Laurent and I completed our five-day road trip in waves of heat and humidity that forced us to ride slower and pay careful attention to how our bodies were reacting to the conditions. Given the energy-sapping weather and the sporadic availability of the internet (neither the Alp Horn Motel nor the Sunshine Inn provided internet access), I didn’t write as many posts from the road as I had hoped.
Days one and two were warm enough, and we certainly felt the heat on day one with all of the climbing involved, but on Wednesday, the wind shifted so that it was blowing from the south just as our route turned south. For part of Wednesday and all of Thursday and Friday, we rode into a hot and humid wind. After Laurent had what luckily turned out to be a minor heat-related episode on Wednesday, we agreed to a modified version of our planned route for Thursday and Friday, avoiding some of the more remote back roads in favor of more “major” roads that provided frequent access to Stewarts’ stores and other gas station travel stops. Frequent breaks in air conditioned spaces and many, many bags of ice stuffed into our ice socks and water bottles made Thursday and Friday do-able.
Laurent is known for his design of routes that use scenic back-country lanes, and his route for day two was a real pleasure to experience. For more than thirty miles on the second morning, we rode along the banks of Lake Sacandaga, passing a few campgrounds and lots of fabulous houses with lake views. During the afternoon, the route had us following streams at various points, and the only ridiculous climb came near the end of the day. We had been enjoying a day that was light in climbing so the hill near the end was a shock to the system.
We spent the second night at The Alp Horn Motel which does not have internet, but the proprietor does have a roadside craft beer stand (housed in a small trailer) that he opens on weekends, and he was quite happy to sell us beers that we drank at one of his picnic tables in park-like surroundings. His chickens seemed to think we might have treats for them but I wasn’t sharing my beer. Nope, no way. And right next to the Alp Horn is O.P. Frederick’s Restaurant that serves quite a good dinner.
Wednesday morning we rode to Pottersville where we had breakfast at the Black Bear diner with the local early morning risers and then rode on to and through Schroon Lake. Pretty town that showed promise as a good place to hang out. Lots more lake views on this day, including the crossing of Lake Champlain into Vermont.
This trip confirmed for me that I like riding in New York and Vermont. The north east is so green in the summer, something that I still don’t take for granted after living on the west coast for so many years. I also realized how much I like open spaces so the time spent riding along lake shores was a real joy–large open expanses of water, picturesque cozy beaches, sometimes with small boats snuggled up near the shore, and the smell of slightly warm pine sap.
We had to modify our plans for the last two days to safely finish the ride, and paying attention to being safe consumed a lot of our attention for the end of the ride. For the first three days, however, we mostly had the luxury of riding as if into and through a great movie in the making. The scenery opened up in front of us and we simply had to keep pedaling to enjoy it.