Sent: Friday, June 29, 2001 10:40 AM
Subject: Who's creepin' through the streets of the city?
In homage to today's avant-garde film directors,
and their use of non-linear plot development, I will start with end and
then tell you the rest of the story....
Been driving all night, my hands wet on the wheel,
enough moths in the headlights to make it look like I was the first person to
get a vanagon into hyperspace, and no end in sight. According to the GPS
I had gotten to within 9.2 miles of my destination, Lake Placid, and was now
starting to move away.1:45 am, and even my high tolerance for ambiguity was
being sorely tested....
Earlier that same day....
Headed out of Detroit around 10:00, planned to
take the Ambassador bridge across to Canada, and then 401 all the way to a
bridge across the St. Lawrence waterway into upstate NY and onto I-81, and
then cross over into Lake Placid (where I would get up early the next day and
hike to Mt. Marcy, the high point in NY).
At the exit for the bridge, traffic started to
back up. As it was only a little ways to the bridge, I didn't worry.
After a while, I noticed a bunch of helicopters flying around the bridge.
Started scanning radio stations for news, and, guess what, the bridge was
closed. Apparently a scaffolding holding some workers on the bridge
collapsed, and they were hanging by their safety harnesses. Checked out
the map, and headed up the road to the tunnel. Made my way to the tunnel
and on through into Windsor. This route required me to drive through the
city to get on the highway, unlike the bridge which pretty much dumps you on
the highway. All told, I was about 2 hours behind schedule at this
point. Thought I was in for a boring drive, but then I found the All
Corey Hart/Anne Murray All The Time radio station, and everything was ok.
The delay at the border crossing had the
unfortunate effect of putting my arrival into the Toronto greater metropolitan
area at rush hour. And based on the traffic reports, it was a pretty
ugly rush hour too. So I sat in traffic, adding another hour or two to
the trip. Once through Toronto, things opened up, including the wind.
A lot. I began to feel like a member of the math club trying to leave
school just as football practice is letting out. I was getting pushed
2-3 feet side to side by the wind. There were times when I had the
steering wheel turned about a fifth of the way around to go straight. It
was not fun. After a few hours of this, I was finally able to get off
the highway to head into the US. I didn't realize I was in the 1000
islands area, which was really beautiful, I wish I had realized that was where
I was going to be and taken some time to look around. Heading into the
US, I got to cross this bridge...
...which fortunately I didn't realize until I was
almost on it, so I didn't have any time to get freaked out about being so
high. Calculating my speed to cross a bridge is a complex formula
involving several variables including how slow can I get away with
driving, while driving fast enough to get to the other side so I can start
breathing again before I pass out.
As you can see, it is dusk, at which point I
should have already been in Lake Placid. So I start heading down I-81
looking for route 30 across the state. Unfortunately, I missed the exit
and went about 10 miles past it before turning on the GPS and realizing it.
Loaded up Lake Placid as a destination in the GPS so I could make sure not to
go in the wrong direction again. Back up the interstate and onto the
correct road, which was actually almost a fun drive, no cars and lots of
twisty turns (too bad I wasn't in the BMW). Although I was getting tired
was sort of a nice drive, although it was getting late, past midnight and I
still had a ways to go, with no idea where I was going to spend the night.
There was a campground or two that I had found out about, but they were long
closed for the night by now, and even though they have late check-in, I wasn't
exactly sure where they were. Had started thinking about a Wal-Mart
parking lot, but my cell phone (Sprint sucks) was not working in spite of a
strong signal (don't use Sprint), so I couldn't call and find one.
Finally about 2am, I had just missed the last turn for Lake Placid at Saranac,
and decided to stop in a parking area alongside the road that they have for
trucks. Unfolded the bed, pulled the curtains shut, put my flashlight
and nightstick next to me and crashed. Slept great till about 9:30, too
late to get any significant hiking in, and besides the weather wasn't great.
Drove into Lake Placid and talked to a guy in an Eastern Mountain Sports store
about good trails. Bought a topo and headed for the trailhead.
Turns out to be the same trailhead for Mt. Marcy (NY state high point but too
late in the day and lousy weather made it not an option).
the way to the trailhead you drive right by the Lake Placid Olympic training
center and ski jump.
The plan was to hike Phelps mountain, about an 8.5
mile hike round trip. After sitting in the van for 14 hours the previous
day I hit the trail (practically) running. Here are some pictures I took
along the way...
Having been an "above treeline"
"real" mountain snob all of my hiking life, I decided that the
Adirondacks are pretty cool and had a great hike. Gets pretty steep and
rocky going up the side of Phelps mountain. Ran into some people coming
down who told me that it was windy with no visibility at the top.
Not sure I ever made it to the top because visibility got so bad couldn't see
very far. It looked like smoke from a fire was coming through the trees,
but it was just clouds, no fire in the sky. After the hike I was a able
to take a quick shower at the campground at the trailhead. The weather
wasn't supposed to get any better for a while, so I decided to head back to MD
to take care of the tire situation. In spite of the weather had some
great scenery on the back roads getting to the highway, where I started
heading for Albany with plans to find a campground along the way.
Stopped at a few, but they wanted $28!!!!!!. So using the cutting edge
technology at my fingertips, I used my satellite uplink (cellphone) to access
the master database (parents logged into internet) to search for all Wal-Mart
locations in the Albany area, near the highway. After a successful
search, I downloaded the coordinates to my laptop (wrote the address on the
back of an envelope and typed into MS Strees & Trips) and calculated the
most direct route. From there it was another hour down the road to the
Wal-mart, where I found two other RV's parked for the night and settled in for
a great nights sleep. Next stop, Maryland and major improvements to the