Indians (Road) Trippin

This summer I vowed to myself that I would make it a memorable one and experience a lot of things.

I also vowed that I would start using my camera and capture all the memories.

And I vowed that I would blog about it all.

Well, I managed to deliver two out of the three promises.

And while I was on a roll about blogging every day, all it took was one day for me to fall off the wagon and before you knew it, the posts started to pile up, the pictures accumulated and the memories remained trapped on my camera and hard drive.

In a nutshell, I became a very bad blogger.

These posts are my attempt to make good on that last promise and rectify my bad blogging past.

I’m going back in time and gathering all the memories before the year’s up and it’s too late…

When the folks were in town this June, my Dad wanted to make a (very impromptu) trip to Erie, PA, to visit his long-time, med school roommate/classmate, Thomas, and his family.

And just like that, we were off on the first road trip the four of us had taken in years.

The last time I had been to Erie and Thomas’ “farm,” was back when I was still a teenager. We made the trek from KY for his famous fourth of July bash. Bash=close to 200 plus people, huge tents set up, massive BBQ and an epic fireworks show. Thomas is a local doctor up in, literally, his neck of the woods, so his bashes were more of a huge party for the whole town. I will never forget that 4th of July weekend of years ago.

Needless to say, this reunion was much more low-key, but we were still met with the same warmth and welcome from Thomas and his family that made me understand why my Dad considered Thomas as one of his best friends, for all these years.

On the way up, we waved to Bob & Erin Marie’s old hometown.

After our six-hour road trip, we were immediately whisked away to the woods, or what Thomas likes to call home.

My family from Bensalem, PA, also met up with us (it took us about six hours to reach Erie from KY, while it took my family close to eight hours and they were in the same state!)

Then the feasting (feast #1 of 2) commenced shortly after…

Night One

It’s like time stands still for Thomas and my Dad, and they just pick up from the last time they were together.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they were actually related. They’re so much alike, it’s uncanny.

And just like old times, they could be found in the kitchen, swapping stories, sharing laughs and preparing a feast.

This time though, Thomas insisted that my Dad take the back seat and relax, as he would take care of the whole feast prep and execution.

We were guests in his kingdom. He pulled out the works for us and treated us very well. Just like family should.

Their meat…

Thomas made sure that I had something to eat. He couldn’t really fathom that his carnivorous, omnivorous friend had a daughter who was once a vegan and who now is a vegetarian. I think his mind imploded from the brevity of it all.

My meat…

Both Thomas and my Dad are obsessed with keeping fish as pets. Dad had some major envy of Thomas’ tanks and fish pond (more on that later.)

Another thing that they both are obsessed with is keeping memories of their lives back in India alive through food. How Thomas got this edible tuber from India (I forget the name) to grow in the boonies of Erie is beyond me. He had crates of this stuff.

It was a beautiful way to end our first night in Erie.

Day One

We figured that since we were so close to Niagara Falls (just a lil over two hours away), we HAD to take a day trip up to visit.

The day started off with torrential rains and even though I #LoveStormyWeatherTheBestAndMoreThanMost, I was worried that our trip would be a wash out and not worth it. But we were too invested in the promise of Niagara, so we pressed on.

And it’s a good thing that we did, because as soon as we crossed into NY, the heavens parted and the most stunningly, glorious day unfolded for us. I swear, Niagara looked like a postcard that day. Was totally overwhelmed by the sheer awesomeness of it all.

For the record, just because this woman is an Indian, doesn’t mean she was with us or part of our family. We don’t know her. She was just in my shot. Also, NY is full of Indians, in case you didn’t know. Okay, proceed with the post…

People are always telling me that I look my Dad. What do you think?

If only it was a double rainbow!!!!!

According to the Wiki, more than 6 million cubic feet of water falls over the crest line every minute during high flow. Unless, you experience it in person, words, pictures and videos can’t do the sheer force of the Falls any justice.

Even though the boat was a ways away from the Falls, the force of the water (and wind produced from the Falls) was unreal. We were completely drenched. The Maid of the Mist people should really reconsider their brand name to Maid of the Drench?

Don’t believe me? Look at the water dripping off my cousin Abe’s face. Also, my camera got soaked. I seriously don’t know how it didn’t stop working then (and still works to this day.) You can tell how much water got on/in it by the water spots in the pics I took right after we passed the Horseshoe.

Can you believe this guy’s job?! All he has to do is sit in this box, have some reading material to keep him busy…and oh, make sure people don’t kill themselves by going overboard. He’s been doing it for three years! Three years! His name is Matt.

Me, just before the MOTM…

…and me after…

Even the Amish are drawn to Niagara’s magic voodoo. By the bus loads.

