Nearly Canada

Trip Start Aug 21, 2010
Trip End Dec 31, 2010

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Flag of United States  , New York
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When we first saw Star Lake plotted on a map, we knew we were in for an adventure. It is a little town situated way up in the northern part of New York. Our first red flag was that there was not a name-brand hotel within 50 miles of our school (our school which had not had Camfel in over 10 years... so the pressure was on to perform).

We decided to just drive toward the town and make decisions as we saw opportunities. So... though we didn't have hotel reservations, we certainly had reservations about the whole thing (get it? reservations?... anyway).

Our GPS knew of a couple of motels within a reasonable driving distance, so Kelsey looked up their phone numbers (while we still had internet access around Lake George region). Out of the four motels she found, zero answered their phones. Not a good sign. It turned into more of an adventure when, shortly, we drove out of cell phone reception range. We were roughing it, now!

Other small towns came and went, and we were beginning to think that we should get dinner. We decided that the first place that looked decent to dine in, we would take. Then we would go straight to our school to scout it out. The fewer surprises the next morning, the better. Then, if we hadn't found a motel within range at that point, we would drive around to a few in the area.

That was the plan.

We passed one of the motels on route. Closed. Lot open for auction.
It's okay... it looked shady and was out in the middle of nowhere anyway.

We passed through Cranberry Lake. The Thirsty Moose Pub was open.. but was a dark joint and didn't look welcoming. There was an equally-dark-looking motel across the parking lot. It would do in a pinch.. but.. we kept driving.

Passed another restaurant along route. Closed on Mondays. It was Monday.

We took a detour to find a restaurant that TomTom knew about. The Pinecone Restaurant. We were hungry enough to eat pinecones, so it would do. This restaurant, however, was on the campus of Ranger School. Awesome... Ranger School. Oh, and the restaurant was closed.
So we left Ranger School and got back on route.

We began looking for parking pull-offs on the side of the road. We seriously considered camping in our van for the night. We had some tuna and crackers, some water and pretzels... we wouldn't starve.

At this point, we were just a few miles from Star Lake. As we got to the center of the town, a small beacon of light beckoned us and warmed our souls. It was the lit sign of a Nice N' Easy Convenient Store and gas station. It was like heaven descending upon us. We pulled in, and with wide eyes, entered the store. There were people, there was light, there was warmth! And there was a pizza counter! We ordered a bacon ranch pizza, and browsed the shelves as we waited for it to cook.

There were even a couple of sitting booths where we ate our pizza when it was ready. It was actually fantastic pizza. As we ate, a couple of boy scouts came up to us and asked us if we wanted to purchase some oranges and grapefruits from Florida. "Sorry little dude, we just traveling through. We wouldn't be able to pick them up from you." Hm... that looked like too complicated of a "no thanks" for that little kid.

With our stomachs full, we more confidently attacked the rest of the evening. TomTom took us to a completely incorrect location of the school. Fortunately, the town is a small town. We found the school a little ways further down the road. But hey--that's why we scouted it out the night before.

There was a motel across the street from the school. Perfect! But the innkeeper said that she didn't have any rooms available.
Really? Because it's such a bustling metropolis, I guess...

She pointed us to Fletcher's Motel two miles down the road. And we headed straight there.

"Hi, we're looking for a room tonight?"

"Sure, come on in."

It wasn't anything extravagant, but it was comfortable, and oh so welcome after the long night we had. We pulled a nearly 14-hour work day. Yes, all work-related. Needless to say, we crashed in front of an episode of Bones of TV, then it was lights out. Oh, but not before getting the weather report for the next day... "We've got a high of 14 degrees, and lows down to 4 degrees at night."
"Uhm... I think that's Celsius. I hope that's Celsius..."

Yes, it was Celsius. Because we were so close to Canada, we were picking up a Canadian station. Gee whiz.

So it was an adventure, all right. But it wasn't a stressful one. It was pretty fun. We got to laugh at the north woods novelties like the Ranger School. We got to enjoy some breath-taking scenic panoramas on the Northern Adirondacks. There was a new beautiful lake around every bend, and we pulled off on the side of the road on a number of occasions to take pictures.

The small town mentality of upstate New York kind of reminds us of Texas. Kind of. A very cold, very wooded, again very cold version of Texas... And it was a refreshing trip up to a region of the country to which we've never been. But I don't want to make a habit out of having to scrape our windshield in the morning halfway through October...

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