Route for the day.
Today was an odd luck sort of day. Lots of things happened that were kind of out of our control, but ended up well, on the most part.
We tried to leave early this morning, had breakfast at the very crowded breakfast area at the hotel, just across the pool from our room and up a flight of stairs. They had cereals, instant oatmeal, fruit salad, toasters with thick bread, white and wheat, and croissants. There were signs on the toasters saying "Do NOT toast the croissants in these toasters" and I saw a Frenchman bringing blackened croissants to his disgusted wife...
Maybe they couldn't read English? I dunno.
An Asian man had a little boy under his chair, happily playing as his dad ate breakfast and read a newspaper...
Jet didn't see him to join him, but was happy to eat his toast with butter and get ready to go. I *think* but no longer remember, if the boys took One Last Swim together in the pool before we left, but I think that that was so.
We then headed East on I-90 and paid the tolls and got to experience roads that were a great deal like British roads. The rest stops were more frequent than along the other Interstates, and each one was complete with a gas station, a dinner stop, a lunch stop, and something for dessert/a snack. In our case there was a MacDonald's, a pasta/pizza place, and an ice cream/fudge booth and a big, common dining area.
When we were walking in Jet was fascinated by three really big Army trucks parked near us. The convoy drivers, including one woman, were walking to their vehicles when we were waking away, and Jet walked up to the lady and said, "I really like your big truck!"
Social boy. It resulted in a long conversation with all the convoy drivers and a quick tour, for Jet, of the interior of the truck that the lady was driving. They were maintenance trucks with a big crane on the back of one of them. "What's that for?" asked Jet. "For picking up that other truck if it breaks down."
John had known that there was an Adirondacks Scenic Railroad in the Adirondacks in New York, so we headed that way, and along the way we stopped at Utica (around step 13 in the instructions) for a bathroom break, which was at the tourist information booth right at the Y. They had a pamphlet on the railroad. John knew Old Forge was where he'd thought about going, which was the Thendara Station trip.
So we headed to Old Forge (end of step 20), and stopped at Thendara, which is right before Old Forge, and there was a station and train tracks and maybe, three other buildings in town, one was a restaurant right across from the station. An big lady was sitting at the tables in front of the closed station, painting signs, and a man with a bit of a limp came up and shook the boys' hands and told us that they weren't actually going to start running the trains until tomorrow! So bad luck about getting a ride...
... but good luck in that the guy showed the boys all the details of the engines and the coaches, and he gave Jet a flyer about the Wednesday train robberies, old West style with horses and 20's style with vintage cars. Wow. So I think we got a far more extensive tour and brain dump from the man himself than we would have if we had gotten there when he had to run the train. It was great.
So a mildly mixed blessing, all in all.
From there we headed into the Adirondacks and, learning from our experience camping in Michigan, we took the time to stop at a grocery store before the campgrounds at the next big town. We bought what we needed for dinner and breakfast, and got in line and when it came time to pay for the stuff our credit card was refused! Multiple times. So we paid for it with cash and got advice from the cashiers about notifying the CC company if you were going to go on vacation. When we got out to the car, John called the company and it turned out that our CC's had been among those compromised by the big databank break in a while back, and they could send replacements to the house, but not to us unless we faxed them with where it should go, with a signature.
So we stopped at the drug store right next door, and faxed them a letter with the address of the Inn we were going to be staying in for the weekend and a signature. It was good that it was Thursday, as the courier service could get it to the Inn tomorrow while people are there on a business day.
So, again, mixed blessings, a problem but we were given enough time to at least try and straighten it all out.
From there we went further up, towards Raquette Lake, but we actually stopped on step 23, between Seventh Lake and Eighth Lake (which is the lake next to Seventh on that step), which is well before Raquette Lake. It was a little state campground with running water, screened facilities and easy access to the lake front. There were a LOT of mosquitoes, but with liberal application of DEET, it didn't seem that bad.
I made dinner for the first time in a while. I started the rice, first. Then I browned chicken thighs marinated in powdered Italian dressing mix in my cast iron skillet. When they were very brown I took them out and added pole-sliced onions and sweet pepper straws and cooked those until they were browned and caramelized. I then added the thighs back into the mix, added some water, and covered it all and let it cook and create its own gravy from the seasoning and the good, browned bits, and everything. It was great over the rice. Jet had his rice with sauce and fish sprinkles and ate a huge plateful of the stuff. So no leftovers, thank goodness.
We then walked to the lake's side, and threw rocks into the water. :-) I am still amazed by how fun such simple things are with a kid. It was a beautiful view, and the water was just cool and the bottom sandy. Nice to do a little wading.
The mosquitoes started biting me in places I really didn't want to get bit, again. The DEET level in our spray isn't that high... I resprayed myself, but it was probably a bit too late, and I discovered, the next day, that it was definitely too late. But with the another spraying I felt better. We built a fire from firewood we'd bought on the way in, and we got to roast actual marshmallows and put them on s'mores. The funny thing is that Jet didn't want to eat them after he'd roasted 'em. He thought the fire parts were neat, but I think that if we'd roasted more Triscuits he would have eaten those.
It was a very, very quiet spot, and so near the bathroom that it was easy to make our way there in the dark to get ready for bed. Jet slept up in his tent, this time. We slept in the bottom, and it was good, all in all. The mosquito netting seemed to do its job just fine, and it was cool, dark and quiet. Mmm... sleep.