Day 4 (part 2): Auburn to nearly Buffalo

Time to finish up this trip.  Back home, back to work.  Time to really hunker down and get to work on 6,000+ photos waiting to be inserted into the website.

The sun was out about 35% of the day — about the best it was the whole trip.  I hear it was sunny back in NYC the entire time.  The big news:  no smudgie on the lens today – thank goodness!  The day began in Auburn — here are a couple photos from there.  John Stevens is gone — don’t know what the business was but there’s a coffee bar there now.  Nice little Art Deco fins:

About 50 feet down the block is this sign.  No longer a bar there — building is vacant:

Okay, okay — I know you’ve been waiting for the junk food shots.  Had to show my support for the recently reopened Donuts Delite in Rochester:

Fixie knows something good is in this box:

With a long drive ahead, I stocked up.  Two of these actually made it home with me.  From left to right, clockwise:  raspberry (with raspberry gumdrop on top), peanut butter & jelly, banana cream, and sour cream.  The PBJ was sensational.  Jelly inside lumpy like real preserves, pb icing, pb cup on top with Reese’s pb pieces, peanuts.  The sour cream was heavy — in a soothing way — a meal in itself.  Banana cream was so-so (I forgot that I don’t like powdered sugar).  Raspberry was good but that white icing was a bit too sweet for me.  They had much more traditional donuts as well but I usually go for the exotics.  Surprisingly, I didn’t see the apple cider donuts which are big everywhere at this time of year.  Even the gas station c-stores seem to have lots of them on hand.

Some more stuff from Rochester.   The Dancing Wings Butterfly Gardens, part of the Strong Museum of Play, is about five years old.   It is meant to resemble a butterfly in flight:

Here’s a classic, mid-century modern “butterfly roof”:

I don’t know what business was here before (gears?) — but very nice tilework was left behind.  The building is now “available” but part of it is inhabited by a post office.  Hopefully, this artwork will survive:

Finally, some doggie pix.  These guys had a great trip.  Lots of water and fields everywhere we went.  The water was pretty cold which would have Grem & Nik shivering mightily for about 20 minutes after swims.  Fix & Grip rarely went in past their knees.  If you’re new to these blogs — that’s Gripper on top of the dog crate (pantry) and left to right Sputnik, Gremlin & Fix.

The crew is waiting patiently for the okay to hop out into a few minutes of paradise and chaos:

You’ll have to use your imagination here to visualize Nik’s manic barking and swimming after ballies being thrown into the water.  Grem and Grip were mostly busy scoring chicken bones.  Fixie was off flirting with a fisherman nearby.

I’m a big fan of plumbing signs – particularly those with depictions of leaking faucets.  If you’re a member of the SCA, I did an article about them recently.  Some of the signs that I covered are here (not updated yet there is the Moyer sign which was restored a couple months ago):

If you’re unfamiliar with the SCA (Society for Commercial Archeology), it’s a great roadside organization that I’ve been a member of for more than 20 years.  I’ve also been writing the Signs columns for their publications for a few years now.  There’s a conference coming up next month in Arkansas that sounds like a lot of fun:

Anyhow, yes, plumbing signs.  This one came as a surprise to me.  I was here to see the painted sign in back (see below) — but no one has ever posted photos of this neon sign.  Perhaps it’s because of the crappy plexi paneling that protects it.  I ran into the owner and he says the sign is lit at night.  Next time I’m near Rochester at night, I’ll be sure to check it out.  The owner said it used to be animated but that’s forbidden by the city now.  He also said there was a different neon sign before this one — taller with sequential drips.

I’ve been shooting giant apples for years:

but only found out about this one in Medina recently.  It was installed around 2000.  The “kids” were happy to pose for scale:

After all, it was dinner time, and mama had the bowls and can of food with her. That’s the Erie Canal in the background.

So, that’s it for this trip.  If you missed the Flickr photos (different ones from the ones posted here), you might want to check those out here:

I’ll probably do another little four-day trip in October  (some stuff in MA, CT that I didn’t get to this year).  And possibly an Xmas trip to finish up some of the NY stuff from this trip that didn’t happen.  The next biggie trip will be in the spring (TX, OK & more).  Dates & details & all the updates can be found over at the “What’s New” page at the site:

I hope you enjoyed tagging along with us and that you’re able to sneak off for some adventures yourself before the weather gets nasty. 


Day 4 (part 1): Heave ho — hauling home

Stopping soon in Albany for the night — then heading home in the morning.  400 miles from Buffalo to home and I just can’t do it in one fell swoop right now.  Plus I need some sleep if I’m to be civil at all tomorrow night at work.  All is well — lots of fun photos for you.  Check back on Thursday for the final post.

Day 3: Inching Westward in NY

So today — sunny blue skies!  The dogs had lots of rivers to swim in.  All was right with the world.  Lots of miles between stops at times which felt like a waste of good shooting time.  But I did enjoy the scenery.  Pine trees, dark blue rivers, clouds, and cool air.  Fall is here and too soon will come:  much dreaded winter.  Dreaded by me anyway.

