Van Trip Summer 2015

My memory is not what it used to be so I want to post our trip from last summer before we head out on more journeys.
We left our home to head up north to the Finger lake region on Friday August 14th and stopped in to visit Ron’s cousin Nick Ippoliti who has a pretty cool place out in secluded Orange , NY. He works on-line and found an amazing property he is cleaning up and preparing for more guests I suppose. He does have a big family. We parked our van in a wooded area and had a nice fire that evening and plenty of good food and drink. In the morning I enjoyed walking on some of the nearby trails. Wish we had more time to hang around as it was beautiful and very peaceful.








Saturday we made our way to Keuka State Park and then checked in with the Peasantman race people in Penn Yan, NY. We set up camp and started dinner. Our friend Mary Pat showed up just in time and we had a nice dinner with salmon, potatoes, greens, and white wine. We had a race in the morning so we went to bed early. In the morning we headed out for our half iron distance triathlon. It was a super small race but I loved the grass roots feeling of it and all the volunteers were amazingly helpful and pleasant. I did well up until the second half of the run where the heat and my stomach no longer agreed with moving forward. I did get first in age group and was knighted by a queen! After the race we cleaned up and had a delicious dinner with friends (Diane, David, Ellen, Izabella, and Mary Pat came too) at an amazing restaurant Stone Cat Cafe outside of Watkins Glen. We headed back to the camp ground to sleep.
We woke and hung out at Keuka S.P in the morning and went swimming even though there was lots of seaweed. Met a nice older couple who come there every year. We then headed to Watkins Glen and checked into the SP there and went for a short walk. In the morning we ran the trails around the gorge. It was early so not congested with tourists yet. Loved doing this! We cleaned up and headed to Ithaca and parked in front of Ellen’s home.


Paul made dinner as it was a work day for Ellen. We drank lots of wine and had a great evening. In the morning we did some exploring and walked the Cascadilla Falls up to Cornell.


There is just so much beauty in the Finger Lakes Its hard to absorb it all. We stopped at a coffee shop and then headed to the Johnson Museum where we spent a good part of the day in the exhibits and lounging on the great wooden reclining chairs outside. It was warm out so I felt the need for a swim. We went to Cayuga Lake and swam off the rocks. Paul helped with a sailboat that had gotten grounded by accident in the wind.








We met up with friends Jenny and Warren Bunn’s at their home and parked our van there. We went to Trumansburg for dinner at the Rongovian Embassy (made up but has documents to look official) and then sang songs in the driveway till the wee hours. In the morning, after destroying the electrical system on their washing machine (yikes!) we headed out for another run towards the Taughannock Falls.


It was part of a race I did earlier in the summer but this time Paul and I ran the upper trail all around the gorge. Challenging and we were tired and hungry. We drove next to meet up with The Marvelous family. Jen was not there but Milan and the girls showed us their land and we had dinner. Everyone was tired from the day so we headed off to sleep and connected back up in the morning.


Paul helped Milan by driving him into Ithaca to see purchase various bits of hardware and get some paperwork done for their upcoming trip around the world. I hung out all day and had the most marvelous time with the Marvelous females. We hauled wood for the upcoming burn, played cards when we needed a break, swam naked in a fresh water pond, and the girls showed me their archery skills. I am just going to say that I was in a happy la, la land. Something about nature and freedom of clothes, time, necessities and dirt. lots of sweat and dirt. Hmmm… I didn’t really want to go, but then there was this museum waiting for us to visit. The Corning Museum where Warren Bunn is¬†Collections and Exhibitions Manager. The drive took a while but when we got there we found that Warren made time to show us around. We had a private tour that could not be matched. He knew everything about every piece of art. We even ended up in the basement at one point and looked into a room where they stored things that are not currently on display. We saw Everything!! I know Warren is proud and he should be. The place is fabulous and I highly recommend visiting if you get a chance.








Okay, Its the same day and we are headed to Chautauqua. Mary Pat and Jack have a summer home here and its really hard to explain. Feels somewhat fake but at the same time its really lovely. Cute homes, lakeside, education, theater, guest speakers, music and more. We saw Carol Burnett on our first night. I am a big fan.
The next morning we went on a bike ride around the lake. 42 miles. It was pretty easy for me, and even Paul mostly managed fine, and it managed to be scenic most of the way. We had to finagle passes to get in and out as Chautauqua is a gated community, and we were technically trespassing. We had a nice dinner at their home on the back porch and then headed to an orchestra concert – a premier of a work by Wynton Marsalis, which neither of us found particularly compelling.

The next day we were off again and driving to Wisconsin. We stopped part way through the drive and did a hot run on the Wabash Cannonball Trail. We got super hungry because of running and so we had dinner outside of Chicago (in Skokie) at a tapas place we found on Yelp. Really good food and a good find. We arrived late and crashed. Next day we took it easy. I ran a short 3 mile loop around my parents. Visiting time. We decided Tuesday to run the ice age trail by Holy Hill. We ran for almost 10 miles. It was really pretty but challenging in some places. Paul made dinner. Mom was not feeling well after doctor visit.

Next day, Wed. August 26th we left my parents in the evening and had dinner with my high school friend Debbie and her husband Rick at Alpine Retreat. We even had a grasshopper(drink) for dessert. It was so nice to see her and catch up. We drove to my brother Matt’s new home on Lake Winnebago and stayed up for a little bit with him and my niece Alexan. In the morning Matt was eager to show us around. I went for a swim in the lake and then he tried to get Paul and I up windsurfing. We were not too successful. We also cut out feet on sharp shells on the lake bottom. Oh well. We took Matt’s boat to Oshkosh for lunch and went to a place with micro brewed beer which I enjoyed. There was a crazy jet pack water skier on the lake to amuse us while we ate, and then we took the boat back to Matt’s.


Up early on Friday, to have breakfast with another childhood friend, Karreen Graham and her children and children’s children at a local truck stop. Good breakfast food and good service and I do love Karreen and reminiscing ¬†about all the fun we used to have. She is a biker chick now! Tattoos and all, way cool. Ryan, her son, was especially curious about the van and the solar panels. Paul helped him climb the ladder to see them. We said our good byes and headed to Madison to see the sisters! Paul made dinner, again, because Anne worked all day. Pat, Anne, Luna, Inde, George Carrie, and Milo were all there. Lots and Lots of Vino. I woke the next morning with a headache. Not the best way to start your 50th birthday.


I decided to do what I love, run! I took off and ran past Monona Terrace towards Turville Point Conservation Park. I enjoyed the run and doing some trails inside the park. In the evening my siblings took me to a nice restaurant and gave me thoughtful presents. Everyone was pooped but Paul and I walked to a festival down the street and listened to some pretty groovy music. Next day it was off and driving toward home. We stopped at a State Park in Ohio called West Branch. Very quiet and I took a short evening swim. Beautiful. In the morning Paul and I got up and ran about 7 miles of trails in the park before heading out toward the PA Turnpike and the increasingly familiar drive back home.