America through the Windshield--Getting to Know the First Americans travel blog

Back to New York after Hurricane Irene. We were of course diligently watching the local news and the weather. We were scheduled to be in Burlington, VT on Monday; however, Hurricane Irene changed our minds without any input from us. We knew that we were doing the right thing. We should have arrived in VT on Sunday, on the date of Hurricane (Tropical Storm) Irene’s arrival. We notified the RV park in VT that we were unable to arrive and that we would call back on Monday to get the status of the RV Park and to set our arrival date. That meant that we were on the Oneida Reservation all day Sunday and Monday. Sunday was rainy and windy all day; so, I decided to try baking in the convection oven. I seemed to spend most of the day reading to determine how to use it and the other half of the day dirtying up dishes. I made eggplant lasagna. We had been given 2 eggplants when we were leaving the Niagara Falls area. Greg spent the day watching TV.

We called first thing on Monday and learned that the northern part of VT did not experience the damage that the other parts of the state experienced. We were delighted to know that we would be there during the early part of the week. We were shocked when we learned that the New York thruway was closed! What were we going to do—I 90 was the main corridor for crossing the state and then heading north. Greg got busy using his maps, the computer and the telephone on Monday afternoon and worked through the evening to determine if there was another route—one where we could avoid the storm damage. YES!! We would leave early on Tuesday and head straight through the Adirondack Mountains. I was so excited and a bit apprehensive. This would be such a neat experience; however, would we be ok in our BIB RIG going through some of the back roads. Oh, well, “Let the adventure begin!!”

We got on the road on an absolutely magnificent day. It was sunny and the world was just so green after all of the rain from the earlier storm. Greg is a good driver and he took it slow and easy on the more narrow roads. We enjoyed every mountain, every road, every boulder covered stream bed, the quaint houses, the back roads country stores, the ponds and lakes. Everything was beautiful and we were in the back woods and were really experiencing a “fantasy” adventure.

After we got off the mountain roads we headed north past Lake George, the real tourist area in the Adirondack Mountains (kinda like Ocean City). It was a really long day—we were backtracking (200 miles lost due to the storm). We felt like we had arrived when we were on the road heading to Lake Champlain. The roads were curvy, but exciting as the elevation decreased—we would soon be seeing Lake Champlain (history—right in our reach!!). We began to get a little worried; as we got off the north bound interstate there was a gigantic orange sign that read, “Paradox, 24 hour ferry—free of charge”. We could not figure it out. We kept looking for clarification. We didn’t want to arrive at Lake Champlain and learn that the bridge was out and that we would need to detour. And, then our luck changed, a highway patrolman was sitting on the side of the road. We stopped and asked what the sign had meant. He responded, “The bridge over Lake Champlain is down; all traffic must use the 24-hour ferry.” We thought the worst; we’re gonna have to turn around and detour. So, Greg asked, “Can we get on the ferry? We’re so long and heavy”. His response was, “Oh, sure. You will fit. The 18-wheelers all cross there. “ We were relieved until we arrived at the ferry. Sure, it was a big ferry and yes, the 18 wheelers were getting off and on the ferry. Oh, well, there wasn’t much time to think, we were going onto the next ferry. It was already our turn.! Almost all of the other cars and trucks were loaded and then there was a spot left for us—right in the middle of the ferry, adjacent to the Pilot’s cabin. The young man who was guiding the other cars motioned to us. I could not look we were so close to all of the other cars and the pilot’s cabin. The guy directing us onto the ferry was confident and sure. He pushed in all of the mirrors on the cars on our right. We were so close to the pilot’s cabin and the cars that we could literally shake hands with them. We were so close that we could not have opened the door to the RV, had there been an emergency!! Thank goodness, the ferry was crossing at the most narrow point of Lake Champlain and the ride over lasted only about 15 minutes—not a minute too soon for me.

WOW! The VT farms were so big and the fields so spectacular. We were on narrow roads and then we began the climb out of the lake valley. We were almost touching our noses to the ground when we went through the first town, built right onto the hillside. So many Victorian stores and houses. We were soon miles away from Lake Champlain but parallel to it and on the valley ridge. We loved all of the little shops along the highway. The largest town we went through, prior to Burlington, VT (on Lake Champlain) was Shelburne (also n Lake Champlain)—lots of little shops, B &Bs, restaurants, museums and neat buildings.

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