Saturday, August 20, 2011

2011-24 Ohio to Indiana


Freemont Ohio

Howe Indiana

Elkhart Indiana

Campground:  Wal-Mart Parking Lot.  It was a bit warm into the evening before finally cooling off.  But free is free, well except for spending about $100 at Wal-Mart’s.

Campground:  Grand View Bend Association Campground.  A Passport America campground.  $12.50 for first 2 nights, then $15 for each additional night.   50 amp service and water.  Easy set up.  Discount sites are first row in park, just set up and they will come collect later in the day.  Rest of park is a owner association park.  Surrounded by farm fields, a river for fishing and canoeing.  Well maintained pool.

Exploring an old abandoned mansion and then.....

I zipped on through Ohio after my months stay in New York with only one stop in the town of  Freemont Ohio,  where the 19th President, Rutherford B Hayes, Library and Mansion are.  President Hayes had to deal with the rebuilding the country after the civil war.  His wife Lucy was the first First Lady to be called the First Lady.  They drove around in a black Presidential carriage which is now housed in the Presidential Library along with a fair collection of Lucy’s dresses.  Boy did she have a small waist.

The Hayes mansion has about 35 rooms and 6 are currently under renovation.  It was originally built for them by Hayes uncle on property he gave them.  All Rutherford asked for was a porch… with a house attached.  The original farm house was built, with no less than 9 foot ceilings and floor to ceiling windows and doors.  Perfect for today’s basketball players.  Most of the wood in the house is butter pecan and  looks as good as the day it was installed.  When it was expanded to the 35 room mansion it was the first to have an elevator.  He was the first president to have a telephone and typewriter.

Then it was off to Indiana for repairs on my Montana .  Where Tiara Rv removed the bolt that keeps coming up through the kitchen floor and replaced it with two bolts, with newly drilled holes and epoxy glue to hold them in place.  Wonder if this will work.  I also was given the phone number of the axle manufacturer as there is a possibility that the constant vibration of the camper while on the road, is leading to the many  items in the camper coming unscrewed.  Like light bulbs, whole light fixtures and occasionally finding screws and bolts lying on the floor after a long trip.

I found a Passport America campground called Grand View Assoc. which is a membership/site owner park with about 40 sites for us roving campers.  They only advertise two nights at the Passport discount rate ($12.50) but offer additional nights for only $15 a night.  At those prices I’m staying for the week to explore the area.  This is one of those campgrounds where you can purchase a lot for around $9,000, with many of the owners purchasing two side by side to have a bigger lot.  Cheap way for many to have a summer get-a-way for the family.

A trip to Shipshewana and the hugest flea market in Indiana.  What fun driving down country lanes, passing numerous horse drawn buggies with Amish families.  Some riding bikes along the wide paved skirting along the roadways.   Shipshewana has a wonderful interpretive center for learning more about the Amish and  Mennonite community.  There is a huge community of Amish and Mennonite living in Indiana and Ohio in particular.  They add wonderful local color to the area, living their simpler life styles, making some of us envious of their simpler way of life.  But we Rv’ers have a pretty simple life style as well, so come to think of it, we’re not doing too badly in the keep it simple lifestyle either.

A note on my view out my large picture window at the back of my camper.  I’m overlooking a flat field of hay which has been cut recently and looks like a blond buzz cut.  Patches of trees line up mid field, giving the appearance of an African savanna against a soft blue sky with clouds lingering at various levels high in the sky.  A really awesome view.

Since I’m right on the boarder between Indiana and Michigan, I drove over to Sturgis Michigan to get some prescriptions filled at Walgreens.  I used Wal-Mart for a couple of years but started to have problems with them as they needed to transfer all my prescriptions to what ever store I was currently having them fill out in.  sometimes, the other store wouldn't transfer the orders.  It was a mess.  Now, at Walgreens, they just ask for my name, look up my prescriptions on their computer and fill the order.  No problems.  

Kind of fun driving between states so easily.  Back at the Grand View campground, the neighbors are all so friendly, even stopping by while driving in or out of the park to chat a bit and ask what part of Florida I’m from.  Each campground has it’s own atmosphere and I can usually tell right away if I’m going to enjoy it.  This is one of those parks.

Over in Howe, a small town with a few downtown shops, they even have a designated place for the Amish to park their horses and buggies.  I had lunch at the Chicago Pizza place where the owner was eager to please and show off his Chicago pizza making skills.  Across the street was a haberdashery.  You know, a women’s hat designer.