An email deluge while I was out and about today.  Replied to most of them and it’s late already.  Picked out a selection of photos from today and then noticed from the very first one that I cropped:  a smudgey area at bottom center.  All day — every single photo.  I know I looked at the lens many times today and it looked fine even with my glasses on.  Now I know that method can’t be trusted. Dog drool?  Maybe it’s been that way for two days but I never noticed because of the grey.  It’s absolutely heartbreaking.  And means even more reshooting in my future.  Shall I just repeat this entire trip next year?  Ugh, I’m so depressed about it.  Tomorrow, I’ll be cleaning the lens like a fiend.  And when I get home, I’ll order 6 lens caps.  I lost the cap on the last big trip and never replaced it.

Okay then — bring on the smudgies (actually it looks like the first few are okay — but you’ll start noticing later):

A couple from Schenectady.  Always relieved to see this place still there:

This sign is quite the mish-mash:

From Howes Cave.  Spot be damned!  Right there a soupy area right below the “o”.  Anyway — the original owner’s son now runs the place.  He said the main reason that he can’t bear to sell the motel is that he knows the buyers would get rid of the sign.  A sign shop quoted him $5,000 to repaint the sign which he can’t afford.  He plans on doing it himself.  I asked about what might have been on the pointy thing on top.  There was some kind of a flashing mechanism.  Not sure what.  I didn’t ask if they ever heard from Holiday Inn about this sign:

Barking, drooling, spot-producing monsters!  Can I blame them for my agony?  Nah.  I’m sure it was me being sloppy with coffee or some such thing.  I’m really surprised that Fixie tolerated this.  Not like her to put up with physical nonsense.  I think they were both too tired to notice.  (As required by my own law, photo taken while driving.  The other two girls knocked out in the back.)

In Duanesburg — it was Moving Day at the Merli Ranch.  Merli Manufacturing that is.  Although not that big a move really.  A few hundred yards or so onto a proper foundation.  This is the former 9&20 Diner:

foundation at left:

I didn’t stick around to watch the whole process.  The event was purely accidental on my part.  I was just driving by and there it was all loaded up.  I did meet Joe Merli.  And I watched the truck move back and forth for awhile.  Someone said there was going to be a crane involved.  A diner in the air would have made an exciting photo – sorry I had to miss it.  I did grab a shot of the train (engine car? what do I know of trains) that the diner will be named after.  They’re now within winking distance of each other on Merli’s property which will be used as a mini tourist village one day.

Moving on to Mayfield.  This neat geodesic dome could be yours!

From Syracuse.  Sign as canopy — or canopy as sign?  I just think the whole thing is very clever and colorful.  Although the guys working there just thought I was nuts and/or up to no good:

And last subject for the day — from Liverpool.  Not sure what gives better sense of scale so I’ll include them both.  Full sign:

and with Flamingo’s feathered friends:

OK — let’s hope for more sun tomorrow and a clean lens!  That’ll be Day 4 and final day of the trip.  Not sure if I’ll be blogging tomorrow night or making you wait.  Traditionally, I drive home and head off to work and publish the final trip post the day after.  But this is a much shorter drive home than usual.  I’ll probably just chime in a quick hi tomorrow night unless I’ve had coffee and feel ambitious.

Day 2: north of Albany

This weather blows!  No, I don’t mean that it’s been windy.  It’s just grey, greyer than grey.  Eternal dusk.  And I’m bummed about it.  So much for the weather forecast of sun all weekend.  Okay, so it didn’t rain or snow — but it just as well might have since it means I’ll have to do a repeat trip of this one to get everything in proper sunlight.

To compound my misery, I was in very familiar territory today.  I used to come up to Saratoga Springs once or twice a year for agility trials.  Memories all over the place, round every corner.  I do miss the courses, some of the people, the obsessiveness, etc.  But right now, I don’t have teammate that’s enthusiastic enough to compete with.  Grippie was an incredible champion and loved the sport.  Nik and Grem have other obsessions (toys and critters, respectively).  Fixie has never been into sports — as someone said once “she’s a reader”.  So for now, I just “practice” once a week — which is fun — but seems kind of pointless at times.  And it isn’t such a bad thing as it means all that time and money go to the website and traveling, respectively.  (word for the day:  “respectively” – kind of obnoxious, no?)

Speaking of dogs, they got tons of running, sniffing, peeing, swimming, rolling time today since I was not exactly motivated today to squeeze in as many shots as possible before sundown.  After all, the entire day was sundown.  A few squirrels were chased.  A few squeaky toys no longer squeak.  Good times.  Respectively.

