Hell I’d go …
DALAS = SALAD backwards
Picture LINK: https://photos.app.goo.gl/4DAJbgNmJzH0WLlq2
2017.09.05 … TUE … 1 … Naweedna … to … Selkirk SP, Pulaski NY
Temp (In/Out/Under Bed): 63
Weather: Rain, Overcast & Dripping most of day
Hell, I’d go … damn the threat of Nuclear War, impending Hurricanes, high-priced or non-existent Fuel, chasing the Front that noisily passed through last night, not having prepared any sort of Itinerary – we’re headin’ out into the wild & wooly North East. DALAS rolled down the drive at exactly 10a; it was 60o and raining but we were finally on our way.
Way, did someone say way? Our way took us to the Mobil station on NY-20A where we tanked up on diesel @$2.69 and then on down the road to Lakeville where we took our back roads east toward Canandaigua NY before turning north toward Lake Ontario. When we got to the last E-W road, Lake Road, we turned right and headed east along the lakeshore. Lake Road is a great little road – as long as you aren’t in any particular hurry. We passed through quaint, nautically-themed villages like Pultneyville and Sodus Bay NY where we took a little detour to see the lighthouse. We are touring on our first day out – and enjoying it. Lake Road runs between the beachfront homes to the north and acre after acre of orchards to the south. Most of the orchards were apple and they looked ready to be picked. What happens to all those apples?
When Lake Road petered-out we were forced onto bigger roads like NY-104, but Janie vectored us over to paralleling smaller county roads when possible. Eventually we came to Oswego NY. The parts of Oswego we saw were not pleasant, not even the SUNY Oswego campus, which seemed to be split by the main road. Then there was a large power plant nearby … nope, not my idea of a bucolic setting like Geneseo.
We had two options for camping: Fair Haven & Selkirk Shores SPs. Fair Haven was only 100 miles from Naweedna so it was a little early to stop there. However, we have camped in Fair Haven and had a great time watching the Osprey gliding up and down the shoreline. Ah, but all the Bluffs campsites were occupied, so we motored on another 50 miles or so to Selkirk where we opted for #103, also on a bluff with reasonable viewing of the lake, but we saw no osprey.
We started in rain and it dripped off/on most of the day. The sky was overcast but started to clear a bit in the evening. Good drive, good walk, good day … our North East Tour has begun.
Lots and lots of apple trees bending under the weight of their ripening fruit. And we saw some other stuff too …
Starling, the darlings
Double-Crested Cormorant (lining a jetty)
Great Blue Heron
Eastern Wood Pewee
Barred Owl (hooting: Who, who, who cooks for you)
It feels good to be on the road again. There is always a fair amount of stress preparing for a trip … decisions about packing, actual packing, getting the house ready to be ‘home alone’, waiting for a major holiday to end. But somehow it all comes together and we find ourselves sitting in DALAS, rolling down the road and gawking at whatever enters our line of vision. Touring … we are touring and this trip is all about touring. We have only the vaguest ideas about where we’re going and what we might do. The basic outline is to try to avoid late-season vacationers by hugging the north border and taking detours to whatever seems to be interesting within 50 miles or so of our route. That’s basically our plan … make it up as we go along. If it doesn’t seem rewarding, home is not that far away.
Now, back to enjoying my Southern Tier 2X Stout while looking out over the lake and listening to the waves crashing the shore. Should be a good sleeping night.
Campbell’s Thai Curry w/Fish and Mixed Vegetables on Brown Basmati Rice
Washed down with an unpretentious wine.
Trail: CG Trails & Roads
ST (hr): 3:30
ET (hr): 4:45
TT (hr): 1:15
D (miles): 3.0
End: Selkirk Shores SP #103, Pulaski NY
Temp (degrees): 63
Elev (ft): 332
D (miles): 137
2017.09.06 … WED … 2 … Selkirk SP, Pulaski NY … to … Coles Creek SP, Waddington NY
Temp (In/Out/Under Bed): 64/59/64
Weather: Overcast; Just a little rain
We managed to sleep in; no hurries, no worries, but soon enough we were off on NY-3 heading north. The road had surprisingly little traffic but we got off on paralleling County Roads anyway. They were even better. DALAS was cruising along at 40-45 mph with a bit of a tailwind, getting very good mileage and smileage. I could do a lot of this driving, I kept saying over and over all day. One of the back roads took us to the Henderson Harbor Lighthouse, which seems to have been purchased by a private individual and is being used as a personal dwelling. We took a picture while obeying the No Trespassing signs.
