Windy today so the pollen count was up. Here’s a shot of my car.
JMan and other school mates had a music recital today.
Here he is waiting for his turn to play. All the kids did a great job. Go here for a video of JMans playing.
Day started in the dark, meaning I woke to the swish, swish, creek, creek. Took a little more than my usual 15 seconds to settle back down. That started the wake up, roll over, repeat cycle. At 4:30am, I know as I can time by looking at a watch I figure I’d get up and start packing. However, I’m not sure the kids would see the practically in that move. Not everything I do is practical, but most is efficient and most certainly in time. Ask my wife and kids about that one. I’m one of those 15 minutes early people all the time. You can easily spot us as we get the best seat in movie theaters, well…before you needed to book your seat, who ever came up with that one, movie theaters are for watching movies, not really quiet restaurants with one massive screen, or we’re out chatting with waiting on a school bus while the late comers show up 30 seconds after the bus should leave screeching in on two wheel, after all this is American and we don’t allow anyone to walk, anywhere, except from a parking lot which you can’t get to on foot from the outside to the mall entrance. Now you can get a little scooter to motor around the inside the mall. Mind you if medically you need one go for it, but if it’s donut induced as you have weak ankles because of the extra few hundred pounds you are hauling around that’s a different story. News flash the issue is not your weak ankles.
I finally got up at 7:45 took a few pills as my good knee was killing me. Everyone over 40 had a good and bad knee or hip or other body part. Mine was self inflicted and I knew the second I did that double hop in the trail yesterday that I would feel that one later. Getting old sucks but it sure beats the alternative. Perhaps I’ll take up a less stressful, body wise activity, like swimming…not.
Again breakfast was uneventful, oatmeal and coffee. However, GMan spotted a Denny’s the other day in Ruthland and a fried egg and bacon would go a long way. Perhaps there is some point to having ice while camping, but I just can’t seem to make myself do it. Freeze dried and the odd meal out will do for now. Besides we’re not going to whittle away to nothing in a few days.
We broke camp and headed for civilation…Denny’s that is.
Update….the drive home felt shorter that the drive up, but that always seemed the case. We listen to more of A Walk in the Wood to pass the time and occasionally JMan who was only half listing as he was well stuck into one of the 24 games he has installed in his iPod, ask me how I know that. He would perk up to inquire about something he heard, or rather overheard or jiggle at something foul the narrator just said. One of the more funny comments was during an explanation of all the hikers who never make it off Mount Washington in the White Mountains. The book goes into all manner of details and at one point JMan said “why would they make a mountain that kills so many people”. Why indeed I thought to myself.
Thankfully today did not start till 4am and that was just rolling over and going back to sleep. No midnight maneuvers by the troops or things that go bump in the night. I woke again at 5:30 and immediately rolled over until 7 or so. Breakfast was uneventful, oatmeal and coffee and then we hung out for a bit.
The excitement came around 9:15 when the smoke alarm went off. It was definitely loud enough to wake had we been asleep, but we’re not sure what set it off. I’m fairly certain that we didn’t light a camp fire indoors, and the airy nature of the wall would have long dissipated last night birthday incense, besides, unless it’s the slowest to react detector in VT I’m sure it would have gone off last night. So, beyond that I’m not sure what the offending element or chemical reaction was, perhaps is was the Deep I strayed near the door.
In any event the park workers were notified as I found several at the head up the road…it was a meeting of the minds at the head! After a brief conversation which was deciding who would stay and clean the head while the other went and informed the office staff, clearly there’s a chain of command that they were adhering too, and it seemed like an easy choice to me, one was dispatched to the office at the main entrance. I sat on the back porch, turned off my hearing aids and settled in for the long wait. Remind me to tell you about the long wait sometime.
Holiday weekend in VT no one is moving fast, except to the liquor store or perhaps a dart to the BBQ to save some burning hotdogs. A good while later we saw the truck approaching through the trees, but it never arrived. Perhaps it was another meeting of the minds at the head, actually, JMan rode his bike up and reported back “there just standing around talking”. In the meantime the alarm stopped annoying us!
