Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Who Knew?

Not me... that's for sure. I'm talking about this place we have alighted upon here in upstate New York. I booked a spot here (at Letchworth State Park) for just three nights and we are due out on Friday morning and NO we don't have reservations anywhere for Labor Day weekend which means we will be holed up in a Walmart parking lot somewhere near here for three days. PU.)

So anyway... this place is FANTASTIC. ENORMOUS. It's big and good... get my drift? The park runs for like 25 miles North to South along the Genesee River. I was so not ready for the gorges and waterfalls and general awe inspiring views we have encountered here. I mean... have any of YOU ever heard of this place? It's worth talkin' about... people should be shouting about it out in the streets as far as I am concerned. Why don't more people know about this place? We totally stumbled upon it. I'm glad we did but I am bummed that we have to leave on Friday. Let me share some images so you can get a vibe on what I am all cranked up about here...

You really should click through to the larger image on all of those to get the full visual.

Today we hiked about 6 miles along the edge of the gorge which gave a multitude of great views. We obtained a permit to take the kayak out on the river tomorrow. People... I am really excited about this. I mean... imagine being down IN THERE in a kayak? It's gonna be big. The only bummer is that we have to carry the kayak down a steep trail for like a mile to get to the river to put in. This will suck. There is no way around it. The kayak is heavy and awkward to carry. Coming back uphill at the end of a long day of paddling upstream will be pretty rough too obviously. In fact... if you don't want to hear me crabbing about it don't tune back in here any time soon because I am sure I will be peeling off with a serious injury list about this time tomorrow night.

Until then... I leave you with an image of cedar bark. Something to chew on visually. Rudy enjoys it orally. Either way... to chew it or to just gaze upon it... I think it's great stuff.

Monday, August 27, 2007

"Schweenie Cozy" or " Doggie Style" Whichever You Prefer

Yes, I am responsible for this. Yes, it's still 90 degrees outside.... but I only made him wear it long enough to get a few photos. I am now accepting special orders if you would like a rude sweater for your dog to wear too.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

More Food. More fashion. More Tomatoes.

I am making a real effort to take more pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. For you. I do it all for you. Because pictures are fun. Writing in incomplete sentences is also fun. I. Can. Do it. If I want to. I like to keep you all happy and coming back for more and pictures seems to be the way to do it. Especially pictures of me looking stupid. I plan to deliver.

So... today we drove out on the hottest day of the century to Ithaca. It was so hot that Rudy puked in the truck. I nearly puked too... but somehow I managed to hold it together. I have more years of not ending up puking under my belt than he does... so I can understand and forgive him for his puking. It's that hot out. Disgusting. Anyway, Ithaca is about a 50 minute drive from where we are camped but we really wanted to check it out and eat at Moosewood Restaurant. We started out in town at yet another fabulous farmer's market. This one is huge and is housed inside a big long outdoorsy wooden structure (how's that for technical, architectural lingo?) I bought MORE heirloom tomatoes (I'm addicted,) antique heirloom apples, a crapload of fresh basil and another round of fresh sweet corn. If our fridge was bigger I would have bought a heck of a lot more than that. We need a walk in.

After market we found Moosewood downtown. They have an outdoor patio and we asked to be sat out there because we had Rudy with. We were the ONLY people on the patio the whole time we were there. On a busy Saturday. Because it's that hot out. We ordered... fresh ginger & lemon iced tea, house salad with their Green Goddess dressing and Caribbean Stew with Jerk Tofu. People... it was soooo good. All of it. I stuffed myself and if I felt like I was gonna puke before... well, now there was true force behind the feeling. But why stop there? We ordered a dessert of roasted plum and peach cobbler and it was one of the best desserts I have had in my life.
No foolin'. I give Moosewood an enthusiastically sweaty, sick thumbs up. I had a great meal in spite of the humidity which made it feel like I was swimming around in a big pot of warm buttermilk. Our waitress was super fine and sent us off with free Moosewood pens, a fridge magnet and a bumper sticker. Thanks Miss!

