Monthly Archives: October 2014

2014 Trip Six, Oct. 16-19, Deb and Rebecca’s Wedding and Fall in Canada

Saint Paul, MN Oct. 23

Well, Trip Six came to an end four days earlier than expected. Chris lost the crown on one of her teeth Friday night. A trip to Urgent Dental Care Saturday morning indicated they could fix it but it would be wiser to have it repaired back home since the repair might take several visits. They also advised that, while it was not critical to fix it immediately, it would be wiser to head home and have it repaired soon. So, Saturday we drove to Madison WI and made it home Sunday afternoon. Dayton, Indianapolis, and Springfield IL will have to wait for another trip.

Thursday and Friday were spent in Cambridge and Columbus, Ohio. So frequently in the past we have zipped through this area without more than an overnight stop or a re-fueling stop. With more leisure time, it was time to do further explorations. And we may have to come back again. Cambridge has a Christmas celebration based on the theme of Charles Dickens Christmas village. Entirely volunteer funded and operated, they have over 150 hand-made, full-size Dickens characters that are placed in the downtown area with music and Christmas lighting. It seems delightful.

Musser Glass in Cambridge OH

Musser Glass in Cambridge OH

Musser Glass

Mosser Glass

In the past, Cambridge had been the glass-making and pottery-making center of Ohio. Times have changed and only small artisans are open now. We visited Mosser Glass and took a tour of their factory. Only 20+ people are employed there but they still have several furnaces to view and a brand-new display area. We watched the making of deep red pressed glass cake plates and green salt and pepper shakers. Then we headed for the display area and spent more money than we expected. Christmas gifts are partially taken care of.

Cambridge Glass Museum

Cambridge Glass Museum

Our second stop was at the National Museum of Cambridge Glass. Cambridge Glass was a high-end, hand-made glass product in the first half of the 20th century. At its peak, 700 employees worked for the company. The employees did everything from glass making, barrel making (for shipments), coal mining to create their own electricity, sales, etc. The glass, while no longer made, exists in many homes around the U.S. and is a major collectible. Natural gas and oil deposits helped fuel the glass-making industry. Today, oil fracking is the newest industry.

The National Museum was established by collectors to showcase the quality, variety, and range of glass products made by Cambridge. This was not a company with which we had been familiar before our visit. A volunteer on duty gave us a personal tour, explaining the various glass products and their popularity. Since we had already shot the wad at Mosser, we refrained from any further purchases here.

Lunch was at a local restaurant. Theo’s is large and was empty when we entered around 11 AM. When we left at noon, it was full. A good turnout for a town of 10,000.

each state placed a marker at every mile along the national road, this is Ohio's style. It tells a traveler the nearest towns and how far from the ends of the road

each state placed a marker at every mile along the national road, this is Ohio’s style. It tells a traveler the nearest towns and how far from the ends of the road

The National Road is the name given to the first road authorized by the fledgling U.S. government. It extended from Cumberland MD to eastern Ohio in its first authorization in 1811. It provided the young country with a means for transportation from the settled areas to the new frontier. George Washington had encouraged its building, observing during the French and Indian Wars of the need for a transportation route to bind the country together.

Here lies a portion of the original National Road.

Here lies a portion of the original National Road.

The National Road museum details the need for and the building of the road in the early 1800s. As railroads progressed, road usage declined. Then, as the auto came into the forefront, the road was upgraded and then eventually replaced by Interstate 70. Those graceful stone arch bridges are mainly gone now, replaced by concrete and steel bridges high above valleys and creeks.

Zane Grey memorabilia, he was a world class fisherman

Zane Grey memorabilia, he was a world class fisherman

The same building also houses the Zane Grey Museum. Zane Grey is less known today. He wrote in the early 1900s, featuring stories about the West. His novels outsold those of Faulkner, Lewis, and other contemporary and award-winning American authors of the same period. His books were made into movies and a Zane Grey movie title guaranteed a boffo box office. He suffered from depression and found its cure in travel to the West and the Pacific, often accompanied by a “secretary” that took no notes and wrote no letters. His wife and kids stayed behind until later in life when the boys accompanied him on some of his travels. Zane Grey’s ancestors helped found the town of Zanesville; the museum is located on the old National Road just east of Zanesville.

An example of pottery from the collection

An example of pottery from the collection

The museum’s third collection is of art pottery created in this county of Ohio. The heavy, quality clay deposits encouraged the production of pottery dating back to the late 1700s. As industrialization came onto the scene in the late 1800s and early 1900s, this area embraced both mass produced pottery and specialized art pottery.

The Y bridge in Zanesville

The Y bridge in Zanesville

After the museum we drove to Zanesville to pick up a prescription. We also stopped at an overlook of the “World famous” Y bridge. It crosses the Licking and Muskingum Rivers. This is supposedly the only bridge that intersects in a Y shape over water. The current one is the fourth version; early ones burnt or were replaced. I am sure you are as impressed as we were.

Ohio's State Capitol

Ohio’s State Capitol

Ohio House Chambers

Ohio House Chambers

Schmidt's in German Village Columbus Ohio

Schmidt’s in German Village Columbus Ohio

Friday we drove to Columbus, the state capital and toured the capitol building. It was built in 1861 and has that Greek revival feel of grandiosity and openness inside but is not beautiful. Lunch was in German Village, a historic, restored part of town. Schmidt’s Restaurant and Sausage Haus dates back to 1886 and is still family run. We also stopped in their fudge store where the fudge they make is rated one of the top five in the country by Paula Deen. (It did taste good; I bought some fresh off the mixing table.)

Topiary Park in Columbus Ohio

Topiary Park in Columbus Ohio

Topiary garden in Columbus Ohio

Topiary garden in Columbus Ohio

After the tour, we went to the Topiary Park. The Park is the only topiary gardens in the U.S.based on a work of art; the painting by Georges Seurat titled: “A Sunday afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte”. The painting hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago. Unfortunately the pond and part of the area were roped off for repairs although many of the topiary are recognizable. 80 yews are clipped into 3-dimensional sculptures of 54 people, eight boats, three dogs, a monkey and a cat.

