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I Have The Best Job Ever!

Ok, I don't get paid to travel and visit friends and explore.  

Technically it isn't a real job.  But I do work at it.  I get online, I find places, I plan my route and set the dates.  Then I try to make reservations.  

Sometimes I can't get into a campground on the dates I want.  So I have to figure out a plan B.  And then sometimes plans change and I cancel those reservations.  It's all part of the JOB.

I remember working at a paid job and working on a project for days, even weeks, and then the project gets canceled or changes directions and all my work was essentially flushed down the drain.

I learned I can agonize over it, or just shrug my shoulders and move on.  It's ok, it all pays the same.  Or in my case, it all works out for the best.  At least it seems that way.

Where Am I?

Right this minute I am in the recreation room at Paul Smith College in Paul Smith, New York.  


I am not far from Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Park.  

According to the website:

"At 6 million acres, it is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States. The state of New York owns approximately 2.6 million acres, while the remaining 3.4 million acres are devoted to forestry, agriculture and open space recreation."

It is interesting to have so much nature interspersed with towns and private lands.

It would be easy to get lost.  My directional compass is always making mistakes here.  Fortunately, Steve has come to the area a lot and knows his way around.  Cell service is very spotty so getting help from Googlemaps is not an option in many areas.

Before I tell you the awesome stuff we have done in the Adirondacs, let me tell you about a couple of things I have done since I last wrote to you.  I hope you have been having some wonderful awe-inspiring moments too this month.

Final Days in the Finger Lakes

Last I wrote to you I was still camping at Watkins Glen at the bottom of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of New York.

I did go to the Corning and Rockwell Museums in Corning, NY.  Museum walking is hard on my back.  I didn't read all the signs or see everything.  I was impressed with the Corning Glass Museum.

I am going to tell you about the most impressive peice I saw at the Corning Museum.  

An artist had blown glass according to the history of the population growth of various cities in the world.  Ancient cities like Rome had very long tails of slow growth and a few times when the population declined.  There was a chart on the wall explaining the time-line and the citites represented in the glass.  

What was interesting was the huge sprout of growth in almost all the cities around the time of World War II.  

The peice is called Global Cities.  You can look it up by clicking here.




There were many many impressive displays of glass art, like this lynx.



A display talked about the progress of creating fiber optic cables.   Some of the strings of glass are microscopic!  The bug below is glass.


Leaving Watkins Glen

I packed up my camper and departed Watkins Glen three nights early.  Christie and Mark had offered for me to come plug in at their blueberry farm and go with them to some music at a brewery.  And I was anxious to get back to Steve. We were missing each other.

Steve had told me he was shopping for a life jacket for me.  We had plans while I was visiting New York to use his light-weight, one-person canoes for some paddling adventures.

One evening he sent me this picture.  "You will look great in this," he texted.


I had never seen a life jacket like this.  Yay, he got purple... but what is that, a cross between a boostier and a lifejacket??? 

I laughed and texted him back, "you are so funny!"

I shared the picture with Debra and she laughed too (See, it wasn't just me.)  Debra and I giggled over the strategic placement of the zippers.

I puzzeled... "Where did he get that?  A porn site for outdoorsy folks?"  We laughed some more.

I had two stops I wanted to make on my way to Christie and Mark's home.  I had been told not to miss Taughannock Falls State Park, and I wanted to visit the National Women's Rights Museum in Seneca Falls.

I hiked about four miles at Taughannock Falls.  It was a nice loop around the falls. 




I enjoyed the trail around the rim of the gorge.  I didn't walk into the gorge because I ran out of time!

I walked by the State Park campground and decided that some day I would return to stay a few days with Steve.  The bottom of the gorge empties into a finger lake and there is a nice park there. It is a place to kayak, swim, and hike.

Seneca Falls was at the top of that finger lake.  George, (my deceased husband of 41 years) Jeremy (our son), my Mom and I had stopped at the museum on our way to Maine back in the 1990's or early 2000's.  We didn't have much time to linger then. I only remembered the fountain which is a long stone wall with etchings in it and a smooth sheet of water flowing over it.  

This is where the first women's rights convention was held.  They came up with a statement of purpose and that is one of the things etched into the fountain wall, along with the women and men that signed it.  The statement reminds us of the conditions for women back in the 1800's and early 1900's.  They couldn't own property, a married woman had no rights to her children in the case of a divorse or any money that she earned.  And of course, women could not vote.




A Wonderful Two Days with Christie and Mark.

My stay at Christie and Mark's was fantastic.  The night I arrived they had dinner ready for me!  We played some board games.  



Their home is high on a hill and has a great view.  


I showed Christie the picture of my new purple life jacket.  "Wait until you see this," I told her with a giggle.  "Steve sent me this picture of a life jacket he got me and it is so funny."

She asked me what was so funny.  She has one just like it, "They are great."

Oops.  I guess boostier life jackets are the new thing.  The shorter length makes them.more comfortable and the zippers are  practical, not kinky.  Lol.