Next we stopped at the Henderson Shores State Unique Area. Why? Well, we sorta wanted to see what was unique about it. Among several unique-to-NY-plants and animals, there is an unfortunately non-unique invasive plant: Swallow-Wort. It is out of control, claiming native species, and endangering the food supply of many indigenous critters. There are signs admonishing hikers to clean their boots and clothing to ensure the clingy Swallow-Wort seeds are not spread. The local bedrock is Carbonate, which encourages lush stands of Cedar and Juniper. The Juniper trees were heavy with berries … isn’t that what they make Gin from?
We motored around the east end of Lake Ontario, keeping as close to shore as practical … and knitting together County Roads as a Watertown Bypass. Farther north found us in Alexandria Bay and the 1,000 Islands Area where we picked up NY-37 before escaping on more County Roads sandwiched between the St Laurence River and Black Lake. Eventually, we debouched back onto NY-37, which we followed for a short distance before entering Coles Creek SP, near Waddington NY.
So here we sit at site #204, a scant twenty yards from the St Laurence watching Gulls, Cormorants, a Loon and the occasional Bald Eagle. We’re close enough to wave to Canada … and … get the Welcome To Canada message when we turn on the cell phone. Hmmm, how we gonna do Internet without incurring big expense? Oh, wait, Janie signed up for Travel Pass, which lets us use our US text/talk/data allowances in Canada for an extra $5 per day. But we are not actually in Canada, why do we have to pay?
Oh, look, there goes one of those BIG boats heading west up the St Laurence. It was the Arctic Flinter, painted Scarlet & Gray … Go Bucks. Several minutes later, its wake sloshed against the roads near our site.
Big bird day, meaning we saw several large birds … and a few smaller ones:
Pigeon (Rock Dove)
Bald Eagle (2 mature, one immature)
Janie has put us on a series of really good roads. I’ve been able to putz along at touring speed with little or no tailgaters trying to push me down the road. The pleasure of the drive is enhanced by not knowing where we may end up or what we may see getting to we don’t know where we’re going. This may be the best touring we’ve ever done. For example, we’d kind of planned to skirt the Canadian border and enter VT via the one road along the top of Lake Champlain. However, today we were reminiscing about a series of roads Teddy Roosevelt traveled along when he was called to DC to assume the presidency. We remembered it being a pleasant drive sooo … we’re now thinking about dropping down into the ‘Daks to see if we can find it. Ah, footloose travelers we are.
We also have some footloose travelers sharing our cul-de-sac camping spur. They’re in a VW Vanigan with “Hippy Happiness” blazoned along the bottom of the windshield. The rest of the van is decorated with a Kokopelli, various desert lizards and sayings like “Every day is a gift, live happily, love totally, laugh heartily and enjoy every moment.” Their friends arrived in a Road Trek just like the one we used to have. I think they are all Canadians from Ontario. And … they are of our generation. Hail fellows, well met …
Chili w/added Rotel Tomatoes, Kidney Beans & Onion
Trail: CG Roads
ST (hr): 2:33
ET (hr): 3:33
TT (hr): 1:00
D (miles): 2
End: Coles Creek SP, Waddington NY
Temp (degrees): 68
Elev (ft): 269
D (miles): 146
2017.09.07 … THU … 3 … Coles Creek SP, Waddington NY … to … Lake Harris SP, Newcomb NY
Temp (In/Out/Under Bed): 63/58/63
Weather: Light Rain On/Off until afternoon
It rained fairly heavily last night and continued on/off with light rain most of the day. Ah, but by 3:30p, the sun was out and things were looking pretty good. We started our day with a shower. The park is closing after this weekend and the shower temperature is still set for summer … that means it was lukewarm but we choose to call it invigorating. I neglected to mention the geologic change we started experiencing yesterday. We’d been in Paleozoic Sedimentary Rocks until yesterday afternoon when we started seeing Granitic outcrops interspersed with the sedimentary stuff. Today, we entered the Adirondacks with their Precambrian Igneous & Metamorphic mélange. And … we gained almost 1,500’ in elevation.
