Friday, August 14, 2009

Day One Hundred Sixty-one, 090808 - Schenectady, NY

Day One Hundred Sixty-one, Date Saturday, August 8, 2009
Time in Saddle: 6:31
Distance for the Day: 57.21 miles From Lake George, NY To Schenectady, NY
Accumulated Trip Distance: 7660.28 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 510’/257’, Highest: 515’ Accumulated: 1739’
Speeds: Avg: 8.7 mph, Max: 33.9 mph
Weather: 43° clear, cool and dry
Expenditures: $23

I awoke at 5:11am and got up at 5:30am to a totally clear sky, cool but dry, and a beautiful slightly waning Moon that was very clear against the dark blue background. The seeing was so good, I could make out details on the Moon’s surface that I don’t usually see. I was broke down by 6:08am, right around sunrise. I didn’t get much mileage yesterday due to all that nasty hillwork, but following the advice from Google Maps, today should be *much* easier. Coming through the Lake George area reminded me a bit of Lake Tahoe – very pretty, but a *lot* more commercially developed. It seemed there was a miniature golf on every other street, tons of hotels and motels, boat rentals, etc. Nice roads with plenty of clean, smooth shoulders, too. Kudos to New York State for their (mostly) beautiful roads. At least as good as Florida – better in some respects, though not quite as consistent. So, with beautiful skies, and cool dry temperatures, I was ready to go at 6:16am, got breakfast and supplies ($11) by 6:40am, and began heading south to Schenectady. I stopped at 8am at Wal-Mart for their Sam’s Choice trail mix ($5); and also stopped at Glen Falls to charge up my notebook at a bank with an outside outlet that hadn’t opened, yet. I got to Saratoga Springs at noon, bought a soda ($2), and stopped in a tiny but nicely shady little park with four benches and a small fountain to eat the other half of my Subway sandwich. I talked with a couple of friendly homeless dudes; one was a former military helicopter pilot who lost his license due to alcoholism and was now collecting bottles and cans to live, while the other one, a former construction worker, who now worked washing dishes and was sleeping on the back porch of an abandoned house (reminded me of me, only on a permanent basis), who also had problems with alcohol. After lunch, I continued on and made Malta Ridge around 1:50pm, then got off of Rte 9 and began heading southwest on small roads leading to Schenectady. The sky had become very lightly overcast, and was interspersed with cumulous clouds; it looked like the precursor to the predicted rain and thundershowers (ugh!) I stopped at 5:30pm at a Dunkin Donuts in town bit west of Schenectady to charge laptop and get couple of donuts and choco milk ($5). Just as I was leaving DD at 6:22pm, I met Richard and Chris, disc jockeys for an Italian wedding who were pretty jazzed by my trike and story. They gave me a bunch of really nice Italian pastries and enthusiastically wished me luck on my trip – cool! As I continued my route in the early evening, I was about to cross a large overpass when I noticed a side path, a little overgrown with weeds, to the side. I checked it out, and decided to camp there for the night (N42 51.063’ W74 00.358’). The bridge had lots of traffic, but unless a driver specifically looked off to the side, they wouldn’t notice me. I only saw once cyclist pass by, so there wasn’t much foot or cycle traffic, either. There were, however, tons of mosquitoes, so I deployed the usual anti-bug measures, and read my book until it got dark. Then, I set up my tent at about 9pm, and got to sleep at 10pm. I of course used earplugs against the traffic noise, but at about 11pm or 12am, a *train* came rumbling by, very close. I didn’t see the tracks at all when I found this site; they must have been hidden by the bushes and weeds, but it was close enough for me to hear the grinding of the wheels and rubbing of the linkages. I irrationally felt like it was going to run me over, it was so loud and close, but after that, there were no more trains the rest of the night. Whew!

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