Thursday, September 15, 2016

Reclaiming my Life

Fair warning: there's not a lot of cards in this post. There are some, later on. It's also likely to run long. Text in blue (and all photo captions) written after the show.

As I've mentioned a few times, I'm not the healthiest of people. I never have been, having multiple ailments (None are communicable, keep trading with me!) but in 2013 I was hit pretty hard by diabetes, which I didn't know I had. I literally came 5 minutes short of dying. (and keep in mind, there is some health stuff I'm choosing not to post about)

While I've been physically limited in what I can do for a while, (some days are better than others, of course) this did a real number on me. One thing it did was take away things I WAS able to do previously. I still don't have the stamina fully back yet; I've been told I may NEVER have it back.
The heat takes more out of me that it did before. An example, last year I walked around for 45 minutes at a car show, in August. It was about 90 degrees...and afterwords, I couldn't really walk for 4 days. I only wish I was exaggerating. I was so bad after that that I couldn't even make my own lunch in the microwave.

It took more than that away from me. I had to stop collecting 1/64 NASCAR diecasts. That was #1 for me for many many years. But the money to pay for the medicine which keeps me alive, which costs at the very least $500 a month, sometimes more (it fluctuates constantly) had to come from somewhere, and it had to come from the diecast collection.

It cost me the ability to sit Indian style. I used to sit like that all the time- I used to prefer sitting on the floor to the couch or any chair. Now, trying to sit like that causes me intense pain that lasts for several days, and getting up off the floor is almost impossible due to the pain it puts me in.

I'm not sure if it's related or not, but since I got sick (when I say that, I refer to the diabetes) I've had to totally give up milk and it's looking like I may have to give up cheese soon. Cheese is my favorite food and has been for years, so this is a grievous diagnosis for me. There is a direct correlation between it and my being nauseous all the time. (I'm lactose intolerant, apparently)

I've found work-arounds for some/most of the above that I've lost. Even if I have not done that, I've made peace with it and accept that it's not possible to be part of my life going forward.

The one thing that it took away, and that I miss the Lake George. Lake George, NY, is my absolute favorite place in the world. I had been to it every year of my life, sometimes more than once a year. In fact, more than once I've spent an entire month there with my family, although it's been more than a decade now since we could afford to do that.

Lake George is on the very edge of where we could drive to and back home in one day, or at least, it used to be before my health and my mom's health had major issues in 2013 and 2014 respectively. We were both hit pretty hard in back to back years...and it cost us our ability to travel.

It doesn't help that our Jeep is pretty much officially dead. It last moved under it's own power in October 2015, and it's looking like it might never again. It's from 1994, and we've had it since 2003, but it's made it very hard on us not working constantly. (Even when we do get it "fixed", it usually lasts for only a few months before breaking down again). We can't really trust it to go father than we can walk home from. That's basically to the post office and McDonald's and back.

I have not felt comfortable with my ability to travel since I got sick in 2013. The farthest we've traveled is an hour and a half, to the NNL East in New Jersey. I was able to do that trip with no problem, but Lake George is double that.
I didn't feel safe being that far from home. It's probably more mentally based than reality based- but at home, if my number gets low, I've got plenty of things to choose from to fix it. When my number gets low, I can tell by shaking. My body will start to shake, starting with my left shoulder and moving to my other shoulder and both legs, usually. I'm afraid that if my number got low while riding in the car, I wouldn't feel it, and a low number is actually MORE dangerous than a high number.
But I think I'm in enough control now that I won't have to worry. In fact, no matter what I do, my number is usually too high anyway.

To be honest, I'm still a little worried, but...we have gone back to Lake George! I'm writing this up well in advance but I have felt ready to go back since roughly May of this year. My favorite day of the year is always the day of the Adirondack Nationals, the best car show I know of! It's held at the Fort William Henry grounds- an actual fort from the French and Indian War of the mid-1700s, at least the grounds. The Fort itself is a recreation of the original- with original artifacts on display- after it was burned during the war. (The area also played a major role in the American Revolution).
We found a place that is affordable, a little out of town. The place we had been staying since 1987 unfortunately went out of business in 2014. It was right on the lake.
Normally most places jack up the prices for the car show, but this place doesn't. I don't plan to post this until we get back home, but I've known we were going to go back since late July. I have to say, August has been dragging. The Olympics helped quite a bit, but since the Olympics ended, it's been about a week...but it's dragged on like it was an entire year.

