There was lots of hushed and urgent talk last night and this morning about our transgression of tenting in the edge of the next site, talk of being fined or of being thrown out of the park. Jack and I were glad no one called the National Guard. We packed up and departed without incident, punitive or otherwise.
The longer I am on the road and in a camping mode, the less and less I see a need for finding an organized campground. We pass by dozens of signs each day announcing “State Lands,” “Forest Preserve,” etc. and, without knowing for sure, I suspect that camping is permitted anywhere on these lands. Even if it isn’t, almost no one would mind our tiny tents, bikes, and single night stays. These forests look very inviting for camping – lots of great places. I think Roger already knows this from his many years of bicycle camping.
Skies remained cloudy but at least the rains had fully stopped. Our AC maps indicated that North Hudson, about 24 miles away, had full services, so we postponed any breakfast plans until then. The ride took us on some moderate climbing but finished with a magnificent downhill, winding through beautiful pine forests, by pristine mountain lakes, and by the occasional mountain cabin. The skies cleared up nicely into vivid blue with puffy white clouds (which is not really my name).
The first three buildings we saw in North Hudson, a motel, a restaurant, and a grocery store, were all closed with SALE signs in front. We rode further to 9N and found more of the same, only closed businesses. A ghost town. So much for breakfast. Another triumph for the outdated AC maps (I know: read the encyclopedic addenda). We stopped at a roadside clearing where a guy was leaning against a car studying a booklet on sign language. Roger popped a can of tomatoes and olives and had breakfast, while Jack and I munched on packaged pies and pretzels pieces. The guy was real nice, inquisitive about our travels, but the conversation took a swift right turn toward the spiritual. In pointing out the wonders of the world (signs of a higher being), he cited the bumps on the leading edge of whale fins, which help it spin faster underwater. He thought maybe car skins should have bumps in the future. We thought maybe golf balls should have dimples.
Jack and I rode with Roger for quite a while, and eventually with Gary for another while, climbing (sometimes steeply) through some really lovely pine forests in the higher elevations of the Adirondacks, through the villages of Severance and then Paradox, where we stopped for lunch at the Paradox General Store. We never did find out what is paradoxical about Paradox (Jack suggests that a pair of doctors lives here), but we did have a tasty lunch, or breakfast in my case.
The steeply rolling terrain continued from Paradox for about 10 miles, and then a nice downhill started. And then continued. And then continued. Pretty soon it was a steady 10-12% down with no end in sight. Just when you thought there could be no more downhill left, down we plunged again. Without pedaling or tucking, my trusty Surly reached 40 mph. I can only imagine the speed if I’d geared up, tucked, and pedaled – I’ll have to ask Bill or Frank about that. It was neat to be cruising down watching the mountains of Vermont rise across Lake Champlain.
We reached our stop for the night in Ticonderoga NY, saw some golden arches, and pulled in next to Roger’s bike. The other guys had already stopped and left, checking in the the nearby Super 8. The three of us hung around for a while charging phones and making calls, then Jack and I too found a double room at the Super 8, while Roger left to seek some free camping in the town outskirts. I called Jesse and found out he was merely back in North Hudson and would catch up with us today. I consider this a fairly remarkable feat, since the rest of us have been covering lots of miles each day through hilly terrain.
Delivery pizza, Pearl Harbor, and Jurassic Park (twice). Feels good to lean back into a pillow and simply rest. 48 miles today. Ticonderoga is at the eastern edge of New York so we are practically across yet another state.