Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Where in North America is Uncle Rod? day 4

Wednesday June 17, 2009
Lake Pleasant, Adirondack Preserve, New York

181 (1,348)

New Woodstock Depot
The birds woke me under a clear sky this morning, but before I had broken my bivouac, the clouds had rolled in. I loaded the bike and rode down to the waterfall to take some photos and think for a while before I went over to Ithaca College to attend Christopher’s lecture. At the waterfall, I actually heard thunder a few times, and was glad I’d had the foresight to put all the covers on my bags. When I came back to my bike, I noticed a spot of oil under it and realized I’d have to keep an eye on that. I found the oil running down my sidestand, but couldn’t find where it was coming from.
When I found a parking spot for the lecture, pondered whether to cover the bike and bags, but opted not to. I went in search of the appropriate lecture hall, and ran into a few people I know, or with whom I’m acquainted in the guitar world and exchanged hellos. The lecture was fantastic, and afterward, Christopher and I went to lunch at Moosewood Restaurant. I had the Schechuan Salad.
After a wonderful lunch and conversation, I headed north on rt. 13 and found a place to check my oil, buy a quart, and begin the nervous monitoring of my oil level. Each time I stopped today, I looked for a spot before I got back on, but there hasn’t been one yet.
So a ride along rt. 13 North took me through several amazing little towns. I stayed on back roads all day. The deeper into Adirondacks Park, the colder it got. When I got to where my chosen campground was supposed to be, I couldn’t find anything. I kept riding for several miles trying to decide whether to turn around and find someone to ask, but honestly, there was no one to find to ask. I guessed that I’d eventually find something, so I rode on. Eventually, I saw a sign for a NY State campground and turned down a long dirt road toward the lake.
There was a caretaker at the booth, which surprised me, because it’s been my experience that those guys go home long before any campers arrive, and judging by my luck on Sunday evening, lock the place up tight. But this guy lived in a little cabin by the booth and so was always there.
He sent me down the road to choose a site. I chose the one with the Pileated woodpecker pecking everything in sight.
When I came back, I asked if they had firewood. He sent me down another road where I could stick some money in a box and grab a couple armloads. I was nervous about carrying firewood on the bike for any distance, but I was determined to have a fire. I strapped a bit on the bike, but knew it wouldn’t last long. I decided if I made it back to my site with all the wood, I’d come back for the rest. So there I was, two trips, about a half-mile each, with a huge load of wood on the back of my bike. I was feeling silly when I rolled back into the campground, especially when I realized I had no matches. So I swallowed my pride and asked the caretaker. He loaned me a lighter, and off I went.
So I’m sitting here beside a lake in the mountains, watching the sunset over the water, with a fire warming my chilled bones. I’m wondering how in the world could I ever forget this moment? And as I ponder that thought, I think back to nights on my trip last year. There are a few that stand out, but I can’t imagine that there was a single evening when I didn’t think, “how can I ever forget this moment?”