Archive for May 16th, 2011

34: Ohio

Monday, May 16th, 2011

As I entered Ohio, I re-entered the “Midwest” region of the country (a region that I had entered briefly when I passed through corners of Kansas and Missouri on the outbound leg of the trip). The term “Midwest” seems a bit strange for this part of the country – especially for Ohio, as it is so close to the East Coast – but the term dates from the time when the United States was clustered around the Atlantic Coast, with most of the true ‘west’ of the continent being unexplored.

Because of the rainy weather, I drove quickly through Ohio (taking Interstate 90 that runs along the northern edge of the state), with few stops. I did, however, stop briefly in the city of Cleveland, on Lake Erie. In the rest of the country, Cleveland has a reputation of being a dump, but to me at least, the downtown area looked quite nice. (Winters here are undoubtedly awful, though.)

A view of the Cleveland waterfront: The "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" building in the foreground, with the Cleveland Browns football stadium (and a ship) in the background

33: Pennsylvania

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Pennsylvania has a small coastline on Lake Erie (one of the five Great Lakes). The largest city and port on this coastline is also named Erie.

I passed quickly through this area while driving between New York State and Ohio. (This was my third visit to Pennsylvania; I had previously visited Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.) I stopped briefly at Presque Isle State Park to take a photo of the city of Erie, but unfortunately because of the rainy weather I wasn’t able to take a good photo.

The city of Erie, as seen from Presque Isle State Park

26: New York (revisiting)

Monday, May 16th, 2011

When you hear the name “New York”, you usually think of New York City – but geographically, New York City is merely a small part of New York State. Because New York State stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Canadian border, any circuit of the 48 contiguous United States has to pass through New York (and also New Hampshire) twice. On my trip, I passed through New York State a second time while returning westward from Vermont.

I drove westward along Interstate 90 through upstate New York, passing through the cities of Saratoga Springs, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo. This region of the country has traditionally relied upon milling and manufacturing, and so has struggled economically in recent years as those industries have declined. I saw several closed factories as I drove along I-90.

As I drove though this region, I encountered the first significant period of bad weather on this trip. (Prior to this, I had experienced just a few hours of light rain in Maryland and Maine.) The rain started as I drove westward, and became persistent as I passed through Buffalo (and later, Pennsylvania and Ohio). It was also unusually cold for Spring: about 46 degrees F (8 degrees C).

(Weather was also big news elsewhere in the country, with the Mississippi River seeing record flooding. Several parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana that I had visited a month ago are now underwater.)

Old mill, Rock City Falls

"The World's Smallest Church", near Oneida

"Anchor Bar" in Buffalo, where "Buffalo Wings" were invented

Buffalo City Hall

Because of the rain, I gave up on my original plan to visit Niagara Falls (which is not far from Buffalo). I had already visited Niagara Falls – from the Canadian side – in 1990. By most accounts, the view of the falls from the Canadian side is better.