*UPSTATE* New York


The past year has been an amazing year, for more reasons than one. Although we are on the trip of a lifetime, there is one experience that stands out about the same- family. Although the average Joe has either seen their family a lot or they have never seen them at all, our situation is a little bit different from both of those. What makes our family relationship so special? The craziest part stands out the most- I have only met my mothers side of the family- all 5 uncles, both grandparents, and all 6 children. On our fathers side, however, we had only met two people- his mother, and his brother. In fact, our dad himself hasn’t even met his entire family… until now! During the past year we knew all of our dads family, a drastic change from knowing none.

After our encounter with Niagara falls, we were on our way to meet our second cousins for the first time on our dads family. Our father had only recently found out that he had a cousin a short while ago, and we had already made plans to see them. Much of my time was spent looking out the window on the ride to a small town in New York and the rest of it was spent listening to a new Audio book. Our first encounter of our newest edition to the family was when a large silver truck was driving down the wrong side of the road towards us, blocking our exit. Although we should have known, as we were almost to our destination, we did not think that it was the reason we were driving down the dirt road in the first place- it wasn’t until seconds later when I was the first one to realize that it was Danny, our fathers cousin. I didn’t say anything, but everyone else in the car slowly came to the conclusion that it was really him while he waved and smiled- the last one being our father…

For one happy moment everyone realized that he was there. By that time, his truck was parked directly parallel to ours so we could see the reflection of our old excursion in his shiny metal. Danny was about 50 years old, about the same as our father, and had short black hair. His mustache was about an inch from bottom to top, wearing it the same style our dad liked to wear his in the fire department. We took off along the dusty road towards his house. Our father was using his headset to talk to Danny while we drove, and he told us a little bit about where we were going. It wasn’t long before we left the boring little dust town and were driving between the trees that soon presented themselves, intimidatingly leaning over our car to get a better look at our camper, which proudly read the exact words of “No Regrts” on the front.

As we drove past cabins and an odd Fallout-shelter style bunker, he told us about his tendency of having a “heavy foot” on the gas. As we soon found out later in our stay, he really meant that- he was driving up to 20 MPH over the speed limit, a seemingly 50 MPH distance between our slow camper-dragging car and his.

Anyway (back to the present), we were driving on the bumpy road (which had soon steadily shifted back into a dirt path) we tried our best to squeeze through the trees that were way too close to the one-lane narrow road for our comfort, getting more narrow as we went. After not too long, we were finally there. We had to do our regular setup procedure in front of his house, and were finally able to meet our family once we finished. At first glance through the well sheltered trees from the road, there was a nice house about two stories tall that was made of beautiful brown wood. A large deck wrapped around their house, allowing a great view into the large woods comfortingly offering protection from the benches seated on it.

Neither of the two children were there but his wife, Dee, was. Meeting her was a treat, as she had a great personality and was very pleasant to talk to. We were exorbitantly happy to be able to finally meet the family, but as it was already 10:00 at night, both families agreed that it was probably best to get a good nights sleep to be able to enjoy the following day as best as we could!

The Town

little town

As I have mentioned in one of my last blog posts, I am a little bit behind. I believe that was actually the name of it. Since I have recently revealed that I will be creating a book, possibly called A Young American’s Travels, I must say that I need this blog to have all of the details, as I will be using it for not only you guys but for my book, as well. The reason I have stated this may be unclear, so I’ll rephrase that: I’m going to be blogging every day now. Without further ado, how about I begin.

We soon saw a different scenery that the past couple of hours being trapped inside our large (but with a small-feeling interior) vehicle; A small town. After leaving Pittsburgh we faced regular hills and grass on the car-less highway while the tall buildings disappeared behind us. We drove in and looked around as we found our campground, and then soon after our spot inside of it. The park was beautiful! Although the entrance/exit didn’t lead to much, it was still great. The little town, the closest one to our destination (Erie Pennsylvania) included a couple of buildings including a furniture store and a photography HQ. Would not visit them until we went walking the next day. That night we used some of the parks activities after we walked around the large lake and the fountain like the small shuffleboard. I’m happy to say I won. The next day of course, we took a long walk and then came back to drive our car to a nearby diner where our parents started to argue if the eggs were processed or not. My brother joked that they were made of cardboard. The meal was good, but I’m sad that I can’t give credit to them. There is a small chance that anybody from that town would be reading the post right now but still. We eventually left the campground after taking showers and got back onto the road to Erie.