Franklin Park Conservatory Columbus OH

Franklin Park Conservatory Columbus OH

Chihuly glass sculpture at Franklin Park Conservatory in  Columbus OH

Chihuly glass sculpture at Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus OH

Our final choice was between the Ohio History Museum and Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. It was a sunny, pleasant day so the Conservatory won out. In addition, our Como Park membership meant the $9 admission fee was waived. Franklin Park consists of typical indoor settings of deserts, lilies, tropical rainforest, etc. Dale Chihuly glass artwork is scattered throughout the conservatory; evidently on long-term loan, not owned by Franklin Park. While AAA rates this as a must-see; my rating is more like pleasant but not earth-shattering.

Back home in St. Paul Crosby Farm Park

Back home in St. Paul Crosby Farm Park

Saturday’s drive did not begin until noon, after the dental appointment. The route is a familiar one, through Indianapolis, over to Bloomington IL to avoid Chicago, and up through Wisconsin. The fall leaf colors would have been more enjoyable without the rain and darkness but we still marveled at them. Even back in St. Paul, where I worried most of the trees would be bare, there is still sufficient post-peak colors to demonstrate the marvelous work of nature.

Ed and Chris Monday Oct 20th 7 pm

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2014 Trip Six, Oct. 13-15, Deb and Rebecca’s Wedding and Fall in Canada

Written 10/17 in Columbus Ohio for Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 13-15 in Pennsylvania

We left Ivoryton CT around noon on Monday to drive to Philadelphia to begin our trip back to MN. This section of our trip to return to MN is 1600 miles but we will take 11 days to complete it.

The drive down from Ivoryton to Philly should take three and a half hours in ideal traffic. We expected Monday to bring a combination of rain, and holiday and rush hour traffic; we chose a slightly longer route to possibly avoid the problem areas. The trip took five and a half hours.

Fall colors are continuing with varying results. Generally we are slightly past peak colors. We drive through some areas that are still quite beautiful. Then 50 miles away we come across scenes of brown trees, if the leaves are still on the trees. We enjoy what is provided and marvel that we are experiencing about a five week period of fantastic fall foliage.

Kathy came with us to Philly and we dropped her off at a friend’s house. She will fly home later in the week. Our lodging for two nights will be an AirBnB apartment in Old City Philadelphia, just a few blocks from Independence Hall. Our only hassle is that the key to the building works sporadically. Our several minutes of frustration are solved when a resident of the building comes along and manages to open the door with her key-but even she has hassles.

One of the original goals for Philly was to visit the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial operated by the National Park Service. It is the smallest unit run by the National Park Service. (Note: their spelling of his name differs from that used at Fort Ticonderoga and Saratoga.) He was the Polish military engineer who designed the defenses at Fort Ticonderoga and Saratoga. But, we found out a few days ago that the site is only open on Saturday and Sunday due to budget cuts.

Independence Hall in Philadelphia

Independence Hall in Philadelphia

The room where the founders debated and signed the Declaration of Independence and Constitution

The room where the founders debated and signed the Declaration of Independence and Constitution

We went anyway. But first we re-visited Independence Hall. Generally we are visiting places that are new to us. Independence Hall has been a frequent spot for us, but it has been over 10 years since our last time here. It is a moving place to visit and this trip was no exception. The National Park Service offers a 25 minute introduction to Independence Hall, bringing you into the rooms where the founders of our country debated and risked their lives and property for the cause. The ranger reminded us that the names of the signers were not published for 6 months to give them time to place their family and possessions out of reach of the British.

Old City Philadelphia

Old City Philadelphia

Old City Philadelphia

Old City Philadelphia

After Independence Hall we wandered around Old City on our way to the Kosciuszko National Memorial. This section of Philly is narrow streets (well, that describes a lot of Philly) with brick homes and buildings on tree-lined streets with little traffic. Very pleasant but not immune to issues. We passed old St. Mary’s Catholic Church that has closed its doors to visitors during the week due to vandalism. Placards in the area told of the tolerant history of PA due to the Quaker influence. In the 1730s, Philadelphia was the only major city in the British Empire where a Roman Catholic Mass could be celebrated in public.

Koszciusko Memorial

Koszciusko Memorial

The Thaddeus Kosciuszko Memorial is located at the site where he lived during 1797-1798. He had returned to Philadelphia for a while after his efforts to free Poland from Russian control were defeated. At his death, Thomas Jefferson called him: “as pure a Son of Liberty as I have ever known”. We walked to it, figuring even if it was closed to visitors, we had come this far, we might as well view the outside of the building. A ranger at the Independence Hall Visitor Center had informed us that due to budget cuts, they could not keep it open more frequently.

Lunch/dinner was at a small restaurant, Farmicia, near our lodging that specialized in farm to restaurant food. Our last major activity was a 90 minute docent tour at the Barnes Foundation. It was a 40 minute walk each way from our place, we left the car in one paid parking lot the entire time in Philly.

If you are not aware of the Barnes, it is a remarkable place. It has over 800 art objects. We were primarily interested in the paintings, although other objects are in its collection. The paintings alone were valued at $25 Billion in 2010. The collection has a concentration on works by Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso.

The Barnes--no photos allowed inside

The Barnes–no photos allowed inside

To understand the Barnes, you must understand its history. It was founded by a medical doctor, born poor but highly intelligent in Philadelphia in 1872. He spent more time in pharmaceuticals than doctoring. He and a partner, whom he later bought out, developed and marketed one of the first antibiotics in the 20th century. It was used heavily in the prevention and cure of eye infections and venereal disease. The drug made him extremely rich and he fortuitously sold out his stake in 1928 before the stock market crash.

We remembered the Barnes from our previous years living in PA. Dr. Barnes set up the collection to help educate people in understanding art. He arranged the items in each of the 23 galleries to show the progression in an artist’s work, using predecessor artists who were influential in certain techniques. The hangings on the wall are usually symmetrical; if one side has an oval shaped painting, so does the other side. His arrangements have not, and can not, be changed. Every object you see in one of the galleries is exactly as it was when he died in 1951.

Due to parking and zoning restrictions, the Barnes’ previous home in Merion PA limited the number of people who could view this remarkable collection. In addition, its funding for operations was limited. The trustees brought legal action to change its restrictions. A big fight ensued and all we know now is that an expensive, much larger facility is now open in Philadelphia. Most of the larger space is used for education, outreach, etc. The galleries in the new facility replicate the size and layout of the previous galleries and, as indicated above, the artwork is arranged exactly the same as before.

