Days 9 - 11
Trip Start Jul 11, 2008
14Trip End Jul 27, 2008
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On hiatus in Hamburg, NY, a suburb of Buffalo. We stayed in my sister Mary's driveway, which worked out really well. We arrived on Friday and spent the afternoon swimming capped off with famous "Beef on Weck" sandwiches, which were a hit with all. Friday evening we went to see my niece Allie play fast pitch softball. They lost but Allie had some good plays.
Saturday was a day of four different festivals in the Buffalo area: Canal Fest, Italian Fest, Polish Fest, and Burger Fest (I think I got them all right). We chose Burger Fest which was right in Hamburg. Hamburg claims to be the inventor of the hamburger. The original burger is a bit unusual and includes coffee grounds in the recipe. I didn't have one but those that did in our family thought they were tasty. We had some pulled pork sandwiches, bar-b-que beef sandwiches and fried dough of course. Later we watched a bed race down Main Street , which was pretty funny.
That evening my brother Johnny and his wife Cindy came to visit. We all enjoyed pizza and wings. We were surprised by how much we liked the bar-b-que wings as well as the regular Buffalo style ones. We had been telling our boys how great the pizza in NY was, but they couldn't really see how it could be much different than California pizza. They agreed it really is better. It has to do with the pepperoni we think. It was great catching up with Johnny and sharing stories.
"The Beast Gets Squeezed"
Sunday our plan was to go on the Miss Buffalo boat tour of the harbor but we were disappointed to find out that it only runs Tuesday-Friday. Instead, we decided to take Mary's family on a motor home ride and we went to the Buffalo harbor to look around and learned a bit of history about the Erie Canal. Afterward, we decided to take the kids to see a 3-D movie, Journey to the Center of the Earth. I am proud to say that I only hit the poor person I was sitting next to (Adam) once when something "jumped" out at me from the screen.
We had arrived at the movies at about 1pm. The parking lot was only about ½ full if that when we went in. We had parked the 35 foot long motorhome way out in the parking lot to the right of the movies using two spots. Well, to our surprise and dismay when we came out the parking lot was 99.9% full AND the lovely person parking on our right hand side in some kind of black car had parked very c lose, so much so that we had trouble opening the door to get in. That wouldn't have been so bad, but we now were not able to swing this long motor home to get out. Anytime we are trying to park the Beast of a motor home, especially back up, I get out of and call Vince on his cell phone and talk him through the process to the best of my ability. This time Mary's husband Jeff comes out with me(I couldn't have done it without him) and takes the back, I take the front and we try to help Vince get out of the tight space. We had only inches to work with as we pulled forward and back to worm our way out. I almost had more than one heart attack, Jeff was using his Superman powers and actually putting his hand between the bikes on the bike rack that stick out of the back of the motor home and the car behind it. There were many points when I did not think it would work, we were SOOOOO close to Mr. Lovely black car, and people in cars looking for parking spots actually had the audacity of coming down the aisles we were working in only to find they had to back up, but eventually we did make it.
It was funny because we had been talking to Jeff's dad who just returned from Utah, having visited Zion and Bryce National Parks on a tour as well as a tour in Italy of the Amalfi coast, where he said if he met someone and they said they drove a tour bus he told them they were his hero. In Italy he said the bus's mirrors are all beat up because they pass each other so closely they hit all the time on the mountain roads. Well, Vince has always been my hero but now he really is. We thought we were stuck in that parking lot until Mr. Lovely Black car came out at least. As Jeff and I were getting back into the motor home he said "Do you have any hard liquor on board?" My hands were shaking. We start going, Mary and I are sitting at the breakfast bar area, I'm still shaking and all of a sudden cereal boxes fall out of the unclosed cupboard onto my head. We laughed hysterically. Mary broke a nail.
Lesson learned: Don't' be shy about taking as many spaces as you need to park this thing, or park at the end, in the back, in the dirt, or way, way out. Oh, and close the stupid cupboard.
Monday was a day to make sure things were ready to go on the motor home, stock up on some groceries, and try to visit some relatives. We made some calls and then went to Blasdell to visit Vince's Uncle Larry and my Aunt Mary Jo who both happen to live in the same complex. They both have very nice apartments. It was great seeing them. We also enjoyed seeing a cat named Onyx at my Aunt Mary Jo's house. We miss our kitties and the boys loved petting her.
The kids (including a really good sport, 21 year old Adam), have had a great time. They have swam in Mary's pool - even during a real down pour on Monday, jumped on the trampoline, and played LOTS of Monopoly, Jeffrey's favorite. Monday evening we went to dinner at a Chinese buffet to belatedly celebrate Jeffrey's birthday. Later we walked down for ice cream at a local favorite, Charlap's.
We very much enjoyed our visit, the food, the adventures, and the company not in that order, and we are looking forward to our journey home.
Where I stayed