My Trip to Big Sky
Country, Part Two
August 5, 2007
My Trip to Big Sky
Country, Part 0ne
July 29, 2007
May 25, 2007
May 9, 2007
Barbara's, St. Louis,
Step It Up Rally
April 18, 2007
March 22, 2007
The Rock Party
March 8, 2007
February 25, 2007
Best Photos of 2006
and Start of 2007
February 10, 2007
January 21, 2007
January 2, 2007
Greg's Going Away
November 22, 2006
November 9, 2006
Mike's 30th Birthday
October 30, 2006
October 18, 2006
October 7, 2006
King Richard's Faire
September 19, 2006
September 4, 2006
August 22, 2006
August 13, 2006
August 6, 2006
July 28, 2006
July 5, 2006
Museum of Bad Art
June 21, 2006
Man(Cat), the Myth,
the Beast. R.I.P.
June 14, 2006
The Return of
Anthony and Elise
June 1, 2006
May 2006–October 2005
My Favorite Posts
September 10, 2007
Lake Placid, New York and the 2nd Annual White Lake (NH) Camping Trip
I'm going to try to make this relatively quick since I am SO behind on my posts! There are so many great photos to share with you, my many thousands of readers (HA HA HA)!
Way back in July (which seems SO long ago, doesn't it?), almost immediately after returning from my amazing trip out west, I was off on a business trip to Lake Placid, New York. I had been there once before and had enjoyed it immensely. I was heading there this time to work at another Heinemann multi-day institute featuring my favorite of our Heinemann authors: Smokey Daniels, Nancy Steineke, and Ted DeMille. I had a fantastic time there again this year, but I'm very glad that I got to see the gorgeous views and go kayaking the last time I visited, because it was rainy and foggy the ENTIRE time I was there this year! :(
All of us Heinemann peeps went out to dinner at a really nice restaurant one night, where we had a fantastic meal, followed by fantastic desserts. Here is Ted DeMille eating his vat of chocolate. I say "vat" because I described it as such at some point BEFORE SAID DESSERT ARRIVED AT THE TABLE. Note its actual size. We found this humorous. :D
I love my job, because during events like this I get paid to go out and eat fancy meals and drink delicious wine chosen by the expert of all wine experts: Bill Steineke. I actually drank enough to mention that I have bad memories of the song "Whoomp, There It Is!" which was a mistake. :D I really should have written this post earlier, because many more hilarious things were said and much laughter was shared by all, but alas, my memory eludes me.
OF COURSE there was letterboxing in Lake Placid! How dare you think otherwise?!?! :D
I only found one box while I was there, but it was at John Brown's Farm, which was interesting. Did you know that John Brown was buried there? I didn't! On the day I went it was alternating between drizzle and mist, and it was warm and humid out, but I took a cab there (and instructed the cabbie to return in an hour) and had a nice little visit. The house itself was closed, but I was able to peek in the windows to see what it looked like inside, as well as view the grave of John Brown and his two brothers.
The letterbox find was fun, but was saddened to realize it was a store-bought stamp. I really shouldn't complain though, this is my very first store-bought find, and the stamp is cute. I had a nice little hike afterwards before the cab arrived to pick up my sweaty self. :D
The institute itself went quite smoothly, which was great. And Ted and Susan gave me a ride to the airport afterwards, which freed me from a 45-minute taxi ride with the two biggest nerds in Lake Placid.
Okay, let me discuss my transportation to and from Lake Placid for a moment. Due to the fact that I had a travel voucher that was going to expire, I had to fly there, even though driving would only take five hours. And due to the face that my travel voucher was for Delta, and ONLY Delta, I had to fly into Burlington, Vermont (which is only 3 and a half hours away), because only Continental (as you'll remember from my previous Lake Placid post) flys into the piddly little airport just outside Lake Placid. So my journey began by taking a car service to Logan airport (transportation method #1), then getting on a plane to New York La Guardia (transportation method #2), then getting on a plane to Burlington, Vermont (transportation method #2.5). I then was going to take a cab, but the nice man at the information booth told me that it's much cheaper to take the bus. So the bus I took (transportation method #3) to get to the ferry (transportation method #4) which crosses Lake Champlain. Once arriving in New York, I was greeted by the aforementioned Nerds of Lake Placid. And though most of you don't need this explained: I say "nerds" with LOVE. But let me make light of them just an eensy bit! :D
Nerd #1, my driver, was about 400lbs and had a gallon jug of iced tea next to him during the ride. Of course he wore glasses, that goes without saying. Of course it goes without saying that he seemed just a little too happy to be driving a girl around. I get the feeling that he doesn't see too many girls. :D
Nerd #2 was the navigator, because Nerd #1 appears to have not left Lake Placid very much in his lifetime, though he appeared to be in his late 30s. Nerd #2 was short, balding, and also wore glasses. He (unlike Nerd #1) proclaimed himself to be a very picky eater.
