So we're back, and the whole trip was pretty great. Emily did really well traveling, breaking the trip up into 3-4 hour chunks worked out really well. Next time though, I will probably try to book us hotels in Binghampton instead of Scranton, because Scranton? SUX. I-81 is pretty much the worst road ever built, but the stretch near Scranton is especially terrible. It is constantly under one kind of construction or another that necessitates closing it down to 1 lane, except that no one is ever actually DOING any work. See, around us, when they're not actively doing work on the road, THEY PICK UP THE TRAFFIC CONES AND LET YOU DRIVE ON IT. Not so up there. Add to that the facts that it is the dreariest place on earth (the pool at our hotel on the way back was closed in August. If it's closed in August, when is it warm and sunny enough to be open?), they like to hide their Wegmans up in the mountains way off the main road, their Red Robin got absolutely every item we ordered wrong, and the people we met were not very bright, and you've got yourself a pretty lame place. Emily did enjoy watching the Polkafest 2008 channel on TV in the hotel room though.
So yeah, I guess I just said the trip was awesome and then went directly to complaining about the part that wasn't. Better get back to the good parts.
Emily was great in the car, although she tended to start yelling "Need to go pee pee in the potty!" whenever she was bored. After stopping every 15 minutes for awhile (we don't want to undermine her progress by telling her to go ahead and pee in her pullup! But ugh, it's raining and we're actually making progress on 81 and it's SO unsafe to pull over and get out of your car on the side of an interstate!) we got into a good rhythm, and she actually stayed dry throughout every leg of our trip except while she was asleep.
Gorham itself was nice. Will was beside himself to finally be back to the place he spent all his childhood summer vacations after a 10 year hiatus. To him, this place is heaven on earth. To me it was nice, but aside from the pleasant weather it could've been one of the lakes in the mountains we have near us. But it was definitely fun, and Emily had a blast. She did lots of random running around, she tried out the rock climbing wall, rode a pony for the first time, fed the ducks, went swimming, made a clay sculpture, and played "soccerball", which consisted of putting basketballs back in their holders, or just stomping in puddles on the basketball court. She was fearless, and I was proud. Exhausted, but proud. Plus, discounting one day when she didn't use a potty ONCE, she stayed 100% daytime potty trained the whole time we were there. It helps to have a room full of people to clap and cheer every time she emerged from the bathroom after having peed in the potty. And between the baby, who has decided that my bladder is much too spacious and needs to be compressed, and Emily potty training, we did a lot of emerging from the bathroom. At least Emily claps for me and says "yay mommy!" every time I pee in the potty as well.
Everyone got along really well too. Will's mom's family all act super-happy all the time. My family on the other hand, are kind of known for their biting sarcasm and cynicism, so I wasn't sure how we'd all get along. It turns out that having a toddler around really helps, because EVERYONE kind of has to act super-happy when dealing with a toddler. I DID get a bit sick of all the inquiries (always accompanied by a light backrub) about whether or not I was getting enough rest, and admonishments to make sure I was taking care of myself. Are YOU going take over chasing after Emily and provide me a bed in which to nap? No? Well then stop telling me what I already know!
Will was a superstar though (He's healthy again! He's back! Huzzah!) and my mother-in-law did take Emily for us a couple times so we could go on a little hike or learn that we kinda suck at canoeing. But through a laborious method we came up with out of desperation to not get left behind by the group, we managed to keep up with the best of them by the end.
The food was surprisingly good. The presence of a vat of oatmeal at breakfast and a salad bar and soup offering at lunch and dinner meant that even Will didn't have to resort to eating alternate meals. The portions were sometimes a bit paltry though, so I occasionally had to pull the pregnant lady card in order to get enough to eat. Luckily we had brought tons of food, so no one was in danger of starving.
I kind of also fell in love with the cook. I went back to the kitchen one day to ask for more chicken patties for the table, and they were supplied to me by a 40-something man with blue eyes and a very compelling air about him. Oh, and an Australian accent. Sigh. He really reminded me of that military guy in season 4 of Lost who keeps trying to kill everyone on the island except that he cooks for a YMCA camp instead of being a slightly crazed mercenary.
When I went back to the table, I told Will about my new crush, but he said he had already asked him out. Apparently while Will was back there he had overheard an old lady asking the chef out, but he turned her down. At that point Will asked if he could ask the chef out, and the chef told him yes. So I guess Will and I are in competition for the same guy. Will has a head start because he's already asked him out, and because he's in good shape and, you know, NOT 5 months pregnant, but I'm banking on the chef having at least a slight preference for women. We'll just see the next time we go back to Gorham.
The trip home was less good than the trip up, what with Emily getting a slinky caught in her hair that had to be cut out, Scranton trying to make our little girl sad every chance it got (hotel pool closed, Wegmans wouldn't let her play on their indoor playground, I-81 being SHUT DOWN TO 1 LANE FOR NO REASON AGAIN forcing us to take windy backroads that made her sleeping head flop around like crazy) and on the very last 5 miles of the trip, me hitting a deer on Rt. 40. We were really SO lucky because even though I hit the thing hard enough that I saw pieces fly off (shudder), we weren't hurt and the car wasn't hurt. It was right over a blind hill, and I probably only managed to slow myself down to 45-50 mph before impact, and I KNOW you're not supposed to slam the brakes and swerve but how on earth are you supposed to overcome your instinctive reaction in a situation like that? The deer did not really die though, and I will forever have nightmares about watching the thing seize and pull itself up to an upright lying position before just giving up and laying down to die. Apparently no one cares about deer on the side of the road on a Saturday evening, because no one would come to put it out of its misery. All we had was a swiss army knife, and Will did not want to try to kill a wild animal with nothing but a pocket knife. I don't blame him one bit. And I just hope I broke the deer's spine so it couldn't feel anything below the waist (if deer have waists).
So as I said, we're back, we're thankfully undamaged, and we'll be returning to Gorham the next time August rolls around and we DON'T have a crawling baby.
I have as many pictures as the connection at the Big Moose Inn would let me upload in a reasonable amount of time up here, and if I'm feeling post-y I'll put up some more later.