Wednesday June 28 A Trip to Cooperstown

The Baseball Hall of Fame

I was awake at 5:00AM but managed to go back to sleep for an hour. After a hot shower, I broke camp to head into Cooperstown. I dumped the black water and gray water before leaving to lighten my load and get rid of the stinky stuff that doesn’t need to be hauled away. I also checked my engine oil level. It appeared to be low. I had checked it at 2,000 miles and it was full. It was 900 miles later so it didn’t seem likely that I had consumed that much oil already. Diesels will consume oil and I had been driven under more strenuous conditions. Then again, I had just been running the engine to dump my waste water. I decided to check again before starting the engine after it had sat in Cooperstown all day. It did not need oil.

NOTE: Check the oil level on a flat surface with a cold engine.

I followed the directions given by the camp owners. Turn left out of the campgrounds onto Petkewek Rd.. Turn left onto 11A to SR 28. Head north on SR 28 to the first parking lot on the south side of Cooperstown, the Blue Lot. From there, take the public transport into town. It is too far to walk. Avoid the Red Lot with an RV. The transport will make a loop between the Blue, Red, and Yellow parking lots, the Baseball Hall of Fame and other local attractions. The drive on 11A was scenic, rolling, twisting and a lot longer than I had expected. At one point I had wondered if I was heading the right direction.

The Blue Lot was set up for cars and not very accommodating to an RV. There are several ball diamonds below and a gravel lot where I was able to back into a space. Everyone else was parking in the paved, lined designated spaces. I could only guess that the lack of signage meant that my RV would still be there when I returned. I learned later that the Yellow Lot is set up for RVs. None of the lots are close to downtown and the trolley is the best way to travel around at $2.00 per passenger for an all day anywhere ticket, anywhere on the designated loop that is.

I hopped on a small white bus that was crowded with possible workers. After the bus made stops at the hospitals and clinics, I was the only remaining passenger. I asked the driver if he stopped at the Hall of Fame. He stopped and politely explained that I had gotten on the wrong bus. “How do I get to the Hall of Fame?” He pulled over and pointed down the road. “Walk down there to Main. It’s a couple of blocks. Everything is downtown.” Much obliged.

After walking two blocks past Church Street (there’s an old church and graveyard at that intersection) and another three blocks to Main, I puzzled, “Do I turn left up the hill, or right down the hill.” I chose right. Lo and behold, the outline of the downtown was dead ahead.

On my left was an old large brick building. The Baseball Hall of Fame. I heard the church bell chime. It was 8:00AM. The doors would not open for another hour.

My stomach chided me for skipping breakfast so I walked the length of the downtown looking for a place to eat. I stopped in at a doughnut shop and asked their recommendation. She pointed to the Cooperstown Diner across the street in a small old brick building.

The diner had four tables squeezed along the side window and a long counter to the right. Coffee, water, two pancakes, two eggs and bacon for $8.00 and change did the trick. The sole waitress was keeping up with the small crowd. She had earned a $2.00 tip. A group of older retired guys sat at the back table discussing the world’s problems and farming conditions. Things are the same where ever you go.

I took my time walking back toward the Hall of Fame with a brief stop at Doubleday Field. By the time I reached the Hall of Fame a crowd had gathered at the entrance. Most of the crowd was made up of youth baseball teams and their chaperones. I took a few photos of the exterior of the building. The doors opened within a few minutes and a line formed. People with tickets were asked to enter to the right set of doors where they were ushered directly in. This significantly reduced the crowd. The ushers cut off the line just ahead of me so the doors could be closed and the air conditioning could be saved. I was in line for about ten minutes. The kid selling tickets (maybe he was 20) asked for my zip code and seeing that I was from Indiana volunteered that he was from Cincinnati. He was on an internship for the summer. I told him he was very lucky. “That’s what everyone tells me.” he said. The older usher next to him commented, “He doesn’t know how lucky he is.”

