November 29, 2011: The Portage Bridge over the Genesee River at Letchworth State Park

Medifast Status: Day 211, Down ~70lbs

I found out today that the bridge over Portage Canyon back home, the one going over the High Falls in Letchworth State Park that is such a significant piece of my childhood, is being torn down.  That bridge, straddling the Genesee River for the past 136 years, is a landmark in the region.  The current metal bridge replaced the older, and more famous, wooden bridge that burned down long ago.

William Pryor Letchworth, namesake of the park, was living at his stately home, the Glen Iris, in May of 1875 and noted the last crossing of a train over the bridge which then, as now, is clearly visible from the porch of that still standing home.  The last train over the bridge was a passenger train which is surprising to hear today as passenger service in the area has long since vanished.  In the heyday of American rail travel the route would have been an important one being very close to Buffalo, one of America’s powerful rail hubs and largest cities.  Mr. Letchworth was able to witness the entire, glorious fire of the massive wooden bridge while sitting on his porch.  He wrote of his account and sent it in to the Buffalo Courier which published it and thankfully this account still exists today.

You can learn more about the Portage Bridge on Historic Bridges and on Flickr and again, on Flickr.  The new bridge was built in 1875, immediately following the burning of the original bridge.  So the new bridge that Norfolk Southern is planning to build will be the third bridge on the site with the current one having stood there for what is certainly by far the longest span of time.  Even if the new bridge was in place today it would not be the principle bridge at the location until after 2147!

The bridge that is there now has been a vantage point for countless visitors to see Letchworth State Park and the Portage Canyon from high in the air.  Norfolk Southern plans to block off the new bridge to keep people from going out on to it – which I understand from an insurance and liability perspective but it is sad as the existing 1875 bridge was built during an era when allowing people onto the bridge was an obvious way to go and it has been such a critical part of life in the region.  I found this great picture on Flickr that was taken from the Portage Bridge in Autumn.  I have been on the bridge many times myself and have taken several pictures from it as well.  That bridge was a part of my childhood and I will miss it.  I’ve even taken Dominica there when we were first married and living in the area.  Many people will miss that old bridge.  There is a lot of history there.

It was a very slow morning at the office and for the first time in months I am actually caught up on SGL.  I am writing today’s post “as it happens” rather than coming back to it later.  That is a good feeling.  I never feel up to par when I am behind on SGL posts.

I went home just after noon to have “lunch” with the family.  Lunch just being time to help Dominica with work since we normally eat our one meal at dinner and not at lunch.  Today is Tuesday so we are going to Brookhaven tonight for kids’ night.  Liesl loves Brookhaven’s kids’ pizza which is great because she really does not get pizza at home anymore because Dominica and I are never able to eat it.  Can you believe that I have not had “normal” food now for nearly two thirds of a year?  Two hundred and eleven days.  Just three more weeks to go to the two thirds mark.  No bread, only three slices of pizza in all of that time, etc. It is hard to believe that such a large portion of my life has past without eating the foods that I love so much.  That hardly seems possible.  I can still remember the taste of bread and wine!

The afternoon was really slow too.  The time really passed quickly and I am managing to get caught up on emails.  I got to leave a little before five from how slow it was and ran home, grab the family and we were down to Brookhaven for dinner a little before a quarter to six.  That worked out great.  We were all starving so getting there on the early side was nice.

Liesl did such an awesome job of eating tonight.  She ate tons of broccoli and the cheesy part of one slice of kids pizza leaving the crust which is the part with the calories and not the protein, so even that was good.  I got her more broccoli and pineapple and she ate all of that too.  She is one of the most impressive young eaters that I have ever seen.  After dinner she ate some of a cupcake too.

After dinner we went back home just in time for our weekly call.  That lasted less than an hour which was nice.  Then Dominica and I worked for a while, maybe an hour.

Later in the evening I put in Dragon Age II and played for a few hours.  I’m making good progress on this game.  One thing that is really noticeable is that Dragon Age II looks way better than Dragon Age Origins and just crazy amounts better than Oblivion.  Nice to see how far they can push the platform now that it has been out for so long (I am playing this on the PS3.)

I’ve heard that a lot of people did not like Dragon Age II that much and, admittedly, I am still at the beginning of the game and have a very long way to go because I know how good it may or may not be but at the current stage I am quite happy with it and am enjoying the story unfolding.  And Liesl is continuing to like watching me play as well.

Now that we have the real couch in the play room Liesl’s new thing is to sit next to me in the evenings and either watch the television with me or just sit next to me and use the iPad.  It would never have occurred to me how much more “family” oriented this set up of the room would be much the improvement is dramatic.  It feels like we are all closer while simultaneously having more space too.

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