Print Story Yet another vacation diary
By georgeha (Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 12:39:51 PM EST) Ithaca, gorges, wrenchin' (all tags)
including favorite falls and gorges, Hellbent for Glory, Young Miles, Guadalcanal Diary, spark plugs and  DOT3, Big Love and less.

Poll: Favorite water fall?

It was a good vacation, real good, good good good. I want to go back.

I liked this year's pre-vacation minivan maintenance (spark plugs and wires) much more than last year's (sheet metal, rivets, bondo, sand, bondo, sand, bondo, sand, prime, paint). It's unlike other vehicles where I've changed plugs, it's a transverse mounted V-6, so three plugs were really hard to get to. I had to remove the windshield wipers, top cowl, and lower cowl to get to them, since I don't have a lift and a grease pit to stand in.

Later we removed the two person bench seat in the minivan, and brought the three person one forward. We planned on coming back with one more kid than we left.

The nice thing about vacation a few hours away is you don't need to leave very early to get there at a decent hour. We even left too early, getting to Buttermilk Falls State Park 45 minutes before the cozy cabin was ready, despite the GPS steering us to the wrong part of the park, and causing the minivan to fill with the smell of boiling DOT3 on the steep, narrow drive to the right part of the park.

My prior state park cabin experience was at Alleghany, where they had squarish cabins with a gas and a wood stove. These were narrower, with electricity and a refrigerator.

I used the manual coffee grinder most mornings, as the electric would wake the kids up. Once fourteen year old was up early enough to try it. The nine year old and her cousin tried it a little, too.

A word about geography around Ithaca, it's lots of eroded sedimentary rocks, it was once under an ocean, and then the glaciers gouged out a bit.

We ended up hiking four gorges (for generous definitions of hiking), Buttermilk was the most amazing, Taughannock was the grandest, the Ithaca Falls gorge was a nice short hike, and we only went 100 feet into the one separating Cornell from Collegetown, it was barred off for renovation.

Buttermilk Falls is a small creek that's damned near the road to make a brisk swimming experience. The gorge trail is a CCC artifact, and at times very steep. Fourteen year old and I did it twice, Mrs. Ha and nine year old did it once, grudgingly on nine year old's part. We did a little wading (against stenciled warnings) but never got to sit under a waterfall, though we saw others doing it. The gorge is narrow, and beautiful, the kind of place Tolkien would write about. The geography is impressive too, lots of shale, and several layers of siltstone.

I should mention we warned the kids that people in Ithaca are liberal, and it might not be unusual to see topless women, or skinny dippers in the gorge. I think we even mentioned a little of our own history in that regard. The week went without any skinny dippers. I thought I saw a topless woman in the Buttermilk Falls pool, but it was a guy with moobs. Ewww. Ithaca Falls is a short walk to a very impressive and wide waterfalls. You can even see it from the road. Again, fourteen year old and I did it twice, the second time we brought the rest of the family, and my sister_in_law and my neice. The SIL stayed with us one night to drop off the niece, who stayed with us back to Rochester for a few more nights.

Ithaca trivia: The area around Ithaca Falls is fenced for for environmental hazards in the form of lead. At one time it was used for shotgun testing from Ithaca Arms.

Taughannock Falls is a large gorge, at it's deepest it's 400 feet deep, the waterfall is the highest in New York at 215 feet, and the gorge is very wide, maybe 500 feet at it's widest. It's a nice example of microclimes, the south facing gorge wall is dry and hot, the north facing gorge wall is cool and moist. The four of us started down the riverbed, until nine year old took off her sneaks to walk barefoot in the slippery, slimy water (I was wearing Tevas, fourteen year old was wearing water shoes). She fell, it went downhill from there, and she and Mrs. Ha went back and drove to the beach on Cayuga Lake.

The beach was nice, a stony one on the shores of Cayuga Lake. I was a little unnerved by the seaweed in the 8 fot deep zone, a family friend drowned when I was a kid due to a weedy pond, and treading eight foot deep water with weeds brushing against my feet, unnerving.

Cascadilla Falls is the gorge that separates Cornell from Ithaca, and the probably the one with the most suicides, based on new and high fencing. Unfortunately for us, it's being extensively repaired, all we got were glimpses of an intriguing gorge beyond barred and locked gates. Bummer.

We did a bit of shopping, too. There was a Salvation Army right outside the state park, we went there twice it was so good. I was psyched to find a cheap copy of Rand's Anthem, I think I can read it. I could only get a quarter of the way through The Fountainhead before giving up. After the hundredth time of being told how Roark was perfect, every one undermensch, all with bad writing, I gave up.

We hit a consignment shop on the Commons, it was too pricey for me ($17 for a pair of jeans?), but fourteen year old and Mrs. Ha got some stuff. It's a start on back to school shopping.

We did not eat at the Moosewood, we figured it was too pricey to take picky children. What would they have charged for plain pasta with butter, $10? We may go there over Labor Day, Mrs. Ha and I, but that's a topic for another diary, involving several weddings, including someone frequently mentioned in previous diaries. In other food news, we ate a lot of pizza, often at cheap divey slice shops, and once at The Nines, when my parents came down.

