Greetings! I am back in the lovely state of New York.
This will be a long post with a lot of pictures. So skim if you want. I just wanted you to know I am still thinking of you and wanting to share the sites with you.
I am on my way to Wisconsin. I have been on my way, kind of, since I left Florida in late April. But I took a few side trips. I wanted to see New York and Vermont and see friends in Canada. I wanted to spend time with Steve, I wanted to see Steve's New York home, and I wanted to meet his extended family.
Right now I am near Niagara Falls on the American side.
My friends, Jean and Keith are in a motel near my campground to visit me. I had planned on writing to you today. It will be my last chance to connect with you until after Steve and I return to his home to prepare for the Gap and C&O ride. In between, there will be lots of days of driving, a full week of riding in Wisconsin as Steve and I do a little tour, and lots of site-seeing and visiting friends and family.
I feel bad to take this day away from visiting with Jean. Jean's visit got shifted a day, so we only had one full day of riding together here. It was a great ride, a great day. I will tell you about it later.
I had planned on writing to you before Jean and Keith arrived. But I had fallen so far behind with the "business" end of traveling, that I had to spend all day on the computer trying to catch up with plans and routes and reservations.
Yes, I am retired. Yay! I love that. But I am not on vacation. This is my life.
I get frustrated sometimes that the view of my life from the outside is like being on vacation all the time. Or maybe that is my view from this side? Ya, it is probably me.
I still have to do banking, wash the car, promote my books, keep in touch with friends and family, maintain my stuff.
Steve says it is a good thing when he is out of a cell service zone. For him, travel is still a short-term thing. Me, I feel "hungry" when I don't have service. I am like an addict looking for my next fix, but for me it seems a necessity every few days to purge my email of unwanted stuff, to check the weather, to map my route, to find gas, or a gym or a grocery store. Though I have an atlas, I only have it if I can't use google maps. And then it won't help me find the gas station, gym, or laundromat.
Currently, I am staying at Four Mile Creek State Park in New York. The spaces are huge, the bathrooms clean, the bugs not too bad. But there is little or no cell service, so I have found a park in Youngstown with shelter and electric to write.
I got here before seven a.m. and it took a whole hour and a half to get my computer up and running. It had to update and then when I connected to my cell hotspot, it had to update again.
And guess what? Even though I have not written to you much this month. Verizon just sent me a text. I only have 10% of my 9999 GB of my hotspot left. It renews on the 21st of this month. Today is the 19th.
I have so many pictures to share of people and places I have visited.
I guess I will have to leave this lovely outdoor spot and go find a library open and use the wifi there.
In the meantime, here is a story for you to read.
When Steve and I were in the Adirondacs, Steve and I went for a bike ride. I told you about it, but I forgot to tell you about the grandpa and the girl.
It happened when we went for a bike ride on the roads in Adirondac Park. It was a nice bicycling loop. It was one of several described in a brochure we picked up somewhere.
I told you about the ride last time I wrote. We had stopped at a tiny ice cream shop. Donnelly's I think it was called. It is near Saranac Lake. The little shop only has one flavor besides vanilla each day. With our treats in hand, Steve and I snatched a seat on a long bench, our backs resting on the front of the store wall. In front of us, across the road was a lovely vista, over-looking a valley and the mountains beyond.
After a short time, a girl about eight years old sat next to me, then her mom next to her, and in the end sat (probably) her grandpa.
It was quiet as we all enjoyed our cones. Then, I heard the mom say that no, the girl could not have some of her ice cream. It was too bad she ate hers so fast. Now it was all gone.
A minute or two more passed and the Mom and daughter stood up and started to walk away just as the grandpa said, "You know when I was young..."
The mom and daughter continued to walk away. I turned to the grandpa, "Tell me, I want to know what happened when you were a kid."
He chuckled and said, "We used to have contests to see who could make their ice cream cone last the longest."
The girl turned back to listen. He looked at her with a mischievous grin and started taking tiny tiny bites of his cone.
"Mmm, its soooo good!" He said. Teeny tiny bites all the while grinning as she watched.
Steve and I giggled. Oh ya, we had played that game. The grandpa moaned with pleasure, "Boy, this ice cream is soooo good."
Finally he popped the last bit in his mouth, stood up eith a big smile, and put his arm around the girl as she leaned into him. So cute!
OK! I am hooked up at the Lewiston Public Library.
Isle La Motte and Ride with Mari and Jerry
I was in Vermont when last I wrote. I had one more day in that area before heading into Canada. I was fortunate enough to connect with my friends and former neighbors, Mari and Jerry. They were staying at her brother's rental cabin within an hour's drive from my campground.
Mari and Jerry have a new-to-me dog. He is real cute. After our ride and a lovely lunch that Mari made, I helped them put out the floating swim raft. I used the kayak and they tied the raft to it. It was easy pulling it out. Mari and El had the hard part of swimming out to the boey where they had the tie-down chaines attached. The chains were heavy. At one point I went to shore to get something for them. The dog, which doesn't hardly want to wade, let alone swim, was happy to climb into the kayak and ride with me. It was the dog's idea. I didn't even have to invite or coax him. He was so cute, riding in front of me.
