Building The Perfect Beast

Reading, Writing, Wanderlust, and Commentary

Archive for the ‘vacation’ tag

And So It Begins…

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Starting tomorrow, hopefully at some early-ish hour, we begin our bazillion mile cross country trip. As you can see by the map we’re being a bit ambitious, but it’s easier to be over ambitious and have to pull back the reins than it is to dream too small and go nowhere. With any luck we’ll see some of you along the way.

31 days on the road here we come!!

To there and back

To there and back

Written by Jeffery Battersby

June 30th, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Posted in X-Country

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Necessary Respite

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We have arrived for our little anniversary getaway at the Windswept Motel in Point Pleasant, NJ. A little closer than our usual LBI trips and unusual in that we’ve never been here before. So instead of old familiar we’ll have some new, unknown adventures.

Nice to be away.

Nice to be alone.

Written by Jeffery Battersby

September 19th, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Posted in Asides,Wanders

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A Thing of Substance

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Or what a way to spend a week of vacation…

Scrawny 4 x 4 postsYou may recall that some months ago we purchased some reclaimed Douglas Fir porch posts. The posts, which we had milled at a full 6 x 6 were to be used to replace the rather scrawny 4 x 4 posts (see the picture to the right) that we had holding up the roof. We’d played with a couple of ideas to expand the girth of the existing posts, including wrapping the 4 x 4s in a cedar taper, but in the end it was true 6 x 6 posts that really felt right.

Saturday I began a week’s vacation and started working on the porch to replace the posts. Even though I’d thought about this for quite some time, Saturday was spent figuring out how I wanted the posts aligned and determining which posts would go where on the porch. The latter was a larger project than I initially expected it to be.

If you’ve ever used reclaimed lumber you’re aware that, in most cases, it’s used, and therefore, imperfect wood. Our wood, which came from supports in some large factory building, was beautiful, but it also had some large checks and there were portions of it that had once had dozens of nails in it. All the nails had been removed during the re-milling process but the holes remained and in some cases, where they would had been exposed to water, there were black rust stains around the holes. While this added to the character of the wood, it wasn’t this character that we wanted heavily emphasized when you stepped onto the porch. So, I had to spend a great deal of time selecting each post and pinpoint where and how it would be placed on the porch.

Once the selection was complete it was just a matter of measuring cutting and replacing the existing posts and then adding two extra posts to each corner. All told the process took about 12 hours—Colin helping me along the way—and the end result is, I think, stupendous. At the end Kathy thought, and I agreed, that we should add one more post near the entrance to enhance the feel of entering the house. So we used one extra post and put it into place.

Overall, it was an excellent project. Too bad it took me 8 1/2 months to get it done.

One Post{PostProject} Two Posts{PostProject} Worker Bee{PostProject} First Corner

{PostProject} First Corner Outside{PostProject} Entrance with added post{PostProject} Completed Posts 1{PostProject} Completed Posts 2

Written by Jeffery Battersby

August 23rd, 2007 at 9:48 am

Posted in HousePosts

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Marcy Plans and Algonquin Dreams

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Lead us to the Wright stuff

We’re just back from the high peaks region of the Adirondacks putting a period on a two week long vacation that has taken us from Washington D.C. to Weirton, WV, Niagara Falls, Canada, and finally Lake Placid, NY. Sounds like a crazy trip but it’s been quite good with no more than six hours of car travel between each of our destinations, great family visits—my dad met us in DC and we spent several days with Kathy’s family in Weirton—and excellent sightseeing of the sort that we don’t usually undertake on vacation.

The high peaks were the planned highlight of our trip as we’d hoped to hike to the top of Mount Marcy, the highest mountain in New York. But after checking the weather for the day that we planned to hike it became clear that Marcy was not going to be possible. Friday morning, it appeared, was going to bring rain and thunderstorms and we didn’t want to get caught on a ten hour hike to the highest peak in the state with that kind of storm looming. So, on the advice of a waitress at Lisa G’s restaurant—a primo local joint that beats the pants off of any other restaurant in town—we decided to attempt Algonquin Peak—the Adirondack’s second highest peak—on Thursday instead.

