Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Airstream Terra-port


I just thought I would give you a little taste of what it's like to travel with Rudy. As you can see he is really high test in the truck while on the road. A regular old bundle of nerves. Occasionally he will actually wake up and reposition himself or perhaps chew on a bone for awhile in a rhythmic trance-like state before going back to sleep. What a spoiled brat.

So we have made it (at long last!) to the Airstream home base in Jackson Center, OH. It is a trip to be here. The terra-port (the little "campground" they provide on site) is smaller than I imagined. At night the whole area is lit by the same lights you would find in a mall parking lot and when you look out across the distance you see all these shiny silver pods sprinkled around like blobs of mercury. I guess this is why Airstreamers refer to this place as "The Mother Ship." It does has sort of a space ship docking station feel to it. There are about 5 or 6 other trailers here with us waiting for service appointments and overall it seems to be a very quiet spot to be parked. Well, quiet when the 37 mile long freight train is not roaring and rumbling through town which it does about three times a day (one of those times being at about 3 in the morning.)

Tomorrow morning we have to be up and out of the trailer by 7 am so they can tow it in and get to work on it. Today will be spent cleaning and organizing the entire contents of our home. I don't want some poor service tech guy getting konked on the head by a huge bottle of olive oil that comes rolling out of an overhead bin when he opens it up.

There are some cool old Airstreams sitting around on the lot. We are looking forward to checking out the new '08 models while we are here too. I will post more pictures when I get 'em.




Friday, September 21, 2007

The Last of the Mohican Campground

Today was our last day in Loudonville, OH. Everyone... all together now... let's all breathe a big sigh of relief! Aaahhhhhhhhhhh! Tomorrow we hit the road to head to Airstream for our repair appointment (which is not until Monday.) We have been here two weeks and it is time to go. Go. Go. Go. I know more about Central Ohio than I ever thought I could or would.

What did we do with our last day? We went on one last woods walk which was actually my favorite thing about this area. The woods. I spent the majority of the walk gritting my teeth and yelling at Rudy for constantly launching attacks on chipmunks. HE JUST CAN'T LEAVE THEM BE. There are 42 million of them in these woods.... all racing across the path 5 feet ahead of us and chirping out their warnings, tail erect and cheeks puffed out. When Rudy hears one (or spots one) he immediately goes into Chippy Mode. Chippy Mode basically means that he breaks into a chase which is punctuated by sproingy deer like leaps. At this point he becomes mentally consumed with Chippy Craziness and will not come back when called. He will run deeper and deeper into the woods until we cannot see him anymore and all you hear is chipmunk screeches from afar. After having to wade through deep bushes, fallen trees and general woodsy debris to retrieve him one too many times today he was officially punished and kept on a short leash for the rest of the walk. And my teeth are a quarter of an inch shorter than they were when I got up this morning. And the Chippys all laughed at him as we passed by. I think he learned his lesson.

The theme that has emerged from our time here seems to be one involving pictures of mushrooms and caterpillars. There are lots of both... mushrooms and caterpillars. So here are todays crop of pics...





I love, love, love that last pic. It's like The Guggenheim of Mushroomdom. Amazing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

OHIO Continued

We are on day ten here in Ohio. At times it has felt a little like being trapped in a sensory deprivation tank. But I am nicely mellowed at this point... like a large chunk of mild cheddar.

We spent today driving through Amish farmland again but this time managed to avoid cruising offensively through anyone's back yard. I'll tell you what... these Amish peeps have some crazy beautiful land. We saw places today that looked like we had stepped into a Dutch painting from the 1600's. And as you can see by my new banner up above, their cows are oh so friendly and apparently don't mind having their photo taken at all.

Although I am wildly tempted to shoot pics of Amish people I have tried to remain respectful and keep my Canon out of their faces. I have stolen a few shots from a distance or from behind though... I could not resist.







My only real complaint from time spent in Amish Ohio is this... in searching for lunch we were met time and again with one item and one item only for someone who does not eat meat. A cheese sandwich. So we finally gave in and got a cheese sandwich in Berlin. We choose the fanciest seeming cheese sandwich place in town. In fact they were boasting a THREE cheese and tomato sandwich.

