Sat Aug 10, 2013
A strong westerly wind picked up around 4AM prompting me to lower the guy lines on my shelter. Satisfied, I crawled back into the sack for 2 more hours of sleep. I awoke at 6 amused at how light it was already. I contemplated waking sooner but the condition of the ATV trail and potential wildlife encounters on the pavement rightfully kept me cozy. I packed up and set off into the GLORIOUS land of spruce and rock.
A small Toyota Yaris was just off the road on the ATV Trail in a spot I contemplated staying last night before heading down to the river. I briefly waved and raced past in a shower of dust and gravel. Back on pavement, I kept a big shit-eating-grin as I diced through the off camber twists and gravel laden turns to the town of Notre Dame-de-la-Merci.
Here I paused for a shot of the GS on the low pedestrian bridge and the bright sunrise illuminating the lake.
It was very quiet, too early for anything to be open, so I pushed on North. Heck, why the hell not? The road passes many lakes dotting the landscape with tempting roads reading "Chemin Private". I turn up to visit a closed ski resort but don't quite get the lake view I had hoped for. Maybe in winter?
Speaking of which...it's on the chilly side this morning. At the first crossroad I arrive at, I make a left turn and point south.
It is beginning to feel like the return trip, the "back-home" and that is always somewhat sad to me. I buoyed my emotions by enjoying the scenery and the gorgeous homes, mountain lakes and docks with chairs and tables floating on radiant lakes.
I break for a bite and Wifi at Tim's then head S on 325 in favor of 117 or 15S. Both are way too urban and mainstream - I'm here to SEE. The road twists and hurdles its way around small lakeside villages and grand traverses of wetland with rolling hills in between.
This is exactly what I try to avoid. Blech.
Not that this is much better
Oh! A Turn!
That's KPH FYI
We have one of these in VA too
A small town I forget the name of just N of the St. Lawrence River
The mountains rapidly gave way to familiar farmlands, rich intoxicating spruce relenting to hard/softwoods and open fields. 25 miles of farm land and a couple of detours until I get gas and find myself cruising along the N shore of the St. Lawrence River.
The barns and architecture were beautiful and well preserved.
I crossed the bridge into Ontario and stopped at 3 places asking for stickers but none had any.
There wasn't a shop around...who knows why this pole was wrapped.
This field on a detour was beautiful.
There were purple flowers in all directions for miles.
They make great socks. I know, I'm wearing some!
Must be hard living without sticker freedom. After leaving Port Hawkesbury, I made my way south toward the US. I cruised into Cornwall and stopped at 2 other stores for stickers but no dice.
Cruising along 2 up toward Cornwall.
$3.25 later and I'm sailing across the bridge back to the US.
I pass one small gift shop and ask the Native American owner for any stickers. Still none. Guess I'll have to order them online. The border crossing went smoothly and there were a few other bikes crossing near me including a couple from Massachusetts on a Honda Ascot 500 and older XJ750 SECAI.
Back in the US, I answered a text from Annette requesting Tim-Bits. SHIT! Fortunately I pass one in the next mile and get two 10 piece packs of timbits.
The Amish sell baked goods on a bright Saturday outside Fort Covington.
In the distant horizon I can just make out the blue peaks of the Adirondacks. My last exploration was quite wet and the bright clear sky and open roads leave much to be explored. I head for my "home" in the hills. As the roads get twistier and the mountains grow around me, I relent to the rumble of my stomach and pull in at a secluded public picnic park down a dirt road. There is nobody around and I take time to sun dry a wet towel from the night before and some other damp gear. I prepare to make lunch and fix my bent sunglasses on the picnic table in the warm sunshine. My sunglass arm was bending into my head causing a terrible pressure point. Cheap sunglasses. I go to bend it back carefully and snap the frame itself just below the temple. GREAT. My only pair of sunglasses for the trip. Just then I hear the faint hum of an engine quickly growing nearer accompanied by "jumping jack Flash IT'S A GAS!!!". A side by side crests the dirt hill at speed and brakes hard tearing into the picnic grounds in an offensive barrage to my senses. The invader is accompanied by a hoard of 5 or 6 ATV's all rip roaring their way through the wilderness. I wave but nobody really considers me or is considerate of the peace and quiet I was enjoying. Locals. This is their picnic grounds for now and they can have it.
In a foul mood from breaking my glasses and having my lunch break solace ruined, I pack the bike, snap a photo of my solitude crashers and roost out of camp. The sun is out brighter without my sunglasses and I'm upset at myself until I take a deep breath, look around at my scenic surroundings and pinch myself. Damn, if you're lucky to be in the mountains, you're lucky enough! I see a turn for "Loon Lake", mistaking it for one from This American Life (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radi...e-on-loon-lake
) and proceed down the rough and potholed road to a bridge and clearing where I finally stop to eat and finish drying my clothes. The creek babbles on under a bridge dated 1949.