As Thursday was originally planned as a light day, we slept in, had breakfast at the hotel, grabbed some sandwiches for the trail (again from Lisa G’s) and headed out to the Adirondack Loj trailhead which was about 15 minutes down the road from our hotel. We ended up hitting the trail at just after 1:00 PM, which was much later than we should have started. not dangerously late, just hot afternoon, middle of the day late. The kind of late that has you drinking all of your water much sooner than is reasonable. The “I didn’t bring a water filter” kind of late the leaves you parched—or giardic—by the end of the hike.

We had two books in hand to help us along as we hiked. Barbara McMartin’s 50 Hikes in the Adirondacks and the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Adirondack Trails High Peaks Region trail guide. The ADK’s book is excellent and includes a topo map in the back with clear markings for all the trails in the region, but 50 Hikes was the book we used as our guide to select the trail we’d hike for the day. McMartin’s book stated that Algonquin Peak was a moderate hike that would take us about 6 hours to hike out and back.

The Adirondack Loj trailhead was as wide as a super hi-way and nearly as crowded, although most of the people we saw were walking in the opposite direction. In all Kathy and I figure that we saw about 50 people on the trail, including two groups of 10+ kids that were part of a local camp. Even with the crowds the trail was beautiful. The evergreens gave it both the smell and the feel of Twain Harte, where I spent all of my summers as a kid, and every turn revealed a different vista, from stone steps to a slow-running but beautiful waterfall.

Algonquin Trail

Algonquin Trail

Algonquin Trail

About three hours into the journey we were no where near the top of Algonquin Peak and the kids (and I admit it the adults too) were feeling pretty toasty. We’d finished drinking about 1/2 our water, hadn’t eaten our late lunch and weren’t certain how much further we could afford to go forward before we’d end up hiking the return trip in the dark with the aid of headlamps. About 30 minutes earlier we’d met a ranger on the trail who suggested that we forgo Algonquin and head for Wright Peak. “Same view,” he said, “but you’ll be able to get out and back again before dark. The last 9/10 of a mile on Algonquin Peak is going to take you at least an hour to get up.” I wasn’t buying that until about 15 minutes later when I met a 10-year-old girl coming back on the trail who looked at me like I was crazy when I told her father where we were headed. 10 years old, and much wiser, she said, “You’ll never make that today.”

Out of the mouth of babes…

At the split for Algonquin and Wright we went left, which was Wright, and hustled the last half mile to the top. It was steep and challenging but the ranger was correct, the view from Wright was beautiful. A complete panorama of the entire High Peaks region. And, while the trip up had seemed like a super hi-way, we enjoyed the top of the mountain all alone. Not a soul in sight for miles.

Going back was rough but good. The downhill trudge wreaked havoc with Kathy’s knees, but seven hours after we started we were back at the Loj and ready to head to dinner.

Back in the hotel and ready for bed I fired up my MacBook to see why a six hour hike was going to end up taking us about nine hours. Well… if you look closely at the link above you’ll note that Algonquin Peak is listed as a NINE HOUR hike. So either this is one ugly typo in 50 Hikes in the Adirondacks or Barbara McMartin is a serious mountain goat. (Just in case you’re wondering… I’m not going to go the other direction here and say that I’m a wuss…) The seven hours listed on this web page for the Wright hike, by the way, was right on target.

Lovely hike to be sure. We all had a great time and Wright Peak put a perfect period on our high peaks vacation.

Wright Peak

Written by Jeffery Battersby

August 6th, 2007 at 11:53 am

Waltonian Island Wonders

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Where four days and three nights equal one wonderfully long vacation…

Saturday morning we packed the car, put the canoe on top and headed to Lake George in the southern part of New York’s Adirondack Park.

