2013 Trip 4: Pissin down rain...but who cares?

Rollins Pond NY - June 2013

Off to what could be our favorite park. Two State Parks, side by each on separate lakes, nestled deep in the Adirondacks. What could be not to like?
No services here at this state park, so it is like a boon docking weekend without the services. The forecast is a main course of rain, with a side dish of rain, and rain for dessert. Three courses of rain all weekend. However, we truly do not care. We are out of the city in our super cozy cottage on wheels.

Our first trip without Taffy, as he left our world just this week. The Barley Boo is along for the ride of course. Being at bit of a loner by nature, we think he will be just fine as a single cat. He really is mellow and in his own world. He gave little attention to the affection hungry Taffy over the past couple of years. We think he has noticed that Taffy is no longer around, but the feeling may have only been momentary. His personality will be perfect for travelling, interested in the voyage, but with a strong bent towards unfazed indifference.

During the drive down the rain was heavy at times, but tapered off as we neared Tupper Lake, a huge bonus as setting up or tearing down in the rain can really suck. Really nice drive all the way, quiet country roads through big forests, with the odd little town thrown in the mix.

Tupper Lake is classic little town, with all the essentials you need in a nice setting. There is an awesome old school hardware store here which we always go into. Probably been here forever, containing a little bit of everything for the handyman right to the sportsman. Love wandering the aisles and checking stuff out. Then we head to fill up on gas at the Sunoco a little down the road, which should probably really be described as the town diner that also has gas pumps. Inside is classic diner, well perhaps not classic in terms of the row of red vinyl stools at the counter, but certainly in the food offered. Classic fare, burgers, fries, mac & cheese. mac with pulled pork, which sounded great, and homemade baked goods including old fashioned deep fried sugared donuts, which we succumbed to buying. From here we head to the local liquor store for wine and gin. Nice little store run by an ex-pat Canadian woman and her husband. The next stop is the IGA for food. As we cannot bring really anything food wise across the border this is the perfect spot to load up, which we do. Picked up some nice looking rib steaks for the Q, along with some homemade sides.

I also spied some tins of Beer Nuts. Peanuts with a sweet and salty coating on their skins that make a tasty snack with perhaps...a beer. Cannot not find these in Canada any longer..oh sure there are lots of impostors out there shamelessly trying to pass themselves off as beer nuts, but they are not the original "Beer Nut" brand. My affinity for these little morsels of goodness goes a long long way back. In the 60's & 70's, our Uncle Pat owned the Golden Lake Hotel. During that period when family cottages,camping and road trips were made popular and affordable by ridiculously low gas prices, in the Ottawa Valley, on a Friday or Saturday night, the Golden Lake Hotel was THE place to be. The Hotel was classic old school, a "Mens Room", "Ladies and Escorts" section, big dance floor and a stage for a band. Throw in a gleaming hardwood shuffle board and a bar with a wall of solid oak beer doors, massive chrome pull handles and a set of draft taps, and you had the makings of a great time. We would head to our cottage on Friday night, get unpacked, then head back into town to the Hotel. We always sat in a little raised area to the left of the bar, which afforded a great view of the band and dance floor, with the added bonus of being close to the back door, through which over the years we watched many a drunk rabble-rouser get unceremoniously tossed out. The door would open, and the next thing you know, there was some poor fellow, with either my Uncle's or his barman Ambrose, a fireplug of a man, with a hand full of shirt and ass of pants, being literally tossed out the door, with nary a toe touching the floor. To a kid, this was wide-eyed stuff, and it happened all the time. Funny thing though, shortly afterwards the offender would be back in, begging forgiveness and another beer. That's the way it played out all the time. Pat ran the place with an iron fist and huge heart, garnering the respect of everyone along the way.

Getting back to the Beer Nuts, first savoured these things at the Hotel. I remember a long vertical strip of little red & white striped packages on the left side of the bar. Dad loved peanuts, and we ate a ton of them growing up, but these little gems were different. All comes down to the sweet and salty combo. Simply very tasty. So ant time we were there, a couple of these packages always got devoured.

We arrived at our site around 2:00, good time considering all the stops and the weather. Nice site, on the water of course, and we were able to back the Alto in and angle the window side towards the lake. I have said it before in this little blog of mine, there is nothing like having a site on the water. It's simply huge. Few provincial parks have this option, although Driftwood does and it is spectacular. Little wonder this is our favourite destination. Looking out over the water, the waves, the movement of the light dancing on the surface, truly wonderful. Nothing says relaxing like being able to plop yourself in a chair and stare out over water. Even though the weather is not great, the expanse of windows overlooking the water allows us to to take in the view.

