1998 Europe Travel Journal

I found the following Travel Journal in a bag of my old stuff given to me by my mother.  It’s from my from my Trip to Europe with school in 1998.

I’ve provided it below, unedited And awesome. I’ve left it mostly intact and punctuation preserved for your enjoyment.  Go ahead and laugh, I did.

4/16/1998

Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn. ~Joseph Addison, Chicago Cultural Center (former library)

I expect Germany will be like country kind of towns with lots of public transportation and then in the big cities more very modern looking buildings and I expect the people will be very friendly.

4/17/1998

The towns here just kind of end.  And then there is nothing for miles.  Walking in Rothenburg was like walking back a few centuries.  Even in the smallest town, which is where we are staying, there is a bus stop.

4/18/1998

Today we went to Dachau.  It was interesting.  There were many more concentration camps than I thought there were.  I guess we only hear of the big ones.  I also learned that Dachau’s gas chambers were never used to kill anyone.  The gas chambers at Dachau were never used and nobody knows why.  It was strange being at one of the Nazi concentration camps where people actually died by the hundreds.

4/19/1998

We had to get up at 5:45 this morning which meant I got about 5hrs of sleep.  That stunk.  We headed out to Neuschwanstein, Ludwig II‘s castle.  When we got there we hiked up the mountain to the castle and toward it.  After touring the castle we went up on the bridge that was a few hundred feet high.

4/20/1998

Today was travel day.  We have to go to Venice which is about an 8hr trip but we stopped a lot along the way.  Our travel plans were sort of changed because of some snow conditions.  Instead of going to Innsbruck on the way to Venice we stopped at Salzburg.  That was just as good because Mr Stoker lived there for a while and showed us around quite a bit.  I bought some spoons there while shopping and a chocolate pretzel which was very good but was so rich I could only eat 1/2 of it. When we got to Venice it was suppertime and we had pasta and then some viel stuff hat I didn’t like at all.  After all that just our group went out and walked around the town we were staying in (not Venice but close).

4/21/1998

Today was the best shopping day so far.  When we got up we ate (the same thing for the 6th time in a row) and then took the bus to a boat.  When we got to the boat we had to wait about 10 minutes before they got started.  Then it was about a 15min ride.  After that we took a 2hr tour around Venice and saw the “sights.”  I imagined Venice to be much better than it was, but it was really a dump.  But I suppose if you build a city on top of water it will tend to do that.  We had freetime for about 6hrs and then went back to the hotel.  The worst part about the day was it rained for most of it.  In Venice it normally is quite whet though, so…  They even have planks a foot off the ground to walk on in case what they call a (double high tide) happens.

4/22/1998

This morning we left from Venice for Verona and then on to Lucerne.  Today for once it’s not raining.  Big surprise!  It’s travel day and it’s not raining because we’re not doing anything.  It took about 10hrs to get from Venice to Lucerne.  I only got about 1hr of sleep on the bus.  When we got to Luzern nothing really happened, we ate then hung out for a while and went to sleep.

That’s it.  Which is really sad, because Lucerne was my favorite part of the trip.  I think Switzerland really spoke to the outdoorsman in me.  This makes me wish I had kept a real journal of everything.

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Saranac Ice Palace

The 2010 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is about to kick off and I was planning on stopping by. My parents visited the Ice Castle last year and I never got the chance so it was on the list for this year. You can see a Time Lapse of the build from last year below:

They started building the one for this year this past week and you can watch the progress on the Webcam below (updated every few seconds):

Ice Palace Webcam

With all the rain and the warm temperatures… It doesn’t look good for the palace, but here’s hoping it only slowed the process and didn’t kill it.

Hope I get to see it this year.

Our First Climb – Crane Mountain

In 2005 we climbed our first mountain (Crane Mountain) together. I had climbed a few in the past but this was our first together.  We were spending a week in the Lake George area and what better way to explore the region than from above?

While not the tallest mountain we’ve climbed, it was pretty intense with several incredibly steep rocky sections.  One of the steepest sections even had a ladder, which was good because being our first mountain together… we didn’t exactly have scaling equipment.

As is always the truth in the Adirondacks, the views from the top were simply amazing.  It was on this climb that we really learned how rewarding such a strenuous hike can be.  On our way back down we passed by a little pond and it was so hot  we were going to take a dip.  However; when we took a closer look we realized it was infested with leaches.  Nice!

It was really a good choice for our first Mountain Climb.  The trail wasn’t that long, but intense, and the views were stunning.

We might go back some day, maybe with the little one.

Crane Mountain will always hold a special place in our memory.

We Came We Saw We Crawled (In Rome)

When Charles, Rachel and I visited Rome in 2005 the last thing I expected to do was drink until the sun came up.

That’s exactly what happened.

