Sunday, June 24, 2012

Adirondacks Day 5 (C) - Sun 6/24/12

Part 12, The End of the Line

Arriving back at our camp at around 2:15pm, we find Dave napping in his tent. When he hears us moving about and gets up soon after, we find out that he has indeed gotten to the top of Algonquin, the second highest peak in NY, by himself. Congrats to Dave.

Breaking Camp
On as less positive note, a check of the weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow shows a very high likelihood of rain beginning around 9pm and continuing through into the day tomorrow. This is not good news, as the idea of breaking camp and packing the van in the rain (or its aftermath) tomorrow morning is not appealing to anyone. Following a brief discussion, it is a unanimous choice that there is no point in risking a disastrous morning just to get one more night around the campfire tonight. We will all miss it, but the plan is to pack up and be on the road later this afternoon, getting a couple hours south of here, and finishing the drive home tomorrow.

4:18pm - We have targeted 4:30pm as our departure time, but we are packed and on the road ahead of schedule. The skies are intermittently threatening as we say goodbye to the Wilderness Campground at Adirondack Loj and head for Lake George or points south.

Farewell site #10
Traffic is light, Phil's foot is heavy, and we make very good time once on 87 south. It is about 5:30 when we get to the Lake George area, and we choose to bypass the motel that we stayed at on the way here, and decide that we will find something in the Albany area another hour or so south. It is still early, and every mile we do tonight is a mile we won't have to do tomorrow.

As we near Albany, there are signs for motels and hotels at most exits. Determining that we would rather be on the south side of the city before stopping (so as to avoid any Monday morning commute traffic into the city), the plan is to find something off the last one or two of the Albany exits. Prevailing wisdom is that we should stay near the city, as once we get any distance south there will likely not be much for miles.

6:25pm - According to plan, we get off at the last Albany city exit and begin looking for a place to stay. The first place right off the exit, the Hotel Regency, turns out to be closed due to a fire. Rather than head further out the exit road away from town, we think it best to head into town. Problem is, the town we are heading into doesn't seem all that nice. Thus begins an odyssey of Google searching, random driving, and Phil conversing with his talking iPhone assistant that will last us the next hour and 45 minutes. We find no places. We find places that are too pricey. We find ourselves on a connector highway heading east across the Hudson River to link up with the Mass Turnpike to Springfield MA. It is first comical, then annoying, then downright frustrating. All the while we are running lower and lower on gas, and don't have many options to fill the tank. Finally, somewhere on the east side of  the Hudson, we find a Pilot minimart, and pay to fill the tank only to find that the computer system has frozen up and all the pumps are non-functional. Never in my life have I seen such a thing, but I have seen it now. A local points us to a gas station down the road, so our tank is now full but we still have no place to stay.

An iPhone search and a call to an Econolodge has us headed back towards where we started, and ultimately to a motel that looks good, if Beirut circa 1980's is your thing. This Econolodge is apparently undergoing renovations, and looks like it has been bombed out recently. No wonder they had plenty of empty rooms. I would much rather sleep in the van than set foot in that place.

In the end, after an hour and 45 minutes of wandering around, we end up at a Comfort Inn a quarter mile further out the road from the burned down Hotel Regency where we started this journey. The price was reasonable, and the place was nice, although at this point I couldn't possibly have cared less how much it cost.

8:15pm - We are checking into the Comfort Inn and talking to the desk clerk to find a place to eat.

We head down the street to a Chili's, and have a nice end-of-trip dinner. I have chicken fajitas washed down with a glass of wine, and they hit the spot.

As usual, Dave and I are in bed by around 10pm. Tomorrow we go home.

Next... Homeward Bound

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