Crazy Horse Memorial

Before I began I must give a slight update on my travels. As I said in one of my previous posts (here on the second bulletpoint) I would not blog on travel days. That is the exact reason that I have not blogged for half of a WEEK. For 2 of those days before now I was in the car for 7 hours each day so I decided not to popentially get car-sick until I was urged enough to blog today. With that said, let me now begin my slightly late retelling; It’s been a few days know and my memory is now slightly more fuzzy in the smaller details, but I’ll do my best to recall. The morning was another slow one as before, so the first thing that we really did was go shooting with my new airsoft gun. Even though it was only my second time shooting the new gun I hit all of the targets and started to get better. I screwed as I am new to the sport by accidentally almost jamming my gun to the point of no return, but it was all alright in the end.
The morning of the next day was not particularly interesting. The main attraction of the day was a place that none of us knew about called “crazy horse”. The locals said it was insane. Of course we had to check it out! When we got there we saw a really odd statue that didn’t look finished. When we walked inside the main building we immediately learned about it and we were impressed. Apparently it would be 6,000 feet high and more than 10,000 feet long. The man that started the project wanted to be a sculptor (some of his amazing work was displayed there, the most impressive being a full horse out of wood carved in only 9 days) and worked for the Indians to show “the white men that the red skins have big heroes too”. He started and worked alone for 20 or more years on the project until he was married and then had 10 children that also helped him. Over a year they accomplished what he did in about 20 and 7 of them still worked on the project far after he died. The project is barely beginning and with modern day equiptment will possibly finished between the next century. If the man had worked himself on it (assuming he lived fully functionally without aging) more than 15 times that.

We attended a movie produced busy the owners and it was around an hour long. The place was so amazing that we stayed there for around 5 hours just looking around! I would definitely recommend this place as the top of South Dakota (definitely excluding Mount Rushmore, however). The owners said that the head alone of the statue was as big as Mount Rushmore… not so shore I heard that right. The reason for some of my doubt is that sometimes the nation wants to be more superior than the states. I do not mean that in a bad way at ALL, I just mean that you can’t (shouldn’t) top the country, just as a foot soldier shoul certainly not be in higher command than the general. Sort of how the capital’s dome in Sacramento California is not legally allowed to be bigger than the capitals. Sorry about that. Anyway, as I was saying.

At that time we decided to go check out the town and walk around. There was a huge party there which we were once again at the perfect time to be. We walked in at the perfect time! It was starting to get dark so the party in the street was starting to get more exciting. We went out to a restaurant built for Firemen (my dads choice as a retired capitan of Las Vegas) where we stayed while the sun went down. I do have to say, however, that the place was a much better museum than a restaurant. The food was TERRIBLE! I could not eat it so I said that I was full (which is not normally my excuse in this situation) but my dad snuck out a tater-tot from my basket and I didn’t stop him as he gagged part of it down. My brother loved his burger which was obviously what they were known for, but that was it before we threw out overpriced food in the garbage and left.

At this time the party was getting lit. What is wrong with me, I don’t ever use that word. Anyway, while the party was getting more EXCITING, my brother went to do a ride while we listened to the concert. He was only there for 5 minutes after the 30 minute wait and the $7 entry fee, but he said he enjoyed it. It was a great night, don’t get me wrong at ALL. By the time we left and went home it must have once again been an hour off of midnight; I prefer to be home and asleep by 10:00 because that’s enough time for me before I’m not really “awake” anymore. The next two days were traced days so I don’t have anything to say about that, therefore I won’t. Have a good rest of your week everybody!