17 June (30.9 Miles)
The day started great. The sun was shining again. I knew that I had about 30 miles to go to my next overnight: I planned a short riding distance to allow time for an excursion to Fort Ticonderoga. I took my time breaking camp and took another tour of the campground. After eating a can of beans, I left Bulwagga Bay Campground to get back on the road.
The first two to three miles of the ride were awful. The road was constrained by the rock wall on the right and by Lake Champlain on the left. There wasn’t much shoulder on the road in many cases none at all. The truck traffic was heavy and I bailed out for the side of the road regularly. There were a few blind curves that made things worse. I hustled around these to avoid dangerous situations with traffic from both directions where drivers had few options to avoid me. When I turned left onto Bridge Road, most of the problems went away and I was in the peaceful countryside.
Seemingly in the middle of nowhere Norm’s Bait and Tackle appeared. I went inside to get a cold drink. I realized that I didn’t have my coffee, so I drank a bottle of cola to get my caffeine ration. The shop was well stocked with various kinds of live bait and equipment. Lake Champlain is nearby and Norm’s looks like the only shop of its kind near Port Henry. The owner was there and I asked him why he opened at the odd hour of 5:45 AM. He said, “Well, Stewarts opens at 5. If I don’t get my coffee first thing, it’s not good.” Stewart’s is the local mini-mart and gas station that is popular in the area. Fishermen sometimes ask him to open earlier. From my own experiences, fishing expeditions with my father often started at the crack of dawn.
Just after the bait shop, I saw a nest high atop a utility pole with an Osprey chick. One of the parents was gliding overhead on thermals, looking for lunch for baby. Later I saw a similar nest with both parents attending to the chicks.
I enjoyed wide shoulders for most of the remaining ride to my next camp site. It was less tense and many of the beautiful farm scenes contributed to my mood. Along the way there were the usual American ruins as well, reminders of time and people moving on, leaving the country to live in the city.
Before turning toward the town of Ticonderoga, I took about a one mile excursion to the Fort. I had a hamburger there before touring the grounds. It was worth the extra mile because it was a beautiful day and an interesting site. The view from the cafeteria was nice. Below the walls of the fort the countryside and Lake Champlain stretched for miles.
The Fort originated in the mid-18th century – it was built by the French during the French and Indian War. The British took it from the French, the Americans took it from the British during the Revolutionary War, and the British took it back. After the war, the fort was plundered for stone and other materials. It was restored in the early 20th century.
My big toe was causing me to limp during my visit to the Fort. It didn’t bother me as much when I was pedaling, so it was good to get back onto the bike. The exit from the Fort grounds was also a nice surprise since it returned to the road about a half mile before the park entrance.
The town of Ticonderoga was not much to look at except for the park at the northern edge. After Ticonderoga I had a significant climb with relief at the top: the Wind-Chill Factory ice cream shop. It was mostly downhill from there to the campground, Rogers Rock State Campground. The net elevation gain on the day was about 250 feet. Some of the uphill grades exceeded 6%, but were short.
My camp site was on the water. At first I wasn’t wild about the site because the only place to pitch my tent was on dirt. The dirt was packed hard and groomed, so it wasn’t a problem.
The problem was my toe. When I went to shower I was upset to see that it looked bad. It got worse over the past two days since injuring it in Lake Placid. I couldn’t tell whether or not it was infected. I went to the campground entrance to make a call to Marne once again. It was an expensive call because my cell phone had no signal. I used the pay phones. She wasn’t happy with me because this was my second “emergency”. She didn’t want to make another long drive to bail me out of my situation. She suggested a taxi. While Marne waited on the line, I talked with the campground caretaker and she was able to use her Internet connection to find a taxi service in Ticonderoga. While Marne was on one phone I used another phone to call the taxi service to arrange for pick up the next morning at 9 AM.
This was disappointing because I wanted badly to finish the ride and get back to Niskayuna on my own. My toe looked bad enough that I didn’t want to take any chances. It was a good decision to end the ride here.
I rode back to my camp site and ate a light meal. My sport drink was warm and I tried to cool it by adding some Lake George water that I purified. Lake George water was tasty, but not as cold as I hoped. At dusk, I turned in for the night.
Overnight it rained hard with thunder and lightning. While it rained, I looked around the tent to see that everything was staying dry. I went back to sleep. The rain seemed to continue for about four hours.