When was the last time you took a trip without making plans as to where you were going? Have you ever just picked up a map and pointed to a state other than the one you live in and announced that is where you are going? I didn’t think many of you have, but it can be an exciting adventure.
Every summer many trips were decided upon by opening up a map of The United States and depending on our allotted time we planned accordingly. New York State was chosen because of the many state parks as well as old towns along the way that were established hundreds of years ago. Our trips were unusual in that it was made via motorcycle.
Living in the Cleveland, Ohio area we traveled on 90 East to 81 North then took Route 3 east in Watertown, New York. Traveling through the Adirondack Mountains had me holding on to my seat. Being the passenger on a motor cycle has its advantages and disadvantages. Seeing the world around you while the wind caressed your face as the sun warmed you is always a plus. Victorian mansions that were manicured nicely littered the mountainside. Going down steep mountain roads with sharp bends left you with sore muscles and cramped fingers. A few small towns at the bottom of slopes allowed us to stretch and whet our whistle. You felt small as you looked up at the snow peaked mountains on all directions.
Traveling east on Route 3 we took a left on route 86 SE. The Harley Davidson Road King decided to come to a screeching halt at Lake Placid. It was picturing taking time for me. The 1988 Olympics flashed through my mind as I snapped pictures of the Olympic Center on one side of me and the flags of many different countries on the other side. Just south of the center of town to my left I was awestruck by White Face Mountain. The mountain was green this time of year but I could see evidence of marked ski areas. A large sign informed us that this was dedicated to the veterans of the Tenth Mountain Division World War II. This picturesque sight is not only a haven for skiers and hikers but since the Ausable River-West Branch runs through kayaking and canoeing are in demand as well. Along the shore many camp grounds facilities can be found just in case one may want to stay for a few days. The Road King groaned to move onward.
It has been said that the Adirondacks are different from other mountain ranges in North America in that they are comprised of more than 30,000 miles of brooks and streams, 6,000 miles of rivers as well as 3,000 miles of lakes and ponds. The largest of the lakes is Lake Champlain. Origins of the Hudson River can be found on the shoulder of Mount Marcy. She rises to 5,344 feet and is one of the “high peaks” of the Adirondack Mountains.
We continued on 86 SE then took 9N until we reached AuSable Chasm, another part of the Adirondack Park 12 miles south of Plattsburgh, New York. All around there was nothing but natural wonder. Miles on end of forest and yet smack in the middle was a winding deep gorge with many waterfalls. This gorge had been formed millions of years ago by the forces of ice, wind, as well as water. What had been left behind were cliffs of granite.
We crossed a foot bridge and descended down into a thick wooded area but at the same time a view of the cliffs and Ausable River allowed us to enjoy the continued work of Mother Nature. The cliffs displayed colored layers of years and centuries. Many areas had recent growth of greenery while other areas displayed jagged rock. Once we reached the opening to the banks of the river, off to our right we saw rainbows extending from cliffs of one side of the river to the other. Looking up stream the tumbling waters crashed into the Chasm with a thundering sound that echoed throughout the gorge.
Off the path near us we saw imprints in the soft ground of various local animals. Of course I had to take pictures as evidence that I had been close to a bear and large deer. Fossils of various life forms embedded themselves in rock along the banks of the Ausable River ended up on film as well.
The most impressive scene was the grain mill which had not been in commission for a hundred years. It was nestled on the banks of the Ausable Rive and in the back ground you could see a few water falls. Back in the 1800’s flour was grind in this mill which supplied the area.
You don’t have to go out and get a motorcycle to enjoy this trip any vehicle would do, whether it is a horse and buggy or just a car will suffice. Now go get a map and see how far you will venture.