The amount of cheese that was on that sandwich should really be outlawed.

I felt that sentence should stand alone so my point would be clear. Too much cheese... is NOT a good thing. I'm talking about belly bustin', life altering amounts of cheese. After eating only half of my cheese brick I spent the rest of the afternoon devouring peppermint tic tacs in a weak attempt to abate the nausea I was experiencing in acute waves. You have been warned. If you are a vegetarian traveling in Amish country... order the apple dumplings for lunch. You may be looked upon as a glutton for eating dessert for lunch but at least you won't have a seizure later on in the day from cheese poisoning.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Along Came a Spider

This is for Stef... and anyone else who likes the spider pic from my last post. Here is the original photo. I had no idea the creepy crawler was even there til I opened the pic up in photoshop.




I really like the way this whole series of photos turned out. I was messing around with light settings and this one and the few I posted below all have an almost artificial light feeling to them. Like they are part of a fake set-up indoors or something. Anyway... the spider is there top center of the pic. You'll have to click through to the larger version to see it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

In The Woods

What logic is there in me doing my largest photo post ever while on the slowest internet connection known to man? None. People... I was like Yoda in the woods with my camera today. What is Yoda like with a camera? Scroll on down and you will see. I am sitting outside drenched in deet and dreaming of the long, hot, steamy shower which I will not be having until Monday while I painfully upload these pics for you all to see. Please, ohhhhh please do me the honor and service of clicking on each pic individually (if you have time to fool around here like that) to see it's larger version. I have uploaded bigger files so the image quality will be a bit better for viewing. These are all from the Lyons Waterfalls trail at Mohican. Enjoy...


















Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mornings With Rudy


Yes. That is a circa 1970's lion, tiger and cheetah sheet on my bed. Why? Because we live in a trailer and these are the sort of decorating choices people who live in trailers sometimes make. And yes... that is a furry little creature snuggled up with me in the bed. When Billy gets up in the a.m (usually and hour or more before me) he lets Roodis McTootis out of his crate and he comes directly up into the bed with me. It's his favorite thing. In the whole world. More than treats even. He LOVES being in the bed.




We don't let him sleep all night in the bed for a number of reasons. Number one being that the bed is pretty small and he is a bed hog. Number two... He SNORES. Number three... He farts. Number four... He has a tendency to smash his dirty, crusty feet in your face. Grossed out yet? Yeah... me too. This is why he sleeps in his crate at night. He hates it... but he tolerates it because well, we give him no other choice. One of these nights he may decide to lash out at bedtime and kill us both but for now we are managing.




Somehow in the mornings things seem to work out better. Once he jumps up on the bed he usually walks up and just sits there looking at me for awhile. After we have gazed at one another for what he deems the appropriate amount of time I lift the covers and he comes under and gets situated much like a person would... tucked in with his head on the pillow. There is no snoring or
farting in the morning (somehow that all gets worked out in the night) but I still do get the occasional foot in my face.

It's usually a huge disappointment for Rudy when I do decide to get up. He would stay in bed til noon I think given the chance.

So here we are in central Ohio. We have no internet, barely enough cell phone coverage to get or make calls and not a single channel on the boob tube. It's back to old school campin' (with microwave popcorn.) Since we are here for two solid weeks we have plenty of time to decompress. The first few days without internet always make me feel a little sketched out... like I am suddenly missing an arm or something. And sadly we have become pretty junkied out on watching tv at night again so the first few nights without that result in us sitting here at 8 o'clock saying "Now what? I guess we may as well go to bed." Now that we have been here for 4 days things are feeling better. I have been crafting (mostly crocheting) and reading (currently I'm into a book of short stories by Taijun Takeda centered on post war Japan.) Billy is forever reading art books and of course painting. Last night we had a camp fire and sat around outside. Funny... but we very rarely have a camp fire.

