Friday, July 25, 2008

WFW Special Edition : Boys Weekend 2008

Welcome to this special edition of the Williams Family Weekender!

Last weekend, the boys (Dad, Jason and David) packed up the old Nissan Stagecoach Xterra and headed East to the magical shores of Lake Erie. Destination : Kelleys Island for a couple days of fun and sun, kid free! (Well, except for David and I being Dad's kids but if we don't bring Dad, who's going to pay?!?)

But first things first! As previously posted, Thursday night was a watershed moment in the relationship of Dad and his daughter-outlaw (er, in-law) Julie. Dad was inexpressibly pleased with his birthday cake despite the fact we put the "6" in front of the "5" on his birthday cake. My mistake.

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After a little bit of negotiating on how early to get up on Friday (David was in the 5am camp, I was in the 4am camp, having done so twice that week for work anyways), we settled on 4:30am. I must say that you haven't truly lived until you have sat next to your father at 5:30 in the morning flying down I-80 eastbound with semi's all around you...oh, and BTO on the radio :

It's very important that for maximum effect, you turn your computer's volume high enough so that you can't even hear yourself think. There, now you get the full effect. If you can get Grampa Pete to come by and slap your thigh in time with the music until it's red, so much the better. Just Kidding, Dad. :)

One simple fact of life : the trip to Kelleys is "about" 126 times shorter than the trip home (using non-scientific methods). Oh sure, the distance is the same and you lose an hour going out, but the human experience of travel is dramatically shorter on the way "to" versus the way "from".

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After about 15 minutes of driving, we arrived at the boat dock and were lucky enough to catch a boat just as it was pulling up.

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After touching base with Grandma at the cottage, we ran downtown to our second home for the weekend - "The Village Pump". The favorite dish of the weekend turned out to be Sweet Potato Fries. Not for me, but Dad and David were SCARF'ing these things down. I think I saw Dad and David grow a pound over lunch alone.

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Oh, and one more thing - Dad drank beer.

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Later that night, Happy Hour was punctuated by a creamy cheese onion dip of which I ate sparingly to save myself from the wrath of the onion. Grandma made us a fantastic dinner which I failed to photograph (too busy scarfing it down). In fact, from Friday lunch to Saturday morning marked the longest stretch that I didn't take any photos. I took 600+ photos on Kelleys over the weekend. To be fair, a lot of them were duiplicates just to make sure at least one would have the proper lighting and focus (my Sony Camera is a bit fussy at times when it doesn't feel like focusing properly).

Oh, and Dad drank beer (not pictured).

Saturday morning was a grey rainy ugly mess. Dad went out and kayak'ed and ran anyways (forgive me Dad if I get your activities out of order or on the wrong days - it's a bit hard to keep up with your Triathalon training regimen). It finally stopped raining at about 10am, so we ran over to the Glacial Grooves.

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The view of the quarry from the back of the Grooves never ceases to inspire me, but it never photographs especially well. It's almost impossible to capture the scale of it.

For lunch, we decided to go for a little variety and we went over to the West Bay Inn. Concentrate, Padawan!

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We ate lunch to the hits of Eric Clapton. I've never been a big Clapton fan but the selection was a nice mix of great stuff I had never heard from him and his hits. The perch baskets were well done but dad got stiffed on the onion rings (only 3? seriously?!?) so I stole one and gave him half my fries in return. Ain't I a great guy?

Oh, almost more thing...Dad drank beer.

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Saturday's dinner was the fantastic Rotisserie Chickens from the Island Market preceded by another great happy hour of crackers and a sun-dried tomato dip. Yum-o.

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Oh, and I drank beer.

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and, no... I wasn't the only one. (Take a guess who ELSE drank BEER.) :)

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Dad's shared a few pages from his unique brand of philosophy (note the beverage at arm's length).

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I suppose I owe an apology for eating half of the sun-dried tomato dip all by myself. I blame the beer.

Saturday night we all huddled around the TV, waiting breathlessly on the weather. With Grandpa's sailboat on the market, we REALLY wanted to get it out on the water before the weekend was up, but Saturday the weather had not cooperated. Even when the rain subsided, the air just died and the lake looked like glass - not good conditions for sailing. The weather indicated that it would be sort of hazy early and rain late. We set our sights on a morning sail.

Sunday morning we woke up and it was already raining. I think Grandma Madeleine put it best as she walked out for breakfast on Sunday Morning : "Mother Nature is being a real b----!" Amen, Grandma. At last, the rain stopped and checking the radar, it appeared we finally had the window we were looking for and so we headed out for a sail.

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We started heading pretty much along the ferry boat line from the marina to Marblehead but (I was at the tiller) I found that as the wind puffed I had to steer more to the west to capture the strength of the wind so we ended up roughly midway between the red lines on the map. There were a couple of REALLY good puffs on the way south where the boat was REALLY leaning. Felt great! We were really moving.

We then turned straight north (green line) which turned out to be problematic because I had no clue where to aim for (there were no visible land markers) and my sailing partners (Dad and Grandpa) were blocking the view of the compass bracket. So I struggled to get up to the north point in a straight line. I just don't have enough experience to be able to "feel" the wind but I tried nonetheless. But for the tiller I would have about 50 pictures of Dad pointing to the left or the right trying to get me back on course. I grumbled my way through his "suggestions". :)

On the way back (southern tip of the blue line), I lost sight of my surroundings a bit and before I knew what was happening there was a much larger sailboat almost directly on top of us. Grandpa grabbed the till to get us out of trouble and I snapped a few photos.

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Heading east back to the Marina, we extended the sails to capture the full wind behind us. I believe this is referred to as "running", but I confess I had to look this up on wikipedia since I had forgotten what grandpa said as we was trying to instruct me. Hard to listen and steer at the same time.

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Finally we got back to the cottage and David wanted to go out for lunch so we thought we'd try the Kelleys Island Wine Company.

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As we sat down, we were less than impressed at the menu. Dad mentioned the only item that looked vaguely appealing to which the polite waitress replied that they were out of one of the ingredients. Much to Dad's chagrin (see photo below), we headed back to the Pump.

Dad's tribal disappointment dance (that's actually an ancient sign of disappointment on his face and not the sheer glee that it appears to be) :

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A familiar sight :

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The sweet potato fries made another appearance and they must have been just awful because there weren't any left to photgraph.

Oh, and dad drank beer (not pictured).

Happy Hour v3 back at the cottage :

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(GASP! Where's the beer?!? I actually have to confess that I cannot find a photo of dad drinking beer during said happy hour, but let's get real - Dad drank beer.)

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After much negotiating on the place for dinner (the Island House is the default but was closed for "improvements"), Dad finally settled on...wait for it...The Pump!

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Poor Grandma couldn't hear a thing out on that noisy patio.

And Dad drank beer. I believe as of this meal, the finally tally came to 16 beers for the weekend. What a lightweight, right?

After dinner, we did our usual trip to the west shore of the Island for an "as usual" fantastic sunset.

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Monday morning was just silly quiet around the island. We made a trip to Bag the Moon for breakfast to visit my Aunt Peg for breakfast. Sadly, she was unavailable to chat with us much as she was busy waiting on tables and "earning a living".

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At last, it was time to pack up and head out.

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After a bazillion hours of driving back to Schererville (see earlier comment about length of trip to / from Kelleys Island), we took the kids down to the park.

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I would not be telling the whole story to not mention the most important topic of the weekend - the health of Mama Beth. Throughout the weekend, she was always in our thoughts and prayers. We wish you a speedy recovery to full health and God bless you and be with you!

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