We stayed in the Yellow Hostel in the middle of Rome and, although we didn’t know it until the second night, we were bunking(in the same room not the same bed) with two Australian girls in town for the weekend from their Nanny jobs in Milan. Rachel quickly made friends and what do you know but they both had a thing for partying.  They told us about this pub crawl starting at the Spanish Steps they had heard of:  $25 for a t-shirt, a drink and deals at every bar/club and a night of spending time with people from all over the world drinking till we forget it happened!? Sweet, where do we sign?

We literally drank until the sun came up and we had to catch the bus to the airport to fly back to London. One of the girls didn’t come back with us. No news on how her night went, but since she went home with one of the guys on the crawl with us, you can draw your own conclusions…  Our reward for the night was a shirt that said ‘We came we saw we crawled’ that lasted about 5 washes and a hangover (on the Ryan Air plane) that you wouldn’t believe.

Seriously though, we had an awesome time and have some great stories to share. Getting kicked off city buses in the middle of nowhere, BJ contests  in the bar, drinking beer at the top of the Spanish steps, drunken German speak, drunken French speak. Good times.

That said, if you get a chance to pub crawl in Rome, Do it!

Horseshoe Lake

Man I love it up here!

There’s three ways into Horseshoe Lake but I can only recommend one of them in good conscience. Riding the railroad tracks is no fun. Not unless they’re groomed. The first few miles from Conifer to Horseshoe were groomed and beautiful. 55mph was nothing. Then the groomer turned around and holy cow, forget it! We toughed it out but I almost wished we’d turned around right there. Washboard the whole way.

If you want to go to Horseshoe I recommend taking 7A right to the front door.

On our way back up 7A (the way we should have come in) we met Wes and Donald. Kinda funny meeting someone you know miles and miles in the middle of nowhere.  We stopped and said hello for a few minutes and then went our separate ways.  Back to Diamond by way of

Not sure what I think about possibly taking the railroad to Tupper Lake to get us to Lake Placid for that trip… we’ll see. might have to wait for a day with some fresh snow and hope for a groomer.

A good day of riding, around 100 miles. Horseshoe is a pretty little lake, but I’d stay off the railroads to get there if I were you.

Miles on the sled this season: 198

The Backwoods Inn

Dad and I got up late today, had a nice ham and egg breakfast and then headed out on the trails with no specific destination in mind.

As is often the case in our neck of the Adirondacks, we ended up only a few miles from The Backwoods Inn (previously known as Ham’s Inn) around lunchtime.

It’s an awesome little local bar/restaurant. The top of the bar has pictures of the locals embedded in a clear coat of some kind. There’s a Newfoundland that likes to wander around inside and out and greets every snowmobiler that comes through the door.

The menu is just typical American food: subs, wings, burgers etc but the food is excellent and their portions are insanely huge. They have a multiple-pound-burger that’s free if you eat it all. Even their normal sized burger is too big for most people.  Dad had a regular burger and could only finish half of it.  I had a grilled ham and cheese and couldn’t even come close to finishing the fries.

Its located on route 56 in Parishville right near the route 3 intersection. Filled with local flair and great food.  If you’re looking for it from the snowmobile trails it’s on 73 on the eastern most section of 7A right along route 56.

Eat there if you get the chance!

The Right Equipment

Well, I did it again. I forgot my boots!

Normally I’m a stickler for the right gear. When Rachel and I go mountain climbing we carry day packs and wear zip-offs and fast drying active-wear clothes because I think it’s important. Our packs are filled with matches, filters, fire starters, emergency warmers, first aid kits and pretty much everything else we’d need in case we get stranded and need to spend a night or two in the woods. All because I believe in the right equipment.

Twice this year Ive forgotten my boots. The first time I had to buy a pair on the way up because I was going to be spending extended time periods standing in the woods (hunting). This time I’ll be snowmobiling which for those of you who don’t do it might sound cold, but it’s not too bad while you’re riding. When you stop it might be an issue but I don’t do a lot of that.

I’m gonna try it with my Goretex semi-insulated L.L. bean shoes and a heavy pair of wool socks. we’ll see…

UPDATE: just as expected it was plenty warm while riding. Stepping off the trail into snow banks is another story however. It’ll be good enough to get me through the weekend. I won’t forget my boots again though.

When a Hunter Should Sue

Most lawsuits I hear about are completely ridiculous and the people are out to get nothing more than a quick paycheck.  That being said…

I think my Father should sue.

One day, about 3 years ago, he started seeing a tiny spot in his right eye if he looked in one specific direction while turning his head in one specific way.  The next day it got a little bigger so he immediately went to the eye doctor who didn’t know what was happening.  The eye doctor sent him to a specialist.  However; the specialist couldn’t see him for about a week.

By the time my father got to see the specialist, the vision in his right eye was almost entirely foggy and blurry.  He could barely see out if his right eye.  The first thing the specialist says?  “The eye doctor should have sent you to the Emergency room immediately.”

Something in the back of his eye started bleeding and the gray foggy spot was the blood spreading over his retina.  If he had been sent to the emergency room instead of waiting for a specialist they could have cauterized the bleeding and he would still have his vision.  It was too late to do anything and unfortunately he is now blind in his right eye.

