A20814E0-B70B-4CE7-82EB-DD683419C420September 15 thru 17, 2018 Beautiful morning! To help speed recuperation from previous night of fun, stretched while exploring Elk camp. The cabins are cute, spaced well, with personal decks. Awesome place for group retreat. There’s also a camper-yard where owners pay a fee for storage. Talked with ‘friends’ and drank lots of coffee. Heard news about Hurricane Florence effects to NC residents and texted James.

Slower than usual, but feeling good, broke-down and loaded. Visited with ‘Uncle John’ for a few minutes before driving out about 11a. According to Atlas, 86 (east) is scenic across upper NY, so that’s where I headed. Visited NYC as a teenager, maybe 13-years-old, when mom drove us to the uncle of our foreign student-resident. At that time, I was blown-away by the massive buildings, cool subway (told not to look at anyone), people everywhere, street food and insane amount of taxis, which I tried to count from our hotel window. We saw Annie on Broadway and more. Exciting trip!

Wasn’t long before NY showed me its opposite big-city side; wide-open, gorgeous with wildflowers, dense woods and wildlife. Warm fuzzies big time! The sky was baby blue with puffy, white clouds and traffic was amazingly light.

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Crossed the Chautauqua Lake with a quick stop at Bridgeview in Bemus Point for few gallons gas ($3.05/gal) before noon. Just down the road in Salamanca, I picked up cigarettes at Allegany Gas and Smokes (Seneca Nation has intriguing history – love to explore the Allegany SP forest in future). Grey clouds floated over and a few sprinkles, but was short-lived and it was hot!!

D0A9910C-71BA-4148-B6FA-1E81F52EB4E3Couldn’t resist this photo of a sleek Porsche in tow behind a matching, super nice truck. While on 86, a group of ten or more Porsche, different makes and colors, quickly passed; made me think of butterflies?!

Loved the rest area off I-86 in Hornell, just past Almond. Beautiful views. Last pitstop was in Corning, south of the Finger Lakes Region, for gas top-off ($2.95/gal) and more coffee.83A50306-1F20-4E30-8CE0-D7972F0E6E09

About 5p, pulled into Buttermilk Falls (love the name) State Park and checked in at the small, parking lot building for $26.75. Drove up the steep, curvy drive to the camp area. Cabins, tents and lots of campers (people). At mine, a tent was set up, so I called to confirm space number. It was correct, told her no problem and set up mine.

It wasn’t long before a ranger (?), Mr. McHottie, showed up. Enjoyed a somewhat lengthy visit that started with his inquiry about me being “ok” with a stranger in my site. Word had spread. It was thoughtful, but seriously?! First of all, my tent was like an average-size dog in a big-ass yard. Secondly, the site next to me, with campers I didn’t know (yet), was right next to me. Then it happened. I shared my perspective of how strangers are just people we haven’t met yet. They’re moms and dads, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, brothers and sisters and so on. They’re a part of our lives rarely given a second thought, although we’re with them, sometimes touching, almost every f*ing day. Yes, some are bad scary eggs, but the majority are awesome. Campers share a common interest in the great outdoors like golfers at a country club. We’re not out to harm!64D39E3C-4775-4E7A-8B20-B1991EC2AD44

Moving on … He headed out, probably thinking WTF and I went straight to the trailhead at the back of camp. Awesome trail! Got back after dark and hit the showers where a couple adorable little girls in swimsuits were dancing, singing and giggling in one of the showers. So freakin’ adorable!

Started cooking dinner when a four-door car called rolled in. The man, Behar, was quiet-spoken with a thick middle-eastern accent. He explained how the office called him and said he had to go since they were full and he hadn’t paid, which he’d planned to do after a big hike that took much longer than expected. When he asked if he could stay, I laughed. Of course he could! He paid 1/2 site fee (yea!) and we chatted briefly. Ate dinner, washed up and then zipped for the night.

We were both up early and bid adieu. Took coffee to the waterfalls and hit a fantastic trail walk before getting on the road. Would love to be near a gorgeous location like this to start every morning … goal for future!EC197613-892C-4067-BA32-C605899CCB87

A0548894-13BF-43BE-AB34-E2B5EA3793F8Aldi was first stop before leaving Ithaca, for wool blend socks, jumbo shelled peanuts, onions, olives and mushrooms.

Made u-turn to check out this fantastic place (Valley View Farm Fresh Produce), open seasonally (May-Oct), in Lisle, NY off Route 79. The couple’s daughter makes smell-so-good, organic goats milk soaps. Husband builds incredible wood-crafts (mailboxes, yard art, birdhouses) and they have jams, jellies, pumpkins, gourds, huge variety of fruit and veggies, and so much more. I loved the feeling I got here. Bought bright (delicious) tomatoes, jelly and a large pot of happy mums for Stefani.

Took these photos across the street and down the road from the market. Beautiful area! Walked around in a field of wildflowers – Incredible! Not sure what it is about old farm buildings that gives me warm fuzzies, but they do!

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As far as highways go, nothing beats the sight of rolling, forested areas under blue skies!img_20180916_122713

img_20180916_105747Got Tabasco Slim Jim, coffee and surprisingly good sandwiches from Mirabito convenience store in Greene and stretched at the rest area in Unadilla.

 

Filled up ($2.97/gal) at the Mirabito in Richmondville, drove through Schenectady to Troy, then swung off NY-7 in Hoosick, when I saw cows and other critters on the rooftops of two buildings. I was at the Big Moose Deli & Country Store.

At the time, given the number of “VT” signs posted, I thought I’d crossed the Vermont state line. It was totally a tourist trap and super fun to walk through, inside and out. Wood shelves, no metal, and walls packed with fun, over-priced goodies.

I bought this cool magnet,img_5044 then back on the road into actual Vermont. Took US-7 to VT-11, then VT-121, wow! The Green Mountain National Forest was breathtaking and the small towns were calling my name to explore (another time). In Grafton, I drove along the Saxtons River, under an incredible canopy of trees, with wild turkeys everywhere.

img_20180916_162403Vibrant backroads went on and on beautifully, but I had to pee so damn bad. Thought I’d burst when I came across this gem!

Feeling much, much better, found a place to pullover and took a beautiful walk along the creek.img_20180916_162712

Popped over to 91 briefly, before making my way to Stefani who lives with Jeff on what they loving named, The Vermesa. Jeff was away on a shoot and Stefani at work, so it’s like The Vermesa herself welcomed me, down the entry drive lined with trees into an incredible space surrounded by more trees and so much more; brilliant tiny house, whimsical gardens, tons of funky-creative art, outdoor living space, huge dirt-mound with throne, and magical beach with sand, chairs, hot tub and floaties. Beautiful!

When Stef got home, hugged her tight. Over a couple days, we smoked happy buds, drank beer, and shared meaningfully. I believe our connection was stemmed from being kindred spirits who feel strongly about many like-subjects; green energy, sustainable living, human rights, animal rights and more. When Stef was away, I ate her divine crockpot squash soup, showered, explored myself and every inch of The Vermesa’s beauty. They cherish the land and Stef feeds each and every creature on it; she craves a pet possum. I love her!

 

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