After that, I dashed back to camp to pack up. I was heading into Canada the next day.
Canada and Riding with Louise and Richard
I was kind of nervous going through customs at the border. Richard had directed me to the less busy crossing. He also told me to answer only the questions and not elaborate or offer more information.
The agent was pretty nice and when he asked if I had and guns, weapons, or pepper spray, I told him I had a small bottle of pepper spray I carry with me for dogs when I ride bicycle.
He ignored that statement. That was nice of him. The next time I crossed into Canada... not the same.
Louise and Richard were our neighbors and friends from the Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders. Louise and Richard's house is like five minutes from the border right on the Richelieu River that feeds into or from (I don't remember) Lake Champlain.
I was having trouble finding a place to stay on the fourth of July and they invited me to come hook up at their place in Canada.
I got wonderful warm and welcoming Louise and Richard hugs! They showed me their house, Louise grew up vacationing in the area, many of her family are also on the River nearby. One of her sisters lives a couple doors down, and her son lives a couple doors down in the other direction. Their house used to be just a squareish cottage. But after visiting France they were inspired to design some additions and re-dos. They actually lifted the house up and made it a split-level home. It is lovely, with angles, light wood-work inside, and lots of flower gardens.
The next day they were going to take me on a bicycle ride along a canal. They contacted Mari and Jerry and they came too! What a joy to all be together in Canada!
Below is a picture of one of the lovely boats we saw at a lock on the canal. Even the dingy on that boat was lovely.
The locks are still operating, but not for freight so much as tourists and recreational boaters.
They had these neat lounge chairs in several parks that we passed.
We went around an old fort that had been used among many other things in the United States Civil War! I had no idea the conflict reached this far north.
Louise and Mari enjoyed a long conversation with the young folks working the hand crank locks.
I was parked right in Louise and Richard's driveway. I had expected to be off on a different property. But as it was, Louise was planning meals and happy hour refreshments and snacks for us together.
One time while I was there, it was threatening rain. But I went for a walk anyway. While I was out it began to rain. No problem, it was warm enough, I didn't mind. Then it started to thunder and then pea-size hail began to fall. I passed by an area open to the river and snuggled my backside against some trees and bushes close to the road. The hail didn't hit me. But the wind started to really blow off the river through the field next to me. Small limbs began to fly and land nearby. I was wondering if where I was huddled, by the trees was a good idea.
It didn't last long... maybe a couple minutes. When the wind died down enough, I started walking home. Up drives Richard in his car, coming to rescue me from the storm. He even had towels expecting me to be soaking wet. Which I was. Thank you, Richard! But I didn't get in the car. The storm had passed and I still had walking to do. I sent him on his way. It is nice to be cared about.
One day they took me to Montreal to ride through the city! It was great! There was soooo much to look at. I don't know how many miles we did that day, but not very many. I kept stopping to take pictures.
While at Louise and Richard's I could use their wifi, which was great. I was missing Steve. Louise and Richard would be celebrating their anniversary (57 years!?) and Louise's birthday. They would be otherwise occuppied. Plus, you know the saying. House guests and fish are great, but start to smell after three days.
On a whim I checked how far away Steve was at his home. Less than 150 miles! I then plotted from his home to my next destination, Letchworth Park. Less than my daily limit of 300 miles! Hey!
I texted Steve, "Would you mind if I came to your house for a few days before heading to Letchworth?"
"Nothing could make me happier," he replied... or something like that. He's so nice! I was thrilled with this change of plan.
Richard told me I would have trouble pulling out. The angle out of his driveway to the shared drive with his neighbors was more than 90 degrees.
I said my goodbyes in the evening because if I woke at four a.m. I wanted to be able to just get up and go. In the morning I studied the angle and agreed. I decided to pull forward and back into Louise's sister's driveway. It seemed generously wide, with an RV parked on one side and a fence on the other. But I don't know what I was thinking or doing. I wasn't watching the right mirror. When I checked it I was shocked. I had jackknifed the trailer and it was almost hitting the RV! OMG!
In fact, now that I think back I was so shook up by that discovery that I may have not been thinking clearly. Please, Louise and Richard, if I actually hit her RV, let me know. I will happily pay for any damage/repairs. I don't think I did. I think I was about four inches from it. Thank goodness if I didn't!
I pulled forward and straightened out. Now what. The shared drive was a little curvey and ... I don't know, maybe 1000 feet long? I decided to back out.
I did pretty good, going very very slow. But I didn't do well backing into the road. The road isn't heavily traveled, thank goodness. I could not see because there are lots of trees and bushes lining the narrow driveway. I got out to check if traffic was coming but realized by the time I got back in the truck and started moving, traffic could be coming.
There are narrow ditches on both sides of the road. It took a few tries, but I did it. With a big sigh and a smile, I was on my way!
Steve had planned to go up to Margaret's Family's Cottage. He had a project he wanted to do. I was happy to go with him.
While he worked on putting a new roof over the wood pile, I mowed the lawn.