Monday, November 30, 2009

Side Trip

A few weeks ago, Tom & I went to the Carnage convention in Vermont. The con and the night drive over the mountains to get there were fun, but we can talk about that later. This is about the trip home.

Since we both had a day to kill, we stopped in Syracuse on the way back to Cleveland and spent the night at an old hotel downtown. Park View or something like that. We ate at a barbecue place with "dinosaur" in the name and then went back to our room to crash for the night.

The next day, instead of getting back on the expressway, we picked up a New York road atlas and took off in roughly the direction we wanted to go, figuring out our route as we went along. We ended up driving along Cayuga Lake towards Ithaca. Neither of us had been there before, although Tom had once played a game where it was the supernatural center of the Americas.

After a fairly scenic drive along the lake, we found Ithaca and rather liked the look of it, both of us agreeing that we should come back some time when we could really explore the town. We weren't intending to stop but, on the way out of town, we saw this:

Not wanting to let that pass without at least getting a picture, we turned around and stopped at the park, learning that we were at "Buttermilk Falls." We didn't really have time to take the hiking trail, but we had a look around the waterfall and stretched our legs a bit.

We took a lot of pictures but, since you can go buy whole calendars full of professionally photographed waterfalls if that's what you want, I'll only bore you with a couple more of our shots.

First, here's one looking the other way:

And here's another one of the lower part of the waterfall:

Thinking that this would be the last adventure for the day, we got back into the car and picked out a new course towards Erie, where we intended to re-connect with the expressway. Out in the middle of nowhere, however, we passed a sign advertising a place called "Tag's Tavern." TAG, of course, is the name of Tom's homebrew RPG (short for "Tom's Adventure Gaming") so we had to find the place and stop for a drink, no matter what kind of dive it turned out to be.

But it wasn't a dive at all. It was apparently kind of famous, with memorabilia from all kinds of bands that had performed there. We sat right across from a guitar signed by all the members of Styx. They also had great food and friendly locals with none of the Lovecraftian insularity we had encountered in Vermont. (Okay, we met plenty of nice people in Vermont too, but the cranky ones are more fun to talk about.) Of course, they weren't so friendly that we could admit to them why we were there. The official story was that we had to stop here because "Tag" was Tom's old nickname.

From there it was pretty much a regular drive. We never would have found any of this stuff if we hadn't wandered off the track, though. And that, folks, is why I love traveling with Tom.

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