We had planned to kayak the river on Saturday but we are waiting on the weather. The forecast calls for a high of 59 and rain. I can hang with that temp but not if it starts raining. Today we are going to go for a hike here in the park and then my mission is to find RV toilet paper. Wish me luck with that.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I've Seen Fire and I've Seen Rain. I've Seen Lentil Soup That I Thought Would Never End.

Today was among the most ridiculous days we have had since our trailerin' life began. It's been pouring rain so we have been trapped indoors here at our new campsite on the Mohican River in central Ohio. I made blueberry pancakes for breakfast which was the one solitary event of the day that went well. Billy decided to paint since we were not going to be able to do anything outside. I set to work on a big ass pot of curried lentil soup from a bag mix I had bought at some fancy food specialty store. The recipe/directions were printed on a paper tag that was tied to the bag and the bag itself contained lentils and one rather fat packet of spices, nothing else. I was supposed to add tomatoes, onions, oil, salt and water to this mix... nothing else. I followed the recipe only deviating to add in some mushrooms. After the base for the soup had been simmering for awhile I decided to give it a taste. Have any of you ever experienced a sensation of searing pain coupled with a profound reflexive urge to vomit? I have. My soup base was a crime against humanity. It was the suffering equivalent of tying someone to a chair, taping their eyes open and showing them 14 hours straight of people being tortured on video. Billy was cracking up at the gasping, choking faces I was making so after I regained some sort of composure and felt sure my blueberry pancakes were staying down I challenged him to taste it. Yeah baby. In your face funny boy.

Let me interrupt this story line to introduce another which coincides with the soup story in the timeline of our day. Right about this time... the "choking violently on soup base" time... was when the bees started to arrive. The Bees. More specifically... Yellow Jackets. Inside the trailer. First there was one... then two, then 5 and so on and so forth. Where were these bees coming from? Hey! Wouldn't we like to know! In addition to the many bees which were inside our trailer there were dozens swarming around outside. For any of you who know me very well at all THIS is my worst nightmare. Although I have graduated to a higher level of bee tolerance in the past year or so I still have a blind fear of them in close quarters. An irrational, blind fear. I fear them as though they are capable of slowly eating my flesh and brains zombie style all the while forcing me to watch reruns of "Murder She Wrote" on a wide screen tv. Scary, scary bees.

I'll sort of whiz through a few hours now. I kept adding stuff to the soup. Stuff like milk, half and half, a whole can of coconut milk... anything to try to take the raging fires of Hell out of it. Imagine chewing up about a half cup of black peppercorns in your mouth and swallowing them down. This is close to how the soup was tasting. Meanwhile Billy was on official duty trying to figure out how the bees were getting in... and they did continue to get in. Finally after examining every nook and cranny on the outside of the trailer where we thought they may be able to get in and finding no evidence pointing to bee entry we were about to give up on figuring it out. At this point I just happened to flip on the hood fan over the stove because my beautiful soup was boiling and steaming up the joint. Outside the kitchen window an angry cloud of bees erupted. AHHH HA! My main satisfaction in this moment was knowing that the intruders had been blasted with the pepper steam from the hideous soup. I am sure their tiny bee eyes were burnin'. I can't think of a better way to say "Keep Out" than with this particular soup. In fact.. that may be the one and only use for this soup... it could be used to keep away a wide variety of pests. Things such as bees, vampires, werewolves, komodo dragons, anacondas and perhaps even an invasion from China could be kept at bay. Should China ever start to seem overtly hostile we should all set to work at the stove top on a big batch of Curried Lentil Soup. Also it may work to deter snakes on a plane.

Anyway... it seems the bees were getting in through the hood vent outside. So we are now running the fan nonstop. This is annoying but not so much so as having a trailer full of bees. Running the fan keeps them out.

Due to the fact that I added about 5 gallons of various liquids to the soup in an effort to mellow it out we ended up with enough of it to actually feed China. Billy announced he would find the soup edible if he could eat it over rice. Amazing. So I made rice. He ate it. I had rice with a big scoop of peanut butter mixed in and one ladle full of the atrocity mixed in as well. It was gross. And not because of my peanut butter either. I will be throwing away the rest obviously. I should probably check with local hazardous waste disposal officials before doing so though so I don't pollute the river and kill all the fish or something.