The elevation change put us deeper into fall as evidenced by the abundant Goldenrod & Asters lining the roadway … and … the bright red leaves on some Maples & Red Oak. Yep, fall is setting in for sure. We pulled into Higley Flow SP for breakfast and were the only ones there. Higley Flow technically closed yesterday. There were No Camping Available signs posted at every junction and a couple of maintenance guys were busy gathering up garbage barrels and closing down the restrooms. But the surest sign of closure: there was no entrance fee in a NYS Park. Yep, shutting down for the season.
Next we stopped at the extremely small village of Piercefield NY where the only attraction, for us anyway, was the Post Office where Janie mailed a postcard to her mother. Then came Tupper Lake. Good thing we mailed the card in Piercefield because we didn’t see a PO in Tupper Lake. We did see the motel we stayed in with Mom when we took her on a tour of VT back in the 90s. I miss my mom, but she did not enjoy our touring style, preferring to avoid car sickness. Fortunately, neither of us are troubled by that.
After Tupper Lake came Long Lake, famous for the “On The Road Again” bus accident also known as the Geneseo Geology 50-man downhill bus slide. We passed what we thought was the bar where we waited for another bus to come pick us up. The locals heard on the emergency radio that there had been a school bus accident and assumed small, innocent children were in need of care. Instead they found semi-mature, hung-over college-students standing beside a bus resting on its now-polished side. Why? Because there was a patch of black ice on a curve and the bus skidded into the guard rail, flipped over and continued on down the road on its left side. We could look out the window and see the pavement sliding past. Fortunately, there was only one possible concussion and a lot of rudely-awakened-from-an-early-morning-nap-students. We were taken to the bar and a succession of motherly ladies proceeded to bring us pizzas which we dutifully washed down with beer. It was an interesting experience.
We pulled into Lake Eaton CG to check it out and found it less than desirable. It seems all the CGs are shutting down and in the process of cleaning and locking things up. There was no attendant so we drove around to check things out. Not very impressive but at least we have a fallback if nothing else is available.
Onward to Newcomb NY where, to my surprise, we crossed the Hudson River. I always thought it flowed directly out of Lake Champlain but, no, apparently the Hudson comes from the heart of the ‘Daks, collects several tributaries and winds its way to the trough that Champlain occupies. Interesting.
Just beyond Newcomb, we saw a sign announcing Lake Harris CG … Screech … in we go and find an attendant lady with a personality – much appreciated after the last two nights of less-than-friendly ladies. We drove around for a half hour checking out the various sites and found a couple that were much to our liking. Now the problem is: will be be able to get DALAS into either of ‘em? They are basically tent sites, which means they are small, on a narrow road and overhung with tree branches. Even if we can get into one of ‘em, will we be able to turn around? Because backing out a narrow pathway is not desirable, at least for me.
We settled on #36 that shares a spit sticking out into the lake with #37. We returned to see Joya, the attendant, and tell her that we’d like #36 if we can get into it; if not, we’ll call you and tell you what site we are in. She agreed, so we paid and started the adventure of fitting DALAS into a tiny spot, turning around and jiggering into position. All done with only a few branch scrapes and here we sit with the sun to our back and a clear view of the lake out our slider door … and Cardinal Flowers blooming on the shore just ten feet away. Ah, nature.
Tomorrow, we will do a little bike ride, weather permitting, and then drive the road to Tahawus where TR was when informed of McKinley’ assassination attempt and subsequent death. Then maybe we'll return to Lake Harris for another night while we fill time trying to avoid getting stuck in a more populous area on the weekend. Stay tuned …
A whole lot of pines and hardwoods mantling the ever-increasing slopes. It’s the ‘Daks, y’all.
Yellow-Billed Cuckoo (heard)
Fall Color in high elevations
We’re in the lower reaches of the Great North Woods with spire-like Spruce intermingling with broadly-branching White Pine, stately Oak & Maple; all nicely set off with stark-white Paper Birch. And in the low places between are the bogs lined with Alder and occupied by Beaver. The barren slopes bordering the roadway are dotted with gray Reindeer Moss, although there are no Reindeer, which may explain why the moss persists. It’s all a pleasant change from what we’re accustomed to seeing. The waterways look pristine clean – and we hope they are. Everything and everybody is sensing the coming winter and preparing accordingly. A middle-aged couple just moved into the site where we turned DALAS around, so, if we stay here another night, it will have to be in a more accessible location.