Apparently it times out after 30 minutes. Makes sense when you think about it. Either you’re well cooked or your house has burned to the ground in the length of time. Either way you’re not too concerned with the annoying beeping and voice announcement “Get out of the living room”, living room, it’s a cabin in the woods. Apparently that wasn’t an option in the set up menu.
A while later again two of VT finest appeared with an extension ladder. I made a bit space and they set up the ladder. The younger of the two went skyward. After removing the entire unit from the bracket the older and more wiser one on the ground informed him that the battery door was on the side and there was no need to remove the unit. However, the beeping and annoying voice telling us to get out of the “Living Room” was back, it must be tamper proof. Battery door found and the discovery that two double A’s were required. Of course what they had was incorrect, not sure what they had so the older suggested the younger drive back to the office as he said they had a big bag of batteries back there…good job they left them in the office, otherwise they might get used.
So I can talk to a damp wall on a cold night, but didn’t really want to spend another 45 minutes, round trip time to office and back is really an 8 minute drive, so I popped the back off a lantern and said “here, why don’t you use these and save the trip”. I received and number of very polite no thank you and we’ll be sure to replace yours and so on. However, I insisted or persisted and once the unit ran through a test if finally shut up. I did ask if they could reprogram to have it say “get out of the cabin” as “get out of the living room” might confuse other visitors. Not sure they saw the humor, but I know my wife will. If it goes off tonight I’ll scale the wall and permanently disconnect it…that is assuming the place is not on fire. In all fairness VT finest came back at some point and left a new set of batteries to replace mine. Real nice folk in these parts and all the VT State Campground we stayed at to date are really nice.
After that we went to the beach were JMan braved the not too warn water. It was even cold looking so I’ll wait till September before getting wet on purpose….outdoors that is.
Back for lunch then the boy went fishing I went to conquer that hill again.
Not sure I beat yesterday’s time as I ran past my previous end point and then double back but where the trail cross the main road I took it back to the camp gate. Today was 3.03 miles in 43:06 minutes. Not exactly a stellar pace but up and down, dodging tree and branches, over rocks, root and the odd steam will definitely keep you on your toes. Also, keeping an eye on the upcoming trail blaze is a fairly important task. Not that I’m too concerned with getting lost in the wood, but its real easy to stray off trail.
Later in camp the boys wanted to light a fire. So off we went to the office to get some timber.
A few handfuls later I’m currently patiently waiting for GMan to catch dinner. Kinda wish we hung onto the few he caught earlier…dah.
No fish but we have a dang good fire. Back to freeze dried options. We have an official tie on the duds, well a majority tie. We tried Chicken and Dumpling and Beef Stew.
The former was bad, it smelled ok but had an odd consistency which is never a good thing to say about food. The latter I ate but you already know my high standards and since it had peas, GMan could not eat it and JMan has an eversion to any food type that’s green, with the exception of chewing gum and mint ice cream, not too high on the food chain, but food none the less.
The best dumplings I ever had were from Eileen Galvin’s kitchen. Eileen was a farmers wife back in my hometown in Ireland, and was well used to feeding hungry men and all her children. Occasionally I’d be sent “out the country” as if anywhere in Ireland with the exception of Dublin was not out in the country, to help with some laborious chore around the farm. My dad was a part-time farmer, meaning he had a regular full time job but also keep a few cattle and saved hay in the summer. So between that and all the other things we did, like saving turf and mending fences we were busy enough. But family help family and so it was. Brendan, Eileen’s husband was a true bog man, spoke at 1000 mile an hour and even a townie like me had to pay attention to keep up with the conversation. He was dead sound as we say in Ireland, a true gentleman. They build a new house ” out in the country” on the other side of town, all towns have one of those, closer to where the bulk of his land was.
