Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Allegany State Park Vacation Part I

On Sunday 9th, Rob and I headed off to NY with Stuart fully loaded for his cousins' reunion. It was my first summer vacation in 8 years and I was so ready for some fun and relaxation. I was also a little nervous at meeting a vast crowd of strangers especially when I wanted to be liked but Rob placated me and I decided to just go with the flow. Kota was being looked after by my friend Pam and Jeff was on plant watering duty so I had nothing to fret about while I was away.
We didn't rush the journey and had plenty of pit stops with me taking mental notes of things I wanted to photograph on the way back but we did stop a few times for photo opps. 
 The flag above was humungous and would've made a superb bed cover but shimmying up the slippery flag pole wasn't an option so a photograph had to suffice.
I also have a thing for Mack trucks so was pleased to find a hood ornament as a foreground feature. 
The drive took less than 7 hours with our pit stops and ice cream breaks and we were pleased to arrive with plenty of daylight to spare. A quick stop at the grocery store was needed for perishables and I soon spotted this cookie dispenser, making a habit of helping myself to one on all future visits.Yum!
We had a problem locating our cabin key but after driving round other cabins to find it along with some hellos we eventually gained entry and started making our little cabin a home. 
Rob took this photo of me and quipped it was his idea of 'running water' since I had gone to collect it. Hmmm...
I liked this one he took of me looking in my mirror.
So the bed was made, dishes and food unpacked along with candles and lamps set up for dusk. Rob made me jump by leaping out from behind the cabin while I was on a creepy crawly check round the outside walls, and then tried to scare me again by making bear noises from behind a tree totally oblivious that his arms were sticking out from each side of the tree trunk. But it was funny. We then wandered down the trail to meet some relatives and found Rob's cousin Jimmy doing Troll Duty on the bridge where he was refusing to let people across the bridge. I didn't take any photos during the evening as I was feeling a little self conscious about sticking a large lens into peoples' faces that I barely knew. We later headed back to the cabin where we conked out into a deep sleep.
The next morning after a huge egg and bacon breakfast we got on our bikes and rode a couple of miles to check out a new bridge that was being built. The road was closed but the workers didn't seem to mind us watching so we took a few photos then headed back.
We stopped by the park area to explore and take more photos. Rob has a new camera and seems to have the photography bug pretty bad so I'm chuffed that I now have a shooting partner.
 He also loves having his photo taken...
Back at the cabin we napped for a bit and then headed down to his brother Dennis' cabin where we knew some serious dam building was taking place.
Here's Dennis, not sure why he's looking alarmed but presumed it might have something to do with Rob grabbing shovels and rocks to start further building of the dam.
We managed to raise the dam by a few more inches but I don't think we succeeded in holding the water back as well as our previous builders, but whatever, it was fun.
 This is Dennis' mother in law, Mrs Sanchez, who is in her early 90's and must be the oldest person I know who still goes camping. I was well impressed. Unfortunately, she'd left her rosary at home but since camping is 99% improvisation, this little hiccup was soon overcome.
Presto, a rosary made from rope and duct tape.
We then moved onto catapulting. Dennis had placed a box as a target on the other side of the creek so I watched as they fired small rocks across the water. Dennis hit a few but Rob was struggling a bit so I decided to have a go.
I picked up some pebbles and despite Rob commenting that I was shooting them like a girl, I hit the target on my first attempt. Rob actually snorted and looked at me in total disgust; it was awesome! Thinking it was beginner's luck, I had a few more goes and even though I had some misses, I was still hitting the box quite often.
We then had to head back to the cabin where I knocked up some potato salad for Wings Night which was held by Jimmy's cabin.
There were hot wings, garlic wings, regular wings and stacks of side dishes which others had brought and as I relaxed more with the help of a couple of beers, I felt more comfortable taking photos. Everyone was really friendly and conversation flowed.
Some of the kids posed with their neon bands while I balanced my camera on the table for long exposures and they helped me get some great shots despite my lack of a tripod.
Later in the evening, the more serious business of card playing took presidence so Rob and I said our farewells to head back to the cabin for a night cap and a quiet sit on our porch.

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