Saturday, May 5, 2018

Thank you Mr. Jello!

7:28 am - Saturday - May 5th - Lockport, NY - 51º F, 78% humidity, wind 9 mph out of the south by southwest.  Partly cloudy skies today with a forecast high of 72º rain!

When we first awoke around 6 am Friday we were not sure we would be rolling our wheels, or sheltering in place until the storm was completely gone.  It was still raining when we got up.....there are two things we do not like to in the wind, or drive in the rain, and certainly not both at the same time.  The weather forecast indicated it would stop raining by 10 am, and that the wind would be from the west to southwest during the day.  If those two things held true we would roll our wheels, but if either prediction failed to hold up we were going to stay in Ashtabula another day.

Apparently Mr. Jello felt our indifference and decided to let the weather guessers have one.....around 8 am the skies began to clear, the rain stopped, and the wind was coming directly out of the west.  Why is a wind out of the west desirable to us?  Well, we are traveling almost due east, and sometimes northeast, so any wind out of the west, or southwest just pushes us along.....nothing to fight.

We only had to unhook our electrical, move forward, insert the VW and go, and we were rolling down the road by 9:42 am.....perfect.  Our first stop of the day was only 8 miles away at the local Flying 'J' which had a dump station.  It had only been 5 days since we last dumped, but when you are living without a sewer hookup 90% of the time you need to take advantage of dumping opportunities whenever they avail themselves.  Flying 'J' charges $10 to dump, but we have a Flying 'J' card which gives us a $2.50 discount.  They have three RV islands at this Flying 'J' with a dump station right in the middle of each island.....perfect.  You can fuel up (we didn't), take on propane (we didn't) and dump your tanks without moving an inch.

By 10:20 am we were merging with I-90 eastbound headed for Lockport, NY and the local Elks Lodge (they have 30 amp electrical available next to 4 concrete pads for RVers, as well as water.....first come, first reservations).  Lockport is close to Niagra Falls (our goal for Saturday), and the Erie Canal passes right through the middle of this cool little town.   I was in Lockport about 12 years ago riding the Erie Canal bike path with a good friend, and this little town was one of my favorite stops along the route.  

When you are in the eastern half of the U.S. in an RV you must be concerned about the height of under passes when you venture off the Interstate.  Some of them have steep ingress and egress and the bridge heights can often be 10', or under.....we are 11.5' tall so mistakenly driving through one of those short underpasses would scrap a lot of stuff on the top of our coach.  Our Garmin Trucker picks routes around those obstacles so we can drive with much more confidence than previously.

Just a few miles east of Ashtabula is the Pennsylvania state line......

.....I like their motto, and it coincides directly with our lifestyle!  Within another 35-40 miles you enter New York......

Our 10th state!  Our first time in New York with the Newell....finally a new state to add to our list.
......when you enter the great state of New York I-90 becomes a toll road all the way to Buffalo.  We had smooth sailing into and through Pennsylania, but as we entered New York the traffic became much more dense almost immediately.  We stopped at the toll both where we were given a ticket showing where we entered the toll road and were told the cost of the toll would be $11.80 if we went all the way to Buffalo, which was our intent.  If we were to exit anywhere earlier than Buffalo the toll would be less.  You pay your toll when you exit the toll road, or at Buffalo if you go that far.

Initially I-90 in NY was a little rough, but it smoothed considerably within a few miles and the driving was easy, although there were a lot more vehicles with which to contend.  With about 45 miles to go to our destination we exited the toll road at one of their 'Service Centers' (Rest Area located near Angola, NY), which are located just off the Interstate (no toll both to go through) and have fuel, fast food as well as RV/truck parking.    We had covered over 100 miles by this time and it was time for a stretching break.  While we were stopped we called the Elks Lodge in Lockport to be sure they had RV sites available, and they did.  We discussed our route to the Lodge with Bonnie and she confirmed the route we were taking would be free from short underpasses.

By 2 pm we were passing through the Buffalo toll booths and paying our $11.80 toll (the toll road begins again on the other side of Buffalo, so we're not done with tolls for a long time).  One, or two more exits saw us exiting I-90 to I-290 which takes us around Buffalo to I-990, and eventually to Millersport Highway up to Lockport.  We arrived at the Elks Lodge #41 around 2:30 pm, pulled into site #1 (normally these are back in sites, but the view is better if you pull in forward).  Within minutes we had 30 amps of electrical power flowing into the Newell, and were on our way into the lodge to pay $30 for two nights ($15/night donation).  While we were there we ordered a couple of Blue Moon drafts and spent time talking with Bonnie, John, Beau and Kyle about our trip, and about the local area.....very friendly folks!

We are parked facing a soccer field, and it seems as if we are in parkland.....perfect...another beautiful Elks Lodge!  By the time we had finished our beers the wind had picked up significantly as the forecast had promised and we were getting gusts into the 40's with steady winds at 25-30 mph so we stayed inside.  The winds began to abate just about the time the sun was setting, and I was able to catch this spectacular sunset......

.....we're off to Niagra Falls in about 2 hours....thanks for stopping by!

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  1. NY is in New England? I've always figured that New York was New York and New England was the states above NY.
    We're going up the east coast this summer, I'd better find a way of identifying low overpasses before we get to them! Besides buying a new GPS...

  2. Rob, you are right, New York is not part of New England!


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