Mike and Di ByCycle 2016 travel blog

As we stop to view Ticonderoga in the valley, we can see...

Fort Ticonderoga

Fort Ticonderoga, protection for the fort

Fort Ticonderoga restored to its original structure

Official military lowering of the flag and folding of the flag at...

Ok, I think I am over my mistake of yesterday. We had quite a nice evening in Schroon Lake and The Maple Leaf Motel. The owner and life long New Yorker came for a wee chat, bringing us fresh apples picked from his tree only moments before he handed them to us! Crispy and fresh! He shared his stories of life in The Adirondacks, always enjoy learning more. He made is sound very complicated to be a landowner in New York and living in The Adirondacks. Many rules and regulations about where and how you can build, and even how much lumber you can take from your own land. It got quite confusing, and I am not sure I can even explain it all! It made for great conversation and apple crunching!

This morning we had our morning meal at Shirly's Diner in Schroon Lake. One of those great local diners we have come to search out and love so much! Shirley starts her day at 3:30 am to accommodate logging trucks and other early risers! Great customer service! Once on the road the trip was an easy (relatively speaking!) one and before we knew it we were at the top of the great 3 mile downhill that would take us into Ticonderoga. People have been asking us if we were going to Ticonderoga and when we said yes, they all would roll their eyes and mention THE HILL! We were anticipating the hill and ready for the climb, so you can imagine our surprise when we realized the hill we had to tackle was DOWNhill. No one ever mentioned it was a descent into Ticonderoga for us and not UP!! That was a relief!

Once in town, we decided it might be a fun idea to stay here for the day, even tho it was still early and we had only gone 20 miles! Mike had the idea of once again going through our bags and lightening the load because we are still having nightmares about the hills and mountains ahead, we should only carry what is absolutely necessary to finish the last few weeks of the trip. We spent a few hours repacking and preparing the excess baggage for a fifth trip to the post office to send things home!! I wanted to make a connection with the history of the area and spend some time at Fort Ticonderoga. I have never been good at history, the ability to quote dates or make references to famous battles or even been able to chronologically memorize history; but there is something about being on the very site of historical places where the tiles we are walking on were also under the feet of famous history making, America birthing leaders like George Washington, Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen as well as the thousands that fought to protect and expand the growth of this country but have faded into a blur of battles won and lost. To imagine the scene and how it must have been for these men in the freezing conditions, fighting in hand to hand combat and existing on minimal rations. As we approached Ticondaroga on our bicycles this morning and stopped at the top of the hill looking at the valley in the distance, realizing that had these early settlers and explorers stopped in the same spot, all they would have seen in any direction on the horizon was trees; even the lie of the land would not have been visible to them unless they were on a cliff that rose above the trees! This area was actually reached by boat from Lake Champlain, how daunting to track through the thick forest! The fort was built by the French, taken over by the Americans led by Benedict Arnold and then surrendered to the British. War, fighting and domination is nothing new, is it??

Our visit to Fort Ticonderoga did not even get started until 4:00 pm and the Fort closed at 5pm so we had to cram a lot of reading and exploring into an hour. We did the best we could and gleaned as much historical information as possible. So many artifacts to catch our eye, so much reading. There was a lookout point on Mt Defiance to ascend for a great overall view of the fort, but it was 3 miles up and we were on out bikes, time just was not on our side. The time spent there was beautiful and I felt it was well worth the extra ride to get to the fort and see what we did have the time to see. Now that we are in the eastern states, the history is so much older than the west. The houses and barns, some of which are still standing hold history in their walls, if only they could talk.

A fun day, one that will add to the memory and experiences we have been so blessed to enjoy on this trip!

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