Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A weekend away with GFJ

Rochester, NY - Home of the Eastman House and Museum. It's been a place I've been looking to visit since I broke up with a woman I dated from there about 17 years ago.  However, I never had the motivation (or excuse) to make the long drive upstate (and back) until now....

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For a long while, I've been looking for a place that GFJ and I can visit over a 3 day weekend.  What makes things much more complicated now is that I have a job, and have to be back to work (on site) at the end of the weekend.  I can not afford to be exhausted when I'm at work, as I must consider myself on probation for next 3 months or so. Until I have proven my worth to management, I can't take anything for granted.

This week, GFJ mentioned that I've talked about going to Rochester, and that she'd like to go there.  So I ended up booking a hotel in the area on Thursday, knowing that there was no way to back out without losing money.  The next morning, I worked from home, and it was all I could do to keep up with things.  Even so, I kept making rookie mistakes, and I know that my boss will want to talk with me about them sometime next week.  My mind was elsewhere, but this was not something I was going to admit to him.

When 2:00 pm came, I rushed to finish my packing, as I knew that we had a 5+ hour ride ahead of us from the point I met GFJ in New Paltz. Of course, "the hurrier you get, the more behinder you get."  This was the case with me, as I forgot some very needed things.  (More on this later.)  And even with my rushing, GFJ was a little late as usual, and we didn't get on the road to Rochester until 5:00 pm.

After 5 hours of highway driving (roughly 330 miles), we reached the hotel - where I found that I left my state issued ID, car registration, and insurance card in Marian's wallet.  This didn't help me, as Mario, being 300 miles away from that wallet. My reservation could only be claimed with the credit card I used to make the reservation and a photo ID.  Thankfully, I had my BJ's Warehouse Club photo ID - which they accepted.  This was the first time they knew of that they identified a person using a warehouse club ID card.

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The next morning, it was off to the Eastman House. But before I got dresses, I noticed something wrong - I left the socks I planned to wear at home.  AARGH!  So I knew that along my travels this day, I'd have to buy several pair, as I'd be cannibalizing the pair I saved in my emergency bag in the trunk.

Years ago, when I had visited my ex girlfriend in Rochester, we never made it North of the railroad tracks. (The railroad station is at the Northernmost point on the inner loop.)  For the most part, we explored the region from her house in the Southeastern suburbs - in a town called Fairport.  I knew that there was a lighthouse that I wanted to visit, as well as an old time carousel nearby. So I figured, that with the Eastman House, that we had 1 full day of things to do.

GFJ was impressed with Rochester, but noted that its downtown was totally empty on Saturday.  I noted that the middle class lived in the suburbs, while the lower class lived near the city center.  But unlike New York City, Rochester is clean, and we didn't notice the oppressive poverty one sees in many cities.  We were both impressed with the Eastman House, illustrated in the photos below:.

George Eastman was a man who was able to live large - in a time when there were no income taxes to take away any part of the millions he earned from photographic equipment. And his house shows it.  Sadly, the pictures I posted do not do this place justice.  So if you're up in the Rochester, NY area - go visit, as you won't be dissappointed.

Next, it was a drive up to the lake, where a lighthouse beckoned.  But before we went to the lighthouse, we decided to have a nice lunch at a place with a TINY river view. (No, I don't have pictures for this.) By the time we were finished with lunch, we had about an hour to visit the lighthouse.  Although the admission price was a measly $5.00, I chose NOT to pay to visit the tower - my GI tract was telling me to get to a bathroom fast, and I knew enough to listen to it. (Nothing was wrong with lunch. It's a GI tract issue I've had for years.)

This was the end of our playing tourist in the small city.  After a short nap, we went for dinner at the same diner we visited on our first night, then went home to sleep.

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What I haven't noted so far, is that Lili tried to reach me at the most inopportune times during our trip.  It became an inside joke with us, because Lili called while I was trying to register at the hotel, when we were ordering dinner, when we were trying to cuddle, and when we were about to enter the museum.  (My brother called me while I was on the tour.)  Lili had a date planned, and needed to talk about this person.  If it were up to me (in her shoes), I wouldn't have even bothered with the fellow, but we all know how "successful" Lili has been with men, and we know that she's going to do what she wants to do, and ignore all advice.

When I tried to call Lili on the drive home, she was busy.  Just as well.  And then I called my brother, and we discussed ongoing problems with my dad.  We also discussed my fears and issues I've been having in regard to work - and he has been going through the same thing on his new job, with the exception that my brother is recognizing that his nervousness is causing him problems.  So I'm not alone with this issue....

As I've noted before, this is a 330+ mile drive.  Doing this in bad weather is terrible, having driven the thruway in a blizzard almost 2 decades ago.  So when "Scattered Showers" came our way in Syracuse, we were glad that we missed half of the showers due to a planned potty break. Yet, we had to deal with downpours twice - once in Syracuse, and then about an hour later when we left the Thruway.

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Why did I leave the Thruway?

Several years ago, I drove to Cooperstown, and then returned via the Route 20 (to Albany) and then the NYS Thruway to the NYC suburb where I live.  Along the way, I stopped in Duanesburg, where I saw the following private collection:

I was very sad to pass by this place today.  Not only was the man who built the collection no longer with us (I'm told that he died a couple of years ago), but no one seems to be tending to the diner, as apparent in the pictures below:

We might have spent time here if it weren't raining.  But we weren't going to do so with a long drive home still ahead of us. So it was back on the road, and back to the Thruway.

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Eventually, we made it to New Paltz where GFJ left her car.  After a last dinner in town, we went back to her car, put her stuff in it, and sadly went our separate ways until next weekend.


  1. Rochester is a very nice city. A few years ago I had a matter that had me up there several times. It is a bear of a drive and I would alway take a different route...sometimes the Thruway...sometimes 17 to 81 thru Syracuse and sometimes 17 thru Elmira around rt. 390.

    Rochester is also a very T friendly town. When I was there on business I went out dressed most nights. There were several very friendly venues. I even went to an evening Catholic mass while dressed. I was made to feel very accepted.

    If I get up there at the right time with time on my hands I would like to take the Niagara Wine train tour and visit the Medina Train museum. My wife and I like the old historic train rides.

  2. Pat -

    I agree with you regarding Rochester. But I'd hate living there. There is something about living near America's "Must Visit" city that you can't get elsewhere.

    If we had more time, I'd have liked to go to that train museum. But, given the issue of not having ID with me, and a 6 hour drive to get home, I wasn't going to prolong our time up North....