I can be so dumb sometimes.  Thanks Steve for the purple life jacket.  I love it!  But you really need to show me the adventure porn site where you shopped. 

The next morning the temperature was cool so we were waiting for it to warm up a bit to go for a bike ride.  While waiting I asked if I could help with their garden work.  

They needed to trim the blueberry bushes so that they could get the mower between the rows of bushes.  Some of the branches were loaded with un-ripe blueberries.  The three of us put on our work gloves and headed for the bushes.  It was a blast to help with that while also picking up and tossing a tennis ball for their high-energy dog, Foster.

And when we were done it was warm enough to ride.  We got to ride up and up and up some hills by their house.  They took me past a buffalo farm.  The buffalo were near the fence, but as we approached they got spooked and thundered off in a mini-stampede.




On the way back we got to go down down down. That was fun!

That night we went to three different places with music.  One band had an amazing harmonica player and washboard player.  It was great fun, though none of us danced at any of the places.  

Christie and Mark have lived in the small town a long time.  As we sat at each venue people would come up and chat with them for a while.

When we got back to the house I said my goodbyes.  I knew that if I couldn't sleep or got up early, I would be heading out as soon as I could get LILAC and myself ready.  I was anticipating a wonderful reunion with Steve.  

Thanks Mark and Christie for your invitation and hospitality.

Steve's Place Near Glens Falls, New York

I will say that my reunion with Steve was warm, welcoming and wonderful.  (Smiling here as I write this.)  I feel blessed to have found a travel partner that likes me back!  He is fun to be with, easy to get along with, talented in problem solving, great at hugging, and he is so so dang smart.  Not just book smart (his memory for details is amazing) but fixing things smart and people smarts.  

For example, when I am jabbering away and then I complain about a pound or two I have gained, he just looks at me and smiles with affection.  How wise is that!!!

While I was visiting this time, he took me to a trail by Lake George.  He said that when he rode with me on the flat trails in Florida he assumed I couldn't ride hills and would not like the trail.  But when we were in Virginia and climbed a gai-normous hill there, he realized I was ok with hills.



I think a ride is more fun when you find a good place to have lunch along the way.  We ate on a second story deck overlooking Lake George.  Perfect!


While I was visiting, Steve was busy taking care of his mom.  She was improving each day, and he and his brother had found great caregivers to come be with her during the day.  But still, there was a lot to do, and he needed to prepare his house for being left on it's own while he traveled with me later this summer.

There was a day in which Steve was with his mom taking her to doctors appointments.  On my own for the day, I had fun meandering.  

I went to Anytime Fitness.  Only my car sent me to the Anytime in Saratoga Springs instead of the closer one in Glens Falls.  It was a nice drive and still a good workout.  

And it turned out a good choice since I had a package to send to my granddaughter.  She had just started college in Georgia.  

Back last spring I was going to meet up with her near Atlanta.  But then the transmission on my truck died and the opportunity was lost.  I had a package of stuff I was going to give her at that time... my wedding ring for one. I have been carrying it around in Big Blue ever since thinking we would get together, but it hasn't happened. I decided now was the time to just send it to her along with a check to help pay a little toward her schooling.

The UPS store was right around the corner from the gym!  Yay!

I drove to find the trail that Steve showed me on the map. Once on the bike I rode just a couple blocks until I found a restaurant where I could have breakfast.  A place with the name, Poopies!



My veggie omlette and potatoes were super greasy.  Just like you might expect from a little historic local restaurant. Steve said that Poopies is world famous.  I know when I left at noon there were people waiting for my table.  I saw that the meat sandwiches were piled high with a generous portion of meat.

I rode my bike toward the river to find the Feeder Canal Trail.  I ended up riding to the wrong side of the river and did a short trail over there, which was nice.  Then I got on the Canal Trail.



And that is when I really started to smile and think I have the best job in the world.  Or maybe it is the best life.

I saw a cottonwood tree absolutely bursting with fluffy seeds.


I looked over some historical signs.


This building is right in front of a huge paper mill with LOTS of logs piled next to the factory.  Steve had told me he spent many, many hours working in that mill before he went to work for Verizon.


I got home in plenty of time to prepare a salad and dish for dinner.  

I think it was that night that Steve took me to the Strand Theater to listen to a Bonjovi Tribute band, Raise Your Hands

Neither of us are big Bonjovi fans, but it was an opportunity to support this restored theater.  Steve had told me so much about it. 


 What was really fun about the performance was the audience.  They were soooo into it, as if this band were the real Bonjovi.  They screamed and hooted, swayed, and sang along.  

Steve's home is in walking distance to a State Park.  I was able to walk right from Steve's house into the park.

At one point on the path there were hundreds of tiny frogs.  Can you find the little guy in this picture?




Steve has these really light canoes that are made in New York specifically for portaging or as Steve says it is called in New York, "carrying".  "It isn't a portage, it is a carry," he tells me.  That is what the locals call it.  



