Friday Scenes from Darien Lake State Park

On Friday morning,  I hopped onto my bicycle and rode around the park.   We have talked about taking bicycles camping with us for a long time, but this is the first time we actually took them.  My bicycle is a Schwinn touring bike I bought in 1985.  The poor bicycle has hung in the basement from hangers since 1992, when we built this house!

My bike was removed from the hangers a few days before we left.  Mark pumped the tires to the recommended pressure and asked if I wanted to hop onto the bike…..was he kidding?  That bike has had the same tires and inner tubes for twenty-four years!  So, I hopped on and rode the bike around the house.  I was in total awe.  #1. The tires were okay.  #2.  I could still ride the bike!!!   It seemed like I was defying some act of balance or something,  riding around on those ridiculously skinny tires.  They certainly aren’t anything like those big beefy treads on the kids’ mountain bikes!

I rode all around the park on paved roads, as well as gravel-covered roads.  I road up little hills and absolutely astonished myself!  The great thing about those skinny wheels is that I can literally glide for long periods of time without pedalling.  Suddenly, I felt just like a kid again….man,  I really missed riding my bike!

Mark drove off in the morning over to the parking lot by the lake.  That was where I met him and convinced him he could do a little exploration of the park in a wheelchair.  We strolled and rolled out to the island where I spotted the duck with her brood….

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Perhaps the reason this picnic table was precariously balancing at the water’s edge was just so the little ducklings could rest under it in the event they got too warm?

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Mark and I crossed back over the pretty bridge.  Of course, Mark being a mechanical engineer,  stopped for quite some time to marvel at the lovely bridge.  *I* just thought it was pretty.  *He* examined the structure, pointing out various elements and oogling over the Minnesota company who made it.  Then a brief discussion about how much it must have cost to truck such a structure all that distance followed.

We then went over to marvel at the pretty pavilion that had a fabulously flowering Butterfly Bush planted near the entrance.

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We talked all about glue-laminated beams and even felt how smoothly the beams were sanded.  Even in the most severe weather, the exposed beams were still smooth as could be.  Mark also informed me the pavilion held twenty-six tables.  We finally left and went over to look over the barbeque pit, then the other more rustic pavilion.

As we looked around the other, less “picture perfect” pavilion, a nest built in the corner of the building caught my eye.  We all know that curiosity arose and I sprung up onto a table to take a closer look. (with the camera, of course!)

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In looking at the nest, I am pretty sure it was built by a robin.  The orange object in the center of the nest is a little funnel-shaped mouth, wide open awaiting nourishment!  I immediately hopped back down again and told Mark we had better leave right away so the mother bird could feed her youngsters.  (I saw one more beak pop up as well.)

The two extra days we spent at the park were nice and it was the first time we explored even though we have camped here many times! Having the bikes along really made a difference.

And now, I shall leave you with a little something to warm the cockles of your heart….(and anything else that might be chilled!)

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Scenes Around Darien Lake State Park

On Thursday, (the day after Kingdom Bound ended),  Michelle and Ben went over to help their friends pack up their tent and belongings, as they were heading back home.  The kids were gone for a couple of hours, and when they returned,  Michelle said she was freezing and took a blanket to the truck where she plopped down on the back seat and fell sound asleep.

I awakened Michelle some time later….he face was bright red and she said her throat was sore.  I felt her forehead and it was obvious she had a nasty fever.  I made her drink lots of water throughout the day and gave her some Tylenol in hopes of reducing the fever. 

Mark went out for a bit while I tidied the camper.   I had gotten Michelle on the bed in the camper and as she slept, I took a brief walk around the park.  Ben stayed in the camper to keep an eye on Michelle.

During Kingdom Bound, the campground turns into a little tent city.  There are tents everywhere!  Instead of showing photos of campers and tents and such, I decided to show some of the more “nature-oriented” sides of the park!

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Yes, the above cell tower is what helped us remain “connected”!

