Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Monday, September 30, 2013

Geneva to Findley

Friday at Cayuga State Park we opted to try bike riding instead of getting the canoe out. The primitive area of the campground is flat and very quiet so it was a great place to start bike riding after a very long time. On my 40th birthday I decided I wanted a bike,well not much ever happened with it until today, I probably rode it more on it today than in the past decade. Dave has a bike that was our son's before he got his first car, it seems a better way for him to exercise, doesn't put stress on his heel\bone spur. Three bike rides later the bikes are loaded back on the truck and ready for our next park.

While this was a pretty park I doubt we'd be back, with the proximity to the road and the electric problems we'd probably look at other options in the area. Since we've been here our EMS (electrical management system) has shut us down at least half of a dozen times. The road noise never ceases, I can only imagine what it's like in the summer, though in a pinch it would be okay for an overnight stay.

Saturday we head down the road about 250 miles to Geneva State Park on Lake Erie in Ohio, earlier this week it seemed the park was filling up, not a surprise with the great weather. I went ahead and made reservations since we would be coming in on a Saturday, I just took a look and it seems there are no sites to be had so glad I went ahead and made those reservations. 

Our goal Saturday was to get on the road between 8 & 9, at 8am we were leaving the dump station and on our way. A few stops along the way and we were entering Geneva OH around 12:30, in the midst of what we were later to find out was the Grape Festival. Downtown Geneva was closed and we along with many others were rerouted through town, small streets with lots of people paying no attention to anything and crossing the road where ever was convenient.  Eventually we made it through the madhouse and out to Geneva Lake State Park, I imagine the festival also contributed to the full campground.

After unhitching and finding gas for the truck we took a bike ride, we were still sore from our previous rides so new seats were in order. After two trips to Wal-Mart we both had new bike seats and enjoyed a final evening ride along the lake. What a beautiful campground this is, with lots of large sites, some larger than our seasonal site in VT, a few TV stations over the antenna which is nice but our Verizon service is very limited on the computer nothing but my smartphone has a bit of a signal that I can check emails and the weather but everything else takes way too long
Sunday morning we watched the once completely full campground empty out, in our loop there were only half a dozen sites still occupied.

site 11, we did get asked how the Honda did pulling the trailer

 Our day was spent taking bike rides and sitting outside talking with people, on one of our rides by the lake we encountered the queen of Ohio with her court. They had been in town for the Grape Festival and were getting some photos at one of the beaches along Lake Erie Dave the photographer didn’t get any pictures. While sitting enjoying our afternoon liquid refreshments our entertainment was provided by a caravan of three vans, one being a Salvation Army van. After circling our loop three times they finally settled on two sites across from us, about a dozen men got out with two clearly being the leaders. Soon they were getting a lesson in putting up the two room cabin tent with a few more tents waiting nearby to be raised. By the time they started on the fourth tent most of them had gotten the hang of it and Dave was commenting it was a four beer job but I do believe Dave had a two beer head start.  While dinner was cooking one of the leaders stopped by and invited us to dinner with them, since our dinner was already cooking we declined but did visit with him for a few minutes. Seems they have brought a few men out to experience something they have never experienced before, camping. They do this a few times a year and come during the week so as not to bother too many people. They come for two nights and have campfires, do movies in the evening on the side of the one of the tents and during the day some “hiking” on the park trails. We stopped by to say hi after our dinner, one of the leaders is the owner of a catering company and when he started telling Dave what had been for dinner you could see Dave get intrigued. Marvin offered us some leftovers, they were supposed to have been eighteen more so they had lots of leftover food and didn’t want to waste it, well I went home and got some plates which were promptly loaded, a ham and rice entrée and a turkey stir-fry entrée with white rice.  Lunch for when we get to Mondays destination of Findley State Park.

our afternoon entertainment-watching all of this go up
bad picture-Great lunch

We took one last walk around the loop and met a nice couple, Barb and Dale, who came in on Monday and had seen us riding and walking by earlier. From discussions of Lebanese cooking, places we’d been over the years and our lifestyle choice we spent an en enjoyable half hour talking. Barb will retire in 18 months and was surprised to find we were fulltimers at our age, of course that led to the discussion of waiting till it’s too late and never enjoying retirement for one reason or another.  We gave her our card, if she checks us out and some of our blog friends she’ll see there are a lots of us young ones out there, for one reason or another we’ve all decided that it’s never too early to start living this lifestyle.