The Barnes is closed to visitors on Tuesdays, the day we were in town. However, there is an option for a 90 minute tour from 4 to 5:30 which we jumped at. This docent led tour takes place while the galleries are closed so you have a great opportunity to view the art. Our tour was to focus on works by Renoir. The Barnes has 181 of his paintings, more than any other institution in the world. In fact, it has more Renoirs than are in all of France.

Waling back to our lodging by fountain with City Hall  in background

Waling back to our lodging by fountain with City Hall in background

The docent led the eight of us through half of the galleries, discussing the paintings, the arrangements, and the artists. The arrangement should help anyone understand art by understanding the color, light, line and space used as building blocks to make the composition. Frankly, I was quite glad to have the docent’s guidance. All of the docents at the Barnes are volunteers who must have an art background and have three years of preparation before leading tours. Ours certainly seemed knowledgeable.

Wednesday was a longer driving day, going from Philadelphia to Cambridge Ohio. More importantly, though, we stopped in Harrisburg to visit with Ed’s former colleagues at Mette, Evans & Woodside. It has been 11 years since I left but many of the people are still there. Changes have obviously occurred. Some people have retired or moved on. The firm is a little smaller now than when I left and this has resulted in changes to the floor plan to accommodate the change.

Chris and I spent two hours greeting people, getting a tour of the revised layout, and having lunch with some colleagues. Two hours was wonderful but certainly not enough to greet people in depth, to learn their current life situation, and to discuss old friends no longer with the firm. But we enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity and the time people took to chat with us.

Driving through the Allegheny Mountains

Driving through the Allegheny Mountains

We reached Cambridge in early evening after periods of rain, some torrential but brief. The fall colors through the Allegheny Mountains on the PA Turnpike were near peak.

Ed and Chris 10/17 9:45 pm

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2014 Trip Six, Oct. 9-11, Deb and Rebecca’s Wedding and Fall in Canada

Written in Cambridge OH Thursday Oct. 16 for Thursday to Saturday Oct. 9-11 in Ivoryton, CT

Well, we are back blogging. We took the weekend off to focus on and enjoy time with family and friends as we celebrated the marriage of our daughter Deborah to Rebecca. The marriage and the weekend were the whole reason behind this trip. We relaxed and enjoyed the time. We celebrated the wedding of two lovely women whose love for each other was evident to all. The blog for Sunday Oct. 12, Wedding Day, has been posted already. This post is to catch up on missed days before the wedding.

Thursday we drove to Boston and spent the day with Deb and Rebecca. Our contribution to the Friday night dinner was a batch of chocolate chip cookies and a batch of Russian teacakes. Luckily enough cookies were made that we could “test” them Thursday at dinner. Sarah and Sarah were arriving on an 8 PM flight so Chris and I drove to the airport and picked them up. Deb and Rebecca used the time while we were gone to finish up some last-minute details.

The wedding weekend and ceremony were planned by them. Both are people used to planning and making decisions. Everything was set out, with tasks assigned by day and person. Some times people say, don’t sweat the small stuff. But the detail allowed people to enjoy the weekend, knowing that all jobs would be handled. You did your task, if you were one of the people pitching in, and then went on to enjoy the activities.

Incarnation Conference Center

Incarnation Conference Center

Pickles the Peacock, unofficial greeter

Pickles the Peacock, unofficial greeter

People were able to choose to come Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. The ceremony would be at 5 PM Sunday. The location was the Incarnation Conference Center in Ivoryton, CT, about 30 miles east of New Haven. The Center was established in 1886 and is the oldest co-ed camp and conference center in America. The conference center was an excellent choice, combining sleeping rooms, well cooked meals, activities for adults and kids, and a chapel. It is a large property with woods and trails and boating/swimming and lake access. Since families were invited, younger people were also given some time at the petting zoo.

Friday night pizza dinner

Friday night pizza dinner

Friday night dinner was pizza and salad and possibly games and conversation. I say possibly since Chris and I went back to the airport in Hartford to pick up Jude and did not return until 11:30 pm.

1964 World's Fair talk

1964 World’s Fair talk

Saturday morning 8 AM yoga shall remain picture less. You will have to use your imaginations. After breakfast, Jason gave a wonderfully insightful and interesting talk on the New York’s World Fair in 1964. He provided us with background on World Fairs and the frequency with which they lose money–the ’64 one lost a bundle. He discussed Robert Moses, infamous NYC “master builder” and some of the goals that were set for this fair.

Technically it was not a World’s Fair according to the Bureau of International Expositions, even though it was called one. Only one is allowed per country in a ten-year period and Seattle had one in 1962 (remember the Needle?) In addition, New York’s was held for too long of a period of time and it charged exhibitors; a no-no for a sanctioned World’s Fair. This resulted in a failure of many other countries to participate and was one of the major reasons the fair lost so much money.

Most of the exhibits were from America and are remembered fondly by the many U.S. citizens, particularly from the Northeast, who attended. A number of the U.S. company exhibits had trend-setting displays, some of them could be seen as pre-cursors of Walt Disney’s future EPCOT. GM’s Futurama was very popular. The Vatican brought over Michelangelo’s “Pieta” which was a huge hit.

Pictionary people

Pictionary people

Pictionary

Pictionary

Saturday walk

Saturday walk

Walk participants

Walk participants

Early stages of the puzzle

Early stages of the puzzle

Later stage of puzzle making

Later stage of puzzle making

The afternoon schedule was shuffled due to rain in the morning and drizzle in the early afternoon. The softball game was moved to Sunday. The Sunday group walk was switched to Saturday and it was a popular activity. Card games, pictionary, and puzzle-making were well-attended. The primary puzzle people stayed up until 2 AM to complete the 1000 piece puzzle. 5 PM Mass was celebrated by Rev. Frank Sevola, a friend of Flo. The music was enhanced by four members of the Boston Paulist Center choir who came down to sing at Mass.

