Monday, October 8, 2018

Camp Schoellkopf - Phillips Cabin - Feb 2017

SSR - Schoellkopf Scout Reserve is my favorite place to camp. The last time I was there overnight was back in 2017. We got all four seasons that weekend. We arrived on a Friday night and lit up a fire outside of Phillips.

Nathan at the fire ring
 It was a gorgeous first night, mid 50's if I recall correctly. We unpacked and set up the campsite for our weekend. This is one of my favorite cabins as it has a massive fireplace and two very large windows looking out on to the ravine.

The kitchen area is a little odd, it is sectioned off in the back of the building with a door facing out the right side of the cabin.

The real joy is the windows facing the left side of the campsite. You wake up trees and a beautify framed river scene. It really is breathtaking.

Later that night, the storm came in. The temperature dropped 40 degrees and the wind was incredible. It didn't stop us from making peach and cherry chocolate cobbler in dutch ovens over the fire.

The site is very exposed to the weather, we all needed to put on extra layers. My son Paul braved the cold, but Nathan retreated inside to enjoy the fireplace and a couple of card games before dinner.

Despite the breathtaking scenery, there is a real hazard of falling to in the ravine. We had to keep a close eye on the drop off to left the cabin. There is some fencing on that side, but I suspect it would make a poor safety net. Over the summer of 2018, I noticed some improvements to the fire ring and the landscaping near the dropoff. While the safety fence is still there and in sad shape, the landscaping provides plenty of warnings before you reach the ledge.

By Sunday morning, the temperatures came back up and the snow was gone. 



The right side of the cabin, with the door to the kitchen barely visible. 

The front of the cabin in daylight.

This window has some of the best views in SSR. The drop off is to the right in this image.

One of the best secrets around SSR is the trees can block the wind so efficiently that air doesn't move at all. When approaching Phillips from the ravine, it can get breathtakingly cold. But if you stop moving, the warmth from your own body doesn't move away. It feels like magic. It reminds me of The Wood Between Worlds from C. S. Lewis's The Magicians Nephew.

I can't wait to go back.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Breakfast at Darien Lake

Ah, the things you notice when you aren't looking.

The Beaver Brother's Lakeside Cafe at Darien Lake has a breakfast special. $12.99 buffet for adults, $9.99 for kids. The Lakeside Cafe is the best restaurant at Darien Lake for any meal. The breakfast buffet has to be great, too.


I could totally picture myself running here while camping. It is so close to the cabins and so much easier than cooking yourself.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Strange Memory Collision

This morning, I came out of the shower thinking of Disney. That isn't so odd, but it was triggered by a combination of smells. At Disney World, they use H2O products in all of the hotels. Bubbly Orange is my favorite. I need to pick up some shampoo to match the soap I have.

My wife's perfume from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab called Cheshire Cat and my Bubbly Orange soap reminds me of August in Disney. The soap also pairs well with my BPAL scent, Perversion.

Smells are powerful triggers. Today, a combination of them turned a boring Friday into this:



Cruisin'

Back in 2014, I had the chance to sail on The Oasis of the Seas. It was amazing. 

Our destination was the Bahamas, Nassau in particular. What a beautiful island. I can't wait to go back.

The Oasis of the Seas is a new ship, first sailing in 2009. It has 16 passenger decks, a casino, 5 pools, a carousel, chapel, a library, and dozens of other features. Our trip was only 3 nights, so obviously I couldn't see everything they had to offer. I never set foot in a bar and was only able to breeze through the shopping areas. On the deck was a massive amphitheater which also served as a rally point. As big as it was, I only saw it once.

The views from the ship were incredible. Even in port, the sights were amazing.

My wife and I were traveling with three small children and we were new to the ins and outs of cruising. My mother-in-law guided us through the process. Thank god for that, we would have been lost.

Even still, the Oasis was big enough to swallow us up even with help. One evening, my daughter and I got lost on the ship and found ourselves in the chapel, then a library and finally, a wonderful viewing point at the top of the ship. It was overwhelming.

The Oasis of the Seas is a massive ship. We could sail on that three more times and likely not see it all. Next time, we may take a longer cruise on a smaller ship. Or not. Depends on where we want to go. I would love to sail on the Oasis again.

Having said that, my mother-in-law is a great planner but not a professional planner. We keep telling her she should be. Maybe someday she'll retire to that life. In any event, my wife and I have a friend, Jaime Nowicki who is a travel planner. She loves Disney but also handles trips to other locales, too. Of course, Disney Cruise Line is one but she also plans for Sandals, Beaches, Royal Caribbean, AMA Waterways, Azamara, Celebrity, Carnival, MSC Cruiseline, Norwegian, American Cruise Line, Princess!

My dream trip would be to Cuba. My wife, Kitty's dream is to go to England and Ireland. We need someone like Jaime to manage these dreams and give a plan that is both incredible and budget friendly.

You can find Jaime on Facebook or Twitter, or contact her by email or phone at:

716-491-9980
j dot nowiki at magicalvacationplanner dot com

Of course, there is a website, too at http://magicalvacationplanner.com





Thursday, June 14, 2018

Guest Post from Jaime Nowicki @ magicalvacationplanner.com

This is my first guest post from Jaime @ at magicalvacationplanner.com.



June 19th!

Disney Vacation Dates for 2019 will be available to book.

Book soon to get your preferred Disney destination, resort, room, package...they will fill up fast! You can book a Disney Vacation Package with only a $200 deposit. I am a certified Disney travel agent, my concierge services are complimentary, and I am looking forward to helping you plan your 2019 Disney Vacation.

Contact me at: j.nowicki@magicalvacationplanner.com

Don't forget to like my Facebook page.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Tantrum Preview

     This evening, I saw them testing the Tantrum at Darien Lake. When the action stopped, I remember to take out my phone and snap some pictures. Oops.

     This coaster holds 8 riders in two row of four, is about 100 feet tall and features 90 degree climb to a more than 90 degree drop. It looks amazing.

    A little research on this model revealed that it was made by Gerstlauer and has the moniker "Euro-Fighter". It reminds me of the Motocoaster because the small footprint. This one seems more solid as it has it's own foundation rather than a frame base.

     I like these small footprint coasters, as the gee forces and excitement are crammed in a small space. They are a blast from end to end. The downside of such a system is the powerful mag brakes at the end to bring the cars in safely. As quick as they are, the ending is always rough. Don't get me wrong, I've ridden the Motocoaster at least six times this year because I love it. I can't wait to ride this one.

     It is opening Memorial Day Weekend but I not exactly sure on which day.  As you can see from the images, they have tripods and such around for construction and will likely add some nice landscaping as the season goes on.




Panorama of Darien Lake Water Park

It's few days from opening but the Water Park at Darien Lake is looking good.