Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bachelor Party in the Hudson Valley

I just finished eating some delicious raw vegetables for dinner this evening, mainly because:
1. I have a fridge full of them
2. I need a serious amount of detoxing after this past weekend

I haven't been to all that many bachelor parties - maybe 4 or 5 so far. This one was certainly one of the more decadent of the bunch.

In the universal code of men, it is highly inappropriate to reveal specifics unsuitable for non-PG audiences, but I can say that the weekend involved kayaking, beer, Mario Kart, and the consumption of a broken light bulb.

Friday afternoon, I picked up Brian, Kelly, and little Mabel for the drive out to Western Mass (for a pit stop to drop the ladies off with the grandfolks). After some delicious burgers and corn, Brian and I continued across the MA/NY border into the Hudson Valley. A 40 miles drive down the Taconic Parkway landed us in Highland, NY - a town west of the Hudson Valley's armpit (aka Poughkeepsie) - at Indian Ridge, our weekend home.

We put our trust in Jill the GPS, and she directed us to what seemed, on the outside, to be a warehouse in the middle of a field. Strange, we thought. This doesn't appear to be a quaint bed and breakfast in a charming small New York town.

But with the utmost degree of confidence in technology, we walked up a staircase and opened a door to find the bachelor party! It seems that Indian Ridge isn't much of a bed and breakfast or anything, but rather a huge residence rented out by its owner on occasion. The main room had a large bar with eight stools, a pool table, a large TV with seating area, two bathrooms, a renovated kitchen, a bedroom with waterbed and jacuzzi, and two cast iron staircases to large lofted sleeping areas. The entire interior was covered with lacquered wood - walls, beams, ceiling, and floor. Actually, a cool place for our home base.

Surveying the coolers, fridges, and countertops, we found an incredible amount of snacks and beer - plenty of food for the weekend.

Now, it's 10:30 when we show up, and I am exhausted. Somehow, my second wind hit me just in time, and next thing I know it's 3:30 am and I'm many beers, chips, and snacks into the night. Given out 8:30 am wakeup call for kayaking in the Hudson, I claimed an oversized comfy corner chair as my weekend sleeping quarters, and hit the hay.

Saturday began with a 45 minute drive in an un-airconditioned conversion van that comfortably seated 14 folks (but we had 15....). We showed up about an hour late for our guided kayak excursion in the Hudson River. This was a much different kayaking trip that the one in the Charles River a few weeks ago. I believe there were five guides who spent much care explaining the kayaking nuances to the group, most of whom were experienced athletes from college days. We were warned to secure and sunglasses with croakies, and to yell if we accidentally tipped over in the water.

Sure enough, one of the guys tipped immediately upon launching, losing his sunglasses. I decided to put mine in my life vest's pocket for safe keeping. We had another 3 or 4 tippings throughout the afternoon, but I managed to avoid it.

After lunch, it was on to the craft beer festival - much different from the one in Boston a few weeks ago. 12 New York brewers set up shop, and $20 landed me all I could drink. I have learned that after an hour of 2 ounce beer samples, I talk to strangers readily.

Back to the lodge in the sweatbox van, and back to Mario Kart - the most addictive component of the weekend. 4 player Mario Kart is quite amazing, and I'm a bit shocked that it sucked in many of the bachelor party attendees for long periods of time.

After a catered dinner, my lasagna baby in my belly induced a nap, and I ended up skipping Saturday night's brief excursion on the town in Hyde Park, NY. I fell asleep on the couch about 5 minutes after sitting down (90 degrees + kayaking + beer + lasagna = sleep), and the party returned to the lodge just a brief 90 minutes after the caravan departed. By then, everyone was spent. The light bulb chewing had ended, and after goodbyes in the morning...the party is on hold until the wedding in a few weeks.

The ride back was quick and painless, less the second $70 gas fillup and the revelation that the switch that regulates how my console blows air (panel / defrost / at my feet) has now failed, and I'm stuck with defrost as my only option - tons of fun when I've already put $2,500 into my finally-paid-off Jeep this year. I'm hoping that this is a warranty project, but expecting that it won't be.

Overall, an excellent weekend. Only one minor flesh wound (Brian, finger, door slam), and assuredly some bruised livers in the bunch - nothing some fresh veggies and water can't clear up!

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