Summer Summit Daily Blog

 
                                          Scott, Tim, Joe, Ken and Kelley at the Highest point in Connetcicut

Day 1

Friday August 17, 2001

It was already warm at 6:10 AM when the five of us headed north on our way to Canada. Today’s forecast was for hazy, hot and humid conditions with temperatures in the 90's.

Leaving with all our gear on the bikes for the first time was a real shock.  We had ridden with some weight to train, but not the weight we had on now.

All the bikes were very heavy with Joe’s being the heaviest. He had nearly an 80 pound load to carry!  It was obvious now that not training with the full load prior to leaving was a big oversight on our part.

Our bikes handled vastly different than when we were training with about half the weight. The additional effort now required to climb a small hill was incredible. The bikes acted so differently each rider thought something may be wrong with his bike at first.

 We knew we had our hands full and hoped we would adjust to the heavy bikes in a couple days. Compounding this was the added wind drag the inflated panniers placed on us. It was like having a couple parachutes on your bike.

 A mere 11 miles into our journey a spoke broke on Kelley’s rear wheel. Because of all the weight on his bike the rim pulled out of shape badly. To add to the problem he did not have a spoke of the correct length to fix it. Being so close to home we decided to call for some assistance getting Kelley to a bike shop and back. Not a good way to get started.

As the hazy sun rose higher in the sky the heat and humidity became a problem.  We had to stop often to refill our water bottles to replace the fluids we were sweating out. The newly found effort of climbing the hills with our overweight bikes was taking its toll.

 Around mid-day we came upon a reservoir in the town of Woodtick, Connecticut.  We could see a fenced in area where people were swimming.  Drenched in sweat, already sore, the water looked so inviting.  It seemed our overheated bodies would be thoroughly refreshed and brought back to normal with just a "quick dip". The sign said "Local Residents Only" and we were obviously not locals.

 Ken walked up to the attendant and asked if it would be possible to let five sun-scorched cyclists take a quick dip to cool off.  The attendant looked over at the other sweat drenched riders and said OK.  He pointed to a changing area so we grabbed our bathing suits and headed towards the building. That water felt so good we did not want to leave.

As much as we would have liked to spend the rest of the day soaking in the cool water a quick dip is all we had time for.  We donned our sweat soaked cycling shorts and jumped back on the bikes.

Climbing a long hill at the 70 mile mark Scott miss-shifted and broke the chain on his new Litespeed touring bike. We had the tools needed to remove the damaged link and repair the chain. After another delay the crew rode on.

Between the breakdowns, swimming in the reservoir and the slow heavy bikes we were already behind schedule on day 1. The hills in northwestern Connecticut proved to be really ugly for us.  The heavy bikes and the big climbs made for some very hard going.

Even late in the afternoon the sun still roasted us with its heat and humidity. Our bodies were burnt and beat up as we left Torrington, CT.  About 4 miles out of town someone mentioned how late it was getting and how far away the next motel could be.

We had passed a motel near the highway on the outskirts of town. We had already ridden over 80 miles today and who knows where the next motel will be. The decision was made to backtrack a few miles and stay at the motel we had just passed. 

The motel was a Super 8 with a greasy diner next to it.  After the beating we had taken all day anything would work for us.  We put our bikes in the room and walked over to the diner. The food was not very good but we were all starving so our plates were left cleaned.

After sitting for 45 minutes in the diner eating to our hearts content we got up to walk back to the motel.  Our legs were noticeably weak and wobbly as we walked with our bloated bellies filled with greasy diner food.

Once back at the motel we all fell asleep quickly.

 

88.5 Hilly Hot Miles





                                    

Day 2

Saturday August 18, 2001

 

Waking up early our bodies were still feeling the effects from yesterday’s heat, humidity and overloaded bikes. The stiff and very uncomfortable motel beds didn’t help our situation.  We were hungry but decided not to have breakfast at the greasy spoon where we ate dinner last night.  Instead we would find something in the next town. We were out of the motel and on the road by 7:30AM.

