Monday, October 24, 2016

Western NY Vacation, Part 1 - Back to Cayuga!

Well, it's taken me long enough to get going on this! TQ and I got back on Tuesday from what I'm pretty sure was the longest vacation I've taken since I was in banking (FDIC policy recommends that banks require all employees to take at least 2 consecutive weeks of vacation without computer access each year). I'd left with a couple of things that I knew I would need to attend to pronto when I got back, and surprise surprise, they were still waiting for me when I got back, and surprise surprise, more things requiring attention had come in while I was away, so my 3-day work week was a bit crazy and I actually went in yesterday too. It was a yucky day out yesterday, fall seems to have finally arrived after a run of unseasonably warm weather, if it had been a nice paddling day I would've skipped the office but as it was I feel much more caught up now (although it didn't help the bad case of post-vacation blues I've got - I felt so down today that I relented on the much-needed cleaning I'd planned to do today and went out for a long walk in Prospect Park instead, it was windy out but much nicer than yesterday and I came back in a much better mood). We really lucked out with the weather during our trip, especially for the part where we got up close and personal with Niagara Falls via the Cave of the Winds walkways and the Maid of the Mist, which I can't imagine would be quite as much fun if it was chilly.

This was something of a three-parter, all featuring various waters of Western NY. We started with a visit to my friend Louise, who lives near Cayuga Lake. She runs the Kayak Safety Team for the Women Swimmin' for Hospicare event that I've now gone to help out with 3 times; that event is always in the middle of the summertime, which means TQ is working weekends (he works for NYC parks and weekends are the busy days for them in the summertime), so I can never bring him along. We had come up with a very special plan for our October vacation that was going to start and finish on Cayuga, and she invited us to come stay with her for the weekend before we began that.

We had a bit of a hard time getting the heck outta Dodge on the 8th because of a running race that had a lot of streets shut down, to the point that we ended up getting lunch in Park Slope, where I'd asked TQ to stop to let me pick up a hostess present at the Ladybird Bakery, but once we were clear of the race route, traffic was flowing very nicely and we got to Ithaca in plenty of time to enjoy a great dinner that Louise had made for us (plus the hostess present, which was a LARGE Brooklyn Blackout cake - TQ's been getting these for my birthday for a few years and they are unbelievably good). Sunday we did some exploring of the area, which is so pretty, visiting the shore of the lake and the beautiful Taughannock Falls State Park. The area had had a hard summer of drought, with the falls actually drying up for some time, but there'd been some rain the week before and Louise was so happy to actually show us a waterfall, even if it wasn't a very big one! After that, we went back to her place, whiled away the rest of the afternoon playing croquet (I swear I'm buying a croquet set for Sebago, it's so much fun), and then went to Maxie's Supper Club for dinner and some good live bluegrass music. It was a great day, and here's a baker's dozen of photos from the hiking part of the day:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Erie Canal moonrise break, anyone?

Clyde and Newark. Newark was actually first but I wanted to put the best shot first. Internet is kind of angsty tonight after presidential debate #3 so I thought I would just share something calm here. Click for slideshow view, as usual. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I'm back!

And a lovely little jaunt here and there around the northwest corner of the state we've had! Click on the photo for a better view. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Last Weekend's Fun Part 3 - A Few More Pictures from the Draken Harald

OK, technically it's now weekend before last weekend's fun, oh well! Anyways, this was the third part - just a few more photos that I took during my 2nd visit to Draken Harald HÃ¥rfagre with my friend Louise on Sunday. I was glad I went back, on Thursday I actually went during the work day and needed to get back to finish some things, so I had to rush through a bit - this time I noticed a lot of little details I hadn't before, and although I wasn't as obsessed with getting all the good pictures (it was so funny on Thursday, a couple of my boater friends had gone on Thursday at different times during the day, we didn't actually run into each other there but all the sudden we were all posting very similar pictures on Facebook, you would've thought were were all standing next to each other but it was really just that there were certain things that were particularly eye-catching), I did take a few, and Louise and I took pictures of each other with the handsome ravens that flank the nav station (which I peeked inside to see the modern instrumentation this time, last time I didn't think to do that). Those aren't just any old boids, by the way, those are Huginn and Muninn, the ravens of Odin - and Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir appears on the base of the port side raven. One of my friends had found Sleipnir on Thursday, that was one picture she had that I hadn't duplicated, I'd totally missed him. As I said, good to make the 2nd trip!  

