Thursday, May 17, 2018

New York - Day 16 - Elmira/Binghamton

Chenango Valley State Park, near Binghamton
Wednesday, 16 May 2018

today's route
My route south from Keuka Lake State Park led along the west side of Seneca Lake; a week or so ago I was camped on the east side at Sampson State Park.  Many vineyards along the lake.  Very pretty country.  I passed on called Pompous Ass Winery.

I was aiming for Elmira to pay my respects at the grave of Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain.  His wife’s family lived in Elmira and he and his family spent quite a bit of time there.  He wrote some of his most famous books there (Huckleberry Finn, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Prince and the Pauper, Life on the Mississippi) but left for good in despair after the premature deaths of several of his children.  After his death, his body was brought back to be buried with his wife and children.  Woodlawn Cemetery seems as old as the town – it’s very large and beautiful with graves much older than those of the Clements family.  The dogs and I all enjoyed our walk there.



  

By then it was 11:00 and we were all getting hungry but I had a plan in mind.  I drove an hour away into Binghamton and, getting turned around only once, went to The Original Lupo’s Char Pit.  They don’t claim to have invented the spiedie but do claim to have
You can see I'd already started eating.
perfected it.  A spiedie (pronounced speedy) is a regional speciality – you can find it only in the Binghamton area but, there, it’s wildly popular.  It’s marinated pork or chicken (usually), cut in chunks and charbroiled on a skewer, then the cook uses a sandwich bun as if it were a potholder to pull the meat off the skewer.  And that’s it – meat and bun.  Nothing else.  It’s the marinade that provides the flavor, which is piquant and delicious.  I had no trouble wolfing down
a pork version and didn’t even add salt, which is almost unheard of for me.

After that I planned to get some important chores done. It’s time for Dexter’s annual checkup and I’d located a Banfield Vet Clinic at a PetsMart only a few miles from Lupo’s.  But when we went there, the store told us the Banfield’s had closed about a year and a half ago and that the closest one they knew of was in Albany.  I’ll certainly call that to the attention of someone when I find another outlet, and this time I know to call ahead to confirm when I think I’ve located one.  In the meantime, I’m going to be nervous because it really is time for Dexter’s shots (fortunately not his rabies shot - NY state parks wouldn't let us in without it - but everything else).

Then I went to a CVS to pick up 2 prescriptions I’d called ahead about, only to discover one of them didn’t have any refills left and I need to call my doctor to get another one.  Of course, then I have the problem again of planning ahead to locate a CVS I can get to easily to have it sent to for filling.  Meanwhile, I’m out of that medication, which is supposed to help my blood pressure.

Well, I’m not expecting any serious stress ahead, and when I can get a wi-fi signal, I’ll look up my doctor’s phone number.  (I’m absolutely certain that I brought her business card but couldn’t find it or any of the others I know I brought, even after a 20-minute search.  They’ll show up when I don’t need them and I’ll need to figure out a better spot to put them in.)

I’d originally intended to spend more time in Binghamton because it calls itself the Carousel Capital of the World, but earlier in the month I looked them up and learned that, of the 6 remaining antique carousels here, all are closed until Memorial Day.  I can tell you that the flight simulator was invented here, and IBM was founded near here, and in 1858 the New York State Inebriate Asylum was established as the first in the country to treat alcoholism as a disease.  Interesting place, huh?  Binghamton’s at the confluence of the Susquehana and Chenango Rivers, so there are 11 bridges in town.

This state park, a great deal of which was built by the CCC, is located around 2 kettle lakes formed about 11,000 years ago when the glacier sheet retreated.  It’s pretty and wooded and quiet.

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