It’s been a couple months since my last post, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doin’ nuthin’! Just busy in all aspects of life but this morning I made myself sit down and finally write out this post from my adventures in NY State back in late October to the New York Sheep & Wool Festival, fondly nicknamed “Rhinebeck” after the town it is held in.
I didn’t go alone, but went with my trusty weaving/fibery sidekick Kathy, Northern Homestead neighbour and all around great gal to get in trouble with.
She drove to my southern home after flying in from Seattle, WA where she had taken a week long weaving course, since her southern home is another hour and half beyond mine from the airport, I said you may as well crash at my place and we’ll head out in the morning. After a short night of sleep, we got up, loaded her SUV with our luggage and we were off. A short 45 minutes to the U.S. border and we were on our way to Rhinebeck, NY
The way down was an uneventful trip, about 6.5 hours from the border until we arrived in Poughkeepsie, NY where our hotel was booked. Hubby has boatloads of hotel points from his years of working out of town so this trip was arranged utilizing hotel points, thus saving us more money to be spent on fiber goodies! After arriving at the hotel, we dumped our luggage and headed out to explore the nearest bookstore (Kathy is a book fanatic) as well stop in at the local JoAnns for fabric I had pre-ordered to be delivered to that location.
Once our initial shopping was done, we hit the Texas Roadhouse for dinner, one of my favourite restaurants due to their buttery pillows of yumminess that they drop on everyone’s table.
After supper we headed back to the hotel after stopping to pick up adult bevereges for the room (beer of course!). The next morning we were up early, showered and after downing the free breakfast offerings in the hotel lobby, we were on our way to the little town of Rhinebeck and NY States largest fleece and fiber festival.
The fairgrounds in Rhinebeck are set against a lovely backdrop of rolling hills adorned with the colours of fall. It was a gorgeous day with sunshine and a bright blue sky with mild temperatures. After paying our admission, we looked at the map of the fairgrounds to scope out what to see first. There were literally hundreds of vendors in many, many buildings sprinkled throughout the fairgrounds. It was going to be a fun day of yarn fondling and sheep ogling!
After a very looong day of wandering around and well past the 5 p.m. closing time of the festival, we made our way back out to the car with our ‘loot’ and headed back to the hotel…where our adventures were about to take a turn.
We arrived to see several plumbing company vehicles backed up to the exterior door at one end of the hotel with a generator running….uh oh…not a good sign. We head up to our room to drop off our booty….
and then down to the front desk to see what the commotion was about. No water. The entire hotel had no water due to a watermain break under the floor of the east wing of the hotel. We were on the 2nd floor and immediately above where the workers were jackhammering up the floor of the room below us.
Lovely. Just lovely…..
The hotel had no idea when water would be restored and they were handing out bottled water to all guests…um…wouldn’t you just need to use the facilities after drinking bottled water and the facilities didn’t work? Well, we were not going to hang around and find out.
I emailed hubby to have him look for another hotel that we could move to and after a few minutes, he came back with one room left in a hotel just outside Albany, which was a good hour north of Poughkeepsie. With the festival in town, every hotel within a 50 mile radius of Rhinebeck was full, so we packed up, checked out of the drought-ridden hotel and headed up to Albany, which meant we would not be able to head back to Rhinebeck for the 2nd day of the festival (insert sad face).
By the time we pulled out of the hotel lot, it was dark, which meant the drive up to Albany wasn’t going to be much fun in the deer infested state of New York. For those that have never been to NY State, it is one of the most heavily populated states in the north-east for deer, and sure enough, I lost count of how many were browsing at the side of the interstate, their eyes glowing in our headlights as we passed them.
We safely arrived at the hotel and proceeded to check in to the last remaining room of the hotel, a spacious room with an even bigger bathroom but with one hitch, there was only one king sized bed. Oh well, good thing Kathy and I are good friends! Since we didn’t really get any supper, we wolfed down the leftovers from the night before at Texas Roadhouse, which included these rattlesnake bites that were amazing the second time around.
After slugging down a couple cold beers with cold leftovers, we hit the sack to make the trek back home the next morning. Since we were already 1 hours drive from Rhinebeck, it made no sense to drive back down for the day and then turn around and head back, plus, we only had the room for one night and it wasn’t available the next night.
Sunday morning dawned and after showering and packing up, we hit the Starbucks across the road for coffee and tea and headed west. About 2 hours into the drive, I began to notice an unusual hum somewhere in the drive train of Kathy’s SUV. We stopped at an Interstate gas station to fill up and use the facilities and when pulling into a parking space, her car “clunked” when she put it in park. We both looked at each other and thought the same thing….uh oh, what the hell was that?!
After using the loo, we got back in the car and drove around to the other side to fill up, the car behaved when put into park so we thought maybe it wasn’t engaged into park fully the last time….so onward!
After another couple hours, we stopped again to use the loo (what goes in, must go out!) and as we coasted into the parking lot, her car suddenly went out of gear. She coasted into a parking space and shifted into park. Well, not only did the car CLUNK loudly like last time, it lurched a good foot and a half forward!
