Kansas City with Holly – 9/15/2018

We came into KC for the weekend because Holly and family were going to be in town. Somehow it ended up being a mini reunion with family. Its always good to see everybody. First off is a video of Holly (and Jim)’s kids, David and Lindsay.

I got them to say “Kelly Clarkson” and “Welcome to your doom” multiple times in case you could not understand them.

Ok and now for family photos. I’ll name people from left to right.

Joan, Tom

Lauren, Jane

Mike, Hannah, Kathy

Hiatt and Kris

Lauren, Kathy, Sonora, Danelle, Holly, Becky, Mike

As the night wore on, Henry needed a ride home, so Dad and I went out to pick him up from work. We found this car in his working parking lot. An interesting and harmless prank.

Then we swung by my cousin Matt’s house to pick him up and add to the late night party. A great night!

Hogan Haake


Kids To Maine -Part 6 – 8/10/2018

Not to ruin the drama, but this is the last major day of the trip. I got a hold of a marina that had a pontoon boat we could rent, so we jumped on it. A quick visit to the grocery store across the street to get lunch supplies, then we drove half way back up Seneca lake to the marina. Sonora was beyond excited.

On the north end of the lake there is a canal and we went up it for a bit, lots of cool boats and houses.

Mmm, lunch!

A steam powered boat!

Eventually we cam back out into the larger lake to hang out and boat! Deep down inside, we’re all kids, and even mom got in on driving the boat!

Sonora even jumped in the water, but it was super cold and that didn’t last!

We were told not to go farther than half way down the lake by the rental company. We did our best to comply, till we realized that we were farther south than we realized. We rounded a large island that turned out to be Seneca Lake Sonar Test Facility. This is a government facility used to test SONAR equipment. Read about the interesting details in the link if you want to know more. It is strange boating near it and wondering what it is.

It got a bit rough out here for our little pontoon boat and we were wondering if we took on too much! A few times the front of the boat went under a wave and sent water towards us! But we finally made it back to return the rental.
Our vacation was complete as we had seen everything we came to see and delivered the kids back to Maine safely. We started driving home. I realized quickly that Niagara Falls was on our way home, so we made a slight detour.
Looking across from the US side.
The final mileage from the trip!
Hogan Haake

Kids To Maine -Part 5 – 8/9/2018

I’ve been trying to rent a boat to go see Boldt Castle. Danelle, Steve, and I did this back in 2005 and had a great time. I guess its more popular as we couldn’t just get a boat at a moment’s notice. Sonora was very disappointed, but that is how things go. Just the same, we decided to go see the castle. The ladies were not disappointed at the castle and it changed a bunch in the last 13 years! Here are just a few of the photos!

On the ferry back to the mainland, Sonora and I had some fun.

After the castle, we had to decide what to do next. The trip was winding down, but we still had time. We started driving towards home. But first, there were supposed to be decent waterfalls to see in Watkins Glen, NY. I took the scenic drive going down the west side of Seneca Lake. This lake is at least 25 miles long, so we had lots of fantastic views during our drive. It also turns out that Watkins Glen was awesome and HUGE!

It didn’t look like much from the street, but the three of us started hiking down about 90 minutes before sunset. Mom was nervous to go down, but I talked her into going a bit further. She was also worried about getting back up the hill. After scouting ahead, we realized that it was possible to hike all the way down from the top and get to the visitor center across some bridges. I offered to hike down with mom and Sonora, and then run up to get the van and pick them up. This gave the girls an easy downhill trip so we could all see the glens.

Going down, these steps could be a bit slippery at times!

This is one of many waterfalls in the area!

One of several bridges that lets you get from one side to the other of the glen.

Mom checking out the bridge.

I’ll be going back up these shortly. I can still feel the burn!

I wish we had more time to explore here. The day was done. We were ready for a motel and some sleep!

Hogan Haake

Kids To Maine -Part 4 – 8/8/2018

Today is what all the rush was about… We had a 10am reservation at the Revolution Rail Company.They have rail biking excursions on old railroad lines that are no longer in service. I had to reserve a few months in advance because its popular and fills up fast! I should have done it 1 day later so we had more time in Maine. Anyway, we got there early anxious to see what it was all about and not miss our reservation.

There were several ski lifts in the area and we found an old Gondola on display.

Eventually we wondered back to the station to check in and await departure for our trip. In the mean time, we played bags.

And even better, we finally got started with our trip. There is nothing quite like spending time in a yellow school bus!

Sonora got the tiny seat in the back.

I sat with mom opposite Sonora.

We didn’t know what to expect, but the rail bikes were very cool. Revolution Rail had them custom built just for us to ride.

Here we are just pas the half way point on our way back.


The rail ride was spectacular and I’m glad we had reservations as they were full! But all good things end and it was time to move on. This was the last planned activity we had planned for the trip. The rest would be winging it.

Speaking of winging it, I talked mom and Sonora into a “short” 1.1 mile hike. Only most of it was up a mountain. They didn’t give up, but they wanted to! I think the view was worth it. And the hike down was super easy!

Again, we drove on, not knowing what we would see. When I saw some float planes, I stopped. We saw that the rates were reasonable and did our best to contact the pilot. Unfortunately, we never did get a hold of anybody and only got to look on from land.

This day had us driving again late into the night, but totally worth it.

Hogan Haake

Kids To Maine -Part 3 – 8/7/2018

We got up early to get started with our long drive. Its Tuesday and we had a reservation for a Wednesday activity in New York. Today was about leisure travel westward. We started off visiting a few last minute things that I saw driving around Topsham ME, but didn’t see yet.

The Androscoggin Swinging Bridge was built in 1892 for pedestrians to get to work. Now its just a fun way to cross the river.

And of course, Mom’s own road!

LL Bean’s headquarters is in Freeport Maine. Their retail location is open 24/7 which is quite interesting. We walked through several stores. I’m surprised to say that I out-spent my mom shopping (found a great bent shaft carbon fiber canoe paddle).

So we finally started driving. I took random state highways that appeared to have decent views and they didn’t disappoint. We finally stopped on the side of the road to check out this river and enjoyed the sounds of the water rushing by.

I took a chance and turned into a busy looking nature area named Sabbaday Falls. The name has an interesting story you should learn about by visiting and reading the signs. You can’t see the waterfalls from the highway or even the parking lot. I asked somebody coming back from their hike if the trail was worth it, not yet knowing at all what it was. This is something you shouldn’t miss if you’re in the area!   Its a very easy hike to the three tiered waterfall.

We stopped on the New Hampshire/Vermont border to get a photo on a bridge mom would not walk on. I had issues getting Sonora to join me.

She thought we might fall through.

She isn’t happy out in the middle!

Back on land again!

Eventually, we make it to Lake Champlain, a lake that is on the border of New York and Vermont. The lake is 120 miles long and as wide as 12 miles. We took a ferry across.


Our night ended with a few hours of night driving before finding a suitable motel.

Hogan Haake