Ticonderoga, NY

July 27, 2010 11:37 pm

This morning, we went into town, as breakfast was not included with the motel. We ended up at the following place.


They were out of breakfast stuff, and weren’t ready to make lunch yet (it was almost 11 am), but I was able to get a double-size blueberry scone and coffee, and they said it would be all right if Elliot ate his food from Stewart’s Shops (a convenience store) at the table. As we were finishing up, a woman commented on the Sukodu shirt I was wearing. She was a big fan (a fact her husband attested to), and tried to explain how it worked to the cafe owner. At first, they used my shirt as a model, but I handed them a Sudoku that I was done with for closer examination.



Their helper, Alexandra, was watching from the sidelines while doing some food prep and cleanup. She was from Romania. She had found an ab machine on the internet for $14, and was about to buy it with her debit card. I pleaded with her not to do it. Not only are infomercial items generally ripoffs, she didn’t need it. My suggestion was to either do ordinary crunches, or ride a bike. What do you think, does she need an ab machine?


The others in the room mildly suggested she not do it, but what could we do? She’s an adult. Shortly after the above picture was taken she used the laptop to order it, to find that the actual price was something like $289. But she had already put her number in. The others at the table sprung into action, finding the 800 number for the company. Small town folks help each other. I’m sure she’ll get it straightened out.

On our first hill after breakfast, we came upon a lemonade stand. It was more expensive than most stands, but the cups were big. They also sold cookies, which we bought. 9-year-old Maria was running the stand, Lydia was babysitting her, and John is Lydia’s boyfriend.



The trading post was also a country store that sold produce and baked goods. In addition to our usual drinks, I got a couple French Crullers, which were not the donuts I expected. They were hollow, like croissants. There were also antiques, handmade crafts, and other souvenirs. We picked up a few small things. The woman there said there would not be much left at North Hudson, the next town. I thought it would be a major town, but it was almost deserted. Lots of For Sale signs.




About 10 miles out of Ticonderoga (or “Ti,” as the locals call it), I started to feel a stomachache. There were no bathrooms to be found, so I thought I might stick it out until the city. That turned out to be impractical, so I told Elliot I was going to turn down a road that led to a campground. I didn’t know how far the campground was, but after a quarter mile, we came upon a fire station. I asked the firefighters how far it was to the campground, and they said 3 miles, over a hill. How far to Ti? 6 miles. In that case, was there a bathroom there that I could use? Certainly. I made it just in time. The radio went off while I was in the bathroom, and when I came out, one of the engines was gone, and only Larry was left. While we were talking with him, the siren on the station went off. He said it was all just a drill. Larry recommended the Circle Court Motel in town, and The Hot Biscuit restaurant owned by his friend who lived just down the road from the firehouse.


In gratitude for the toilet, we bypassed a number of cheaper motels in town, and went straight to the Circle Court, where I am now. We went to the Hot Biscuit at 8:15 for dinner, but were surprised to find that it closes at 8 pm. We’ll catch it for breakfast on the way out.

Miles for today: 67.5

I expect turmoil in the next few days, as we scramble to plot a route to an airport to get back home. The Adventure Cycling Route does not go near any major cities in the few riding days we have left.


  1. Kendra says:

    Looks like you’re meeting quite a few people who enjoy sudoku.

    • roderick says:

      Hi, Kendra!

      Not that many. Just two that I remember. But wearing my Sudoku shirt attracted those two conversations, which would never have happened, otherwise. In this cafe, if Sue didn’t make a comment, I would have finished my scone and left, no conversation with anyone there. That’s how conversations seem to start, a small gambit on a trivial matter.


      p.s. We’re looking at going off-route tomorrow, and getting home a day early.

  2. Marilyn Lang says:

    That firefighter guy is HUGE! @_@

    I believe that the bird is the Common Raven, Corvus corax. (Yes, there is at least one other, less common species of raven in the US.) My gut instinct when I saw that pic said “Raven!”, and when I looked up ravens in my Audubon handbook (which only covers the Western US), it said that the Common Raven’s range included the Great Lakes and the northeastern US. I then checked the Cornell University ornithology lab’s page on the bird, and the only other alternative seems to be the American Crow – and this critter looks much more raven than crow to me. (We have a murder of crows hanging around our neighborhood with at least one pair nesting in our yard, so I’m somewhat familiar with them, lol.)

    I’m almost sorry to hear that you are coming to the end of your adventure – but I am sure that you will be glad to get back to the comforts of home!

    • roderick says:

      Well, I’m not a big guy, so that’s not a good comparison, but if I were stuck in a sinking car, Larry is the guy I would want to rescue me.

      Another person responded offline that the bird was unlikely to be a raven, more likely an immature crow. I forgot to mention, the thing was huge – bigger than the crows in San Jose. I thought it might be an Eagle or something. When I was approaching, it looked like it had two heads (two beaks), but upon closer examination, it simply had its beak open wide, and was keeping it fixed open. The bird flew away before I could get a good picture, but I snapped what I could quickly. It made no sound. If it cawed, that would have been a giveaway.

      – Roderick.

      • Marilyn Lang says:

        Well, I’m not an avid birder (just interested in IDing the birds that I see), so I certainly could be wrong. Looking at the tail shape in your photo again, it *might* be a crow (I should have paid more attention to that!) but given the huge size of the thing I still lean towards “raven”. (And yeah, any kind of vocalization would have helped nail it.)

        Did you happen to notice any shaggy throat feathers? And was it flying across the road (as in, from field to field) or cruising down the road when you encountered it?

        “And here’s a useful behavior clue: ravens cruise along roads looking for roadkill. Crows don’t typically do this, so if you see a bird flying right down the middle of a road, it’s probably a raven.”

  3. Marilyn Lang says:

    Should have added this URL…. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/common_raven/id

    Hope you see some more wildlife in these last few days!

    • roderick says:

      Elliot saw a live raccoon on the Erie Canal trail. We also saw about 100 dead ones. If raccoon coats were still in vogue, we could have made several.

  4. Sue Kunzmann says:

    Hi Roderick and Elliot,

    This website is wonderful – thanks for giving us one of your cards!

    The bird is definitely a raven. We have many of them in the Adirondacks. They have thicker bills than crows do, and are much larger. Their call is more like a RAW than a CAW.

    By the way, I finished all of the Fiendish Suduko puzzles you gave me.

    It was wonderful to meet both of you, and good luck on your return to Califonia.

    • roderick says:

      Hi, Sue!

      Well, the local must be right. I yield, it’s a Raven.

      Just so everybody’s in on the story, I had printed out a bunch of Sukoku to take on the trip, but found that the Fiendish ones simply were taking too long. Most of my time not on the bike was spent either chatting with locals, or updating this blog. When I gave the paper to Sue, all the easier puzzles on the page had been used up, leaving only the worst ones.

      It’s amazing how small actions lead to entire chains of events. If I had worn a different shirt, Sue wouldn’t have commented. We would have finished our breakfast quietly, never having met anyone in the restaurant…

      All the best to you,