Creamed Braunschweiger on Pasta w/Mixed Vegetables
End: Lake Harris SP #36, Newcomb NY
Temp (degrees): 55
Elev (ft): 1582
D (miles): 129
Mpg: 20.0 (engine idle for coffee & elevation gain)
2017.09.08 … FRI … 4 … … Lake Harris SP, Newcomb NY …
Temp (In/Out/Under Bed): 58/52/58
Weather: Overcast with some rain
Into The Woods … Janie had read about a five-mile carriage trail on a road leading to Santanoni, the 1884 Great Camp of Robert & Anna Pruyne, one of the oldest, largest, grandest and most distinguished of the Adirondack Camps. Remember that North Woods thing I mentioned yesterday? Well, today we biked right through it. The Santanoni Trail is actually the road leading to the Great Camp with ride-softening sand & gravel mantling the cobbles. The ride was mostly up-grade going in, resulting in an easy glide coming back. The grades weren’t too steep; let’s just call them invigorating.
Along the way, we got to see and explore The Farm that supplied vegetables & dairy products to the Great Camp. There was an amazing model of the farm showing it in its prime. Interestingly, all the buildings were open so you could walk through and ponder life back around the turn of the other century. A bit farther we came to an Ice House and Maple Syrup facility between the Farm and Great Camp.
Then we came to the GREAT CAMP … and it was properly named. It’s a rambling, interconnected group of log buildings with a Great Room at the center. The floor plan is laid out like a Phoenix with spreading wings; the body being the Great Room. The Pruynes entertained many guests over the years of ownership … and judging from the pictures, they had a grand time hunting, fishing, eating, drinking, dancing and playing ping-pong. It was the Golden Age in the ‘Daks.
We had the place to ourselves until the work-horse-drawn wagon with sightseers came clomping in. We congregated with the visitors to ooh and ahhh over the grandness of it all … and … get out of the rain that was pouring down. A large, deep porch fronted all the buildings and offered great views of the nearby lake … and protection from the rain. The temperature hovered around 52o most of the day and when the wind picked up in PM it got a little on the chilly side. Bully, as Teddy would say.
After the bike ride, we took a short drive north to Tahawus which we remember from our first time in the area some 30 years ago. Alas, it wasn’t as we remembered. The road ended at a big gate festooned with a STOP sign and large sign proclaiming: No Trespassing – Private Property. We turned around and declared: Bike ride great … drive to Tahawus disappointing.
Back down the road and into Overlook Park just outside of Newcomb for a late lunch. The overlook is of the surrounding peaks including Mount Santanoni & Mount Marcy. I got out to check things out while Janie whipped up some grub. I’d only managed a few strides before I heard: “Excuse me. Are you the owner of that van?” The man turned out to be the local band director, now retired, and looking to switch from a pull-behind camper to a van like ours. We gave him the nickel tour and put him on the trail of Sportsmobile.com.
Later, we learned that the band director, Andy Stengevrics, is also a former village judge and winner of the Teddy Roosevelt look-a-like contest. While he was looking DALAS over, he noted the license plate so I asked him if could guess what it meant. His reply: SALAD spelled backward? Hmmm, we never thought of that: DALAS backwards is SALAD. We set him straight before he thanked us for the information and left us to our late lunch.
Sales pitch delivered and lunch enjoyed, we headed back to the CG to do our utilities and set up in #69, one of Joya’s favorites … unfortunately, not one of ours. Getting maneuvered into lakeview position in #36 was easy compared to #69. But we made and now have a view of the sun setting over Lake Harrisseen through swooping Hemlock branches. Hey, how about some Hot Chocolate? That was yummy and I followed it up with a Mendocino Imperial Stout … even yummier.
We got to see a whole lot of North Woods up close and fairly personal. It was a grand ride. We didn’t see much wildlife but we did see lots of interesting vegetation, lake scenes and one of the grandest Great Camps the ‘Daks has to offer.
Downy Woodpecker (first of trip … FOT)
We are a couple of very fortunate people. We have the luxury of driving around the country most anywhere we want doing pretty much whatever captures our interest. Today it was a very nice bike ride; a total lagniappe since we didn’t know quite what to expect. Janie found a description declaring it to be family friendly with one small hill near the end. Apparently, the describer hadn’t walked/biked the trail, or Adirondack families are tough. It was fairly uphill most of the way and the steep hill at the end was down, meaning up coming back. None of the grades were overtaxing but probably not appropriate for small children. Oh, these Adirondackians are a hardy lot and probably could do it without any fuss.
