Day 2: Schenectady, NY to Watertown, NY

Another grey day with some moments of sun thrown in to keep my hopes up.  When I checked the weather on Friday, the forecast was for rain most of the day — so I guess we got lucky — and they were wrong, again.

I made good progress but didn’t quite make it to Canada yet.  Mostly this was because of a huge glitch on I-81 late this afternoon.  There was some major accident about 1/3 of a mile ahead of us.  Everybody just parked and turned off their engines.  There were maybe five fire trucks and a dozen police cars.  After about a half hour of sitting there, a helicopter landed and presumably took someone or several people off to a hospital.  When I passed the scene, it looked like there had only been two cars — an SUV and a small car — both had obviously caught fire and were burnt-out shells.

A few more stops in NY tomorrow morning then & then we should be crossing over the border.  Many stops before Montreal so I don’t think we’ll be there until Tuesday.  Although I was nearly a French major in college, it’s been 20-something years now since then.  I’m hoping to deal alright with road signs without getting lost & whatever else I encounter in Quebec.  Never been.  So this should be a fun adventure.

Tons of bloggy photos today — let’s get the doggie ones out of the way.  I guess Fix’s “pet me” waving technique hasn’t been effective enough.  She is now sitting up in begging position and waving with both feet at me.  And how can I resist?


This photo shows my two partially-blind dogs.  Last year, Nik (on right) had a retinal detachment and so can no longer see with his right eye.  It sure hasn’t slowed him down or altered his wild lifestyle in any way.  The condition of Nik’s good eye isn’t great either so I’ll soon be shelling out about $2,000 for some “spot welding”.  Hopefully, that’ll be enough to keep the retina in place but there’s no guarantee. 

Just a week before this trip, Grip (on left) woke up one morning with a quinty, translucent-y eye.  Luxated anterior lens:  $3400 to remove the lens.  So she’ll be able to see with that eye but not focus with it close up.  Both dogs therefore have funky right eyes.  Both caused by bad genetics rather than injury.   I sure hope that’s the end of my family’s eyeball troubles.


It doesn’t take much to make this boy happy:


Caught in the act!  When I came back from shooting something today which took all of maybe three minutes, I discovered the glovebox up front open and the contents strewn about.  The liverwurst treats apparently consumed by everybody (all licking of chops).  I thought maybe I had just not closed the thing well enough.  But then later today, I witnessed Grip’s new skill.  She has figured out how to tilt her head and depress both buttons on either end of the handle to spring it open.  So no more food or gum or treats can be kept there — everything has to go back in the dog crate in the back.  And although Nik has figured out how to open that from the inside, he has yet to figure out how to open it from the outside.


Now then, on with the roadside stuff.  First a couple gas stations — the first one, a gorgeous mess, in Utica, NY:


The next building looks like a former station to me — from Chittenango, NY.  No islands but set back enough from the road to strengthen my assumption.


At first, I was thinking this building in Auburn, NY was a former Fotomat.  But then I remembered Fotomats have pyramidal roofs.  I know I have other pointy-roofed buildings like this from upstate NY at my website.  I think these were originally ice cream stands but I’m not positive.  It’s fascinating to see the various businesses that have sprung up in these things.


And here’s a nice little collection of signs for you.  Starting with this one from Utica, NY – a bar & hotel combination.  I guess it’s convenient if you want to get smashed and then crawl off to bed upstairs.


From Auburn — probably not the original name or even business.  Neon gone & probably repainted a few dozen times.  Still, a nice little thing.


A nice old towering Sunoco sign in Canastota.  Yes, there’s still a Sunoco station below but upgraded and with one of those huge “c-mart” (convenience store) buildings.  I’m glad they let this sign stay.


While looking for the Motel 47 sign in Watertown, which must be gone, I had nearly given up before bumping into this guy.  The motel looks long closed.


From Syracuse — a great old Arthur Murray billboard above AND the still-operating dance studios below. 


Good god — this one’s a killer, ain’t it?  From North Syracuse — this sign is a little buried in the trees now.  The motel property was up for sale.  I have a feeling this one won’t be around too much longer.  Faded paint over faded paint — you couldn’t create this color sensation if you tried.


And lastly, a bit of nature — Bowden Farm in Weedsport.  It’s amazing that these corn silos (is that what you call them?) are already full when it seems like it was winter just a few weeks ago to me.  And up here, the winters are flat out nasty.  NYC seems bad enough — I can’t imagine living up here or Michigan or Chicago.  I am awed by people that can live in such places and that can make a living off the land.  It seems like incredibly hard work when compared to my typing job in the city.


Tomorrow’s post will surely not be as long.  I have a feeling things will be more complicated across the border.  So I hope this extra long post will sustain you in case I don’t make it online tomorrow night.  Gnight.

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