We have a gaggle of geese ensconced on our beach, the parents and little kids, alternately exploring everything or just chillin'. The little ones are so fuzzy and cute, and friendly, no qualms about walking right up to check you out. Pretty funny little diggers.

As we are off the grid, we keep a closer eye on our electricity consumption. The new LED lights I installed certainly help this a lot. Although the standard lights in our Alto are fluorescent, they consume a lot more amps than the LED's. We also have an assortment of battery operated LED's which are great. Our friend Sandra gave us 2 new LED lights which have great output and can be adjusted down for task lighting, or upwards for ambient lighting. All these will help keep our battery in good shape for running the water pump and the furnace. One thing about Rollins, it is well treed, so the sites have little direct sunlight, which naturally impacts our solar panel's ability to recharge the battery. All this factors into how you need to approach your energy usage.

We changed out our furnace for the larger Propex model and it has made a huge difference. Being a little cool and damp, we have turned it on and adjusted the thermostat to just take the chill off. Very nice. We have full confidence this furnace will also be able to handle most extremes of coolness we may run into.

Tuned in the Tivoli to the local radio station based out of Lake Placid, a good classic rock station (105 on the dial) with the added bonus of providing the local weather. The odd thing though, no commercials, and it is definitely not an NPR station, as I found that one a little further down the dial. Strange, but seriously nice to not have to listen to the advertising nonsense. Every weather update is the same...RAIN.

Pizza on the Q tonight, which seems to have become our quick and easy go to meal. A couple of cold ones and all is right with the world.
this guy was quite nice
A few fellow campers around us, but not right near. No doubt, lesser souls have bailed on the weekend, although, if they happened to be tenters, they are probably wise. Hit the pit around 11:00 and not long after more campers rolled in, one on each side of us. Not much fun setting up a tent in the dark, especially when it is a little cool and damp. The new LED camp lights that are available do seem to push back the darkness so that must help them. Luckily it was not raining when they arrived as that would have made it much more miserable. Watched them put up the tents for a bit, then rolled over and went back to sleep.

No rain overnight, and it only went down to 59F. Very comfortable for sleeping. No sign of the weather clearing, but really that thought was only a faint hope. Given that it does not look like it will be a swimming sort of day, we will take a run into Saranac Lake and perhaps Lake Placid as well, it has been a long time since we have been to either of those spots. Espresso maker coffee this morning as we are off grid, but we are all set up for that.

Now raining off and on so we are heading out on our road trip. Only about 15 miles to Saranac and about another 10 to Lake Placid. Really nice drive through the bush. We have seen a number of boat launches run by the State where fisherman can gain access to lakes. Lots of cars and trailers so there must be some serious fishing going on. Saranac Lake is a nice little town, with a river running right through it. More likely just waterways that connect the numerous lakes in the area. Walked around town and checked everything out. Lots of neat little shops.

nuff said...

The red diagonal says Spaghetti, clearly exotic back  in the day.  And the name, does that not scream jazz bar to you?
Drove on to Lake Placid and the sky opened up again on the way. Passed a BBQ Smoke House, offering ribs & chicken. The place seemed like it was hopping, and the temptation to pull over was strong. Really pounded down the rain for about 10 minutes, then it tapered off once we arrived in town. It has been many years since I have been here. The 1980 Winter Olympics really made this town. Lots of places to stay got built, the Main St. got expanded and the whole town turned into a destination, and remains that today. Perhaps a little touristy, but certainly a nice spot to spend a day wandering from shop to shop. Definitely an eclectic collection of businesses, from the Starbucks to the jammed to the rafters antique shop. The antique place was classic. So very much stuff piled everywhere, with a strong flavour of the Adirondacks, mostly because of the tremendous amount of stuffed wild animals. A virtual zoo of dead wildlife, all spending their afterlife amidst piles of assorted junk.
This was kinda sad to see stuck in a shop. It should be back out on one of the myriad of lakes around here, clamped to the back of a wooden fishing boat, and puttering a couple of fisherman around the edge of the shore, trolling for the next big strike on the lure
Imagine fighting a hot smokey fire with one of these guys trapped to your back all day. Now that is effort that deserves a ton of respect.
What to hell are you lookin' at city boy???
Treated ourselves to a Ben & Jerry's ice cream, a rare event. We both tried a new flavour, salted caramel with salted caramel swirls. Very tasty, and certainly tastes like its name. Wandered around a bit more, watched all the beautiful people which towns like this seem to attract, then headed back to the campsite.

