See first part: “A Night to Remember” here
Click on images and maps for better view
It was January 23rd, 1965, and I had driven through the night in a winter snowstorm from New Jersey to Niagara Falls in my parents 1960 Buick.
After seeing and photographing the falls, I continued north, first on the Canadian side, and then back in the U.S., to the mouth of the Niagara River where it flows into Lake Ontario. Heading home now, the first 30 miles or so on Rt. 18, along the lake’s southern edge, was magical …the road virtually deserted as the high winds whipped falling and drifting snow across its breath. I loved the adventure. (See end of first part for more “frigid”comments on this stretch)
The image below was taken around 4:00 PM before running out of film and daylight near Avon, The snow continued to fall, although more lightly, into this second night.
I stayed overnight in a decent $8 motel in Bath, leaving at about 10:30 AM the next morning with frozen hands after cleaning off the snow covered car.
Continuing southeast on Rt. 15 brought me to to nearby Savona, where I turned left onto Rt. 226 with the anticipation of passing through Watkins Glen, noted for its automotive race track, and for me particularly, its famous 400 foot deep natural gorge and waterfalls. See this link. Seeing the gorge was not to happen. In fact I was lucky to get anywhere near it. Being a bit self assured, (think: cocky,) I didn’t mind the snow covered conditions of the back roads. But at Tyrone, (upper right in the first map below, left of center in the second) I was determined to take a more direct route, turning right off State Rt. 226, onto Schuylar County Rt. 23 (not labeled.)
It should be mentioned that the ‘few miles wide’ ridges between New York’s Finger Lakes rise from a few hundred feet to about 1000 feet (3050 m) above the lakes. Watkins Glen was on Seneca Lake over one of these ridges, and Huey Hill was in my way. Starting from the intersection at the bottom, I was able to reach about 40 mph (64 kmh) before losing traction on the hill. But I just couldn’t make it to the top. I backed the Buick down and tried again, gaining only a few more feet. The third time, with more initial speed, ended in similiar defeat as the tires just could not maintain their grip on the snowy surface. I felt I was in control, but the “slide-o-matic” Buick just couldn’t maintain any further, upward-forward traction! (Of course, 4 wheel drive, good tires and posi-traction would have helped.) Today (2015) I know it was 1.8 miles (2.9 km) from the intersection to the top with a vertical gain of about 600 feet (1830 m.)
Sulking a bit, it took me a while more to get to Watkins Glen by a much longer, gradually climbing (and descending) state road. And then, upon arrival, the Watkins Glen State Park was closed! I think I was a little relieved.
After 7 more hours, at 7:30 PM, I was back in New Jersey after nearly 1000 miles over about 47 hours, and expenses of about $46.
Immediatly after, my Dad and I had a “conversation!”
Just another interesting week-end.
The camera: a 1960 Exacta (EXA) 35 mm manual SLR, f2.8 50 mm lens. Body composition: finger-freezing metal!
As usual, thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcome. M 🙂
13 thoughts on “The Day After a Night to Remember – Returning Home”
I like the format this story has followed – and the pictures and map bits that accompany it. You have a talent for presentation! Thank you for sharing.
Thanks, I had hoped to use the actualy gas station road maps kept over the years for this story, but, after tearing the house apart, they seem to have gone away, ….but not the memories, (and not the trip notes kept for 50 years!) M 🙂
I can see why you wanted to go see the gorge . . . I too now want to see the gorge. Good tale. Perhaps you also have a transcript of the “Conversation”.
In his youth, he may have inspired me and he knew it. Also living in North Jersey, Rio De Janeiro was his destination, working on a steamship to pay passage on rouge adventure. That likely explained the wry smile after a parental reprimand upon my return. 🙂
This is an Epic tale of survival Marty (and juvenile recklessness of course) …. Great Niagara shots, iconic car and classic camera. The things we did when life was simpler !! Wes
Thanks, Wes. I liked the old days spur of the moment adventures.
Wow, what a story and the CAR. I love those big cars.
You might see from these that I would really like to explore the northern areas of your part oif the world someday. Always love your adventures. M 🙂
A very interesting weekend indeed! What an adventure…no wonder you and your dad had a ‘conversation’ 😉 Marty, I’ve tagged you for the Black and White 5 day Photo Challenge, link here: http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2015/03/13/a-mothers-love-day-4-black-and-white-photo-challenge/
Thanks for the Tag, Sherri, but the photos are indeed color, although the black car, white snow and darkened snowy landscapes are pretty much colorless! M 🙂
Wow…looking at some of your past adventures…makes me want to travel! Great photos and stories! ~Sherry
Thanks Sherry, but I’d trade places with you to have been in some of the extraordinary ones you’ve been. That lake down in Peru/Bolivia, for example; and your “tours!” But… from my Niagara Falls in winter, to your camping in the Blue Ridge mts., it’s all a feast! So, same back to you: Great photos including the recent portraits, and stories. M 🙂