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YEAR #2 - STOP #45

Those of you NASCAR fans know exactly where we are when I say we're at "THE GLEN". For the rest of the world I'll just tell you, we're in Watkins Glen, NY. We're not here for the big race, that was yesterday, we're here to actually explore the gorge that is located right in the middle of town. The Watkins Glen International race track is about five miles outside of town in a relatively less populated area.

Our campsite at Watkins Glen State Park

Today's moving day was double the distance of what our average travel day is. We moved roughly 212 miles due west and took an 11 mile detour to get ROVER and THE POD washed at a Blue Beacon Truck Wash located in Binghamton, NY. They have over 100 locations nationwide and for less than $50 six guys with high pressure hoses and brushes did in 15 minutes what would take us several hours to do. This is the second time we have used Blue Beacon and have been very pleased with the results both times.

It did add nearly two hours to our travel time while we waited in line with seven other tractor trailers for our turn inside the wash bay. But with a Wendy's Hamburger location right next door we didn't mind the wait, we just had a picnic lunch inside the truck and moved another 75 feet closer to the bay doors every fifteen minutes.

One other tidbit of information is that during our travels today we passed right by Cooperstown, NY and as everybody knows that is the location of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I wasn't aware that we would be passing so close to the Hall of Fame, but honestly, we probably wouldn't have scheduled a visit here anyway.

FRIDAY - We have been waiting all week for this morning to arrive because today we are hiking The Gorge Trail in Watkins Glen. It has been raining everyday for the last three days, but today is forecast to be clear and cool. That's perfect for hiking in a gorge, the extra water will make the falls so much more spectacular and the mild temperatures will definitely be more pleasant.

While the the entire trail is only a little over one mile long there are over 800 stairs to traverse. We decided to do the trail the easy way, start at the top near the North Entrance of the park and hike down all the stairs to the Main Entrance where almost everyone else begins because that's where the tour buses drop off loads of tourists several times a day, every day.

Now I know what you're thinking, if we only hiked down, how did we get back to the truck? Well starting at 9:00AM, and for a mere $5 per person, the park operates a shuttle bus that goes to all three of the park entrances. The third entrance by the way is the South Entrance, which is where you'll find the campground and swimming pool.

So at the end of the hike I rode the shuttle bus back to the North Entrance to where ROVER was parked and then returned to the Main Entrance to pick up Tricia. It only cost us $5 that way instead of $10, after all every little bit of savings helps!

One other advantage to doing the hike this way was we were able to start hiking at 7:00AM, when there was virtually no one else on the trail and by 9:00AM we were done before most anyone else got started. Believe me, everyday this trail gets crowded later in the morning!



Our first look at the top of the gorge.
The trail begins with a steep staircase leading down.
We are finally at the level of the water.
The water line gradually starts falling away from the trail.
Then it takes a deep plunge.
And then it goes down some more.
A deep section of the gorge.
Lots of circular pools carved out here.
Approaching our first major waterfall.
The trail leads us behind the waterfall.
Looking back at the bridge and the waterfall.
More cascading water.
It took a lot of water to carve that wall.
This just looks like nowhere else on earth.
Inside the spiral staircase.
This is the tallest waterfall on the trail.
Approaching the final bridge crossing.
A final look back.
The End!

• • • 100 MILE • • •

32.50 MILES

A mile and a quarter hike through the gorge
brings our annual total up to 32.50 miles.

SATURDAY - We may have arrived too late for the big crowds of the NASCAR race last weekend, but this weekend there is an Italian Festival in town. With lots of food booths and arts and craft vendors there was much to see and eat. They even had a miniature carnival here with a half dozen or so kiddie rides to entertain the young ones.

Starting at 4:30PM there was live music from a couple local bands covering all my classic rock favorites. There is even bingo if you really need something to do until 9:45PM. Because at that time the highlight of the festival is a huge fireworks display over Seneca Lake. It went on for 30 minutes and we felt it was even better than the one we saw on the July 4th in Bar Harbor, ME.

With very limited parking at the festival site we did what most everyone else seemed to be doing, parking for free a half mile down the road at WalMart. The worst part of the entire evening was trying to get out of the packed parking lot through a single two-lane exit. At least they had police officers directing traffic at all the major intersections in town.

Tomorrow, Sunday, we're taking a much needed day of rest!

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