Monday, October 12, 2009

My last Adirondack Adventure

Hi again everyone, welcome back.
This past summer was a tough one, with my hectic work schedule and little money to do anything when I did have time. But I do have memories of summers past, especially when the boys and I would spend a week at Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. I was looking through my collection of photos and came across pictures of one morning  Kayaking on Lake George, during our last trip up (2007).
In Bolton Landing, on the shores of Lake George, is the home of the Lake George Kayak Company.
They have a store located on route 9N in the heart of Bolton Landing, but their boats are on Green Island, next to the beautiful Sagamore Hotel.
I wanted to do some kind of boating on Lake George, kayaking seemed to be the simplest and cheapest way to do that, so one morning I took a ride up there to rent a kayak and get out on the water.
    Now you are probably asking about my boys, Josh and Chris, and where were they.
They had no desire to go with me, having never kayaked and were in fact sound asleep back at the cabin.
Our typical morning was to get up around 8AM, go have breakfest at the breakfest restaurant where we stayed, great breakfests too I might add, and then the boys would go back to the cabin, turn on ESPN Sportscenter and fall back asleep.
I would have loved to have them with me, but I'm not one to push what I want to do on them, so I let them nap, while I experienced the lake:-)

Ready to launch....Here's a view from the boat house

A party of paddlers make their way away from the boathouse.

I would follow the same route as them and cross this channel to go under the bridge and out to the main body of the lake. I have kayaked before, but it was all on the sheltered waters of the Gunpowder River and Dundee Creek here at home. With Lake George, you are talking "Big Water" that's much deeper and larger boats.
           Below here is my view of the boat house from the lake.

As I left the boat house and headed to the channel, I really enjoyed the beautiful green mountains surrounding the lake. The waters were calm and the boat moved easily through the water.
Once I got out past the bridge and into the open waters of the lake, the boat and water came alive with wave action. Now I had to concentrate on keeping the boat balanced, while watching out for the various powerboats coming to and fro.
Kayaks are more stable than a canoe (in my mind), but they still give you the feeling of going over quickly when hit by a wave, and there were lots of waves/rollers coming in on this day.

I paddled around Green Island and the Sagamore Hotel on my left, to the right and in front was the main part of the lake and the western shore of Lake George.
At times I would take a pause in paddling to sip my drink and just take in the beauty of the lake and surrounding mountains.
I thought I took photos, while out on the water, but don't see them in my computer:-(
Perhaps I was too busy trying to balance the boat to take shots.
 As I went around the island, I came across one woman, reclining on her kayak, with her dog, while reading a book. I don't think Daisy would go for that.
It took me about an hour to get around the island and back to the boat house, and it was an hour well spent.
Here's a parting shot of the boat house.

When I got back to the cabin at Alpine Village Resort, the boys were out throwing a baseball around, so I was glad to see them out and about. The rest of the day was spent either in the pool or down by the beach and of course the night was left to visiting the Village of Lake George for dinner and Mini Golf.
The next day, I had the urge to get out on the water again, so I grabbed a tube and headed down to our beach and floated around the little cove we are in. 
This time I had my camera ready to get some waters edge photos.
Below is from me in the tube, just off the beach at Alpine Village looking out to the lake and Tea Island.

Here's a photo of the Mini Ha Ha, as she cruised back to the Village of Lake George. I waved but don't think anyone saw me.

A closer view of the Mini Ha Ha. If you ever go to Lake George, take a one hour cruise on this boat. It's a great way to see the lake and the beautiful camps along the shore
While I was out on the water in my float tube, I came across a beautifuly colored dragonfly, that had basically gotten stuck to the water surface. I scooped it up and let it dry out on my tube while I floated around. It's wings looked like spun gold.
After awhile it took back off and then I headed back to the beach and lunch.
In the picture below, you can see the boys playing catch as I made my way back to shore.

Yep, the lazy hazy days of summer by the lake.
It doesn't get better than that.
Now days the boys and I are busier and in some ways not as connected as we were back in 2007.
Life goes on, kids grow up and life changes for all of us.
But we always have our memories of places like Lake George, Alpine Village Resort and the Lake George Kayak Company.
And the memories linger here in Mr. Joes World.
Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Camp Run-A-Muk update

Hi everyone;
I have so many things to write about, just haven't had the time to "put fingers to keyboard" as they say nowadays.
We all know the best way to start a long journey is to put one foot ahead of the other and start walking, so here is the first step.
Camp Run-A-Muk update:
Some notes on what the boys, their girlfriends, the pets and I have been doing of late.
First off; everyone is fine and in good shape.
The place can be like Grand Central Station some times, with each of us coming and going on our own schedules. It's almost gotten to be a rare thing to have all of us at home the same time.