 We came upon the Collins Diner around 9:30 and pulled in. At breakfast we discussed the heavy bikes and possibly the need for better gearing on the next tour.  We are wondering how the climbs near Lake Placid are going to be with these overloaded bikes.

This diner was not much better than the one we left at the motel.  We all ordered eggs except for Tim who ordered pancakes and a grilled muffin to start.  After he wolfed down the muffin they brought him two thick heavy pancakes that covered his plate.  These monsters sucked up syrup like a dry sponge.  Before he even finished his meal the effects of the pancakes started to take him down. He would walk out of the diner rubbing his tender overstuffed belly wishing he has eaten less.  Scott was already outside with his shoes off tending to a blistered foot that had started festering yesterday.

Tonight's plan is to try our luck at camping.  It would be nice to reach a site early so we would have plenty of time to set up our first camp. There is camping at the Woodland Hills Campground near Eckertown, NY.  The only problem is that Eckertown is only about 60 miles away and we are on somewhat of a schedule. The next available camping is much further so we all decide on Eckertown. The decision was not really that hard to make.  All of us were actually hoping for something a little easier than yesterday’s torture session.

Once there it took a while to get our tents up and equipment organized. Tim and Ken's tents are like little cloth coffins they are so small.  While Joe on the other hand, has a tent big enough for a family of 12.

The campground had facilities to wash clothes so we took advantage of this and Kelley did our laundry.  Scott noticed a game room with a ping pong table and challenged Ken to a few games. After a few intense games Scott was declared the victor.

We all stayed up much too late by the campfire talking about the days ride and tomorrow's plan.  The heavy bikes were again the main topic of conversation. It was nearly midnight when we headed to our tents to sleep.

 

57.54 Miles




 

Day 3

Sunday August 19, 2001

 

Even though we stayed up way past our bedtime we woke early and refreshed.  The fact that we had only ridden 57 miles the day before certainly helped.   Not being seasoned campers we were surprised at how damp everything was when we woke up. Our tents were dripping wet and would need drying before we could pack them away.  Even our bicycles were wet and of course everything else we had left out for the dew to form on was soaked.

We had a feast of food fit for a King for our first camp breakfast. It became apparent as soon as Ken started to boil water he was not going to be the "camp chef". He badly burnt the bottom of his aluminum cooking pot just boiling the water for his oatmeal.  Scott took over most of the cooking duties.

Soon after the sun rose a bit the equipment dried and we loaded up for another day's journey.  By the time we had packed our gear and rolled out of the campground it was already 9 AM.

Last night while gathered around the campfire we decided on a campground just south of Glen Falls, NY to spend our next night.

The sun was shining but it was less humid than the previous two days had been.  This made for much more enjoyable riding conditions. 

Our bikes are still a handful but we are slowly getting use to the weight.  We are still slow on the big hills and there are plenty of hills yet to climb.

A few miles before the campground we stopped for some provisions for the night’s meal. We collected corn on the cob, native tomatoes, drinks, and ground beef for hamburgers.  Of course you need buns, mustard, ketchup and other condiments along with some post dinner snacks. We could barely carry all the food we had just bought.

When we arrived at the campground all we could see were big RV's parked everywhere. We soon found out that this place does not cater to the tent people.  Now we would have to find another place to spend the night. 

The owners of the RV Park told us the only place they knew of was just outside of Gansevoort the town we just rode through.  With no other choice we had to backtrack about 7 miles and find the campground.

Shortly after leaving the RV Park Joe broke a rear spoke. This time we had the correct spoke but not the needed tools to remove the rear cassette. His rim had pulled badly out of shape when the spoke broke.  We tightened a few adjacent spokes to help take out some of the rims wobble and rode on. Because it was already after 5PM we will have to find a local bicycle shop in the morning.

By the time we arrived at the Cold Brook Campground it was already 6:15 PM. The sun was getting low and the shadows long.

