Tag Archives: Rainbow Bridge

On Our Way to NYC This Week

We left Pittsburgh a couple of days ago on our way to meet up and go to NYC with a bunch of Wally Byam Airstream Club friends from Ontario. There were several potential routes to the meetup and we hadn’t settled on where to stop the first night. Then BANG! “Why don’t we spend a day touring Niagara Falls?” Okay, small route change and no problem. Let’s do it.

Sunset on Lake Erie

Why do things work out really well sometimes? Apparently someone cancelled their plans for an RV site in Four Mile Creek State Park. This is near Niagara Falls and our site backs up to Lake Erie. Four Mile Creek State Park is a gorgeous campground with several hundred sites. The shower houses are very nicely built, although there was no walk path from our loop. The sites are large and have electricity. Water is available throughout the loops for refilling fresh water tanks and the dump station is conveniently located on our way out. Best of all, the drive between Four Mile Creek and Niagara Falls is a pretty and short twenty-mile drive.

Our NY State Park camping fee also covers the day’s parking fee while we’re visiting Niagara Falls. This happens sometimes, especially if we listen and take someone’s advice, are willing to be flexible, don’t let our expectations keep us from enjoying things, and let things work out. It’s not just a freedom of full-timing, but that helps too. Sometimes you wonder what you did wrong. Sometimes you get very lucky.

Garbed up for the boat tour

We checked in for our online-purchased tickets when we arrived at Niagara Falls State Park in the morning. The visitor’s desk lady asked us, “Do you want to get wet now or later?” Our choices were to get wet on the boat tour, or wetter on the Cave of the Winds walk. We started the day at the Falls with the Maid of the Mist boat tour.

Can you see us on the boat?

The falls almost overwhelmed us on our boat tour. Not capsized us, but it filled us completely with awe. There are 675,000 gallons per second rushing over the Canadian Falls and we were struck dumb by the tremendous power and beauty as we bobbed along in our boat near the base of these falls.

taken from the Skylon Tower

Best laid plans were thoroughly doused in our next adventure. The issued blue ponchos had kept us entirely dry on the boat tour despite wet blustery air currents and showers. We wore our waterproof hiking boots and gore-tex jackets too, so we felt well-prepared for whatever the Falls could dish out. We went next to the Cave of the Winds and boldly advised the flip-flop passer outer that we had on our waterproof shoes and wouldn’t take the free flip flops.

Ha! Our waterproof boots, once they filled with icy cold water on the boardwalk so near the falls, kept the water from leaking out from around our feet. We sloshed back to the truck where, fortunately, we had two pairs of dry socks to change into. Note for next time: use the flip flops.

Our park pass admitted us to all the attractions and also onto the trolley. We made good use of the pass, checking out all the stops on foot except for the Schoellkpof Power Station site. The trolley trip there was nice and quick and allowed us time to tour this and see the movie in the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center. Our last stop was for dinner reservations on the Canadian side, 1.6 miles distant. We walked across Rainbow Bridge, the largest hingeless arch bridge in the world from its 1941 construction until twenty-one years later when surpassed by a nearby bridge (Lewiston-Queenston) of the same design.

Perhaps exactly midway across the border we were standing astride the border between two of our favorite countries, the one where all our children and grandchildren live and the one where two of our grandchildren were born. Someone told us earlier in the day we’d find the Canadian side of Niagara Falls cleaner and neater than the American side. The remark didn’t surprise us and we weren’t surprised to find it so, again. We had a nice appetizing walk to the Skylon Tower and made our early dinner seating right on time.

dinner reservations at Skylon Tower

Debbie had arranged for a prix fixe, where everything’s included in one price, at the revolving restaurant atop the Skylon Tower. We would ride the yellow elevator up the outside and have seating in the window for a one revolution per hour dinner. The dinner was several courses, the food was very good, and the views were wonderful. This was a really nice way to spend the evening after walking all over the Niagara Falls State Park.

dining in Skylon Tower

The spontaneous stop in Niagara Falls allowed one of our best touring days ever. The weather forecast was for rain. We figured we’d be getting wet anyhow (and we did, or at least our feet did), and the rain apparently kept the park from being very busy. We arrived early and stayed until nearly 7:30 in the evening. We didn’t spend enough time on the Canadian side and didn’t quite finish the American side either.

As usually occurs, we left thinking, “We’ll want to return and see more of this”. It was a great day!

See you down the road,

Jim and Debbie
see us at dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees
see what’s going on at WBCCI, The Wally Byam Airstream Club

Advertisements

Is an Apple Mac in our immediate future?

Shhh! We aren’t ready for our Dell computer to hear we might be planning it’s obsolescence. Most of our work career depended upon IBM-compatible machines. All our applications, for a very long time, were Microsoft DOS then Windows processes. And we would give this Dell up so easily? Not just yet, but. . .

You may already know where we are, if you follow us — our locate us tag at the bottom of our blogs seems to be pretty reliable. A little less reliable in Indian Country, the APRS system relies upon our finding ham radio digipeaters within range of our radio/antenna. While we have darned good range, every now and then our signal just isn’t heard by the right kind of receiver.