I'm back home now, and this trip was everything I'd hoping it would be. Just about perfect. It was brutally hot on Thursday through Saturday, but I still went to the car show both Friday and Saturday, and I would say I saw about 80% of the show. Much more than I expected to do be able to do. I'm in a lot of pain, I knew that I would be. Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!  It still feels "wrong" to drive past the street we used to stay on- every year from 1987-2012, it was really home away from home. The heat was tough and took a lot out of me. I am curious to see how long it will be before I'm not in constant pain from the show. (I'm in constant pain 24/7/365, but I'm referring specifically to pain caused by walking at the show). I really don't know. I am hoping to go to another car show this coming weekend, so it's possible I could be facing 4 weeks or more of pain caused by walking this show, if it works out where I can visit 3 car shows in three weeks.

I have Adirondack Nationals photos on my website HERE. I went in 1988 and 1989, then missed it until 2001, we then went to the car show every year from 2001-2012. (The pictures get better as you go along, generally)

I ended up taking 1379 photos and videos on the trip, including my favorite video I've ever taken.

I will post some of my favorite car show pictures below. Before that, though, are some of my favorite photos from the area taken on this trip. It's my favorite place in the world, and even though when I'm typing this up in August, still more than a week before we are even going to leave, I am already filled with more joy for the impending trip than I've felt in years. Literally! I'm not a happy person- it's hard to be happy when you feel terrible all the time. But Lake George...any trip to Lake George makes me happy. Getting there was just as incredible though as I thought it would be. I really can't put into words what it meant to me. As somebody who likes to write a LOT and has a fairly large lexicon, that is not something that happens all that often. Gotta say, the emotional impact almost overwhelmed me at times.
 The two large boats in the background seemed to have a drag race, going side by side up the Lake until they made the bend. There are 5 large boats on Lake George. the Mohican, launched in 1908, was the only one I did not see this trip. The Minne Ha-Ha (launched 1969) and the Lac Du Saint Sacremont (launched either 1990 or 1991- I saw her maiden sail but don't remember for sure) are run by the Lake George Steamboat Company. The Sacrament is the ship on the right here. The Horicon (foreground) has been on the Lake my whole life but I don't know when she was launched. The Adirondack (on the left) was launched circa 2007. The latter two are run by Shoreline Cruises, but I don't know about them as much. The Minne Ha-Ha is the star of the Lake and the video below features her prominently. She is not in this photo, but she had just come in for a landing after a cruise. I was able to capture 4 of her songs on the Calliope and all 4 of the big ships that I saw this trip.

 On Sunday, the big shops weren't running but it allowed me to get photos of them. I suspect the Mohican may have gone to Dry Dock already.

This is English Brook, which ran behind the motel we stayed at this year. It drains into the Lake.

You can see the rest of the photos from this trip (non-car show) HERE on my website. It also covers the trip up, back, and excursions into Saratoga, Ballston Spa, Warrensburg, Queensbury, Glens Falls, and more. A lot of the pictures are of Fort William Henry which is a reconstruction (with some originality) of a fort from the French and Indian War, originally built in 1755.

Here are some car show photos. I took exactly 700 photos and videos at the car show, and I won't share them all here, but you can see them on my Website. I'm not going to post a whole lot because I am kicking around the idea of an automotive photography blog.
 This year was unusual not in that there was a Superbird, it was unusual because there was only one wing car! There are usually at least three on the grounds.
 This car was great looking in person, too. Note the Lake in the background.
 Looking out on the car show from a cannon port on Fort William Henry
I actually took this GTO photo on my phone (so I could post it to Facebook- it turned out better than the one I took with my camera of the same car!). On Saturday morning, it rained pretty hard for several minutes, and that led to some great photos of the cars with water on them. For some reason I LOVE to see the old cars in the rain. In all the car shows I've gone to, this is only the 4th where it's rained, I think. (I've been going to car shows my whole life...I went to the Adirondack Nationals for the first time in 1988 when I was 4 years old...the same year I began collecting cards. Wouldn't it be something if I got them at the vendor area? My first were car cards, of a sort!)

