It was Friday mid-morning when I finished my final meeting in Massachusetts. My next destination was New York state. Luckily for me, I had a place to crash for the night. While I say, luck, it partially is, but more so due to the kindness of others.
Along the journey, I’ve been happy to have people join in. This means they have helped me out in any regard and a big part of that is a place to crash. A bed or couch with a functioning bathroom nearby leads to more restful sleep than car sleeping with the lights shining through the windows, despite my efforts to block it out.
Earlier in Illinois, I had spent time with a relative and they told me about another relative in New York. I wasn’t so certain because it was an extended family relative and I hadn’t met them or anyone in their family. Luckily, they started to follow the journey and were extremely gracious saying I could stay with them when I was around their area. To use an older phrase, “it warms my heart” to experience that. Truly quite kind. Especially when I thought it would be earlier in the journey, but had to reach a couple of times with a “just kidding!” as other events outside of my control impacted it. One such instance would have me arriving at 10 pm and I refuse to show up so late without having previously met them.
I arrived on this Friday evening and met the family and heard the very next day they would be going on a 2-week vacation to Europe. They had offered to show me some places around town and I felt a little bad as usually the night before either means trying to get everything all situated or at least relaxing at home for the last time in a while. They insisted they were all set to go and had been planning on this night. Sure, was nice.
They said there was a brewery, a cider place, and another brewery in town. My jaw dropped a bit as this was some epic undertaking ahead! I tried to navigate the balance of grateful with trying to emphasize that really nothing special was needed on my accord. They were kind and we headed out. The first brewery was a larger one that has two locations. We got a drink and then decided to just eat at the bar as well. Beyond the beer, the flight of beer and amazing Mac and Cheese with pork, it was quite enjoyable to learn more about each other.
Part of the night was a tour around Albany. They had lived there over twenty years and had a wealth of knowledge regarding the lay of the land. This quenched my curiosity and I got a better feel for things compared to if I was there solo.
We then went to a cider place which was different for me. I’ve been to over 100 breweries in my life by now but this may be my first cider place. It was a good experience and I was glad to make sure to get pictures there along with other places we visited. As we chatted I told them about the greater appreciation I had for my brother after working with him. Along with that, I told them how it was a joy to meet such achieving and kind people in my family.
The final place of the night was C H Evans Brewery at the Pumpstation. As we chatted, we told the bartender that I was newly met family and new to New York for my journey. Naturally, in such an opening I had to inquire if the owner was still involved he was. Upon further questioning, I heard that if I came the following afternoon, my odds would be favorable. Done deal!
After a great night on the town, we headed back to their place. Some more chatting then it was finally time for a restful sleep feeling grateful again for this journey to allow for such an experience.
The following morning, we said hellos and so forth. Before I headed out, I was presented with a bag. The bag had some peanut butter and jelly for sandwiches! Not only that, it had a card with a Starbucks gift card which is clutch for moments like now as I write this, earlier in the morning after not the greatest sleep, getting some caffeine and work in. I was also able to have a couple snack bars. I expressed my sincere thanks and just as they did for me, I wished them fun and safe travels.
I then headed out to get some gym meetings in. I looked around at some CrossFit places but had some time until they would really be good to go. I then noticed there was another gym, Albany Strength XXXL. This was more of a bodybuilding, powerlifting gym. I went over and explained my journey and heard the owner was behind the counter. This gym had a retail section like a GNC, then the gym where work was done. He kindly answered questions from me in between helping customers. I tried to be respectful as possible and kind as he was the same towards me, which is a big emphasis of focus for him towards his customers and he said people need more of it.
I then struck out at two other gyms although I met some nice people along the way. It was cool to have some chats, but the striking out meant that time was leaving as the day was going on. This meant lower chances to find a gym on a Saturday.
I came across CrossFit Aevitas and was telling a coach the journey and heard the owners had just left to an event. I was bummed on the timing and curious if I should go to the event and perhaps they could answer questions then. It’s not desperate, it’s perseverance. As this was occurring, an owner had popped by, not quite gone yet. The coach relayed the information and the owner said he and his wife, the co-owner would be willing to field some questions before leaving. Woohoo! I learned how their engineering backgrounds can make some things much more efficient, but at other times they need to be relaxed and not force the issue with certain things as well.
I had the opportunity to work out and they had a shower. The coach was still working out and said I totally could without any worry. I was torn. I wanted to get to the Pumpstation to see about the owner from the previous night, but I was in big need of a workout. It had been too long. I told myself the owner would get there the earliest at that time and likely stay for a bit. Plus, it was important for me and my own self-care to get a workout in.
It was workout time! The coach had set up a nice workout with clean and jerks, deadlift, KB swings, KB rows, KB cleans, KB shoulder press, and handstand pushups. It wasn’t many reps of either which was nice, but some decent weight at times. It was a grinding workout doing as much work as possible in 30 minutes. I thought 20 minutes may be good but went with the coaches recommendation of 30 minutes. I was drained at 20! That being said I kept grinding.
Afterwards, we jogged a bit and walked some to cool down and chatted. She said she had a friend that would be good to connect with. She later sent a group text and while timing didn’t allow for an in-person meeting, it was cool to be connected to someone else. The little things like this add value to the journey.
I then went to CH Evans Brewery at the Pumpstation and met with the owner who had a passion for a brewery after hearing it was a long family tradition over generations. It took a while and unorthodox steps but it was able to take place. Keeping the passion alive and persevering was key.
I needed one more brewery for New York. I checked out a couple places including one that was in process of preparing to open. They were one or two months out but said they needed to get home. It was weird for me. Usually, I’m more eager, but I almost wanted them to say no I think. I’m not sure how real that is, or just because I know what happens after, but it was a good thing they said no after all.
Without any certainty of evening plans, I decided I wanted to go to Cooperstown. I knew I had to see the baseball Hall of Fame and there was another brewery I had seen before with lions as part of their logo. It was a bit of a drive and along the way, I decided I’d only have time for one that night. The brewery was the call as it could potentially lead to some adventure. It certainly did not disappoint.