In closing I'll mention that we are in our new campsite for the next two weeks and we have super crappy internet reception through our Verizon signal. I probably won't be posting too often because of this. I promise to make a valiant effort... but I am not sure I will get great results and picture uploading is probably not gonna happen.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Intruder Alert!

For lack of anything better to do this afternoon we took off on a drive to check out the local scenery. This is why we love our GPS. We can drive around all willy nilly on back roads as crazy as we wanna be and can always find our way back home without any trouble. We are in the heart of Western PA's Amish farmland so that is what we were driving around in. The GPS can sometimes bring us into some rather odd and interesting situations. We tend to be drawn to the smallest dirt roads we can find as they usually take you to the best spots. What we learned today is this... small dirt roads in Amish country lead into peoples' back yards. I am here to tell ya... we blew some minds in the farmland today. At one point we were literally driving through a family of Amish people's yard between their home and barn while they stood there 5 feet away from our passing truck starring at us with blank faces. Oops. We had entered their yard from a dirt path (that I am sure has never had a motorized vehicle on it, ever) out back in their corn field so imagine their confusion and surprise when our giant F250 rounded the corner of the barn into the yard. I thought I was going to die. Billy just waved at them and drove on through. We had kicked up a cloud of dust that was absolutely ridiculous and I am sure they were all choking on it for 5 minutes after we were gone. Yup... you don't really do that very often... or ever. You really should never, ever do it really. But we did. One kid was standing there in his straw hat, suspenders and black woolen trousers holding a single giant piece of Indian Corn with huge corn stalks still hanging off of it. He looked like he had stepped out of a Winslow Homer painting. It was ultra bizarre (for us and for them.)

My favorite thing about Amish farms is their clothes lines. Blow this one up to get a better look...




It is very picturesque countryside. We saw lots of scenes like this...




I love the way that farmer is stooped over. He's a hard worker people! My last pic is just one of my artsy fartsy shots... I liked the way these water towers looked against the bright blue sky...




I'll be sure to report in again if we manage to invade anyone else's privacy before our stay here is over.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

On The Move

I thought I would just drop in long enough to explain that not much exciting is happening for us at this moment. We are making our way down to Central Ohio in short leaps and bounds only driving about 100 miles every other day or so. We are currently in PA right on the border of OH. I was good and ready to get out of upstate NY. Not because of any particular reason... I was just all done with it for now. I felt weirdly disconnected the whole time we were there. Disconnected from WHAT you may ask? I dunno... from the planet, from my own brain, from my ability to not eat candy and ice cream. Yes, rural, up state NY made me eat candy and ice cream. You may ask..."Why?"

STOP ASKING SO MANY QUESTIONS WILL YA?

So now that we are on the sharp edge, the brink of being in the official MID WEST the question remains in my own mind is this... "Will I eat candy and ice cream here as well?" I must not. For I am on the brink, the sharp edge of developing a food baby. This is unacceptable. Nuff said.

Now... to keep this all completely random and confusing... here is a picture of an upstate NY farmer harvesting his potato crop.




Remember I said I was going to deliver more pictures? You never guessed it would be as riveting as THAT did you? I was excited to see the potato harvesting in action and I thought maybe you would be too. Billy tried to coerce me to go steal a few taters from the field on the other side of the road. Dirty Billy.... steal your own potatoes. I will not do it for you.

Here's a few Airstream shots... I barely ever post any and this IS supposed to be an Airstream blog after all. The first is our camp site on the East Koy Creek near the Genesee River in NY. This is where we were for Labor day weekend...



Here we are driving through the potato fields...



And finally I thought I would try out a new feature here on blogger... video. In case Rudy's tough guy image has not completely sunk in yet... allow him to display for you his manliness.



video

Monday, September 03, 2007

Well, that sucked.

