Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Cooperstown U. S. A. Part III

Three days in Cooperstown offers enough time to do all that is Cooperstown unless you want to learn the more intricate ways of the farmer in The Farmer's Museum or you need to hit up the beer and wine trail, which you can do on your way out of town on the third day anyway.  We did not hit the beer trail nor did we go to a farm to get a free jar of jelly--things I found listed on the back of a map that no one seemed interested in but me, probably because I'm obsessed with getting free things.

I awoke on my last day in Cooperstown at 4:30 AM.  Someone let a door slam.  Then the slamming continued.  Opening and closing of heavy doors ensued for the next 45 minutes.  It started up again along with loud discussions across the parking lot at about 5:30 AM.  Good morning, Cooperstown.  At checkout, the guy behind the counter asked how everything was, and I said it was great except at 4:30 in the morning, I heard lots of commotion from people who might have been going fishing or hunting or whatever it is nature people do.  He gave a thought and then said, Oh, you mean the Canoe Regatta.

Apparently, every Memorial Day weekend, there's a Canoe Regatta in Central New York.  Who knew?  Well, the canoe people knew.  I didn't know because I don't own a canoe.  Canoes are death-traps, almost the most dangerous water crafts, second only to the kayak, aka the boat of death. 

The counter guy was like, I guess if you don't know about it, you might've been wondering if there was some sort of fire that no one told you about.  I agreed that I did have my share of confusion about why everyone knew about the wee-morning party but me.  I reported back to the guys in the car about this regatta thing, and my brother was like, Oh, yeah, that explains all the canoes on everyone's car roofs.  True.  It did.

We drove northward through town and found our first stop on our way back home (which isn't really on the way since we were heading north): Glimmerglass State Park.  Now, there are state parks that have helpful signs and maps all over as well as clearly marked trails.  Then there are state parks that let you head off into nature at your own risk.  Glimmerglass (fun to say!) is a bit of both.  We found parking in a central newly-paved lot, but we did not find any signs directing us to trails we could possibly hike.

We found the primitive camping site that had trails.  We drove into it and found that really, it was a bunch of people waking up after camping out all night.  It was exactly the opposite of anything I wanted.  We walked around the lake a little--it was gorgeous yet cold because of the wind--and then took the car up a hill to see if there was another place to hike.

Up the hill, we found another gorgeous view of the lake.  We also found the opening of a hiking trail that I had seen on the map.  On the map, it looked like a large circular trail that would be tons of fun.  Up close and personal, it looked like a haven for ticks.  Not wearing proper footgear to keep ticks from crawling up, latching on, and infesting me with lyme disease, I talked my brother out of a hike.  Eddie was thankful, adding that he was planning on staying in the car if we'd gone hiking because there were simply too many bugs in nature.

Taken with the timer, hence my idiotic mannequin pose and the boys' bowing down.

One of the too many bugs but this one didn't bother us much

True about the bugs.  As soon as we stepped onto the grassy area above the lake, they went into attack mode and started diving at us from all directions.  Pretty lake to look at from inside a car and through a window.

We also found a house and a bridge.  They were pretty.  Less bugs. 

We also found the covered bridge that we'd tried to find on the outset.  Eddie was amazed that my brother would just walk through the tall weeds to take pictures.

And so began our long ride southeast towards home.  However, we had to make a stop first.  This was the last time I plan to be in that area ever.  None of us could see us heading back upstate that far for any reason.  So we took a short skip over to Oneonta and drove along the campus.  When we hit downtown, we drove down the main drag and I found myself a bit disoriented.  The car barely made it up the long hill past Hartwick College and onto the main entrance road of campus.  Again, I was disoriented.  First off, I never drove when I was in college.  Secondly, when I was in a car, I never came through this main entrance; we always came and went down by the dorms.  So this was really strange.  I did find the union--closed for the holiday as was everything--and I recognized some of the buildings even though I used to see them from the other side, from the quad.  It was weird, very, very weird, not because campus was deserted but because I was back to a place I'd never thought I'd be back to, realizing that this time was really my final time there.

We headed out of upstate.  It was a long drive along many highways and thruways.  In the beginning of it, we caught sight of a lot of cars lined up on the sides of the roads.  I wondered aloud what was going on.  That's when Eddie caught sight of the river next to us.  It's the canoes! he yelled.  I immediately skidded the car over and we jumped out.  I had to see what the 4:30 AM commotion was all about.  This, my friends, is a Canoe Regatta:

I'm not sure what body of water this is.  It could be the Susquehana, so that's what I kept calling it, mostly because it's fun to say, though it is hard to spell (I'm lazy--I didn't look it up--probably didn't spell it right--I'm okay with that).

My day now complete, we climbed back into the car and drove out of town.  Miles and miles of nothingness.  Endless nothingness.  During this nothing, I hit a turtle.  Pretty sure I killed it.  Not too happy about it.  Moving on.  We were taking a different way back from where we came so that we could catch a particular thruway exit to make a final stop before heading home.  This of course took longer than expected and we almost died of starvation, but then we found the Ulster rest stop and I fell in love with Ulster because they had food.

After not dying from malnourishment, we set out another few exits and found Storm King Sculpture Park.  When we pulled up, the guy asked how many.  I said, Three.  He said, Three what? Adults? Students?  So I automatically said, One student, two adults.  He didn't question it.  I paid.  We drove into the parking lot.  The boys were like, Who's a student?  I said, I have my student ID.  They called me a thief.  I called myself a student of life.  Plus, no one questioned my studenthood, meaning, I look like a student from the driver's seat of a car wearing sunglasses and a hoodie.  So there.

I also probably looked really confused as to where to park because there were cars lined up on grass and gravel and men pointing me every which way.  Finally, one guy just called out to me, Turn and park in any of those bays!  I did so.  Thank you, sir, for helping out a poor confused student of life.

The sculpture park is insanely huge with insanely huge sculptures.  The two guys joked about what art is--here's a scribble, so it's art--as we walked through and found sculpture after sculpture.  When we thought we'd seen them all, we saw more.  There were hills upon hills, and at one point, Eddie decided that it was easier to run up the steep hill than climb it.  He and I differ when it comes to logic of inclines.  He also planned to roll down a hill, but after seeing a little boy attempting to do so, decided not to since the kid had to pretty much continue to push off and make himself roll rather than having gravity have at it.

Eddie's idea that anything is art: Man Sleeping

Eddie's idea that anything is art: Tree Branch

Me and Anthony walking

Still walking.  It was a pretty big place.

Breaking the rules

Can anyone translate?

Eddie made me do this.  Not happy about getting into the dirt.

An hour later, not having gotten up close to all of the sculptures but many of them, we headed out.  We couldn't make the turn back towards the thruway, so we wound up on Route 9, which worked out perfectly because we got to the Tappan Zee and stayed in New York without going through NJ and we found our way home pretty quickly after that.  We gathered all the layers we'd stripped off since the cold morning, recognizing the fact that we'd gone through all four seasons in three days, and stumbled through the front door.  As great as vacationing is, home is always a fantastic place to be.

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