Lake George Here We Come Roadtrip-A-Rama, DAY 1

Trip Start Jun 13, 2004
Trip End Jun 19, 2004

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Flag of United States  , New York
Sunday, June 13, 2004

Day One of our first real roadtrip. Tris and I are accompanied by our friend Chris. She is running late! Crazy people with their late packing and so on. We arrive late because she said on the phone how if we arrived on time she would not be ready. Ha! That will teach us. We manage to leave at the vaguely respectable hour of 10:00am. This is the long version of our route -- up through the backroutes of Maine to Route 2 in Bethel, then across New Hampshire and Vermont to Burlington, where we drift down the side of Lake Champlain and across the New York state line, soon to pick up Route 9 which takes us right into the heart of Lake George Village where our hotel is. We pull in after 7:00pm, but in the time elapsed we have seen and done a lot of crazy stuff -- the extra time and distance was worth it!

Chris and I are packing some serious new digital cameras (hers looks like a tank!) and our first occasion to use them with relish occurs in Oxford, Maine, where we come across a giant melting icecream cone on the roof of Konehead Ice Cream. Yeehaw! A fine start. We move slowly at first, only shooting the really choice stuff. Later we get a little wilder, and I wind up with over 1000 photos by the end of the week.

Route 2 is gorgeous. Traffic is minimal, the sky is blue, the gas tank of the Subaru is full, and all is well. We stop for coffee in Lancaster, a small New Hampshire town which has a really cool old Rialto theater front (Chris was smart and took a shot of it, when she puts her travelogue up I will link to it so you can all see). The coffee is great, the cafe interesting -- one of the Common Grounds cafes that is run by the Twelve Tribes cult. Very hobbit-ish inside and comfy, but one can't help but think that one of the counter attendants is looking at us very strangely. The cafe is on Main Street, which is Route 2. Further up the street we are tantalized by a giant moose in a hideously wonderful golfing outfit. The cameras come out again! Mental note to self to visit this mini golf later in the summer, perhaps.

The drive goes on, AAA Triptik and map in hand (very handy indeed, thank you AAA!), surrounded by sunny trees, clear roads, ridiculously blue sky filled with FLUFFY white clouds. Madness! Summer madness! We are beset on all sides.

In St. Johnsbury, Vermont, we slew off to the side of the road as we are stopped by the amazement incurred by seeing The Farmer's Daughter, a big old "gift barn"(?!) right on Route 2. The huge sign at the side of the road features a buxom blonde in a dress, her skirt hitched up to reveal her bright blue panties. Oh, boy. How could we pass up the opportunity?

The shop itself is pretty cool, with prices for maple syrup that we later find to be the best we run into (swift kick to self for not buying more there). The rafter beams are covered with antique oddities and fun signs, but there is no running water in the barn, hence no restroom. Too bad!

I buy a pint flask of Northern Comfort (ha ha, clever tourist lure in the form of a hipflask of Southern Comfort filled with maple syrup, of course) for $7 and change, and a pennant souvenir of the barn (which doesn't show the sign out front, but that's okay), which is surprisingly cheap, less than a dollar, I think. I've never actually bought a pennant before. This could be the start of something dangerous.

After making friends with the old crazy-looking carved wood bear out front, we move on to our object, the Maple Syrup museum (unfortunately closed on Sundays), home of the World's Largest Maple Syrup Can.

The can is colorful and somehow different than we expect. The gift shop, even though its sign says it is open, is not. We are disappointed and hungry. Thwarted from our task of exploring maple-y wonders of Vermont, we move on to the St. Johnsbury House of Pizza in search of sustenance and restrooms.

We bypass the Fairbanks Museum as time is ticking and daylight slipping. A strange mural catches our eye on another main street. Classical arches and toga-wearing figures stand oddly about on the brick wall. On the second story level of the arches a black cat inspects an urn. At street level one of the figures sports incongrous and fascinating sunglasses. The cameras click and snap. Our next stop is a fun one, spotted on the little ads bordering the House of Pizza's placemats -- Brookside Statuary, Home of the Pink Pig. We can scarcely believe it -- a veritable wonderland of strange statuary, a heathenish mix of gnomes, saints, virgins, frogs, hedgehogs and Christ figures with flames stuck on their heads flanked by fairies.

The owner is gruff but courteous. He doesn't allow photos in the workshop, which broke my heart -- the justaposition of colors and imagery begged desperately to be captured by my lens. But outside was fair game. I walked off with some funny pictures and a dozey little turtle in green-tinted concrete for $15.

The owner finds out we're from Maine and mentions that he'd been to the Spring Flower Show that is held in Scarborough there each March, and wouldn't go back, though they'd asked him. He had won an award, but there had been various offenses by the local vendors that made the trip unpleasant -- petty thievery and comments about him not being from Maine and having no right to be there. It's funny how some very unpleasant people seem to wind up in what seem like they'd be the most pleasant of businesses.

We drove on... and encountered a gigantic beaver in a lumberjack cap, wielding a humongous sandwich at the side of the road in the lot of G&L General Store. Heaven help us!

Many hours after starting, we reached our destination -- Lake George! As we drove down Route 9, we could hardly believe our eyes. A gorgeous lake, fabulous mountains, and to all appearances a good portion of the town was a throwback to the 1950s! Holy cow!!! Starving as we were, we couldn't help being very excited about poking around and seeing what was what. The tail end of Americade (a huge 60,000+ biker rally) lingered on the main drag but was so minimal it was barely noticeable. The neon sign of O'Sullivan's beckoned us. There was an envelope taped to the office door with our key in it for cabin #33, and we wandered down in the fading sunlight to see what our new digs were like. We found our parking spot and a bonafide log cabin waiting for us, complete with yellow bug lights, barkcloth curtains from the 1950s, and a modern kitchen. Wow!

However, our stomachs beckoned, and after a brief flurry of unloading the car and inspecting our rooms, we ran up the hill to see what food the town could offer us. We wound up at Gino and Tony's Italian Eatery, and were pleasantly surprised.

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