I was out visiting my mom and dad in September just after the Eastbound Throwdown. I had just worked my last day in the office at my job of 33 years and I was doing exactly what I wanted to do. Spending more time with my mom and dad. I visited my brothers bar and helped him put a new roof on house. I played on my first senior golf tournament with my dad and his buddies. I just hung out trying to get used to the feeling of being retired. The week flew by. Mom and dad were telling me about a taking a road trip down through Pennsylvania, West Virginia to North Carolina, I really wanted to go, but I didn’t ask them then when I was there. I don’t know why. I was thinking that maybe I was going to cramp their style.
I headed home to Maine. My last official day of work came, where I had to go turn in my badge, my Mac computer and the corporate credit card. I was done. Now WHAT I GOING TO DO. I started taking my dog for daily walks. I often stopped by to see my buddy Bernie, who was doing some final finish work for Alison. I kept telling him that I didn’t expect to be feeling the way I did when I stopped working. He gave me some insight as to how I became institutionalized working for one job for so long. He suggested, “You should take a trip”.
He was right. I ended up calling up Mom and Dad and asked them if I could join them. “Of course. We would love it” they said. They had made plans to head to Pittsburgh Pa to see the Carrie Blast Furnaces, then go down through West Virginia to see a coal mine. Ultimately, the real destination on my mothers bucket list was to visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.
Well, we ended up doing all of that and then some. We had a wonderful educational and fun filled week. We stayed the first night in a hotel and then we did Airbnb for the rest of trip. Each place was so neat. A dome in Pittsburgh, Old Victorian Inn in Alderson, WV, tree top bungalow in Asheville, Dew Drop Inn in My Airy and nice town house in Strasburg, Virginia. Dad drove most of the trip. I was his navigator. Using Waze, I got him to where we needed to be. We found our nightly resting places, restaurants, diners and breweries. We found additional points of interest along the way, like the Greenbrier in West Virginia. They built a huge bunker there during the days of Ike. The days went by so quickly. It’s a trip that I will never forget. I can’t wait to go on another one with them.
Below is a video that I put together that shows some of the highlights. Enjoy!
Two weeks from today, I’m heading out to Telluride for a ski trip with my ski brothers. Yes I do mean brothers, in the ski monk sense. The posted video is back from the trip we took in Washington State in 2013. This year 2017, Colorado baby!!
Whether, we assemble on the mountain or even a cool cabin for the week we have a exceptional time. It’s like heading to some sort spirit camp. We often refer to our conclave as religious. We have Monks, Brothers, Cardinals. We celebrate, honor and observe throughout the day. Often we make a stop to reflect what lucky bastards we are.
Skiing, riding, telemark, you name it, it doesn’t matter how you go down the hill. When are are doing it, you are in the moment. You might have a tune on, that is just so perfect that you can’t help to grin from ear to ear. It is the best buzz. When everyone gets to bottom, you just look around and EVERYONE is happy.
If the timbers of what is now known as the Ransom Steele Tavern could talk, I would love to know what they are whispering. Maybe thank you? Can you imagine what it was like back in day in Apalachin, NY around 1830’s when the idea of this building located on the corner of Pennsylvania and Main was devised. Once the word got out about that a group of folks were going to fabricate a large public building, a new sense of community was born.
Large timbers were settled on and then brought down by a sharp bucksaw with a couple of strong backs. They were then dragged by the neighbor’s farm horse down to the local mill to get squared up The tools back in the day were simple. Chisels, mallets, draw knifes, sharpening stone and a vision. Timber framing demands a level of intimacy and dedication that tends to make people extend the limits of their abilities. When people extend their limits, tools will be asked to do the same.
Mortise and tenon joints, scarf joints and queen posts were all taking shape. Over the course of several months, maybe years, all the pieces were really coming togther. Armed with a mental image of what to develop, the frame starts to unfold, timber by timber, joint by joint, in a systematic way so that each timber can be visually seen and placed in the frame. Finally 4 timber frame bents are ready to be tipped up. A date was set for a barn raising. June 5, 1831, 184 years ago.
Standing on a large stump, Ransom thanked everyone for being here to help and then said, “The time has come to get these beautiful timber frames standing up and linked together. Afterwards lets celebrate with some fine food that the ladies have cooked. We’ll drink some of that brew Holmes makes and have a sip of that other libation that Barton makes all while we listen to those fiddle and banjo tunes that Forrest and Jewett have been playing. Thanks again everyone. Lets go!!”
The Apalachin Publick House was born.
