Friday, August 27, 2010

An Idyllic Weekend

These are the first images with the ressurected G10. Rob, the superstar, took the camera to a shop locally who repaired for a lot less than any stores up my way, and I'm elated to have it back again. It's like a new camera. Fank Oooooo Rob!
Saturday at Rob's was a lovely sunny day and we were going to mow the grass for the first time since the end of June. 
We had to move the vehicles around a bit first and I spotted his old Chevvy engine which was on the back of the trailer.
He plans to overhaul this during the winter months and add on the Corvette cylinder cover thingies and the big lumpy metal bits. I've forgotten the names...
We went for a tractor ride down the lane just to make sure I could still remember how to drive it, but I can't get used to the fact that you can't change down gears like on a regular vehicle. There's a name for that kind of engine too, which I've also forgotten. After parking the vehicles under the trees, we headed to the garage where the mowers live.
Some nice chains caught my eye so another photo was in order. Rob backed out my mower but not his. So I was cutting the grass while he weedwacked. I thought long and hard over this while I mowed as I wanted to be absolutely sure that I had the better deal here.
Rob seemed to be working in mainly one area while i was zipping all over the place, but at least I was sitting down so that was one plus.
There, all done! I have to admit that I had the easier part of the task when I went over to Rob and realized he was drenched in sweat. I was barely glowing, so bless him, I did get the better deal after all. His big mower needed an oil change so he swiftly got that job out of the way while I perched on the seat and watched.
We also decided to go ahead and put some plants in the ground. The earth was rock solid and I was puffing and panting trying to get the shovel further than 4" down, so Rob dug the holes making it look as easy as digging in a kids sandpit. But at least he managed to keep his hands clean by letting me do the planting. After a good soaking to settle them in, he insisted we get on our mowers.
I was bent double laughing as I followed him up the driveway where we stopped to check the mail, turned around and then went back down to the house. I do like my Cub Scout though and think I have the hang of it now.
Later Rob cooked dinner on the barbeque and we trotted over to Kmart hoping to find some more 'My Name is Earl' DVDs as he only had Seasons 1 & 2. We started watching those in the evening and that set the tone for the rest of the weekend. 
Sunday we woke early and started up the DVDs again, watching them in bed this time. Breakfast was handfuls of peanut M&Ms and we did manage to get up briefly to shower and cook eggs and bacon for brunch but after such a heavy meal, a nap seemed to be in order and it was only natural that as we awoke, the TV was turned on again and Earl was resumed. I had to leave in the afternoon to pet sit a friend's cats and I was most reluctant to depart having developed a keen fondness for MNIE. 
I couldn't believe it that I was yawning as I drove back to northern VA. What a lazy day!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Allegany State Park Vacation Part V