We are now at Findley State Park near Hungtington OH, it was an easy 115 miles around Cleveland and we were here and having lunch by 1pm. Just the kind of travel day we've come to like, not looking forward to the few long days we'll have-but they'll be worth it. Nice campground, not too many people here now but they are expecting a busy weekend, their fall festival is going on and most electric sites are reserved. There is 50amp service all are back in sites and looks like they have plans to add sewer to the sites as a waste facility is in the process of being built. We've already scavenged wood, enough for both nights and taken a ride around the campground, our internet works great and we have some TV all is right with the world.

Now it's time to catch up with the world :)

Until next time...


Friday, September 27, 2013

Name Change

Dave is getting more involved with the blog though I doubt he will ever do any writing. That being said he has been trying to come up with a name for our blog, now he has. Dave's surname of Malouf is of Lebanese descent and he has always had an affinity with camels. So we are now tada

The Wandering Camels

Think he'll have to start coming up with some camel pictures for hump day :-)!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Corning & Rooster Fish

Wednesday was moving day, time to get a few more miles down the road. before we left though we tooka walk to the primitive campground. Very nice but facilities were a ways away though there was a port-a-pottie, uck. What a beautiful park, I'm sure we'll be back. While we do have 7 months we do have plans to have Thanksgiving in AZ with our son, before then there are some week long stops we will be making to visit family and friends, so time to get the wheels moving. By 11 we were ready to leave Glimmerglass State Park and head down the road a 135 miles, considering our past trips we would either make Cleveland OH or Dunn NC the first night, depending on our direction we were headed 135 miles nothing. We arrived at Cayuga Lake State Park about 1:15, very different from our last place, the park is on the lake but straddles NY 89, the electric campsites are near this road (I can see the road from the site) and it's very busy with lots of road noise. After getting set up and unwinding for a bit we took a walk around, across the road is there primitive area and dump station and looks like it get's lots of use during the summer months. Around 4pm lots of 5th wheels started arriving, looks like a lot of folks use this park as an overnight since it is 10 miles off of I-90.

Thursday we took a ride to Corning NY for a repeat visit to the Corning Glass Museum which is about an 1 1/2 hours away. Part of the drive was down the west shore of Lake Cayuga then through the rolling hills of the Finger Lakes, if you are a wine lover this is the area for you. Both Cayuga and Seneca Lakes have wine trails, seems like there is a different winery every few miles. Our ride home along the east shore of Seneca Lake was also populated with wineries, instead we stopped at a farm stand and picked up some local apples and cheeses.

Corning Glass Museum is a glass lovers paradise, different exhibits chronicle the history of glass making throughout the world, then there is a Tiffany Glass display and another area large glass bead exhibit., there is of course the display of glass art objects. I've posted a few pictures of our favorite displasys. We didn't stay for any of the free demonstrations but did spend a few enjoyable hours wandering the museum, there is also an innovation room that we visited last time but decided to skip this time.

Our ride home took us through Watkins Glenn were we stopped for a quick look at the speedway since we were going by nayway. There were a few groups of cars going around the track, Camaros, Chargers and such afterwards it was time for lunch. We found Rooster Fish Brewery, the picture tells it all and while he didn't care for any enough to buy a growler,  he did enjoy sampling all the different beers.

4oz each all for Dave

Dave has a few goals for this seven months: find breweries, eat rattlesnake (and get a rattle), wrestle an alligator and ride an ostrich, for those who know Dave know he's just a tad (fill in the blank) so none of these surprise them. We are doing pretty good on the breweries but need to find a different climate for the rest.

2011 last time Dave was alligator wrestling
At least he doesn't want to wrestle a bear again
Until next time...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On the road

Rainbow over us on our last day in VT
 Robin sent me the above picture she took our last day at Maplewoods, just wanted us to remember where our home (base) was, at least for now. Yes everyone we will be back in VT the end of April, at least that is the plan.

