoiding Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. I also plan on staying in Franklin, NC - it's centrally located and about an hour from everything. Anything you really recommend to see? So far I plan to see

-Tail of the Dragon + NC 28 or TN 32 (Tail is closer)
-Upper Whitewater Falls
-Cherohala Skyway
-Blue Ridge Parkway (literally start at the southern terminus and drive the entire day on the parkway; if we're lucky we make it to Asheville for dinner)
-Asheville (Zoo, Biltmore Estate, etc.)
-GA 60 or Atlanta if possible (both take 2 hours)

Fair enough :)

Asheville is an interesting city.  I can definitely recommend the Biltmore Estate tour.  They have other activities as well, checking their web site would be a good place to start.  I do see that your "listed" age is 16, but I will at least mention their winery tour, with an optional wine tasting at the end.  Which I enjoyed.

In the Smoky Mountains, if you are into hiking, you can hike (not too stressful, about 1/2 mile from parking lot at the end of the access road) to the top of Clingman's Dome (on the NC/TN border) which is one of the highest points in the eastern US. There is an observation tower there.

If you are staying in Franklin, you aren't too far from the Bavarian themed town of Helen GA - although that probably falls under "tourist trap".

The natural rock formation Chimney Rock is not too far away.

I'm sure others will have more ideas.
Title: Re: noelbotevera travels!
Post by: noelbotevera on February 21, 2021, 12:38:19 PM
Here's (https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Chambersburg,+PA/Franklin,+NC/@37.5585099,-81.9781735,7.6z/data=!4m34!4m33!1m25!1m1!1s0x89c976c52b9d969b:0x30f37f7b0fba60a7!2m2!1d-77.6611022!2d39.9375911!3m4!1m2!1d-79.2025232!2d39.2015612!3s0x89b5462872163bc3:0x9af97631b815545f!3m4!1m2!1d-79.8152326!2d39.0147282!3s0x884ae613348bba67:0x59745e809571957e!3m4!1m2!1d-81.5082681!2d36.3088628!3s0x8851aaa99ef48c39:0x1c3011adc130b955!3m4!1m2!1d-81.7549944!2d36.1201889!3s0x8850ee432c32682b:0xb89da7a52f57c02e!1m5!1m1!1s0x8859251b3c341e5b:0x7d6abd5c00dca225!2m2!1d-83.3815429!2d35.1823171!3e0?hl=en&authuser=0) my planned route from Chambersburg to Franklin. I have the entire day to drive, so that's why we can take a slower route (my family insists on interstates). . However, I'm taking the fast way back - likely starting north or northeast of Asheville.

Possible diversions:
-Clinch WV 93 near Mt. Storm (not too hard)
-US 19 between I-79 exits 91 and 67 (worth it?)
-US 19 between I-77 exit 20 (WV, near Camp Creek) to Princeton (WV/VA line) - both look like twisty and fun mountain roads
-VA 16 through Mouth of Wilson
-Blowing Rock (cheap, compared to Grandfather Mountain; though maybe hiking up the mountain is possible with time)
-NC 197 near Mt. Mitchell - worthwhile? Would then connect to I-26 north of Asheville, which I've heard is a great drive

I'm sure there's a more interesting route, but this is just looking through Google Maps.

Fair enough :)

Asheville is an interesting city.  I can definitely recommend the Biltmore Estate tour.  They have other activities as well, checking their web site would be a good place to start.  I do see that your "listed" age is 16, but I will at least mention their winery tour, with an optional wine tasting at the end.  Which I enjoyed.

In the Smoky Mountains, if you are into hiking, you can hike (not too stressful, about 1/2 mile from parking lot at the end of the access road) to the top of Clingman's Dome (on the NC/TN border) which is one of the highest points in the eastern US. There is an observation tower there.

If you are staying in Franklin, you aren't too far from the Bavarian themed town of Helen GA - although that probably falls under "tourist trap".

The natural rock formation Chimney Rock is not too far away.

I'm sure others will have more ideas.
Took a look at Biltmore - yikes, it's an arm and a leg. Will probably save it for another time; sadly, the wine tasting is off the table for this laddy.

I might get a chance at Mt. Mitchell, which is higher - though the view matters more than elevation. I guess we'll have to see.

I feel like I see a lot of Bavarian themed stuff around my part of Pennsylvania...however, I wouldn't mind paying for Chimney Rock (still - $22 per person to walk on a bridge? - no bueno.)

...Man, you're making my "things to see" list longer, huh? That's awesome but sheesh, a week isn't enough.