Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Buffalo New York, Family and Friends Time

August 12 – 30, 2016:  

After 16 days in eastern Canada we headed back to the USA.  We didn’t have far to go since we were just 140 miles from our next stop near Niagara Falls on Grand Island New York.  

Eastern Canada has been very dry and hot this summer but not on the day we left.  As we were rounding Toronto we got caught up in a massive thunderstorm.  The storm really slowed the traffic making our 2 hour trip to the border more like 3 hours.  All was good though as the storm faded away as we crossed the border at Lewiston Bridge.

Waiting to cross the border from Canada back to the US at the Lewiston Bridge

We are staying at the Cinderella Camp Ground on Grand Island in New York State for the next 19 days.  We stayed at this campground the first 2 years we were full timing before we moved over to the KOA on the island.  Last year the KOA raised their already high rates and wouldn’t let us have the site we wanted for this year.  The KOA decided to give the best monthly sites to their work campers this year.  

Our "good" site at Cinderella

The Grand Island KOA monthly sites are very small to start with so we reserved end sites which were the biggest sites. We were able to do this for 2 years and then we were told when we were making our reservation at the end of our stay last year that we couldn’t get those sites and the rate was going up $100 for the month.  It was time for us to make the change and go back to Cinderella anyway. KOA has amenities we needed for kids in the past but the kids are all past that now so Cinderella was a better fit for us now.

The Cinderella Campground is basically just a no frills campground; no pool and no activities.  Cinderella also doesn’t care if we have guests so anybody can just drop by if they want without the hassle of signing in like most places, including the KOA, which charges $5 per visitor.  The sites are good size and the monthly rate is $200 less than the KOA at just $550!  $550 is still higher than we like but Grand Island is just a couple of miles from Niagara Falls and just up the road from the Fantasy Island amusement park.  

I did a little maintenance on our 50 Amp cable.  
The outside Insulation cover was pulling away from the plug... I wrapped it with electrical tape and then a protective layer of fusion tape.  This stuff goes on like tape but it fuses together to make a waterproof layer after it has been stretched.

Grand Island NY is as close as we can get a campground to our Family in this area.  We are 33 miles from the assisted care facility, Absolute Care, in East Aurora NY where Patty's Dad is and roughly 20 miles from Patty’s 2 sisters in Cheektowaga and Lancaster NY.  We would love to be closer to Patty’s father Tom but the campgrounds are farther south of him making it even further to her sisters and only just a little closer to her father.  Also, the campgrounds are more expensive and not as nice as Cinderella.  All in all, Cinderella is a pretty good fit for us.

OK, one of the issues with Cinderella is that management has not been the best here.  They are not bad people just not very organized.  Each time we have stayed here we have made reservations months in advance to ensure we get the sites we like here.  There is no cable TV here and only 4 sites that we can get a satellite TV signal due to the trees. So we really want to make sure we get the site we want as we will be in it for a month.

This time they lost our reservation for this year, well sort of. Patty made the reservation from Texas in February, 6 months in advance for the site we wanted.  When we pulled in we noticed that the site we wanted was occupied.  And so were the other sites that had satellite TV coverage.  We went into the office to find that they lost our reservation but the woman remembers making it.  This is not all that unbelievable as their reservation system is completely manual.  And not a very good manual system at that!  The system involves a large paper desk calendar with notes all over it. Anyway, she got us a place we could stay with the promise we could move to our preferred site after the first week.

The site we were given was fine for us as we were able to get some satellite signal. We might have stayed there but the power was not 50 amp.  The power wasn’t 30 Amp either!  

It was pretty hot while we were there so we were running both AC units and the voltage kept going below 104 volts. Our power protection system shuts off the power to protect us at 104 volts.  We started to only run one AC unit at a time then one evening the breaker trips.  Well, not our breaker but the one supplying the power to our breaker!  To make matters worse, the couple beside us on a 30 Amp site also lost power.

We couldn’t find the breaker so we called the emergency number and found out that the breaker supplying us was located a few sites down from us.  The breaker was next to another site's breaker with tape on it saying to not shut this breaker off.  This breaker was a 30 Amp breaker and was feeding our 50 Amp breaker as well as the 30 Amp site next to us!

The next morning I went to the office to complain and was told that no one had ever complained before about that site! They said they would have an electrician come out to check on it.  As one might guess, no one ever came out and nothing got fixed.  The electrical service in this park is new since we were here 3 years ago.  It looks to me that the 2 sites, our 50 Amp and the 30 Amp next to us, were improperly added probably after the original service was put in.  The people on the 30 Amp next to us left the next day and no one was put on that site while we were there.  For the remaining few days we were there we just ran the smaller AC unit and were fine. 

We moved 6 days later to our preferred site which was perfect.  The park only charged us as a 30 Amp site for our first week.  If it wasn’t for the lack of competition we wouldn’t be here.

