12 June (30 Miles)
The day started for me at about 6:30 AM. As I broke camp I was very deliberate since this was my first camp of the trip. I didn’t want to miss anything. That was especially important because the mosquitos were extremely distracting. I wore my DEET cap and rain suit to keep them off.
It rained overnight, so that the tent rainfly was soaked, adding to the weight that I would carry. That load was added to the wet clothes from yesterday. The clothes I was wearing was dry at the moment.
The campground caretaker suggested I go down to the lake for the view before I departed. Unfortunately, Lake Sacandaga was largely obscured by fog. It was time to leave and head toward Speculator. Speculator is actually about a mile away from the campground. I broke camp, loaded up, and headed for town to find breakfast. It was already raining lightly.
I found a nice little diner and gift shop just at the next turn, the Common Grounds Café. I had nicely prepared fried eggs over corned beef hash. It was early and I was already beginning to feel a chill. They had hoodies and I asked the attendant to look for an extra-large for me. My attempt at layering with what I was carrying yesterday didn’t work very well. It felt great to put it on and get toasty warm. I put the rain jacket on over it.
The day was much like the previous one: the scenery was obscured by the rain and fog. There was an initial climb out of Speculator, but I was warm and making good time. The initial uphill grade out of Speculator was nearly a mile long. The net altitude for the day was zero since the ascents and descents cancelled each other. I stopped at the state campground at Lewey Lake to get out of the rain and have my morning break.
I was doing alright until I got to Indian Lake. I stopped for a couple of slices of pizza and when I finished it was beginning to rain harder. As I departed the north side of town it began to rain harder still. I saw the porch at the Cedar River Golf Club and drew up under its shelter, ostensibly to wait for the rain to subside somewhat. Things took an unplanned turn.
It was about 2 PM with about 15 miles to go to my next campground at Long Lake. The attendant at the club was certain that the rain was going to continue through the night and that tomorrow would be as bad. I also knew that there was a climb ahead of me to make it to the campground. It was getting too late to try.
There were a few other things in play as well. All of my stuff was getting wet and when you camp there are few options for drying out. I had a third dry shirt, but all of my layers were soggy, including my Adirondack hoodie. I may have placed myself at risk by riding in the rain because the temperature was in the 60s. It would have been necessary to pitch my tent in the rain. The inside of the tent would get wet and as a consequence the stuff that goes inside would get wet. With little opportunity to dry things, the trip would suffer from wet camp gear.
The club has a small number of motel rooms and that was looking better and better. I called my wife, Marne, with my decision to bail out. The rain was too much. She would need to come and get me
After a couple of return calls with her, she hatched a plan: she would pick me up on 13 June and take me to my planned Friday destination at Lake Clear. I would avoid the Friday rain and resume my trip on Saturday 14 June to ride into Lake Placid. I checked in to the club motel and hung my stuff all around the room to dry.
At about 4 PM and armada of pickup trucks began to arrive at the club. It was golf day for a league. I was in the clubhouse trying to get something to eat. The golfers came into the clubhouse to sign in and pay for their round, which included a golf cart and a can of beer. The foursomes queued up and drove their carts in the driving rain across the road to the first tee. After the tee shot, they were off across the soggy and rainy fairway. After riding my bicycle for two days in the rain, I had an appreciation for their dedication to the sport.
I decided to pass the remainder of the evening by reading. I was lost in thought when I heard a key enter the lock on my door, followed by a click, and the door swinging open. “Whos, whoa, whoa,” I said.
He asked, “Is this room 5?”
“No! It’s 6!”
I showed him my key fob with the big gold underlined “6”. I suggested he try some other doors, which he did. He tried three times and the third door opened.
“Room 5,” he said.
The chance of this happening twice in the same trip within three days is very small, yet there we were. I propped my bicycle against the door in case he forgot later in the evening.