Day 2: September 25, 2015
Scenic Fingers

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I'd spotted this diner in downtown Westfield and, thinking it looked like a perfect spot for breakfast, backtracked a little to reach it this morning. My assessment, no doubt influenced by the classic neon sign, was right on. The first interior photo was taken from my seat at the counter where I ate my properly cooked bacon & eggs. The second from where I waited to pay my bill. When I entered, all but a couple of those stools were filled and every head turned as I stepped inside. It was pure curiosity without even a hint that I wasn't welcome. Besides the counter, there are a couple of rooms filled with tables. None of the tables was particularly large and it was fairly obvious that, rather than a "Liar's Table", the Main Diner has a "Liar's Counter". I had my coffee but not yet my food when a woman who I later verified was the owner stepped to the end of the counter and loudly asked "Is everybody happy?" I added my "Yes" to the shouted responses of everyone at the counter. "Good", she said with a smile, "'cause I'm not in the mood for any complaints."

When a low raspy alarm sounded outside, I learned from the guy next to me that it was from the nearby fire station. "A fire or a life squad run", he said. A few seconds later, a fellow a few stools away declared that it was either a fire or a wreck on the Thruway. Life squad runs used a different pattern. After a few more seconds passed, a portable scanner carried by one of the men at the counter informed us that it was a dryer fire at such and such address. "Gotta clean the lint out of those things", someone offered then went back to discussing the price of old firearms with his neighbor. Probably a fairly typical morning at a diner where the rules are clear.


I continued east on US-20 which isn't 100% two-lane but which has enough of it to let you overlook the four-lane.

With the brewery explosion in the US, I'm not surprised that breweries have now joined the many wineries in the Finger Lakes region of New York. I was, however, a little surprised by the number of them. There are 82 locations on the Finger Lakes Beer Trail and all but seven are marked as brewing on site. In Geneva I visited one of each. The Glass Factory Brew House is part of White Springs Winery where both beer and wine are made off site. The store contains three large tasting rooms and a nice patio overlooking Seneca Lake. The few month old GAËL Brewing Company, which does brew on site, is right next door.

Roadside America turned me on to the Scythe Tree. When they visited, it seems bits of all three scythes hung from the tree were visible but that's hardly the case today. As the plaque at the tree's base explains, James Johnson started things off when he picked the tree to hold his scythe while he was fighting in the Civil War. He never came back. The plaque also tells of two brothers who hung scythes in the tree when they left for World War I. Although both survived the war, neither, according to the plaque, reclaimed their scythe. Perhaps something to do with keeping 'em down on the farm "after they've seen Paree".

As I struggled to see any scythe remains, I heard a "Need some help?" from the nearby porch. It was current tree owner Ed Johnson who gladly offered to point out what there is to see. The WW I era scythes have essentially been entirely swallowed by the tree although there are faded paint swatches at the points where they were last seen. The tip of the first hung scythe is sort of visible in the middle of the green swatch although you wouldn't know that by looking. I didn't make the name connection until after I'd left so failed to ask if Ed and James are related. I'm guessing not because Ed and I talked for quite a bit and he didn't mention it. He did mention he concern about big chunks of the aging tree falling on his head although the local historical society claims some sort of ownership and prevents him from trimming or bracing it.

It may be that the story of the gobbled up WW I scythes isn't exactly as presented on the plaque. According to a 1927 newspaper article, they were "removed when both returned home".


Yes, I realize that these "down the road" shots can be overdone but at least I can claim that these are of a road that is officially scenic.

Here I am driving into the sunset as I make my way east. When, as I was checking into a motel a little east of West Winfield, I asked about places to eat, the two women at the desk looked at each other with questioning expressions that didn't give me much hope. When I mentioned passing a fish fry, they perked up and hurried to get me registered so I could make it back to the VFW in time to eat. The weekly fish fries ended at 7:30 and they thought the kitchen might shut down at 7:00. It was 6:40. I reached the VFW well before the kitchen closed but after the fish was gone. Fortunately it was a fish, shrimp, clams, and chicken fry so I feasted on VFW shrimp and Yuengling draft.

Back at Jeannie's Dream Motel I was pleasantly surprised to find the wi-fi working quite well. I had asked if internet was available and was assured that it was. "All we have to do is turn it on," they said as I drove off to dinner. Now, in my cozy room, I wondered why I ever doubted.


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