Well, my fears were unfounded.
Not only did I not get sick, but Mark and I barely bickered, let alone full-on fought. No one was (massively) injured. Everything was wonderful.
On Friday, we got ourselves together sometime around 9:30am and started driving. We took my mother’s car, which was wise for when we got to the park but a mistake on the 219. See, I am used to a digital readout of the speed, and mom’s is the dial sort. Which was hard to see with my sunglasses on. So, I followed the flow of traffic. Except, I was last in the group, so when the cop pulled out, I was first to pull over.
Five strenuous minutes later in which I was fine but Hubs had a kneejerk panic attack, I had a ticket and we were back on our way. We went to Pumpkinville, which is a farm in the town of Great Valley, NY. I have many fond memories of this place, having been many times since it opened, mostly with Jaime and other friends and family. It was not the same this year, because of Covid, but I got my donuts and cider and was happy.
Next, we drove towards Allegany State Park. Now, when I was 18, I went camping with my girlfriends from school. My friend Jen was the only avid camper amongst us, and had spent many happy summers at Allegany, so she knew all the good places to go. On the way there, we stopped at a farm stand and bought corn. I was delighted to find that the stand was not only still there, but had expanded to a whole barn. We stopped and got corn and potatoes and nectarines. Then we went to the park.
Check in wasn’t until 5 because of Covid. They were doing enhanced cleaning procedures. So, we killed a little time fishing in Red House lake (no luck,) going to the gift shop, and driving around the park. At 5 we checked in and headed to our cabin. My only frame of reference was when I went camping at 19 with Jaime and my guy friends, and we stayed in a very “rustic” cabin. I assumed ours would be like that.
Not quite. It not only had 4 beds as opposed to rusty cots, but it had a wood burning stove AND a regular gas stove. So, my fear of us freezing to death (it was in the 20s at night) went out the window. We unpacked and Mark started a fire, and I taught him how to mare spider dogs.
Now, I don’t remember which of my many Girl Scout troop leaders taught me this, but apparently, it’s a little-known technique as everyone I’ve talked to who isn’t Jaime has no idea what I mean. You take a hot dog and cut an X in the ends, about ¼ way down the dog. Then you stick it in the fire. It curls up and make eight legs, like a spider. Mark thought this whole thing was amazing, and he hates hot dogs, but he ate three. We then roasted some marshmallows and just hung around the fire, and went to bed early.
In the morning we drove up to Thunder Rocks. I’m not going to talk about that, today. That’s a story within a story, for Thursday. For now, assume we just looked at boulders and left. Then we went fishing at Science Lake. All we caught was a baby trout on my end and a baby sunny on Marks.
We went back to the cabin and made breakfast…eggs and sausage and bagels. Then we packed up a picnic lunch and headed out. After that we headed to Quaker Lake (no luck) and then the Kinzua Dam (no luck.) We went to the Quaker picnic area and ate lunch by the creek. Then we were going to go hiking, but Mark’s foot was hurting him. Truly, he needed thicker socks. So, I instead dropped him at the cabin to take a nap while I drove to get gas. I recalled a station right outside the park…again, knowledge I acquired from Jen…but it looked like it had been closed for about ten years. I ended up driving all the way to Salamanca…on the upside, it was on the reservation, so gas was very cheap.
When I got back to the cabin, I let Mark rest. I did my crossword puzzle on the porch. I read my book. It was peaceful. When he got up, he made a fire and I roasted some corn. Then we decided we weren’t going to make dinner yet, but I ate the corn anyway. It was great, and I would never have known how to do it if it weren’t for…Jen.
We went back to Science Lake for a bit (no luck,) and then got ice cream at the general store. Then we went back to the cabin again to cook steaks. I also made cherry pies in the fire, but I burned them, sadly. The one half that wasn’t burned was tasty, though. Mark tripped and almost burned his face off, but instead bumped his chin on a campfire rock and also split his hand open. I stitched him up.
We played cards for a bit, but mostly we just sat around talking. I don’t know how it is possible, sometimes, that we never run out of things to talk about. But we don’t.
In the morning, we packed up and headed out and drove to Derrick City, PA, and went to a diner there. We sat at the counter, and the food was delicious. Then we drove around Bradford for a while to kill time until 11am, when the Zippo factory opened.
Now, one time, I was in Bradford after an Allegany day trip with my friend Steve. We drove by the factory, and I wanted to go in but it was late and they were closed. Ever since I have wanted to go. Then I find out Mark has always wanted to go, too. So of course. It was so cool. They have a museum and store, and Mark bought his first very own Zippo. They also gave me a free replacement inside for mine, even though I had no proof that I owned one! I left mine at home and was upset I couldn’t get it fixed, but now it works like new.
We then left PA and drove to Scoby Dam in Springville. Again…no luck. Then, it was time to head home.
Overall, it was an amazing weekend. I had so much fun with Mark. He said it best this morning as I drove him to work: “It’s like I remembered why we got married.” I mean, you know why you got married, but when you’re in a long-term relationship, there are times when you get stuck in a daily routine, and you need to recharge your batteries. This was a perfect weekend for that.
!0 years together. 4 years married, on Thursday. And through it all, we are not only partners, but we are friends, which has always been important to me.
Anyhoo. Sorry for the long post, I just was to remember it, is all. And I want to give a shout out to not only my former Girl Scout leaders, but my old friend Jen-I don’t know if you’re reading this, but your expertise kept us alive this weekend.