All of the good campsites had already been claimed hours ago. We had to settle for a site that was all dirt except for a few tufts of crab grass and other weeds. A dirt campsite is better than no campsite this late in the day

Certainly not what we were looking for but all of us were glad to get off the bikes especially Scott and Ken.

Scott had to tend to the nasty blister on his foot and Ken was complaining of diaper rash from riding with his sweat soaked cycling shorts the day before.




Day 4

Monday August 20, 2001

Morning came quickly after another hard day of riding.  We are still not used to the heavy bicycles we left Connecticut with.   Because of breakdowns and our slower pace we are covering less miles per day than originally planned. Looming in the not too distant future will be the bigger climbs near Lake Placid. The decision was made to trim a few miles from our route and follow Lake Champlain north to Canada. The terrain would be much flatter and the shorter distance will put us back on schedule.

The morning sky was thick with dark clouds and we all knew rain was not far off.  We broke camp quickly and got all our gear packed away and hit the road.  Our first order of business will be to find a bike shop and have the broken spoke on Joe's bike replaced. 

A little more than four miles up the road from the campground we pass the entrance to Moreau Lake State Park.  On the welcome sign at the entrance to the park was an image of a tent and the word “Camping” below it.  If we only had known this nice state park was less than 5 miles up the road we would have stayed there.  The state park would have been a better choice than the dirt site from the night before.

We headed north to Glens Falls to find a bike shop as a light rain started to fall. Just after the rain started falling Joe gets a flat tire on his wobbly rim. A quick tube replacement and we were back on the road again.  It did not take us long to find a bike shop once we arrived in Glens Falls. The light rain became a bit heaver.  We kept our bikes under an overhang as the rain came down. While Joe was having his spoke replaced the others went to a convenience store for some supplies.  

About a half hour later Joe's bike rolled out of the shop repaired and the sky started to lighten up a little. It looked like our run of bad luck and breakdowns was over when Joe hit something in the road causing another flat tire. This would only be the second of four flats Joe would have the pleasure of changing today.

Ken spotted a pharmacy a few miles later and wanted to stop for something to sooth his raw rear-end.  He asked the pharmacist to recommend something for diaper rash. She pointed to the ointment isle. The young female pharmacist then asked Ken how old his child was.  When he explained that there was no child and he was the one who had diaper rash from his wet hinny rubbing on the bike seat she chuckled. After asking a few questions about Ken’s rump she made her recommendation.

As the crew neared Lake George they ran into another cyclist who identified himself as Matt. He looked to be older than all of us but in terrific cycling shape.  Matt asked us where we were going and what route we planned to use. We told him of our newly changed route. He suggested we go a different route and offered to ride with us.  We agreed and had a pleasurable 3 hour ride with Matt on some great cycling roads.

The decision was made to find a motel tonight instead of camping.  We could all use a nice shower and real bed instead of a damp sleeping bag.  The day ended after 61 miles at Drakes Motel near Shroom Lake, NY.  They had a single person cabin that one of us would get to stay in.  We drew straws for the room and Tim won.

On the same property was Drakes Diner which seemed very convenient. Because of our recent dining experiences we asked the motel clerk how the food was at the diner. He said I may be a little prejudice, but I think it is the best in town.

 We decided to give it a try rather than ride our bikes to another place to eat.  As promised the food at the diner was superb. They even had a wine list so a bottle was ordered to complement the fine meal. They served home style cooking with large portions which we devoured like hungry sharks. We told the waitress the food was great and we would be back for breakfast in the morning.  She told us breakfast was their specialty and we would not be disappointed. With full bellies we walked back to our rooms for a good night's rest

 

61 Miles

Trip Total: 293.5 Miles   

Average: 73.4 miles per day




Day 5

Tuesday August 21, 2001

After good night's sleep we all woke with one thing on our minds, that good breakfast the waitress had promised. Just as our dinners were the night before the food was great and the portions large.  Again stuffed and over fed we jumped on the bikes and rode on. It was already 9:45 AM with the sun shining brightly.

