Friday, August 14, 2009

Day One Hundred Sixty, 090807 - Lake George, NY

Day One Hundred Sixty, Date Friday, August 7, 2009
Time in Saddle: 6:49
Distance for the Day: 52.15 miles From Shoreham, VT To Lake George, NY
Accumulated Trip Distance: 7603.07 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 431’/510’, Highest: 1132’ Accumulated: 3704’
Speeds: Avg: 7.6 mph, Max: 41.0 mph
Weather: 55°
Expenditures: $17

Woke up at 5am, and got up at 5:18am. It was totally clear, with a full Moon against a deep blue sky, with Jupiter visible below it, and Venus glowing brightly in the east. I took a picture of the Moon and Jupiter, broke down camp, and was ready to roll by 6:20am. Only 6 miles to the Ticonderoga ferry. I thought about going backwards a bit to get breakfast at the mini mart, but decided to keep moving forward – I’d find something ahead, instead. The signs said the ferry wouldn’t start operations until 8am, but the ferry boat captain took myself and a car at 7:30am. I guess the schedules weren’t strictly followed. The ferry itself was just a big, flat barge with a small cabin for the controls. It had a diesel engine that pulled the barge across a very narrow portion of Lake Champlain along a cable from one side to the other. The fee was $2 for bicycles – cheap! I entered the town of Ticonderoga on the west side, and in so doing, crossed into NY state at 7:45am. I took a picture of ferryboat captain (John), and another at the “welcome to New York” sign, and continued on into Ticonderoga. There, I stopped to pick up some food and drink, and to have breakfast of choco milk and danish ($6), and left at 9:30am. I entered the town of Haige at 11am, and spent 2 hours at the local community center to recharge my camera battery and laptop, and use their free wi-fi to check the weather, handle email, and look for my next Warmshowers host. In so doing, I had a revelation on something that would prove to be *most* helpful in route selection. At the Warmshowers website, if you look up information on a specific person as a potential host, it shows their location using Google Maps, in the *terrain* view mode. For those not familiar with Google Maps, there are a couple of different, basic view modes available: “satellite” view, which shows actual photographs taken from space, which can be zoomed into to the point where cars can be seen on the roads; “map” view, like a regular paper map, that shows and labels roads and towns; and “terrain” view, which shows the lay of the land in a three-dimensional format, in addition to showing labeled roads and towns. I suddenly realized I could use the “terrain” view mode to find easier routes – to avoid hilly regions. Street Atlas will pick the straightest routes from A to B, never mind if it crosses over Mt. Everest to get to there. For the next destination of this part of my trip, SA took me across 130 miles of the ridges and valleys of upstate New York! A quick glance at the region in Google Maps showed a much easier, albeit slightly longer route, to avoid *all* of that pain and strife – yes! Google Maps, in combination with Street Atlas, makes a powerful tool for intelligent route selection; the only downside being: it requires internet access.
The weather was looking somewhat rainy for next few days (Demitol. Sure ain’t like California, where there’s practically no rain the entire summer. Around here, summer seems to *be* the rainy season). After leaving Haige on 9N heading south, the road went up and down, and had a shoulder most of the time, but then went into a steep long uphill grade of 1.5 miles of 500’ climb without a single level spot. Good thing temps were mild and there was some shade from trees and clouds. I ground my way up, shirt and even my tights, soaked with sweat. I was in first gear the entire time, but still had to be careful about the muscle in my left inner-thigh and my right knee, to make sure they didn’t “blow-out.” I successfully managed to keep them under control, and continued on into easier terrain. At 3:29pm, I stopped for a short breather at a pretty, reflective little pond, and was surprised to see gazillions of little tiny black tadpoles and their slightly older siblings, baby frogs. You could hold a hundred of these frogs in one handful. I also stopped at Subway in Bolton at 4:30pm and got a meal deal ($9). I finally came down from the hills, and at about 7:30pm in Lake George, I spied a potential stealth camp location behind a large business building that was currently unoccupied, apparently used regularly for the sales of Halloween merchandise (N43 22.016’ W73 41.997’). It had a wide open back area with gravel and grass, a few picnic tables; it was somewhat exposed, but no direct view from the road, and no mosquitoes. Perfect! I parked and read my book to see if it got any kind of traffic. A woman in a van did drive up and seemed to observe me for a few moments. I waved at her, and she waved back, and then she left. I continued to read for a while, and with the coming darkness, and no more intrusions, I set up my tent, cloaked my trike, and had a nice, undisturbed night of sleep. Oh, I lucked-out, again: there were two big lamps that were supposed to automatically come on at night, but the one nearest me wasn’t working, so it was mostly dark for me – how nice!

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