I have no idea how much land he had, but it was way more than the 1/2 dozen or so fields my dad owned. Anyhow he was building a shed at the back of his house and I was there helping, can’t honestly remember what I was doing but I’m sure it involved some “hand me that” or “can’t you pass up a few block” or “while your standing there will you stir that cement so it doesn’t harden up”. The while you are standing there or as my dad used to “while you’re sitting there doing nothing”, mind you we were the only two in the room watch the same show on television, so how is it that I’m sitting here doing nothing! In any event, remember that earlier conversation about meal? So we went in for dinner (that’s lunch for you lot) and Eileen had prepared a spread of food, all homemade, fresh from the field the day before or possibly that morning and straight from the oven. Best of all were the dumplings, however, the bread was also killer, but the dumplings stole the day. Mind you she said take it handy (go slow in english) on them dumplings as they’ll fill you up right quick. The smell was intoxicatingly so I beat in and gobbled down a few without even tasting them. I slowed the pace on the next one and severed every bite. I attempted another and then the right quick feeling set in…right quick. I practically had to be rolled back out after dessert, that tea and biscuits after your dinner (that’s still lunch to you lot).
Trust me when I say that today dumplings were nothing like Eileen’s. The only commonality was in name.
After two duds we made a last ditch effort and cracked open Lasagna, vegetables Lasagna that is.
This one took 13 minutes and the hope here is anything beyond the normal 8 or 9 has to be better as 13 minutes is really aging it. The boys not into watching the grass grow or in this case the twigs and dirt re-hydrating went fishing again. I think the thought of eating a vegetarian meal pushed them over the edge and were hoping to catch dinner instead. Still no luck on fishing but the Lasagna was quite good. Of all the noodle based dishes we tried to date the noodle in this one tasted and more importantly felt like your expect a noodle to. But alas the word vegetarian did them in from the start, JMan shoved it around the plate but GMan got into a bowl. I’m not worried about then fading away as they had a little of everything and the last of the cheese, crackers followed by lemon snap cookies.
Highlight of the evening was JMan losing a tooth! I wonder if the tooth fairy will visit us out here in the woods…time will tell.
Additional updates: VT finest paid us a house call to insure out smoke detector was behaving itself. So far so good I said and thank him for the batteries. Also, GMan caught a 2lb wide mouth a Bass at 8:45pm!
Timing is everything in life…so is love, family and real friends. Any order you like on that list.
Lights out at 10:15 after a chapter or so and more hearty chucking for JMan.
Day 2 started at about midnight when I woke to find JMan and GMan standing at the door. Were they making a break for it, going fishing, you know the fishing is good in there’s here parts, or perhaps wrapping my birthday present as today is my birthday. Nope, none of the above…..just a bio break. GMan said he had the situation under control and I asked again and was again reassured that all was well, so I rolled over and hit what can only be described as the most uncomfortable sleeping mattress in Vermont. The bonus are the nylon covers which are so loud that every time JMan on the top bunk moves, it make a delightful annoying swishing noise, only to be completed with the creaking of the metal bunks, an upgrade on last years Daniel Boone 4×4 wood post type. They sounded like an old sailing boat permanently tacking back and forth and never quiet finding that perfect course, assuming there is one, which mind you drowned out the swishing noise.
And so it went, swish swish, creak creak. At about 1:30 or so after a solid 10 minutes of rem sleep JMan lantern fell from on high. Lucky for us it hit every object it could as Newton extracted every last ounce of momentum and energy out of it. Those included but I’m sure are not limited to; the table and bench, various gear totes, the bunk beds, our bike helmets and finally the wooden floor. I guess I can be thankful it missed me, but I did plan ahead on that one and sleep opposite to him. With age comes wisdom!
However, things the go bump in night and in particular in the middle of the woods, have a funny way of quickening down the tourists, so during the lull I managed to drift off.
Yup, 4:04am that is….awake again. Mind you our cabin was nice and warm so that’s a plus…right!
Rolled around until 7 then got up…well sat up. The boys hid my birthday cards in our gear totes so before I completely unzipped my sleeping bag I opened them and we all had a good laugh. My darling wife like me has a great sense of humor and a keen eye for inappropriate and rude cards, be that birthdays or any other Hallmark event.
After breakfast of oatmeal and coffee the boys headed out to go fishing. I milled around for a few them headed to untangle JMan reel, it’s a full time job keeping him fishing. Between balls of line to catching the nearest tree while casting. Anyhow while hanging out one of the park workers was opening up the rental kayak, canoe and paddle boats. By opening I mean he was cutting the lock off with a hack saw, apparently they miss placed the key at the end of last season. Given this was the first weekend of the season he wanted to get ready for the hordes of novice boaters that would be showing up any second.