It was a grand day and I’m very happy that we opted to spend another day in the area to do it. Hell, we are now considering another night in Newcomb just to drive down and see the TR stuff in the North Creek Depot Museum. We’ll decide over morning beverages. Ah, the life of a vagabond.
Doctored up Dinty Moore Stew … lots of additions to dilute the bad stuff … and a little BBQ sauce can’t hoit
Trail: Santanoni Trail, Newcomb NY
ST (hr): 9:30
ET (hr): 1:30
TT (hr): 4:00
BT (hr): 1:35
D (miles): 9.33
Mx (mph): 12.6
Avg (mph): 5.9
End: Lake Harris SP, Newcomb NY
Temp (degrees): 56
Elev (ft): 16122
D (miles): 30
2017.09.09 … SAT … 5 … Lake Harris SP, Newcomb NY …
Temp (In/Out/Under Bed): 55/48/54
Weather: Overcast, rain, sun, mist off/on
We thought one, maybe two, days in NYS before getting into New England proper. Well, we are now on our fifth day in NYS and third night at Lake Harris SP. And … we probably have at least one more night before crossing over to VT. This is touring on a grand scale. Let’s see, how did the day begin?
Last night we decided to take a side trip to North Creek to check out the Depot Museum and the rest of the village. Thus, we needed to re-up for another night … and it must be done before 11a to avoid the $2.75 special processing fee required by the DEC. I was tired of jerking DALAS around to fit in these small tent-sites so we scouted out possibilities. We opted for a pull-through up away from lakeside, which was getting a bit crowded. Ah, #66 will do just fine … we will be all alone on a side spur.
This being the weekend, Joya wasn’t in the booth but her boss and the boss’ daughter were. We thought Joya was jovial. These two were practically doing a stand up just for us. We were informed that NYS agreed to a raise two years ago but employees have yet to see the affect. Thus, while we switching from #69 to #66 we were surprised to hear her say, “I can put you into #66 for free. I’m mad at NYS.” Hey, free sounds good to us. Done.
We drove the 30 miles to North Creek along the same route Teddy used to get from Tahawus to the North Creek Depot. A train had been sent from Buffalo to pick him up and take him back to Buffalo where McKinley was attempting a recovery after the assassination attempt. That’s why there is a museum at the depot and a lot of TR stuff throughout the village. The Museum didn’t open until 12:15 … kind of an odd time … so we pulled into the nearby park and had Breakfast On The Hudson.
Next, we walked up to Main Street and popped into just about every shop that was open. Janie found some items for our soon-to-be-born niblings. We checked out the various eatery menus with an eye toward a possible lunch before checking out the hardware store at the end of the street. Every town should have a hardware like this. It was jam-packed with just about everything you might need and a lot of stuff you would likely never want – although someone else might. I asked the checkout girl who was responsible for taking inventory … glad it isn’t me. Janie found a little whisk for use in DALAS and at home. She’d been looking for one for years in kitchen stores! HA! After the hardware, we crossed the street and went into the Tops Market to get bread, lunch meat and more mixed vegetables. We use a lot of mixed vegetables; I especially like the baby limas.
Back to DALAS to deposit our loot and then over to the Depot to get educated. There were two extremely nice and personable attendants. The man was stationed at the very elaborate train diorama. It was done professionally, paid for by a generous grant and had two little trains running the tracks and stopping at the two depots in the area. We got the full story and a lot more in exchange for telling him about our experience yesterday at Santanoni – he’d never been but is sure to go now. The lady attendant was even more expansive. We learned that both she and her husband are academic chemists and the husband has a fondness for things geologic – he worked for Wally Broecker, a very famous geologist at Lamont. We exchanged lots of stories and she directed us to Ski Bowl Park, where we could enjoy our lunch in a peaceful surroundings. And that’s exactly what we did.
Both of the attendants informed us that our disappointment with the Tahawus experience yesterday was because we took the wrong fork in the road. Well, Tahawus is right on the way back, so we can do it again on the correct road this time. Off we went, leaving our pleasant experiences in North Creek behind. However, even when we took the correct road, we were disappointed because it wasn’t at all like we remembered from a couple decades ago. Things change.