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The park has a small lake located within, however, it was shut down as an employee told me the ph of the water is too low to allow swimming and boating.  There is also a picnic area and pavilions for parties and reunions.  The building below is located near a rustic pavilion.  This little building, with its vented roof reminds me of a maple sugar house.  I went over to have a closer look and was surprised to see that there were not only four barbeque grills, but also a deep barbeque pit for grilling chicken and such! (how I longed for that Chicken BBQ from the previous Saturday!!)

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I should have loaded these photos more logically, but I have previously discussed the fact that logic is *not* one of my strengths!

The bridge below is a beauty made of steel and leading to a small island on the lake, complete with grills and picnic tables!  How romantic…a picnic on the island!

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There is another pavilion (NOT on the island) with the most awesome glue-laminated arches!  It is beautiful! And as I walked down the path closer to it, the smell of cooking food nearly overwhelmed me!  I wondered if *I* was invited??

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Mark said when he went out to get our food later, three tour buses loaded with kids stopped at the pavilion. Lucky kids! A picnic in the country!  I could hear someone on a bullhorn telling the kids “one can of soda per person!”

The photo below is of the island.

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The cattails are near the island and mama ducks and their ducklings hang out near them!

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I have a few more photos of the park that I took on Friday.  Mark and I wandered around a little….he in the wheelchair only after I convinced him it was totally possible to roll around the grounds.

Oh, and on Friday?  Since Michelle was feeling better (not entirely)  we went and picked up some food and had a lovely little picnic on one of the tables on the island!!!

Kingdom Bound

On day three of Kingdom Bound, We got to see DecembeRadio and then the big show was Israel Houghton.  (AKA Israel and New Breed)  Both groups were fantastic! 

I was so psyched about Wednesday,  and seeing the Newsboys, I failed to realize how quickly the time was passing and that Kingdom Bound 2009 was coming to a rapid close. I personally think the festival should continue on for the entire week, but  I guess that would be quite hard to accomplish.

When Wednesday finally rolled around,  we spent the day as usual, dropping the kids off for “doing the amusement park”,  then Mark and I wandered around a bit.   One of the kids’ friends’ parents asked if we wanted to join them for dinner at a little local restaurant. We decided to go, but when they said they were leaving at six,  Mark told me to take the kids and go, as he wanted to see one of the performing groups.

We had a nice dinner with the Whites and then made our way back to the park.  By the time we arrived, the entire parking lot looked like nothing more than a sea of shining vehicles!  Thankfully,  we have a handicapped placard and I was able to secure a spot rather easily.

I made it back to see Natalie Grant.  After her, there was a very personable fellow from New Zealand, named Phil Joel performing.  He was excellent!

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Finally, it was getting close to 9:30 and the NEWSBOYS!!! Woohoo!   The questions that remained in my mind was How on earth will the Newsboys ever be the same without Peter Furler at the lead?  How could Michael Tait  of DC Talk fame ever fill in for the wonderful Australian voice we had come to know and love so?

Well, let me tell you…..

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Michael Tait was FABULOUS!  He is a great singer.  A great performer! A great person!

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About midway through their show,  the Newsboys came back into the crowd where they had a small stage (stage B) set up in the crowd to do a few songs!  Michael led the way just a Peter had done before him.

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And I got to see MY favorite drummer of allllll time.  Another Aussie….Duncan Phillips.

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Sorry that photo is fuzzy, but I have come to the realization that Duncan must never, ever, sit still!  See those colorful drumsticks?   Even when the band wasn’t playing, he was using them as shakers….yes, they seemed to have built in shakers!

Towards the end of the show, I think my heart nearly came to a grinding HALT when….. 

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Peter Furler nonchalantly walked out onto the stage!!!  Peter and Michael performed a song together and Peter kinda “passed the mantle” on to Michael.

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When the  show ended, the crowd went nuts, clapping and asking for another song.  Of course, as they do every year, the band obliged!  This time, they came out and Michael grinned, saying they had a song specially prepared for this.

The band burst forth in a DC Talk song called Jesus  Freak. The crowd roared with excitement and everyone loved it.

And then, it was over.  Kingdom Bound 2009.  Only a memory. But OH what a good one!!!