Scavenger hunt Team A gets ready

Scavenger hunt Team A gets ready

Scavenger hunt team B

Scavenger hunt team B

Working on the first clue

Working on the first clue

Victory

Victory

After dinner, the Saturday evening mood turned frantic. A two team scavenger hunt demonstrated the lust for winning by many of the participants. The winning team wore their first place ribbons proudly. Our musician from Mass stayed and provided a piano bar setting. There were several surprise, memorable singing/dancing performances by participants that shall remain private.

Piano bar time

Piano bar time

Piano bar time

Piano bar time

Piano bar time

Piano bar time

Piano bar time

Piano bar time

Piano bar time

Piano bar time

Piano bar time

Piano bar time

Ed and Chris 10/16 Cambridge OH 9:45 pm

NOTE: Once again due to the number of pictures, they are slightly smaller than usual. Tap/click on the picture to have it increase.

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2014 Trip Six, Oct. 12, Deb and Rebecca’s Wedding and Fall in Canada

Ivoryton, CT October 12, 2014
Written Oct. 14 in Philadelphia

Deb and Rebecca

Deb and Rebecca

The clouds passed, the skies were blue, the day was beautiful. The great weather was a harbinger of a fantastic wedding and of a marvelous day to celebrate the marriage of Deb and Rebecca.

On the second or third day together depending on arrival day, the group gathered for the 9 AM breakfast. The Incarnation Center’s breakfasts always included fresh-cut fruit plus apples and bananas, cooked oatmeal, yogurt and granola, and cereals/bread/bagels in addition to the hot foods which this morning were scrambled eggs, waffles, and hash.

Stretching before the game

Stretching before the game

The wedding ceremony would not be until 5 pm. Most people were able to choose among a variety of activities before the ceremony commenced. Of course, the really serious type had already gone for a walk or run at 8 AM. Many people gathered for a 10 AM softball game with kids and adults. Lest you think this was not serious stuff, there was a 30 minute stretching/warm-up period before the game. But despite the stretching there were some bloopers, blamed on lack of recent experience in softball. The less than major league skill level was not important to the spectators; cheering and cat-calls were directed equally to both sides.

Softball game

Softball game

Softball game

Softball game

Softball game

Softball game

Boy, lunch tasted fantastic after that strenuous exercise. Chicken Caesar salad, along with other salads, prepared the way for the freshly baked chocolate cookies. In the afternoon, it seemed most people opted for an easy afternoon, boating activities on the lovely lake with fall colors was the most popular strenuous activity.

Lunch on Sunday

Lunch on Sunday

Lunch on Sunday

Lunch on Sunday

On the lake Sunday afternoon

On the lake Sunday afternoon

On the lake Sunday

On the lake Sunday

On the lake Sunday afternoon

On the lake Sunday afternoon

But not all could sit down and read the Sunday paper. A number of friends had generously volunteered to be responsible for specific areas of the decorating process. Decorations had to go up in the dining room and the lodge party room. The bar had to be re-stocked. Hair and make-up seemed to be a critical task for some. Tables had to be set just so for the dinner.

Decorating Sunday afternoon

Decorating Sunday afternoon

By 4 pm Deb and Rebecca gathered with immediate family for photos. Guests began to arrive shortly after and were greeted by Rebecca and Deb. The Incarnation chapel was filled to capacity as the brides walked down the aisle to sounds of “Breaking Light” by Vienna Teng. The ceremony was written by the two brides and included emotional and heartfelt blessings written by Rebecca’s sister Beth and Deb’s sister Sarah. And thus a union was formalized; a union that others have seen as being so right for each other. Or as the David Haas song that was sung said:
“I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh,
I’ll laugh with you. I will share your joy and sorrow
till we’ve seen this journey through.”

Incarnation Chapel

Incarnation Chapel

Incarnation Chapel

Incarnation Chapel

Beth, Sarah, Sarah

Beth, Sarah, Sarah

Rebecca and Deb greeting people outside the door

Rebecca and Deb greeting people outside the door

Florence, Chris, Ed, Peter

Flo, Chris, Ed, Pete

The celebration continued in the Lodge. The Incarnation Center cooked a “Thanksgiving” dinner of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry relish, green bean casserole and cooked carrots along with salad and rolls. Toasts were offered by Pete, Flo, and Chris and Ed.

Pete and Flo giving toasts

Pete and Flo giving toasts

Chris and Ed toasting

Chris and Ed toasting

Rebecca and Deb

Rebecca and Deb

Dessert was in the lodge main room with the bar and dancing. Much effort had been expended in previous months taste-testing the offerings from various bakeries. Unfortunately I was not one of them but I salute the results of that difficult assignment. A selection of personal size desserts was presented including chocolate mousse cups, pecan pie, lemon tarts, peanut butter torte, german chocolate torte, cupcakes, etc.

Desserts

Desserts

Then the party began. By now, everyone pretty much knew everyone else and the dancing and conversation intermingled generously. The dancing continued until even the most steadfast was tired. A great ending to a great beginning of a marriage of two wonderful, loving people.

On  the dance floor

On the dance floor

On the dance floor

On the dance floor

On the dance floor

On the dance floor

Enjoying the evening

Enjoying the evening

On the dance floor

On the dance floor

On the dance floor

On the dance floor

Chris and Ed October 14, 11 pm for October 12.

NOTE: Due to so many pictures, the size here is medium-sized so the uploading should not be difficult. You can click on individual pictures and they will expand to fill the screen.

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2014 Trip Six, Oct. 8, Fall in Canada and Deb and Rebecca’s Wedding

Lake George NY Wednesday Oct. 8

Today was a mixed collection of activities. Our first stop was at the Hyde Collection. This is basically an art collection in the family home of the Pruyn-Finch family. The collection has been rated as one of the ten best small collections in the U.S. We can understand. The Rembrandt was away for repairs but we observed works of art by Degas, Ruebens, Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, Bierstadt, Eakins, Winslow Homer, among others.

A work by Rubens

A work by Rubens

The Hyde Collection is in the town of Glens Falls, just south of Lake George. It has a population of 15,000. The museum was built by Charlotte and Louis Pruyn Hyde. Charlotte’s father was one of three founders of the Finch-Pruyn paper mill in Glens Falls. Louis married Charlotte and took over the operation of the mill. Louis died in 1934 and Charlotte lived until 1963, amassing most of the art collection.

