Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Family Get together 2nd week Buffalo NY

July 19 - 28, 2014 

Our second week in Buffalo NY we finished with a small family get together at our KOA campground.  Patty’s son Chas has not been to Buffalo to see family in many years so we flew him and his girlfriend here for the weekend.  We rented the recreation hall at the KOA for just $75 which included the kitchen and the large Jenn-Aire BBQ grille.  I BBQ’ed some chicken breasts and some corn on the cob and we had lots of beer.  It was a good time and Chas got to visit with relatives that he has not seen for many years.

We had a fairly busy week this past week.  We did a few traditional things that you just need to do while in the Buffalo area.  We ate Ted’s Red Hot’s and had beef on weck, went to the falls again with Chas and  his girlfriend Lisa, and we toured the historic Canalside area of Buffalo.   We also celebrated 4 birthdays, Patty’s Father Tom, brother-in-law Joe, neice, Shauna and nephew Adam.  This was separate from the big BBQ this past Sunday with the family.  We also got in a couple of bike rides on the island.

Ted’s Red Hot’s or hot dogs are made with another Buffalo favorite, Sahlen's hot dogs.  They are bigger than most dogs you see and they have a very good but unique taste.  Ted’s also cooks all of their dogs on a charcoal grille to order.  It is probably the best dog you will ever eat.  We went to Ted’s Saturday last week and picked up enough dogs for us and Patty’s parents.  It’s just one of those Buffalo things you need to do!

Just up the road about a mile from our campsite is Adrien’s who sells Frozen Custard and Beef on Weck.  We took our bikes and rode there on Monday evening to have dinner.  Adrien’s isn’t anything special and their food is just OK.  We just wanted a Beef on Weck sandwich and they were the closest place to go.  

It was a great cloudless summer evening close to 80 degrees, perfect for eating outside.  Too bad the Beef on Weck was not so perfect.  The beef was good but the roll just didn’t meet traditional Buffalo standards.  A Weck roll, with is short for kimmelweck, a white bread roll with lots of kosher salt on top as well as caraway seeds.   The Adrien’s roll had very little, if any, salt or caraway seeds on the top.  The salt and the caraway seeds make this sandwich. The traditional sandwich is made with sliced rare roast beef with the top of the kimmelweck roll dipped in au jus.  The traditional Buffalo thing to do is to add horseradish on the side.  There really is no other sandwich that tastes like this.  It’s a must when in Western NY!  Might just want to stay away from Adrien’s on the island though.

This is not the sandwich we got at Adrien's.  This is an internet photo of the real thing.

We have had string of nice weather days here in Western NY. So last Wednesday the 23rd we went to the campground pool and made some website photos of Patty’s cut shirts, BTW (Barely There Wear).

Then on Thursday the 24th we took Patty’s Father Tom and Mother Shirley out for dinner to celebrate Tom’s 83rd birthday.  We went to a restaurant that Shirley and Tom frequent called La Bella Sicilia.  The restaurant is nothing fancy but it has great Italian food.  We were there on a Thursday around 6 pm and the place was packed!  
If anything, Buffalo has some of the best food in the country. 

Patty's Parents Tom and Shirley Griffin.

While I'm talking about food in Buffalo I just need to get this said about Buffalo; Buffalo has, in my opinion, the best locally owned and operated restaurants in the country. Buffalo has their own variations and also very original foods still served by local “mom and pop” restaurants.  Buffalo does this in an area that also still has the feel of a local hometown everywhere you go here.  I just don't know how anybody can stay home and not eat out here!

Friday afternoon we went over to Patty’s sister Cheryl’s house to celebrate her brother-in-law’s Joe’s Birthday.   Cheryl and Joe made a whole turkey for dinner!  What can you say, this is Buffalo!  We had mostly Cheryl’s and Joe’s family there for the feast.  After dinner we went outside and played Bocce until dark.  After dark we played LRC until very late in to the night.  It was a very nice event.

L-R: Joe, his daughter Sara, Joe's wife and Patty's sister Cheryl, behind Cheryl is her son Brain. Cake for Joe's birthday.

It was Adam's birhtday also.  Adam is Cheryl's oldest son.