Our goal Monday was to get on the road between 8 & 9, getting out of VT takes such a long time since it is all back roads. By 8:15 we were ready to roll, might have something to do with the 4:30 wake up, some habits will take awhile to break. Our destinations was Glimmerglass State Park near Cooperstown NY, a mere 250 miles away. As I followed Dave I wondered how things inside were riding, VT has a lot to do to their infrastructure, this years heavy rains have left roads patched and bumpy, doubt they'll be much better when we get back in the spring after the winter abuse they will take.

We made a couple of quick stops and arrived at the campground around 1:30, stopped at the visitors center and then took a ride around the camping area. While there are many sites available in both loops we chose one just off the second loop site #36. 
Site 36
It is a large site with a fire pit and grill, only 30amp something we've never hadbefore (at least reliably) so now we'll see how many things we can turn on at once. We've noted a few sites for future visits, I think this will make a nice first days drive no matter what way we are headed, south or west. We haven't decided yet on satellite tv but wonder how long that will last, there are only 2 air channels we can pick up, we'll see what the next few months bring.
Glimmerglass State Park has 600 acres and has 39 electric (30A) only sites, a few sites can accomadate 40' but not many. All the sites have lots of space, and there is plenty of space between sites.The park is located at the north end of Otsego Lake, there is a large beach area and judging by the parking lot gets a lot of day use in the summer, there is a place to launch canoes and kayaks near the campsites and a few trails to walk.
The park was once part of the estate of George Clarke who inherited it from his great grandfather Colonel George Clarke the Lt Governor of NY from 1736-1744. The grounds include Hyde Hall Mansion and is considered one of the finest surviving examples of Classical Revival architecture in America, there is also the oldest existing covered bridge in the US. While we didn't see the mansion, saving that for a time when the weather isn't great, we did see the covered bridge, more on that later.

After settling we took a walk around the two loops and then started on dinner, while watching Dave get the charcoal going it struck me, this is our life now. How lucky we are to be able to live life like this, No one pinch me because if this is a dream I don't want to wake up. After dinner and another walk we got a fire going, s'mores for me and a Blackberry Wheat Long Trail for Dave to celebrate the start of our next adventure.  

Tuesday I woke up about 4am but quickly fell back to sleep, it was almost 7 by the time we finally got up. After a slow start to the morning we headed into Cooperstown to Ommegang Brewery, a belgian type brewery, which a friend had told Dave about. While I don't care for beer, aside from Seagrams flavored beer, Dave loves to try different craft beers, after a free tour Dave stayed for the sampling where for $3 he could sample 6 different beers and he got to keep the souvenir shot glass.

In conjunction with Cornell University Ommegang is trying to bring back hops to the area. This area once supplied the US with hops, shortly before prohibition a blight occurred destroying all the hops.

Afterwards we headed into Cooperstown, since we're not baseball fans we were there for lunch and to walk around downtown a bit. Ended up at the Back Alley Pub, french dip for me and a blue cheese burger for Dave, not bad but we've had better, found out too late about a diner in town to try, oh well, there will be a next time. After a short walk on some of the side streets looking at the beautiful older homes and a stop at the grocery store we headed home, there was a lake to paddled on after all.

Glimmerglass Lake, which gets it name from the James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales, is about 5 miles long and it was already 3:30 so we weren't going to get very far but out we went anyway. What a beautiful hour we had, since it was windy we headed into the wind so our return would be the easier part of our paddle. There were lots of Canadian geese, seagulls and a few ducks out on the water with us, we saw a few fisherman on the shore and paddled across Hyde Bay, even if for only an hour it was good to get back on the water.

After our paddle we had to check out the oldest covered bridge in the US, being from VT where we had visited at least 80 covered bridges during our time there we were skeptical about this one.

While there is a historical plaque documenting the bridge it appears to have been completely rebuilt in the 60's. It doesn't appear that there is anything remaining of the original structure, if someone knows something different be sure to let me know.

 We then took a few of the trails around a meadow, walked down to the beach, as we headed back to our site we saw a few deer and  found a disc course. Sure wish our son Tom was with us, he would have enjoyed that.

