East Coast Adventure - Day 8
Lake Placid, New York
From Gorham the road seemed to consistently climb upwards. Fog and clouds hugged the mountains along pine tree and birch lined roads with so many spectacular views.
As we’ve passed through towns ‘antique’ shops are everywhere, many in barns falling apart and strewn with more junk than treasures. Arriving in Bethlehem, New Hampshire the ‘home of poetry’ and artists, we experienced a totally different take on treasures. Giant sculptures made from motorcycle parts adorned the Indian Brook Trading Company. I was so shocked with this creative artistry that I dropped my bike in my attempt to take pictures (not good.) My favorite, the ‘Bonjour’ Eiffel Tower.
Winding our way through New Hampshire, we arrived at the small ferry from Charlotte, Vermont to Essex, New York. Definitely a more enjoyable way to cross state borders. Andrew picked up our tickets and within minutes the ferry was there but hard to tell until the first truck came driving off. The ferry was so small!
Bicycles and motorcycles were first to load with vehicles following behind. Once everyone had boarded, the ferry began its voyage to New York, the small marina and anchored sailboats fading into the background. Beside us German tourists were thrilled to noticed all three motorcycles were BMWs. A long conversation ensued between the guys as I grabbed photos and video of our voyage. The journey across the water was not long but it was beautiful and calm.
On the horizon the Adirondack mountains, the quaint town of Essex, and ferry station became clear. The whole docking system was managed expertly by only two staff, the engine set to forward idle while the captain and ferry assistant threw ropes around moorings and lowered the ramp in place. As we threw on our gear to disembark, contact information was exchanged and plans made to connect in the near future.
From Essex to Bethlehem and onward, towns became more beautiful making our drive interesting and enjoyable. This was more of what I expected to see.
As we climbed into the mountains again, fog clung to the peeks, shrouding heights. A mist darkened the skies as we arrived in the outskirts of Lake Placid, nestled between the Adirondack mountains.
Already Olympic facilities were in sight. Massive ski jump towers loomed above the highway, like dark skinny monsters they sat stark against wooded surroundings. Along the highway signs pointed down side roads directing long ago participants to Olympic cross country courses, bobsled facilities, slalom courses and other competition areas. As we passed it was as if excitement and anticipation of still hung in the air. I was washed in visuals of athletes preparing for their next run, breath held as competitors fought to steal the podium.
Turning into town the GPS diverted us toward the Hampton Inn & Suites, perfectly situated at the end of Mirror Lake with a spectacular view. Laughter rang from a small sandy beach nearby, a roped off swimming area and park filled with families and pets playing along the water. The 2.7 mile pathway surrounding the lake was also busy with joggers pushing strollers, friends laughing along shore, and elderly couples holding hands on their evening stroll.
Our first priority was definitely dropping onto a bed for a while (or perhaps just my priority.) Andrew seems to endure less pain on these runs while my whole body aches. Although I have developed a lot of strategies to manage 2 hour rides, like shifting positions often, my body has not adjusted to the 4-5.5 hours of riding each day…not as much as I had hoped.
After cleaning up a bit we explored Lake Placid’s downtown and other Olympic facilities. This is definitely a winter hotspot. Most shops focus on winter gear or products. It was not too hard to imagine the place coming alive with skiers and boarders, red faced and snow powdered, laughing over a steaming burger and pint while challenging mates to take on the larger hill.
There are many summer events here, like the Ironman triathlon, horse shows, Lake Placid Summit Classic Lacrosse Tournament, and the Adirondacks Ragnar Relay race, but it is obvious that Lake Placid caters to winter sports.
Nearby Saranac Lake, New York, hosts an annual Winter Carnival, one of the oldest Winter Carnivals in the country, complete with an Ice Palace. Multiple IWPA snow Weight pulling events, the Winter Empire State Games, ice dance competitions and CAN/AM hosts an adult pond hockey tournament on Mirror Lake, along with the many winter tourists enjoying a wide variety of winter activities.
I did wish we had more time to explore. Summer or winter there is so much to do. Instead we enjoyed the town, a lovely evening dinner at the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery, and sunset tea overlooking the lake. What a beautiful way to end the day on the patio of our hotel with a wood fire roaring nearby.
The next day we were up early and on the road shortly after breakfast. We had a long ride home, close to 5 hrs of riding with additional time for much needed breaks. Unfortunately 5 hrs stretched to over 6 with construction delays on side roads and highways. Needless to say we were happy to arrive home, order take-out, and fall into bed.
What an amazing Trip! Next time…a road trip in another country?!?!