Monday, July 26, 2021

An epic 6-part, 14 hour, 570 mile adventure!

 Fair warning- this is a huge post! A huge post for a big day! 

This past Saturday, my brother and I set out on our most epic adventure yet! We traveled about 3/4ths of New York state, made multiple stops, and saw some amazing things! I took 1,615 photos (my second most in a day all time), we visited 51 places for the first time, or at least photo documented for the first time, saw two of the excellent Welcome Centers, saw my 3rd NASCAR track, saw my first NASCAR car in person since 2008, traveled 578 miles and were on the road for 14 and a half hours! 

As you've seen from my previous posts, I like to photo document drives and places I've been. I had wanted to photo document the Pennsylvania part of I-84, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. On Twitter last week I learned that there was a NASCAR show car at the Elmira airport in Horseheads, NY, and the plan started to come together. We would go over I-84, to I-81, then then Route 17/I-86 (the same road) over to the airport...then we would swing up to Watkins Glen, the only current track in my home state to host NASCAR Cup races (although NY actually has the second most number of tracks all time). The other two parts were a surprise to me- the Southern Tier Welcome Center, and the Finger Lakes Welcome Center. 

New York state has opened a series of Welcome Centers across the state that are truly incredible! They are all worth visiting, and we are working on it- this brings us to a total of 5 of 11 visited. I knew we would visit the one on I-81, and that it was part of the reason we went that way. The one in Geneva was a surprise to me. 

Now, let's look at some pictures! 

Started by heading across the Hudson River on the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge
a nice scenic overlook in Port Jervis, NY
the Delaware River is still high
Once you get past Matamoras on I-84, there's not a lot to look at, mostly just trees, until you get to Scranton, where the road ends. 

Stopped at a rest area in Greenville, the only one on 84 in Pennsylvania. 

PA's rest stops are mostly just bathrooms and vending machines, not much to look at. 
Encountered some road work 

a change of pace from the endless trees, rocks! 

I-84 ends where it meets I-81 in Scranton. Of the four states it visits, the PA part is the least interesting. I still wanted to get it photo documented and now it's done. 
Now we are on I-81


The first view of the Susquehanna River, would not be the last. 

Now back in New York, the first thing you see when you come in to the state is the Southern Tier Welcome Center, which features a display on Watkins Glan! 

The view in the other direction is pretty nice, too

Each Welcome Center has a walk of fame, which I fully photo documented on my website, but I had to post Geoff Bodine here. 
now inside the Welcome Center

each Welcome Center has a regional museum

We'll be going there soon

That's where we're headed

Love the artwork! The beaver bar is pretty good too.

We got back on the road and headed to Binghamton, which is where we left I-81 and got on Route 17/I-86.

a wall of trees

still the Susquehanna

came across a couple of casinos

This is where we were going, the Elmira Airport in Horseheads, NY. 

the airport had a display from the Corning Museum of Glass, but...
this is what we were there for! I last saw a NASCAR show car in 2010, so quite a long time. I took 70 photos of the car but this is a long post already so just this one. 

First time I've seen one of these in person

After leaving the airport we plugged in the address into GPS and headed to the track, through some very rural areas of the state. 

some of the roads were even coming apart! 
lots of old tractors around....

and some new ones too!

Lots of farms still in use, I think this is corn
I love old farms

As we were driving along, we stumbled across a car show, so of course we had to stop. Considering this show was roughly 4 hours away from home, odds are I'll never see any of these cars again. 

This little dog didn't find the car show too exciting

We ended up sitting at the middle chair set to eat lunch, I chose it because it had the best view of the car show. I didn't look up until well into the meal! 
two of these were lunch, at roughly 3:30 PM. I wouldn't eat again until after Midnight! 

entering Watkins Glen town

love the old architecture
There were a couple of large murals in town. Back in the day, the race was actually held on the town streets. When that got untenable, they built a permanent race track that is still a highlight of every series that races there. 
the crosswalks are checkered flags
just a view of town

a Mini Moke! 

The Watkins Glen shop was somewhat underwhelming

They have a series of these but this is the only one I saw. My brother spotted it, I didn't see it and was actually standing on it! 

