Sunday, August 27, 2006

Travers at the Track

Yesterday morning Emily rolled out of her bed at 3:30am to go to the Saratoga Race Track with her roomate Cassie Steitzer.  Their mission was to wait in line until 6am when the gates open and then make a mad dash into the track to grab two picnic tables for their family and friends.  I of course thought this was lunacy so I drove home instead to get some sleep (I ultimately couldn't get back to sleep).  When I got home I found Jessica Schmidt (roomates girlfriend) sprawled on the living room recliner in her underwear snoring (she sleep walks when she drinks) so I threw a blanket on her and headed back to my room. 
    Meanwhile at the track it was mayhem according to Emily.  When the gates open it was like a Walmart Day-before-Christmas dash.  People were pushing each other, falling over, spilling coolers of beer etc.  Emily said she had to jump over several people that had fallen.  It's ridiculous!  This is all while I'm at home researching 3-season tents to buy for my trip cross country with Kenny Wilhelm in my nice warm apartment. 
    At around 11am Jonny Hughes called and said he was on his way with Megan Jones and his girlfriend Julie.  When they got here at noon we all took off in Jon's car for the track and parked in the free parking area.  We were able to hop on a yellow schoolbus taking guests to the main entrance which was hilarious because I haven't been on a school bus since about 9th grade.  I kept yelling to keep hands inside the bus and offered several people money to "press ham" on the back window just for old'times sake.  Haha. 
    It took us a while to find Emily inside the track because there were so many people and when she said she was next to Caroline BBQ and a large monitor it didn't help because there were about 12 Cimg5271
each of those in the track!  When we finally found them we were treated to a suprise.  Her family had brought a "Red Flyer" kids wagon full of food into the track while the girls and their friends had brought coolers of beer and several bottles of booze.  It was great to finally meet Emily's parents.  They are a ton of fun and her mom is a lot like my mom - always smiling and a riot. 
    Josh and Jess were also at the track and when Josh came over after the 2nd race and told me heCimg5276 Cimg5279
had won over 800 bucks I decided to then call him for the pics of every race.  Despite talking to Josh
I lost every bet that I made... it sucked.  I only got a 30 dollar voucher for the day though so I wasn't too concerned about losing 30 bucks while having a good time.  I had brought 60 bucks with me for the day.  As soon as I decided it was ok for me to get drunk around Emily's parents (who were also getting drunk) I began to drink pretty hard hittin' the stoli vanilla vodka with coke.  By the timeCimg5284 the Cimg5281
10th race hit I had bought two cigars for Jonny and I and was having a hell of a
time.  I blew the rest of my voucher on the 11th race (The big Travers Race) and boxed the favorite horse Bernadini with it's rival Bluegrass cat for 1st and 2nd.  I think I made a couple other bets but was too drunk to remember.  In any case, I nailed it and made a bunch of money back for the day. 
    After the 12th race I pounded what was left on the table of mixed drinks and got a ride home withCimg5290
Jonny and the girls.  We played asshole at my place for a little while and ICimg5292
apparently at one point put on some ski movies and hugged my skis and kissed them. (I found this out the this morning when I woke up to see my skis strewn everywhere).  We then went out to Gaffneys to meet up with Emily and her parents.  I was pretty drunk at this point and to save face only got one beer while I was out.  Emily left with her parents around 1am and I ended up seeing a bunch of Wheatfields people so I stayed and Cimg5294
talked for a whle but I can't remember what I had talked about.  Jon had also gone back with the girls onto my pull out couch-bed.  I woke up this morning very hung over and confused at 11am.  Jon and the girls had already gone out for food so I said goodbye to them and relaxed for a few hours before heading to work.  I looked in my pocket and found $39!  I had a blast all day at the track, ate home-cooked food, bought cigars, and went out and only had spent $21.  What a great day at Travers!


Monday, August 21, 2006

Beanie Baby Blitz

So I was driving down the road in Saratoga today and pulled up next to this old woman in her car with her grand daughter.  The care was completely filled, I'm not joking here, completely filled with beanie babies.  You could barely see out the rear window... This is the quick picture I got of her dashboard... absolutely insane!  I think her grand daughter was embarassed to be riding with her.. I know I would be!


Finally Hitting me...