We rounded out the day with a fire and some star gazing. We haven't been able to see much of the stars since we moved out of the house, many a night in our hot tub we would enjoy the beautiful starry sky.

While we managed to stay up to 10pm last night I find myself up at 5:30 this morning finishing this. Today we move on down the road 140 miles, should be a short travel day to Cayuga State Park near Seneca NY, this sure beats the long travel days we used to put in.

Until next time...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

We're done!!

The last week has flown by with work, packing and breaking camp, last run into Burlington for lunch with my girlfriend Carol. Lunch and running around with Carol was fun as usual but poignant at the same time realizing it would be a long while till we could do this again.

Packing is done, the yard has been cleaned up for it's new seasonals who will actually be coming in for another weekend  before the season ends and spending it on this site.

 Over the weekend we had a Halloween celebration,
since we are leaving Monday we didn't do much in the way of decoration and with the forecast we didn't want to have a wet mess to clean up.

Saturday about 1pm I got the call from Dave he was leaving
 the plant and was free for 7 months and one week.
After I got off work Saturday we took a walk around the park
saying goodbye to the remaining friends we've made this summer
 and to check out the site decorations.
We had 4 sites cancel for various reasons this weekend
so there were not as many kids as
 expected but a good time seemed to be had by all.

 These folks one a free weekend, by the time they were done they had a haunted maze to walk through, too bad I had to work,

 Jello shots were served to the adults here :)!!

Our friends Les & Deb were sick so decided not to come out today, we were so sorry not to be able to see them one last time. Mike and Carol came out for an afternoon visit, around 4:30 we all headed to the camp store to say see ya to Robin. I have thoroughly enjoyed working at the store and look forward to coming back late April. After an afternoon of talking we headed into Johnson for dinner, too busy talking to remember a camera, a tearful goodbye and we were on our way home.

We hope to leave between 8 and 9, Glimmerglass State Park outside of Cooperstown is tomorrows destination. Time to start the touring.

Until next time...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Just about ready-1 week to go!!!!

That's what we've been up to, just passing time till we leave. Of course there is the daily life of work and then days off. Took a ride last Thursday just to get out of the campground, it felt like fall was in the air, cool and crisp with clear blue skies. A slow weekend at the store brought about a change in hours, things are winding down. No new ice cream, won't get sold before the end of the season, no hot fudge for sundaes-vendor is out, 17 hours left to work :)

The campground is almost empty during the week, 2 park models and a tenting (homeless but working) family are the only ones here through the week besides us. Not only are we getting a new site next summer but seems like we'll have 7 new seasonal families, our younger friends are not coming back. Busy lives and family obligations preclude them from returning at least for awhile. Though they have promised to come back next year for a few visits and to follow the blog. Our new site is twice the size and will be near the store, a view of the mountains and the ability to watch more of the weekend warrior madness will be nice.
Our site next year

the pad will be longer

dead tree will be gone

I spoke with the folks taking our site next year and they'll take the garden area we put in, yeah! we don't have to take that out. We also bought a wooden deck from one of the leaving seasonals, we had been talking about building one next year and since there was one  already made available we decided why not. Sat down with Robin to square up for the season, working about 300 hours has resulted in a free site including electric and propane, not bad considering we also had  the house sale happening, got my folks moved and dealt with a few personal crisis. We are so ready to put this summer behind us, 7 days to go.

Got woken up Thursday morning at 3:30am to water flooding the bathroom floor and soaking into the bedroom carpet. As we both start to function we see the toilet is filled with clean water, probably had been running since it was used two hours before. We got the shop vac going and sucked up as much water as possible then started with the Shamwows on the carpet. Years ago I wondered why we had so many, now I'm glad we do, after getting as much water as possible initially they have been steadily leaching water out of the carpet for hours. Dave headed to work at 5:30am about 6:15 it was light enough to see outside and I started checking the basement for water. I found some and after emptying the wet stuff out it appeared that water had gotten in the heat duct and some of that was leaking, just a bit if pushed on. So I turned on the furnace to try drying the duct out, later I turned the ac on to help take the humidity out of the inside. Things are returning to normal, giving up a house didn't mean we gave up all responsibilities, things happen that have to be taken care of, usually on a much smaller scale though.