Music room at Hyde Collection

Music room at Hyde Collection

There are over 3,000 works of art in the collection, not all can be displayed at one time. A walk through the museum which was the actual home of Louis and Charlotte is an amazing experience; to see these famous masters up close in the “normal” rooms of the house (library, bedroom, guest bedrooms, etc.).

One of Anne Diggory's works

One of Anne Diggory’s works

In addition, there were two special exhibits. The first was an exhibit by Anne Diggory of “hybrid visions”. She combines paintings and digital manipulation of photographs. For instance, a display of a waterfall might be one half painted and one half photograph. The second exhibit was on American works from the Westmoreland Art Museum in PA. The Westmoreland museum building is being renovated and a collection of their art is displayed here.

The Finch paper plant from the back yard of the Hyde Collection

The Finch paper plant from the back yard of the Hyde Collection

Interestingly, the house overlooks the still operating paper mill where finished paper is made from pulp produced on-site by lumber from the Adirondacks. The mill was family owned until less than 10 years ago, when it was sold. Possibly one reason, not stated at the museum, was a lawsuit by descendants against the trust running the foundation that maintains the museum and their inheritance alleging that the descendants lost millions of dollars since the trustees only invested in the paper mill, not a diversified portfolio. They lost the lawsuit but details as to the ramifications are not easily found.

In any event, somebody made tons of money and used lots of it to buy art. Their descendants probably also have lots of money. The rest of us do get to enjoy remarkable art in a small town setting away from major metropolitan areas. Jobs are still being provided in town. Trees are being harvested and re-planted. Life is good.

Veterans Memorial Highway to Prospect Mountain

Veterans Memorial Highway to Prospect Mountain

Lake George from Prospect Mountain

Lake George from Prospect Mountain

After lunch, including dessert, we drove to Prospect Mountain along Veterans Memorial Highway. A $10 fee gives you access to the summit of the mountain overlooking Lake George. Lake George is 32 miles long and has 365 islands in the lake. 92 of the islands have been developed for camping. For this mountain, we drove most of the way to the summit, only walking the last five to ten minutes. The day has had mixed rain and partly sunny periods. We were fortunate our trip up the mountain was when the sun was usually shining.

Another view from Prospect Mountain towards Lake George

Another view from Prospect Mountain towards Lake George

The drive down Prospect Mountain

The drive down Prospect Mountain

While fall leaf color is advancing here, it does not seem to me that it is as striking as the colors farther north in the Adirondacks or in the Laurentian Mountains in Canada. Still very enjoyable though.

Dinner was just north of here in Bolton Landing at a restaurant right on Lake George. Very nice way to end our time in the Adirondacks as the clouds cleared and the full moon shone down on the lake.

This is definitely off season, though. Restaurants and hotels are closed already, more will do so after Columbus Day. Even McDonalds was closed for the winter. There are only 900 souls in the Village of Lake George and 500 in Bolton Landing. It must be a challenge getting help.

Ed and Chris 10/8 8:45 pm

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2014 Trip Six, Oct. 7, Fall in Canada and Deb and Rebecca’s Wedding

Lake George, NY Tuesday Oct. 7

Choices confront us all the time. Today we made several small decisions that enriched our day’s experience; initially planning only to visit the Saratoga National Historical Park. The first decision was to turn back to visit Lock #5 of the Champlain Canal. We all know of the Erie Canal and its major influence on the growth of the United States. Chris and I were unaware of the other connecting canals to the Erie Canal.

(side note–Our drive took us through Hudson Falls NY, a small town that had been home to a GE plant that dumped PCBs into the Hudson River for 30 years. Under a five year plan, GE is spending one billion dollars to dredge and remove soil with PCBs. We drove past part of the dredging work today.)

Champlain canal

Champlain canal

The Champlain Canal runs from just north of Troy NY to Whitehall NY where it connects with Lake Champlain. We first observed the canal at a roadside rest stop as we drove back roads from Lake George to the Saratoga Historical Park. The canal was built in 1843, pre-dating the Erie Canal by two years. The Champlain Canal allowed the timber and minerals of the Champlain Valley to be transported to Troy and onto the growing areas of the U.S. Today, barges still use the canal, as do recreational boaters.

Lock number 5 of the Champlain Canal

Lock number 5 of the Champlain Canal

Rented canal/house boat

Rented canal/house boat

Driving through Schuylerville, we zipped past a sign for the Visitor Center at Lock #5. We turned around and headed back. The canal tender on duty was most engaging, telling us stories of his experience on the locks as we watched a rented canal/house boat pass through the lock. He does have a distinct impression of French Canadian boaters that is not particularly favorable. The locks are open from April to November, depending on weather. The canal freezes during the winter.

Saratoga Monument

Saratoga Monument

Our second decision was to stop at the Saratoga Monument. As we had read, the monument was not open, it was closed for the season. We were not able to view the displays inside nor climb 154 feet to the top for a view of the area. However, the grounds were open, including a one mile trail through Victory Woods. The two experiences enhanced our enjoyment of the Historical Park.

So what is Saratoga Historical Park? Well, it is not in Saratoga Springs as we thought once upon a time. It is located in Schuylerville, which was once called Saratoga. At Saratoga, the U.S. Revolutionary Army completed a decisive defeat of the British Army. This victory is considered the turning point of the War for Independence.

In 1777, the British were not doing too badly. Other European countries were not willing to come to the aid of the U.S., however much they disliked England. The British believed that an important step would be to drive a wedge between the northern and southern “provinces”. To do that, an army would advance south from Montreal to Albany, along the Richieu River, Lake Champlain, Lake George, Hudson River route we have mentioned previously. They advanced to Fort Ticonderoga and took that.

Cannon overlooking the road and Hudson River

Cannon overlooking the road and Hudson River


Then things started turning sour. A side excursion to Bennington VT was defeated. The coordinating drives by British forces from the west and the south turned back or never materialized for various reasons. U.S.General Schuyler (who lived in this area) was able to slow down the advance. General Horatio Gates assumed command of the U.S. troops and fortified a position on heights commanding both the road and water route to Albany at a narrow point between the hills and the Hudson River. Col. Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish military engineer, laid out the defenses and fortified the site.

