Day 17 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways
Today I woke up to rain in Ames. I was so exhausted, I could have slept two more hours and what was the rush in leaving given another dismal day of weather. As a result, I began my morning getting VANilla’s oil changed (which is required every 5K miles or my warranty is voided). Linda’s friend Staci suggested that I go to Millennium Express Lube in Amsterdam. Thankfully, Linda kindly directed me, as otherwise I would have never found it.
I was expecting to post Day 16 of my blog while waiting, but when I asked how long it would take, they said 10 minutes. WOW! Mike changed the oil, checked all the fluids, and even let me keep my mutts in the car despite the no pets sign! Millennium Express Lube was awesome and sent me on my way in record time.
For day 2 of my Adirondack Mountains adventure, I planned on driving North from Lake George to Lake Placid with a few stops in between. A high school classmate, Alison, was curious to know how I liked Lake George, as she had enjoyed a wonderful vacation there with her family. Unfortunately, I can’t elaborate much on Lake George. The best explanation I can give of Lake George is by the below photograph. I barely saw it!! At least it gives me an excuse to go back.
Deer Leap Trail
There were a few pull offs in Adirondack Park between Lake George and Fort Ticonderoga, my next visit, so the dogs and I stopped for a brief hike. Reader’s Digest writes, “Deer’s Leap, at the base of steep-sided Tongue Mountain, commands a vista back toward the lake’s (Lake George) southern end.” Though doubtful I’d enjoy a view, we hiked the Deer Leap Trail anyway.
It was too long for my old mutts and me us to finish, but just getting out for a walk was nice. Zipped up in my rain jacket, off we went. The trail was similar to a damp creek bed, mostly slick rocks canopied by a variety of trees. I managed one photo before my battery went dead.
After our hike through the Adirondack woods, we carried on to Fort Ticonderoga in hopes to enjoy “splendid views of the Vermont shore and the distant peaks of the Green Mountain” as described by Reader’s Digest. Unfortunately, the clouds still hadn’t lifted, thus the Green Mountains and Vermont shore were not in view.
Fort Ticonderoga was originally constructed by the French in 1755. It was later captured by the British and so named. During the Revolutionary War in 1775, the fort was taken by the Americans during an attack led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold. The victory was short-lived as the British regained control in 1777. After wandering around the fort briefly we carried on toward Lake Placid.
Scenic Drive Through the Adirondack Mountains
The Adirondack Mountains features one scenic view after the next from Fort Ticonderoga to Lake Placid. Speaking of forts, I forgot to mention that Fort Niagara, which I visited last week, is in a park with 20+ soccer fields. A tip for my soccer friends: bring a ball and you can play soccer while soaking in history. In fact, for those who enjoy history, there has been a historic marker on average every 10 miles since Niagara Falls. True history buffs could take days stopping at all of them.
This part of the scenic drive through the Adirondack Mountains, despite the nasty weather, was definitely my favorite of the last two days. We wound through a deep gorge with ponds, a river, and forest lining the edges. The fall colors and high cliffs dominated the grey skies until at last I arrived at Lake Placid.
One of the biggest horse shows in the hunter/jumper industry is here in Lake Placid every summer. I always wanted to ride in it, but logistically, being from Texas, it was not one that we would have ever attended. We spent the summers in closer states like Oklahoma, Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky. I have always imagined what the horse show would be like, and I was hoping I’d be able to find the show grounds. Surprisingly, the show grounds were on the main road as I entered town, right across from the Olympic Ski Jump!
I stopped in the ski jump area first. As I debated buying a ticket to enjoy panoramic views, the inclement weather clouded the vistas (no pun intended). As a result, I visited the show grounds. While they weren’t exactly how I pictured them, they were awesome none the less. The grounds were quiet, so after a brief admiration, I turned toward the nearby Olympic Center.
Lake Placid Olympic Center
At the Olympic Center, I saw the rink where “The Miracle on Ice” occurred, with the USA winning the hockey game. I get chills when I watch movies or documentaries about that hockey game. I love the Olympics and admire all the Olympians who train so hard to have a chance once every four years. Such dedicated athletes! Obviously a lot of it has changed with professionals being able to participate in most events, but it is still an accomplishment.
High Falls Gorge
After checking out the ice rink, I tried seeing at High Falls Gorge just outside Lake Placid. Unfortunately they closed at 4:30 and I arrived a few minutes too late. It was probably a blessing in disguise, as I’m not the biggest fan of commercializing nature anyway. Paying a fee to walk through a grand entrance to a waterfall is definitely a pet peeve, especially when it is off limits two hours before sunset!
Fortunately for me, the campgrounds I found were just around the bend from High Falls Gorge. By walking down the side of the mountain, Scout, Petey, and I saw some magnificent falls. We also got drenched, but we had hardly been out of VANilla all day! The view of the falls was from a slick rock ledge made me sick to my stomach and slightly dizzy every time I looked down. Despite having skydived and bungy jumped, the though of slipping off a ledge terrifies me. Holding on to two dogs that are not exactly sure footed didn’t help matters. Regardless, the power of the water was tremendous and the trees growing on the rock ledges were amazing to me. Waterfalls = mesmerizing!
The rest of the night we spent drying out while contemplating how to get the most out of my next visit to the Adirondack Mountains. For starters, I won’t be visiting in the rain! My future plan will include the following:
- Stay in or near Lake Placid at a place that provides canoes to guests as this lake region caters to boaters
- Watch the horse show
- Buy an Adirondack Park map so I know the location and length of the trails
- Visit neighboring communities – Saranac Lake, White Face Mountain, Keene, and more
- Explore more of the Olympic Center.
Map of My Road Trip Across the USA
For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.
Other Articles About New York You May Like
- Day 13 – Sights Along the Seaway Trail
- Day 14 – Rochester and Sights Along the Seaway Trail
- Day 15 – Sights Along the Seaway Trail – Part 3
- Day 16 – Adirondack Adventure
- Day 39 – New York’s Hudson River Valley
- Day 40 – New York’s Hudson River Valley – Part 2
Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop. Each card has a travel story associated with it. 20% of proceeds are donated to charity.