Much swearing ensued….
After using the facilities again, we came back out to the car and after starting it up, it would not go into gear, any gear. Not forward, not backward, nothing. More swearing….
Next to the service station was a satellite State Trooper building so we walked over to ask for some help but the station isn’t manned as it just for troopers to park their civilian cars and take their cruisers out on the interstate. So we walked back to pretty much deceased vehicle and while Kathy was looking up a non-emergency police telephone number, I was emailing hubby to tell him of our latest demise. We were still a good 3 hours from home, just outside the lovely hamlet of Geneva, NY, so hubby jumped into action to find another hotel room because clearly, her car wasn’t moving without either divine intervention or a dealership garage.
Within 20 minutes a tow truck was on site and the dead SUV and ourselves were loaded onto the tow truck…
The driver of the tow truck was also the owner/operator and a fabulous sport posing for a photo with Kathy. Since it was Sunday and pretty much all garages were closed, we headed to his compound and he graciously allowed her vehicle to stay there while we tried to sort out where we would take it the next morning. Meanwhile, hubby had found us a hotel room in Geneva and the tow truck owner’s wife was on her way to pick us up and drive us to our hotel. Totally unnecessary but seriously appreciated! We piled into her pickup with all our luggage and fiber purchases and headed to the cute town of Geneva located on the northern shore of Seneca Lake. Smack in the middle of NY wine country and highly scenic to boot.
On our way to the hotel and telling the owners wife of our adventures to date, she said you must be in need of a stiff drink, well, yes, but we didn’t have any and where would be a good place to get some for the room we asked? She said the closest grocery store is about a mile from the hotel and since we were going by it, she amazingly offered to stop there so I could run in and grab a 12 pack of cold ones. Seriously, this tow company went above and beyond for us, we could not thank them enough, if you are ever stuck in Geneva, NY area, call Hart Towing, they will not let you down.
Once at our 3rd hotel in as many days, we checked in and looked around online as to where we could go for dinner, there was a nice restaurant a stone’s throw from the hotel so we walked over for some much needed sustenance. The name of it was The Cobblestone, a gorgeous old farmhouse turned into a restaurant.
The next morning she was up early and phoning the 2 dealerships in the area to see which one could get her vehicle in for assessment and repair. A couple hours later the tow company dropped her car off at the chosen dealership and we waited for several more hours while they performed an in-depth examination. Meanwhile, we only had the hotel room booked for one night hoping that the dealership would be able to fix her car that day (praying it was something easy!), but by 4 pm, we still hadn’t heard from them and we had to check out of our room. We were able to hang around in the lobby while we waited as the sympathetic hotel staff said to take as long as you need to figure out what to do. Not long after Kathy got the call that the car needed a part and of course, they didn’t have one in stock and it would be couriered to the dealership the next morning. Back I went to hubby via email and he booked the room again for the night, thank goodness for hotel points!
We moved our luggage et al back into the same room we vacated an hour or so earlier and sat down in the room for a much needed adult beverage (or two or three) until we started to get hungry. There was a restaurant in the plaza beside the hotel so we decided to walk over and check it out. It was a small, craft brewery type place called Kindred Fare and we both decided on the Chef’s Menu offering of a 3 course prix fixe….oh my yummy goodness, it had the best duck confit I have ever tasted! (shhh…don’t tell my duckie buddies up north) and the most amazing ice cream for dessert. Normally I don’t eat desserts at restaurants but with our adventures to date, may as well splurge! If you are ever in the area for a wine tour, definitely hit this place up, you will not be disappointed. You can view their menu here: http://kindredfare.com/
Once we were stuffed to gills, we waddled back across the parking lot to our hotel and plopped down for an evening of tv and cold bevvies.
The next morning we got up, showered, had breakfast in the hotel and then packed back up to hopefully head out once her car received whatever transplants it needed. A couple hours later we piled into the dealership courtesy car and headed to pick up her beast….and we were finally on our way back to Canada…
Just before we crossed the border back into the Great White north we decided to stop at the Niagara Falls outlet mall for some last minute shopping and a quick bite for dinner. Several hours later we were finely pulling into the back parking lot of my condo building and as she eased her car into a visitor parking space…it promptly “clunked” loudly and lurched to a stop.
Seriously, we could not make this stuff up. We decided her car was possessed and got out and unloaded my luggage and purchases and hauled everything upstairs. I had hubby go down with her to check on the vehicle and after trying to drive around the parking lot with it coming in and out of gear, it was left for a timeout in a parking space.
She called her hubby who ended up driving the hour and a bit to our place to pick her up and take her home. A few days later, a tow truck was sent to pick up the possessed vehicle and take it back to her hometown for burial…or cremation…or something.
1,300 kilometers and 5 days later, our Rhinebeck adventure came to a close. Memories we will surely laugh about for many years to come!