Adventures beyond time

Adventures beyond time

Monday, August 24, 2015

Charlene Comes to Visit, Cycle Adirondacks too

On Friday, Cousin Charlene and her caregivers drove over from Ogdensburg for a birthday lunch at the Pine Cone Grill. Our rental place is directly across the river from the Pine Cone so we get to smell their ribs smoking in the outdoor smoker all day. Yum! They had live music one evening in the covered picnic area on their river side lawn. It wasn't 60s folk music, but heck, when we can sit on our deck and have live music for free all evening . . . we have no complaints!
We had a fun afternoon with Charlene. She was in fine fiddle, joking with all of us about the coffee, the food, and the ride over. We gave her a Wanakena mug but what she really liked was the M&Ms tucked inside, and the birthday card with a cat on it. The staff and customers all sang Happy Birthday when the owners sent out ice cream for her. The Pine Cone folks made it really special.
Sunday we volunteered at Cycle Adirondacks. It was the first day of riding for a 7-day bike tour of the Adirondacks. The cyclists arrived from Saratoga Springs into Star Lake about 2:00. The tour sponsor had a camp set up at the school in Star Lake. The organizations in the area hamlets, Star Lake, Wanakena, and Newton Falls, welcomed the riders, carried their packs from the trucks, served the dinner, and joined the riders for live music and a bonfire in the evening. We also shuttled the cyclists to local retreat/camp where they were picked up by residents with rafts and taken to the sandbar for a real Star Lake experience.
The kids in Newton Fall made these souvenirs for cyclists (credit for photo to Cycle ADK facebook page)
Folks here have rafts that are like docks you can detach from shore and power slowly around the lake. Each raft is handcrafted. Each is unique in its design. Every warm afternoon, there is an impromptu gathering at the sand bar for conversation, beers, and frisbee. The cyclists were duly impressed.
credit for photo to Cycle ADK facebook page
Here is the video -- the raft scenes begin at 1:28.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First Impressions of Wanakena

Apparently Blogger has a mind of its own. Even though I, Peg, am signed in under my own name and am writing this post, Blogger is attributing the authorship to Russ. It has done this on the post I wrote in Lexington, and also on the one I wrote from Dublin to Wanakena.  However, it gave me authorship of Road Trip Day 1. That was nice of you, Blogger. Thanks.

Last summer, when we were doing research for Russ' book, The New Gem of the Adirondacks, we spent quite a bit of time in Wanakena. The sense of community struck us as unusually strong and we wanted to know if that was a correct impression. This year, we are renting here for two weeks, then moving over to Star Lake where we have stayed in past years.
Russ actually lived in Wanakena for half a year when he was about 12. His family was moving to the area and decided to build a house in Star Lake, where his dad would work. While the house was under construction, they rented a house on the Oswegatchie River, near the Ranger School.
We arrived on Friday evening, after a 12 hour drive from Meg and Steve's place. Our rental house is really nice . . . lots of all the things you need when you rent. Towels, blankets, dishes, pots and pans, a lovely view from the deck, a clothes line!

Saturday was Bridge Day, a community event to raise money to help replace the iconic footbridge that was destroyed by an ice jam in winter of 2014. This town with a year-around population of 64 raised almost $25,000 on Bridge Day. People bid hundreds of dollars for pies and bought raffle tickets totally thousands of dollars for quilts made by their neighbors. A bike club stopped by.

The area is rich in hiking trails. We walked to the Ranger School from the South Shore Road every day. Every time we went near the town square, someone stopped us to say hello, introduce themselves, and welcome us.
We were here with our Golden Retriever Jake years ago, before the sidewalk was installed. Russ had to carry him across the scary metal to get to the town square.
view from the scary bridge
The next several photos are taken along the Ranger School Road.

walking with us on the road
First impression . . . this is an amazing example of small town life and big time community.

Friday, August 14, 2015

In Lexington

We arrived in Lexington in early afternoon and finally got to see Meg's new shop. It is wonderful . . . in the same downtown building as the upscale R.E. Lee Hotel. 
Meg's shop
Meg with a customer
Olive oil and some familiar decorations
We walked all around town. It has some lovely shady hiking trails. The neighborhoods are interesting to explore because of all the pretty yards and historic houses.
Hiking trail in Lexington
On the campus of VA Military Institute in town
After a cheese-filled happy hour with Meg and Steve, we all had a farm-to-table dinner at the Red Hen, with several special treats sent over by their friend the chef . . . including gin and chef-made tonic.
At the Red Hen

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Road Trip Day 1

The kayaks are a problem. We rented a camp, which is what cottages in the Adirondacks are usually called regardless of how rustic or palatial they are, in Wanakena. It is on the water and we want our kayaks along. I think we would use them a lot more than we do in Cedar Key because we wouldn't have to transport them once we were there. We loaded them on the Subaru and brought them to Gainesville. Alas, that was all the energy we could muster for bringing them. They are a pain to load on top of the car, and we couldn't leave them up there until today. The car won't go in the garage with them atop :)
 Then I got picturing driving over the Virginia mountain passes, through the "stay alert for strong cross winds" areas, and chickened out. Luckily, Russ was wiling to accommodate my timidity about driving 1500 miles with them up there. But I know I will miss them when we arrive!

Today, we traveled through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and into North Carolina. We are staying at the Sonesta ES in Charlotte, which is quite nice and not too pricey for being on I-95.

Pat, MaryJo, and Katie met us for dinner at Harvey's Restaurant. We had wonderful service and a booth table big enough for all the plates without squeezing. The best part was that we could hear, despite music and many other customers. I need to write a TripAdvisor review. It was not even very expensive.

It is hard to believe that Katie has graduated from high school. She is planning to start college in January. We missed having Brian there, but he lives in Chapel Hill these days and it is not close.

Tomorrow, off to see Meg and Steve in Lexington.

Wonderful start to our trip.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

From Dublin to Wanakena

We were in Florida from mid-June to mid-August, most of the time. As in other years, post-Camino restlessness played a part in every day. Slipping back into the tasks of non-walking life is hard.

Russ was very productive and finished his book, The New Gem of the Adirondacks. Kindle published the ebook edition, with color photos for those who have devices than can deal with color. Lighthall Books completed the small print run. Both hit the street about a week ago.
We spent part of each summer week in Cedar Key, walking as much as we could.
 I spent time on tasks for my two board assignments, Friends of the Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys NWRs and the American Pilgrims on the Camino. The Refuges were big in the news in June and July because one day in late April tens of thousands of nesting birds on Seahorse Key abandoned their nests and disappeared overnight! This was, of course, a very interesting puzzle for the Refuge scientists and all the science geeks in the Friends group.
It turned out to be equally fascinating to the media. After the Gainesville Sun published a story about it, the AP was curious. Then Rachel Maddow, on MSNBC, did a long piece about little ole Cedar Key NWR. Seahorse Key is one of the 13 islands that make up the Cedar Key Refuge. Subsequently, many other prestigious, national and near-unknown-outside-their-circle niche media have had stories about it. I have linked to many of them on the Friends website.

Last week, on Thursday August 6, I drove to a retreat center near Atlanta for the board meeting of the American Pilgrims on the Camino. The meeting went almost nonstop . . . except for customary pilgrim wine sessions . . . from Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon. It is very interesting work, and I am ready at the drop of a hat to talk to all potential listeners about the Camino and American Pilgrims.

Three days after returning from the board meeting, Russ and I are heading north for a month in Wanakena and Star Lake.