T R I P   J O U R N A L

W E E K   # 1 2

DAY OF REST - Monday, September 20, 2004

I'm in Western NY visiting family and friends. No traveling or sightseeing today. However, I am pleased to introduce you to my friends Ben & June, Rose & Jim.

ROAD TRIP TO THE ADIRONDACKS - Tuesday, September 21, 2004

After spending two solid weeks playing catch-up with family and old friends, I depart Western NY and head directly to Adirondack State Park. Today will a driving day for me. On the drive I experience one mishap, one oddity, and take a little tour of Sterling Center Cemetery.

My driving grows weary as the day surrenders to evening. By nightfall I decide to overnight at Cranberry Lake, NY at the state park campgrounds there. As I pull into my campsite the sun is setting and provides me with a brilliant light show, a perfect conclusion to a long day of driving.

I settle in for the evening and work on the website for a few hours before going to bed.

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THE ADIRONDACKS - DAY #1 - Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Today will be my first full day in the Adirondacks. Like many of my days on this cross-country trip, this day has no hard-and-set agenda. I only wish to push deeper into Adirondack State Park and maybe squeeze in a bike ride.

I decide to drive to Lake Placid, NY where I'll formulate my plan for the day. On the way I drive through scenic Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake. At Lake Placid I grab some breakfast then decide to try some mountain biking at winter ski resort Whiteface Mountain, located about 10 miles from Lake Placid. I arrive at Whiteface Mountain only to discover the ski lift is having some mechanical problems and is shutdown for the day.

Thwarted but not defeated, I switch to Plan B, which is to roadbike some of the serpentine highways that run throughout Adirondack State Park. The ride promises to be a scenic one because the fall season colors are at full peak. I've picked the perfect time to visit the park.

Getting a late start on my bike ride, I rush through a 60 mile ride, racing the limited amount of daylight at my disposal. The ride proves to be a though one, but the pain of the ride is fully mitigated by all the pretty scenery that surrounds me as I wisk along, peddle stroke by peddle stroke.

I manage to beat the setting sun and reach the van before nightfall. I then drive to Willington Notch Public Campgrounds and settle in for the evening. After a taking a shower and eating dinner, I do some travel writing before calling it a night.

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THE ADIRONDACKS - DAY #2 - Thursday, September 23, 2004

I'm such a glutton for punishment. A normal person would have taken the day off, but no, not me. While quite sore from yesterday's 60 mile bike ride, I feel a strong urge for more outdoor activity and decide to do some hiking. After checking out a variety of possible venues, I set my sights on Mount Marcy, the tallest mountain in New York State.

I drive out to the trailhead and begin my hike. Along the flat I run into Alma and Hilde, two life-long friends who are enjoying a little hike of their own. Soon enough I begin my ascent which will take me up more than 3700 feet. The hike up to the top is long, scenic, and somewhat uneventful. However, near the top I meet trajedy, my trusty digital camera takes a lens-plant into the mountainside. Ouch!

At the top, with injured camera in hand, I enjoy the 360 degree unobstructed view and snap a bunch of shots. Fall colors work vigorously to highlight the lowlands. Rising majestically at their outer limits, the colorful flats transform upward into the multitude of surrounding mountains. It is a truly beautiful place to behold. Regrettably, time is running out for me and I cannot linger for more than 30 minutes. It's time to turn back and depart this lofty place. Much to my surprise, as start to descend the mountainside, one of my knees immediately begins to bother me.

It proves to be a long 7 miles back to the van indeed. My hiking is labored and I have to favor my knee by not bending it. Hardy Matee!!! I feel like a peg-legged pirate who has been transplanted in the woods, having lost his ship and parrot to some unforseen misfortune. As the hike winds down, I manage to miscalculate the daylight and find myself near trail's end in darkness without a flashlight. After a bit of hiking trail guesstimation, I finally rid myself of all my wanderings and arrive back at the van safe and sound. Well, kinda sound... Safe and sore is more like it.

Today proves to a tough day for me. My body is all worn and broken, and all I can think about is showering, eating, and sleeping. I pile myself into the van, then make my way back to the campsite where I retire for the evening.