On the way back to camp we found a little church thrift store where I bought a garbage bag full of rug yarn for $4. It thrills me to the bone to be able to tell you that. I have a garbage bag full of rug yarn. Because we have plenty of room for such things in the trailer. I will let you know what brilliant results I achieve with my rug yarn when the time comes. Any projects with the rug yarn are on hold until I finish Rudy's crochet dog sweater. Uh-huh.

For dinner tonight we sliced up one of my favorite new tomatoes and made tempeh BLT's. We used garlic hummus, mayo, basil, cucumber, spinach, tempeh bacon and the yellow tomato on a peppercorn baguette. Mighty tasty. Allow me to share with you how fabulous I looked while cooking up the bacon. And while eating it as well.

Since I am forced to sit outside in the sweltering heat to post this stuff I am gonna end it there. Pray for me that it is less than 90 degrees out here tomorrow and that the guy next door who looks like he is 9 months pregnant with triplets and never wears a shirt finally packs up and goes home.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Praying to the Internet Gods

Rudy is really, really glad to be out of the truck today. Yesterday was his longest ride yet with 6 hours spent rolling down the highway. We really peeled off some miles to make our way to Seneca Lake. It sucked. We have become spoiled with only traveling short distances every two or three weeks to a new campsite.

It feels like we have landed on a different planet here. The last 160 miles or so yesterday was interstate driving which always leaves me feeling completely disconnected. You get absolutely no sense of the area you are traveling through while on an interstate. So we left New England behind when we drove off route 9 in Vermont and we entered into what now feels a little bit like living inside of a weird snowglobe full of funny tent camping people. When you shake up the globe it rains, the wind blows really hard and a whole lot of black labs cut loose and run around barking in a sea of campfire smoke on a huge field of nearly dead grass. This is where we are now.... In limbo between New England and the Midwest. This park is really far removed from anything or place that you may know or care about and since it is on an old military base it has a strange vibe to it. It's a big blank spot on the map dotted with campers. Am I making it sound awful? It's not.... I don't mean to make it sound like it bites. It's just highly different from where we have been for the past few months.

I am not too sure what we are going to "DO" while we are here. I want to drive to Ithaca, NY to go to the Moosewood Restaurant. I think it's about 30 miles from here and would be a worth while trip. Other than that I am not sure. The lake is WAY too big to take the kayak out. It would be ridiculous to even attempt it. My internet time will be short and sweet. I may not post more than once or twice while we are here. Sometimes you have to post really unflattering, bizarre looking photos of yourself to get a point across and this would be one of those moments. I did not know Billy was snapping pictures of me while I was out praying to the Gods at Verizon Wireless to reach out and touch me with a connection to the net... but he was. Don't linger too long on my outfit or you may go blind with confusion. This is what is required of me to get online at all in this location...

Point made? There must be therapy groups out there organized to help people like me. Clearly I have a problem that needs to be addressed. Or it may be more accurate to say I have several problems that all need to be addressed or redressed or something. Anyway... now you have a visual to keep in mind (sorry) while reading any future posts I write while at Lake Seneca.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fixed and Stuffed Like Fat, Happy Pigs

Good news! Big Berta is all better... the Ford dealership here in Brattleboro kicked ass and got her fixed in just a few hours time. It was a belt tensioner that had come loose causing the problem. Thanks to the dudes at Kruse-Ziffer Ford for getting the truck back to us super fast! We made the best of the extra day here in Vermont and spent some time next door at The Walker Farm carefully selecting some fabulous stuff for our dinner.

If you take the time to check out the link above (to their website and the history of the farm) you will see that The Walker Farm is a 200 year old family farm and is totally organic. It's absolutely beautiful and their cornfields are literally right outside the window of our campsite. They also bring in fresh produce from other local and organic farms to supplement their stock. We found goods from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, etc. It's all top notch stuff.

So we had a dinner comprised of all locally grown or produced foods. We ate three varieties of heirloom tomatoes, corn on the cob and sweet bell peppers from the farm. We had two kinds of locally produced cheese which came from The Taylor Farm and was deeee-liscious. Our bread came from The Red Hen Bakery in Duxbury. Sometimes the absolute best meals are the most simple ones. The tomatoes were the best either of us has ever eaten in our lives. Hands down.