Did I mention that they are best friends and are both participants in the Lake placid bowling league? I'm not knocking bowling, mind you, but the fact that they were bowlers just completes my image of them perfectly. We had fine conversation on our ride... I don't remember too much, but we did discuss the proliferation of western European gals working in the restaurants, as well as the best meat-oriented snacks. Nerd #2 was a fan of bacon-wrapped hot dogs. I made a mental note of this for Mike's 10th Annual Dysfunctional Barbecue (blog on this coming soon).
The nerds got me to my hotel (well, I really should give the credit to Nerd #2, since he actually knew the way there). And though it was very tempting to ride with them back to the ferry when I left Lake Placid, I was quite happy to accept Ted and Susan's offer to drive me to the airport.
After Ted and Susan dropped me off at the Burlington airport, I went to the kiosk to check in (yes, you know what's coming). I swiped my credit card, typed in my flight number, and got the following message: "Due to a problem with your flight, please see a customer service agent." Or something to that effect. So I get in line and speak to a gentleman of about 17 years of age, who informs me that my flight has been cancelled, there are no more outgoing flights, and basically I'm up shit creek.
Oh, did I also mention that I had only gotten about four hours of sleep the night before and I was REALLY looking forward to passing out on the plane? Yeah, I was.
I weighed my options. Remembering how nice the man at the information desk had been when I arrived in Lake Placid, I asked him what my options were. He proceeded to try to look up bus schedules for me, but once I found out they had wi-fi at the airport, I told him not to bother and commenced a rigid search of my own. My conclusion: the only bus that was even remotely an option left at 6:15pm (it was about 2pm at that point) and would take something like 12 hours to reach Boston. I turned to the rental car companies. There were six. I went to five of the six, all of which told me they had no cars. Then I arrived at Budget Rent-A-Car. They had no cars either, but they did, however, have MINI-VANS. I'm not the biggest fan of mini-vans, I much prefer a small cars (the smaller the better), but the guy in line in front of me got his van for the price of a full-sized sedan! So when I got to the front of the line I said, "can you give me the same deal that guy got?" I don't mince words when I have few options. Thankfully, they agreed to give me the same deal. Phew!
All was well and good then until they informed me of my options for returning the Soccer-Mom-Mobile: Boston... or.... Boston. Or Boston. Or perhaps BOSTON. Not Manchester, not Portsmouth...Boston. So, even though I would be driving RIGHT THROUGH Manchester, I still had to drive to Boston to drop the damn car off, EVEN THOUGH THERE IS A BUDGET RENT-A-CAR LOCATION ON THE ROUTE 1 BY-PASS IN PORTSMOUTH. Fuckers.
There wasn't much I could do though but suck it up. And since my original plan was to fly into Boston, I had already arranged for a car service to pick me up there later that night. So off I went in the Mom Mobile with a very nice map from Budget. I purchased a bag of Cheetos and some water at a rest stop and called the car service to say I'd be arriving earlier than anticipated: yes, even though my flight had been cancelled and I was now driving, I would now be arriving home TWO HOURS EARLIER than I had planned. :D My drive went smoothly (thanks to more water, an additional bag of Fritos, and my cell phone) and the driver from the car service laughed at my tale of woe. Then I fell asleep. :D But I arrived at home safe and sound from Lake Placid.
I returned from Lake Placid on Wednesday evening, went back to work on Thursday, got home, packed, and then left to go camping on Friday! This was our second annual camping trip to White Lake and I was really looking forward to relaxing and sleeping and not relying on any methods of transportation other than MY FEET once we were there. :D
Unfortunately, Mike found out that he had to work on Friday at the last minute, but Randy and I met Jenna, Jason, and Emily at the grocery store, purchased supplies, and made the journey up to the campground. We were very pleased with our sites this year as they did not abutt A) anyone who played "Stairway to Heaven" badly on their guitar late at night or B) any boys who ride their bikes endlessly up and down the street and into the bathroom and generally act obnoxious.
