Unexpected moments…the summit of Whiteface!
Trip Start Jul 13, 2013
31Trip End Aug 12, 2013
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Where I stayed
KOA 1000 Islands at Association Island
Pulling out of camp at 9:00, I was under the impression that we were heading for Lake Placid and then on to Saranac Lake. As it turned out, John had been studying our literature and found that there is a road (Veterans' Memorial Highway) that goes from Wilmington to the summit of Whiteface Mountain, and it was HIS plan to try to travel its length! According to a brochure, the highway was built in the 1920’s, when the automobile was relatively new. Whiteface Mountain is New York’s fifth-highest peak and the project was endorsed in 1929. Then Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt turned the first spade of earth that September. Construction began in 1931 and created scores of jobs for engineers, construction workers, and stone masons during the early years of the Great Depression
Our drive from the toll house to the Castle on the highway was at 8% grade for five miles, raising over 2,300 feet in elevation…it was STEEP! At the very top the elevation was over 4,900 feet. I LOVE precipitous cliffs! As many of you know, John has a few issues with, not so much high elevations, but with the steep drops off the side of the road with no trees or guard rails to ease his vertigo. The gentleman at the entrance was questioned closely as to what the climb would be like
The road was VERY uneven with what we assume are frost heaves of a major nature. We only drove about 10 MPH up the mountain but that was OK as that enabled us to look at the views a little more closely. The first part of the day we were virtually the only ones on the road which was very nice as we never felt pushed at all. As we drove higher on the side of Whiteface, the vegetation changed dramatically. We went from VERY tall trees, huge boulders covered with inches of mosses to an Alpine environment the closer to the summit we came.
As I said, we rode the elevator to the top and the views were world class when we got out onto the platform. Not only is the area there greatly used by tourists, it is also the home of weather stations and much electronic equipment used by the Department of Homeland Security.
Leaving the mountain a little after 11:00 we passed MANY more vehicles heading to the top
As we drove through Lake Placid on our way west, we found that the number of people there had not declined appreciably since yesterday with the exception of the number of bicycle riders! As you can see from the pictures, cars were parked everywhere. We decided it was just too crowded for us to stop, find a place to park the RV, and try to look around the town. Maybe another trip for that! We did stop for gasoline on the outside of town and paid $3.82/gallon. We also made a short stop at a Price Chopper (do you remember those from your years in NY Kimbo?) and picked up a couple of necessary items before heading westward once again. By the way, we have probably been as far east as we will be on this trek of ours…now you will have to stay tuned to see what direction is next!
Kris and Chuck—we made a point of driving through your old hometown of Saranac Lake. What a NICE place! In my imagination I could see the two of you going about your days there, and know you must have enjoyed it very much.
Today was a longer driving day than we have had lately
We arrived at our home away from home, KOA 1000 Islands at Association Island at 6:00 with the outside temperature at a very comfortable 71 degrees. We can see Lake Ontario from our rig (we are about 200 feet away from its shore) and were treated to a lovely sunset about an hour ago! Tomorrow we are planning to take a boat tour of the thousand island area and may or may not be back to this campground. It all depends on where stopping time finds us I guess!
We drove 181 miles today…I think Mufasa thought he was being abused after so many days of leisure!