I just finished reading a most wonderful book from my Spiritual reading collection thast I purchased on my recent visit the other week to Lilly Dale.  Of course I finished the Priest and the Medium about my former pastor, Anne Gehman which was like enjoying the stories and life of an old friend.  Wouldn’t it be nice to read a book about one of your friends, or at the very least Cliff Notes.  There is so much we don’t know about our friends and family and each one of us does have a story to tell.  Well in any case, the book I just finished is called “ Séances in Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Spiritualism during the Civil War”  Nettie Colburn Maynard, Editing and commentary by Irene McGarvie.

It’s a shortened version of the original book by Nettie C Maynard and only covers first hand account of the Lincoln episodes and her early life.  What a fascinating story of her mediumship and meetings with Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln.  Along with some real insight as to what was going on during the civil war, I felt like I was right there experiencing a unique piece of history.  A totally different perspective of  history and a real page turner.

An except from the book:
  • “Mrs. Lincoln received us graciously, and introduced us to a gentleman and lady present whose names I have forgotten.  Mr. Lincoln was not then present.  While all were conversing pleasantly on general subjects, Mrs. Miller (Mr. Laurie’s daughter) seated herself, under control, at the double grand piano at one side of the room, seemingly awaiting someone.  Mrs. Lincoln was talking with us in a pleasant strain when suddenly Mrs. Miller’s hands fell upon the keys with a force that betokened a master hand, and the strains of a grand march filled the room.  As the measured notes rose and fell we became silent.  The heavy end of the piano began rising and falling in perfect time to the music.”

  • “All at once it ceased and Mr. Lincoln stood upon the threshold of the room. (He afterward informed us….”

additional pictures on Picasa.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

2011-23 Corning New York

Cuba NY

Corning NY

Corning Glass Museum

Rockwell Museum of Western Art

from around 400 BC

On my way back to my campsite last week I drove along the “Southern  Corridor”, hwy 86.  Passing through the Sovereign Seneca Nation, I noticed that the highway was very poorly maintained.   Later Walt told me that there has been an on going battle between the state of NY and the Indian Reservation.  The Seneca Nation wants to put a toll both between the section of hwy 86 which is on their land, the state is fighting it and during this period, is refusing to perform any work on that section of the highway.  Interesting how there's always more to the story than one would think.

A side trip took me to Cuba Ny where they have the most wonderful cheese store.  Cuba at one time was the world center for Cheddar cheese and the town set the price for Cheddar cheese weekly for the whole country.  Just outside of town is a huge 347 foot long horse barn, built to house the famous stallion "McKinney". It lies empty today, looking for a good owner to come along.

Day trips are great even if your not Rv-ing around the country.  For me it’s always an adventure and this time I was able to go with two friends, Walt and Ben.  We headed out in the morning to Corning Ny.  Corning is still the home and manufacturing site of much of the Corning Glass and they have a large museum devoted to glass.

The town itself looks awesome being on a river.  The downtown area is pretty nice, though there were a fair amount of buildings that were empty, others were being rehabbed including a 4 story brick building getting a facelift both inside and out.  Nice pedestrian park in the center of town as well.  Unfortunately, they have parking meters, always a pain when trying to find a parking spot, especially when one doesn’t have change with them.

The Corning Glass Museum is quite large so I would recommend making sure you have a couple of hours to explore it including taking in a couple of the  glass making shows.  Wonderful displays of ancient glass art going back to 400 BC right up to the present day art pieces on display.  I loved the ancient and most recent art glass pieces and the displays and lighting were just stunning.  A couple of over the top pieces like chandeliers,  glass tables, chairs and Tiffany pieces were just awesome to see.

We also went over to the Rockwell Museum of Western Art.  Discount tickets are available when purchasing both the Glass and Western art museum tickets at the same time.  I was impressed with the western art museum, having visited a number of them out west.  Nice to see such a high quality collection of western art on the east coast.  Brought me right back to the area of the country I’ve enjoyed so much time in.

my favorite painting at Rockwell Museum,
The Morning Shower, by Frank  Johnson

I’m on my last few days in this part of NY and will be heading across the top of Ohio and  Elkhart Indiana on my way to Michigan to visit with my sisters once again.  We’ve been having some great weather here in NY and hope everyone else is enjoying the summer as well.  With doors and windows open to capture the cool breezes.  We’ve even had a couple of days of rain which is always appreciated by the farmers in the area.

