Fun and Games Dept

The Best Laid Plans.

Earl and I have been planning the trip for months. We were going to put the top on the Jeep down and head due west. We were going to ride the roads until we reached Montana. We would then take pictures of us drinking and driving (because its still legal there), see a few sights, chase a tornado and head back home. It would take 10 days. It’s occupied my thoughts since we got home from Disney in February.

Scrap that.

Tonight we went and bought a pop-up camper. It’s a brand new 21-foot when opened Fleetwood, complete with heat, refrigerator, two king sized beds and a sink that doubles as a shower if you use the vegetable sprayer wisely. (I’m just kidding about the shower part, to clean up you dunk your head in the porta-john.)

I love camping. (stop the snickering). I really do. When Earl and I got together we camped a number of times during our first couple of summers. But then I made a discovery. Earl hates tents. I’m not a huge fan of tents either, but I like camping and getting all outdoorsy and stuff. Jiffy Pop just doesn’t “pop” for me unless it’s over a camp fire. I like the adventure of using a public shower. The sound of the crashing waves on Lake Ontario is music to my ears.

Earl loves camping too, as long as he doesn’t have to sleep on the ground. So we bought the camper.

It’s actually very nice and I look forward to accessorizing with the obligatory patio lights hung with clothes pins. Earl wants the lights in the shape of jalepeños. I’m looking forward to riding through a thunderstorm in this little beauty. It’s going to be great. Besides, the money that we’d spend on the trip out west will now provide vacation enjoyment for years to come. Next year we can head out west with the camper and do it rugged style.

As I apparently said in my sleep the other night (so Earl says), “Bears in the woods go grrr grrr grrr.”

Fun In The Sun.

Earl and I decided to enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend and hit the road in the Jeep on Saturday. We put the top down, slathered ourselves in sunscreen until we were whiter than Rose McGowan and headed for the big city. The big city of Syracuse, that is.

Actually, on our way to Syracuse we stopped and visited with my dad up at his store. We chatted about my grandfather and his health (he hasn’t been doing well lately), looked for the kittens that recently made an appearance on the second floor where they store insulation and moulding and basically just shot the bull for a bit.

After stopping for lunch at a diner in Pulaski and then driving around a bit, we ended up going to BalloonFest in Syracuse. It was hot, hot, hot at 95 degrees. We basted in the sun, took a stroll around and listened to some music. I was very pleased to see that the carnival rides included The Tempest, my favorite carnival (or around here, “Field Days”) ride of all time. My second favorite, The Trabant, was also there. I didn’t ride either of my favorites, mainly because the heat was starting to take it’s toll and I didn’t think my stomach was up for the ride. In retrospect, I’m becoming a major wuss. I’ve always prided myself on my amusement park endurance, as my mother raised us on “The Trabant” and “The Tempest” because the Merry Go ‘Round made her dizzy.

After BalloonFest (where no balloons flew due to the heat), we ate a Dinosaur Barbecue. If you are ever in Syracuse, you MUST stop at Dinosaur Barbecue. By this time, it was 8:00 or so and still very warm and muggy. So we did the sensible thing.

We took off to Buffalo, 150 miles to the west. It was Bear Night at a local bar there, and we wanted to hang out with some of the guys we had met at Bear Trek in Danbury back in April. It started to rain part of the way, so we had to pull under a bridge on the Thruway and put the Jeep top up quickly, but it was all good fun. We had a really good time in Buffalo. It’s nice to be able to hang out with like minded guys. We didn’t get to bed until 3:00 a.m. but we didn’t care.

This morning we headed back home to enjoy the day on the ranch.

I really appreciate being able to have spontaneous weekend like this. It’s a great way to get geared up for a good week.

Grand Old Weekend.

Well now it’s time to wrap up a glorious weekend and settle back into the work routine. I’m heading into an on-call week, so I feel like I’m diving into the rat race with both feet. Hopefully it won’t be so overwhelming to make me miserable. Earl has decided to dive into the fun right along with me and will be spending the week at home with me. Let’s see if that holds out after a few nights!

We celebrated the Memorial Day holiday today by getting stuff done around the house. I planted a few more flowers, and we started setting up the pool for the season. Ugh. We’ve both survived the ordeal but unfortunately its not finished yet as there are some piping issues (read leaks) when we run the pump. So we’ll be tackling it again tomorrow night after supper. Maybe I’ll make my work pager beep so I can get out of the fun innocently.

