I reach Rome by 1:00 PM and get my first stamp of the day at Fort Stanwick, built by The British in 1758 to protect the ancient water route linking the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. A replica of the fort exists today. Iím there for about ten minutes. A quick lunch and gas stop and Iím headed across the Thruway to Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the womenís rights movement in the U.S. and the site of the Womenís Rights National Historic Park. It was here in 1848 that a handful of reformers called "a Convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of Woman." The rest is history. I get my stamp but Iím a bit tired, so I stay and listen to the Park Ranger give the tour.
By late afternoon, Iím off the boredom of the Thruway and traveling north towards the shore of Lake Ontario. As I approach the shoreline the cooler air breezing off the lake feels good, a nice relief from the heat of the afternoon. The beautiful road (another green dotter) ends at the Niagara River and I turn South towards my destination for the evening, Lewiston, NY, home town of my Classic Sports Network colleague Scott Marshall. Scottís mother and sister still live here and own a local bakeshop. Iíll stop by tomorrow morning to say hello.
Iíve run my tank dry (240 miles) and I stop for gas at a nice looking Getty Station. But for the second time today, my American Express card gets rejected and I go see the attendant inside. Iíve heard about credit card companies thinking your card has been stolen when they see purchases across many state lines. Once on the phone, American Express is very friendly, but I ask them to make sure this doesnít keep happening. The guy working at the gas station strikes up a conversation and guides me to a nearby motel.
After I check in, I clean up and take a stroll around the town. Itís a lovely little village with the best looking McDonald's youíve ever seen, housed in a 100-year-old historic landmark. I enjoy a great tasting Black Raspberry Frozen Custard at the local ice cream shop.
On the way back to the motel, I stop by the Getty Station to pick up some water and say hello to my new friend. It turns out that Usman Muhammed doesnít just work at the station but he owns it and seven others in the area. 25 years old and originally from the United Arab Emirates, heís just moved here from the Harrisburgh, PA, area where his father owns 81 gas stations. He invites me to sit and talk with him for a while and we end up chatting for a few hours.
"Do you like garlic bread?" Usman asks me. "Sure", I reply, and before I know it we are eating the best garlic bread Iíve ever had from Clarkís, the restaurant next door.
Later on, a local fellow by the name of John Heavy stops by. John has lived in Lewiston his entire 58 years and he rides a big Honda Goldwing. The three of us tell tales till closing time. When I try to pay for the bottles of water, Usman refuses to take my money.
Be kind to strangers and always remember the golden rule. Because you were once strangers in the land of Eqypt. At least thatís what I said in my Bar Mitzvah sermon.
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