He took me on a short paddle on the Hudson River to try them out.  This is the Hudson River above much of the industrial runoff has hurt the river.  The water was very clear.



I told you that Steve likes to buy children's books about nature during his travels and give them to his daughter who teaches gradeschool children.  Third grade, I think is what she teaches.  On our way out of Florida, Steve bought a preserved alligator head and then he got the tree puppet for them.  

On Fathers' Day Steve invited his mom and his kids, a neice and one of Margaret's (his deceased wife of 41 years) brothers to dinner.  He made his lucious brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes and had steaks for the meat eaters.

Erin (his daughter the teacher) presented him with thank you cards made by her challenged students.  It was very sweet and fun to see the drawings and sentiments of the kids.







Oh, and I was soooo looking forward to hearing Margaret's brother play the guitar.  On one of our last nights in town, we got to go hear Matt play.  They coaxed Erin to get up and play the tamborine with her.  She was a good sport.



And Steve took me to pick strawberries one day.  The field was full of  berries and we were the only ones there.  We picked four quarts and we made strawberry short cake for Father's Day and Erin's birthday celebration.



Paddling, Pedaling and Camping in the Adirondacks

The campground is near Tupper Lake, NY.  We have had a good time camping in Steve's trailer without water or electric hookups.  I am amazed at the luxury we can experience without being hooked up.  We have a bigger fridge, lights, and running water.... hot water, and a kitchen sink and stove!  

When I am in Steve's trailer it is like being in a mansion compared to my little LILAC.  



Our site is right on a little lake.



Steve made this pipe gizmo for blowing on the campfire to liven it up.  It works well!


Lilac is parked in overflow parking.  I went over one evening to cut my hair.  The little hooks on the outside of my trailer make it easy to hang a mirror.  I don't have to sweep up the hair afterward.  It's a nice place to get my hair cut.

Steve had told me about about a historic lodge that was the hunting lodge of a wealthy family who invited their friends and relatives to come spend some time and be pampered.  When the land was donated to preservation and then the state, the buildings fell into disrepair.  But now they are restoring the buildings.  The only way to get there is by a road that doesn't allow motorized vehicles.  You get there (about five miles in) by horse, bicycle or by foot.  We rode in.




And we were the only ones there.  The buildings are open for anyone to walk through.  There is a guest book to sign.  



An artist created a diarama of the farm and the lodge buildings.  The farm was created to provide fresh food for the guests at the lodge.  


This was just part of a an icebox style closet/room... it was probably twice the size of Lilac.






This was a place where Steve and Margaret came together a few times.  And Steve came last summer when he was raw with grief and we were texting back and forth.  That is when he told me about the place for the first time. 





But being there, in that setting, among those huge open buildings, all devoid of graffiti and abuse was amazing. It is in such a beautiful setting.  It was much more amazing than Steve's words could convey to me last summer or since.  Now I understand his excitement to share his love for the place.  I started thinking it would be fun to come back and volunteer for a couple weeks to help maintain or repair stuff.  We will see what the future brings.

And!!! There is a boat house with boats in it for visitors to use free (no one else was there).





We floated out to a lovely spot.  And being alone in the wilderness, I just had to try a skinny dip.  The water was very cool, so it was a short swim.   We did it though, us folks in our 60's going on 46.

Steve was hoping to be able to do a muli-day paddle in the Adirondacks.  I had never done one, but I was game to try.  I have camped and biked, it can't be that much different.

We are in an area where there are many many lakes.  Many are connected, some are separated by a bit of land requiring a carry.

Steve was checking the weather to find the best days when we could go without much worry of storms and rain.

I will tell you all about it, but not today.  I have to go shopping for a new journal.  My old one is full to the last page.  

Next time I write I will tell you about our kayak camp trip in a rustic site.  It was real, real rustic... well, it did have a box to sit on with a hole in it as our wilderness porta-potty.

Until next time, as they say on the Moth podcast, have a story worthy week.

Comments

  1. Sounds like your life is full of fun and adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, Sue - you and Steve are on such wonderful adventures! We are happy that you enjoyed Watkins Glen, Taughannock Falls, Seneca Fall and a bit of the Erie Canal and now you are back with Steve I the Adirondacks. Enjoy each moment!

    ReplyDelete
  3. So happy for the both you. Enjoy your special and memorable times, and you are never too old to skinny dip.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know a couple who canoed down a river or maybe it was lakes in the Adirondacks many years ago when I was in the West FL Canoe and Kayak club when I lived in Pensacola. They said that rustic canoe camping trip was the most incredibly beautiful peaceful and serene trip they ever had in their boats.. It was a week long and he talked about it all the time.Said they never laid eyes on a soul for that entire week... I bet yall had fun too. Love Charlotte Key

    ReplyDelete
  5. I’m so happy that you’re so happy! It all sounds wonderful, Amy 🥰

    ReplyDelete

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