We also assembled the new futon for the “creative room” as I like to refer to it. And we took the opportunity today to add a stool to the setup, so I can actually sit at the Mac Mini while I’m working on music stuff. I’m probably going to be using the Mac Mini a little bit more for routine stuff as well, because I really like this set up. PowerBook for geek stuff (web pages, coding, etc), Mac Mini for blogging, surfing and playing Mr. Sound Engineer.

I kicked off the day with a fine 16 mile bike ride, which was good. I hope to do the same tomorrow before heading off to work, but it’ll probably be a little shorter ride. That’ll get the blood moving for the day. Let’s see if I actually go through with it!


That sucking noise you just heard is our families saying to themselves, “Oh shit, who is he writing about now.” Let me just say that they can all calm down and stop being so selfish to think that I’m writing about them in my blog.

Of course, this is all about me, me, ME.

Actually, Earl and I went to see “Monster-In-Law” tonight, of course starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda. This is the first time I’ve seen Jennifer Lopez in a movie (contrary to popular belief, I am not one of the five people that went to see “Gigli”) and I must say that she was quite enjoyable. I enjoyed her character very much. I also enjoyed Ms. Fonda as well. It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen her on the big screen and while the movie does wear a little thin in places, all in all it was an enjoyable experience.

Tonight’s movie was the nightcap to an enjoyable day up in my hometown, spending time with my Dad and his girlfriend Karen and her sister and her family. Earl and I expanded the family circle (not in a “Fockers” sort of way though) a little bit. Dad and I took a long walk together to walk my grandfather’s dog that’s visiting. It’s been a long time since we’ve walked that route, down to the crossroad, across the corn field and back up the railroad tracks, to come up through the woods behind his house. I’ve walked that route over a hundred times over the years, and I still enjoy it very much.

My father did grab my face and said “I thought you were going to shave this”, referring to my beard in a mock-angry parental sort of way. I don’t think he’s ever done that before. He seemed o.k. when I told him I’d think about trimming it around my birthday (which is in mid July).

We kicked back, drank some beer, ate some great food and basically just shot the bull. The way a Memorial Day weekend afternoon should go.

Baby You Can Drive My Car.

Kicking off the unofficial start to summer in style, Earl and I took one of our long, traditional road trips. We’ve just arrived home after driving for about 13 1/2 hours. Initially I wanted to drive to Tennessee and back, but Earl said no. So we kept it in state.

This was the maiden voyage for the new Malibu, as we wanted to see how comfortable she would be on the road for long drives, as we intend on taking it to Florida and such when we vacation next winter. I’m happy to say that it is very comfortable to ride in and is a wonderful “family” car.

Our drive took us to the edge of New York State and back, as we basically toured around the Southern Tier and then came back across the Thruway. Our first stop was the Village of Owego, which is along the Susquehanna River near the Pennsylvania border. I wanted to get out and walk around, just to see what the downtown type area had to offer, but it was rainy and such so we decided just to drive around a bit.

We also drove around the little village of Angelica and then headed out into the countryside, looking for the gay campground “Jones Pond” just so we knew where it was for future reference. It’s really out there in the middle of nowhere. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen so many dirt roads, but it was kind of fun driving around and exploring. Admittedly it would have been more fun in the Jeep, but the Malibu made a fine substitute. Good thing we didn’t have the Acura, I would not have been happy on dirt roads in the Acura!

We ended up eating dinner at a family restaurant I knew about but had never eaten at. It’s called Davidson’s, and it’s in the suburban village of Lakewood outside of Jamestown. You seat yourself, the server just handles the basics and the food is all good. Perfect for what we were looking for. I was quite proud of myself for not adding gravy to the fries this time! I lived in Jamestown for a couple of years (1986-88 and again in 1990) and I was quite amazed at how much the area has grown. Jamestown seems to have pulled itself up by the bootstraps and from what I could tell, is recovering somewhat from the economic downturn that has plagued Upstate N.Y. Good for them.

We then plowed along the Thruway from Fredonia to home, with the trip totally just shy of 700 miles. Very cool.

Now it’s time to get some sleep!