Sometimes you may wonder what we’re doing there when we say we’re here. Gee, sounds kinda like what you wondered when your kids said they were here, and you thought they were some there else. Not exactly like “The Library” in LaCrosse, Wisconsin (and similarly named bars probably in most other college towns, too).

We are here, and through Sunday morning the locator will show us at the edge of beautiful Lake Powell in Page, AZ. We arrived yesterday and have enjoyed a very peaceful setting 3/4 mile from, and approx 100 feet above, the lake’s edge.

Most of the other 62 caravanners are on a Lake Powell boat tour and hike to Rainbow Bridge (someone said, “Tenth Wonder”, but I don’t know). Your faithful reporter walked with Debbie to the resort office/gift shop/marina to meet up with the tour group, then I walked back up the hill to start my BIG project for the day.

Everyone else absent is a blessing for me, right now. I am attempting to salvage certain files from our Dell laptop which three days ago suffered crash-dumped memory. I can attend to this project, catch up a little on emails, do a little housekeeping, and keep an eye on some of our caravanners’ rigs.

The project, searching for a few very important files to save to a portable hard drive, is going slowly. The problem is I must attempt to recover tens of thousands of files so I can cherry pick the Quicken data folders and the most recent four weeks’ picture folders.

Our last back-up was, perhaps, a month ago just after completing taxes and just before this caravan. We will face, if we cannot recover any files, loss of the best pictures and our personal expense entries from our caravan’s first month. The pictures are somewhat replaceable. Oddly, our laptop’s recycle bin had almost 2,000 pictures, mostly from this same caravan.

Our camera allows shooting bracketed f-stop exposures (e.g., selected exposure plus -1 and +1 f-stop). We choose the exposure we like best and trash the other two exposures. Fortunately these extra shots survived the operating system’s crash by hiding out in the recycle bin.

We pulled the recycle bin contents into one of our portable hard drives (not the one with the most recent data backups). This morning we downloaded to another laptop a copy of PC-Tools’ “File Recovery”.

I only want the most recent one month’s pictures plus the Quicken files. This lengthy process is yet another instance of the old adage, it takes less time the second time around. Our favorite examples are the instructions for installing desktop computer internal components, replacing the hitch receiver under your pickup truck, and assembling children’s bicycles.

Invariably, it seems, they say the process can be accomplished in 40 minutes or less. And this may be true. But we are comfortable reporting most people will not approach less than five times this time frame on their first try. And the instructions might not include the time required to first remove the existing component or equipment to prepare for installation.

How lengthy is this recover process? I can’t yet say. Three and one-half hours ago I started running the file recovery utility and it has inventoried over 20,000 files thus far. And it may all be worthwhile if we can re-acquire the desired files.

What’s next? We’ll try to save the dozen folders we’re hunting to the portable hard drive. I’ll shut down the laptop, remove the keyboard and bottom cover, and gently blow compressed air throughout the motherboard and components. We imagine our laptop feels an extra few pounds heavier and needs to have a bunch of dust removed.

Everywhere we’ve been over the past several weeks has been incredibly dusty and windy. The blowing dust and sand we’ve encountered has spread throughout everything in our trailer. No doubt, the laptop has tried to store its share too.

Files recovered (or not), dust removed, machine reassembled, then we hope it again works. If it does, we’ll do low level format on the drives and start over with info from our back-ups. If it doesn’t work, we’ll see if there are any parts we want to salvage for some good future trailer or ham radio project.

Friends on our caravan advised us the laptops’ mean time between failures is three years. Two weeks ago our power supply started acting buggy. I’m pretty sure it is a broken wire in the attachment to the power transformer, and I can take this apart and effect some sort of repair. And now this problem with the User Profile Service not in service?

Will we change our back-up schedule? Darned tooting, at least until
we forget this incident. Some of you remember the old back-up procedures we maintained at work. I vaguely remember keeping six daily sets, three weekly sets, and two or more monthly sets of diskettes for our office’s computer.

We ran eleven completely different sets of diskettes, all labelled, and handled very frequently. How far we’ve fallen — Debbie and I were backing up seasonally and recently increased it to monthly. Now we’ll probably go to weekly.

Does this loss of laptop (and vast amounts of data files) affect us? Notice there aren’t any pictures in this blog (loads much quicker, doesn’t it?). We’re tracking expenses with pencil and paper. We can’t look stuff up (a habit I love). We cannot edit our pictures. And we’re vastly behind blogging. Mostly though, we’re experiencing a little separation anxiety toward our Dell laptop.

We’ve been browsing, very casually, new laptops. Didn’t want to upset our current one, you know. Well that’s out the window now! We’re full-on looking for this machine’s replacement. Our kids and friends use Macs. The appeal has grown in the past several days.

Until then, I’m watching our Dell undergo the PC Tools Fire Recover process (up to 21,850 files and counting). And I’m hoping I will find the few folders we want. I hope I’ll complete the gutting, cleaning, and formatting process sometime this afternoon. And start rebuilding — or find an Apple store down the road somewhere.

We’ll see you down the road, or perhaps in an Apple store!

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr