Saturday, May 05, 2007

East Aurora, NY to Waterbury,VT via the Adirondacks


Skies over Upstate New York


Stripped the beds, loaded up the washer, did a bit of cleaning and we were off from Priscilla’s by 9:30. I went over to Taste coffee shop. Had to try the cinnamon rolls seen yesterday. That and coffee. It's a good establishment. They just need to install a coffee roaster – their coffee’s not great.

Afterwards, Jeff noticed the GPS wasn’t working. I told him we didn’t need it. Apparently a fuse burned out. conveniently, there was a CarQuest store across the street, so he bought a fuse and got it going. Then I reminded him about his oil, which he had been meaning to check. None registered in the sight glass. He used about a ¼ quart I had been carrying, then bought more. Between his bike and mine, we used another half quart (a fair amount for these bikes.)

Took the New York State Thruway toward Rochester. A brisk north wind blowing off Lake Ontario. I wanted to see Rochester, so Jeff led me out to the lakeshore there, then into downtown. We cruised the main boulevards (fairly quiet today), taking a look at the Kodak building and noting with some interest (at least on my part) the "Dinosaur Bar-B-Cue". “I don’t know what you want to photograph,” Jeff said. I didn't know either.

Returned to the Thruway and headed east. I sensed that Jeff was entirely focused on home now. The trip had turned into a mostly-interstate ride. Nothing like the original plan.

A Starbucks coffee stop for me at one of the Thruway's service areas. We then turned north on Interstate 81 toward Watertown. Passed a trailer wreck, no doubt a long downhill slope and high winds contributed to the driver's loss of control.

According to Jeff, it was about 120 miles from Watertown, over the Adirondacks, to Plattsburg and the Vermont ferry. We began to cross the Tug Hill Plateau, where a few months ago there had been deposited ten feet of snow from a single storm. Past the Army's Fort Drum, home of the "10th Mountain Division".

We picked up the pace. It was remarkably cold going over the mountains. I had thought the mountains would provide some shelter from the bitter north wind. It didn’t seem to matter. Gorgeous country up here, but we were head-down, in the home stretch. I had wanted to visit this area (U.S. 3 past Saranac Lake and Lake Placid), but this was no time for sightseeing. Jeff wanted to reach the ferry by 7:30 and home by 8:30, before the deer would become a serious hazard.

I just wanted to get to lower elevations where it would be warmer, and wondered why it was taking us so long! Followed the Saranac River down to Plattsburg. To my dismay it didn’t warm at lower elevations; on the contrary, it only grew colder as the sun dipped and the wind seemed to intensify.

Plattsburg, it turned out, was about 150 miles from Watertown. As I pulled over to see if Jeff wanted to plug in his electric vest, he suddenly took off after a car. Apparently, someone in the carload of high-school-aged girls "flipped him off" and he was not amused. He was doing about 80, close behind them, when I caught up. He soon backed off. As we drove our the parkway towards the ferry, we saw a stream of on-coming cars and knew a ferry had just unloaded. We raced to reach the pier before it departed. A car we were following abruptly pulled to the shoulder. We reached the ferry too late. As the car we had passed drove up behind us, Jeff went over to apologize to the elderly driver. Apparently we had scared him. After all that, it was just a short wait for the next ferry. A now-frigid wind was blowing down Lake Champlain. Aboard the ferry, we were finally sheltered from the wind.



While waiting for the Lake Champlain ferry in Plattsburg, NY, this hefty beaver came waddling across the parking lot






Taking shelter from a bitter north wind on the Lake Champlain ferry



Jeff called Kellie to have her meet us at Longhorn Steakhouse outside Burlington. Matt was working there tonight. About 30 miles from the landing to Longhorn; "the end was in sight!" We arrived a half hour later. Kellie was waiting for us outside. Shaking from the cold, we quickly got out of our gear, stuffing much of it in her car.

It felt great inside – warm! Matt quickly seated us and soon we were sipping margaritas, eating "chicken firecracker rolls", steak and prime rib. Matt took a few liberties that made me uncomfortable: getting his bartender buddy to make us super-strong drinks, sipping his and our drinks at the table, swapping prime rib between Jeff and Kellie’s plates using his fingers, and sitting down with us to chat while "on the clock".

Escorted Kellie home, watching for deer along the interstate. A few nights ago, between Burlington and Waterbury, she ran over a carcass and it really shook her up.

Reached Waterbury at 10:00, 83,551 miles on the bike now. Inside the house, I parked myself in front of the heater.


***

The discussion of the Pfohl’s visit to our house on Gilmore in Canoga Park during 1965 – and a complete absence of memory of this occasion – has shaken my confidence in things I’ve long held true. Another long-unquestioned memory that was just recently undermined, was the clear picture of watching coverage of the moon landing while sitting in the living room of Gilmore. It was the night of my birthday. But the landing was in 1969, long after we had moved to North Hollywood. What was that Gilmore memory all about???.


***

In an e-mail, Susan advised me to read some recent entries in the Fellowship of Friends blog and mentioned there is a reunion planned for May 26th. Maybe I could time my return so that I roll into town on that date?

I had just been complaining to myself again about MSN’s "Hotmail" format. How could the same company that produced Outlook, which is superior, make Hotmail which is garbage? Now I see they have updated Hotmail to be more like Outlook. Thanks, Bill, for listening.

To bed by 11:00 or so.

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