I ask you to watch this video. It's the very best I've ever taken. I began shooting video in 2005; it is also the longest at 14 minutes long. This is, truly, a perfect representation of everything I love about Lake George. (You will see that the video jumps twice- there was an ant on me, but I thought it was a big black spider)

Now, I said there was not a lot of card content in this post, and that's true. But, we did find out that there was a new semi-card shop that opened in town in early 2016, and of course we made the effort to go to it. I did find some basketball cards in that local store in town, which are good. But I'm not going to show them now. I got some good stuff, of course, pales in comparison to what I found at my favorite comic store, which I have not been to since roughly 2006.
Yes, my first cards from the legendary 1938 Horrors of War set, and my first card from any of the 1966 Batman sets! I have been chasing both of these sets since roughly 2010 when I found out they existed! I've mentioned I wanted both sets in the past on various blogs. (both my own and in comments on others). Now, I have them! Those are the two biggest sets (not in size, but importance) that were missing from my non-sports collection. I got a great batch of comics so I could only afford one of each set, but the store had more...and two of the other Batman sets of different Bat colors. Next time, hopefully, they will still be there. Now that I know that I can physically do the show, which I was not sure on, there WILL be a next time, and I don't think we will be waiting a whole year to go back. In fact, if all goes well, we will be back the end of this month! I am targeting the Concourse D'elegance at the Saratoga Automobile Museum on September 24th/25th as my return trip, although it's not known now if it will actually happen. That's what I HOPE will happen. But, knowing from past experience, it won't. But I'm not going to stop hoping.


  1. Sounds like you had a great trip, Billy.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! Hopefully next year you can actually find a parking spot in town

  3. Great stuff! Glad to hear you had a lot of fun.

  4. Great post Billy. I'm glad you got to return to the lake. I've been to Lake George twice. It is an incredible place. Spent a lot off time at Lake Champlain also. Visited Ft. Henry. I'm a Revolutionary war buff myself the history of the area is amazing. Do they gave the car show there every year? If so I may try and make the trip next year. My father in law collects vintage cars.(has14) would be pretty easy to talk him into the trip. Loved the video.

    1. Oh yeah. It has been held the same weekend since 1988. You and he should start calling in January, it fills up quick. I have never made it to Lake Champlain yet myself but I have explored Lake George extensively. There is another Fort that was never finished but you can explore. Hope it's still available, they did some excavating there recently, it even made it into Archaeology Magazine. If you do come over let me know, I can tell you where the hidden statues, monuments and historic places are. Most are not visible from the roads even though a couple are, but they are close enough to walk to most of them in under a minute from parking.
      14 cars...WOW! I'm impressed! I would be happy with one.

  5. The only thing missing when that boat docked was:

    And that Batman card looks like you just pulled it from a pack.

    1. Funny you post that...the company that owns this ship also owned a Steamboat company on the Mississippi river for a time, and still might, I'm not totally sure.

      Once again, I was in the right place at the right time.

  6. Replies
    1. That's right! No matter what happens I will keep hoping

  7. Great photos. Great post. I hope the excitement of the trip and anticipation of future trips keep you going for years to come.

    I've been to many places in the Adirondacks, but oddly never Lake George. I'll have to get there someday.

  8. Thanks! Knowing that I can go back has definitely got me looking forward to the future much more than I was before. There are s lot of great places in the area but that is by far my favorite.

  9. Glad to hear you were able to go and had so much fun.

    1. Thanks! Me too. It's the highlight of 2016, for sure!

  10. That video you have above is really great! While the imagery isn't too shabby, all the sounds are absolutely wonderful. I don't recall seeing you mention having a YouTube channel before, so I spent some time this morning watching a number of your videos. I'm not really a car guy, so I stuck primarily with the nature videos. You even had an obligatory box break!

    By the way, being lactose intolerant does kind of suck (I have been so since around the age of 12) and will probably take some time to adjust on your part. But, like most in things in life, you just have to adapt to your new circumstance and keep moving forward.

    1. Thanks! I'm not sure I mentioned it in the past. I don't really think I'm too good at videos but I am making an effort to get better at it. This year's trip was the first time I really attempted to take better videos, and I think with that one I succeeded. :) It actually helped to watch all my old videos right before we left. It showed me what I did wrong and I kept that in mind when filming this year. Some of the early videos make ME dizzy because I moved the camera around constantly.

      I still have to upload some more from the trip. I did some but then never finished. That follow through problem again, LOL.

      It is a pain (literally) but like you said, we just have to adapt.