Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Kodak moment

We are in the campground at Webster Park, operated by Monroe County in the city of Webster, New York (map), just east of Irondequoit Bay and Rochester. We are here for the second annual rally of the Negative Image Scooter Club, being held elsewhere in the park.

We arrived here yesterday afternoon after a mostly uneventful and pleasant drive from Niagara Falls, where we spent a very nice couple of hours being quintessential tourists, strolling the park and viewing the falls from various vantage points. We didn't really have either the time or the inclination to don disposable rain ponchos and take the boat ride up the gorge to the base of the falls, or clear in and out of customs twice to view the falls from the west side; we were just thankful that our visit was far enough off-season that we did not have to muddle our way through the enormous crowds that we assume, from the endless serpentine traffic lanes and pedestrian aisles, must be a regular occurrence in the summer.

Speaking of serpentine, finding our way out of town without running into any more low overpasses proved to be an exercise in zigging and zagging, following the "truck route" signage when we could find it, and diverting around anything that said "low clearance" or "no trucks". That left out the rest of the Robert Moses parkway, which might actually have been easier than the combination of smaller roads we ended up taking. Eventually, we made it onto NY-18, which runs fairly close to the lake.

At some point the GPS directed us onto the Lake Ontario State Parkway, which was a nice divided road surprisingly devoid of traffic, and which even afforded some nice views of the lake. That did not last, however, as eventually a sign indicated commercial traffic was not permitted further, and now we know that, in New York, this is code for "low clearance ahead" (still, we wonder, why they do not actually say that, or post the clearance -- a quick search of the Internet reveals that several other RVers have been surprised to find low bridges after they were already committed).

We had to work our way back to NY-18, which was several miles inland by this point, and even then, 18 is not a truck route all the way to Rochester, so we had to move even further inland to NY-104 a few miles later. One we passed through Rochester -- 104 apparently runs right through the Kodak campus -- and crossed Irondequoit Bay, the GPS took us down Bay Road to Lake Shore, which is the road the park entrance is on. You guessed it -- there is an 11'10" overpass between Bay Road and the park (annoyingly, for a rail line that has not existed for decades), and we had to backtrack and find another way in.

We had a nice welcome dinner last night at the rally site, and today we participated in one of two organized rides. I'd say we had a couple dozen scooters with us, and rode perhaps 80 miles or so around the Rochester area -- a great way to see it, because I lost count of the number of low-weight-limit bridges and low-clearance overpasses we crossed. The organizers even arranged permission to take the scooters onto the pedestrian bridge in front of the High Falls of the Genessee River, a prominent feature of the Rochester landscape, for a photo opportunity.

(The falls are off-camera to the right -- I could not get them along with the scooters on my cell phone cam.)

The group split up for lunch in the Park Avenue district, lined with restaurants and sidewalk cafes of every stripe. I also lost track of everything we saw, but I remember at least two parks, the zoo, and Lock 32 on the Erie Canal.

We were pooped after the long ride, so opted to skip the gymkhana competition and other various and sundry scooter follies, and rejoined the group for dinner around the campfire. There will be a breakfast tomorrow morning, and the rally will be over. We did meet a really great group of folks with a not-so Negative Image (a wordplay involving the city's principle industry of photographic film).

Tomorrow, assuming our camp site does not turn into a mud puddle following tonight's torrential rain, we will leave the park and head southeast to Ithaca, where Louise attended college.


  1. Oh, interesting. I have never heard about this rally. Great picture, by the way - the scooters look great next to each other.


  2. It was great to meet you guys and I am glad that you heard about and came to our rally. I look forward to reading more about your adventures.
    Dann, the yellow Vespa Rally 200


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