Okay so we finally went back up to the park today to kayak the Genesee River Gorge. First off... let me dole out enthusiastic compliments to the park staff at Letchworth for being a bunch of retards. We asked around (repeatedly) for info on where to put in and what the river conditions were and we were (repeatedly) met with an empty, blank "I dunno" from every single person we asked... even from the people at the visitor center where we had been required to go to take out a permit to kayak the river. Hmmmm... it seems to me if you are going to require people to come in and take out a permit you may want to go ahead and equip yourselves with a bit of knowledge on the subject to dole out in exchange. Apparently this is not the case case here though. My guess is this... they make it as difficult as possible for people to go out on the river on their own so you will instead PAY to go out on the river with one of their cheesy guided tours. Let me remind them that this a state park... not an amusement park. Bleh.

So anyway... we went. We carried the kayak down the mile trail to Lee's Landing which is what had been vaguely suggested as a place where we could put in. Yeah. First we were met with dry rocks. Lots of 'em...... for a long stretch where the river has receded due to a drier than normal Summer I suppose. So we carried the (very heavy) kayak over the rocks quite a way to the water where... guess what! It was impossible to get in due to the huge rocks and low, fast current of water rushing through. What did we do then? (Here's where we get ridiculous...) We walked, pushed, pulled and carried the kayak about another 1/2 mile through this water over the craggy rocks where I was sure I would break my ankle with every step. We finally found flat water down stream where we put in and happily started to paddle down the river.... for about 3 minutes. And then... rapids again. Rocks, rocks and more rocks. The end of the line. Wow. At this point we beached on a rocky bank sticking out into the river and ate our stupid peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while marveling at the sheer futility of the entire endeavor. Here I am apres PB & J surveying the situation...


And here's Rudy doing the same thing...




Somehow we did manage to find humor in the whole thing.... what else can you do really?



So we paddled the 7 feet back up the river and proceeded to carry the kayak the agonizing mile back up the trail. It SUCKED. I am not acting crazy when I say that was physically it was one of the roughest moments of my freaking life. That flippin' boat is heavy and awkward and the trail is a steady incline for a solid mile (and we were already spent from lugging the thing down and through the river bed.) All told we were out there for three hours and about 8 minutes of that was spent paddling the river. No foolin'. Ridiculous. My hands and forearms are destroyed (Billy's are too) from the carrying. Ha. At least we tried. That is the tag line I am putting on the whole thing... "At least we tried." It makes me feel a little better somehow to say it.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Saturday

I can happily report that we are not spending the weekend boondocking in a Walmart parking lot. We ended up finding a spot nearby and only had to pack up and drive about 20 minutes to get here. Our campsite is on a pretty little creek and although we are surrounded by the Labor Day crowds I am pretty content.

I set the alarm and got up at 7:30 this morning (a rare and dangerous thing for me to do) so I could drive up to Castile, NY for an estate sale. I had stopped at the sale yesterday but had no cash in hand and they were closing up for the afternoon so I vowed to get back up there early today. There was "stuff" I wanted. I got up and made it to the sale by 8:30... said "stuff" is now crammed in here in our already overflowing truck and trailer. What sort of STUFF did I get? Vintage buttons, handkerchiefs, fabric, men's neckties and 40's cotton dishcloths. Some of it is for resale and some is for my own crafty purposes. I got some great deals and it was well worth the trip and getting up early.

When I got back home we took a walk up the creek bed to see where it went and what the scenery was like. There are a bunch of gnarly old willow trees and tons of wild flowers everywhere. The water was cold and my felt felt like blocks of ice by the time we got back. Rudy is full of burrs and he broke his ugly blue harness thing while on the walk. I don't know where or when we will find a store that sells ugly blue dog harnesses but it is going to suck trying to take him out for a walk until we get another one.

I am now feeling an overwhelming urge to take a nap... go figure. It's the price paid for the 7:30 wake up call.

Here's a few images from my camera today... the common thread in them being strong doses of color. I loved the kitschy look of this old laundry mat and the other two are shots from the walk in the creek, a rotting apple in the water and a fallen leaf. Hope you all are having a fine Saturday out there in the big old goofy world.