Playing Bocce in Joe and Cheryl's backyard. L-R: Patty, Joe, Cheryl, front throwing the ball is Sean Joe's son, behind is Eric, Sara's boyfriend, Sara and April, Sean's wife.

Joe having a good birthday!

L-R: Caydence (Sean & April's Daughter), Sara and ?Megan,
Caydence's cousin

Playing LRC.  L-R: April Sean, Patty.

Saturday the 26th was a very busy day!  We started out going to the restored Canal side area of downtown Buffalo with Cheryl and Joe.  We spent about 3 hours walking along the side of the old Erie Canal and having lunch there.  This area was the site of the original opening of the canal in the early 1800’s.   The canal side area is about 2 miles long and is made up of 3 parts.  On one end is an area where there is an entertainment stage for concerts and the like.  The center is made up a naval display with a WWII submarine and several ships form the same era.  The last third is made up of war time memorials for people who served from the area. The Iraq/Afghanistan War memorial is not done yet which is one we would like to have seen.  That memorial has special meaning as Patty’s nephew Travis died in 2006 in Iraq serving in that war.  We will be back to see that probably around Thanksgiving this year as it is due to becompleted on September 13.

I added this photo because the memorial was so unique looking.
This for all of the Polish soldiers from WWII.

The Vietnam memorial.

A masted ship for hire.  They do parties of all kinds.

Very cool!  This vendor rents water bikes for $8/hr.

Cheryl looking out at Canalside and Lake Erie in the background.

Loads of new housing has been built along the canal in the past few years.

Joe posing.  He didn't know I was going to use this picture.  Sorry Joe.

Patty and I.

After walking the Canalside we had lunch at The Hatch.

We had just enough time to get to the store and pick up beer for the big BBQ tomorrow before heading to the airport to pick up Chas and Lisa.  We got everything done and arrived at the airport just as they landed, pretty good timing!  
After picking them up we headed for a traditional Buffalo wings dinner at Duffs.  After dinner we headed to see Niagara Falls from the Canadian side in Niagara Falls Ontario.  Niagara Falls Ontario is absolutely the best place to see the falls.  From the Canadian side you can see both the Canadian as well as the American Falls.  Also, the Canadian Falls are much more impressive than the American falls.  Just note about parking at the falls.  Just go to the Holiday Inn about ½  a mile inland from the falls and it is only $5 to park instead of $15 at the falls.

Chas fresh off the plane from NJ at Duff's in Buffalo for wings.

Chas and Lisa at the Canadian Falls.

All of us at the Canadian Falls.

We got back to our RV ready for bed around 10 pm after a long day.  All we needed now was a couple glasses of wine and off to bed for a good night’s sleep.

Sunday the 27th I got up early and did my usual 5 mile walk/jog around the park.  Little did I know that I was going to do much more walking at the BBQ later on.  After the exercise I headed to a close store for some more ice.  We don’t have room in the RV for large amounts of food so we store the food and beer outside in coolers.  

The rec hall was ready for us at 3pm and people started to roll in just after that.  We took the truck the ¼ mile to the hall with the beer and food just after 3 pm and were greeted by the first family to arrive.  Now all I had to do was to cook chicken and corn on a very large grille that I knew nothing about for 15 people.  I also found out that we forgot to bring down a bunch of stuff so now I needed to walk back to get it.  Well, this walking back and forth went on for 6 trips throughout the evening!  Good thing I practiced this this morning!!

Family at the pool near the BBQ at the KOA.

Chas hugging his Grandma with his Grandpa looking on.

Good pic of Chas and his Grampa.

Chas and his cousin Brian.

It all went very well.  The only thing that I miscalculated on was the timing cooking the corn.  I was going to steam it but it took forever to get the water to boil on the grille side burner.  I have had this problem before with propane; it just doesn’t have the heat of natural gas or even electric.  Finally I used a combination of the side burner and the grille surface to get the corn cooked.

I think because it took so long for the corn, everyone munched on the many snacks available so we had lots of food left over.  I was OK with the leftover food as long as we didn’t take it home and we didn’t.