He was your typical twenty something or other, few Buds Lights on the heavy side with a good facial growth that said “its still kinda cold to shave me off”. In any event he pushed an aluminum canoe into the water, tossed in his life preserver and a few paddles, two is always better than one, especially if you drop the only one you have. He headed out like a champ, almost like he knew what he was doing. I went back to fixing JMans rod and frankly forgot about Mr. Park Worker. Little did I know but we were in for a real treat, a lesson in “dress for immersion and not for the air temperature”!
We all know that sound, flapping and flailing with the odd splashing sounds, followed with moaning and grunting as the water is still quite cold. Good job his preserver was in the canoe and not on his back where it should have being! I watched for 30 seconds or so, not out of shock but more a wondering of what he going to try next. I imagined the conversation in his head, should I save the canoe, which by the way is fairly unsinkable, should I try to put on my preserver, should I try to grab the paddles which at this point were floating away in two different direction, or should I forget about everything bar myself and get back to shore. Really wish I took a photo or three, but that would be adding insult to injury.
Mind you I knew he was in no real peril just wet, cold and definitely very embarrassed. After all he could practically stand up and reach the bottom, but I’m guessing the aforementioned ballest was keeping him…well bobbing. About this time I mentioned to another dad who was also there fishing with his offspring that “I’m fairly certain he did not want to do that” and perhaps we should go rescue him. We hatch a plan and decided to use a paddle boat in our rescue attempt. I figured it was the most stable of all available floating devices, yes, unlike the park worker I knew I was not dress for immersion and had no interest in going swimming. After all Bob (not his real name) the bobbling park worker had all available paddles so taking the other canoe was a non starter. We pushed off and started pumping like crazy to get up to speed…only to realize that we were going in reverse in slow counterclockwise circles! Also at this point my fellow boatsman announced that he and his wife where here some years ago and had a dickens of a time trying to navigate Half Moon Pond in one of these very vessels! Pity he didn’t think of mentioning that prior to our speedy land departure. No amount of turning on the so called rudder seemed to get us closer to Bob, who by now seems to have gathered himself quite nicely and was heading back to shore. I surmise that our paths might actually cross at some point, or we’d spend the morning going in circles backward. We did indeed get to Bob but he passed on our invitation and decided to keep heading to shore. We even offered to take the canoe but wet Bob was cruising and also declined that. At this point I decided it was only proper to formally introduce myself to my fellow hero. Sean (his real name, and I’m using the Irish spelling, as I’m Irish) and I exchanged pleasantries and then decided that the best course of action was to head full speed toward the nearest paddle. After all if we retrieved it we’d have a better chance of making land by sunset. I’m not sure if it was luck, a gust of wild or one of us farted at the right moment but we managed to be heading right toward one. A few foot strokes later Sean scooped it up and began padding as we headed for the second. Few minutes later we were safely back on dry land with both paddles and so was wet Bob. Bob did mention “that was a surprise”… no shit Sherlock, but added that his iPhone was still working. Working is a relative term up here in the real sticks. Your phone may be working, meaning you can turn it on and off, but cell service is a novelty. So, cell phones are more like expensive paperweights with flash lights and cameras.
After that excitement we headed back to camp and then onto Glenn Lake for more fishing.
Well to be honest I sat around and enjoying the views while GMan fished and JMan ran around and played with the locals wildlife….namely Sally (another orange salamander). Sure hope these things can’t poison us upright creatures.
GMan catch (and release) of the day.
Then back to camp for lunch. Chicken Teriyaki with Rice, very good.
After that it was a nap or a run. I so should have napped. 1.79 miles on a trail that leads back to Glen Lake. Anyone can run on a flat road but trail running is whole different animal. Little inclines hurt and big one are heart stoppers….well pulse elevators for sure. Got the ticker up to 179 at one point, yes I finished that knoll walking! However, short and all as it was it was real nice to trail blaze in a new patch of forest. Nothing like you, nature, 1/2 gallon of deep and some good tunes to get the blood flowing.