The museum exhibits are overwhelming. There is a whole section for Babe Ruth. It covers the history of the game from ancient Egypt’s similar sports to the modern baseball rules. Various teams and players are highlighted along with the Negro Leagues, Mexican Leagues, The integration of baseball players, and the Women’s League as seen in the movie “A League of Their Own”. I could not read every exhibit and every plaque. I would have been there for days. I was one of the slower paced visitors. People kept passing me as they swept through the exhibits. The final room was the Hall of Fame. I managed to read every plaque at least to identify the players. It took me two and a half hours to see everything and it easily could have been a two day visit. I would go back there again given the chance and more time.

I left the Hall of Fame through the gift shop and bought a few gifts. Once outside I began my wait for the trolley that I should have taken in the morning. It is a converted vehicle made to look like an old time trolley. The city has three of them but only one was running for the day. The driver was friendly and very informative. The bus was emptied at The Hall of Fame with the exception of a couple who were heading to the Fenimore Art Museum. The Trolley headed along the lake past the Otsega Resort Hotel, Hawkeye Bar and Grill, and a stop at the Fenimore Art Museum. The museum has an Andrew Wyeth exhibit. Had I known about it I might have used the previous day to visit there.

The trolley continued past the Farmers outdoors exhibit museum and on to the Yellow Lot. It went from having me as a solitary passenger to being nearly full in one stop. The driver then proceeded downtown on his designated route and gave people a choice to exit and walk a few blocks to the Hall of Fame or to continue the ice to the Blue Lot and then be dropped off directly in front of the museum. All but one family got off. The family had very young kids and I could guess why they had chosen to remain.

The Blue lot was the next stop. I had told the driver where I was parked with the RV. I was the only RV in the lot. He let me off directly at my vehicle and earned a tip for his friendliness and courtesy. I rechecked my oil level and was satisfied that there was no need for service. After a quick snack and a Gatorade G2 I was on the road blindly following my GPS.


Life Sized Babe Ruth and Ted Williams


The 2017 Inductees Plaque Wall


Bottom of the Sixth (Three Umpires) Norman Rockwell


Sand Lot Kid Sculpture Near Doubleday Field
Doubleday Field

The GPS worked well until it took me down a country road with dips and turns that do not bode well for an RV. I was not happy with the route. Eleven miles later I was back on a state route. Much better. I was led to I-90 east, then onto a state route again and eventually on I-87 north. There was a huge backup on the southbound lanes. I discovered later that there was a two semi truck collision with diesel spillage that had closed the southbound highway. It looked really bad.

Eventually I was routed onto SR 50 north. managed to miss the entrance to the Saratoga RV Park, turned around and came back. The GPS seems to be consistently off by a few hundred feet in this region. I have been using Google maps but I can’t say I am pleased with it. Even now Google Maps can’t pinpoint my location.

Where Did I Leave That RV? (Look Closely)

The check in went well. Before finding my lot I drove south on SR 50 for about 8 miles to buy groceries and some other supplies at a Walmart. After returning to the campground I found my site and hooked up water and electric. The water pressure measured 40 PSI. The roads are packed stone and the sites are sandy soil. The grass is sparse and I am surrounded by pines. I can receive a handful of TV stations with the antenna.

I needed to stretch so I walked around the campsite. It took about forty minutes to complete a full circuit. There were no trails but I could walk on the roads past all of the camp sites. Every possible type of RV and camper is represented here. There was even a small mobile home planted on one site. The full circle took about forty minutes.

I heard from my Berlin military friend, Dave White. We arranged to get together Thursday evening. I also spoke with Maura Another Berlin friend. Unless things would change I would not be visiting with Maura.

My evening meal consisted of a couple bratwurst and an assortment of carrots, snap peas, broccoli, and celery. Nothing fancy.

I straightened up some clutter onboard the RV. While doing so I found some keys that I had lost when I was packing for this trip. I hope I will not be losing things like this during my travels. I lost my RV keys one time. Backtracking located them inside a storage compartment. I must be more careful. I watched an episode of the original Star Trek on a local TV station, followed by STNG. I was in bed before 10:30.