We used the cigarette lighter from my car to plug in the pump for the air mattresses, and since the car had to be on in order to do so, the radio turned on. I didn't think anything of it until Emily climbed into the passenger side and started dancing. It was SO CUTE! :D She really likes Weezer! :D
Once the tents were up, Randy got his fire on. And ginormous, one-inch-thick burgers were cooked. And eaten. And were delicious.
On Saturday morning, we (meaning just me) awoke late to the smell of bacon cooking. Randy and Jason made comments that the smell from the bacon—the Bacon Beacon, if you will—would soon bring Mike's arrival. NOT TEN MINUTES LATER, I shit you not, Mike drove in. :D And the first thing he heard was Randy asking, "Do you want a brat cooked in bacon fat?" Our trip had truly begun! :D
After a most nutritious breakfast of many things cooked in bacon fat, we ventured down to the beach. The sun was warm, there was a nice breeze, and luckily we were not near anyone who was playing fucking Celine Dion on their boombox. Emily played in the sand and seemed to enjoy it. And Emily also ate sand, and seemed to enjoy it. :D
Our entertainment on the beach (other than Emily, of course), were the dumbasses who were playing catch with a football behind us. There were a couple of teenagers who seemed nice enough, but they were throwing to a couple of college-aged—just going out on a limb here—frat boys, who were each holding a beer in one hand and trying to catch the football with the other. THIS WAS NOT SUCCESSFUL. Randy and I had ridden our bikes down to the beach, and on more than one occasion the football bounced off our spokes. We tried not to become angry at this (and failed), and shrugged it off. But when we went to leave, one of the footballs ricocheted off of Randy's head and into my bike. And then Randy nearly threw down with the frat boys. Well, not really, he just yelled at them and told them that if they can't catch the ball to not play on the beach. The two teenagers were apologetic, but the frat boys were... well... frat boys.
Other than that, we only had one other problem with a resident of the campground: the red squirrel. This little bugger would stop at NOTHING to steal our food! I was sitting not two feet from the picnic table, and he climbed right up on to the table and tried to steal some chips! We got in the habit of keeping sticks nearby, so we could whack them at the squirrel. He would run a few feet away, yelling at us, and then come back. Over and over again. :D Part of me was proud of the bravery of this member of the Squirrel Liberation Army, but another part of me wanted him to fucking ASK PERMISSION BEFORE STEALING OUR SHIT. I mean, the CHIPMUNK was very nice and polite about the whole thing, and was perfectly content eating the leftover bacon fat off of the rock, and scampering off every time one of us came relatively closeby. But not the red squirrel.
We ate many delicious vittles during our trip, including Jason's Famous Campfire Nachos. Unfortunately for Jason, he had to make two kinds of these nachos, however, because SOME members of our party (not saying any names COUGHRANDYCOUGH) do not like such things as onions and peppers. So the ones on the right were dubbed Pussy Nachos, and the ones on the left are Delicious Nachos.
It's becoming a tradition for Joe (Randy's brother) and his family to come visit, and bring us scraps of wood and Magic Dust to burn. What is Magic Dust, you ask? Sawdust! When you throw sawdust into the fire, it explodes into a shower of sparks! Randy enjoys this immensely. But then again, Randy enjoys ANYTHING involving fire immensely. :D He had a great time putting on a show for Kiara and Lizzy. Joe and the girls also helped us gather an obscene amount of firewood for the last night we were there, since we had somehow managed to burn everything we brought (no idea how that happened COUGHGIANTBONFIRECOUGH). :D
Unfortunately, it started to rain on Sunday morning, when Brandie, Dave, and the kids came to visit. But Emily didn't seem to care one bit about the rain, and walked around showing Brandie her belly proudly. It was ADORABLE.
She also played a fabulous game of "Splash Water on Mike." Sadly, Jenna and Jason decided that it was time for them to head out on Sunday, but they did leave the screen tent for us. :) And luckily that afternoon the rain stopped, and the kids were able to go swimming before Brandie and Dave had to leave. :)
The weather on Monday was absolutely PERFECT, and Randy, Mike, and I spent the day on the beach, swimming, napping, reading, and generally relaxing. We also had a very nice dinner that night with Mike's sister Brandie and her boyfriend Ryan, who were camping on the site next to ours. We did our best to eat as many burgers as possible, but still ended up having to throw a few in the fire, much to Randy's chagrin (not at all, they burn well!). :D
It was a very nice camping trip. And now we're counting down to the other annual camping trip of the year: King Richard's Faire this weekend! :)
Next blog: Mike's 10th Annual Dysfunctional Barbecue! :)