On Tuesday, March 22nd, the Old Men of the Mountain met at Kim’s West Winds Diner on Route 145 in Preston Hollow.

This Restaurant is a new one for the Old Men of the Mountain, and it was well received. The Old Men of the Mountain’s clock is now beginning to resemble an amoeba. On a white board in the restaurant was a message that read “Welcome to the other side of the Mountain ─ The Old Men of the Mountain.” That was true because to many of the OFs it is the other side of the mountain. The new restaurant to the OFs has been in Preston Hollow for some time and was recommended by one of the OFs that knew of the place and said it would meet our criteria.

Back again to the hiking chatter. One of the OMOTM who is part of a group which are serious hikers (this is another group within the group of OFs) would hike with Fred Schroder. This OF said that Mr. Schroder was his mentor as far as this OF becoming an accomplished hiker. Mr. and Mrs. Schroder are the ones that built the Nature Center on Ketchum road in the Town of Knox. They, in turn, donated the Nature Center over to New York State to be part of Thacher Park. The Schroders donated it in the name of Emma Treadwell Thacher for all the work she did in donating land that would eventually became John Boyd Thacher Park, one of New York State’s jewels hidden in the Helderbergs.

Some of the OFs run their ATVs and snowmobiles like many other people who use these pieces of equipment as a hobby, and/or recreation. This year it was necessary to travel quite a distance to find any snow to use these expensive toys, and equally expensive gear, other than planters in the yard for holiday decorations. They would take the time to travel north to Old Forge or the Tug Hill Plateau or Tupper Lake to find snow. They do not have snow guns on snowmobile trails like they do ski areas.

Electronics are developing faster than the OFs can keep up. One OF said he watches his grandkids only 3 years old play computer games. SAY WHAT! Many of the OFs were just learning to talk at 3 years old. One OF mentioned the newer cars, and how, on a smart phone with the right electronics in a car, he saw a car that was in a Texas airport parking lot.  The owner of the car was standing next to him on the mountain in NY State, and he had the phone tell him everything that was going on with that car, in real time, and that car was two thousand miles away. The phone recorded where the car was, what parking spot it was in, that the doors were locked, the mileage had not changed, the amount of oil in the car, etc. etc. The OF said that the car could even be started from here on the mountain. One OF said this is getting creepy.

There are negatives and positives to this type of technology. Again, on the positive side, another OF related a story of a friend of his who purchased a car where this type of technology was free for six months and then if you wanted to keep it there was a monthly charge. His friend said “no” to continuation. His friend’s car was stolen after the grace period. The friend went to the police to report the stolen vehicle. The police were able to access the information from the car, located where the car was and in short time located the vehicle, and made an arrest. That is a plus in one way, but a negative in another; with that information now anyone will be able to tap into that “extra” on the car and locate where you are.

So any time an OF stays out late the wife can have the grandson take his smart phone and find where you are. Then they get in the grandson’s car and find the OF is at Sleazy Joe’s Girly Joint and Bar.  Now that OF is in trouble! And now one OF said hackers are hacking into the automobiles as they are driving and steering and applying the brakes and the driver cannot control the vehicle. That, too, is scary. As the OFs have said just give me a regular engine, standard transmission, a rear end, four wheels, and brakes, and the OFs will do the rest. One OF said, “The way you drive (speaking to his friend) you left off one necessary item, a horn.”

A few weeks ago the OFs discussed Teflon, as the newest, best thing for cooking and cleaning up afterward. Now we are hearing about PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid).  (In case someone has been living under a rock, the PFOAs, manmade toxic chemicals, have contaminated the water supply in Hoosick Falls and a couple of other places that we know of).  The same difficulty turned up with asbestos.  Asbestos used to be the newest, best thing for building materials and who knows what else, and now it is the worst product going. The OFs are wondering what’s next. One thing the OFs are doing is reviewing their pots and pans and getting rid of the ones with the old Teflon coating on them. Of course there is one OF that interjected a little common sense i.e., why worry about it now that we are OFs?  We’ve got what (health problems) we have, no changing that.  “The only thing is,” one OF said, “It keeps the grandkids safe by getting rid of this stuff.” That is true – keeping them safe and out of harm’s way is paramount.

Those OFs that traveled to Kim’s West Winds restaurant in Preston Hollow and were pleasantly surprised were: George Washburn, John Rossmann, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Harold Guest, Robie Osterman, Bill Lichliter, Dave Williams, Don Wood, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aelesio, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Wayne Gaul, Gerry Irwin, Matt Farnam, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Elwood Vanderbilt and his grandson Derrick, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Marty Herzog, Harold Grippen, and me.