So, despite my melancholy and the lack of sun, I still have a big batch of photos for you.  Let’s get on with it —

Central Ave. in Albany used to have tons of neon signs.  I’ve seen quite a lot of them replaced with plastic box versions — and I’ve only been coming up here for about ten years or so.  Here’s one hanging on — but maybe not for long.  It looked like construction workers were “doing stuff” to the property:

This sweet drive-in has been closed for years now.  I remember when it was open.  I always hold my breath when I approach it — never sure if it will still be there:

The main reason I stuck around Albany a bit this morning was to finally shoot the restored Dare carousel at the State Museum.  A couple blogworthy things inside en route:  the Rocket Car built in 1929:

an Automat display:

If you want to read the items available, click on the photo:

Another rusty crusty with wire mesh like the Olympic sign from yesterday.  I guess this was a pre-plexiglass method of protecting neon?

A residential (I think) window display. Is this scene depicting anything in particular — cowboys, cowgirls, Indians…  Are these famous figures that I’m clueless about?

This sign from Watervliet – business still open:

In Troy.  Ever have that feeling that you were being watched?  Look up.  Way up.  Lounging on the precipice of death.  Like he owns the place.  Wishing nothing but pure evil on me and my van full of barking dogs.

A few more shots from Troy.  Just lovely despite the rust:

Rudy’s is having (or had) a going out of business sale.  I bet this sign could be had for the asking.  Unless Rudy has some personal affection for it.  Both sides had some crunched plastic — but still, plastic integrity here.  These signs were mass-produced with the different biz name at the bottom:

Maybe a different sign here originally judging from the metal roof support?  Still open:

A few of these brick column signs in Saratoga Springs and environs:

Late afternoon, the sun came out for about 10 minutes.  Hallelujah!  So I had to quick grab this one.  As you’ve probably noticed if you’re a fan of this blog or the site, I’m a compulsive cropper.  But I’ve left this one large because of the sunflowers and winding road scene:

And lastly, here’s one from Warrensburg.  The lodge is indeed a big white house.  Which is now for sale.  So this sign might be gone soon.  Like the fall leaves.  If I wasn’t so tired, I could probably come up with something more philosophical about it.  Something about the changing times and the passing of all these great roadside treasures.  I’ll let you fill in your own nostalgic, conclusive verse here.

Heading west tomorrow — send us some sun, will ya!

Day 1: NY Mini Trip

Did you miss us?  The dogs and I are taking a break from the routine and doing a little New York state four-day trip.  I have long neglected my own backyard thinking I can shoot stuff here in my home state any old time.  But that time never  seems to come and the dreary, blurry, ancient photos at my site are proof.  So this ambitious trip is an attempt to remedy that.  No map for this trip so I’ll just say it’s a giant loop north to Lake George-ish, then west all the way to Buffalo, and then down south-ish through Binghamton, etc.  My stack o’ maps looks like a week’s worth so time may run out by Buffalo.

I haven’t even begun working on getting the summer Midwest photos inserted at my site.  I came home to an avalanche of emails and other must-deal-with stuff.  I also made a valiant attempt to make updates to the site:  stuff that’s gone, repainted, remodeled. etc.  I have a list of at least a thousand things to update and only made it through a few hundred.  Maybe I can catch up this winter.

Back to today… According to the forecast all week, today was supposed to be stellar sunny.  But it was really mostly dreary grey.  Today’s Flickr photos won’t reflect that since I post only the prettiest & sunniest stuff there.  But the sampling of photos I share with you here are unfiltered weatherwise.   Here goes.

Stop #1 was in Yonkers for a couple things including this sign that’s been on my list for awhile.  I assume this was a restaurant but that’s just a guess.  Nothing there now that seems to be related.  Not website-worthy but delightful nonetheless:

The “Wedgwood Professional Center” in Hartsdale.  Painted Wedgwood pottery blue?  I know nothing about this place’s history but love the faux barn & cottagey building.  Also a fun weathervane-y windmill on top of the entrance gate.  A guy walking by with his dog said he thought the place was “spooky” looking.  I would say “cute” or “quirky” but don’t see “spooky” here, do you?

From Elmsford.  The neon was on during the day but it was more apparent in person:

A nice projecting clock at a furniture store in Poughkeepsie.  It was way up there — maybe 4th story or so:

I can only think of a few neon realtor signs from around the country.  This one in Saugerties is unfortunately penned in between trees so it doesn’t allow for pretty photos.

At a tire store in East Greenbush.  A Michelin Man and his dog.  Did he have a dog?  This is a wood carving so I assume it’s a one-of-a-kind statue.  Looks like someone backed into the poor dog.

Here’s one for you rusty-crusty fans.  I assume that metal mesh was put there to protect the neon ages ago.  I can’t imagine that this sign is still lit at all now.  There’s something inspiring about this sign’s resilience, no?

A two-fer — both signs at the same business.  Bulbs, plastic, neon — this one’s got it all!

A florist’s window on Central Ave.  I’m assuming this neon is modern — but maybe not.  Very nice either way:

So simple, so wonderful:

Meet you back here tomorrow for more!