Sunday, 6 July 2008


Woke very early as the walls of the wooden motel were rather thin and, as I was on the ground floor, I think the sewage pipe from upstairs went down inside the wall partition.

Also a beeping sound emanated from the next door room which started at about 5am and didn't stop - Next door being the office which was unoccupied. So I got up and did my morning ablutions, rather irked that I was on the ground floor so was unable to flush noisily enough to wake others. I posted the room key through the letter box of the still empty office and got into the car and headed off.

It was July 4th - would I be able to find anywhere to stay because people had been issuing dire warnings as to my likelihood of finding accommodation on this big holiday. Resigned to sleeping in the car and probably being eaten by bears. I decided to take a scenic route east (ish) as I wanted to drive the Adirondack Mountains.

The road led to Rome and then winded gradually up into the mountains. The views were terrific. The sun shone. There was quite a lot of traffic and, having digested the salmon stuffed with crabmeat from the night before, I decided I needed breakfast. I pulled up outside a country store at Joe's Forge and went in and sat down at the counter. Ordered ham and 2 poached eggs ‘over easy’. I’m still not entirely conversant with the easiness of eggs so I questioned the hapless woman behind the counter. From what she said it appears to be how runny you want them to be. I like runny eggs so mine were less "easy" more of a pushover. When the food arrived it was a thin slice of ham, two fine eggs on a paper plate and plastic cutlery which I loathe. Perhaps they thought I looked dangerous or something. I did note on the specials board they were doing burgers and ‘Freedom Fries’, so I suspect they are suspicious of foreigners.

Back into the sunshine, I headed off over the mountains. At one point a small traffic jam occurred as we waited patiently for a deer and her faun to cross the road. On the radio a news report stated that 17 people had contracted Lyme disease. Apparently it’s a tic born bacteria that is carried by erm… deer. Old Forge. Long Lake, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake came and went. Then I swept into Lake Placid. (Thinks: ‘hang on I recognise that name.’) Site of the 1980 Winter Olympics and also the 1932 version. Remarkable for being the occasion Norwegian figure skater and later Hollywood actress Sonja Henie successfully defended her title. Also more surprising and coincidental, I was once sent a lock of hair by a listener from Scotland who claimed to be a reincarnation of Sonja and my wife. I felt right at home as I hurried out the other side.

I stopped in Plattsburgh just over the road from the ‘Rip Van Winkle’ Motel to do a telephone interview with Matthew Wright for his Radio 2 show. It seemed to go pretty well so when I get back I will hassle him to appear on his TV show. Where to stay the night was the next question after all it was July 4th. Didn't fancy the ‘Rip’ just in case I fell asleep and didn't wake up for 20 years. I could have gone in and airily mentioned that the original story was set in the Catskills not the Adirondack's. No, that was churlish, so I headed along the highway again and eventually found another place. "Got a room?" "Why sure no problem" said the woman behind the reception desk. Transpired she’d been studying in Europe but hadn't visited the UK as it was too expensive.

The pound may not be doing so well against the Euro these days but it’s still strong against the dollar. The standard of accommodation I’ve found is universally high. So for the equivalent of about £50 I got half an acre of room which opened onto the terrace next to a rather fine indoor pool. It was too good an opportunity to miss so I flopped in and lazily paddled up and down for ten minutes before heading for a restaurant.

As I have said in an earlier blog. A diet, or a change of diet, is going to have to occur when I get back. I hauled myself up onto a stool at a branch of Applebee's, perused the menu and decided on the "12 Oz New York Strip" with a topping of parmesan and shrimp and seasonal vegetables. I started to have that sort of body image thing going on in my head: "You are disgusting. Look at the size of you ugh ugh ugh!" Then I heard the sound of voices swapping languages and food. Two French Canadians were shovelling all matter of stuff down themselves with lots of lip-smacking and finger-licking. I felt marginally better about myself. It’s all a question of scale – if you’re overweight, stand next to fatter folk! Was sufficiently cheered to finish up with the ‘triple chocolate meltdown’.


Holland said...

My friend once had a notice hanging on her kitchen wall, it read, "EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY FOR TOMORROW WE MAY DIET!" So true!
You seem to be seeing so much of the lovely scenery on your travels Alex. Meeting the folk as well!

mick said...

standing next to wogen should keep things in perspective