Right, another advantage of a close vacation is visitors. My parents came down one day to see the cabin, then we went off to The Nines for very good pizza, and some garbage picking (a white enamel kettle).

Like I mentioned, my sister_in_law came down one night with her daughter, spent the night, and then left us with her daughter. The daughter is nearly nine, so she gets along very well with nine year old. The SIL and BIL had a wedding, so we agreed to watch her for a while, which stretched out into three days. We ended up wandering around Ithaca, me, Mrs. Ha, her sister, the three daughters, Big Love indeed.

A last highlight of that Commons trip was seeing the true scale model of the Solar System, though we only got out to Uranus. We had lots of fun with the name, too.

I finished three books on vacation, Young Miles about Miles Vorkosigan, Guadalcanal Diary and Hellbent for Fury short stories set in WWII and Korea, involving what you'd expect, plus tales about a cook, chaplain and engineer.

A few months ago I was told the Vorkosigan saga was great science fiction.  A short read on wiki left me the feeling that I had read parts of it before, the Quaddies were very familiar, maybe from the time in the 80's when I read the pulps. Wiki also convinced me to try something with Miles Vorkosigan in it, and wonder of wonders, I bought a new, full price book at B&N, Young Miles. It was good, Miles is a young hyperactive, intelligent cripple growing up in a militaristic society who transcends his limitations. After finishing it, I recalled I had read one of the novellas when it was in the pulps,   the scene involving violating network security with two computers facing each other convinced me.

Guadalcanal Diary, a reporter's diary of his time on Guadalcanal during the beginning of the campaign.

Hellbent for Glory, short stories set in WWII and Korea, involving what you'd expect, plus tales about a cook, a chaplain and an engineer.

Stay tuned for my next award winning diary, including but not limited too The Last Stand, The Thousand Mile War, the Haunting of Molly Hartley, Paratrooper, Xenocide, internet glasses, Weddings, Open House and less!

< found in the middle of a case | Our dauther isn't a selfish brat; your son just hasn't read Atlas Shrugged >
Yet another vacation diary | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden)
Favorite waterfall by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 12:50:34 PM EST
Where Difficult Run empties into the Potomac, just upstream of the Beltway in VA. The water falls about 10feet into a small pool which drains into the river.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

I never saw it, but I'll add it by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 12:57:29 PM EST
s well as Potter's Falls, the small waterfall in the Ithaca water supply gorge one can slide down into the water while skinny dipping, and hoping the Rangers don't cite you.

[ Parent ]
DOT3 by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 01:00:12 PM EST
first thought this was a dupe diary, then realized I saw some of the pics on FB.

And I came in for DOTT3 -- the next Lucas Arts installment of a great franchise.. Alas, you meant brake fluid. damn.

Yeah, now that I know FB resizes pics on the fly by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 01:01:53 PM EST
I no longer have to tediously edit the raw pics into something Husi-suitable, I'll let FB do it.

[ Parent ]
Hm. by ana (2.00 / 0) #5 Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 01:46:19 PM EST
There's a little cascade on the creek about a mile from where I'm staying, half of that a trail that parallels the creek. I should take the camera up there. It's amusing that the rocks in the creek look like slate (metamorphic sandstone) but with granite boulders nearby (igneous). The geology is trying to tell me something, but I'm not listening in the right way.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

I'm pretty bad on geology by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 02:00:36 PM EST
but one of the plaques mentioned the siltstone and slate in the gorges, and you can see the layer cakes easily in the gorges, and a few of my pics.

You could blame the glaciers, they dragged a lot of rocks around.

[ Parent ]
WIPO by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 03:17:26 PM EST
Iguacu Falls.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
Did you mean Iguazu Falls? by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 03:23:24 PM EST
I haven't heard of either.

[ Parent ]
have you seen the movie 'the mission'? by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 03:45:40 PM EST
I'm not sure, but I did see Moonraker by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 03:47:00 PM EST

[ Parent ]
I've seen them when we were skinny dipping by georgeha (4.00 / 0) #12 Thu Aug 26, 2010 at 09:35:34 PM EST
and not just the wife and friends.

Note on Bujhold by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 08:38:44 AM EST
She was a big favorite on rec.sf-lovers when I used to read it. Highly recommended (especially any Miles work).

Warning: Her last 3-4 books centered on a romantic heroine and her magical lover who sees her as "sparkly" (and calls her "spark" no less). No other issues with it, but you have been warned.


I'm looking forward to working through the by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #14 Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 10:33:21 AM EST
Vorkosigan saga.

I'm not sure about the sparkly bits though.

[ Parent ]
Really pretty. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 11:42:27 AM EST
Looks like a really great time.

When I was younger I didn't really see the point of vacations. These days.... I've changed my mind. 

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
It was a good time, thanks by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 11:47:01 AM EST
and it was our cheapest vacation yet, spending $200 instead of $1000 for a rental will do that.

[ Parent ]
I think next year will be a cheap year. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 11:54:59 AM EST
We haven't been to Cherry Springs/Coudersport in a couple of years; can't really use a cabin since you need your tent to call "dibs" on the spot you'll be using your telescope, but the weather is usually quite mild. There's also a big CCC-built park in the area that calls itself the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania". They have a bicycle trail that runs through it.... 

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
[ Parent ]
Yet another vacation diary | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden)