Adirondacks and a change of plans…

Our first Adirondack pond.

Tweedy pair out for a woodsy stroll.

Ice cream stop, and father and son doing a “carry.”

Snake eating frog, or is that frog eating snake? (double click for enlarged view)

Claire catching blueberries, fisherman catching nothing.

Northeast Shore features at Whiteface Ski Area.

Nice view for the road cyclist. The river’s not bad either.

What kind of chairs are these?

Adirondack guide boat.

Bobsledding on concrete?

(This story was first published here in August of 2007. We are republishing it to update part of the story about our decision to cancel a planned bicycle trip to South America to accept work from an RV magazine.)

I don’t think we’ve found a more friendly part of America than upstate New York. There is an idea abroad that New Yorkers are brusque, even rude; but that is New York City, and they’re not so much rude as just surviving. But upstate New York, particularly the Adirondacks is friendly to a fault:

Coming in from the Northwest, down from the St. Lawrence, we stopped at the Adirondack Visitor’s Center and peppered Lydia with questions of all sorts, so we could get as much out of our week in the park as possible. As we talked we discovered she had once lived in Beijing and loved travel as much as we do, and the bonding was off and running. One of our questions was where we could boondock, like we do almost all the time on federal lands in the west. She understood, and directed us to a Jones pond spot, that we were later to discover was pretty much a locals secret. A ranger stopped by one night and asked us where we’d heard about Jones Pond. We played dumb.

As the light dimmed, after dinner in our cozy little spot beside Jones Pond, Lydia and Porgy, Park volunteer and friend, and neighbor to us on Jones Pond, paddled up for a visit. Porgy even offered us kayaks to paddle the pond anytime we wanted. We unfortunately were too busy with work to do much but get in a hard bike ride the next day. We spent most of two days in the Paul Smith library, one the the best we have found so far, with a fabulous, and distracting, view of another pond. Our final day in the NE section of the park found us back at the Visitors Center and, by now in need of water for our shower tank; Lydia and Porgy to the rescue again: moved cars and found us a hose bib around the back of the center; this allowed us several more days in the Park for photographing and gathering material.

We had hot and humid weather for a few days, but the nights were cool if damp, then as we left the park, thunderstorms ahead of a cold front (bad ones for here) cleared and cooled the air. We are now in Vermont, another story.

Change of plans:

Claire recently received a request from one of her magazine editors to about quadruple her output for them. (me too, I do her photos). It was quite a dilemma for us, as we had already planned a trip to South America this winter, and it would not be possible to keep up even her current load with them while abroad. We decided the opportunity was too good to pass up.

Claire continues to get rave reviews for her work from all the editors she writes for, and even though our vagabond lifestyle will be altered, I think it is important for her to be able to pursue her writing. She’s only 43! We will just have to figure out how to do fewer and shorter overseas trips, like most travelers. We’ve been spoiled, and we took full advantage of it. We will still travel extensively by RV throughout North America, thanks to the many libraries that now have wi fi and wall plugs, we’ll just have to work a little more than play. We still will not be returning to Tucson until early April; we have work to do all the way to Florida and Texas.

(Update 2009: we did do up to four stories a month for RV Extreme for months, working very hard to travel fast, keep up with our other magazine commitments and avoid the winter; nobody wants to see snow and bare trees in their travel pictures. Unfortunately the magazine quit paying and we lost a lot of money, time and a trip to South America to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The RV industry might just be a good bellweather industry for bad bad recessions. We wish they had told us sooner, before using all of our labor for months when they probably knew they were going to fail. The little people always get hurt first and worst. Unfortunately now we don’t do as much writing for RV magazines for fear of them failing too. Bummer.)

Two Fun Boondocks In Upstate New York

These are two nice boondocks (free parking overnight) in upstate New York. The first is at a state highway rest area overlooking the St. Lawrence River which blessed us with a glorious sunset and rain during the night (the sound of rain on a motorhome roof sleep inducing.After we visited Edwina Dale we stopped at a roadside stand to buy fresh sweet corn. We asked the owner about a place to park overnight and he pointed to a large blue metal building about a quarter of a mile away.

“You can back right into that tool shed to get out of the sun. Then you can come back here after 6:30 when I close, or stay there, either one. I’ll tell my brother you’re there.” He sounded more Canadian than US, but then the border is close, he probably has relatives in Canada. He was just one of many very friendly folks we’ve met so far in upstate New York. They got out of their way for strangers. More about friendly locals when I post from the Adirondacks.

We watched the bats leave the equipment shed at dusk, and slept soundly after a thrashing meal of corn and tomatoes

Sackets Harbor Anniversary: War of 1812 Battleground and Regatta

One the morning of August 4th, our 17th anniversary, we drove to the War of 1812 battlefield site and found a parking place beside the mouth of the harbor. There was an encampment of re-enactors close by and we wandered among their canvas tents admiring their period clothing, muskets, canons and uniforms. I was particularly interested in the iron pot of beef stew on the cooking fire. We talked to several of the friendly folks and learned a good bit about the War of 1812 that we hadn’t know before.

Foster, Lai Lai, Pbear and Claire watching the regatta. We were placing bets, and I thrashed Claire and Pbear; he’s a bad looser and smashed me in the nose; fortunately polyester fluff doesn’t pack much of a punch.

Late morning we noticed a flotilla of sailboats coming out of the harbor, and waiting for them, a committee boat and markers; we were about to be treated to the annual fund raising regatta for Hospice. We had crewed for a Hospice race in Sequim, Washington once, and were looking forward to seeing this one. It was much bigger than the Sequim race, and some very, very fast looking boats. We crawled through the handy skylight on Turtle and set up to watch both events from our house roof. Lots of people were jealous of our high position!
In the middle of the racing, two reenactor longboats, one American and one British, maneuvered clumsily and shot cannon at each other. No casualties were observed. This was the prelude to the land battle reenactment to follow.
Connon blast at sunset

After a full day of watching the regatta, a sea and land battle, we walked to the marina to get a better look at the fast boats and enjoy the drunken sailors getting their trophies. Then it was back to the American camp for colors, which consisted of the firing of a large canon at sunset. It was a fitting ending to a full day.

We decided to risk having to move during the night, and stayed in our parking place, watched the stars through our skylight and slept soundly and undisturbed, cooled by the breeze off the lake. We decided it was a perfect end to our anniversary.

Oswego, NY Sunset Dance

A couple of days before our 17 anniversary, we were in Oswego, NY. Claire, ever on the lookout for free entertainment, found a concert in a town park. It proved to be shady with a breeze off the lake and a perfect way to spend an evening. Best of all it was Big Band era music with a 17 piece Big Band. Well, of course those who know us, know we can’t resist dancing to that music, even if it is on the grass in front of a couple of hundred strangers. We met some nice folks who invited us to a small dance afterwards. We decided it was okay to begin our anniversary early.