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May 4 - June 3 - Lots of Glass and a surprise or two

We like surprises, at least the positive ones. And in May, we encountered some. On Monday May 4, we hooked up at the Gettysburg Farm (9) and headed north on US-15 to the Camp Bell Campground at Campbell, NY (10), chosen because it's nice and close to Corning NY, where there's possibly the best collection of art glass in the world. That would be the Corning Museum of Glass, a place we'd visited back in 2007 for a few hours and vowed to revisit when we had more time. This time, we took most of two days to explore it.

Corning NY is, of course, best known because of the glassworks that shares its name. It's almost certain that you have some Corning glass in your home, certainly some Pyrex. And the Corning Glass folks have built the most marvelous museum to show off not only their products, but objects made of glass from all over the world, going back at least 4500 years. They've got a couple of pieces of glass older than that, but it's naturally occurring - obsidian from volcano ejections.

There's lot of art glass, tons of practical stuff, loads of Tiffani and Lalique, a glass flute, some glass furniture, and even the flawed original cast glass reflector mirror for the Mount Palomar telescope - the largest piece of cast glass ever attempted at that time. One surprise was a whole gallery devoted to the Steuben glass pieces designed by Frederick Carder between 1903 and the 1950s. When Corning bought Stuben in 1918, they not only got Carder, but samples of every piece of Steuben glass he'd designed up 'til then. It's all displayed - thousands of pieces. It's like walking through a rainbow.

The glass deserves better than our words, so we've got pictures. Check out our slideshow.

Another surprise was the Glenn Curtis Aviation Museum in nearby Hammondsport NY. Curtis was one of the true aviation pioneers, and kind of sidled into the airplane business when Alexander Graham Bell recruited him to build engines for some airplanes he (Bell) was trying to build. Curtis had developed a reputation for building lightweight, powerful engines for the motorized bicycles and motorcycles he was building. That was in 1907, when Curtis was 29 years old. By 1908, Curtis was designing and building airplanes. By 1920, he was able to cash in his ownership of the Curtis Aircraft Company for the tidy sum of $32 million pre-tax, uninflated dollars and retire. In those 12 years, he pretty much invented the seaplane, built thousands of "Jennies" for WW1 use by the Brits and the US, built a couple of transatlantic record-setting craft, and convinced the US Navy that they could land airplanes on a ship by doing it. He's considered to be the father of naval aviation. There are a few Brits who might argue with that, but we'll be patriotic. The museum isn't all that big, but it's absolutely loaded with fascinating stuff. We're glad we saw the signs along the highway and took the time to explore. We were there about 3 hours before wearing out our old feet. We could have easily spent several more hours.

After four nights in Campbell, we hooked up on Fri May 9 and drove west to the 1000 Trails Kenisee Lake Resort near Jefferson OH (11), where we spent just one night. We try to subscribe to the "2-2-2" rule when we're on the move - drive about 200 miles, get there by 2pm, and stay at least two days. Usually, we stay two weeks. And when we come back to Kenisee Lake in July, we'll actually stay a whole week. But this time, after one night (with dinner at Hardee's, the eastern twin of Carl's Jr), we pulled out again for a 12-night stay at the Erie Islands Resort at Port Clinton OH (12). We've been there a few times before, and it's usually a very nice place to hang out. This visit, the weather wasn't particularly cooperative - lots of wind, some rain, cold temps, a tornado watch. And Al got one of those 7-day colds that pretty well killed our sightseeing. But we did manage to notice that the resident Canada geese were escorting broods of young 'uns around. Boy are they cute. We'll be back in Port Clinton for two weeks the end of June, hopefully ague-free and able to sightsee.

Then on May 22, after much wheezing and sneezing and coughing, we hooked up again and headed south to the 1000 Trails Wilmington Resort at Wilmington OH (13). We don't often encounter accidents as we travel, but this one day we ran up against two. The first wasn't much, except that it involved an ambulance that apparently rear-ended a trailer. Didn't look like anybody was injured, but the ambulance was badly damaged and the EMT we saw leaning against a utility pole was probably extremely embarrassed. And a few hours later, the traffic on southbound I-75 came to a halt, and we sat there for an hour while a couple miles ahead of us, something was being cleaned up. By the time we got moving again, there was nothing left to be seen. We'll never know what it was, other than Google Maps reported "an accident". The rest of the trip was uneventful.

We spent two weeks in Wilmington, not doing much of anything special. It was surprising and a bit gratifying to be recognized and welcomed back when we walked into the Presbyterian Church of Wilmington. We made two 27-mile trips to the nearest Culver's restaurant, because we hadn't been anywhere near one since leaving Florida. That Culver's happened to be located at the base of an unusual radio tower used by WLW in Cincinnati. And Luther Pierson then told us about the near-by Voice of America Museum, on the site of the main VOA antenna farm used during the cold war. Alas, the museum wasn't open. Judy made an almost daily 40 mile round trip to the nearest Curves, where she was remembered from our last visit almost a year ago. Al finally finished up his project to add side-view video cameras to the motorhome, something that's taken a year of contemplation and about 5 hours of actual work to finish up. It was a fairly restful two weeks. We'll probably be back in Wilmington next spring.

And on June 3, we hooked up again and headed west to Columbus IN to visit our dear friends the Piersons. That's for our next report.

Judy took a lot of pictures in May, and we've put about 116 of them into our slideshow. Check them out here if you choose.

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