Knowing now that we will not be going to Lake Placid has taken the pressure off our slower than expected progress. We would all like to ride forever but with work and families we have to stay on schedule.

We came upon a small New York town called Ironville and stopped to read its history on a plaque.  After reading the plaque and enjoying the scenic views of the Lake Champlain valley we rode on stopping at an intersection a mile later to check our directions.

We noticed a few large tents set up like someone was having a wedding or some other big event.  Just then a woman with a couple of two-way radios walked up to us and asked if we had time to be extras in a movie. She could tell we doubted what she was saying so she said "just come look at the set and then decide". 

That seemed reasonable so we headed towards the tents.  Once we got there we could see she was not joking.  This was a movie set!  Cool, count us in.  Tim, Joe and Ken went off to wardrobe where they traded their cycling garb for attire of the 1940's. 

Next we were brought into a town building that been converted into what now looked like a tavern.  We were sat at table with a few mugs in front of us and told to just act like you are at a bar with your buddies. They also told us not to look directly into the camera.

The scene was only about a minute long but with multiple takes took about 45 minutes to shoot.

After the scene was shot we went under one of the tents for some cold drinks. We discussed our new acting careers and posed for some pictures. After a few minutes of basking in our new found glory we headed back to wardrobe for our cycling shorts. Jumping on the bikes we left Hollywood behind and headed north towards the summit.

We rode another hour to Willsboro where we spent the night at the Bayview Motel.

72.3 Miles




                                         
 

The boys out of cycling garb and  on the set of the movie Ironville  
          




Day 6

Wednesday August 22, 2001

We were up early and on our bikes by 7:15AM looking for a place to eat breakfast.

Our days ride north along Lake Champlain was beautiful.  The sun was shining and the temperature a comfortable 70 degrees.  Perfect riding conditions with Canada just 65 miles away. 

At 2:15PM we reached the summit... Canada.  We had made it!  After taking a couple of photos we turned our bikes south to start the journey back.  We still have plenty of miles left to ride but once you make the turn for home your attitude changes. For some reason the ride back always seems a little less exciting then the ride out

At Rousses Point we headed east and crossed the bridge into Vermont and onto one of Lake Champlain’s islands. It would be on one of these islands where we would spend the night camping.

We camped at Grand Isle state park on South Hero Island. Now this place was a huge improvement over the Cold Brook dirt site we had a few days ago. This secluded grass site had a large three sided shelter with a raised wood floor.  In front of the shelter was a stone fire pit for cooking.

Kelley peeled off his trunk and rear panniers and went on a quest for firewood. He returned with his back rack stacked high with wood for our fire.

We all sat around the campfire until well after midnight talking about our journey. 

 

88 Miles.

Average: 75.6 Miles per Day




Day 7

Thursday August 23, 2001

Up early and on the bike by 7:20AM we left the islands on Lake Champlain and headed to Middlebury VT.  In Burlington we came upon a paved cycling path that skirted us around the city. The flat roads along the lake turned to the hills of the Green Mountains as we headed southeast. 

Tonight will be our last night of camping.  Camping is fun but takes away miles as setting up and breaking camp takes more time then a motel check in.

Next to Lake Dunmore is a place called Kampersville and that is where we are headed.

As soon as we pulled in we could see this place was unique. Tents and RV’s were jammed packed next to each other.  Loud music could be heard from a couple sites and kids were running around out of control everywhere. It looked like a “low budget” campground but we needed a place to stay.

Luckily we were given a site near the power lines that was a little secluded from the rest of the madness.

