Thursday, September 1, 2016

Visiting a Couple of Places That Have Strong Meaning to Me. . . .

So I got up Wednesday morning and went to church, where I figured I'd find sis-in-law Ruthie (she goes quite regularly).  Gave her a belated birthday present and saw many old friends from the three years or so that I went to church there after Eleanor had died.  I felt good about it.

Then I went the couple of miles or so down Wheeler Road to pay My Missus a visit.
Yep.  She's still there, holding my place for me:

And THEN I continued going south. . . .  

 And wound up HERE.

   (Yep "SHE's" still there, too!)

Actually, I walked up to her from the beachfront parking lot at Robert Moses State Park. . . .  It kinda GREW on me. . . .

Yep, still there, after weathering a few more storms since I left her in 2013.  Along with her friends, the Lightkeeper's House and the Fresnel Lens Display Building:

My old "duty station" was the first place I stopped:

So I stopped by the Fresnel Lens building (the one with the curved roof), where I used to volunteer docent, explaining the intricacies of this State-Of-The-Art engineering wonder to visitors.  I think I was a pretty decent docent:

The fella doing all the explaining today was Ross, who - he told me - joined the Lighthouse Preservation Society after I had left in 2013:

I took note of the new "wind-up handle" on the clock mechanism. I used to tell people it was missing and that we'd eventually get a replacement for it. It is one of the neatest things about the lens. . . .  By winding it up, the Lightkeeper was pulling weights up the lighthouse tower, just like if it was a giant Grandfather's Clock that you'd pull the weights up on to make the clock turn. . . .  only in a lighthouse, you are making the LENS turn.

After chatting with Ross and even assisting him in explaining some neat stuff about the Fresnel (like having visitors stand on opposite ends of the balcony and look thru the center part (the "bullseye") of the lens to see each other magnified like to a size 100% of their normal size, and upside down(!). . . .  I Always got a kick out of doing that with kids there on Field Trips. Ross told me they still do that.

After my visit to Ross and "Blinky" I went to the Lightkeeper's House and met Bob and Peggy, the two folks still in charge there. I congrat-ed them both on having kept the place up so well - and even made a lot of improvements - since the time that Superstorm Sandy hit in 2013. Bob gave me a free pass to climb the tower, and told Karen in the Gift Shop to give me a free bumper-sticker too!

So here I go on my climb. . . .

I think that the base of the tower has walls that are about 8 feet thick. Here's the entrance:

 ONLY 186 spiraling steps to climb!

But nice resting places with windows along the way every so often:

Getting a little higher, up to the 3rd or 4th window, I could see our "employee parking" lot over by the National Park's Ranger Station:

Just under the light there's a small room that used to have a pot-belly stove. It was where the lightkeeper spent his nights when he was on duty. . .

The lightkeeper's wife and kids weren't allowed up to this "attic" very often, if at all.  But - according to the placard in the museum downstairs - the kids had plenty of fun just because they lived at the beach year-round.  Imagine that. . . .  sorta like my Charlie and Teddy having the run of the park that they live in.
  So here's the final ascent from the Watch Room. . . .

. . .to the beacon and the balcony surrounding it:
 Pete, the guy on duty on the balcony took this one of me.

The view was pretty good.  Sky was clear.  This is looking west, towards NYC. You really can't see the city's skyline even on a clear day because it is over 50 miles away.

I spent some time up there talking with some of the other visitors and with Pete, and then came back down. Took this photo of the bay from ground-level just behind the tower:

Toodled on off back to the parking lot, but along the way found this unusual pine tree. Seemed to have a LOT more cones than any I'd ever seen before.
I followed the boardwalk back to the parking lot having had a really great time at the lighthouse.  Looked over my shoulder to take this "parting shot."

Again, here's that photo I took from the plane as I was coming in to JFK Airport on Monday.  

The water tower (circled in red) in the photo is dead-ahead as taken from my car as I came across the bridge to Fire Island. . . .

But the lighthouse is the ORANGE oval-circled tower that's flashing in the aerial photo.

'Nuff for now.  To be continued. . . .

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