“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by – and that has made all the difference.” ~ Robert Frost
Monday, the Great American Road Trip began with breakfast at the first diner of the trip. My mother, niece Allison and her good friend Peyton all joined me for a send off breakfast at Carl’s Diner in Oxford, Massachusetts.
The food was all very good and as you can see you get lots of it. The girls were a little mortified that the “chef”, I think his name was Bob, was cooking without gloves, but for one man to keep up the demanding pace of hungry diners was, to me, impressive — and he did it with a smile on his face. The place had a nice nostalgic atmosphere and the employees seemed to be proud of their little diner.
Then I said goodbye and jumped on the Mass Pike, it being the most expeditious way out of New England. Torrential rain met me at the New York state line and continued all the way to Elmira. Arriving at nightfall, I found the local movie theater and watched the movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. A great movie! An amazing achievement in cinema history! But I may be biased since I grew up watching, reading and playing with anything that had to do with the Planet of the Apes series. (Yes, I even had the action-figures and the treehouse.)
After that I found the local Wal*mart and set up camp. In case you didn’t know it, the Wal*mart corporation allows campers, truckers and people like me who sleep in the back of their SUV or car to park overnight on their premises. It’s come to be known as “boondocking.” It’s a safe, well-lit place to sleep in an unfamiliar town and, usually, where there’s a Wal*mart, there’s a nearby McDonald’s, which I’ve named “the McBathroom.”
Tuesday, after a morning “visit” to McBathroom’s, I found the local AirGas company here in Elmira. An old friend, Joe, who worked with me at Corp Brothers now lives and works out here. I found and surprised him with my early morning visit, we chatted for twenty minutes while he gave me a tour of the plant, then we said goodbye. I think we both enjoyed the visit.
Heading north through town I found a surprise — the Woodlawn National Cemetery. This cemetery has two parts, the first being the section for veterans. This part was started during The Civil War. Captured Confederate soldiers were imprisoned nearby and those that perished were buried here in what they called “Hellmira.” Now it is for local veterans of all wars who honor their country with their service and ultimate sacrifice. Thank you.
The second part of the cemetery, for civilians, has a few notable people buried here, the most famous of which is Samuel Langhorne Clemens, or more popularly known by his pen-name, Mark Twain.
I then proceeded north along the Finger Lakes, through lush wine country all the way up to Lake Ontario. There’s a great bi-way called a “seaway” up here that follows the southern coast of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and, perhaps, beyond. This “seaway” led me to today’s goal — Niagara Falls.
Then I headed into Buffalo to try a meal they are most famous for…No! Not Buffalo Wings, I’m talking about…Beef-On-Weck!
After reading a few blogs I found that Charlie’s had the best Beef-On-Weck in town. They have a few locations and they… What? You’ve never heard of Beef-On-Weck?! Oh, well, it’s a sandwich that starts with a kummelweck roll, which is a German roll topped with a fair amount of sea salt and caraway seeds. They dip the top half of the roll in au jus sauce then fill the roll with thin sliced, medium-rare roast beast and horseradish.
Then I found a local Wal*mart for boondocking.
I hope you get to visit Niagara Falls some day and try Beef-On-Weck.
The gam continues…