"It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time."
– Winston Churchill
Good Monday morning, y'all. Hope everyone had a nice weekend. Our dear Kasey Kahne brought us 13 points this week in the race at MIS, so we're happy. We are literally vaulting up the leaderboard on the NASCAR pool that we're in. Yahoo!
This week, Steve and I spent time in the 1000 Islands region of upstate New York. This region borders the St. Lawrence River that runs between Lake Ontario and the Atlantic Ocean. The water here, despite being a sister to Lake Erie, is the most beautiful shade of blue/green and very very clean. Apparently, this cleanliness of the water is being attributed to the zebra mussel. A single one of these creatures can filter a liter of water in a 24-hour period. What started out to be a problem for the Great Lakes has turned out to be a blessing once the scientists discovered that the zebra mussel hates copper. The shipping industry has since replaced their ballast tanks (how the zebra mussels got here in the first place) with copper and all is well with them.
Steve and I took a cruise on the St. Lawrence River. We left from a town called Alexandria Bay which is apparently where all the richy riches spend their summers. In fact, country singer Alan Jackson was going to buy a 32 million home on the Canadian side of the river but the deal fell through. Check out the pictures that Steve took of these summer homes. Holy Cats! The cruise was quite delightful and it was even an international adventure as we crossed into Canada during our sail down the river. We passed by a statue of St. Lawrence, for whom the river was named, who is holding a gridiron. Our tour guide told us that the former missionary was martyred for his faith, being roasted on a gridiron similar to the one the statue is holding. Because he was the keeper of the treasures of the church, he has become the patron saint for bankers. Another interesting piece of information we learned while on the tour was that the 1000 Island dressing was created in this area and made famous by George Boldt, one of the area's residents. Mr. Boldt was the General Manager of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City and he took this salad dressing to the hotel and served it there. The rest is history!
While on this cruise, we stopped at Heart Island to tour the Boldt Castle. What an impressive site this was. First off, the island was not in the shape of a heart. It was originally owned by someone named "Hart" but when George Boldt bought it, he change the name to "Heart" and built a mansion as a tribute to the love he had for his wife, Louise. The house is six stories high, has 127 rooms, and is designed to look like a 16th century castle. The grounds contain an Italian garden, a dove-cote (where Mrs. Boldt was to keep her birds), its own powerhouse, a playhouse (the Alster Tower that looks sort of Hobbit-esque) and an entry arch that is quite impressive. The house was to take many years to construct but sadly, 18 months before its completion, Mrs. Boldt suddenly died and all work on the house stopped abruptly and to this day, the house stands incomplete. In 1977, the Thousand Island Foundation purchased the property and has been undergoing a restoration project ever since. What you see in the pictures is all that they have accomplished to date, which so far has cost $20 million. Approximately 60% of the house still needs to be addressed.
Across the river from the house, on Wellesley Island, is the Boldt yacht house. This structure was totally cool and housed the various boats that the Boldt family owned, one of which was a houseboat that was 108 feet long. This yacht house also includes a shop which was used to build many racing launches and the house held the quarters for the Boldt's captain and his crew. Quite impressive. Apparently the Boldt daughter, Clover, was quite the racing enthusiast, which for the time was unheard of. I would have liked her.
This area of the country is so beautiful that Steve and I decided to take some of it in on a bike tour at the Robert Wehle State Park, which is 1,067 acres with 17,000 feet that runs along the cliff edges of Lake Ontario. It is interesting to note that previous to Mr. Wehle owning this property, it was used as a rifle range for the U.S. Army during World War II. The day that we took this bike trip was very windy, which made the water very active and the surf quite high. This activity provided us some awesome pictures of the waves breaking against the cliffs. It was such a spectacular sight that Steve and I took some time to just sit and appreciate the beauty of God's creation. Robert Wehle bought this property and used it as a place for him to breed and train English Pointers. If you are ever in the area, we highly recommend visiting this park and taking the Snakefoot trail along the lakefront.
Our last adventure was a visit to Clayton, New York - - home of the Antique Boat Museum and the Antique Race Boat Regatta. The museum houses the giant houseboat of the Boldt's (mentioned above) as well as a good number of antique wooden racing boats, some of which were designed by the famous Gar Wood. Some of these boats were racing out in the bay the day we visited, which was fun to watch. Ken Warby, the man who set the speed record on water (317 mph), was there for the race as well. He set the record in 1978 and it stills stands today.The town of Clayton is the cultural center of the Thousand Island Region and is very quaint with beautiful Victorian and Craftsman homes and worth a visit if you are in the area.
So that's the fun stuff. We also had some misadventure as well. The week started with us getting a flat tire on the BAT. Apparently we had run over a giant piece of angle iron that lodged itself in the interior tire of the right rear of our truck. This piece of iron was so large that Steve could not pull it out of the tire. We had to spend $250 for a new tire, but that's only the beginning. While checking the air pressure on the trailer tires before our move to Vermont, Steve discovered that one of the aluminum wheels had cracked all the way through. Thank God that he saw that before we took off because that wheel could have collapsed and fallen off its axle somewhere along our drive to Vermont. That, thankfully, is a warranty item so it will not be out-of-pocket expense because I am sure that won't be cheap to replace. We've certainly had a streak of misfortune lately (if you will recall we had a serious disagreement with a tree branch in Connecticut), but we are not discouraged.
Ok, gotta run and pack the trailer for Vermont. We are staying in an RV park right on Lake Champlain, which promises a number of picture-worthy scenes. Until then, have a great week.