Category Archives: Adirondack Park Loop 2017

Adirondack Park Loop 2017 – Days 8-9

Day 8 (45 miles)

For much of the morning, I rode alongside the Hudson River. It took me a long time to get acquainted with what I was seeing. My memory of the Hudson River was the slow moving behemoth that separates Manhattan from the New Jersey Palisades. It was worth getting to know the younger Hudson that flows fast and free through rapids and falls. This particular view was from a bridge between the towns of Hadley and Lake Luzerne.

Hudson River

Just before lunch in Corinth, I officially left Adirondack Park. Ahead of me was one more climb before trip’s end. I crossed the Palmertown Range with ease. It’s name sounds much more formidable than reality; fear instead the names Graphite Mountain and Whiteface Mountain!

My last night of the trip was in Saratoga Springs. I knew I was officially back in the big city when I learned that there was a vegan restaurant nearby. I ate at the Four Seasons, which served a vegan buffet and local brews. The perfect ending to my mountain adventure.

vegan dinner

Day 9 (the final 34 miles)

The best way to describe the last leg of my trip back the car would be Trains, Plans and (lots of) Automobiles. From Saratoga Springs to the Albany International Airport, I had nonstop interactions with these other modes of transportation. I must have been in a hurry to get home. I left the hotel in Saratoga Springs at 6:30am and did not stop until I reached Lions Park in Niskayuna at 9:30am (31 miles). My last farewell photo of the trip shows the Mohawk River valley just before Lions Park, with the last of the morning fog slowly lifting. After the break I biked the remaining 3 miles to the airport and was packed and driving back to Cincinnati by 10:30am.

Mohawk River

Looking back on the adventure, I realized that the two most impressive views/experiences of the whole trip occurred on the day riding to Lake Placid and on the day leaving Lake Placid. The High Falls Gorge between Wilmington and Lake Placid is spectacular. The Ausable River churns through a narrow gap between high rocky bluffs, showing plenty of white water. I felt I was in the West, not the East. As for leaving Lake Placid, I will never forget the 40mph decent past the Upper and Lower Cascade Lakes just before landing in Keene. The mountains giveth and the mountains taketh away!

Adirondack Park Loop 2017 – Days 6-7

Day 6 (69 miles)

After calling the State Police (they control all of the traffic during the triathlon), I found out that I would be able to leave Lake Placid at 11am on Sunday. Thank goodness the race was only a half Ironman. If it had been a full Ironman, the road south would have been closed all day. Lucky me! As for the triathletes, they are not so lucky. They get to get up at 4am, jump in a 65F lake for a swim, and then ride their bikes in 40F fog before starting the run. Now that’s crazy!

I think Lake Placid wins the award for the most convenient city in the state of New York. I needed to do three things with the limited time I had in Lake Placid: replace my right brake housing and cable, do my laundry, and go grocery shopping. As luck would have it, all three businesses were within two blocks of the motel. Placid Planet Bicycles fixed my bike in two hours on Saturday afternoon, despite a huge influx of triathletes requiring last minute adjusts or repairs. The laundromat and grocery store were right next to each other, so I finished these tasks at the same time early Sunday morning. I was packed and ready to go by 11am, and took the back roads out of town.

Look what I found while leaving Lake Placid! No, not the US Olympic 90m and 120m ski jumps, but blue sky and …… SUNSHINE! My first day of clear skies and dry roads since I started my tour. What a boost to my mood.

olympic ski jump

The road from Lake Placid to my next stop, Ticongeroga, was jam packed with beautiful vistas, lots of climbing, and some pretty intense downhills. The real scary part turned out not to be the 40mph decents, but the motorcycle drivers on County Road 6 between I-87 and Witherbee. These guys would take the winding corners which were posted at 30-35mph at twice the posted speed, and then accelerate on the straights. I could hear then coming from a mile away. I prayed that their tires would hold to the road as they screamed past me and that a car was not passing me at the same time. I safely made it to Ticonderoga and breathed a sigh of relief.

Day 7 (43 miles)

Another day of blue skies and sunshine! It is so nice to be able to see the tops of the mountains.

i can see mountains

Today’s route included the longest continuous climb of my trip. From the town of Hague on Lake George, State Route 8 (Graphite Mountain Road) rises 1,400 feet in 5 miles. It took me 90 minutes to reach the top. And what (or should I say who) did I find near the top? Elephant Rock! I love these little surprises.

elephant rock

I stopped for lunch along the Schroon River just below Brant Lake. It was a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the river’s reflections. Did I already mention it was sunny and nice?!?!

Schroon river reflections

Adirondack Park Loop 2017 – Days 4-5

It’s becoming a routine with me and the weather. Overcast, cold, and occasional rain or mist. I don’t mind, though, because all I have to do is think about what the folks in Texas, the Bahamas, and soon-to-be Florida have to deal with. I’ll take the September weather in the Adirondacks hands down.