Today I went to my parents to spend the morning and afternoon with my dad.   With my work schedule and all I have to do for moving to Oregon I've had little time to spend with my family before I leave.  I took my dad out to lunch at Maillies on Route 149 for some burgers then we sat in the living room and chatted for a bit until my mom came home. 
    Lately I've been starting to feel a little bit nervous and scared about my big move.  I've done it before... when I moved to Brunswick, Maine without knowing anyone there to attend college at Bowdoin.  I've also moved to Boston to be near my ex Janelle Bailey without knowing anyone there besides her.  This on the other hand is a little different because I can't just jump in my truck and come home for a weekend... I'm literally on the other side of the country, 3,000 miles away.  I am very worried about my parents being able to take care of themselves without me around.  My mother basically takes care of my father but she is older and tired herself.  What is she going to do when he passes on?  - which leads to my next thought.  What if this is the last time I see my father?  He means so much to me and there is a good chance he might not be around when I come home to visit at Thanksgiving. 
    Next is my friends... It's hard to leave all my friends behind.  I'm going to miss Matt and Logan and Rick and Josh and Jess.  Part of the reason I moved back from Boston was because I didn't have many friends there (besides Coop, Chadi, Katie, Nat, Justin, and the guys I worked with that I never saw out of work).  I was instantly happier when I moved home and could hang out with my buddies again.  I'm hoping that I'll meet the same kind of people in Oregon because it's not a big city and because everyone there likes the outdoors and the same activities I do.  As soon as I get there I plan to join as many clubs and outdoor groups as possible.
    I'm also going to miss Emily.  I tried so hard to not fall too much for her because I know I'm leaving but I have and it's really going to hurt when I leave her.  And knowing that she will be crushed will hurt me even more.  I have no intentions of looking for a girl at OSU because I will be way to busy with work and studying but I know that long distant relationships don't work either so it will be very hard for both of us.  I can say this with confidence though... she has made my last summer at home wonderful and it was well worth the hurt that I'm going to have when I am forced to drive away from her the day after labor day. 
    Right now I'm cherishing all the time I have left at home with family, friends and Emily.  I've found an apartment in Corvallis with two 21 year old Juniors there and a dog named Mowgli.  Rent is cheap as well as utilities and it's a block from the stadium and OSU.  It will be great living with a dog and I hear that both guys are very into the outdoors.  I'm also currently planning on making the trip with my friend Kenny but I haven't heard from him in a few days so nothing is confirmed yet.  I hope that he will come with me because I plan to make it a road trip to remember!


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Shmorgesborg with Emily

Sat... my only full day off of the week.... and raining... what to do?  We had originally planned to go on a nice hike up Crane Mountain in the Southern Adirondacks but when we got to my parents to grab some food the radar just showed a mass of green over everything so it was a no-go.  After hanging Cimg5256
with my parents for a bit Emily and I decided to just make it a relaxing day (which I needed after my 58 hour work week).  On the way back to Saratoga we stopped at Price Chopper and spent $70 on a ton of food including corn, steak, clams, salad etc.  We then went back to her place and grilled up a feast while watching movies all day.  That night we went out for a couple drinks with Cassie but it was pretty uneventful.  It was a great relaxing day with my wonderful Emily :)  Just what I needed!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Dinner with Emily at Hatties

I finally had a night off tonight so Emily and I decided to walk downtown for some dinner.  Every place we walked by was wayyy to expensive.  After walking down the entire length of Broadway we bumped into my friend Amanda from work on the sidewalk who suggested we go to Hatties on the corner of Phila Street behind Bailey's.  We took her advice and when we got to the place I saw it was southern food (which I don't normally like) but it was cheaper so Emily and I decided to give it a try.  We had the  New Orleans crabcakes (awesome) and I had the Creole with shrimp and chicken while Emily had the Grilled Swordfish.  It was a great meal but the check still came to 70 bucks!  Oh well.  Hopefully when I get to Oregon going out to dinner will be a lot cheaper.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bartending for my Buddies

Well I've been bartending during the day 4 days a week all summer but lately I've been able to pick up a few night shifts as well.  Today I worked a double behind theCimg5251
bar by picking up the night shift for James.  This meant I got to work with my favorite girl Jennifer Miller behind the bar.  At about 6pm I got a call from Rick Spratt asking what I was doing.  I told him I was behind the bar and he said he was on his way and would grab Mike Caldwell also.  It was a pretty slow night so Jenn and I were able to have a good rowdy time with Rick and Mike.  At about 8:30 Jenn asked me why Emily wasn't stopping by.  At that same moment I watched Emily and her roomate Cassie walk through the front door of the bar.  It Cimg5252
was great.  All my friends were there and I was showing them a great time making drinks for them.  At around 9:45 pm after restocking for Jenn for a while I punched out to sit and have a drink with Rick and his sister who had come in to drive his drunk ass home.  It was a fun night and Emily even picked me up from the restaurant on our way back to my place for the night.  I love bartending and hope that I can find a sweet place in Oregon to keep it up.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

