7/17/2014 Cayuga Lake State Park, New York
A weird grinding has developed in my right jaw. It is hard to eat apples. I could Google symptoms but then I might just get worried. Hopefully it will get better and just be a temporary weird thing, and not get worse and force me to book it for Washington to get dental work done (i.e. if I can’t eat solid foods at all). I feel like I can’t open my jaw as wide as I could, but then again I can’t remember how wide I could open it.
So! I’m in New York! Caroline can host me a day earlier in Toronto! Hurray! So tomorrow I’ll go to Buffalo and stay two nights with Janet, then go up to Toronto! Woohoo! I spent today driving a nice scenic route through upstate New York. I left Rollins Pond along 3 West, which took me out of the Adirondack Mountains and up into 1000 Islands. The parks were plentiful, but not much privacy was to be had, so I decided to continue on to the Finger Lakes region and stay at Cayuga Lake State Park. I love the big fluffy clouds that plop right on some level of the atmosphere. I love rolling hills that get patchy under the clouds, so some are dark green and others are more faded. I was almost sad to stop driving, I felt like I could have gone for many more hours. I have the urge to cover more ground, whereas a few days ago I had the urge to stay in one place. Previously that desire was thwarted by bad weather (it did rain my last night in Vermont, so at least I was right in not setting up my tent), and now I am thwarted by the schedules of others. I’ll be happy to be on my own calendar again.
I ended up not staying at the Rutland, Vermont Walmart. It was in the downtown, and had signs warning against parking longer than 3 hours. Not good signs. The Mega Walmarts that are open 24/7 that are located outside of towns are my ones of choice. So I crossed the border into New York and stayed at Glens Falls. Glen Falls. Glen…it’s an hour north of Albany just outside of the Adirondack Mountains. I forgot that Brynne gave me a contact in Albany. Oops! Had I remembered I would have just gone there from Burlington (provided I could stay). New Hampshire & Vermont being all rainy and me having to drift about has thrown me off. I wish I could have camped in both those states, and they seemed very beautiful, but alas it was not camping season. I’ll have to come back because New York has many lovely locales. Could easily spend a few weeks just up here, though having a kayak with me would be primo. Lots of lakes.
I topped off my tank going into the Adirondacks and got some food and off I went! Over hills through green mountains aplenty. There were hikers setting off every which way, and signs directing to snowmobile paths. I went up to Saranac Lake, which is by Lake Placid, where there have been two Winter Olympics. The ski jumps loomed; these odd monolithic structures that could not be more out of place in the summer.
The visitor’s center provided me with park listings and I chose Rollins Pond due to plentiful campsites and free showers. Hundreds of sites, but there were plenty of people. Still, I had my choice and I went with 27. Nice shade, right on the water (almost all the sites were on the water, though some were moreso than others). My neighbors were the Reids, and Jason came right over and offered to help me with my tent, I declined as it is just a two pole tent that I’ve got a pretty good handle on setting up. We got to chatting about travel and this and that. Really nice fella! He gave me a few mountain tips.
I didn’t feel up to a 5 mile hike, so I did the Baker Mountain summit, which is one mile up, one mile down. Except if you are me then you will lose the trail and climb up rocks that you think are the trail and wonder why it was so difficult! And how did those kids coming down early in the hike ever do it? But oh what a lovely view! There are six mountains around Saranac Lake, and if you summit all six of them you get to be part of a club, but…I’m not going to do that. I don’t have all week to climb mountains. One is good enough. I got pictures (and I got excellent cell reception). Going down I found the actual hiking path, which was easy and relatively flat with minor rocks to scramble over. How I missed it, I’ll never know. But hey, make your own loop trail!
I drove into Lake Placid because I wanted to get a picture of the ski jumps. Seemed like a nice low-level tourist place. Not totally busy as it was a bit off season, but still had stuff going on. I wonder how it is in the winter. I made use of the shower upon returning to Rollins Pond. I used the new conditioner I bought (ran out of the last bottle) and my hair is so soft! It’s some of the best it’s been in a while. I also used several leave in products…but yeah. Gave it a good clean.
The Reids invited me over for s’mores and salad and brewskies. We sat around, I told stories of my travels, I got stories of their travels, Jason is going to do a sojourn into Maryland, which will be amazing I’m sure. It’s so nice to have consistently met nice people on this trip. Just friendly “hi neighbor, come on over if you’d like” invitations. And they let me use their kayak! So at the end of the day, Jason and I paddled around on the lake and star gazed. And wow every star was out, as was the Milky Way. These are the skies where you can really see how people came up with constellations. All that detail, all those stars, all that glory. That is why one ought to go out to nowhere near no development. Nature isn’t just trees, it’s the sky and earth.
At Cayuga Lake I updated my atlas, marking where I’ve been sleeping (little x’s) and I’ve covered so much ground, and still have a ways to go. So many more landscapes await. Badlands National Park, Yellowstone, Tetons…I want more parks and landscape. There are not many cities remaining that I want to see. Chicago, Toronto, Butte…I’ll have to consult the map.
It’s comforting in a way to know that I could do this trip again on an almost entirely different route. There is so much to see everywhere I go, that if I miss things then I don’t feel so bad, because I am missing things everywhere. So much will still be here whenever I come back, and what I’ve experienced is mine and it’s wonderful.
7/18/2014 Dunkin Donuts off 20 West
My indulgence in mochas has switched to the number 1 at Dunkin Donuts: medium coffee (with crème) and two donuts. I kinda like DD more than Starbucks in terms of décor. It’s much brighter with its pink, orange, and browns. Maybe not as high fallutin. Starbucks also seems to have “destination mugs”. I like my Florida DD mug. It has space ships and flamingoes on it.
I’ve started thinking about retrospective illustrations. Best rest stop, best shower facilities, the best states, cross referenced by the length of stay. That’ll make for a good series. I have plenty of notes to source from.
I had such a good sleep in my tent. It’s been great being able to spread out. My legs get cramped sleeping in the car. I can’t stretch out. But in my tent I can sprawl as much as I want. And with an 11am check out, I can sleep in for a very long time. It only takes me around 30 minutes to break down my camp, and that is if I go slow. Everything has its place in my car.
On the advice of the office worker, I drove down to Taughannock Falls State Park. I parked and ate some bagels with crème cheese and salmon that Jill & Darrah gave me. I relocated to the beach and read in the sun for a while. It’s a gorgeous day once again. Sunny, warm, with those fluffy clouds I keep mentioning. I drove down one road and up another. The lakes are lovely. There are oodles of wineries, but I’m not a wino so I haven’t checked any of them out. That one in Rhode Island to get a thank you bottle for Darrah was enough.
After I do the rounds here, I am off to Buffalo! Got a few hours of off turnpike driving to do, but oh the weather is perfect for the scenic route.