I think this is what Mike, Steve and Michael felt once they started to pull back all the layers of the tavern. The tavern cried out to have them keep this be as a place of gathering for Apalachin. Every square inch of the Ransom Steele Tavern was touched over the past couples of years. The fact that a stage was one of the first things to built, set the stage, so to speak. Putting a stake in the ground to have another celebration at the Steele made it all real. The opening weekend was the start of new life for the historical tavern. It was like doing another barn raising all over again. Difficult to describe in words, but you can catch a glimmer of something special when you stand back after a barn raising and begin to realize what just happened. I like to think Ransom is in Mike’s shadow on opening night smiling.
Over the last week in June 2013 from NY, Maine, Texas, Georgia, and Illinois arrived the families and friends of the Miner family. The setting… well nothing but two beautiful lodges and two camps, a beach, kayaks, firepit and SUP’s (that’s for stand up paddleboard) all at a little lake in the southwest area of the Adirondack’ called White Lake. The lake was clear and refreshing and small enough to not get lost on. Most camps were not directly on the water, but their boathouses were. There was one these boathouses at the property we were at, which was being held back from falling into the lake by two large gauge wires, tied back to an old tree. It must have been a real classic in its hay day. There were 4 little changing rooms doors. Little getaways.
Great planning and coordination made it all happen. Families were assigned a meal to prepare and holy crap, did we eat. Everyone meals were fantastic. From homemade Mac&Cheese, to TexMex made fresh, onto the 25lb’s of brined pork tenderloin and tender…(pause for effect here) it was. Awesome desserts, snacks and ice cream. The food was outrageous.
The weather generally was good. Those who choose to adventure in or on the water had access to canoes, kayaks, SUP’s and foam float that provided endless screams of elation. There was also this little gas can which provided the environmental damage to the beach as we made cement, dams and castles for hours.
The children were the biggest trip. 1000’s of smiles and shrieks of joy and elation, to tired tears and temper tantrum and for the young parent’s, restful naps. Sometime you would even see a little one sticking her foot in her mouth that was covered in chocolate. I liked to believe that most of them will remember this time we had.
I know we all want to do it again. Time goes so fast, that we have to make it happen again. Cheers, peace and Love.
Below is link to a vid I made with all the pictures I took. Enjoy.
Last weekend, my brother and his family came out for a little ski vacation. I wanted to take them to Sugarloaf for a big Maine adventure. The last time we had skied together was back in the 1990’s. We had gone to Sunday River back then, but I wanted to show them the big dog in Maine. Sugarloaf USA.
We made plans back in October to line up a place. I found a nice condo about 10 minutes away. The crib was very nice and comfortable. As always, these weekends of fun and adventure come and go so fast. A bonus was the weekend before which we received a blizzard which certainly added to the pleasure of shooshing down the slopes.
Our intention was to ski 3 days, but Mother Nature displayed a nice blow of wind on Monday which put all the good lifts on wind hold. It was a gorgeous day, but the wind howled. For 24 hours! Tuesday turned out to be a real “corka” for skiing according to my Tueskidaze buddies. Oh what a difference 24 hours can make.
We still had a great time together. Millions laughs and smiles. Enclosed is little video of our weekend. “Taking Liberty’s @ Sugarloaf”. Enjoy.
Over the past several years, on New Years Day its tradition to take a walk out in the woods. The destination is little less than a mile, but that’s comforting since we are way out in the middle of the Maine wilderness. Following is a little clip our day.
Nuzzled down along the southern side of Susquehanna River, there is a little town known as Apalachin NY. I’m not sure if its is even town, considering there really isn’t a downtown. Maybe that will change if the tavern’s doors open again. In order to be a town, don’t you think there should at least be a downtown or even an uptown. Apalachin could be a township or a village, but I think its really classified as a hamlet.
Anyway, there is this really cool place in Apalachin called the Apalachin Tavern. It was built in 1831. The stone foundation of this timber frame building is impressive. Four feet wide and as straight and true as the time it was first laid some hundred and eighty years ago. My brother and his wife recently bought this joint and decided to open its doors to celebrate a milestone birthday and give family and friends the opportunity to work off some of the Thanksgiving day calories to a little foot-stomping music.
My Sensei and I spent a couple of afternoons building a timberframe bent. After driving some pegs in her to sturdy her up, we were ready to raise her in ceremonial fashion. Fortunately for us, the Hound happened to stop by. Impecable timing to say the least. Especially, since I told him that I was recording as a keepsake. Enjoy this mixed vid of raising the beam in place. Keep an eye on the Hound. Both of them.