After an exciting last few weeks at the Plantation, we have the truck loaded to the gunnels, including the back seat to over capacity – almost no room for the cookies Marti made us as fuel while on the road! Our trip without the rig means we have to use public washrooms which is one of the downers for leaving it behind. Well, we are not wrong as our first nature stop was at a Marathon station and Barb came out totally disgusted with the filthy conditions – sticky floors, tissue scattered all around and a round toilet seat on an elongated bowl and the front part of the bowl was black. She told me in graphic detail how she had to be a contortionist so her jeans didn’t contact any of it!
We made it safely to Lydia’s new home in her favourite community of Bent Tree, just outside of Jasper Ga. Paul had to meet us at the gate to ensure we didn’t get lost driving to the house. We had a very warm welcome from Lydia and Paul with hugs. After we played catch up and cocktails, we went out for dinner at one their regular haunts – again, what more can you ask for, good food, good friends and good times – life is good!
On Wednesday, Paul had a regular ball game with a bunch of other old cronies! Paul was out in left field – no, I mean his ball position was in left field, not his personality! Barb, Lydia and myself were his personal cheering section which I’m sure embarrassed him some and I’d bet he heard about the rowdy cheering section at his next game. Anyway, we all had fun and then off to lunch – where would we be if we didn’t eat! After fortifying our appetites, we wandered – some call it shopping – around an outlet mall where we found the remainder of our dishes for the house. The rest of the day was laid back and relaxing back at the house.
Thursday, we toured the beautiful Gibbs Gardens near Lydia’s. I can’t write it all here so I encourage you to follow the link I provided to see and read more, I can not do it the justice it deserves. We walked 90% of the gardens, walked up to the manor house – Mr Gibbs still lives there – and made it back to the snack bar to replenish our energy levels! As you would suspect, Barb’s camera was very busy and I have tried to give you a synopsis of the pictures she took. I hope you enjoy.
Friday we leave Lydia and Paul to head north onto Terri & Mark’s cabin in Ellicottville NY for the weekend before we cross the border back into Canada. The weather and road conditions were fine until we neared Cleveland and all too soon, we realize we have to get off the road before we find troubles. The snow was thick and blowing hard and we still had about 4 hours of driving ahead of us. We were approaching an exit with many cars in the ditches, a van pulling a travel trailer did a 180 and was against the guard rail pointing at us. The exit couldn’t come soon enough! It’s crazy how many drivers think they are expert winter drivers and ignore the conditions, driving faster than the conditions warrant and eventually, they end up in the ditch! Anyway, I digress with my narrative! we pulled into a Comfort Inn and waited our turn to check in – wow, we were quoted $189 for a night. When I asked what happened to the $39 dollar rooms, I was informed that it is March Break and they have an indoor water park – well, laudy dah, we don’t have kids and are only there to get off the road due to the weather. The attendant did advised that she would take $10 off the rate if we took a room without a nuke or a fridge! Wow, I was so ready to take 2 rooms at that rate! NOT! We went across the road to a motel of the same chain and got a room for $89. Luckily, there was a generous gentleman behind us that gave us a coupon that took another $10 off the rate so we thought we had won the lottery with only paying $79/night for a room for the night!
The next day (Saturday) we woke to clear blue skies but cold so after a quick breakfast, we were on our way again. We arrived near 1ish – that gave Terri & Mark a few hours of skiing on the last ski weekend. After we arrived, had a beverage and caught up, we took off to the EBC for lunch and of course, more brewskis! We toured the ski hill, walked around the deck as the day was winding down and the skiers were departing so we went into the chalet for some après ski.
After some Sunday antique shopping, we toured their new house they bought around the corner from their current place. They are becoming rental moguls of Ellicottville! We loaded back into the truck for the drive to our little ‘hobby house’. We arrived to be assaulted by snow plies – yuk! Thanks goodness, we have a nice neighbour who kept our driveway clear all winter so we didn’t have to shovel or walk through it to unload the truck. We no sooner had the truck empty and Terri & Mark arrived and we all go out for dinner! Another nice arrival….