Recently it was another summer road trip. This time, we took my buddy’s 2016 grey Honda Accord EX. Peter said we averaged 6.9 L/100 kms, in the 4 banger. Our first destination was Batavia, NY (30 mins. east of Buffalo). We took in a Muckdogs‘ single A baseball game. They are affiliated with the MLB Miami Marlins. $11 USF got us behind home plate, in row 2,. We were treated to mid 20’s C. Parking is free. Food & beverages are reasonable. Skydome, take note. There were roughly 1,100 in the 2,600 seat (nice) stadium. World Series Blue Jay champs, Cito Gaston, and Kelly Gruber played for Batavia, back in the day! Batavia beat Williamsport, 5-4.
The next day we pointed it west on I-90 to Buffalo. We hit a few auto parts stores, for sale items. Next we visited the Jim Sandoro’s Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow (P-A) Museum. It’s right downtown. Free Parking. $10 USF admission. Cashier-Tim welcomed us and encouraged us to take pictures. Another guide-Ken was an affable, knowledgeable “gearhead.”
The Pierce Company started building bicycles in the late 1800’s, in Buffalo. In 1908, they began building luxury cars. The cars were sophisticated, and symbolized wealth and status. In 1909, the White House bought 2 of these cars. Many famous people including Orville Wright, and Babe Ruth, were P-A owners.
During the WWI, the company built trucks for the war effort, and turned a profit of $4,000,000 USF. In that period 10,000 worked in the factory.
The premium cars featured unique fender headlights; gorgeous hood ornaments; and other luxury options. In 1915 and 1916 the company offered larger and more powerful cars. The 6 cylinder engines were abandoned for in-line 8 cylinders. This was due to the competition offering 8’s. The much larger cars sat lower to the road. They offered roadsters, touring cars, and sedans.
Then the auto industry was hit by the Great Depression. Even with drastic price drops, P-A struggled. In 1928 P-A was bought by Studebaker. Yet in 1929 they sold almost 10,000 cars! The new owner invested in new research and new development in the factory. Sadly, the result was poor sales. In 1933, Studebaker filed for bankruptcy and P-A was sold to Buffalo management. P-A continued building cars. Even with more price drops they faltered. They even introduced Travelodge trailers. 450 units were built. Finally, in 1938 P-A went bankrupt.
The museum features many other makes of cars. Examples are: Duesenberg, Ford, and Chevrolet.
The most unique non-P-A, is the Playboy car. Only 97 (finished with serial numbers) were built, prior to bankruptcy. Today, there are only 43 survivors. They were built in Buffalo from 1947-1951. They were sold for under $1,000 USF. A local Packard dealer thought there was a post WWII need for a smaller, cheaper car for Americans. However they were plagued by Tucker’s bad press, and no dealer network.
Interesting fact: The story goes something like this-a women who worked at their Chicago dealer, had a son. The son’s best friend was Hugh Hefner. “Hef” was going to start an male-oriented adult magazine. He needed a name for his new publication.
You guessed it, Hefner picked, “Playboy.” The rest as they say, is history…
After 2 enjoyable hours at the museum we got hungry. No food or beverages are available, so we headed to Main Street’s world famous, Anchor Bar. When it opened in 1964, they invented Buffalo Wings a.k.a chicken wings. Peter & I shared a plate of “mild” wings, & washed them down with local “Genny Cream Ale.” draught. Note: their mild is like other’s medium. The wings were large and delicious.
Next stop was Sahlen Field. It is home to the Buffalo Bisons AAA affiliate to the Blue Jays. I love their 16,600 seat stadium! It’s right off I-190’s Exit 6. Parking was $10 just 2 blocks away…Canadian money at par.
If you buy your ticket voucher at Fort Erie, Ontario’s Duty Free store, $37 CAD gets you 2 of the top price seats, plus $15 Bison Bucks (good for food, drinks, or swag, in the stadium). Just redeem the voucher on game day at the Swan Street ticket window.
That night 10,272 saw the Bisons beat the Rochester Red Wings 6-5. It was a perfect night! We sat 8 rows up behind Home Plate. I’d guess 1/2 crowd are Canadians. 2 gents behind us: Barrie, and Gravenhurst.
The following day we were nervous due to the pre-game monsoon. Lucky for us, it dried up quickly. This was an afternoon game. However 7,636 saw the Bisons lose to the Red Wings 10-8. After the game, Peter drove me home. He lives near Trenton and got home before midnight.
On Aug. 2 my wife & I along with my In-laws drove to London. Recently we bought a 2016 Honda Pilot EX-L Navi. This was its first real road trip. It was very comfortable and got roughly 10 L/100 kms. round trip.
That night we watched the (Ontario) Inter County League’s Toronto Maple Leafs beat the London Majors 17-10. It was another perfect temperature summer night. $10 admission in the World’s Oldest Baseball Grounds. I’d guess the 5,200 seat stadium was half full. My daughter Lynzee, is the field promotions and contest girl. Her day job is on-air on a local radio station.
The next day, we drove to Buffalo in the late afternoon. We had a quick stop at Duty Free to get our Bisons tickets. After crossing the Peace Bridge, we turned in for the night in Cheektowaga (Buffalo suburb).
On Sunday morning it poured. By the time the women dropped off Dad & I at the stadium, the sun was out! This time 8,174 saw the Bisons get pounded 11-4 by the Syracuse Mets. The lone bright spot was when the Blue Jays’ First baseman Rowdy Tellez (he was sent down to the Buffalo farm team for more “seasoning”) CRUSHED a 2nd inning 400+ foot home run. He cleared a tent in the south/west parking lot! After the game we returned home. Whew! 5 games in 7 days! They were great summer road trips!
Written and photos by Larry Barnett