After dinner we took our canine companion out for a much needed play date. He was wound up like a top and needed to run crazy for awhile.

So we will depart for New York and Seneca Lake tomorrow morning. We only lost one day so I can live with that. It could have been worse and we got to indulge in those tomatoes! Adios Vermont...

Big Berta has a Boo Boo

Ummm.... yeah. There has been a slight change in plans. We are supposed to be en route to the finger lakes in upstate NY today but as you can see... ain't nobody goin' nowhere in that truck today. Big Berta has chosen Brattleboro as a spot where she thinks we should linger on a few extra days while she recuperates from an injury.

So... we stay here at the KOA for a couple more nights. I am pretty bummed out about this because it is cutting into our time at Lake Seneca which I was really looking forward to. Hopefully Berta will not have anything too horrible wrong with her and we can be on the road maybe even by tomorrow morning. Then again... maybe not. All I know right now is I LOVE OUR WARRANTY. The warranty is like a giant perfect strawberry dipped in dark chocolate. It's delicious.

I will post again once we have a diagnoses. Until then... send out your most heartfelt "Get Well Soon" vibes to Berta. Thanks.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Local Color

Just thought I would post a bit of eye candy from our trip to the farmer's market this morning.

We came home with a bag full of locally produced cheese, heirloom tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, sweet bell peppers and a gigantic vidalia onion. Good eats!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pisgah Wilderness and Break Dancing

Today we hopped back over The Connecticut River into New Hampshire to spend the day exploring Pisgah State Park which is NH's largest park at 13,500 acres of wilderness. It is an amazingly beautiful area. We started out in The Horseshoe Road Trail area but about 2 miles in we came on fresh bears tracks and scat on the trail. Rudy was highly tweaked out growling and sniffing around so we decided it was best to not agitate the bear with the presence of a dog (or humans) so we turned back and went instead to The Kilburn Pond trail which is more traveled by people and dogs.

We found a bog at the edge of a small pond which was supporting a huge population of carnivorous pitcher plants. It was really, really cool to see.

Here is an interesting black and white view.... click on the pic to see it larger and you will see really nice detail.

We stopped off at the edge of Kilburn Pond (which looked more like a lake to me) and hung out long enough for someone to get nice and grubby...

And then we hiked out and drove back into Brattleboro to get an iced coffee and people watch. As far as people watching goes we were not disappointed.

Talk about keepin' it real. We watched this guy walk up and he pulled out his boom box and proceeded to fill it with fresh batteries. He very carefully arranged the red t shirt which apparently had been brought along just to outfit the box. He then began to bust a move as you can see. It was the right way to cap off the day somehow. I was tired and brain dead so a Brattleboro break dancer really fit the bill. Electric Boogaloo.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Brattleboro Folk

Well. Some dog healing has taken place. If you read my post yesterday you know I was a bit peeved at the state of dog affairs here in our current campground. Walking through this place with Rudy was an intense situation that left me grinding my teeth at the close of the walk. Today however... the tide turned. Allow me to introduce Rudy's new friend Esther...

Go ahead and TRY to tell me you have seen a funnier mug than THAT lately? Esther is a 14 month old Labradoodle. That in itself is a little bit silly. She and Rudy met on the sidewalk and made quick friends. Her owner Gary suggested we take the kids to an area nearby where they could tear the roof off the sucka... so we went and they did... tear the roof off the sucka.

There was a lot of running. Lots of jumping. There was more pink tongue than you knew was possible and can you imagine Rudy's joy over wrestling with another dog who has a beard even more substantial than his own? If Rudy could talk I think he would have said... "Man Esther... you really kick ass. You're my favorite bearded lady EVER."

Even though it was their very first date Rudy did not hold back. He exposed his pork and beans belly to Esther... even though she was seemingly not too impressed.

After a while things (dogs) calmed down and we decided at Gary's suggestion to take a walk around town so he could show us a few things. We stopped at the farmer's market which was small but great. I bought a quart of red raspberries and Gary grabbed some grub from the Thai food booth. There were a couple of guys playing music... at the moment this pic was taken they were playing "Puttin' on the Ritz." I have had it stuck in my head all day.