Pretty funny
Nice...this spot had tons of sports memorabilia everywhere
Barley survived the afternoon on his own just fine. It was nice though that he seemed happy to see us.
Clearly happy to see us!
A quick nap before G&T time, then we cranked the Q and put on the rib steaks we picked up in Tupper Lake. A simple meal, steaks, fried onions and boiled red-skinned potatoes. A nice steak, cooked perfectly, naturally. The sun made an appearance as the skies cleared somewhat. Everyone around made their way to the waters edge to soak up the rays. It was nice to see.

There was a group of young women a little down the way on the beach and they were fussing with something. Turns out they were getting ready to spread some ashes in the water. Perhaps a pet, given the laughter that was going on, but perhaps not. Was a nice scene to see though, clearly this place meant a lot to them and the deceased.

Sat by the water for the longest time, and we brought Barley down with us on his leash. He was a little freaked at first, but settled down in Dale's lap.
Barley Boo beautiful boy
A group of ducks made a very close visit to us, but he really seemed disinterested in them. Dale gave him a good brushing to help relax him and it was amazing the amount of fur that came off. Nice sunset, took pictures and headed back inside and just relaxed. Lots of fires going now that the rain has gone. Everyone now outside enjoying themselves. Amazing the number of tenters there are around. Tents are far different now, lightweight materials now mean a good sized tent will not have to weigh 50 pounds. I remember when we were camping with an old Woods canvas tent, with an outside steel frame. Crazy heavy and a pain to set up. As well, the added bonus of the distinctive damp canvas smell was to become unforgettable for the rest of the lives of anyone who every spent a night in one of these. I can only imagine what earlier versions of these tents were like. And what's the deal with never being able to touch the wall if it was raining, for fear of causing a river of water to flow inside. Don't touch the canvas...give me a break. What kid ever listened to that?

Sat around and chilled, conserving precious battery power with our little LED lights. Amazing how dark it gets. With the heavy treed canopy, it gets real dark, real quick. Lots of fires though, adding a little dancing light show to the evening, as well as a wonderful outdoorsy smell.

Another relaxing morning, spent with coffee and The Globe, which we picked up before we headed out. A little rain overnight, but nothing heavy. As much as rain is not generally liked by any camper, you gotta love the sound of rain on the roof of whatever you happen to be staying in. Nothing can put you to sleep faster than that amazing sound. The skies look clear, perhaps we will get a good day. Breakfast this morning is hash browns with onions, steak and egg. A hearty breakfast to hold us through a day of just simply relaxing.
This was so tasty
Poked around outside a bit, sat by the waters edge and just took in the goings on. Everyone out and about, soaking up the sun and getting assorted camp gear hung out to dry.
Barley...observer of all things.
Barley was anxious to get outside so we put on his harness and hooked him up to his leash. He wanted to wander around the site so I pretty much was walking a cat for the longest time. He checked everything out, very keen to take it all in. At one point he started to run, for no reason at all, so I jogged along side him until he got going a little too fast and freaked himself out. On went the brakes and he came to a screeching halt...all puffed up and furry.
Fun for the cat, but any human on the other end of the lease can't help but look stupid
We took advantage of the sun and that stuff was drying out to fold away the awning and dry out the mats. All set for packing up tomorrow morning. every little bit helps the job in the morning.

Headed into the general store just outside the park, a classic store we always have to roam through every time we are here. The usual assortment of campers looking for supplies, and beer. Picked up a few things then headed back. Before we headed out, a number of campers rolled in, all in the same brand of trailer, and looking very new. Almost think it may be some sort of dealer having a get together. There were at least 4 of them, with one pulling a massive trailer for extra gear. By the time we got back, we clearly knew what was also stored in the trailer...two massive nylon tarpaulin garages, set up side by side in all their gleaming whiteness. They literally occupied the entire site, as these were the only structures on it. Easily 30 feet long and at least 9 feet high. It appears the site was rented just for these things. It really must be some sort of dealer event, or perhaps this extended family take no chances with the weather and came prepared with their own temp houses. Whatever the reason, they are the oddest looking things to find in a campsite. Lots of families use the screened in cooking/eating tents, which make perfect sense, but these things are so out of place you have to wonder what goes through peoples heads sometimes.
Odd...just simply odd.
More lounging by the lake, a G&T to start our run up to dinner. Tonight is super simple fair...pulled pork on ciabatta buns with a side of potato salad, all acquired at the IGA in Tupper Lake. Quick and tasty.
There was no way in hell I could walk by these and not pick up a six. 
Sat by the lake enjoying the late afternoon sun and the entertaining clan of ducks and youngins'. They are very friendly and not at all afraid of walking right up to you. Nice sunset this evening, but you have to be prepared with your camera as the sun seems to drop like a stone when it nears the horizon.

Overcast this morning, with that heavy feel of rain that just seems to hang there waiting to happen. Going to slowly start packing things away, no point hanging around on a dull day.


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