Thursday, October 20, 2011

State College & Ithaca, NY

The pull of home gets stronger, like gravitational attraction. Just a few more stops to go! First off was State College, Pennsylvania. We've heard good things about this place, and it seemed a proper destination for Nancy's birthday. Bald Eagle State Park, 20 miles north of town, served as our base for a couple of days. Another good park with nice big sites and electricity. This time of year we don't need leashes or fences for the dogs, although we'd have been better off if we had used them, but more on that later...(and when I say "more on" I mean "moron").

Nancy's 29th birthday (Ha!) got started when I prepared her favorite breakfast: biscuits and sausage gravy. The day's weather turned pleasant enough, so we took the dogs for a nice walk and then headed down to State College for the afternoon and dinner. We drove through the Penn State campus, impressed with its magnitude, and with the throngs of students that we saw on the move throughout. We parked downtown, which is always an adventure in Gigantor, whose massive bulk is not well suited to city street parking. Anyway, once her ample hips were squeezed into a spot, we disembarked and explored the town and campus on foot.

For dinner we went for sushi, but first got set up with a pair of mai tai's, one an old school cocktail, and one the common fruity version:

We enjoyed our dinner, and Nancy continues to expand her repertoire, now including the delightful avocado...

Back at camp, Toby provided us with a less celebratory activity: bathing him thoroughly after he went after a skunk! This is what I get for letting him out to pee off-leash!

The last thing we wanted now, or anytime for that matter, is a skunky dog. His instincts in the aftermath of his anointment were to rub his face on everything. We did the best we could to shampoo the smell away, but this particular aroma is tenacious, and we feared that it would attach itself to the carpet and fabrics of The Whale's interior. Thankfully, it seems that the lingering odor follows Toby, and will not be a lingering issue for our interior. Ah, the joys of dog ownership!

We had planned to overnight in Wellsboro, PA, a town we visited early in this trip, and which we liked a lot. The state park campground where we planned to stay had closed for the season, however, so we revised our itinerary, and just stopped in town for lunch. Truck and trailer were a bit much for Main Street parking, so we found a gas station and got permission to leave the Whale there while we drove the truck in for lunch. We went to the same sandwich shop we'd eaten at before, and once again had a nice lunch.

From there we headed into the great state of New York, and eased ourselves into the driveway of my grandfather's home in Ithaca:

We had a nice visit with my Uncle Jake...

...and with Grandpa , who will be 96 in December.

Grandpa, with his dog Brownie on his lap, spends a lot of time reading, his mind just as hungry for information as always. We share many great memories of times gone by.

And speaking of memories or times gone by, in a few days such will be the case for Nancy and I and our North American Tour. One more stop to empty our tanks, and we're home! Wow....home...

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