Neilson House-only remaining building dating back to 1777 in the park. It was one of the American headquarters during the battle

Neilson House-only remaining building dating back to 1777 in the park. It was one of the American headquarters during the battle

There were two major battles at Saratoga. On Sept. 19, the two forces engaged in a three hour battle that left the British in control of the battlefield but weakened and they did not reach the American fortifications. After Sept. 19, American forces were strengthened by new recruits; British support never arrived. On October 7 (today, 237 years later), the second battle occurred. British forces were defeated badly and forced to retreat.

The British army and accompanying women and children (women provided ancillary services for cooking, laundry, etc and officers families frequently came with them) retreated 8 miles (to Victory Woods). Gates’ troops followed, surrounded, and placed them under siege. On October 17, with few supplies and in lousy weather, the British General John Burgoyne surrendered.

Victory Woods today

Victory Woods today

This battle was the very first time a British army had been surrounded and forced to surrender; ever, not just in this war. When this news reached Europe, France (and later Spain and Holland) gave support to the U.S. and declared war against England. It was France’s ships and soldiers that helped make the final victory at Yorktown feasible. (The second time British forces were surrounded and surrendered. Singapore in WWII was the only other time.) Obviously that resulted in a new form of government, a modern democracy and the rise of the United States. It is not an idle statement to say that Saratoga turned the tide of the war and the course of history.

We spent four hours touring the sites and learning about the battle and many sub-plots. In Philadelphia in a week, we hope to visit the home of Col. Kosciuszko, the smallest national park. The story of Benedict Arnold, who was a hero here and at Fort Ticonderoga, before turning against the U.S. later, is another interesting story line. Numerous small circumstances, like the Burgoyne retreat order that never got delivered, all contribute to engaging tales.

Ed and Chris 10/7 9:30 pm

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2014, Trip Six, Oct. 6, Fall in Canada and Deb and Rebecca’s Wedding

Lake George, NY Monday, Oct. 6

View of valley and low peaks from Mt. Arab

View of valley and low peaks from Mt. Arab

Our last Adirondack location. We drove to Lake George after a morning hike to Mt. Arab, another mountain similar to Mt. Jo. The elevation gain was about 100 feet higher and just slightly longer. BUT, the trail was much better marked, removing any questions of if we were on the correct trail.

Fire tower on Mt. Arab

Fire tower on Mt. Arab

At the top of Mt. Arab is an abandoned fire tower built after over a million acres were burned in 1903 and 1908. Irresponsible logging practices were blamed for the fire. The state constructed fire towers all over the Adirondacks until they were made obsolete in the 1990s. A local nonprofit has been maintaining the fire tower and trail. They also staff a cabin at the top of the summit. Today’s staffer gave us several stories of the people who hike to the top.

View from the fire tower at Mt. Arab

View from the fire tower at Mt. Arab

The hills in this portion of the Adirondack are lower than the High Peaks area around Keene. The views are still impressive. This hike did not have the piney smell of several previous hikes. Instead the aroma was more of decaying plant material, pungent and earthy. The wind was strong, particularly at the top. On the hike down, the clouds rolled in and one was not sure if you were hearing the start of rain or just the wind rustling the leaves. We lucked out again. The rain portion held off until we reached the car and only intermittently spritzed the rest of the drive to Lake George.

The afternoon hike, nice and easy along the Hudson

The afternoon hike, nice and easy along the Hudson

We made one other easy hike in the afternoon as we completed our drive to Lake George. The route we chose went along the early section of the Hudson River. It looked nothing like the impressive river further downstream.

Driving to Lake George on back roads

Driving to Lake George on back roads

Dinner in Lake George was at a local restaurant, the people here seeming more to be tourists or business people. In comparison, the small restaurant in Tupper Lake seemed populated entirely by locals who knew the staff.

Ed and Chris Monday Oct. 6 10:30 pm

another view

another view

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2014 Trip Six, Oct. 4-5, Fall in Canada and Deb and Rebecca’s Wedding

Tupper Lake, NY, Sunday Oct. 5

In order to get the view below,

View from Whiteface Mtn

View from Whiteface Mtn

we climbed the rock/stair trail below, equivalent to 25 stories.

The 250' climb to the summit

The 250′ climb to the summit

Geographically, it made more sense if we went to Whiteface Mtn yesterday (Saturday). But Saturday was raining with low clouds. Whiteface Mountain, New York’s fifth highest peak, has a great viewing platform that you can drive (almost) to. Whiteface Mtn is 4867 feet in elevation. Why go there for the view if you can not see much? So Whiteface was saved for today, a drive of an hour from our new lodgings Saturday and Sunday in Tupper Lake.

The top at Whiteface Mtn at 9:00 am

The parking lot and restaurant at Whiteface Mtn at 9:00 am

The road to the top of Whiteface was constructed in 1931-35 as a tribute to WWI veterans, as a means of employment during the Depression, and a means of bringing tourists to the area, including those with disabilities. It took until 1938 to complete a tunnel through 426 feet of rock and install a 25 story elevator to the summit. (We took the elevator down.)

Chris and Ed at Whiteface Mountain summit

Chris and Ed at Whiteface Mountain summit

We had heard stories of long waits to get into the elevator and to even enter the Memorial Highway. It has a toll and only a limited number of vehicles can access the mountain at one time due to limited parking at the top. Today’s weather called for a cooler day with sun between about 10 and 2. The gates open at 9 am. Do we go early and avoid the crowd or do we go later when the view is better and endure multiple waits? We decided on going early and waiting up there until the skies cleared.

We were the 6th car parked at the top a little after 9 AM. The clouds were present about one half way up the mountain. The sign at the gate indicated that summit was 31 degrees, 10-20 mph winds, and zero visibility. It was cold up there. Fortunately they have a building with rest rooms, gift shop, and restaurant. Unfortunately the kitchen opened at 11. We had passed on the continental breakfast at the hotel in order to avoid the crowds and figured we would eat at the restaurant while we were waiting. Eventually coffee was brewed and Chris had some and then goulash was hot and I had some. A little after 10 the skies had cleared.