The weekend came and lots of things needed to be done, going through and packing up stuff to get in travel mode. By the end of the weekend the basement was for the most part packed, our yard is being deconstructed and the garden is coming out. Friday I decided to try my CIA cheesecake I've been making for years, with a pot roast in the slow cooker the smells coming out of the rv were driving us crazy while we installed cargo racks on the Ridgeline to carry our canoe. Pot roast came out delicious but we had to wait until Saturday to taste the cheesecake. Saturday we headed into Huntington one last time for this year, dinner was being held at our friends Les & Deb's home. We spent a few hours talking before Mike and Carol showed up, Carol had just come in from FL where she had been visiting her mom. Dinner was chili and cornbread, thank you so much for having us over and for the leftovers you sent home with us. The evening was tinged with sadness as a large part of all of our lives was changing, for more than 15 years unless one of us were busy or out of town every other weekend we would gather on Saturday. Holidays, birthdays, anniversary, hot summer days and cold winter nights were spent in the company of these crazy friends. No tears were shed because they all plan to come out our last afternoon for one last visit.

Deb & Les 

James- Les & Deb's son (like one of our own)
Carol & Mike

Forgot to take a picture of the cheesecake before it was cut but got one this morning, this is what's left after 8 pieces have been served, still enough for 4 more slices. I got the recipe many years ago from a chef at the Culinary Institute of America back in the early 80's. I've served this many times over the years and everyone was excited to have it again, the recipe makes enough for a 10" springform pan and has to be made at least 24 hours ahead.

I'll be taking a slice down to Robin today, one way to keep from eating too much more. 

14 hours left of work, a week from now we will be on our way. First stop Glimmerglass State Park near Cooperstown NY, since we're not big baseball fans doubt we'll visit there. Decided on the area because I thought that would be far enough for one day, we plan to spend 2 nights and then move on over to another state park in the finger lakes We hope to make a day trip to Corning NY to revisit the Corning Glass Museum, there was so much to see the first time we were there it's a place well worth a second visit. Just hope all the rain in the west doesn't affect travel plans but we'll deal with it if we have to. 

Until next time...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

22 days to go

We have come to the conclusion that surgery here will not happen, it'll take a month just to get to a surgeon much less to surgery and then the recovery time will put us past the closing date here. Last weekend was a work one for us so Dave got the paperwork for his leave and will be sending it in in the next day or two, with the vacation time he has left looks like we'll be leaving here on 9/23. We have plotted a slow course to IL by way of state campgrounds the whole way, most only have electric, since we'll be moving every couple of days that won't matter, we have reservations at Lake Shelbyville for a week, it is a COE park with full hookups. Reservations are needed for about 10 or so sites, only 3 were left and since I wanted to be guaranteed a spot and it would be over Columbus Day weekend we went ahead and made reservations.  We'll probably take a walk in spot when we get there when we arrive on a Tuesday, but since this is a family visit I didn't want to take any chances.15 days and 1400 miles, the  Finger Lakes, Lake Erie, some Ohio state parks, an Indiana state park then arriving in IL on 10/8 where we'll spend a week. After that we have our longest travel day up to WI to camp with our friends, then on to CO, AZ and Corpus Christi by 12/16 (5400 miles) for a 6 week stay.

Lately our days are either filled with work (Dave) or getting ready to leave. Last weekend was a very slow one here-probably the slowest since Memorial Day, with all the kids going back to school I think folks were focused on other things. This weekend though is going to be crazy, all but one site is filled and we've kept that one site empty on purpose, you never know what might happen. Friday we are going to a dinner with the seasonals, since some are leaving this weekend we all wanted to get together one last time. Saturday we have our friends from Huntington, I'm sure by the time they leave my sides will be hurting from laughing-always happens when we get together. We gave the task of coming up with headstone names, for the Halloween celebration here, to our friend Les. He had us laughing away with the names he has come up with, quite a  list and it will be hard to choose from them. After the weekend we'll start going through and getting stuff ready to travel :) sure looking forward to hitting the road.