Then back in camp I decided that becoming human again and partaking of a shower was much needed. After feeding the machine a dollar for 10 minutes of hot water bliss I spend the first 5 trying to figure out the valves and waiting for the on demand hot water system to figure out it owed me 10 minutes of hot water. When it finally came out the upper shower head it felt like tiny shooting hot needles…you know the economy type heads, they call them water savers, they really should call them “get the fuck out of here, now”. So a combination of alternating between the lower head, which was more like a gusher and the upper worked quite well. If you were 3 feet tall it would be a great shower, after it figured out it owes you hot water that is.
Okay, I got forty winks, then coffee, then convinced the kids that ice cream was a good idea. 25 minutes later we were feasting on frozen goodness, the kind you can’t really get in the woods.
After our Ben & Jerry’s fix which lasted an hour as wifi is as sacred as cell service we drove around Ruthland for a bit. Not sure of its history but it has an interesting (original) downtown area. Low rise brick and stone buildings named after long dead and forgotten men, why is it always men or men type name, like the Mason Building or some such name. Never did come across the Susan or Mary Building. Anyways, it reminds me of many a downtown area that has seen better times. Even the coffee joint and bike shop we visited a few years back while camping south of here are both closed. Ruthland was also the closet thing to civilization to that campgrounds. It’s a shame when the main business road which this town has also is full of big box this and that stores, all opened and full of hunger consumers…like you and me.
To make matters worse I gave into the “I need more wifi” comment and we ended up at the center of American caffeine watering holes. Yes indeed, American does run (to the bathroom) on Dunkin Donuts. I pulled into a spot right out front in the hope that sucking wifi through the front wall would suffice. I would have parked closer, but that would have involved a cruiser, tow truck and possibly an ambulance and fire truck for good measure. Alas it was not meant to be and we were forced into that Formica hall of fame with muted brown tones, much like the end result of drinking the coffee.
The first thing that hits you is the air conditioning. Mind you 67 degrees does not warrant AC but heat in a cabin is not a necessity either. Not that you could hang meat, but you’d keep it good for a bit. We wandered up to the counter and we greeted cheerily by our server. JMan ordered his usual egg and cheese on a plain bagel not toasted, and I suggested a milk, since we don’t have a fridge in the cabin and after all the young lad is rather fond of cow juice. GMan was not hungry, or perhaps not desperate enough to chance anything, so he had a Sprite. Good choice I thought, sealed bottle that was produced in some far away plant and only handed by the DD staff members. I perused my choices and asked for the only thing I did not see “a croissant”. Our server eye me for a second then disappeared around the corner and came back with a “yes, we do. Good said I, I’ll have and egg and cheese on a croissant, anything to drink with that, sure, I’ll have small tea, black. This lifted a few eyebrows from people on the other side of the counter. I was thinking of saying “I already drank real coffee and did my daily constitution”, you can hold the (so called) coffee and kiss my lilly white Irish ass. But fearing the consequences of such a statement and given the manager could easily toss my skinny ass out onto the street I smiled, nodded politely and moved on.
Those of us in the real world, well normal world know what eggs taste like. I practically lived on them when I first landed on Cape Cod thirty one years ago and about this weekend, but who’s counting. I’m happy to say that DD eggs are just plain bad everywhere, even up here in the great state of VT. Also, the croissant was not as flaky as other DD, not that I’d know a good one from a not so good one, but this one was…well limp. A whole packed of salt later made it just about palatable. Again, once we got our fill of wifi, traffic light and big box stores we pointed Subu west on 4 and headed for our cabin in the woods.
Tonight was a quite one with lots of sitting around doing absolutely nothing. This is something I’m quite good at when I want to. I do prefer to be busy all the time much to the dismay of my better half, but when I can sit and write up our adventures without distractions the minutes and hours slip by with ease.
For my birthday celebration we decided on Marconi & Cheese, followed with a Strawberry Pop-tart which was topped with a lighted incense! I forgot to pack candles. What a bust, the mac was like cardboard and did not feel cooked at all and the cheese was about as far from cheese as you can get.
We ditched the lot, well GMan ate the Pop-tart and moved onto Good To-Go Classic Marinara with Penne. According to the EMS staff members back in Nashua NH, Good To-Go is the best freeze dried meals other that making them yourself.