No captions needed…

We bid Niagara adieu and headed back to Erie.

Thomas insisted that we continue our water-themed day by visiting Presque Isle State Park and seeing where all those tons of water from Niagara eventually ended up, Lake Erie.

His goal was for us to catch the sunset. We barely made it on time. But, boy, oh boy, so glad we did.

I couldn’t get over how marvelous the beach was! Who knew lakes had such island-like beaches? If I didn’t know any better, I might as well have been back in the Caribbean watching the sunset. It even had shells and smelled like the beach! I couldn’t believe that the lake water before us, basically came from the waters that drenched us hours before at the Horseshoe Falls. The beach was pristine, the water cold. We’re definitely going to have to spend the entire day there if we ever decide to go back one summer.

Look ma! Tweeting/FBing/FourSquaring on a beach!

(Missing only one) of the first cousins.

If you’re looking for a professional to eff up scenic, memorable photos every.single.time. hit me up. I’m looking for work and I’m a sure thing.

After all the hours with the fam, I decided to have a beer bigger than my head.

I deserved it…and I drank every drop.

It was the perfect way to end a fun-filled, exhausting day.

Day 2 (Final Day)

Thomas insisted that we partake of feast #2 of 2 before we headed home, so we made one last trip out to the woods.

My Dad and Thomas used to build elaborate fish ponds from scratch back in India when they roomed together in med school. I think it’s pretty ironic that Thomas living in Erie has a sweet fish pond and my Dad, who lives in the Caribbean, doesn’t. I guess Dad just considers  the whole island of Nevis and its beaches as his giant fish pond. Either way, Dad had some major fish-pond envy this trip.

Over the years, Thomas lost a few fish to an eagle swoop, scoop and swallow, so that’s why the net is in place, but it’s mainly there for larger predators…not cats…but bears! Eek!

When Thomas told us his bear story the first night we got there, it’s not that we didn’t believe him, we just nodded politely, since we were guests in his home. But I guess Thomas got the last laugh, since when he woke up the next morning, his story was miraculously corroborated…

Yes folks, that is a pile of fresh bear droppings. Key word being, “fresh.” As in, a-huge-bear-was-just-there-a-few-hours-ago kinda fresh.

Thomas believes that the bear prolly was enticed by the smells of grilling steaks from feast #1 of 2 night.

So instead of us hiding his guests away safely in the house, because a wild bear was running around, Thomas decided that he wasn’t gonna let a lil ole bear scare him away and put a damper on his agenda of the day: feast #2 of 2…brunch, Indian style.

He figured if the bear couldn’t resist the steaks, then there was no chance in hell it could resist the fish that he caught in Lake Erie…

Thomas wanted to recreate some of the recipes his mother used to cook…and wrote about in her cookbook.

If feast #1 of 2 was all about the red meat, then feast #2 of 2 was all about the fish…specifically, fish two ways: curried and fried. Once again, Thomas made sure that I wouldn’t starve and had a wide variety of veggie dishes for me.

To say that my Dad is a cornball comedian would be an understatement. Here he likened Thomas and himself to another famous duo. Thomas just nodded politely, since we were guests in his home.

I swear, my Dad’s version of “blogging” is sharing hard copies of photos as he tells the stories behind each pic. I guess, we’re more alike than I thought.

Fish fry, Indian style. Courtesy of Thomas’ daughter, Katie.

What an honor for a father to be blessed by his son, who just happens to be a priest.

I’m glad that we made the trip to Erie and that Thomas and my Dad got to reconnect like they did back in the day.

Erie did us good and a good time was had by all.


~ by Maureen on October 22, 2010.

5 Responses to “Indians (Road) Trippin”

  1. Maureen, This is really awesome. Great job! It almost feels like we are there again for feast #3!! The bear could have turned our Erie Trip into an “eerie trip”! I think our gracious nocturnal host brought the ex Vegan guest some specially made vegetable dish from Jungle Jims!! It almost looks like the humungous mushrooms Thomas grilled for you. Thank God, the bear did not wait until you came out of that door to collect the “special delivery”. It almost reminds me of the FEDEX people where they leave the stuff at the door step and leave! Anyway, thank God we were all able to return home safely from that eerie place!!( I mean Erie, PA).

  2. Absolutely great photos and some were awesome of the falls! Great visual feast for the eyes is here as well as the stomach. Glad you and your family had a great trip. And sweet your dad left a comment 🙂

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Maureen Jacob and Maureen Jacob, Maureen Jacob. Maureen Jacob said: Indians (Road) Trippin: […]

  4. i got nostalgic seeing the RT 11 sign for Youngstown. If you would have jumped on it an hour latter you would have been about a mile from our old house.

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