I didn’t really think much about it until this year.

He’s been hunting for 50+ years with his right hand and eye.  When he first lost his vision he spent a lot of time trying to learn to shoot with his left.  He even bought a new single shot rifle just to practice with.

This year my father shot at a few deer but he didn’t get one.  He took a lot of crap for it too.  My father, the expert marksman, who had officers placed bets on his accuracy while he was in basic training, has gone from getting 5 deer a year to 0.

Before you say it’s because he’s getting old… Bullshit.  He gets around and travels the woods more than most guys in their teens and twenties, myself included.  He shot at more deer than anyone else I know this year too.  He still has issues pulling up on his left is all.  I could go into details but that’s not really the point.

The point is, some screwy eye Doctor doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing and could likely cause someone else to lose their vision too.  A few things just made me realize it’s affected my father more than I originally realized and more than he lets on.

My Father should Sue.

In the meantime, if you see a gray fuzzy spot in your vision, go to the emergency room not the eye doctor!

2010 Goals

Ok, so my 2009 goals were a bit lame despite my efforts. Here’s to a better set of goals for this year and therefor better results! Some of these stem from what I see as some personal failures in 2009, others are just brand new.

Join an activity group on a regular basis. this can be anywhere from Geocaching to Flickr meetups to the ADK club outings to toastmasters. The point is to do something on a regular basis in order to forge some new relationships. We’ve started with ADK but we didn’t keep up with the meetings.

Don’t hesitate when given an opportunity. If I want to do something, do it, if I don’t, likewise. This is something I really need to work on.  I tend to flip flop and wait until the last minute to make decisions on things like this.

Run a profitable Photography business. Given my goals of last year this one almost seems comical. However my first income will be coming in 2010, and my planned expenses are minimal, just some equipment rental for said income. This probably won’t be hard to do.

Do 2 weddings. Along the same lines as above. I’ve got one booked already and I have another possibility. I’d like to start booking some more but if I can manage 2 this year, maybe I can double that next year and then really get something going. If you know someone looking for a Photographer please let me/them know!

Finish the work in the basement. this isn’t a real finishing job, it just means some cleaning (a LOT), implementing some better storage solutions, doing some wiring work and fixing the lighting situation. Still though, some things I’ve been dragging my feet on and just need to get done.

Buy a new house. We pretty much need a miracle for this to happen without selling our current home(which we don’t want to do). We need to though, we’re outgrowing our current home. Not so much the floor plan, but the yard and the storage. That along with a new member of the family coming soon pretty much necessitates a new, bigger house. which brings me to my next goal:

Do everything in my power to ensure the well-being of our new child. This is pretty self explanatory but something not everyone might think about is:

Lead by example. We can’t hope to have a child with healthy habits if we don’t first develop them ourselves. This applies to everything from sleeping properly to exercising regularly to only watching extremely minute amounts of television. This might seem too broad to be a goal, but the idea here is to simply be aware of my decisions and their implications on my own life and for the little one.

Lose 20lbs by May. Lose Another 20 by the end of the year. The first 20 I’ve done several times and isn’t really that difficult for me. the second 20… that will put me back to my junior year of college weight, and will be far more difficult to do. I don’t think keeping it off will be an issue since I’ll have done it by (re)developing better habits, NOT a diet.

Some carry-overs from last year:

  • increase the size of our emergency fund (again!)
  • complete the first floor of the house
  • sell at least one photo
  • EXPERIENCE one sunsets or sunrises a month.  This means actually watching and enjoying it, not just noticing out a window.

2010 is going to be a really exciting year!

2009 – How I Did

It’s funny, looking back on the goals I set at the beginning of the year, some of them were kind of silly, others weren’t even goals.  Either way, I didn’t do too bad.

  • Volunteer at least 4 times
    • Didn’t happen.. :(.  I volunteered on the United Way day of Caring and that’s it.  Wish I would have followed through on this one.
  • Quadruple the size of our Emergency Fund
    • Check
  • Take a 3 – 4week vacation on the west coast
    • Check
  • Buy a DSLR
    • Check
  • Win at least one photo contest
    • Sadly, Didn’t enter any…
  • Sell at least one photo
    • Sold my services twice, I guess that counts?
  • Reduce my wardrobe by 25%
    • Check
  • See at least 25 sunsets and 25 sunrises
    • Check, some weeks saw many, other none.  It all balances out.
  • Complete and release Mivity
    • Right… Mivity is canned, the Domain expired and I didn’t renew it.  If you have an idea for it feel free, I just decided I had other priorities.
  • Work out at least 3 times per week for 30minutes at a time
    • Started out the year and into the summer very good on this one, Unfortunately due to other obligations, later into the summer and the rest of the year, I Fell short.  I’ll be picking this up in the new year.
  • Finish the 1st floor of the house
    • Didn’t happen but we’re very close, looking like the middle to end of January.