While walking back to the car I spotted this mural and had to stop...
and I'm glad I did! 

this is the ceiling in the Watkins Glen info center, where the mural and car are

that little shop bills itself as the World's Smallest Diner
the Waterfalls

We headed for the track next, and this view is pretty far away...

Then we got a lot closer!

Long time NASCAR fans will get this. Yes, I took one of the models I built on a huge road trip just so I could get a photo of "The Bud at the Glen"! That was the name of the race from 1986-99 and how I still think of it. Wish it was a better photo but it's the  the only one I took! 

entrance to the track itself
the track is to the right here, headed back towards town
a banner advertising this year's race, which is in two weeks

I love old houses. What history it must have seen! if I could I'd buy and restore old houses. 
Not just old houses, old business buildings as well. 
We then headed north on Route 14, which runs along Seneca Lake

Once you north of the village of Watkins Glen, it's almost entirely wineries, with some farms and some residential. I generally didn't photograph the wineries, but this one had an old car in the parking lot.

Another winery with old cars! 

We stopped at a scenic overlook, which bizarrely didn't show the lake...
just this farm. I doubt many people are going to picnic at that table due to the overwhelming smell of manure permeating the air. Just a couple minutes later there was a great view of the lake but no overlook there. 

love sunflowers

an abandoned car dealership with a 1968 Mustang left in the showroom?!

Although Seneca Lake  is at a distance you can catch glimpses through most of the ride. Near the top of the lake the road is closer to the water and views get a little bit better/ 
note the train tracks, which are heading towards the city of Geneva, as were we although I didn't know it yet.

There were some spectacular houses in Geneva

I didn't know where we were going yet, but we are now in Geneva. Route 14 takes a very complicated turn...or maybe it ended, I can't remember now. We had to make two turns to get here.

The GPS puts us in the Ramada's parking lot and we needed to be next door. Geneva is an actual city but we didn't really explore it, just this view while waiting to leave the Ramada parking lot. 
and here we are at the Finger Lakes Welcome Center, which is spectacular! 

the view of the lake is spectacular! It was cloudy with some drizzle but still spectacular. Yes, I know I'm saying that a lot, it's true.

Now inside the building

Even though Watkins Glen is in the Southern Tier, not the Finger Lakes, it's included on the large TVs as well. It's only about an hour south of the Welcome Center. 

the chandelier is empty wine bottles

If you look close, there is a mink on the rock there! 

After we left the Welcome Center, we headed north to the New York State Thruway, I-90, picking it up in Phelps, 178 miles away from Albany. 

I think this was lake Oneota

We stopped at a text stop so I could photograph these historic signs and get my battery backups, by this point my camera was on non-stop for more than 9 hours,. I used 5 of my remote chargers on the trip, another new record. 

the camera made things brighter than they actually were. 

that orange glow above the road is the moon trying to break through the clouds.

We stopped at New Baltimore hoping to get some dinner but they were out of food. The location is closing on Thursday and they didn't restock. I talked about this two posts ago, really going to miss these stops. 
one last look before heading home. 
the Capital District Welcome Center lit up across the Thruway. Unfortunately you can only access it when going north. 
we tried to go to the 84 Diner for dinner but it's no longer 24 hours and had closed a half hour before we got there. We ended up eating at home, after midnight! 
I set my new record of 51 new places photo documented in one day, 31 in New York and 20 in Pennsylvania. 
I only had 9 places in Pennsylvania photo documented previously, so adding these twenty brought the state up to 3rd place in most number of places photo documented, after New York (333 places) and Ohio (68 places). I really, really love this project and I can't wait until I can add more, it's become something I think about constantly. It will be tough to top these numbers, but there's still many more places left to explore. 
I made this map showing where we went. It's a screenshot of Google's map that I drew our itinerary on. The red stars are the places we stopped, I used the rest area on I84 to mark that portion of the adventure. 

I cut out a LOT of pictures but it's still a huge post, if you want to see them all you can visit my website here: 6 Part Adventure, Martin Truex Jr. Showcar and Trackside/606 Racing Car Show

The car show is still uploading as I publish. 

Thanks for reading! It was an incredible day and we saw some amazing day of the year so far!