Wilmington, NY – We’re settled for the night in a lovely woodsy campground in the Adirondacks, with the sound of the rushing Ausable River filtering through the tall pines.
Our day was planned to be a short one, because we knew there would be first-day-out jobs, such as making up the bed with fresh sheets and opening the new water filters and installing them – not to mention figuring out all the steps to get settled at our site after not doing so for the last 15 months!
I always get the jitters in the first few kilometers of any long trip, thinking something vital was overlooked, like the camera or my favourite shoes. But Val always says “the stores are full of [fill in missing item]” and I realize that we are going to be just fine.
We had great traveling weather; sunshine and puffy clouds decorated the sky and splashes of daisies and Indian paintbrushes whizzed past on the shoulder of the highway. It wasn’t long before we were at the bridge to the US, crossing the St Lawrence River and then on toward the US Customs building.
As we waited in line to pass through, the driver of the car in front of us got out and strolled back to us to report that our left headlight was not working. A thoughtful gesture from a stranger. Val got out to check and sure enough he was right.
When we pulled up to the kiosk, the Customs officer, a woman with short grey hair, asked why Val had gotten out of the vehicle and said, “you’re not supposed to exit your vehicle in this area”. And we are supposed to know that how? We do now, anyway.
Then she asked if we had fresh fruit or vegetables on board and we said no – having checked with recent travelers who told us not to bring such items across the border. Next was chicken – “no.” Did we have eggs? Well, yes actually; what was the problem with that? “Ever heard of bird flu?” was the reply. Then she said “do you want to take them back?” Back? Back where? “Back to Canada!” Well I guess not! What was our choice? “Leave them with me.” So I rummaged through our cooler bag for the box of eggs, from which I had enjoyed a single one with my lunch a day before, and handed over the eleven bird-flu-infested items for immediate disposal. Funny, I felt just fine after consuming the twelfth.
With all that palaver over with, we headed in to the State of New York in the direction of Lake Placid. At first we passed lots of farms, where bright green sprouts of corn and other crops made striped patterns across the fields. Several times we came upon horse-pulled wagons, driven by Amish residents, the men with bushy beards and straw hats, and the women in their long dresses and bonnets.
The terrain became more hilly as we approached the Adirondack Mountains, and our rather winding route took us along Highway 68, 11, 11B, 458, 30 and 86 to our final destination of the day. It was nice to see Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, with its resort town feel and the special buildings left over from the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games.