Friday morning was dull, but regardless, Rob insisted we cycle down to the beach and back. We set off with the sleep barely out of my eyes but I did remember my camera. As expected nobody else was down there apart from a few workers cleaning up ready for the morning crowd. We shot a few photos and Rob found a quarter in the pay phone. He has all the luck until I realized later when it happened again, that he had set it up. He gets me every time but I'm slowly learning.
 We cycled back to the cabin having done about 4 miles which was plenty for me as I was having a problem being energetic. But I soon perked up when I realized that we were going back to the trains. After a fry up and a shower we were on our way.
One of Rob's uncles had told us to look out for this carving outside a guy's house. It was amazing and there were other tree trunks lying in the yard so we'll have to check again next year to see if he's done more. Then finally we arrived at Gowanda and I leaped across the tracks to start exploring while Rob snoozed and recovered from his early morning exercise. 
What beautiful engines, These FPa4 units were built between 1964 - 67 and are now just sitting here. The last jobs they had were for tourist excursions up and down the line. Gowanda station has been in two movies, 'Trains, Planes and Automobiles' and 'The Naturals'.
An Alco S4 NYLE 78 and a B&O 9078 sat corroding on old tracks, maybe used as sources for parts.
This Alco C 425 NY&LE 1013 was in the movie 'Trains, Planes and Automobiles' and pulled the passenger train. It had ConTrak lettered on it for the movie.
I climbed over every train there and managed to get inside some passenger compartments. The above photo was the ladies' powder room and had a very 50's feel to it.
I snapped some last shots of the C424s and headed back to Rob really pleased that I'd managed to see these gorgeous units. The 490 at Baltimore is still my favorite engine but these come in at a very close second. We then started driving back to camp passing through the town of Cattaraugus.
 I thought this welcome image was awesome. Only in America!
 The small town was very old fashioned, like stepping back in time. We stopped for sodas in a quaint store and I had to snap this vintage car looking very much at home parked outside the old buildings.
We passed this booth, the only photo I'd managed to get of an Amish buggy but where's the horse? I'm definitely on a mission to get Amish photos next year.
We got back to camp in plenty of time. We'd been told that for Mexican night we should not be late as this was a very popular meal and the food went fast. Dennis was cooking the meat and apparently cooked over 30lbs in the evening. It was delicious.
The finale was with all the kids, big and small, walloping the pinata. Not very clear about the rules for this as I've never played but Jonathan was very pleased with his 'leg' trophy.
Once it was smashed open everyone flocked like vultures to collect the candy. I'd never seen any of the family move so fast as on this evening. it was cleared in seconds!
Here is Cindy Lou, a chubby sausage dog, and actually the chubbiest one I've ever seen, who proved she was a suitable candidate for Camp Consumption. She was very sweet.
After the food had been eaten, people drifted back to their cabins and as we headed back to ours, Jackie and Gary's place was lit up like a beacon so we stopped to join the party. Sitting by the fire, I had an enormous Bacardi and coke from Gary's bar which comprised of bottles lined up in the eaves of the cabin. He was very well stocked.
Robin's sons provided music on their guitar and keyboard and everybody chilled out. I was feeling sad that this was our last evening and wanted to stay as long as possible by the fire enjoying the company and atmosphere. But our eyes were falling shut and we had to admit defeat so back to the cabin we trudged for our last night in our little cozy haven. I didn't enjoy having to pack up the next morning and liked even less the realization that within a few hours, we'd be back to urban civilization, work and the constant call of cellphones and computers. We'd really managed to relax this week and were reluctant to return to our every day routines.
As we cleared out the cabin, Rob took this photo of me and the strawberry wafers on the windowsill. I'd been desperate to see a bear and although posters all over the park warned about the perils of feeding bears, I just had to leave a snack for them hoping for a glimpse. They'd been on the sill for a few days and had originally started out as 4 wafers but we returned one day to see that the pile had been disturbed and only 3 remained. We also heard a bear snuffling and grunting one night outside while we were in bed but never saw him. I was a bit miffed that my offering had been snubbed as I thought bears ate anything so maybe next year I'll try a cheese sandwich.
Camp Consumption was a wonderful week full of everything great, food, drink, Rob's family, so much laughter, and a cute little cabin which we've already earmarked for next year. I can't wait.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Allegany State Park Vacation Part IV

On Thursday Rob wanted to head up north to see his grandparents' old place. The day before we'd gone through North Tonawanda where he used to live.
 We took photos of the house and Rob managed to speak with the current owner swapping stories and updates.
 We'd also passed the carousel museum and horses lining the main street but decided we check that out on a later visit.
So on Thursday, we headed north of Allegany State Park into the countryside  passing through Amish country but not passing a single buggy despite plenty of evidence on the roads that horses had passed by.
We found the old house and roamed up and down the hill taking in the beauty of the surrounding countryside. It was so still and quiet that the insects sounded like monsters as they buzzed by. The verges of the road were covered in wild flowers and old apple trees dropped their fruit into the long grass.
There was an old tractor in a nearby field and I realized that I am now on a mission to photograph tractor badges. This one was similar to Rob's neighbor's tractor back home. This Ford was built between 1954-57.
Me taking a photo of Rob taking a photo. Afterwards we were hungry and thirsty so visited an old haunt of Rob's.
Cathy the landlady had known Rob for years and cooked us up an amazing pizza which we chugged down with beers. I was very annoyed when an Amish buggy trotted by the pub while we were sitting at the bar. I wasn't destined to see one in action on this trip but am determined to catch one next time. Not literally...
Once we were fortified, it was back to the park for a Thanksgiving themed dinner.
There was oven cooked turkey, deep fried turkey and even smoked turkey which I found a little strange, plus all the trimmings. Check out all the wine bottles; I like these people.
We later sat around the camp fire and chatted, mostly with Lisa, Rob's cousin, who I liked immensely and she gave me a t-shirt with the slogan, 'I was Country Long Before Cowboy Was Cool'. As the evening ended, we pottered back towards our cabin feeling a little sad because it was our penultimate evening here and we didn't want to go back home. People hung out at their cabins which looked pretty with their lights in the black night and we headed to ours for a final nightcap before crashing into a deep sleep.