The one we most worried over is of course Hobie, but she seems to be recuperating and growing stronger all the time. the Vets had given her a clean bill of health and she is back to her old familiar ways now. She had us worried a few weeks ago, as you could hear her sneeze and what sounded like a cough, but maybe that was just a cold she picked up, since she isn't doing it now. I still worry about her and am keeping a watchful eye on her health.

Meanwhile her sister from another mother; Daisy is enjoying the hikes and walks we go on at the Gunpowder Falls State Park and Baltimore County Eastern Regional Park. I have to watch her food intake, as she will eat as much as I give her and more. The Vet says Daisy is overweight and so Joan (Chris and Josh's mom) has "advised me" to cut down on her intake. At least with me, Daisy gets exercise, but I know she can get really overweight if we are not careful.
At this time of year, I only have Daisy, and Christopher, on weekends.
During the week she goes home with Christopher to his moms house, where she gets very little exercise. When I do have her with me, I make the most of our time.
Here's Daisy at the Gunpowder State Park, Jerusalem Mill area.

Josh and Nicole are doing well. They have had some "ups and downs" in their relationship, but it all seems to be going well now. They are both working, Josh for a Marketing Company and Nicole for Nordstrom and as such their schedules don't always match up. Josh seems to be pretty much on his own schedule or a "work at your own pace" type of job:-) But he is working and helps me out every month with some cash to help put groceries on the table or pay bills.

Chris and Jazmine are also doing well, both are busy with school, work and sports.

Christopher is in 11th grade at Eastern Tech and Jazmine is in 12th at Mount Carmel. Chris works at Chick-Fil-A, which is a restaurant chain, specializing in southern style Chicken sandwiches. Jazmine works at "Curves" fitness spa. Chris was playing football for his third year of high school ball, but decided to concentrate on work and school instead. I didn't like him quitting but I respect his feelings and football is a sport that if you are not 100% in to it, you can get hurt. At this point in his life (16 years old) he would rather make money to save for a car.

And me?
Well besides being the chief cook and bottle washer here, I have been putting in many hours at West Marine.
This past January, my store manager went out on workmans comp, due to a knee injury suffered at work.
We all expected Tina to have an operation followed by a short recovery period and then come back. I was the Assistant Manager and so became the "Acting Manager" in her absence. Well Winter changed to Spring and the boating season took off. Things got really busy and Tina did not recuperate enough for her to come back. It fell on my shoulders to keep the herd moving north and run the store.

Here is my store during Memorial Day Weekend 2009.
We did well this past year, as a team we worked our way through a lot of challenges and kept Customer Satisfaction high.
But it didn't matter in the long run.
 Things were about to change, for in July they announced that this store (Bowleys) will be closing on September 7th and a new much larger store will open next spring, in another location.

Here is my store the day it closed, September 2009. It took us just a week and a half to completely gut the store.
I am now working at another local West Marine store, just 6 miles away from here.
There is a good crew in place, they are fun to work with, but my salary, hours and "rank" have dropped to match up with their existing staff.
I will be working the upcoming Annapolis Boat Shows for West Marine, looking forward to the change in pace.

I don't know what is to become of me and a long term position at West Marine. I like the company, I love boating, but it's retail and retail is a tough job with low pay besides. The unfortunate fact is that working for West Marine does not pay all of my bills, even when I'm working 40 hours per week. I don't want to keep relying on my parents to send me money in order to help pay bills. Plus there's the fact of being in retail means I work every weekend, which means less time for not only the boys (who usually have their own weekend agendas) but for spending time with Daisy, on the trails.
So decisions will have to be made and options explored on my end.

I do still make time for wargaming and painting miniatures in the evening.
It is a great hobby that stimulates the mind, but is relaxing too. I am very lucky to have a great group of "gaming buddies" that enjoy the simple pleasure of seeing the miniature troops, tanks, ships or planes in action on the table top.

A game of "Brother Against Brother" American Civil War being played at Renaissance Games

Here is a picture of some recently painted British Regulars ready for the field of battle with the rules All The Kings Men. These stapping fellows are 54mm, which is a big difference for me, as I have painted either 10mm, 15mm or 25mm figures all of these years.
Their debut in battle will come sometime this winter.

So life goes on for myself, Josh, Nicole, Chris, Jazmine, Hobie and Daisy.
It's never dull in Mr. Joes World.
Thanks for reading.