Monday, October 03, 2016

Last Weekend's Fun Part 2 - Sunset Ride on the Staten Island Ferry

Saturday morning I swam, and then I went home and napped and then cooked and cleaned (a little at least), and then Saturday evening, my friend Louise came back into town. Sunday we paid another visit to the Draken Harald HÃ¥rfagre. Louise has Norwegian heritage, and it's a seafaring heritage, so she'd been absolutely fascinated by the longship, and during one of her visits, she discovered that the chief engineer was actually a cousin of hers! She couldn't resist one more visit, and although I had seen the boat already, I thought visiting with her and getting to meet her cousin and others she'd met during her visits when they were in her vicinity would be a much richer experience.

It was, we went at 2, we took our tour again, I took a few shots of things I'd missed the first time around but this time really spent more time just seeing the boat again (I feel like sometimes when I'm intent on taking pictures of something, I'm not looking at it the same way) and listening to stories. We'd run into Louise's cousin heading off to take care of some laundry just as we arrived; he said he'd be back, so we took our time visiting the longship, and Louise introduced me to a couple of other friends she'd met during her earlier visit. Eventually we went back on shore and had a bit of a snack, and when Christian got back we went for a stroll along the promenade. I really enjoyed having the chance to hear him talk story about the boat and the voyage in a more leisurely and in-depth fashion than the tour allowed for. Such a treat!

I had suggested going for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry as a fun thing to do if he had enough time. Turned out he didn't, he needed to get back to the longship to prepare for their Monday morning departure after about an hour visit, but after saying our goodbyes, Louise said she'd be up for that ferry ride, so we legged it on south to the terminal and caught the ferry at the most perfect time for the sunset, which was absolutely stunning.

Here are my photos from that trip, plus one of the Adirondack, who sailed by looking splendid as usual while we were walking with Christian - it was great that we got to show him that because not only did I work on that schooner as part-time crew for five years, but Louise's brother Brad had actually been a captain on the boat for quite a while! He sailed more in Newport, R.I., as I recall, but the few times he was here in NYC and I was in his crew I recall him as being an excellent skipper. I'd loved it when Louise and I had figured out that connection, and it was so nice to be able to share that with our visitor from Norway.  

And now, pix! Click for a slideshow view. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Last Weekend's Fun, Part 1 - I Swim!

Last weekend was just spectacular, and I'm sorry I haven't had time during the week to write about it and share some of my pix!

I kicked things off on Saturday morning with the Coney Island - Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers' Coney Island 3-2-1, formerly known as the  Triple Dip. This is a combination race where you can swim one, two, or three miles; I've been doing a good bit of swimming to get back into shape after my medical woes of the winter and spring, so when the call went out for volunteers for this and last week's Breezy Point swim, I thought it would be fun to actually swim the one-mile distance. I'd done a mile for my last swim in Lake Randall in Michigan so I was pretty sure I could do this.

It was stormy the night before and still pretty gray and gloomy when I headed out to Coney Island. I was kind of worried about it but as it turned out, the water temperature was just perfect and I had a wonderful swim. Not fast, but oh so nice. Click here for the day's Flickr album. No pictures from during the race, I'm slow enough without distracting myself with my camera, but some nice ones (I thought) from before and after, including some classic cars.

The sun came out after the race and it would have been a lovely day to just hang out out there (and there was a post-race party I could've gone to) but this was not my only planned fun for the weekend and I had some getting ready to do. Pix from Sunday to come! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Visit to the Draken Harald Harfagre

The usual September work marathon continues, but I was able to sneak out of work for a couple of hours today to go visit the spectacular Viking visitor in North Cove. What a splendid vessel. Flickr album here, Draken expedition website here. She's going to be out sailing around again tomorrow, then back at North Cove with tours available on Saturday the 24th and Sunday the 25th. Seriously, if you're in NYC and you have time this weekend, go take a look at her, she's stunning, ad hey, if you go on Saturday you could combine that visit with the Submerge NYC Marine Science Festival, which sounds terrific. That would make for such a good day on the waterfront!