Back in camp, we stopped at the gate and had another jovial exchange with the gate-keeper lady before driving to the showers and then setting up in #66 where we now sit bathed in the yellow-glow of the evening sun. I’m sipping on a Guinness Stout brought to us by Tim O’Mara a few weeks ago and dedicating the experience to him and Terri who has a Guinness Keg-a-Rator right in her kitchen.
A lot more roadside North Woods, boggy marshes and Hudson River crossings … one bird of note:
We are definitely getting better at this touring thing. Hell, we may never make it out of NYS – if interesting things keep popping up like they have in the last few days. We seem to enjoy checking out little villages with their local shops and shopkeepers. They are all welcoming and a pleasant experience. We have almost no destinations in mind so literally, anything that gets in our way becomes an instant destination to enjoy. It’s sort of like meandering around and sucking the pleasure from wherever we end up. A good example is this CG. It’s not even close to being a great CG. The roads are rutted & rough; the campsites are cramped and unlevel; the views of the lake are obscured by trees and reeds. But here we are spending our third night because it is the only show in town; the people are pleasant with a great sense of humor; and tonight’s camping is free because she’s mad at NYS.
There are no hookups in the entire CG so we are getting a chance to test out our new solar panels. So far it has been working just fine. Yesterday was the biggest test because it was mostly overcast and we didn’t drive much. Thus, nearly all the electric was provided by the panels under pretty poor conditions. And … we got through just fine. Today we drove more and there were a few periods of full sun so it should be even better tonight. We’ll see. The only problem is keeping the notebooks charged up. Janie has power packs for the other devices but my notebook battery has crapped out after a couple hours typing up the Trip Log in the evening and an hour or so reading the paper in the morning. We will survive I’m sure.
Big Ol’ Salad w/Tuna & other ‘extras’
End: Lake Harris SP #66, Newcomb NY
Temp (degrees): 58
Elev (ft): 1580
D (miles): 78
2017.09.10 … SUN … 6 … Lake Harris SP, Newcomb NY … to … Pottersville Garage, Pottersville NY
Temp (In/Out/Under Bed): 58/44/52
Weather: Overcast, sun later
Okay, all gear secured, destination sorta set, let’s go … turn on the ignition and wait for DALAS to hum into life … WHAT??? … Nothing!!!! … Dead battery??? Nope, checked with little tester device and it comes out green with 12.5 V. Battery OK … what’s wrong. Think, think, think. I’m in Park, my foot is on the brake, I turn the ignition and not a sound. Drink some more coffee while pondering the problem. Open the hood, poke around, don’t see any obvious problem – well, not obvious to me anyway. By this time, Janie had punched in the number for AAA Roadside Assistance. I give her the go-ahead and she completes the call. They arrange for a truck from Pottersville Garage to come and check us out.
Mr Peet, otherwise known as Roger, arrives in a flatbed hauler barely big enough to accommodate DALAS. The first thing he does is try to jump us with his portable battery-pack – same result as I’d been getting: nothing. Battery isn’t the problem. Eventually he brings a hand sledge over, crawls under DALAS and asks me to repeatedly try starting while he bangs on the starter. Nothing. Okay, that’s about all he can do here; he’ll need the vehicle back at the garage to check it out further.
We start discussing the pros/cons of towing. Our AAA policy will only pay for 5 miles, after that, it’s $5/mile. Let’s see, Pottersville is about 30 miles away so that’s nearly $150 out of our pocket. We also have Roadside Assistance as part of our Traveler’s Insurance coverage … and it provides free towing up to 20 miles. Looks like the Traveler’s is the better deal so we exchange contact info with Roger and tell him we’ll have Traveler’s arrange our towing to his garage. Goodbye, Roger, hello, Traveler’s.
Well, as you might guess, Roger isn’t one of Traveler’s approved towers, so they arrange to have Hoffman’s Auto Repair out of Lake Placid come get us. I don’t know, maybe a couple hours later, Blake North arrives in his wrecker – NO flatbed. He starts by asking if we can get the bikes & rack inside the van. Nope, maybe one bike but certainly not both AND the rack. Okay, have to tow it from the front which means he’ll need to disengage the driveshaft.