Four hours later… Wow!

Our Waltonian Island Site

Our bloody good campsite

Waltonian Island is about a mile north of Hague—it’s one of the islands just to the north of the arrow on this crappy Google Maps image—and was an easy boat ride from the public dock in Hague. There were about 40 of us in all for the four days and three nights that we were there, but the island wasn’t cramped at all. You could be with people if you wanted to or avoid them altogether if you liked. Most of the crew headed up to high land in the center of the island as there were many small children that we didn’t want having easy access to the water. Others—including Kathy and me—camped closer to the water. Our hosts were gracious enough to allow us to have a beautiful site on the northern side of the island that had a perfect view of the lake right from our tent window. Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for better.

Mad Mike the Motorman

The inimitable Michael Rutkoske

The days consisted of Mike (one of our hosts) jetting all the kids around the island either on water skis or a two-man tube. (Sunday he spent more than nine hours on the lake and when it was all said and done he looked as happy as the kids did.) If they weren’t behind the motorboat people were swimming, canoeing, kayaking, or jumping off the rock ledges behind our campsite and into Lake George. Adventure and excitement for all!


A young Rutkoske cliff jumping

Kayak Boy

A young Battersby paddling his heart out

We had rain almost every night while we were there, which could have been a real pain except for the fact that our tent was on a platform. On Monday night we also had a crazy thunderstorm that blew over pretty quickly but that we continued to watch for about 45 minutes as it made its way into Vermont. Joanna caught a great deal of it on video on her digital camera, so I hope to have it posted here soon.

Overall it was a wonderful couple of days.

Good friends, great activities, and an excellent part of the world.

Written by Jeffery Battersby

July 12th, 2007 at 4:51 pm

Long Time No See

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But still a whole lot o’ shakin goin’ on…
By now it’s likely that you’re eyes have glazed over waiting for the latest update here. (Of course this assumes that there’s someone out there who really, really wants to read about what’s going on here a bit to the north of NYC.) It’s not that a ton of stuff hasn’t been taking place, it’s just that between the end of summer vacation, moving in, cleaning up, getting organized, prepping for a new school year, and working on the latest project, there hasn’t been a lot of time left over to do the fun stuff.

“Latest project?,” you ask. What? Did you think all this would really end? Heck no!

Right now I’m working on getting my mother’s rental place ready to rent. (That’s the house we were staying in while we were building our own.) Besides general clean-up, there was a bathroom on the floor that needed a serious re-do. Scroddy shower, yucky floor, yuckier toilet. Let’s just say that we never used this thing the entire time that we lived in the house. Just too disgusting. (Actually, that’s not entirely true. We had to use it one time when one of the water heaters went south on us.)

So, for those of you lusting after more pictures and new projects, have a look at these!


Interestingly, the hole in the wall revealed an original door opening. This house, which was originally built in the 1800’s, has had dozens of additions and alterations. So we’ve just opened a door that was always there.

Cool yeah?

Written by Jeffery Battersby

September 12th, 2005 at 11:37 pm

Posted in HousePosts

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Sharin’ the Love


And a little header detail…
Zero time to write of late. Vacation, family visits, writing deadlines, all of which conspire against my best intentions. So, just a little love note here to let you know that I still exist and that I’m still, at least presently, among the living.

Meanwhile, my friend Jane—who I’ve never met—over at Expiration Dates just posted a couple of photos that tickled me to the core. After seeing the header details over our windows and doors, they decided to do the same at their house. Beautiful if you ask me. Silly as it may seem it’s one of my favorite details in our house. I’m sure that it will be one of theirs too.

Jane also provides an interesting commentary on some trouble that they’ve had with people whacking a trail through their property. Sounds all to similar to the problems we’ve had with ATV’ers in our neck of the woods.

Written by Jeffery Battersby

July 31st, 2005 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Commentary

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