The hike to the top was on a combination of stairs and stone outcroppings with metal railings. The railings were still ice-covered in most areas but the stairs/stones were usually dry.
The climb up was a challenge with the wind, the cold, and uneven footing but we made it. The top has a small weather station, the elevator, rock outcroppings you can stand on and a few constructed platforms. The view was fantastic.

View from Whiteface Mountain

View from Whiteface Mountain

You can see in all directions, into Vermont, Montreal on really clear days, Lake Champlain, and the other peaks in the Adirondacks. The Adirondacks have several distinct sections. Keene, our first lodging location, is part of the High Peaks area where most of the mountains over 4,000 feet are. Tupper Lake where we are staying now, is considered more of the lakes and rivers section of the Adirondacks.

Our view from Whiteface Mountain allowed us to gaze on many of the “High Peaks” of the Adirondacks. We gazed at Mount Lyon in Canada, at 3829 feet the highest point between here and Siberia. There is a ski area on Whiteface also. It has the highest vertical drop in the east and compares very favorably with the big name western ski areas. The Adirondacks are steep slopes due to the Canadian Shield rocks that resist weathering well.

After enjoying the view and chatting with fellow travelers, we took the elevator down to the parking lot. As had been expected, the elevator, which only holds about 12 people, had a long line for people to come up to the top. Your eyes have to adjust from the bright sky of the summit, to the dim lights in the elevator and dark lighting in the tunnel cut through the rock to the bright light outside again.

As we left Whiteface Mountain, there were more than 30 cars waiting to go up the road. Adirondack Park receives numerous visitors from Canada. It is an easy drive from Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa. We have noticed some signs in English and French although not as many Americans in service industries speaking French to their visitors from Canada. Nothing as sophisticated as the museum in Montreal that had head sets with eight language options.

On one of our walks

On one of our walks

After lunch we did some modest hiking at several locations in the woods. One location was dedicated to New York State’s first forester. In an interesting side note, in his efforts to test new tree planting ideas, he upset some of the landowners in this area. They went to their legislators and had his department at Cornell de-funded. Later a new College of Forestry was established at Syracuse without him. It remains at Syracuse today.

Another walk in the Adirondack woods

Another walk in the Adirondack woods

It seemed to take us more time to find the spots than to hike them. New York State, at least in this area, uses very small signs, set back from the road, in the same color scheme as the signs indicating who volunteered to clean up trash on a section of road, to mark areas of interest or recreational use. In fact, the road signs thanking the people who pick up trash are larger.

The Wild Center in Tupper Lake NY

The Wild Center in Tupper Lake NY

On Saturday, since it rained most of the day, we drove to Tupper Lake and spent five hours at The Wild Center, aka the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks. The center has been around for ten years and combines displays, animals, videos, demonstrations and hiking trails to demonstrate how people and nature can live together. The same firm that designed the Air and Space Museum in Washington designed this.

The Wild Center

The Wild Center

The Wild Center. I guess we have more leaves to see

The Wild Center. I guess we have more leaves to see

It happened that Saturday was a “Green Expo” day. This resulted in free admission (a savings of $32) but a larger than normal number of visitors. We skipped the vendor tables but did listen to one presentation detailing how one builder enhances the living world in his construction/remodeling of homes. Some ideas were basic, emphasizing the critical benefits of smart tree placement on a residential lot. Others were more radical, encouraging people to study the history of the lot they are building on (for hundreds of years) to determine the plantings that are native to the area. No mention of cost in the presentation.

driving through the Adirondacks

driving through the Adirondacks

Between Saturday and Sunday, our drives to and fro, we have driven many back roads and enjoyed the scenery. As you might expect, the fall colors are starting to fade but beauty is still there. Monday we will head further south to Lake George.

Ed and Chris 10/5 9 pm

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2014 Trip Six, Oct. 3, Fall in Canada and Deb and Rebecca’s Wedding

Keene, NY Friday Oct. 3

So how many of you have heard of the fort at Crown Point? How many of you have heard of Fort Saint-Frederic? How many of you have heard of Fort Ticonderoga? Before today, we had only heard of Fort Ticonderoga.

Lake Champlain is less than an hour east of Keene and was our destination for the day. Lake Champlain extends for 125 miles north-south and up to 14 miles in width. For most of its length, it is the border between Vermont and New York states. It is named after Samuel Champlain, French explorer. Remember him from our Canada excursions?

More importantly, in the days before railroads, it was an integral part of the water superhighway connecting Montreal area to New York City area via the Richelieu River, Lake George, the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, and two relatively short portages.

When the French and British were both trying to add North America to their empires and to cut out the other country, this waterway was extremely vital. It was a main route for battles and skirmishes for two hundred years. It was also the area of battles between the Algonquin Indians and the combined Iroquois Confederacy of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. As the Europeans tried to expand into this area, the Algonquins allied with the British and the Iroquois with the French.

area of Fort St. Frederic ruins

area of Fort St. Frederic ruins

The French out of New France (Canada) built Fort St. Frederic, starting in 1734, on a peninsula near the southern end of Lake Champlain to guard against British and colonial intrusion. It was the base for French settlers in the area. Fort St. Frederic was never attacked directly but was destroyed by the French in 1759 to avoid having it fall into the hands of the British.

ruins of fort at Crown Point NY

ruins of fort at Crown Point NY

Crown Point was a much larger fort built almost on top of the ruins of Fort St. Frederic. Crown Point was built by the British in 1759 and was the largest earthen fortress constructed in the U.S. It burnt due to a chimney fire in 1773. It was lightly guarded by the British after this and not reconstructed. In 1775, the Americans captured the fort, taking the cannon from here to fight the British in Boston.

Chaplain Memorial Lighthouse, Crown Point NY

Champlain Memorial Lighthouse, Crown Point NY

There is obviously a lot more history to be recounted, but that is my summary. We toured the ruins of the two forts, the museum and the Champlain Memorial Lighthouse. The state historical park of Crown Point has been described as: “Crown Point Fort, in its ruined but unaltered state, is probably the finest existing architectural and archaeological type specimen in the United States of a superior example of 18th century military engineering.”

The lighthouse was built in 1759 and served for 70 years. The lighthouse has a statue of Champlain and a bust done by Auguste Rodin.

