Unique New York

Just like a regular woman, only crankier.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Red light, yellow light, green light, go

You guys, my okies. I miss you so much! I probably would have missed you a lot less if I had known you had actually been living in upstate New York this whole time!

What? You didn’t know? Well, neither did I, but I wasn’t the one who moved the south toward Canada.

Imagine Russ’s and my surprise, when on the very first day of our camping trek, we parked ourselves next to folks who were blaring AC/DC and shouting “Git ‘er done!”


Upstate New York closely resembled the State Fair at Oklahoma. Boys are wearing cutoff shirts, 12 year old girls are smoking cigarettes and searching for their seventeen year old boyfriends, and every silent-ish woods moment was periodically punctuated with a hearty “yeehaa!” It could have been my imagination, but I think all the campers smelled faintly of corndogs.

So at first, the soundtrack to my trashy childhood was kind of comforting, if not entertaining. Hearing a woman in a thick Buffalo accent shout to her family, “I can’t squat in the woods, I have a girdle on!” was nothing short of funny. The accents were so thick, you half waited for the others in their tribe to say, “Da Bears.”

At first, I thought the trashiness was solely at the campsite directly to our left. Then, the rowdy kids (maybe waiting to go to Dumas Walker’s) showed up. They kept the camp fires burning with a vast array of pyrotechnics. I swear to god, they could be heard uttering, “Watch this,” or for those of us from the south, a PWT’s last words.

But I really wouldn’t be adequately describing camping unless I talked about the neighborly sharing. The other campers who were roughing it kept their cars on with their stereos playing so that the rest of camp could hear it. Bless their hearts. If you weren’t sure, “Pour some sugar on me” is just as awesome at 10 am as it is at 1 am. I didn’t know. Thank god for these folks.

We listened to music almost exclusively from 1988 for about three days. Remember those days? I’ll bet my neighbors were still wearing Dep with Rave in their hair. If only they’d stood closer to the campfire they built with combustibles on it. So close.

After the first day of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, I went to sleep bitching about the fact that people can’t be someplace without noise for five g-d minutes. To add insult to injury, I have to put up with the noise being either cursing from the children from the camp next door, or the noise of crappy hair bands. I decided to hatch a plan.

I hadn’t planned to use them, but I did bring my portable iPod speakers. Those things have a sound that carries. I played every esoteric and non-radio friendly track I could find. My neighbors were regaled with the Icelandic utterings of early Bjork in the Sugarcubes, Mariza (Portuguese blues), They Might Be Giants, Sifl and Olly, and others. As a side effect, I couldn’t hear their music anymore, and was happier to hear my own. If I had NPR’s Fresh Air or All Things Considered on Podcast, I would have blasted that shit at 9 am. That would have ruled.

This just furthers my suspicion that rednecks are everywhere. You may end up seeing my old camp neighbors drunk at the top of Niagara falls in a barrel with suspenders while shouting “Watch this!” That’s if their campers don’t get blown to smithereens in a freak tornado accident.

Anyway, when in Rome…so I donned a tube top and surrendered to the flow. I can get trashy like the rest of them. Here is a pic of me looking like hammered hell. I am nothing if not honest.

Stay tuned for a new post about day 3 of the adventure…

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend: A photo (esque) essay

Normally, I would just write one post summarizing the vacation, but I feel that this last weekend's experience neccesitates a more in-depth examination. You see, my baby and I took our very first vacation together. I had not had two days off in a row since shortly after Christmas, and my fiance does not count vacating among his strengths. So, we decided that we would go camping together over Memorial Day weekend! I have been salivating over this idea for over three weeks. I love camping. It is, for me, the one vacation you take where you do not need a vacation after it to relax. So, Friday morning of the four day weekend I had meticulously planned out, I was ready to chill my brain and drink beer for as long as I could stand.

Well, by Friday morning I mean Friday afternoon. And by chill out, I mean shop for crap for the trip. Long story short, we did not make it out of New York until the afternoon. We hit traffic going upstate, and so we didn't arrive even in the county until well after dark.

We had printed Mapquest directions, in hopes of actually arriving at the site. Not so fast, Team Tucker. In the middle of the night, we drove to the top of a hill that was so poorly marked, we passed it twice. We finally got there, and when we made the turn, we got stuck on this hill in...wait for it...fog. Fog like...um...fog. It was so thick, we couldn't see the road. My darling beloved was playing it cool, all the while gripping the door handle for dear life lest his fiance decide to make a sharp turn right or left at a breakneck speed of five miles per hour and riding the brake. The signs on this country road were equally disturbing, when there were any. One sign, swear to God, said "Lost Road". If we hadn't been so lost and scared to get down the hill, Russ would have taken many photos of it.

So anyway, we get over the hill, to the other side, and the road we're on forks. However, the good people of Durham did not see fit to mark this fork, nor did the people of mapquest think it necessary to point it out either. So, we get to the fork that says "nothing" and we have to turn around. To go through the scary ass fog. Again.

So, we make it through the other side. Russ says, wisely, "Fuck it. We're getting a hotel."

We blindly scout the area for some resort that will let us stay the night. Since we have two dogs, and this is memorial day weekend, we weren't exactly holding our breath. After getting some directions from the guy who ran the Mobil station, we stopped at the second inn we saw that had no visible vacancy sign. On the front door it said "No Pets." Russ went in, worked his magical charms, and the guy said that it was fine for us to stay.

For those of you ever visiting the Catskill region, be sure to stay at Cedar Terrace Resort in Cairo. You will meet my son there. I am giving him to the hotel manager. I think he will turn out well.

This guy was so nice. He gave us the keys to the room and told us to check it out first. It was stuffy, and smelled like old people and mothballs. It was awesome. Russ and I high-fived. As we started to unload the gear we needed for the night, it began to rain. I could not have been happier that we were indoors instead of out.

The next morning was delightful and sunny. We drove through the town to catch the major expressway we needed to get to Gilboa. We got some breakfast at this darling little place in Cairo. This town was so cute, and everyone was incredibly nice and polite.

After a couple of wrong turns, we finally arrived at Nickerson Family Campground. You have never seen two people so fucking happy to pitch a tent. Here is that tent.

After packing a few things away, we decided to hike up to the store for reasons I cannot remember. We brought both our little camper dogs, Toby and Leo, and so we brought packs to carry them in, since I'm not really sure how they would hold up over long distances.

Here is Russ with a smooshed Leo in his too-small bag.

Each driver who passed us waved and made a comment about the cuteness of the dogs.

That is all for now. I will tell you about the raging rapids and the metal wars in an upcoming post.