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A typical dreary afternoon on Monday October 23rd, 2006 here in the Southern Tier. Josh Blay and I were out and about looking for something of interest, something cool to photograph. It’s now late afternoon and we had given up, threading our way east along route 17C from Waverly. We were talking about who knows what, and not really paying much attention to our surroundings. Suddenly my eyes became as big as saucers and with a few expletives we were witnessing a low flying helicopter above the Tri-Cities Airport in Endicott.  With our new found excitement Josh and I are now rapidly approaching the airport to get a closer look. A screeching of the brakes, doors flying open, camera gear spilling all over and upon closer inspection we excitedly discover this piece of magnificent machinery is the new Lockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel “V standing for VIP” (US101 Marine One) Presidential helicopter prototype doing what I’ll call Touch N Go’s…

Hands trembling with excitement as I fumble for a new roll of film, finally my camera’s motor drive begins to hum like the rotors of the VH71, I was elated. I couldn’t believe how lucky we were to photograph such an amazing subject despite the dismal weather conditions. Shortly after our excitement had settled Josh and I figured we should promptly leave before someone really takes notice of us and throws us out.

The VH-71 Kestrel program was canceled in 2009 and recently the United States has entered into contract for 23 new Presidential helicopters. The new, initial contract awarded to the American defense contractor Sikorsky, is valued at $1.24 billion. Under the terms of the new contract, the U.S. military will take delivery of two prototype helicopters—based on the Sikorsky S-92 medium helicopter–in 2016. Another 21 fully capable helicopters will follow.

Lockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel seen here at Tri-Cities Airport in Endicott, NY on October 23rd 2006. Image © Joe Geronimo Canon EOS 3 Fuji Press 800

Lockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel seen here at Tri-Cities Airport in Endicott, NY on October 23rd 2006.
Image © Joe Geronimo, Canon EOS 3, Fuji Press 800

From Wikipedia:

The Lockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel is a variant of the AgustaWestland AW101 (formerly EH101) built to replace the United States Marine Corps‘ Marine One U.S. Presidential transport fleet. It was developed and built by theLockheed Martin–led “US101 Team” of Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego (LMSI), AgustaWestlandand Bell Helicopter.

In February 2009, President Barack Obama asked Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about placing the project on hold or canceling it because of its high cost: over $13 billion for the planned 28 helicopters. In June 2009, the U.S. Navy terminated the contract after spending about $4.4 billion and taking delivery of nine VH-71s. The helicopters were then sold to Canada for $164 million for use as spare parts for its fleet of AgustaWestland CH-149 Cormorantsearch-and-rescue helicopters.

Fine Food in the Finger Lakes

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If you are in Skaneateles, New York looking for a bite to eat, may I suggest “Gilda”s” for  some fine Finger Lakes food. It’s a “Small Plates” eatery melted together in a comfortable atmosphere with excellent service. Last evening my wife were in town celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary and discovered this gem nestled at the north end of the crystal clear Skaneateles lake. Together we shared the marinated olives and followed with the “Parma Pizza” a thin crust melt in your mouth pizza topped with prosciutto and arugula = AWESOME!   Perusing the menu we ordered the wild mushroom crostini and the evenings special had been taunting me. A mixed green salad organically grown locally, beets, feta cheese and warm balsamic vinegar. Can you say heaven!

We left feeling happy and full but not over indulged. So next time you are in Skaneateles stop in for some fine Finger Lakes food.

Cheers!

 

Marinated olives and a glass of Ryan William 2012 Merlot This velvety wine offers aromas of black currant with vivid minerality and ripe fruit flavors on the palate. It’s the tannin structure inherent in Ryan William Vineyard that provides the lift in this Merlot that carries the dark fruit flavors.

Marinated olives and a glass of Ryan William 2012 Merlot
This velvety wine offers aromas of black currant with vivid minerality and ripe fruit flavors on the palate. It’s the tannin structure inherent in Ryan William Vineyard that provides the lift in this Merlot that carries the dark fruit flavors. Image © Joe Geronimo 2014

http://www.gildasskaneateles.com

 

Sunday Morning Run

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It felt good to get back out and run with the Triple Cities Runners Club this morning, I truly look forward to the Sunday runs. Between vacation and my ongoing battle with being injured I have been really slacking. I ran 7 miles this morning at a nice easy pace, then breakfast with friends. I feel good, not New York City Marathon good but I’m slowly getting there. I have only two races planned for the rest of 2014. I will be running the “I Run For Half Marathon” on September 7th and the “New York City Marathon” on November 2nd. Thought depending on how I feel after the half marathon I might try and defer New York until 2015 if possible.