It was a great day!  The weather held out until after dark to start a thunderstorm.  It had been predicted to storm most of the day so we really had great luck.  After the BBQ clean up Chas’s cousin Brain and his mom Cheryl came over to the RV to visit for Chas’ last hours here.  Cheryl, Patty and I sat outside watching the lightning and talking while Chas, Lisa, and Brain were inside talking.  Cheryl and Brain said their goodbyes round 10:30 pm and we stayed up until just after 11 pm.  It was a great day!

Today the 28th Monday I am writing this.  We got up just after 3:30 am this morning to take Chas and Lisa to the airport for a 6 am flight back to Newark NJ.  We were all very tired and to top it off it was raining and cold.  Patty and I got back a little after 5 am and went back to bed.  We got back up around 10 am and did some internet surfing and then went back to bed until 3:30 pm!  It was just a very cold and crappy rainy day.  We were also just tired after the past couple of days with the planning and doing of the BBQ yesterday.  We just needed to vegetate for a while.  We both just had leftovers for dinner and now we will just watch some TV and back to bed.

For the next few days we are planning to do some things on our own.  We want to bike the south half of Grand Island and we want to visit the new and happening area of downtown Buffalo.  Not sure how much excitement we can handle but we are going for it anyway!

Stay Tuned!

First week in Buffalo NY

July 12 - 18, 2014 

We have been planted in Grand Island now for a week to visit friends and family.  So far that’s exactly what we have done too.   We even had a surprise from some Texas friends who were staying close by in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada which is only 9 miles from us.  Lastly, our bed has a new life with a new gel memory foam topper we added this week.  It has been an eventful week!

Some pictures of the Niagara KOA.  They have very nice cabins with furniture and grilles.

KOA has 2 pools.  This is mainly the kid pool.

This is the adult pool.

The KOA is behind Fantasy Island Amusement park.  The roller coaster is in the background.

Just up the road from our site is a farmers market with fresh produce.

We had to have sweet corn.  Our first of the year!

Saturday we went out for dinner with Patty’s parents (Shirley and Tom) to a favorite local restaurant (Mr. Dee’s).  Saturdays they have a Prime Rib special and we have not had Prime Rib in a while.  We were not disappointed; the Prime Rib was some of the best we have had in a very long time. The only problem was that we all ate way too much.  The rib was just too good to leave any behind, at least for me. Patty’s parents took enough home for another meal which is what we should have done!

Sunday we stayed with Patty’s dad while Shirley went to a Jazz society picnic in the afternoon.  Shirley has been on the board with the local Jazz society for some time.  Both of her parents are avid Dixieland Jazz enthusiasts.  However, in the past year or so Tom has been suffering with dementia and incontinence preventing him from attending to many outside events.  So we stayed at their house with Tom while Shirley attended the picnic.

Patty’s sister Cheryl and her husband Joe came over later in the afternoon to help out and to visit.  After a couple of hours we decided to venture to Cheryl and Joe’s house for dinner.  Cheryl made hot Italian chicken sausages for us to make sandwiches with.  Tom seemed to really like the sausages and had 2 of them.  A little after 7pm we took Tom back to his house and we made our way back to our RV for the night.

The next couple of days we just hung around the campsite relaxing.  We don’t do this too much and not nearly as much as we had thought we would when we started Full Timing. We did make a couple of runs to Walmart for nothing special to pick up some small things.  I needed to return a pair of flip flops I had purchased in PA a few of weeks ago that were mismatched in size.  These are the type shoes that are hanging and tied together so I didn’t look at the size of both shoes.  One was my size 10 and the other was an 11.  I wore the shoes for a couple of weeks and didn’t notice until Patty said that it looked like I had one foot smaller than the other. That just didn’t seem right to me as I never had any such problem before with different sized feet.  That’s when I discovered that I was in fact wearing 2 different sizes of shoes!  I now have a new pair of correct sized flip flops, yea me!

Patty and her sister at Jared's Jewelry shop where her sister works.  Patty is having some work done on her jewelry.
Wednesday we went to Niagara Falls in Ontario Canada to spend the day with some Texan friends.  A few days ago friends Terry and Ken from Texas called to say that they are staying just a few miles (9 miles) from us in Canada at the falls.  We decided to meet up with them and do a little sightseeing.  I think I have been here before but am not really sure and it has been a very long time since Patty has been here. 
On the Rainbow Bridge going to Ontario Canada.  Canadian falls in the background.

