So, this is the second time we've made the trek across the southern half of NY, then all the way through the hills of PA to the Southern portion where Joe's camp is located. It's always a beautiful drive. It's not a short little jiggidy jog, but it's well worth it! The GPS says it's about 5 1/4 hour drive. With both kids in the car, toilet breaks and food, it took us about 6 1/2 hours to get there (and to get home as well). That's really not bad considering! They were really well behaved in the car the whole time, and hardly argued. Thank goodness we have a mid-size vehicle now. I can't imagine taking that trip in one where they'd be sitting elbow to elbow though!
We arrived after dark Friday night, although not nearly as late as we arrived last year. Thankfully, the traffic (due to mostly construction) wasn't too bad in Harrisburg this year! When we got to camp, Joe had pizza ready. Jim and I weren't too hungry, but the girls both enjoyed a piece of Pizza. We sat up for a while, played a little guitar and Steph pulled out her uke. Mostly we just chatted though. Then most everyone got tired and headed to bed. However, like old friends who've known one another forever, Joe and I stayed up chatting. And chatting. And chatting. Then I mentioned, since I had to get up in the morning to work for an hour, that I should probably try to get a few hours of sleep. We figured it was around 3 AM. I looked at the time, and it was 5 AM! Holy smokes! I had to get up in an hour! Ha!
Each morning, Joe of course made an awesome breakfast, Zurf's coffee pot gift was still there so we had coffee, all was well despite the lack of sleep! The local fella, Jeff, and his wife came over with a giant bucket of chocolate - Kate had something to keep busy with! I was shocked by Jeff. He's a trucker and sings and plays amazingly. Dare I say, beautifully (not what I'd expect from the image of a trucker).
While it would have been nice with more people, I appreciated the more intimate picker circle inside. I had the opportunity to chat with Joe's friend Scott more than I had last year. He originally struck me as an odd duck, but really, he's just a super nice guy. He loves music, and loves to share it! While he can play anything anywhere up and down the neck, he and Joe made great efforts to pick songs that were more well known and tried to teach Jim a few of them. Jim's now got a bunch more songs saved that he can play and work on playing for next year. They use all sorts of barre chords, so mostly I just enjoyed listening but did strum along on a few! Luckily, I play some pretty easy stuff, so they were able to join in with me. It was very different for me having others playing along (and shredding out solos and accompaniments to my strumming in the background). I can't wait to listen to a few of those to see how they sounded. I was concentrating too much on not losing my rhythm to be able to fully appreciate the extra guitars playing along at the time. I REALLY need to have others around more to jam with! It was a great experience.
Both nights our girls stayed up until about midnight. Each day though, they were really pretty well behaved. There was only one moment where KK had a little fit; she straightened herself out quick enough. Steph wowed everyone with her Uke and voice. While she played one particular song multiple times, I don't think anyone tired of hearing it. She amazes the heck out of me. I hadn't really even heard her play the songs she did fully before the weekend, as she generally plays in her room with the door closed. Joe and Scott's singing has come a long way in the past year, Jim's playing has improved, Steph's gotten amazing, and I... well... I enjoyed all of it! Ha ha!
I think we stayed up until around 3 AM the second night. More amazing breakfast in the morning, and Joe traded out the rest of the cookies for the leftover pizza. That pizza came in quite handy! When we got home and finally settled in (after driving through a pretty bad storm 30 minutes from arrival home), we warmed it up for our late dinner.
I honestly can't say thanks enough! Joe is a great host, and a wonderful friend. Joe, should you decide to, we'd be thrilled to join you for a "camp work party" in the spring to help with the addition, general clean up, or whatever. You've got a great little place there, and we look forward to many more trips - rain or shine! I do hope you didn't get blasted too badly with storms after we left. On our way out, all the cows and even sheep we drove past were hunkering down expecting a storm!
Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.