Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Now...I'm ready.

Friday was a rough day - I wanted to get on the road so bad! But finally at 1:00 I left, went to the grocery store and got ice, then went home, got my clothes and the stuff out of the frig and loaded up the rest of the stuff in the car. Since it was kind of thinking of rain I put plastic on my bike saddle and handlebars. Got the bike loaded up and then went to see mom before I got on the road.

I was on the road by 3 and made it to Seneca by 5. It was too funny because as I got closer and closer the smile on my face got bigger and bigger. The last 4 miles I kept doing the Woo Hooooo!!!! scream. Yeah - I know it sounds nuts, but I was letting off steam and getting rid of all of the crap that had been sitting on my shoulders for the last few weeks. As I was driving the last 2 miles - the Seneca Army Depot was on my left, I always keep my eyes out for the white deer. I think I've only seen them a few times over the years, but I just think that they are the coolest thing. And at the last possible place for me to see them, just before the train trestle, there they were - 4 of them with a few brown deer mixed in. I didn't stop to take a picture because there's no safe place to park there and I was too excited to stop at that point.

When I got to Sampson, I checked in and then found my spot. It was at the middle of the top of loop six and I had a beautiful view of Seneca Lake. The wind was blowing and it felt wonderful, it wasn't raining and didn't feel like it would so all was good. I started by setting up my screen tent, that way I figured I could put everything under it, if it did start to rain. Well - thank goodness I don't give up easy. There were a couple of times when I thought that the tent was going to become a kite. But I am stubborn and I kept praying that I would be able to do it and not get hurt or lose my tent. Then when I got the tent up, I dragged the very heavy picnic table under it and moved my stuff in there as I unpacked the car. Then I started on my sleeping tent. I haven't put that thing up in two years - and honestly I tried to put it up incorrectly the first go round and almost pitched a fit. But again a lot of stubbornness and prayers helped me to get that thing up. The thing that goes over the top - where the screen is almost took off on me but I managed to get it hooked down and then pumped up my mattress and got all of my stuff in there for sleeping.

Then I realized that I had to go to the bathroom something fierce - by now it was 7 - I'd been plugging along for almost 2 hours. I knew where the bathroom was and also knew that it was a little far to walk at that point because I was so stinkin' tired so I hopped on my bike and rode down, it was .43 miles to get there. I am so glad that I had that bike! When I got back to the site I opened a bottle of beer, cooked a hamburger, started a fire and vegged out big time. At 9:00 I had to call it quits. The people next to me were a tad LOUD but I was too tired to do much about it and I slept. At 5:00 I woke up cuz I had to go! Well - idiot me decided to hop on my bike - it's dark at 5:00 am! But I managed not to kill myself or the 6 teenagers who were walking back to their site - they had brains - they brought their flashlight. When I got back to the site, I went back to bed and the heavens opened up! for 2 hours it rained! And yes, my tent leaked, a lot!

So - I dragged my sorry, damp butt out of bed and drove to the showers - I figured riding my bike at that point wasn't an option. Then I went and bought ice and broke my car. You are probably thinking that this had to be the worst adventure ever - but really - it was a good thing. The bracket on my muffler broke, fell off, whatever so my muffler and all attached was hanging a little low and rattling really good! I just drove more carefully at the campgrounds when things got bumpy and prayed that it would break off, because that could be a bad thing!

My friends, Brenda and Dave, drove out to Sampson and we went on a Wine Tasting adventure. We hit Standing Stone Winery (overpriced and too snooty - didn't like Georgie at all), then we hit Hazlitt - LOL that's always a good time. The prices are reasonable - the wines are fun. How many of you know the Red Cat Chant? "Red Cat, Red Cat, It's an aphrodisiac! Red Cat! Red Cat! It'll get you in the Sack!" :) Yeah I know childish really - but amusing nonetheless. We all bought bottles there. Then we went outside where they have a great picnic area and I asked one of the men that work there if we could have our lunch out there - he was wicked nice and said "of Course". So we had a picnic lunch under a weeping willow that Brenda kept trying to eat. Dave got one of the Red Cat Slushies and Georgie enjoyed it too much!

We continued around Seneca and went to Arcadia Winery, Torrey Ridge Winery and Earle Estates Winery. Torrey Ridge has come out with the new Redneck wines - they are fun and tasty. :) Then we headed towards Geneva and then back around the lake to Sampson. Brenda and I vegged out at the picnic table, out of the sun, while Dave went and took pictures of the planes, boats, and war stuff that was in front of the Museum that's at Sampson. He was loving it!

Bren and I cooked hotdogs, she brought chinese coleslaw with her and finished putting it together and we had dinner - then they left and I vegged in front of the fire.

I slept so well that night it was incredible - didn't move till 5 when I had to go - but this time I brought the light on my bike and didn't try and run anyone down. :)
But alas - while it didn't rain on Saturday night - there was a heavy dew both outside and inside my tent. Everything got wet again! :) Thankfully the sun was so hot and strong though all dried without a problem.

Sunday morning I had my breakfast of champions again - bacon, blueberry poptarts and coffee! Then I headed to Watkins Glen, I stopped at the Walmart and bought two cans of silicone spray for my tent and to see if the mechanics could fix my muffler clamp. Well they couldn't because they aren't allowed to, but he was wicked nice.

Then off to Watkins Glen State Park - I got a very pleasant surprise when I went to the booth to pay my parking fee, because I had my Sampson Park camping pass up I didn't have to pay to get into Watkins Glen - it saved me $7.00. Woo Hoo! It's the little things that make me happy. I met with the "behind the waterfalls tour guide" and waited to start hiking at 11:00. Our guide's name was Hannah and this was her last day - she's a student at SU. Hannah was very good, you could tell that she was passionate about the Gorge and all of the aspects of it, geological, ecological, historical. The hike starts at 400ft above sea level and ends at 1100 feet above sea level. It's about 1.5 miles from start to end. There are 600 stairs to climb up on the Gorge trail and lots of places where it is wet and slimy and you have to duck to avoid beating your head on the wall. At the Mile Point, Hannah left us to do whatever we wanted - I figured I would head to the end and see what else there was to see. It seemed like it was pretty easy going - until I hit the last 180 stairs! When I got to the top I was beat! I bought a lemonade and some kind of granola bar and relaxed, got a picture of a chipmunk having a snack too. He was cute - wanted to get closer but it wasn't happening. Then I walked back to the beginning on the Indian Trail - it was a gravel trail - pretty easy. It takes you too the spiral staircase and then you get to go behind the waterfalls again and out of the gorge. I had a wonderful time and learned quite a bit.

I drove back to Sampson, sprayed my tent thoroughly, cooked dinner, ate, then got on my bike to ride for a bit and see if I could get any pictures - then as sunset approached I went to the marina to wait for the setting sun. I have a ton of pictures of it, plus two unexpected pictures of a couple on a jet ski in front of the setting sun - they are both cool! I got back up to the site after this and crashed - Monday was just cleaning and packing up, driving, unpacking and drying out the tents and putting stuff away and visiting with mom.

Note about the car - On Tuesday morning I brought it to the dealership because I wasn't going to drive it anymore and I knew that there was another issue too. $496.46 later - my car drives like a dream and handles like it was new! It needed new sway bars in the rear, new tires in the rear, new bracket, oil change, inspection and who knows what else - but again - it's all good. I love my car and plan on driving it to death! It's only got 68K miles on it and I get good gas mileage.

So, in a nutshell that's it for the camping. I have other stuff to tell but will do it later. Here are all of my pictures - on Picasa
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