Friday, July 12, 2013

Day #45: Deer Flies, Ladybits, & More Stealth Camping

Today's Route: Long Lake, NY to Ticonderoga, NY (66 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 2523

When I left Long Lake this morning, the sun was shining, and there was a perfect patch of blue in the sky immediately above me. But in the surrounding skies, in all directions, there were dark clouds.

Closely watching the clouds develop.

Last night I had washed some clothes in the sink, and today those clothes were strapped on the outside of my panniers, in hopes of drying.

The first hour or so of riding, I kept watching the sky, waiting to getting dumped on. But by late morning, there were clear skies in all directions. Score, I would be able to dry my laundry!

The notes in my map for New York read:
The terrain becomes hilly east of Lake Ontario and mountainous east of Old Forge.

I agree with the first part of this statement; I indeed noticed hills east of Lake Ontario. (Truthfully, I noticed them before reaching Lake Ontario). But, I don't agree with the second part of this statement; I kept waiting and waiting, but I never did come across what I would consider to be "mountainous" terrain.

A beautiful climb, though merely a "hilly" climb in my book.

Then again, the map also states:
For the mountain-jaded westerner, the summits aren't that grand, but in eastern eyes, they're some of the loftiest around.

That explains it! I guess I'm one of those mountain-spoiled girls from out west. While I hold a special place in my heart for the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest, the Adirondacks are beautiful in their own way.

I learned today that "Adirondacks" stands for "bark eaters." This was a disdainful name given to the local Indians, who resorted to eating tree bark in the wintertime to survive.

It's unusual for my bike maps to wander off of pavement, but today's map took me on a lovely 1.3 mile hard-packed surface road (complete with a waterfall!) in order to avoid the crumbling pavement of a paved U.S. route. Imagine that!

Temporary respite from the paved roads.

The map I've been following the last few days is Map #10 of the famed "Northern Tier" route. The map covers 421 miles of bike route from Orchard Park, NY (near Buffalo) to Ticonderoga, NY.

I was thinking earlier today how surprised I was that the only tourists I saw along the entire Map #10 route were the Adventure Cycling bikers on the Erie Canal guided tour. But then I crossed paths with Jay, just five miles shy of Ticonderoga. Phew!


Although Jay is not new to touring, this is his first tour on his pretty, lime green recumbent. Jay just got out of the army and is "celebrating" (my word choice) with a bike tour. He is "between gigs" (his word choice), though he's not yet sure what his next gig will be. Keep on riding, my new friend. Ride, ride, ride! There's no need to stop!

The deer flies around here are pretty wicked. I got bit by some flies in the Upper Peninsula, and it took nearly a week and a half for the bites to disappear.

I currently have a bite on the top of each of my hands. The lil' bastards bit me through my bike gloves. Both bites are yucky, but the one on my left hand is particularly bad.

My left hand is swollen and tender all the way from the middle of my hand to an inch below my wrist. My skin is bright red and quite warm to the touch. Ouch! Allergic to the bites? Maybe. Infected? I hope not. Damn boogers!

Speaking of body parts, my friend, Eric, sent me an article a little while back entitled "Look Out, Ladies: Biking Can Damage Your Vagina," by Holly Richmond. (It's nice to have guy friends that are concerned about my ladybits.)

Great! Just what I needed to read!

The article begins by stating the obvious; guys have "inflatable bananas in their pants" and bike seats essentially make "banana split[s]."

But, if handlebars are too low, ladies (yes, women!) can also experience reduced genital sensations. The article reads:
Among 41 competitive cyclists, the 19 who rode bikes with relatively low handlebars had, on average, significantly higher vibratory thresholds in the anterior vagina compared with riders whose handlebars were level with the bike saddle.

In this case, vibrations + vagina does not, I repeat, does not = good. In this case, vibrations + vagina = vaginal numbness and damage to the pelvic floor. Yikes!

I bring this up for no reason other than to let men know that ladies make sacrifices to ride bikes, too. Just because our junk is internal doesn't mean it's always super comfy and pleasurable to sit on a saddle for 6+ hours a day. Day. After day. After day.

Ok, then. Now that we've got that out of the way, we can introduce the setting for our second stealth camping experience.

Tonight I am staying in Ticonderoga, on the shore of Lake Champlain. (Yes, this is the same lake you may recall from your history books.) I'm going to stealth camp tonight. You may recall my first stealth camping experience from Day #29.

Well, tonight, I'm applying the lessons learned from my previous experience in hopes of having a smoother stealth experience. (Or, as my Warm Showers host, Cliff, from Buffalo, NY, would say, "having a smoother natural camping experience.")

Here are the lessons learned:
  1. Screw the picnic pavilions; go straight for the dugouts.
  2. Monitor for sprinkler systems.
  3. Wait until nightfall to set up camp.
  4. Take the time to blow up the air mattress; concrete is not comfortable to sleep on, especially for a stomach sleeper.
I Google-mapped (yes, that's a verb) two potential "natural" camping spots in Ticonderoga. One is Bicentiennial Park, right in the heart of downtown (there are three ball fields tucked away at the far end of the park). The second is one the schools (which also has a dugout).

While the school, which sits on the outskirts of town, may be a bit more secluded, the park is closer to where I need to catch the ferry into Vermont tomorrow morning. So, I'll opt for the lazier of the options.

The Bicententnial Park is quite large. As mentioned, there are sports fields. There is also a playground. A gazebo. A picnic area. And more. Even a waterfall!

The waterfall at Bicentennial Park in Ticonderoga.

Off to the right of the falls is a set of trees. I spotted a picnic table under the trees, and I thought this might make a nicer place to lay out my sleeping bag once the night begins to fall.

But, upon closer inspection, it became obvious that I would need to swim to the table, which I wasn't exactly in the mood for.

Shall we agree that this appears to be "flooded"?

Yes, I guess it's safe to say that there has been a lot of rainfall in the last little while. I guess I'll stick to the dugout.

So, I've had my dinner. I've brushed my teeth (and flossed, too!). And now I'm waiting for dusk to arrive so I can claim my dugout and set up camp.

Tune in for the next blog episode to hear how the stealth camping goes. (Mother, you still have that bail money handy, right?)


  1. Morning Sarah,

    I'm enjoying your blog, and getting very anxious to go on a tour myself.

    Since a blog appears to be as necessary to such a trip as a bike, I've come up with the title. "Feeling My Way Along" Hope you like it. Safe travels.


  2. So glad to hear that you are enjoying the blog, Gary. Love your blog name! I really think you'll enjoy writing your blog. Not only is it a great way for friends and family to follow along, but it's also a great way to relive the wonderful moments of your journey. I'm excited for your tour, and I look forward to reading your blog!


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