Ken, who had already been fired from all cooking duties was given a new task…laundry. With all the dirty clothes in hand he headed for the laundry room.  He went to the camp store for quarters and some soap.  Joe had given him some liquid detergent but Ken, being a laundry expert thought it could not possibly be enough. The camp store detergent came in little boxes that looked so small he decided to buy three for his one load. After filling the washer with three boxes of soap and Joe’s liquid detergent he sat content watching the white froth of suds cleaning the clothes.  It seemed to take forever but finally the machine stopped and they were done.  He looked for a dryer and tossed in the wet clothes then added the quarters.  As soon as he hit the start button he heard water entering what he thought was the dryer. By mistake he had put the clothes into another washer and once started the door would not open.  Again he had to wait for the long cycle to finish.  Maybe it was all for the better. Even without adding soap he could see suds through the round glass door as they tumbled around.

79 Miles




Day 8

Friday August 24, 2001

After another huge camping breakfast we hit the road by 9:10AM leaving Kampersville behind.  One thing for sure we are not going to starve on this journey.

 The plan decided the night before was to make Ludlow, which is less than 60 miles away.  We are anticipating hills so a short day will be better for us because even after 8 days we are barley used to these heavy bikes.

The day was cloudy and by the time we reached Ludlow it looked like rain was not far off.  We had traveled most of the day on hard packed dirt roads. The Vermont dirt roads were actually smoother than some asphalt roads we had been on.

 There was no shortage of hills as we lugged our bikes over the Green Mountains.

The Best Western Motel was much more comfortable than Kampersville and with the rain coming down we were glad to be inside for the night.

Looking at the map, with any luck we will be home Sunday with time to get in a water-ski pass with our good friend Herb Petersen.

55.5 Miles




Day 9

Friday August 25, 2001

 

At 7:30AM everyone was on their bikes and rolling south on Vermont Route 103. We decided to get a few miles in before we stopped and ate breakfast. Around 9:30 we spotted a restaurant and walked in for a quick bite.

 The five of us packed into a booth and placed our order. It seemed like it was taking a long time to cook our meal especially since we were the only patrons.  After waiting 45 minutes we finally asked the waitress how much longer it would be.  She then told us they had run out of gas but the propane truck would be there in another 5 minutes. We figured it would be faster to wait than go to another restaurant. The quick bite to eat ended up costing us nearly an hour and a half.

Lucky for us the terrain has started to flatten out as we approached the Connecticut River Valley. With no hills and a good smooth roadway we were able to move at a decent pace. 

Once in Massachusetts we pulled into Yankee Candle for a quick look see then rode through Historic Deerfield on our way south.

The group pulled into North Hampton as dusk was settling in. The first motel we spotted had the No Vacancy sign lit.  The next two motels we came upon were also full.

Just at dark we were happy to find a motel with the vacancy sign lit.  The clerk said they had only one room left if we were interested.  Rather than take a chance we took the room.  All 5 of us along with 5 bikes and all our gear crammed into that tiny room.  It was like inside camping with sleeping bags. We had every square inch of that floor covered with people and equipment.

91 Miles




Day 10

Friday August 26, 2001

 

One good thing about a crummy motel room, it gets you on the road early.  Not soon after we departed Tim cut a tire on some glass and we were down for flat repair.  Soon after that Ken noticed Scott’s rear wheel was wobbling so another stop was made for truing.

About 20 miles into Connecticut we came upon the Airline Trail.  This is a Rails to Trails bike path that was in our backyard that we knew nothing about.  After reviewing the posted map we could see the trail tied back into our planned route.

The Airline Trail was a real treat for us on the last day of riding.  Once back on the road we were paraded with a steady stream of muscle cars and street rods.  There must have been some kind of a car show nearby.  All the fun and sites made our day race by.  Before we knew it we smelled the burgers cooking at the Famous Harry’s Place in Colchester.

There is no way you can ride past that smell without stopping.  We pulled in and had some burgers before riding the final 16 miles back home.

Just as planned we met up with Herb for a quick water-ski pass to celebrate the journey to Canada and back on the Summer Summit Tour of 2001.

 

86 Miles.

Total 765.3 Miles