Mohican State Park, and with friends. Settling on "fiesta" as our weekend theme, Tricia and Amy had added colorful touches to our nondescript '50s-era cabin, outside and in. Chili pepper lights on the back porch overlooking the stream, cacti and sombrero cut-outs on the living room walls, an inflatable burro rider we dubbed Pepe; even the bathroom had a little fiesta bling. There were appropriately themed serving dishes, and maraca keychain party favors for all.
STRATA AL FRESCO
What a lovely spot for breakfast.
HURRY UP AND WAIT
Fortified by fresh air and a hearty breakfast, we were ready to embark on a new adventure - boating on the Clear Fork Reservoir. Sandwiches were made. Sunscreen, towels, and beverages were assembled. The sky was blue and our spirits were running high with anticipation. But we ran into a glitch. Amy's keys were nowhere to be found . . . except, by process of elimination, probably locked in her car.
Becky flagged down a park worker, who offered us a slim jim, which Amy and Trish took turns sliding down along the window, attempting to catch and free the lock.
PONTOON ADVENTUREUndeterred by our later-than-anticipated start, we were determined to get to the lake that afternoon. On our last trip to Mohican, we'd discovered a boat rental shop at Clear Fork Lake, on the other side of I-71. We hauled our cooler and other gear down to our rented pontoon boat, and were off.
Becky and Amy took turns piloting our vessel, and it seemed like everytime I tried to take a pic of Trish, she was photographing too.
MAKE-YOUR-OWN TACO DINNERWe took turns with meals (alas, I didn't capture them all on film, but I didn't want to be too annoying with the camera, and sometimes I was just so hungry I forgot about it). Becky's Saturday night taco bar included chunks of avocado, a fragrant bowl of cilantro, and taco meat a la Becky - deer burger cooked with the salsa she cans every year from veggies she grows herself. Nothing better - her salsa is summertime caught in a jar!
SHOT GLASS NIGHT: OUR TRADITION
Our girl Della was quite a collector. Besides collecting friends, she collected shot glasses and souvenir spoons. They cover a lot of geography. Some she bought herself during her travels; others reached her through friends and friends' families traveling to places she unfortunately would never see.
Della's husband gave them all to us, and four years later, we are still divvying up those shot glasses. The tradition we've evolved is that we each select several shot glasses and, going around in a circle, tell a "Della story" about where it's from. The first year, story-telling was pretty rough - until Trish, who hadn't know Della as long as the rest of us, busted out a tale to accompany a Nevada shot glass about her adventures with Della when they were both showgirls in Las Vegas (at least, that's how I remember it). Conjured up from thin air, and convincingly told, it was just the note of levity we needed. Now our shot-glass stories are all fabrications, and the best whopper this year was Amy's, about when she and Della were tagging manatees in Florida. Wish I could remember all the details, but they're a little fuzzy after that bottle of Amatulla we polished off.
Our usual weekend getaways are Friday and Saturday night stays, which, when we stay at the parks, translates into a downer on Sunday mornings, as we have to de-decorate, load all our crap back into our cars, and vacate by 11:00 a.m. This is especially unwelcome after Shot Glass Night. (Fortunately, the park staff are forgiving; I don't think we've ever made it out on time.) This year, we treated ourselves to an extra day, so we had all day Sunday!
While more active folks kayaked along the stream behind our cabin . . .
While Becky spent some well-earned time for herself at the cabin, the rest of us headed out to the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, a lovely place we'd discovered during our last trip to Mohican. This time our visit was rain-free. I'm nowhere near the naturalist that Amy is (or Della was), so I won't embarrass myself by trying to identify all these critters. I'll just share a few photos.
AN AFTERNOON FOR THE BIRDS
AN AFTERNOON FOR THE BIRDS
Our eating schedule a bit off-kilter, we swapped a late lunch for apps by the stream. I brought bread, cheese, and an array of olive-bar items, trying to keep it simple. Unsuprisingly, I brought way more than needed. However, the leftovers made a great, easy spread to nibble on while watching last night's Top Chef Masters.
MY TURN FOR MORE FOOD
MY TURN FOR MORE FOOD
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DELLA!Monday morning brought Amy's delectable quiche, and our departure from the cabin.We headed to the cemetery and spiffed up Della's (and her parents') headstones, pulling weeds and spreading mulch in the rain. Plus adding some celebratory bling - including an impromptu windchime made from some of Della's spoons.
Thanks to any of my kind readers who have made it to the end of this lengthy post. Sorry I was unable to participate in the Caribbean Culinary Smackdown. Hope you'll understand I've just been too busy traveling this month to let my blog rule my real life. But I look forward to checking out everyone's posts and imbibing your culinary inspirations!