I’m sitting at the Public Library in Lake Pleasant, in the heart of the Adirondacks, and the library folk are indeed most pleasant :-).  We’re taking a day off after a couple of big days…  We’re almost 300 km from Montreal, which is a measurable percentage of the 1700 or 1800 km to Asheville.

A couple of highlights and insights from the last couple of days:

We actually had a flat tire 15 minutes out of Malone, and we both took some very deep breaths.  While Mike was fixing the tire, I found a teeny jawbone, maybe a vole, or mouse…no bigger than a small dandelion flower.  It’s quite beautiful, and I kept it as a souvenir.  Yeah to Mike for carrying patch kit, tubes, manifesting the skill and patience for all the troubles and repairs, and thanks also to the bike shops and technicians for the additional help.  Gratitude indeed:  we never do anything alone!!  Mike has said all the glitches have been great practice for him, kind of Zenlike, and for me, practices have been not being attached to outcomes, going with the flow, patience, curiosity, trust…   All work to support my passion for this kind of cycling, for the open toad, for the feeling of being a free spirit on the open road!

The leaves have been glorious.  The rolling hills have created wonderful prospects.  We often stop for fortification at the bottom before a big one — an apple, Larrabar, or bit of Snickers (yes we sometimes splurge on candy bars!), or some trail mix.  Then we stop again at the top for a rest, a outlook, a pee.  The road has been wonderful, not too much traffic, well maintained, wide shoulders.  A cyclist’s dream.  And Route 30 is billed a Bike Route, all the way, a scenic by-way through the Adirondack Park.

Just before the town called Saranac Inn, which I believed was a major resort town, and where we thought we might just splurge by staying at the Inn, we pulled in to the Lodge at Clear Lake to get a sense of price and prospects.  Well, it turns out that Saranac Inn, neither the town nor the inn, exists anymore.  Both belong to days past.  (We got a good sense of the history of the Adirondacks at the Museum near Blue Mountain.)  No Inn, no nothing, just a motel and golf course, and the motel was booked up.  Times they do a-change.Since the Lodge at Clear Lake was going to be $248 for dinner, bed, and breakfast, we mosied back the 1 1/4 miles to Charlie’s Inn, which also had great campsites… Our pegs just floated in to the grassy ground, it was mild and dry, a beautiful evening, and great first camp night.  We had a delicious dinner at the Inn: crab stuffed haddock, and Lava Cake for dessert!

The next day it was overcast with big patches of blue, but very windy.  Neither head nor tail, but great gusts every which way.  We puttered along, enjopying the many, deep,  dark, mysterious lakes that characterize the Adirondacks, and taking in the many ‘Camps’ (as lodges, houses, cabins, and actual campsites all tend to be called here).

We  learned at a fuel and pee stop that there was an event called the “90 Milers”  happening, an annual occurance where people in canoes, kayaks, guide boats, war canoes, or anything that paddles, make their way the 90 miles from Little Moose Lake at Old Forge, NY all the way to Saranac Lake. (The Adirondack League Club at Little Moose Lake and Old Forge are family icons for me, so that was fun.)  The participants take three days, hopping (with support vehicles, not by portaging!), from river to lake to lake, wherever the water is not continuous.  Hundreds of people participate.  We never got to see the paddling horde, but heard they started at Long Lake that morning, which was our evening destination.

As the wind blew and blew, we said to each other that we sure wouldn’t want to be paddling!   But our biggest adventure so far was to be that afternoon.  We had gotten wind that the weather was changing, and also given the hordes of 90 Milers, at lunch in Tupper Lake we decided to book a motel for that evening, some 20 miles, and three or more hours away.

On the road, a woman actually turned around in her car to come back and ask us if we knew a big storm was coming.  We said yes, and it did.  A big storm came.  At the height of it, I looked at the pick-up trucks going by and thought if it got bad enough we could flag one down.  Afterwards I found out that Mike had made the mental turn of mind, and started to laugh at it all, and say whoa, this is really something, and hopefully Jill won’t flag down a pick up!

Well we just kept on peddling, getting drencheder and drencheder, but making progress, and knowing we had a warm bed and hot shower waiting for us.  It was quite a kick, and sense of accomplishment.  Once is enough, though, for me anyway. Yeah to the Shamrock Motel at Long Lake, for dryers, a covered shed for the bikes, a kitchenette so we didn’t have to go out for food and get wet again… all good.

Next day was a cinch… except for a couple of killer hills at the end of the day.  The weather was great, we stopped at the Adirondack Museum briefly, near Blue Mountain Lake.  The museum is quite a place and worthy of a much longer visit.  We enjoyed peddling through the arts and crafts fairs at Indian Lake (the scene you should make!), and were very pleased to roll into the Village Motel at Speculator, near Lake Pleasant.

On our rest day we have enjoyed a fabulous massage, great omlette brunch, and we got our little camp stove fixed up so when the weather gets back up above freezing (which is predicted for tonight), we can camp again if we choose.  Camping, liking cycling the the drenching rain, invites self-reflection!  The gratitude for the warm shower spreads throughout my whole body!

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Your feedback is most welcome.
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