I’m also excited that my team “Team Confluence” is brainstorming a great idea for the running community here in the Triple Cities I will re-evaluate my running and schedule.

Cheers!

This mornings run via Google Earth. Exported from my Garmin GPS watch.

This mornings run via Google Earth. Exported from my Garmin GPS watch.

Happy Anniversary

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Today I celebrate 17 years of marriage to my best friend. Standing nervously on the altar in 1997 pondering what our future held, I couldn’t help but to glance into the blue eyes of my beautiful bride. Her smile put any fears I might have had aside and I knew then we would build a wonderful life and relationship together. With each passing day I adore and appreciate her even more. She has become the glue that bonds this family together with her love, kindness and patience (Especially with me).

Happy Anniversary to my amazing and beautiful wife, I love you! XOXOXOXOXO

 

At the Altar on August 2nd, 1997 in Johnson City, NY.

At the Altar on August 2nd, 1997 in Johnson City, NY.

Vestal Hills Cemetery in Vestal, NY.

Vestal Hills Cemetery in Vestal, NY.

 

 

Start of the Day

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Good morning America! Looking east from Vermont the sun rises over New Hampshire’s “Presidential Range”.

Sunrise, Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Image © Joe Geronimo 2014

Sunrise, Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
Image © Joe Geronimo 2014

Completing 740-mile canoe trip is one way to spend a 21st birthday

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By Julia Bayly, Bangor Daily News Staff

 

http://bangordailynews.com/video/new-jersey-man-completes-epic-740-mile-canoe-adventure/

 

FORT KENT, Maine — Six days into his 38-day, 740-mile canoe trip up the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Eric McIntyre, alone on a New York river, came close to calling it quits. But on Saturday, McIntyre paddled into the trail’s terminus at the Fort Kent boat landing where he celebrated the end of his epic journey, and, it turns out, his 21st birthday.

“Wow, I can’t believe it’s done,” he said, grinning ear to ear as he hugged his mother, Laurie McIntyre, and his father, Kim McIntyre, who had driven up from Flemington, New Jersey, to meet him. “It was worth it [and] I’d do it again, definitely.”

Missing from the reunion was his twin brother, Benjamin, who could not leave work in Nashville, and an older brother, Ian.

McIntyre’s trip began on May 14 when he took off from Old Forge, New York, in his 15-foot Daggar Legend canoe. From there he paddled, poled and portaged his way north and east through New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, a small section of Canada and finally into Maine.

The trail, completed in 2006, passes through 22 rivers and streams, 56 lakes and ponds, 45 communities and three national wildlife refuges and includes 55 miles of portages over 62 carries.

According to its website, 62 people have “through paddled” the entire Northern Forest Canoe Trail, often referred to as the aquatic version of the Appalachian Trail, between 2006 and 2013.

“My original thought was to do this 40-day, solo trip,” he said. “But then I realized 40 days on my own was going to be sort of lonely.”

So McIntyre enlisted two friends — Laura Stasi from New Jersey and Kristen Gregory from Maryland — who spent three and 10 days, respectively, padding with him early in the adventure.

“For the other 24 days, I was alone,” McIntyre said, adding it was due in large part to Gregory he did not quit altogether hundreds of miles to the south.

“On Day Six I was on the Saranac River in New York and it was my third day alone and I started thinking, ‘What am I doing out here?’” he said. “So I pulled off and called Kristen and told her I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make it.”

Gregory, who had just solo through-hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, was able to provide McIntyre with the advice that became the mantra for his trip.

“She told me, ‘Maine is impossible, but tomorrow isn’t,’” he said.

In other words, take it one step at a time and don’t look at the big picture.

“So that’s what I did,” McIntyre said. “I dealt with it one day at a time and if you do that, eventually you find yourself in Maine and then here you are in Fort Kent.”

Even with that, there were other times he questioned his decision embark on the trip.

“Yeah, there were times it was hard when you are wheeling the canoe up over rocks and rutted out trails that are muddy at 6 at night and you wish you did not have another 2 miles to go with the clouds of mosquitos around you,” he said. “But then you get to that next pond and look back and see the sun setting and you feel really successful.”

