Northampton Beach to Schroon River.
Up at 6am and out of that Disney campsite by 6:30. Saw a big red fox crossing the street on exiting the campground. Had breakfast in nearby Northville, an excellent combo of eggs, toast, and home fries. The town itself was small and quiet. Since I didn’t really have a proper dinner last night I loitered around the town until about nine.
I decided to cut northeast today. Took a nice ride over to historic Edinburgh and its covered bridge, but from there things got kinda rough. Outside of Edinburgh I turned on to Hadley Hill road, which was immediately a steep climb and did not relent for five miles. The sun was boiling and for some reason the road was infested with flies. It was bad enough that I was sweating and aching from the climb, but the constant harassment of the flies put it oer the limit. And they turned out to be the biting kind.
The next road, Tower road, was off to a promising start with a steep descent into a heavily wooded area. It was a packed dirt and grael road which made for a pretty white-knuckled ride initially. It would have been okay, except there were more biting flies. There was a swamp which the road ran through– perhaps they bred there? Anyway, I was glad to get back on the main road.
Finally reached Warrensburg around 2:30 and grabbed lunch at a Subway, the best candidate for a place to recharge my phone unmolested. That put me at about 40 miles for the day and I feel pretty exhausted with all the sun, etc. Trying to find a cool place to camp for the evening.
I am now in my tent at Schroon River and it’s mighty hot. The time is about 6:30pm and though it’s nice out, the tent is the only place safe from the mosquitoes. Possibly there is rain moving in and my feet are smelly.
As I was biking from Warrensburgh up to Schroon I was on the lookout for places to camp that I wouldn’t have to pay for. Yes, I am cheap, but the average campsite costs upwards of $25. That’s fine if you and some buddies are gonna drink some beers and have a fire but if you just need a spot of ground to sleep on that’s a rip-off. It’s not like camping is a luxury. Anyway, I paid $35 for tonight’s spot and believe me, I tried to talk them into discounting it pretty hard.
So this is why I seek alternate accomodations. Granted I could just jump into the woods anywhere but the problem there is that the ground needs to be flat, more or less, which your average piece of ground isn’t. And even if it is, you have to wade through weeds and bushes and low-growing branches and risk ticks, poison ivy, chiggers, etc. This is why people use trails. So I am searching for a spot, not just any spot but the right spot. And I find it.
It’s hidden from the highway, recently mowed, and flat. The only problem? It’s a civil war cemetery. Now, at first I’m like, no problem. But after a few minutes consideration I start to wonder if it’s really okay to sleep in a cemetery. Objectively, scientifically, there’s no reason not to, but, I dunno, I guess I’m kind of superstitious, because I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Not sure why. There’s no moral or religious reason for me– it just didn’t feel right. (Plus it’s spooky.)
So I kept looking and I found another perfect spot. This one is a newly mown field, huge in size, with a big abandoned basketball court in the center. I figure it might be private property because there isn’t any signage, but I figure it can’t hurt to check it out and if anybody gives me any guff I’ll just tell them the truth.
So I ride right up to the b-ball court and almost immediately I hear the guy across the street come out of his house. It’s a fair distance but it’s a quiet road. I figure I’ll just wait until he approaches and hope he’s friendly.
No such luck. He rides up on a 4-wheeler. As soon as he is near enough I wave at him and say hello.
No hello from him– “What are you doing?”
“Well, I’m hoping to find a place to camp.”
“This is private property.”
“I’m sorry. I thought it might be a park.” (Not exactly true but, but I had no bad intentions).
“You can’t just come onto somebody’s property. There’s been a lot of break-ins around here. I have a loaded gun in the house… I’ll shoot somebody.”
This kinda freaks me out. I know I’m in the styx but I think it’s a bit early to be talking about shooting me. So I say, “I’m sorry, I’ll move on. I didn’t mean any harm.”
So I end the conversation as quickly as possible. He’s kind of a harmless old man, maybe a little bit of a shut-in or something, but I don’t think there was ever any real danger. Still, I am more cautious about where I camp from here on out.
Even after that I was still pretty grumpy about $35 to stay at Schroon River, but I was too tired to go any further or risk crossing any more gun-toting loonies.