I'll be glad to get away, then the buying will slow down, trying to get everything the last few months that we didn't have already has been a bit expensive but necessary. We gave up satellite radio so getting the i-pod and i-phone set up to play in the trucks, figuring out the best way to communicate while in separate vehicles has been a challenge.  I've set up the Ridgeline with a Jabra Cruiser 2 so I have hands free for my I-phone and access to our music files.  Dave doesn't know it yet but I've gotten him a Jabra Talk to use in the GMC along with the i-pod he'll have access to our music also.  I think trying to hold walkie talkies and drive would be crazy, now to just get Dave on the same page. This lifestyle change is requiring us learning tech stuff we never thought we'd use, I remember some of our other cars coming bluetooth ready and never using it. Once I get used to the bluetooth I'm sure I'll kick myself for never having used it before.

Thursday we had another micro burst rainstorm settle over the campground for a good half hour, rivers were running down the road, with in minutes lots of  sediment and rocks had settled over the storm drains, Soon thereafter the rain left and the sun came out and campers started coming in.  We had  Shelli and George and some of their kids come in for an overnight stay, they are a full time family so after dinner we took a walk around and spent some time talking with them. They are in the area for a family reunion so were heading off to boondock at the reunion site on Friday morning, their home base is Mesa AZ so we have made plans to try and catch up for a longer visit when we are in Phoneix. They don't blog but do have a website where the right about some of the places they've visited.

Friday the parade of campers started, some of us sat around and watched our quiet empty campground get filled up with weekend warriors. Of course there are the returning campers we've gotten to know so we had to take a walk and visit with them. We have been working with Lori and Mat and their dog Abigael, last time they were here Abigael wasn't quiet ready to be Dave's best friend, if he wasn't looking she would finally take a treat from him then run back to her mom. Last night she heard us coming up the road, her tail was wagging just as fast as it could and as soon as Dave got there she was ready for a treat and a pet from him, that just made his weekend.

Our personal cards came in the mail this week so at our goodbye seasonal dinner Friday night I handed them out to all of our neighbors, hopefully they'll let us know their out there if they check out the blog. We had a great dinner of  fresh corn on the cob, pasta salad, fresh cucumbers from the garden, smoked chicken and strawberry shortcake.It has been fun getting to know all of them and look forward to spending the summer with them again next year.

                    Earl if you're going to stick your tongue out when I take a picture it will get posted. Where was the camera though when Brent was eating the dog biscuit.                                                                                                                       
Once again the weather man has played a trick on us, our beautiful weekend has turned into a cloudy and at times rainy weekend, reminiscent of Memorial Day, thankfully though no snow. Our friends Les and Deb came out early Saturday for a great visit. Unfortunately our friend Mike got called into work as he and Carol were on their way here. Mike works for the hospital as one of the top guys in the maintenance department and will lots of times be on call. Seems some pipes decided to burst and he was needed, we really did miss seeing them but they were also bringing the Switchback Roasted Red. Dave hopes to save a few bottles of it to share with our son David when we make it to AZ for Thanksgiving, think we just need to hide them and forget about them for awhile. While we were sad they couldn't make it we enjoyed our time with Les and Deb very much, we've know them since 1995 and have so many shared memories. Les is retiring soon, they will be putting their house up for sale next year, when it sells they will decide what they want to do and where they want to go. It shall be interesting to see where they are when we get back next year. After a dinner of smoked beef and pork ribs, mac salad, baked beans and the never ending supply we seem to have of corn on the cob, we decided to enjoy a game of spades. Over the years we have played numerous games the girls vs the boys, we always sit at the same place since Dave loves to mess with Deb's head as she goes just before him. Well last night he couldn't mess with her too much, the cards went in our favor and for that night we played well, Deb and I do have a habit of underbidding. 

Thank you to all who take the time to read my ramblings, I know it's our journal of our time here but soon it we will be out and touring places we've not seen before. Most nights when as I go to sleep it's hard to believe that we are about to head off on this great adventure, some one asked me what I was feeling these days. There is the thought can we really pull this off and the what if (fill in the blank) happens but then there is the flip side, if we can pull this off how much richer our lives will be and so what if (fill in the blank) happens we'll deal with it. So the butterflies abound as I go to sleep at night and we look forward to the next chapter. 
22 days to go!!!!! :)

And Dave knows about the bluetooth,

Until next time...