Early on, the route passes through towns and populated regions, McIntyre said, and he was able to purchase food and snacks to supplement the 30 pounds of food he had packed — much of it dehydrated meals prepared by his friend Gregory.

Meals included venison stew, clam chowder and a curry rice dish with sun-dried tomatoes.

“Eating on the river is not that hard if you do it right,” he said with a laugh.

In New Hampshire, friends Ray and Hildy Danforth met up with him with a box of cookies and invitation to shower at their house.

Once in northern Maine, McIntyre discovered two friends who were a week or so ahead of him on the canoe route had left a care package of beef jerky and gifts at the Churchill Dam ranger station.

“That is my only regret on this whole trip,” he said. “I was so excited to get that package I only realized a mile downriver I had not thanked the ranger named Josh at Churchill for hanging on to it for me.’”

His friends and parents were able to follow McIntyre’s adventures online thanks to a GPS tracking unit that sent out hourly updates on his location.

“That is how I have been surviving,” mother Laurie McIntyre said as she waited for her son on the banks of the St. John River on Saturday morning. “Every hour we knew where he was.”

Laurie McIntyre remembered initially thinking her son was “nuts” when he broached the idea of the canoe trek, but quickly realized it was a good choice.

“He definitely loves the wilderness and the simplicity of nature,” she said.

McIntyre received a great deal of financial and logistical support from St. Lawrence University, where he is a conservation biology major.

He received a grant through the school’s Tanner Fellowship, gear from the campus outing club and additional support from the school’s outing program.

This coming year he plans to write a book about the adventure as part of an independent study for publication.

But for the immediate future he was looking forward to an ice cream birthday cake with family and not having to ration his food.

“Hey look,” he said as he unpacked his canoe in Fort Kent. “I did not eat my emergency, everything-went-wrong hot cocoa, so now I can have it for lunch.”

Paddling my new Old Town Pack

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My Old Town Pack! Image © Joe Geronimo 2014

My Old Town Pack!
Image © Joe Geronimo 2014

This love affair begins about a year ago.  While at work one morning on my 9,000 ton 16,000 horsepower freight train, our dynamic brakes in full braking effort descending a ten mile one percent grade into Syracuse, NY. Its a glorious morning peering out my conductors window and what do  I spy, an Old Town Pack canoe atop a small shed tucked into the backyard of a secluded home in Onatavia, NY.  I’m a huge fan of Old Town canoes, especially the “Pack”. Its a light weight solo canoe with great versatility and I see an opportunity.

http://www.oldtowncanoe.com/canoes/recreational/pack/

Over the course of about a year,  I’d routinely pass by this canoe wondering what stories it had to tell. Had it seen adventures in the Adirondack’s, New England or the Boundary Waters? Maybe it lived a quiet life paddling the many small lakes of Central New York. Recently one morning we happened to have a relatively small train. And what I mean by small is 5,500 tons. I decided we needed to stop in order for me to chat with the owner. In conversation I had asked him where he had paddled this canoe and I was correct. It had made many adventures to the Adirondack’s and he was thinking of selling it before moving to Colorado. We entered into brief negotiations and came to an acceptable agreement on price and the “Pack” was mine.

Glancing over the reviews on http://www.paddling.net I discovered many owners of this canoe had similar complaints, “The Seat was to high” and needed to be lowered. I’ll be honest, as I was uncomfortable when I first paddled it. A trip to http://www.eurekacampingctr.com in Binghamton, NY I was able to purchase a kit to lower the seat by four inches and what a difference it has made, not just in comfort but it paddling this boat.

We have been fortunate lately with some amazing weather here in Central New York. Over the last two weeks since obtaining the canoe I have had several opportunities to paddle on the Whitney Point Reservoir in the small Hamlet of Upper Lisle, NY. I cannot stress enough how much I enjoy this boat. So as I save my pennies, next spring I will be purchasing an Old Town “Penobscott” as my sons and I are planning a canoe camping trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire paddling a portion of the 740 mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

http://www.oldtowncanoe.com/canoes/expedition/penobscot_16_RX/

http://www.northernforestcanoetrail.org

 

Cheers!

 

A beautiful evening on Whitney Point Reservoir in Upper Lisle, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo 2014

A beautiful evening on Whitney Point Reservoir in Upper Lisle, NY.
Image © Joe Geronimo 2014

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