Blake proceeds to hook up to DALAS’ front wheels and then grabs a bunch of sockets and crawls under DALAS. A few unsettling words later, he decides he can’t disengage the driveshaft so he’ll just drive slowly instead. In the back of my mind I recall reading in the Sprinter Manual that it shouldn’t be towed … a flatbed should be used instead. However, at this moment, we have no real option so we just have to trust Blake’s judgment … he’s the professional here.
Now a word about the campsite configuration: we’d been in Lake Harris SP for three days/nights and had three different campsites. The first two sites were small and framed with trees. It would have been very difficult to get an unresponsive DALAS out of either of them. I’d grown weary of nursing DALAS into these cramped sites so I opted for a bigger, drive-through site for the last night. It didn’t have a view of the lake but … at least we were able to get DALAS out for the towing. Whew! That was very fortunate – almost like we knew what we were doing.
DALAS & we were dropped off at Pottersville Garage around 4p. We settled with Blake to the tune of $58 which included the mileage not covered by Traveler’s and a $20 tip for him – he seemed to be a nice guy just trying to make it to early retirement before dying young like his father and father-in-law. We’d called Roger, owner of Pottersville Garage, to tell him we had arrived. Ah-ha, Roger was on a call all the way up to the border and wouldn’t be back until later … much later. In fact we didn’t see Roger until early next morning.
Okay, here we are in a paved area next to the garage; let’s have a look around. OMG, this place looks like WV & KY’s lovechild automotive-residue. There were vehicles parked every-goddam-where and where there wasn’t room for a complete vehicle, there were parts of vehicles haphazardly stacked with weeds growing around and through ‘em. The garage itself was a block building dating back to the early 50s in all likelihood. It turns out Roger owns several of the buildings on both sides of the street and they all look exactly the same: trashy. What have we gotten ourselves into?
Maybe Pottersville proper is better. Nope, it’s all about the same; just a string of ramshackle buildings lining a too-busy NY-9 with an even busier I-87/Northway just across the desolate-looking Trout Brook. There was an out-of-business restaurant at one end across from a redemption/convenience store and a bit more modern building being refurbished into something. Oddly, at the other end of the strip there was a very elegant-looking restaurant apparently still in business but currently closed. How elegant? Well, we could see linen tablecloths with place settings including accordion-folded napkins and two sizes/shapes of wine glasses. Interesting but not what we need at the moment.
We returned to DALAS’ way more cozy confines for some evening libations and conjecture about the possible outcomes of this latest adventure. We’d been camping without hookup for the last three days and DALAS’ engine (and alternator) had been silent since yesterday evening. Thus we were entirely dependent on today’s sunshine for recharging our batteries. This was a first and a good test of our investment in the solar panels. We tried to conserve as much power as possible by using flashlights and turning the refrigerator back to just below thawing in the freezer. Well, it turns out the batteries had sufficient charge to get us through an entire 24 hours … just like we’d driven all day. Yay! The solar panels work ... if there is sufficient sun.
We’d walked the CG road a couple times looking for and meeting the two tow-truck drivers and taken some extra walkabouts while waiting for ‘em to show up. Thus, we managed to see a lot of Lake Harris CG and found it rather pleasing, actually. It was especially pleasing that we didn’t have to pay for what would have been two day’s worth of camping … because the gate keeper is ‘mad at NYS’.
These things happen … but not to us … until now. It was distressing to see DALAS hooked up to a tow truck. It was distressing to contemplate the worst-case scenarios of how this adventure might turn out. We were at the mercy of local people, specifically Roger, and I don’t handle situations where I’m not in control very well. We will put our faith in the goodness of our fellow citizens and hope this little affair doesn’t darken an otherwise surprisingly good experience.
Poached Salmon w/BBQ Sauce & Mixed Vegetables
Trail: CG Roads (waiting for and meeting Tow Trucks)
Total Time (hrs): 1.5
D (miles): 3.5
End: Pottersville Garage, Pottersville NY
Temp (degrees): Hot Under Our Collars
Elev (ft): pretty low
D (miles): Zero driven by DALAS
Mpg: Really great; we were being towed
2017.09.11 … MON … 7 … Pottersville NY … to … Naweedna
Temp (In/Out/Under Bed): 52/46/53
Weather: Fog, full sun later
Okay, the Pottersville Garage does NOT open at 7a. More coffee, more watching & waiting until 8a. Still not open so I opted to walk around Roger’s other properties to see if I could find his flatbed truck. Ah-ha, there’s Roger walking along the street. I walked over to him and said: “Mr Peet I presume.” To which Roger replied, “How was your night?” Well, a little low on power since you didn’t get me hooked up, but I did learn that my solar panels work sufficiently. Shortly after we crossed over to the incredibly cluttered office, the two mechanics sauntered in. What? Do these people all live in the same building? Whatever, I returned to DALAS & Janie to wait.