MacNaughton... A Long Day

Today I decided to head up north with my dads car to climb MacNaughton.  I had mentioned this mountain in my previous posts and my intentions to climb it before moving.  Although it is not on any of the 4,000 foot peaks list in the Northeast or NY I wanted to climb it before leaving.  All the peak lists were made 20 to 80 years ago before accurate surveying technology was developed.  Because of this there are several mountains on the peak lists that aren't actually 4,000 feet high!  On the other hand, MacNaughton which was never thought to be 4,000 feet and thus never was added to the lists was recently discovered with more accurate laser surveying techniques to be EXACTLY 4,000 feet.  Now how could I possibly climb all the peaks on the lists and then move out west knowing that there was still one more out there that was 4,000 that I missed?  I couldn't... so I decided to drag my ass north one last time to climb this trailess peak deep in the heart of the High Peaks region. 
    The mountain is very remote and requires a long hike through Indian Pass on the western side of beautiful Algonquin and the MacIntyre Range.  From there you have to follow the Wallface Ponds trailMacnaughton_81206_005
for another couple miles to the ponds.  Where I left Indian Pass there was an old dam built out of large boulders.  I'm not sure when or why it was built but it was enormous and beyond it was a good view of the cliffs on Wallface mountain as well (see pic).  I had forgotten all my printouts from the web of people whe described where the herdpaths were so I was pretty much on my own for finding them.  When I arrived at the ponds I soon came to a section where the trail literally dissapears into the water (seeMacnaughton_81206_020
pic on right) which is quite higher due to recent beaver activity in the area.  So I bashed my way through the woods following my GPS as best I could to try to find the beaver dam crossing between the two ponds which should have led to a herdpath up the mountain... Nope.  I did ironically run into a guy and a woman at the damn who had both given up and turned around on their attempts to climb up MacNaughton.  This was not a good sign.  Also, on the way up to the ponds I noticed that I had completely lost one half of my left Leki hiking pole!  I left the broken pole against a tree and marked it with my GPS to grab it on the way down. 
    I chatted with the two for a few minutes and they both seemed a little concerned that I was Macnaughton_81206_021
starting the mile long bushwack so late in the day at 1pm.  You can see the summit of MacNaughton in the pic on the right rising above Wallface Pond.  They didn't know the kind of hiking I'm capable of... haha.  As soon as I crossed the beaver dam the herdpath simply dissapeared.  I then took out my GPS, determined I was going the right way and began to climb.  The area looked like it had been slammed by a hurricane.  Hundreds of downed trees blocked my ascent and I ended up walking on downed tree trunks almost as much as the ground in some places.  I found myself on my hands and knees crawling at times and pulling my self up steep moss-covered ledges on many occasions.  I had gaitors on butMacnaughton_81206_036
where the skin on my knees where exposed I was getting slashed and cut with every movement through the sharp spruce trees and dead branches.  As you can see from the pic on the right there is no trail... Where the two before me had taken hours of struggle before turning around I had bashed through in about 45 minutes before arriving at the summit ridge.  Oddly the ridge had a very clear herdpath on it but again it disspeared completely into the moss and spruce trees when you tried to follow it off the ridge. 
    The summit had a beautiful rock overlook towards the Santanoni Mountain Range.  I walked down the entire length of the ridge to ensure that I crossed whatever true summit was up there and came Macnaughton_81206_030
to another overlook on the western side of the mountain of Street and Nye.  I was glad that after nearly 7.5 miles of climbing I had some views to appreciate at the top.  It was 2pm and I decided to start heading down which proved to be just as difficult if not more than climbing up.  On the way down it was even harder to see where my foot was coming down through the blowdown and brush so I almost crashed on several occasions.  Then I came upon something that really made my day!  As I was walking through the woods... literally with no trail within a mile radius of where I was.... I randomly came across a very nice and expensive pair of collapsable Black Diamond Hiking poles.  How odd is that?  On the same day that I finally break and lose half of my hiking poles I randomly stumble across a new pair of really nice ones in literally, the middle of nowhere in the woods.  When I got down to the beaver dam again following my, now dying from lack of batteries, gps I passed by the woman again and asked if they were hers... which they thankfully were not.  No one else had been in the area that day so I happily brought them home knowing that some unfortunate sole had lost them on their attempt at MacNaughton. 
    It was a long walk out through Indian Pass and my GPS died about halfway out from lack of power.  It had been such a beautiful day with a light breeze and 60 degree weather which kept the bugs at bay.  On the way down to Indian Pass I was able to snap a great picture of the backside of AlgonquinMacnaughton_81206_039
and Wright Peak.  I was even lucky enough to have parked for free at the Macnaughton_81206_046
Adirondack Loj because I had forgot cash and a nice girl at the entrance had let me in for free.  I got some great pictures of the high peaks on the dirt road heading out of the mountains.... check the last picture.  I got home around 8pm, had dinner with my parents and went home very sore to take a shower and sit down for a while before heading out for some drinks and to hear Richie Ortiz (who just signed a major record Label) at Baileys with Josh, Jess and Mike.   Great day, but very long and tiring all the same!


Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Biking the SMBA Trails

Went biking today after work on the Saratoga Mountain Bike Asssociation Trails.  I've been taking my GPS with me so that I can make a more detailed map of the trails via Google Earth and Delorme Topo USA Software.  Today I ended up following a trail that I had previously turned around on.  The trail was high up on a ridge and led to me to a large rock expanse that provided views of the Vermont Mountains to the East.  The picture does not do justice to the views from the rock.  You canSmba_8806_001_1
see how large the area is by looking at my bike in the picture for comparison.  My GPS was showing that I would soon intersect a road but I was still very high up on the ridge still.  After a short distance I found myself descending very quickly down large rock slabs towards the valley floor.  Near the end I cruised down a very steep loose rock section and when I came around a corner to see camp sites I could see another technical rock descent that I will have to come back and try another time.  Check out the Smba_8806_005
picture.. I put my bike in it for a comparison of the size of the section.  I marked the location on my GPS so that I could come back with other bikers and more protective gear to attempt that section another time.  I then descended another 60 feet or so down the slope through the woods to meet up with a four wheeler trail that took me back to the power line trail and my eventually back to my truck.  The sun had just set but there was enough light still on the open power line trail to get me back to my truck safely.  I definitely want to return to that rock section and give it a try but one mistake could lead to a good 20 to 30 foot tumble down a very steep rock face... not to mention a possible smashed bike... :)


Sunday, August 6, 2006

Kate Villanova's 22nd

Kate_villanovas_22nd_8606_006At work tonight I found out it was Joe Simmon's last day before moving to Chicago for his Law Degree and to be with his girlfriend there.  It was a very busy night and I made good money.  At the end of the Christina brought in chips and salsa and a birthday cake for Joe which we all
ate.  I didn't have any late tables so I was able to take off, shower and head right to Kate's birthday party. 
Kate_villanovas_22nd_8606_025The party was a great time.  A lot of people from Wheatfields showed up and there wasKate_villanovas_22nd_8606_001
plenty of beer and booze to go around.  I pounded down a few coronas and Newcastles that Stephen had brought.  We tried playing Bullshit Pyramid but I don't think anyone was sober enough to fully understand how to play it so we
switched to asshole which we taught Joe how to play.  After a few hours I was getting pretty drunk and tired so I jumped back on my longboard and rode home, careful toKate_villanovas_22nd_8606_016
walk it across Broadway so I don't get busted again!  It was a great party and I think Kate really enjoyed that so many people showed up for it.


Saturday, August 5, 2006

Happy Hour with Sports Trivia

Yesterday night I got a call from my buddies Mike Caldwell and Rick Spratt wanting me to meet them at the Stadium Cafe for happy hour and drinks.  When I got home from work I went for a pretty Out_with_the_boys_8406_003
exhausting bike ride on the Skidmore trails (fell directly on my head still clipped into the pedals - probably very funny looking to watch).  I then took a quick shower and met them at the bar.  It was sports trivia night with the sportscaster from News Channel 13.  Mike and Rick both won bottle openers but the guy next to us was on fire answering every question.  The news guy had to cut him off after a while.  We called Josh who also met us at the bar but not even sports guru Josh could keep up with the guy.  After rounds and rounds of shots, car bombs, and Guiness I was getting pretty drunk. Jessica joined us after she got out of work.   I hadn't eaten a thing all day so I took off across the street for some chinese and met up with everyone at Peabody's on Phila Street. 
    At Peabody's Rick and Mike were both drunk and of course smack talk began with the table next toOut_with_the_boys_8406_006
us.  Out_with_the_boys_8406_009I just pulled out my ipod and started watching videos while the drunken smack continued and escalated.  Finally the waitress told Rick he had to leave as well as
Mike.  They waited outside angry and taunting the table from outside the fence but nothing happened.  Sick of it all I wandered over to spend the night at Emily's.  It was a great night with the boys until we got to Peabody's.  I hate it when drunkeness leads to provocing fights... It's senseless.  Drink and be Merry I say!


Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Pirates of the Carribean

Saw this movie with Emily last night.  I only have one thing to say about this movie.... What the hell happened and was there an outcome?  It seemed to just end... and dead people are suddenly alive again?  Huh?