Rainbow bridge with a 50 minute wait to get across!
We started by having a great lunch at the top of the Skylon Tower.  This is a restaurant that rotates so you get to see the entire skyline as you eat.  It also overlooks both the US and Canadian Falls.  After lunch we took a fairly long walk down to the edge of the Niagara River to get a closer view of the falls.  We were close enough to get misted by the falls. There was even a rainbow between the 2 falls!  We some more walking and needed to call it quits by then so we could get back to the US before dark.  We had a great time with very good friends.  We will see them next time back in Texas in December.

The Skylon Tower.  Patty and Terry taking the lead.

American Falls from the top of the Skylon Tower.

The much more impressive Canadian Falls also from the Skylon Tower.

Maid of the Mist tourist boat getting close to the falls.

View of the Rainbow bridge from the Skylon Tower.

Closer view of the Canadian Falls from the street level.

We had a rainbow under the American Falls.

Thursday Patty’s father Tom had a surgical urinary catheter inserted at Sisters Hospital in Buffalo.  We met Patty’s parents at the front entrance to the hospital to help with getting parked and settled in for the surgery.  Surgery was at 10 am but they needed to be at the hospital by 7:30 am so we arrived at 7 am just to be sure we were there in time to help.  All went well and Tom was in a regular bed by 1 pm.   It was decided that he stay the night for observation we think mainly due to his age and to make sure the catheter was healing correctly.  We are all hoping that this makes both of their lives a little better now.

Sisters Hospital in Buffalo.
Friday was Patty’s 40th high school reunion from Maryvale High School in Cheektowaga NY.  Patty had a fairly large graduating class of all most 600 students.  They had a good turnout of about 200 people of whom they had about 80 graduates, the rest being spouses.   They had a DJ, lots and lots of food, and an open bar!  This class knows how to have a great time!  We stayed until about 11 pm and there was still over half of the people there.  Our RV was about 40 minutes away so we got back about midnight. Patty had a good time and so did I. 

The reunion was held at The Cove.  This was a water fall behind the bar.

Various images from the mid 70s were projected for all to see.
Patty's graduation picture is the far right bottom.

Us with our usual after 4 pm libations!

My graduating class was around 175 in the farmlands of Indiana. I didn’t realize this but it seems that to have a great turnout at a reunion you need to have a large graduating class.  Patty’s class had only 13% of the graduates attend but since the class was so big, they had a nice 200 people for the event.  That’s probably why my class has only had 2 reunions in 40 years, the 5th and the 25th.  If only 13% of my class shows up with spouses it would only be an event of 46 people.

Tonight was going to be our first time sleeping on our new gel foam mattress topper.  We purchased this one on-line from Amazon last week after many days of researching.  We bought the King size 3 inch Beautyrest Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper.  It really is unbelievable how many foam mattress toppers there are for sale and for a very wide range of prices.  I found these toppers anywhere from $100 to over $600 and from way over 50 suppliers.  I read reviews until I just had to stop reading on many days before I bought this one for $188.  

Our new gel memory foam mattress topper as shipped.  It is 37 pounds and small with all of the air squeezed out of it.

This is what it looks like an hour after taking the plastic wrap off of it.

We wanted a topper that was cooler and would add some life to the 2 year old RV memory foam bed we have.   RV beds are not made to last very long and ours was starting to sag a little in the middle.  I also wanted the memory foam to come with its own cover.  We also didn’t want to spend much more than $200 on the topper.  

After the first night we can both say that the mattress lived up to the hype and did what we wanted it to do.  We stayed cool and hardly moved throughout the night.  The next morning our sheets and bedspread were still in place at the end of the bed.  Now that is remarkable as usually the bed is a total mess in the morning from my constant tossing and turning.  We just need to see how long that lasts now.

That’s it for the first week here in the Buffalo area.  I am hoping this week I can tackle a project I have been thinking about for a while now.  The area under the sink doesn’t have any light so it is very difficult to find stuff under there.  We put some battery powered lights under the sink but we are always leaving them on and running down the batteries.  I am planning to put an LED light bar down the center of the cabinet with an auto switch mounted to the cabinet door.  I’ll post how that project goes next time, hopefully.

Stay Tuned!