A few minutes later, one of the mechanics was waving the business end of an extension cord at me so I went out and hooked up. Ah, power to the notebooks and other dead devices. Just a few minutes after that, both mechanics showed up bearing black boxes with dangling wires. Under DALAS they go and things like “Try it again” and “No power to the starter” followed. One of the guys used a small battery pack to jump the starter and, once the other guy put his foot on the break and turned on the ignition, the familiar grind of DALAS starting emanated from under the hood.
A discussion followed: the mechanic said we should take DALAS to a dealer to determine the problem; we can drive DALAS … but … Do Not Turn It OFF or you will be stuck there. Okay, so what are our options?
1. We could drive to a Sprinter repair place in Albany and rely on Jason to come get us if it takes a day or two to fix.
*** OR ***
2. We could just drive the 250 miles home, pick up the car and drop DALAS off at our local mechanic.
We opted for #2. We cut a diagonal through the ‘Daks to Utica where we picked up I-90 and made a bee-line toward NY-21 which we took down to Canandaigua and our usual back roads to Lakeville. We stopped at M&R (our garage) to talk to Courtney about the issue – while DALAS sat idling. The conclusion: go home, unload stuff, bring DALAS & the car back, drop off DALAS (still idling) and drive home to have a BEER – a luscious Brooklyn Chocolate Stout – and wait until tomorrow to get the verdict.
Jumping ahead to tomorrow … Courtney called around 10a and said, “The good news is we found the problem: blown fuse; the bad news is: we don’t know why it blew.” Okay, in the last two days we’ve had five, count ‘em FIVE, mechanics and me trying to figure out why DALAS won’t start and NONE of us bothered to check the fuse. Why? We all assumed it was some complicated issue, the simplest of which was a mouse-chewed wire. The Sprinter is such a sophisticated vehicle, we all just assumed the problem was something complicated like a stuck relay somewhere or a failed interlock system. Nope, just a simple blown fuse.
Courtney had his mechanic reset the Automatic Braking System and all of the error messages we were getting about that went away. Towing DALAS meant the rear wheels were turning while the front ones were stationary and the ABS system shut down. DALAS is now driving normally and Courtney showed me where the fuse is (#23 in the main fuse box) and gave me a couple spare fuses just in case. Okay, now we can get on with our lives …
We saw a lot of nice scenery in the SW section of the ‘Daks and then too much of the NYS Thruway. But we got home with reasonable efficiency. We stopped for breakfast at a nice pullout … but … did NOT turn DALAS off. The automatic urge to turn off the engine was hard to suppress so I put some blue tape over the key as a safety measure. And Janie enjoyed nagging me NOT to turn the engine off. We don’t need any more towing, thank you very much.
As we drove back roads from Canandaigua to Lakeville, we were reminded of our return from New England with the Wilkinsons in 2005. Char remarked that drive was the prettiest of the trip. We sort of agree; it is a nice stretch of Western NY and especially comforting on this particular day.
We spent exactly one week on the road … and … never got out of NYS. That was a total surprise and a very pleasant one at that. We originally planned to spend a couple days getting to New England; do some touring in VT, NH & ME; and eventually end up in Maritime Canada. It was only an outline with the main emphasis being touring and enjoying the experience. Well, good ol’ NYS provided more than enough of both to keep us entertained for a week … and … we were planning a couple more days ahead … before Tripus Interruptus.
If we’d opted for #1, we could have continued our trip and had a nice visit with Jason … but … we have bikes to buy and several other items to tend to before we hit the road again for a bike trip through PA, WV, VA and possibly points south … with our NEW BIKES.
Hebrew National 97% Fat-free Weenies in Vegetarian Baked Beans – Ka-Boom!
Temp (degrees): 74
Elev (ft): 962
D (miles): 262
D (miles): 842
Cost: $533.81 (including DALAS tow & repair)
TT (hrs): 4:00
BT (hrs): 1:35
D (miles): 9.33