Day 4:Mini-Golf, Rocks, and Hate-Filled Waitresses

Trip Start Jun 13, 2004
Trip End Jun 19, 2004

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Flag of United States  , New York
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Lake George is chock full of mini golf and today we plan to start out at what appears to be the king of all mini golf courses - Goony Golf. How could you not find joy at a place filled with large fiberglass and plaster characters, and graced with the name Goony Golf? Well I guess the only way you couldn't find joy in that is if you worshipped the Devil.

Goony Golf's slogan is "It's the Gooniest!" After playing the course, I'd have to agree. There is a pirate ship which actually has the putting green on it's deck, the haunted house whose ghosts whirl by to keep your ball from getting to the green, Humpty Dumpty on his wall, Rapunzel in her tower, Cinderella's coach, an alligator, elves, a large dinosaur called the Goonysaurus, Mother Goose practicing animal cruelty, and assorted children's characters all over the course. It's a twisty turny maze of greens that leads you back to where you entered and leaves you feeling completely satisfied.

On the way out there are picture opportunities with a pirate and a clown. It's still bothering me that I recognized that clown. I know that somewhere on my travels I have seen that clown before, and perhaps even had my picture taken with him. I think I should peruse my parent's photo albums to see if I can find a picture of myself with this clown.

Gift World is next door and boasts about its numerous gifts, but all we found was disappointment. There were tons of gifts, but nothing that was impressive. There were no tacky tourist items, and the postcards were the same as in every other store. The stores in Lake George must all purchase their stuff from the same place.

The little old ladies that worked the counter followed Tristan as he walked among the inexpensive baubles, which probably cost less than twenty cents each. He was highly annoyed at being given the eyeball, especially since he wasn't even interested in that cheap stuff. He was just killing time. I theorized that while they were following Tristan to make sure he didn't steal a fifty-cent plastic finger puppet, they missed a little old lady upstairs shoplifting a five hundred dollar stuffed bear.

As an aside, I find it incredibly annoying to be followed around a store as if I am a thief. I really want to start running the employee around the store, ducking into aisles, doubling back, and stopping short so when they round the corner I am standing there facing them, with eyebrows raised and arms crossed. May I help you?

After the disappointment that is Gift World, we headed out to Pottersville where we visited Natural Stone Bridge and Caverns. Before we knew it we were in entering the parking lot which had an odd looking caveman statue in it. This gave us hope that perhaps we could find some tacky postcards here. I'd been searching all week for tacky postcards to send a friend, and there was nothing to be found. But the strange caveman made me teary eyed in the hopes that this would be a mecca of tacky postcard goodness.

The price to get in was $10.00. It seemed a little high, but if you live in the area it is a good deal as validation will make your receipt good for the whole year. Once again, we ran into hordes of school children. But luck was with us as we maneuvered to let them by on the narrow wooden walkways, and then they were gone leaving us by ourselves in the peaceful surroundings.

At one point we got confused about where the path was. You get a map with your tickets, so we knew there was more than the short walk we'd had. Once we stopped being idiots, we found that the Stone Bridge was not actually a bridge out over the water, like I had thought it would be, but was the path we just walked on. It was confusing because you didn't know you were on what they referred to as the bridge. Once you go down further into toward the river you can look back and see why it's called the bridge.

There are small caves with clever names that you can go into and a spot called Peter Pans Peephole, which sounds either mystical or nasty depending on your thought process. At the end of one of the paths there was a quiet clearing near the river. You could sit on a bench and listen to the water. This prompted Tristan to remark, "It's so beautiful... and so boring." Ah yes, only Tristan could skewer the quiet beauty of nature in such a manner so befitting.

We headed toward the opposite end of the path, and found ourselves overrun with youngsters who fortunately were leaving. Quiet descended as Tristan and Michelle went down on the rocks that were sticking out of the water. I was ready to go back so I stayed on the wooden walkway and waited for them to finish their gallivanting.

On our way out, we stopped to see if we could find any good postcards. There was a photo of the caveman in the parking lot, which was the oddest postcard I'd seen yet. There were wooden postcards, but they just confused me as I wondered if the lightweight wood could make it through our postal system unscathed. So I bought a caveman postcard just in case I couldn't find something horribly lame.

By this point we were hungry and decided to stop at a restaurant called the Black Bear that we had passed on our way. It turned out to be a restaurant and bar. We went into the restaurant part of the building. Two people sitting at the counter turned to stare at us when we walked in. I don't think anyone was in the table area. We walked to a booth and sat down.

It took our waitress awhile to bring menus, and when she did she was filled with hate. She appeared to not want to talk to us or wait on us. She set the menus down without saying a word or looking at us. The three of us are polite and Michelle is just a bubbly friendly type of gal, so for the waitress to hate us right off the bat is ridiculous. Maybe she wanted to talk to the locals at the counter? Maybe she was having a really bad day? Maybe she was sick of waiting on tourists? Maybe she waitresses only to spread hate in the world?