After the market we walked up to see a trail head just past Gary's neighborhood. On the way back we stopped off at (Gary and Esther's friend) Phil's house for home baked dog biscuits. Esther went to the door... Phil emerged dressed very appropriately in a flour covered apron and proceeded to hand out the treats. Top that! Phil's dog Lilly was present too and all dogs involved made out just fine. Here is baker Phil...

We parted ways with Gary and hope to hook up with he and Esther again later this week for another doggie outing. He was a fabulous host (as was Esther a hostess) and we will enjoy our time in Brattleboro much more on the recommendations he gave us for stuff to do and see. There are good people in Vermont and thanks to dogs... we met a few cool folks today.

Dogs keep it real people... and so should we.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Saying Goodbye...

Well our time at Silver Lake has come to a close. This morning we packed up and hit the road. The shot above is our last sunset as seen from the kayak out in the cove last night. We had an incredibly good time staying with the Totman family and we met and made a lot of new friends (Kendra, Leann, John, Lol, Florence, Ashley, Meg, Norm, Sharon, Craig and Lyse (all the way from Nova Scotia!) among others.) It was the kind of experience that renews your faith in people. Our neighbors Ted and Kathy were very gracious and tolerant of a constant little visitor to their house (Rudy.) They have three Goldens and Rudis Tootis could not resist going over there to try to get in on some big dog action. They are the coolest of cool people. Thanks to you all for such a great time and we will see you again when we make our way back to New England!

We drove about 3 hours to Brattleboro, Vermont and this is where we will be for the next week. I'll tell ya... it's a tall dose of reality pulling in to a KOA after having spent three weeks at Silver Lake. Yeesh. But we had to have full hook ups after dry camping for so long so here we are.

Our experience here so far (with Rudy out on walks) has been one of constant run ins with people who own crazy, unsocialized dogs. We are going to have our hands full with Mr. Schweenie this week. He is tripping out on the scene here. And I would like to squarely kick all of these people in the seat of their pants who have adult dogs that aggressively flip out at the sight of another dog. (I'm on a rant... skip the rest of this paragraph if it is unsavory for you.) Because it's the PEOPLES fault not the dogs fault. It's extremely hard to socialize MY dog when y'all are sportin' around with your CRAZY dogs!!! Snap to it you lazy dog people! Yuck!

Now for something on a more calm, happy, inspiring note...

No matter how ugly stuff gets for you or for me... just remember this... The woods of New Hampshire are teeming with the tiniest of toads. There are lots and lots of them. Take a deep breath and relax. The toads are out there makin' it happen. And if they can do it... so can we.

So, hopefully we will find a few good kayaking spots here this week. It feels like we have a ton of work to do so who knows how much fun stuff we will get to do. Maybe Billy will finally land a trout in the Connecticut River.

And maybe Rudy will make friends with Yappy McBarkersons the creepy dog a few spaces down. With all these lovely tiny toads in the area... anything is possible.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

About the RAIN.

So we have had a few days of some pretty serious rain up here in NH this week. Rain is fine... it can be a welcome respite from a dozen 95 degree days in a row. I think so anyway. But not everyone shares my opinion on this.

In case you are not getting the full effect allow me to enlarge...

Yuck. Isn't that sort of what you think and feel when you look at that picture? Just... Yuck. Now try imagining that you have to let that creature in your house. In your very small, nearly impossible to keep clean and dry Airstream Trailer. Yeah. Yuck. They don't seem to make compact cleaning devices capable of handling wet, dirty Schweenie. You just have to sort of mop up as best you can and be willing to find bits of wet debris on your pillow or perhaps even in your coffee cup. It gets in places you can't imagine. When I say "it" please refer to the photo above for an idea of what "it" is I am speaking of. It's inescapable.

Anyway... Billy took a fly fishing course this past weekend and has been tearing up the scene with all manner of tiny lures with names like "Black Woolly Bugger" and the ever popular "All Purpose Caddis." He's out fishing from the kayak in the mouth of the river as I write this and has vowed not to come back until he has landed "a big one." I will be sure to let you all know what the results are.