What remains of someone's dream home.
This guy rocks...
I pass a number of small lakes, fishing/canoe put ins and mini lake houses before coming to a pond with a crossroad with a 2 lane hwy. Gravel ahead beckons and does not dissatisfy. The sand/mud, when wet, is a foreign surface to me and I test the limits of traction with mixed results.
Banana and Peanut Butter Break! OHHH YEAH
Eventually, I turn south and find myself behind a line of cars at a construction zone. Stopped, I notice the only motorcyclist in line two cars ahead of me. A dirt bike rider, the first thing I notice is his "Chive on" Sticker on his helmet. I pull up and yell "Chive on!" just as the light turns and we take off.
We pass a number of cars at the passing zones then I pass him and head south to 83.
A snaking road along the river where I quickly lose him in the turns. I slow up and let him catch up then break away again. Shortly thereafter, the road opens up to a view of a big valley and the Olympic ski jumps soaring skyward in the distance.
We both stop and I give him my card to email about pics I snapped while riding. He offered to buy me gas as a "Pay it Forward" so we tear off back up the canyon again. He hangs with me for a few turns then I don't see him. I slow, knowing full well that the last corner was covered in gravel. I wait then, knowing from experience that something happened, pop a U-Turn to find him two turns back pushing his bike off to the roadside. I pull in front of him and make sure that he is safe and not injured. Just a scratch on his knee pad on his jeans. Damn lucky. I ask what happened and he admits to out-riding his skills on fresh tires and an unknown road.
He high sided exiting a tight turn too wide and dumped it in the soft sand. The damage to the KLX400 is minimal - a scratched piece of plastic, twisted lever perch and busted LED turn signal lens. I took out my tools and fixed up his bent pieces. He thanked me and we set out, albeit slower, for lake placid to fill up.
Chatted with this cross US/Canada couple from England finishing their journey. They shipped their bikes into Halifax and cruised to the west coast and as far south as Tennessee before heading back.
I stashed a $20 under his taped on directions on the gas tank while he paid for my 1/2 tank of gas. The total for us both came to $11 and he had prepaid $30 so I encouraged him to go in and get his change. Reluctantly he did then came out and promptly handed it to me. "Dude you saved my bacon today" "You wouldn't have had any problem at all if you hadn't come across me" "Just take the $20, I insist".
Little did he know I had already paid back the favor. What goes around comes around I thought to myself.
In preparing to depart the gas station, I hear the plastic on plastic crunch of bumpers to see an accident at the nearby traffic light. Am I next? I ride through the touristy mess of Lake Placid's downtown in summer only to see the same MASS riders on the Ascot and XJ from my earlier border crossing. I wave and they recognize me and laugh while waving back.
Nice old wooden inboard.
Exiting town, there are blue lights ahead. A boat appears to have fallen off a trailer and was run over by his friend following...or he just ran into the back of the boat. Either way, the damage to the truck is terrible - looks totaled. Bad day.
I set south and west indiscriminately and take photog and snack breaks at a number of beautiful sights through the remainder of the PM.
Saranac Lake again!
Spotted this neat ol' whirley bird with a distinctive sound.
Just getting lost.
Going to see where this road ends up
Passed this neat old canoe outfitter located at an old rail station
HEY! Look what I found about 40 miles away
Neat old truck.
The town of Conifer was skimping on the Conifers
But heavy on the cool old shit
I raised the louvered hood to reveal a mostly intact original engine.
Wood for Sale signs dotted the roadside in various prifce increments and sizes.
The sun sinks lower and I grab a beer in the town before Cranberry Lake. A roadside picnic area catches my eye and I pull in to repair my sunglasses with superglue and fix okra, corn, stewed tomatoes and cous cous for dinner. It helps take off the slight chill of clouds and disappearing sun. Police nail speeders in this low valley along the two lane blacktop down by the Gaspee River.
Exiting the park on Rt 3, I sense the need to camp and pull into a memorial forest, nestling into a stand of mature long leaf pines with a soft bed of moss below.
Weather is forecast to be a dry cool night so I opt to forego the rain cover on the hammock. I drink a Molson while repairing my glasses again on a rock and succeed in super gluing my finger to the glasses. Take another drink.
Booms and flashes in the sky disturb the peace of the forest more so than the Harley's passing in the dark. First I thought they may be fireworks but a check of Google shows there isn't any town in that direction...just a large gray area on the map. I conclude that Fort Drum is running artillery and live fire exercises. Occasional sub-machine gun fire gives it away. I drift asleep imagining I'm exploring on the fringes of some war torn nation.