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THE ADIRONDACKS - DAY #3 - Friday, September 24, 2004

Time to take it easy. Still nursing an injured knee from yesterday's hike, I formulate plans for an easy day today. I'll just tour the village of Lake Placid, NY, the host of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games.

My tour of Lake Placid is pleasant but short. After all, Lake Placid is a rather small community. The only thing that holds my interest and attention is the village's main drag. Filled with hotels, restaurants, and shops, this place is a great watering hole for sports lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and of course, the shopping-minded.

After my tour I grab some dinner in town then hit up a brew pub. While drinking beer, I work on my travel writing then make plans for tomorrow's activities. At 11pm I drive back to my campsite and hit the hay. My knee is actually feeling much better now. Seems like I should be healed up enough to do more bike riding tomorrow.

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THE ADIRONDACKS - DAY #4 - Saturday, September 25, 2004

Today I'm back in the biking saddle once again! Since my knee is feeling much better after having had a full day of rest yesterday, the time has arrived to tackle Whiteface Mountain. Normally a winter ski resort in the snowy season, the resort at Whiteface Mountain transforms itself into a sightseeing and mountain biking attraction in the warm weather months.

From the campgrounds I drive a few miles to the ski resort. Having never mountain biked a real mountain before, I don't completely know what I'm getting myself into. I buy my gondola lift ticket, and in the process, I'm offered free use of knee and elbow pads, overflowing from a large carboard box sitting in the corner of the ticket office. I think the best of it and put on some padding. It never hurts to be overly protected ya know!

During my 4 runs down the grassy ski slopes, I manage to make a lot of personal contact with the mountainside, usually by means of flying over the handlebars. Yes, this truly is a challenge for me, but I keep up my good spirits and continued on with my mountainside biking foray.

Near the end of my last run I experience a rather nasty spill, resulting in some bloody scrapes and a couple of large bruises. Oh, the fun of mountain biking! After completing my last run, I jump in the van and drive to Lake Placid for some dinner, then head back to my campsite to work on the website.

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THE ADIRONDACKS - DAY #5 - Sunday, September 26, 2004

Today is a big day for me, I have plans to tour a large portion of Lake Placid's Winter Olympic Complex. As a kid I always loved to watch the Winter Olympics. I can't wait to see what it has to offer.

After departing the campgrounds in the morning I start my tour. Nestled within the village of Lake Placid, you'll find two ice skating complexes and an outdoor speed skating oval. I tour both rinks and in the process experience a strange dream of playing in the 1980 Winter Olympic Games against the Russians when USA emerged victorious to win a Gold Metal.

After touring the ice rinks I drive a little way outside of Lake Placid to the Olympic Jumping Complex. I park the van, then pay a visit to the freestyle skiing practice area. The idea here is you can practice freestyle ski jumping in the saftey of a pool setting. Skiers launch off various ski jumps, do their routines of twists, flips and turns, then safely fall into the water. I just sit back and watch the fun for a while.

Once I receive my fill of freestyle ski jumping, I take a ski lift up a hill that drops me off at the base of the facility's two towering ski jumps. The 90 and 120 meter ski jumps are indeed very impressive, I cannot imagine I'd ever have the courage to ski off of them. I take an elevator ride up the 120 meter tower to it's observation enclosure. Once there, I walk through a door leading outside, then make my way up a flight of stairs to the outdoor observation deck. It is from here ski jumpers access the jump ramp. I must say, this observation deck really dishes up some pretty sweet panoramas.

Moving along, I return back to the van then head to my last Winter Olympic site, namely, the Verizon Sports Complex. Located about 10 miles outside of Lake Placid, the complex is used for a variety of sports, including bobsled, luge, and skeleton. Upon arrival I decide to bypass the bus tour and opt for a walking self-tour. The facility is really impressive. Near the tailend of my visit I actually get to see a bobsled in action.

The day winds down and I drive back to my campsite to chill for a bit. I work on my travel writing into the late evening hours then retire for the night.

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