Tuesday, May 8, 2018

'The Boys of Summer.......'

6:40 am - Tuesday - May 8th - Herkimer, NY - 39º F, 77% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the southeast.....clear blue skies with a forecast high today of 72º F.....

Walmart Parking lot in Herkimer, NY Tuesday morning

We awoke to perfect driving weather Monday morning.  I was up at 6 am, with TLE following at 6:30 am, and by 7:50 am we were rolling our wheels south from Lockport to pick up I-90 eastbound aka: 'The New York Thruway', which we will be traversing until we hit the Massachusetts border sometime Tuesday afternoon.

Getting out of Lockport is kind of like what the birth experience must be for a baby.  You start out on very narrow, almost claustrophobic two way streets with no shoulders, and gradually find yourself on a much wider two way street with a small shoulder, then suddenly you are on a massive 4 lane highway with wide shoulders, and within a few more minutes you are on a six lane Interstate with shoulders as wide as a traffic lane.  Okay, well, I really do not remember my birth experience, but I have been witness to 5 and I think that is what it must feel like.  Don't get me wrong, I love the narrow lanes of Lockport while walking, or driving the VW, but not in a 62 foot behemoth......not so much!

Back in the days of travel on the Erie Canal folks referred to the 63 mile section between Rochester and Lockport as 'The Big Level' because there were no locks required for that entire stretch.  That is exactly how I would refer to the first 63 miles of travel on I-90 Monday.......very, very flat.  It seemed as if we were floating on air the entire distance.....no ups.....no downs.....just hold on to the steering wheel and let the cruise control do its work.


Our reason for leaving Lockport so early was so we could arrive in Herkimer (at the junction of SR-28 and I-90.....SR-28 takes you south to Cooperstown) before 1 pm giving us time to drive the VW 26 miles south to Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame which closes at 5 pm this time of year.  We figured that would give us a good 2-3 hours to see as much as we could.

Our travel distance Monday was 223 miles, which is kind of getting to the upper limit of the distance I like to drive the Newell/trailer in one day.  On The New York Thruway they do not have Rest Areas.....instead they have 'Service Areas'.  Normally Rest Areas are non-commercial, but these Service Areas are quite commercial, sporting large fuel stations, food courts, and gift shops in addition to large parking areas for trucks, RV's and cars.  They are spaced anywhere from 30-40 miles apart, which is a good distance.  We like to stop to stretch our legs every 60-80 miles, so these had the perfect spacing for us....


......our first stop of the day was the Scottsville Service Area at about the 70 mile mark into our driving day.....


......then there was the Port Byron Service Area at the 135 mile mark.....


.....and finally the Oneida Service area at the 195 mile mark......just 28 miles to go!  Our total toll road fee this day from Buffalo to Herkimer was $36.50.....ouch!

We arrived at the Herkimer Walmart parking lot at 12:55 pm.....perfect.  We had put on our street clothes at the last Service Area, so when we arrived we simply parked, unloaded the VW and were on our way south on SR-28 by 1:15 pm and arriving in Cooperstown by 1:50 pm.  We quickly found a street parking spot about a block from the Hall of Fame and walked back to the entrance.  The senior admission fee (62 years and older) is $15/person, which saved us $8/person over the regular admission.  I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story......needless to say I took pictures of the players, and events in which I was interested.....








 The early bats were quite crude
























 















 The home of the Dodgers when they were still in Brooklyn, NY







  
 On the way into Cooperstown TLE asked me why the Hall of Fame was in Cooperstown.....I did not know the answer.....now I do...


 



 Obvious, huh?































 Only batter ever to hit a homerun completely out of Dodger Stadium in L.A......he hit two





















 Kirk Gibson hit the famous walk-off homerun off Dennis Eckersley in the first game of the 1988 World Series.....I will never forget that moment!














 


 

 

 









 The USPS and downtown Cooperstown


 .....it is a day I shall not soon forget.  I have dreamed of visiting the National Baseball Hall of Fame since I was a teenager.  I still remember the first baseball game I attended back in the summer of 1958 when the L.A. Dodgers were still playing their games in the L.A. Coliseum.  My grandfather, Bryan, took me.  We sat in the left field bleachers which had a 'short porch' as they say.  My Dodger hero at the time, Duke Snider, hit a home run that day......I will never forget it.  From that day until the summer of 1980 I never saw the Dodgers lose in person.  The day I saw them lose Fernando Valenzuela was pitching.....he was undefeated up until that game.  During the 60's we lived in Pasadena, CA.....not far from Dodger Stadium.  My dad was a avid Dodger fan, and we always had the game playing on the radio during those summer evenings.  If the game was close in the 7th inning he would sometimes drive me and a few neighborhood kids over to the stadium to see the last two innings.....he had a friend in the General Admission seat area who let us in for free.  I saw a lot of great endings to games, and the Dodgers won them all, obviously.  I still remember listening to Sand Koufax pitch his perfect no hit game.  I remember he and Don Drysdale holding out at the beginning of one season for the unheard of salaries of $100,000......a literal drop in the bucket by today's standards.  I can still hear Vin Scully calling the games, and the most memorable homerun of them all.....


.....one of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed in my life.....and I will leave you with that.....thanks for stopping by!

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3 comments:

  1. Rogers Hornsby is buried about 10 miles east of downtown Austin in a family cemetery on land owned by his relatives for about 175 years.

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  2. That Gibson HR will give me chills forever...

    ReplyDelete