We had a pair of Cardinals visit us just like in Texas!  In Texas the female would continuously bang herself into our rear window while the male would eat from our bird feeder.  Sometimes the male would bring food to his female.  Here in NY, the opposite was happening.  The male banged into our rear window while the female ate and brought food to the male.
Our main purpose for being here is to visit with Patty’s dad who is at the Absolute Care facility in East Aurora NY.  Also, while here we will visit with as many family and friends as we can.  We tried to see Tom every day we were there but we didn’t always get that accomplished.  We did manage to visit with him just about every day.  He was mostly in pretty good health and he was involved in our conversations.  We had just one day where he was not doing well and was mostly out of it. 

On our way to see Patty's dad we always got him his favorite donuts from Paula's.  
He likes the peanut cream and the white cream filled.

On one of our visits the Travel Channel was filming a special at Paula's about delicious destinations.  These are very good donuts by the way.

Since we had seen Tom last he has mostly lost use of his right hand.  Before this year he had lost use of his left hand but that has now returned and he lost use of his right hand! His left hand started to lose its use just about the same time he was placed into assisted care about 3 years ago.  None of us are sure as to why this is happening. When he loses function the affected hand is also numb.  Right now they are checking his brain to see if there is a change there that maybe causing this.  We would have thought it would have been something with his cervical spine like arthritis but that has been ruled out. 

Our trip to see Patty's dad we always pass this area with buffalo statues.  It is very hard to get a picture as there is no room to pull over and it is on a curve where interstates 190 and 90 meet.

On our way back from seeing Patty's dad on Interstate 190 in Tonawanda NY we saw this!  It's a long travel trailer that flipped over taking the truck with it.

We had a couple of dinners with family at their homes.  We had a large dinner meal with Sister Cheryl and Joe including Joe’s daughter Sarah and one of his 2 sons Shawn.  We also had a dinner at Sister Sandy and Mike’s place which included Cheryl, Joe, and Sandy and Mike’s daughter Shawna. 
Patty and I went out to eat at a close by Polish restaurant in Niagara Falls NY.  The food here was excellent and come hungry because you get a lot of food!

Mural on the side of the Koban's restaurant

Very old hostess desk.  Looks to us like it came from Poland.

That is how you make a French Onion Soup!!

Yea, we had to have the peanut butter pie.  One must have their home made perogies!

We also had some time with a couple of Patty’s childhood friends.  We had a nice long lunch with Janet Vallone who is planning to go full time RVing like we are.  She is in the “get rid of stuff” stage which includes her house right now.  We also met up with Nancy Mongiovi, Barb Mongiovi and their mom at her mom's house in Cheektowaga.  It’s always nice to visit with old friends!

We went to see Patty's niece Shawna's house that she just purchased in Buffalo.

Shawna's dog loves to watch the street.

We went to the Allentown Art Festival that was within walking distance from Shawna's house.  We had lunch with entertainment just outside.

Just a fun picture of Patty with the Patty booth behind her at the art festival

Cool street mural near the art festival

We managed to get a tour of the Buffalo River too!  Both of us never really knew anything about the river so this was a treat.  Tours of the Buffalo River are new this year.  Two companies are doing the tour and the one we went with is the newest one.  The other tour company only offers the tour once a day in the evening.  We were going to go on this tour with Sandy, Mike and Shawna but the weather was not good enough to let the boat go out.  So later in our stay we picked this other newer tour and went during the day with Cheryl and Joe.

Getting our tickets for the tour at Canalside.

Boarding the pontoon boat for the Buffalo River Cruise

Old fire boat

Very low bridges, no standing here!

Unique way to paint some of the old grain silos! Labbatt's Blue is a Canadian beer.

One of the few large grain elevators and silo system still in operation.

They were making Cheerios as we could smell the oats toasting!

An old ferry from NYC that someone is trying to rebuild.  From the look of it is seems like it would be easier to just build a new one.

Nice view of the Buffalo River with Buffalo in the background.

The second largest grain elevator silo system in the world.  The largest is in Kansas.

A company called Sun City purchased this bit of the silo area to repurpose it.  
Seems they haven't found a good use for the silos yet.

The long rusty hotdog looking items in the background are very familiar to locals here in the Buffalo area.  These are the ice booms that are installed every winter to protect the canal area from ice.  People here know winter is here when these go out and that it's over when they are brought back in.

The old DL&W train shed on the Buffalo River.

A view of the new Canalside area looking toward the USS Little Rock at the far end.

USS Little Rock

Buffalo Main Light.  Light House at the opening to the Buffalo River and the Erie Canal.

Buffalo skyline from Lake Erie.

The memorial to all western New York service men and women who died in service due to the 9/11 attack.  This is located at the Canalside in Buffalo.  The last time we were here the memorial wasn't finished yet so this is our first time seeing it.

Patty's nephew (Travis C. Krege) was killed in Iraq and is listed here on the memorial.

My impression is that these tours are best for people from the area.  The history is pretty cool but not great enough for outsiders.  It’s really pretty cool for people who live here as this is some unknown history right in their backyard.  I liked it too but I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone from other places than the Buffalo area.  However, It is pretty cheap so it’s not a bad morning on the river looking at old grain silos.

Rosey has been eating up this nice weather and is huge now!

After 19 days in Buffalo we are heading to Indiana to visit with my son Tony and his wife Tracy as well as the 3 grandkids, Alivia, Savannah, and Bailey. My daughter Jennifer and her husband Christian are will be there too!  

Stay tuned!

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