The waitress came back to take our order. Her face was like stone. She didn't look at us. Does she hate everyone or just us? Michelle politely asked her a question or two. Tristan and I ordered grilled cheese sandwiches and Mountain Dew. If you're afraid to eat anything or your waitress is surly, you can't go wrong with grilled cheese. Really, I mean, how badly can they mess that up?

When the food arrived, the sandwich was nicely grilled and had chips and a pickle on the side. It tasted pretty good, but had bad cheese placement. There was not an even ratio of cheese to bread, as the slice of cheese seemed to have been randomly thrown on the bread rather than placed for optimal sandwich flavor.

Tristan and Michelle insisted that since we were polite our waitress got friendlier by the time she brought the check. Well she didn't stab me in the head with a fork, but that doesn't mean she was friendly. When I went up to the register to pay, she never looked at me, never spoke to me, and was barely able to hand back my change. I thanked her, but she didn't acknowledge that either. Geez woman, how do you expect to get a decent tip when you hate the customers and let them know it? We left a decent tip, but it would have been much better if she hadn't acted like she wished she had a gun so she could kill us.

Michelle reasoned that the waitress was surly because she had to repeatedly deal with rednecks, hillbillies, and stupid tourists. But aren't we stupid tourists? Michelle says no because we don't ask dumb questions, aren't difficult to deal with, and are polite. But I believe the large camera hanging around my neck overrides that assertion.

After leaving the hate filled waitress behind, we headed back to Lake George. On the way, we looked for a giant chicken. We had been told it stood beside the road, and was the second giant chicken on that spot. Teenagers had thrown the first chicken in the lake one year.

The vision of the giant chicken was soon upon us and we fell to our knees, worshipping it. Each of us stood next to it so we could take pictures. For some reason, I did the Big Fig Newton pose, just like on the Heart Stone at Howe Caverns. Why? I don't know. Maybe I kept having a 1970s flashback.

We left the chicken and soon ran across a video store called the Video Mansion. What a great name for a store! It sounded like a haunted house. The store was fairly small, but they had a good selection of used movies for sale, including some really crappy 1980s horror movies, which made Michelle almost jump for joy. Tristan was more impressed with the Atomic Hot Balls that were for sale at the register. He bought a handful and we all proceeded to stuff them in our mouths, bemoaning our burning tongues and runny noses.

Back at the cabin, we relaxed before heading out for more mini golf. Oh mini golf, how we love you so. Since we'd already tried Around the World, we decided to go to Around the US. This was a harder course, and I wasn't as amused by the plaster and fiberglass items that dotted the greens. It was also hot on the course.

We all seemed irritable and were bickering with each other. At one point I was worried that Michelle and Tristan were getting angry. I told them when we got home, this is the point we'd look back on as to when we started hating each other. At this they both turned on me and smacked me upside the head with their clubs, which I do believe is a breach of mini golf etiquette. Nah, we started making jokes and the tension dissipated.

After mini golfing, the cabin was our destination to beat the heat. I was still looking for tacky postcards and wanted to search through the stores in town. Michelle and Tristan had already done that the night before, but I insisted that I might be able to find a tacky postcard that they had overlooked. Why do all the stores have the same postcards and why are they all really nice? What happened to the tacky unintentionally silly postcards from my youth? I don't know, but they are gone.

It cooled off by dusk, so we wandered down the street, ducking in and out of shops. There were no tacky postcards to be found. But we did stop at another mini golf course called Putts and Prizes Mini Golf and Arcade. It had small greens with no plaster objects blocking the holes and claims to be the oldest mini golf course in the U.S. It was okay, but I need colorful fiberglass and plaster figures to be truly happy.

After playing golf, they give you two free tokens, so you can go to the arcade...and spend more money. I played Ms. Pacman, which got boring. Then I played some skeeball, which is always fun, and Galaga - oh yeah! There were even some credits already on Galaga. Alright, free games! But after I'd played my fill of Galaga, I got bored and just sat waiting for Tristan to finish his pinball game. That boy is pretty good and can play forever.

Heading back to the cabin, we stopped in some more stores to look for tacky postcards. I ventured into a drug store hoping that perhaps they might have some bad postcards. Well, they had the same old Lake George shots that everyone else had, but I did find a big display of pop culture postcards. Let me tell you, there isn't much tackier than a postcard with dogs playing poker, or the Dukes of Hazzard! I ended up buying both because I couldn't figure out which was more disturbing.

We decided to grab a pizza for dinner and stopped at a place called Capri Pizzeria. The pizza was excellent! The slices were large, the cheese was tasty, and there wasn't too much sauce on it. We gorged on pizza until we couldn't eat anymore, and spent the rest of the night relaxing in our glorious cabin - although the door to the crawl space above the couch still made me slightly nervous every once in awhile.
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