We had lunch in Vermont, crossing the Champlain Bridge to the Bridge Restaurant, a small family diner with home-cooked food. We passed on dessert because we noticed Fort Ticonderoga was only 15 miles away. Our original plans were to visit it when we were in Lake George next week. But the distance from Lake George to Fort Ticonderoga was one hour and it was a half hour from the Bridge Restaurant.

Looking south on Lake  Champlain from Fort Ticonderoga

Looking south on Lake Champlain from Fort Ticonderoga

Fort Ticonderoga was always associated in our minds with the battle to win its cannons for use in Boston. Today’s history lesson was that Ticonderoga was only one half of the cannons brought to Boston, Crown Point was the other half. Fort Ticonderoga could fit five times inside Crown Point and still have space left over.

Reconstructed buildings at Fort Ticonderoga

Reconstructed buildings at Fort Ticonderoga

We spent several hours at Fort Ticonderoga. The Fort was destroyed by the British in 1777 prior to their abandoning the fort. Despite the hopes of some Americans, the focus of the war shifted to the south, Canada was not a major target, and this area was no longer of strategic value. After its destruction, it fell into ruin. Locals took most of the stone and brick to make their own buildings. It was stated that only 12% of the building today dates back to its original construction.

A wealthy family, the Pells, purchased the property in 1820, mainly for a summer residence. Over time, the descendants came up with the idea of making the fort a historical landmark. It opened as such in 1909; making their effort one of extreme foresight and generosity, since this pre-dated the U.S.income tax and tax deductions. It remains a tax-exempt educational institution today.

Our guide at Fort Ticondergoa

Our guide at Fort Ticondergoa

Besides our touring of the fort, we took an hour guided tour by a costumed guide. He gave a very interesting talk. I could go on about Benedict Arnold, the Green Mountain Boys, and other stories but will leave you with one tidbit. The guide told us that Fort Ticonderoga was the first fort built by the military architect. It should have been 200 yards closer to the water, the site selected did not give a clear view of any ships trying to sneak by. The architect also designed the barracks so they were higher than the walls, thus an easy target for the enemy.

Fort Ti Cable  Ferry

Fort Ti Cable Ferry

To come back to Keene, we took a small car ferry over Lake Champlain to Vermont. The Fort Ti Cable Ferry has been operating since 1759-but today’s version does meet U.S. Coast Guard standards. We drove back to the Bridge Restaurant and had soup and dessert before completing our day back in Keene.

Vermont countryside

Vermont countryside

Ed and Chris 10/3 10 pm

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2014 Trip Six, Oct. 2, Fall in Canada and Deb and Rebecca’s Wedding

Keene, New York, Thursday, Oct. 2

For all of the hiking we did today, the chocolate mousse for lunch dessert should have tasted better. Today was perfect. Sunny with a few clouds. Mild breezes. Temps in the 60s.

On top of Mt. Jo in the Adirondacks

On top of Mt. Jo in the Adirondacks

So our plan to climb Mt. Jo was a go. Mt. Jo is classified as a moderate hike. The peak is at 2876 feet, which is a 700 foot elevation gain. The round trip is 2.5 miles but the hiking up and down time took us about 2.5 hours. Once again, the trail reflects the Canadian Shield topography. Rocks, boulders, exposed tree roots, etc combine to make the hike an effort and watching one’s footing is critical.

Heart Lake at the bottom of Mt. Jo

Heart Lake at the bottom of Mt. Jo

The forest is a mixed hardwoods with coniferous and deciduous trees. The pine scent was not quite as noticeable today, maybe all of our senses were directed at our feet. Several times, we said, Are we on the right trail? Hasn’t it been a while since we saw a trail marker? Why does the trail go over all of these large boulders? Why when the summit is just a short ways does the trail disappear onto huge boulders without a clear means to ascend them?

This is a trail??

This is a trail??

There was a constant refrain of “Are you sure this is the trail? Yes, I am. How do you know? Because the leaves are more smooshed down than they are off to the side. What, we are basing the direction of our entire hike on smooshed leaves?? No response.”

From Mt. Jo; ALgonquin Mt and Heart Lake

From Mt. Jo; ALgonquin Mt and Heart Lake

Part of the trail to Mt. Jo

Part of the trail to Mt. Jo

But we persevered and succeeded. When we reached the summit, we were numbers five and six there. We spent about 30 minutes there resting and chatting with the other hikers who preceded and followed us. New arrivals kept coming and taking pictures for others was a popular past time. Chris had to work hard to get one family into focus with the parents, one young child held in the arms of a parent, and an infant riding in the back sling of the second parent. When a group of 20 school children (how in the world did they make it up here??) arrived for lunch and picture taking, a large number of the adults decided it was time to head down.

Most of the return hike was spent in the company of a couple from Houston. Going down was no piece of cake either. Footing on boulders and tree roots was a constant concern. I do not mind admitting that others passed us.

After that, a good lunch was definitely in order. We stopped at the Lake Placid Brewpub on the recommendation of a couple from the top of Mt. Jo. The meal was good. The chocolate mousse, chocolate for me and cookies and cream for Chris were not noteworthy enough to even finish them. This is the second time in a row that chocolate mousse has not been up to expectations. One in Montreal before we left was also not up to expectations.

The trail to Lake  Placid

The trail to Lake Placid

Lake Placid

Lake Placid

After lunch we found the Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails along Lake Placid. This area is sponsored by the Garden Club of Lake Placid and the Adirondack Ski Touring Council. Lake Placid does not allow motorized boats. The water is very clear and it turns out it is the source for the city’s water system. This trail was pretty level and not as rocky, although not as smooth as yesterday’s trail at the V.I.C run by Paul Smith’s College.

Our final hike was back by Mt. Jo around Heart Lake. The trail here was again rocky and rutted. We finished up the hike and since by now it was after 5 PM, we made a stop at a small store and picked up a few sandwiches for dinner.

A good day, tiring but rewarding. We can see that the leaves are starting to pass peak. It is likely to be rainy on Saturday, that may be the end of color here. We did meet a couple from Lake George NY, our destination for Monday-Wednesday night. They believed the leaf color there was likely to peak next week.

Ed and Chris 10/2 8:15 pm

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