More pictures as always on Picasa.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

2011-22 Lilly Dale New York


Lilly Dale NY

National Spiritual Association of Churches

I was feeling a bit down the other day, as I had a pain on my right side, causing me to favor that side only adding to the discomfort by the end of the day.  After a few aspirin and a fair nights sleep I decided to drive over to Lilly Dale.  What better way to lift ones spirits than at a Spiritualist Camp.

Camps were popular in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  You may recall my visit to an historic Christian camp in Lancaster Ohio (report 2011-19).  And the area I'm currently in was famous to many religious movements such as the Shakers, Mormons, Mennonites, and Amish and of course the Spiritualist movement.

As a bit of a background, back in my early 20’s, I had joined the National Spiritual Association of Churches in Orlando.  There, I attended many classes in philosophy, religion and meditation.  Having grown up Lutheran and having a wonderful minister who told us during our catechism classes that we must question our religion and not just accept it on faith and to find the true meaning behind our religion, I was ready to start learning.  With that I began a wonderful journey exploring what this life was all about.  And the Spiritualist movement aided me in that search.

So after taking a long drive through western NY’s hilly wine country, with it’s many small towns nestled between thick forests on rolling hills, past farms and vineyards and even a couple dozen wind turbines slowly turning in the early morning breeze I arrived at the spiritualist camp called Lilly Dale.  After a 35 year absence.

After paying the $10 entrance/parking fee I entered the sprawling, park like setting of  Lilly Dale.  Each day during the summer months, hundreds of visitors arrive to explore, get spiritual readings, and attend lectures and services.  Since I had been having a bit of pain, I headed to the Healing Service, where about a dozen healers perform Laying on of Hands.  Asking the divine healing of the Universe to aid those in need.  Having done some Laying on of Hands myself, I was very familiar with the procedure and waited my turn to sit and received the healing energy.  A peaceful white light of energy was received and after a few prayers of healing for those close to me, I headed out to explore the grounds.

Now most people come to Lilly Dale to receive readings.  Hoping to contact loved ones that have passed over to the other side, or to receive inspiration or guidance from spirit guides, or just to receive confirmation of life after death.  Like the Tv program that was on the other night with Bob Woodruff, Near Death Experiences, I think we all would like confirmation of life after death.  I’ve been fortunate to have always felt guided and in tune with my path in life, so needless to say, I did not feel the need to have a reading.

Instead, I enjoyed wandering around the camp, going to the bookstore (purchasing way too much), visiting the Marion Skidmore Library and discovering that a new book has come out on Anne Gehman’s life.  She being my minister and spiritual teacher back in Orlando in the 1970’s.  So of course I had to go back to the bookstore and purchase it.  It’s called, “The Priest and the Medium” by Suzanne Giesemann.

Lilly Dale is comprised of about a 100 homes, hotel, guest houses, campground, museum, library, healing temple, assembly hall and a few restaurants , coffee shops and gift shops.  A lovely lake for swimming, boating and fishing.  And of course the dozens of mediums available for readings.  I love the park like setting as I wander between the shops and restaurants.  Stopping in the Sunflower for lunch.  Had a Monte Cristo and sweet potato fries.  Then is was off to hear Albert Batten and his wife, a medium, Beverly Batten.  They hale from Ontario Canada and Albert has been a Spiritualist all his life.  As with many Spiritualists, he explored other religions from Southern Baptists to Islam, you name it.  Learning from each but always feeling something was missing till returning to Spiritualism that seems to accept and encompass truths from what ever the source.

A trip to the museum to learn about the different types of mediumship, the history and check out the story on Susan B Anthony.  Noticed a lot of teenagers working in the shops and restaurants and as Albert mentioned from the podium today, lots of young, older folks and middle people.  Real nice mix.

Well, after a full day of exploring and not wanting to get all preachy or sappy about my visit, I feel I nourished my Body, Mind and Soul along with a two scoop vanilla ice-cream cone for $1.50 and headed on back to my campsite.

My last week here in upstate NY and I’m meeting up again with my buddies, Ben and Walt.  I’ve got a number of excursions planned and will mention them in the next report.

Additional photos on PICASA.