Fri Aug 9, 2013
NOTE TO SELF: Keep this book dry!
I slept lightly on account of the severe t-storms which paraded over me through the course of the wet night. Rain pelted the hammock fly and came down so hard as to bounce off adjacent plants and soak the underside of my hammock. I woke at 5 just before my alarm had the shrill offensive opportunity to. I checked the radar and was alarmed at the large fast approaching cell. I hurriedly packed up, something I always train for, and stowed the wet gear in my new shiny cases. As I donned my riding gear, I was greeted by the heavy and frequent splatter of Forest Gump style "Big Fat Raindrops". I hurriedly put on my awkward stich' Triple Digit covers in the dark. The intensity of the rain still allowed my gloves to get wet in the process. I thumbed the starter then turned on the GPS. Not a sign of life from the GPS. FUCK! And FUCK IT! I babied the throttle on the wet grass and sand to avoid an early morning experiment in loss of traction eventually making it to the sink/fallen road shown yesterday. With a fogged face shield, cold engine and half a protein bar in me, I thread the needle between a 2ft drop on my left and the rising water/swamp to my right. Fortunately I negotiated it well and completed the ATV trail and tank trap to return to legal civilization at the highway. The rain was heavy and I pulled in behind a box truck and attempted to follow his flickering brake lights as they disappeared in the fog and road spray. The sun made no indication it was ready to rise so the treacherous journey of poor visibility continued. After 15 miles or so, I stopped to clean my visor inside a gas station in Oxford, NY then proceed to Norwich for a cup of HOT!!! McDonald's coffee, 300 calorie sausage burrito, electrical outlets for charging and table to dismantle my broken GPS unit.
While charging my electronic devices and sipping the nuclear hot drivel mistakenly advertised as coffee, I succeeded in repairing the GPS. I sent a few emails/pics and checked the radar. Shit! Another storm fast approaching and rain drops already marring the serenity of parking lot puddles. Time to roll!
I managed to ride out the rest of my tank by plugging in NY Hwy 28's terminus into my GPS. I fueled up at Hwy 28, and then repaired the GPS once more as a local sat inside sipping coffee and stared at me. Hwy 28 was pleasant, wide and with minimal traffic. The cabins and lake homes characterized the architecture of the region. If it wasn't so damn cold and frozen most of the year, I'd consider relocating.
The rain picked up from a drizzle to a heavy down pour leading to less passing of cars and a slower safer driving speed. I'd pass the SUV ahead of me only to be presented with a gorgeous photo opportunity a mile down the road. Being dedicated to taking pictures for unique sights necessitates frequent u-turns and breaks.
Moose River in the rain.
Strange drilled hole in a rock.
By the time I reached Saranac Lake, I was ready for a coffee break.
I'd been riding in this rain for hours so a dry overhand was all I needed. The corner gas station in downtown was between owners evidenced by the boarded pumps and shuttered windows. I brewed a cup of Joe and listened to the church bells ring the hour.
Two dudes in a red truck pulled in shortly thereafter, eyed me up, then proceeded to fix some wiring or electrical problem between the fuse block and the engine. I packed up and left after offering them a hand.
This cracked me up!
Worth a U-turn I'd say.
An hour of heading north led me out of the storm and into lightening clouds transitions into blue pockets of sky.
It wasn't long before I approached the Trout River Crossing.
Miles before, I noted I was low on gas but just now realized it'd be a hell more expensive over the border. I rode to the nearest gas station in Fort Covington 9miles east to fill up then crossed uneventfully, but with more questions than usual. A certain smile and warmth grows within when I return to Canada. The French signage and unique symbols remind me I'm far from home.
Following the St. Lawrence River northward, I can't help but notice how similar the landscape is to Delaware's agricultural lands.
I pick up some groceries and don't even attempt to parle' au Francais. I also take the time in the store to dry my wet gear from the night before around and on my GS.
I head for Vieux-Montreal but construction has closed a bridge in the NB direction so I wound up sitting in traffic for 30 min or more before actually crossing the river.
The state of repair of these active bridges was disconcerting.
The views of the city skyline from the bridge were nice though. I made my way slowly to Rue Guy through the imposing and ugly financial business district of concrete & glass then dropped back down to the river.
Skateboard sounds pretty good after sitting in traffic.
I saw 4 Katanas within a 4 mi stretch of road. Sup wit dat!?
The Old Port along the river is an interesting mix of architecture and old city charm. To say the fit ladies on bicycles were distracting would be an understatement.
The port area reminded me of San Francisco with the boulevard, old wharf, warehouses and pedestrian only zones. I attempted to to take a short video through the old part of town but I don't think it came through. I spotted a brick n the side of a building "1655" Yeah I'd say this has been here a while.
I stopped at 2 gift shops searching for stickers but neither had any for sale.
Folks sure dress differently here too...
The street smelled like stale beer.
I rode N along the water then paused from traffic and the heat to take off my jeans, devour an orange, hydrate and take some pics of the amusement park on an island in the river.
I plugged away at the GPS for a minute and routed the bike toward a random lake about 100 mi north of Montreal and hit "GO!" I mistakenly put myself on course to escape Montreal from the center at 5pm on a Friday. What the hell was I thinking? Route 15N and 117N were terrible with congestion taking me nearly 2 hours of stop and go, high engine temp, jacket open and flapping bullshit before I jumped ship and took a right to finally get some breeze and back roads in.
STRANGE to see it in French.
In all the traffic I never once heard a horn or noted anyone driving aggressively or trying to beat another person to the next gap in cars. Oh Canada! Suburbs gave way to farmland and I quickly found myself racing the fading sun across fertile land under ominous northern clouds.
I ordered a cup of coffee and double chocolate in French at Tim's, made a fool of myself, filled my camelback, emailed with free wifi and laid out a route up 337 to 125 to consume the remainder of the day.
Chasing the sun into the hills that rose around me in the Golden Hour, I passed many "Lac"s and "Camping Familie" signs but didn't want to pay to be around people and away from solitude. I pushed on.
The "Moose" sign was a sobering reminder I need to get my southern tail off the back roads before I hit a critter. In Notre Dame-de-la-Merci, I checked the regional map kiosk then went down the next random road I came across.
It grew darker and I turned on the HID illuminating lots of signs reading "Maison/Terrain AVENDOR" but a certain ATV/Snow machine path caught my eye. The rocky trail was fine for the GS and I thankfully descended a valley to a jet black river below.
The soft cascades flowed under a worn out seasonal bridge with treacherous holes poked through the decking. Directly across the bridge was a fire ring and big flat rock for bathing.
This is absolutely perfect. I cannot hear a car, a person - just the rushing water and the wind in the spruce.
The brown tannic water was much warmer than I expected as I slipped below the current and took a much needed bath at sunset. Afterward the reddish boulders still radiated heat from the warm clear day. I've found my destination and never knew where it'd be. I cooked up a small meal, had some smuggled Crown Royal, cleaned up my meal then got into my hammock for a chilly night at 47 degrees north. I'll probably wish I had my heated jacket in the AM. Eyes Heavy. Time to sleep.