If the finished product looks anything like it was when I opened the package I have some concerns. I said it looks like pigeon shit, more like deer poop from deer feeding on a steady diet of dirt and hardwood tree bark.
We needed to wait 20 minutes for this culinary delight. We passed the time by surmising how it would taste and if this one failed it will be Pop-tart and crackers for dinner, actually since it was 9:15pm let’s call it supper. For all you locals that’s the meal you have after tea and before you go to bed. Tea is more like your lunch and dinner is in the middle of the day. Saturday is the odd ball as you can have a fry, that’s eggs, rashers (bacon), sausage, black and white pudding (that’s another story) in the middle of the day (our dinner, your lunch). So, really by yank standards it’s brunch, but it’s really breakfast for lunch. A few minutes later I served…it smelled good and looks a whole lot better.
I poked at it with my fork, yes, we are not animals and do eat with utensils in the woods. The sauce was tasty but the pasta was like chewing Balsa Wood that had teak or other hardwood center. So I guess the per cooked description held true, pity I didn’t say it looked like small Twizlers covered in flakes of chocolate. Now that would have tasted good, cooked or uncooked. Done and dusted…into the land fill with meal #2.
We have had a few duds over the years but for the most part since going ice free camping, and the freeze dried route, all meals were at least edible. Truth be told some we will not try again, but you could at least get them down. Two duds in a row is one for the record book. Mind you my general out look on food is “if it ain’t moving faster than me I’ll try it”. This about covers anything I have tried to date bar a active young one!
Into our cozy cocoons at 9:50 for a few more words from “A Walk in the Woods”. Light out at 10:15. Rolling over tonight felt good as I was really tired….
It’s that time of year again when the Quinn boys go hang out in the woods for our annual Memorial Day/weekend camping trip. Like last year we went all out and got a cabin. And like last year 1/2 moon pond, another Vermont State Park is a quite nice.
The weather for glamping is fine…..however, it rained all the way up and we are still getting showers. But since we are glamping I’m not too concerned.
Subu all packed up in our driveway before leaving. Three bikes and more gear than we’ll use in a month! Did I mention I love my Yakima cargo box. It’s cavernous and will just about digest any you cram into it.
GMan in route.
We chose to take the back road up with the exception of hopping on and off 91 for one exit. Given the weather we one stopped once but we still managed to take in the vista and views when the clouds occasionally parted. This campground is about 30 minutes west of Ruthland VT and the last few mile are dirt. After all this is VT and I’m guessing theres as many dirt road as paved ones up here.
Our home for the next few days.
What more could you want. Waterviews, tree cover for shade, running water one site to the right, bathrooms around the corner and the all important off street parking.
Pond view from the back of our site. Not just waterviews but waterfront…..well, technical it’s waterback.
Lunch; Beef Stroganoff with Noodles, crackers and cheese, strawberrys and a cup of joe care or Starbucks instant. Like the last few years we are non ice campers. However, the cheese is on freezer packs and will need to be consumed in the not too distant future.
After hanging out a bit more we had Fettuccini Alfredo with Chicken and more cheese/crackers. I also make granola with blueberries that the kids passed on but I had….well JMan tried it but also managed to tip a spoonful over onto himself while waiting for it to cool! Squirrel!
Another camping tradition is audiobooks. We started listing too “A walk in the woods” by Bill Bryson on the ride up. It’s oddly appropriate for our current state of affairs, less the cabin and oil heater. It’s also a tad inappropriate for JMan but given my Irish potty mouth there’s very little he has not heard before. Besides its a joy to hear him chuckle when the narrator spouts out a stream of curse words. It’s a great read and one that I really enjoyed when it came out a few years ago. Not that I’m a big reader, but I really got into this one.
Lights out at 10:05pm.
Yesterday was GMan last Lacrosse varsity game at Applewild. He’ll be moving onto high school in the Fall. They went undefeated for the entire season so he went out on a high….and scored a point.
GMan (27) getting ready to defend.
We went to The Friendly Toast for brunch today. Fairly sure it’s not on anyone diet, but who’s counting…..calories that is. As always it was great.
After we walked about a Portsmouth for a bit. I could easily see myself living there.