Day 4 (43 miles)

I was up at 5am and on the road by 7am. The scenery (at least what I can see through the mist and clouds) is beautiful. I stopped at Tupper Lake for a quick snack and took a picture. I know there are mountains around me, but I cannot see them.

tupper lake

With a slight tailwind, I made very good time to my next destination, Lake Clear, and arrived by noon. I am staying at the Lodge at Clear Lake. It is a quaint, spacious lodge with lake front property. I pretty much had the lodge all to myself. The owners have put a lot of work into the place (all 23 acres). I recommend that you stop by if you are in the area.

Day 5 (43 miles)

I was up and on the road by 6:30am. The predictable weather was there to greet me. Today would be my first big climb into the mountains, with the chance to get up close and personal with the clouds that have been floating just above me. As I approached Whiteface Mountain, the grade steepened significantly. The last three miles to the crest were some of the steepest I have ridden (and this includes the Blue Ridge Parkway). I reached the top of the foggy grade, and immediately started barreling down the backside at 40mph. Such a contrast! At the bottom of the mountain was Wilmington, where I stopped for my second breakfast and warmed up from significant windchill.

In Wilmington I noticed that there were lot of bicyclers on the road, and I mean a lot. They were riding very expensive tri-bikes. I first thought that Wilmington must be home to a serious bunch of health fanatics, but I came to find out that up the road 12 miles in Lake Placid there was going to be an Ironman 70.2 triathlon the next day. All the bikers were checking out the course and making sure their bikes were in good working condition.

As I  made my way to Lake Placid, I passed by the Whiteface Ski Area (and I was passed by a lot of those triathletes on their tricked-out tri-bikes.

whiteface ski area

The town of Lake Placid was anything but placid. More like Lake Hustle-and-Bustle. Triathletes, friends and family were everywhere. Now I know why my motel room at the Placid Bay Inn cost about twice the usual rate. Ah, capitalism at its finest, or is it that a fool and his money are easily parted. You get to pick!

lake placid

When I checked into the motel, the proprietor told me that there would be road closures during the race. Yikes, I forgot about that. Would I be able to leave Lake Placid in the morning, or would I be stuck here in some warped version of Groundhog Day? But that’s a story for another day …..

Adirondack Park Loop 2017

Days 1-3

I am so excited for my first (and only) bike trip this year. I will follow the Adventure Cycling Association 395 mile Adirondack Park Loop. I will start and end at Lions Park in Niskayuna NY, and go clock-wise around the loop. My plan is to camp and cook if the weather is dry, or stay in motels and eat at restaurants if it rains.

map

I took two days to drive the 723 miles from my home in Cincinnati to a hotel near the Albany International Airport. I parked my car at the airport long term lot for $6 a day. There are hotels near the airport that offer on-site parking, but I decided to use what I thought was the more secure option.

Day 1 (53 miles)

I was on my bike at 6:30am for the two mile ride from the hotel to Lions Park where I connected with the Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway. My trip had officially begun!

lions park

I was only six miles into my adventure along the Bikeway when I turned a corner and saw the GE Global Research Center. What a surprise! I worked for GE for almost 32 years, and I have visited the Center a handful of times while working for the GE Aviation business. I did not know I would be passing in front of the Center. A GE engineer on his way to work on a bicycle stopped and told me that I had the much better day ahead of me. I agreed with him 100%. Retirement is nice.

GE Global Research

There was quite a bit of traffic on the road after I left the Bikeway, but there was a decent shoulder and the drivers were courteous. I made it all the way to my final destination (Microtel in Johnstown) without getting rained on. I was so lucky. The only rain shower that passed over me was during lunch in Broadalbin when I was under cover.

Day 2 (50 miles)

I was not so lucky with the rain today. I rode in the rain all day long. I had the right gear (rain jacket, rain pants, heavy gloves and shoe covers) so I stayed warm despite the cold, wet environment. Mid-morning I crossed the Blue Line, which is a term sometimes used for the boundary around Adirondack Park. The rain did not care about the boundary; it was generous to me on both sides.

blue line

I finished the day in Speculator, where I stayed at the Cedarhurst Motor Lodge, an antiquated but adequate motel.

Day 3 (48 miles)

Another overcast, windy day with showers in the forecast. I was on the road by 7am. Those of you who have followed my previous trips know that I am a connoisseur of yard art. I had never seen “rock art” in my travels, so I had to stop and get a photo of Pig Rock, who must be some distant relative to Kid Rock.

pig

I stopped for mid-morning coffee at the local general store in Sabael. Two young men were behind the counter, so we started a conversation. Turns out they both tour on bicycles, and have experienced trips across the USA, Alaska, and Asia. They pointed out s bicycle hanging high up in front of the building (which I did not notice coming into the store), and told me that it was the bicycle their father (grandfather?) rode while touring Europe many years ago. Great stories (and I apologize to them for the parts that I did not get straight!).

old bicycle

I managed to dodge most of the rain, and avoided a one hour deluge by hanging out at the Blue Mountain Lake gas station while the storm blew through. I arrived at Long Lake by late afternoon and stayed at the Motel Long Lake and Cottages. It was a nicely updated motel right on the lake.