Vermont, Lake Placid, Williamsport, Lewis & Clark, Corn Palace.
22.09.2016 - 26.09.2016
Steve and Katie's guest bedroom does not have a window so you don't get any light clues when to get up. I woke up around 6am and decided to do some stretching and stomach exercises before heading downstairs. Holly greeted me when I came into the den. She wanted to go outside so I got the leash and gave her a small walk. Holly wanted to head down the street on her regular route, but I kept her on the lawn. After about 5 minutes of tugging for a longer walk, she did her business and we went back inside. I waited until I heard someone else get up and started my oatmeal. Katie came down first and we chatted a bit until I noticed my shin was bleeding again. Katie did some first aid on my wound and then she had to go to work. I ate and waited for Steve to come downstairs. He fixed his BF while we talked. I was going to follow him to Standard Chair so I could say goodbye to the office ladies. I thanked Steve again for letting me stay with him before and after my flight to Iceland. After saying goodbye to Steve and all the office staff, I headed out. I have 6 days before I wanted to be in South Dakota so had to decide what I wanted to see on the way back West. I did some shopping at Walmart in Gardner, gassed up and headed for Vermont. I wanted to visit the capitol, Montpelier and also Ben & Jerry's factory tour. Up thru New Hampshire, I-91 to I-89 and headed for Burlington. I saw a sign for Joseph Smith's birthplace and decide to stop. It is not too far off 89 but a few more signs would have been helpful. As I walked to the first building, a lady came down to give me the tour. I have several Mormon friends so I knew the basics of Joseph Smith and the start of the Mormon religion. I told her I only had limited time so did not walk out to the big monument or see everything. I took some photos, a brochure and moved on.
By the time I got to Montpelier, the Capitol building was closed. Some photos of the outside and headed for Waterbury, home of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory Tour. It was after 5pm but they run tours until 9pm in Sept. Paid my $3 and waited for the tour to start. I had been on it many years ago but thought it was worth an hour of my time. You cannot take many photos inside the factory, but you do get a free sample of ice cream! They change the flavor daily so not telling what you are going to get.
I drove towards Burlington and stopped at a rest stop and info center. Once this far north in VT, the only way across to New York is a car ferry and you have several choices. The one out of Burlington is $30 and takes an hour. I chose the Grand Isle to Plattsburgh NY ferry, $10.25 and 15 minutes. It is a very scenic drive to the ferry but it was getting dark quickly. I got in line, paid my $10.25 and got on the ferry. Within 5 minutes we set off for Plattsburgh. I never got out of my van as it is a short ride and very little room to open the door. I follow all the vehicles off the ferry and head for Plattsburgh. I put Wendy's in my GPS and followed the directions. I had dinner, brought my journal up to date, read my book, bathroom and then followed GPS to Walmart. I found the RVs parked off to the side and pulled next to one. I walked into Walmart to kill time and buy some bananas, apples, pop tarts. I got my van ready and called it a night.
I was up with the sun and decided to head for Lake Placid. I had been there on my last trip to upstate NY and thought it was worth another visit. I drove slowly thru Lake Placid and finally found a free parking spot. Like many resort towns, not much free parking close to tourist attractions. My parking spot was next to Mirror Lake, got out and snapped a few shots. It was perfect weather, shorts & t-shirt after the sun had warmed things up. A lady was watering plants at the Mirror Lake Inn and I asked her where I could fix my BF. She suggested Lake Placid, only about a mile down the road I was on. I drove to Lake Placid and pulled into the boat docking area. There are several tables plus a bathroom here plus free parking. Had my oatmeal, cleaned up and drove to the closest free parking I could find. I took my camera and walked to downtown Lake Placid. I went into the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, paid my $5 and walked the exhibits. This is where both the 1932 & 1980 Olympic skating events were held. The 'Miracle on Ice' in 1980 forever immortalized this rink for Americans. After the Museum I walked back to my van and decided to drive to the Olympic Ski Jump complex, paid the $8 senior rate, parked and took the chairlift up to the top. Plenty of great photo options from the top of the ski jump hill. There were no jumpers today but we had beautiful weather plus the fall foliage was just starting to turn.
After I had all the photos I wanted, I headed for Saranac Lake. It is a beautiful lake but w/o a boat, not worth much of my time. I looked at the map and decided I wanted to see Niagra Falls again. I have been there several times, but it has been many years and thought it worth a return visit. The Adirondack Mts are beautiful this time of year and really enjoyed driving towards Watertown. Unfortunately, the weather turned against me as I got closer to Watertown. It started raining pretty hard and I pulled into a rest stop to re-evaluate my plans. It was several hundred miles out of my way to hit Niagra Falls and return to my route. I hit Syracuse and on to Binghamton. It was still raining and I decided this was as far as I was going to get tonight. I found a Wendy's, ate and asked if a Walmart was close. I got directions and it was not in my GPS. Anything built in the last 10 years is not in my GPS. I found a Walmart, bathroom, took my Aleve PM and hit the sleeping bag.
I got up when I saw daylight and headed South on I-81. Merge onto I-80 West. I stopped at a rest stop for my oatmeal and headed for Williamsport. I have watched Little League World Series for many years and wanted to see the place for myself. I took I-180 to South Williamsport and followed the signs to LLWS Museum. I paid my $5 and toured the museum. Then I walked to the ball fields, got some photos of the stadium and the famous 'Casey at the Bat' statue. All Little League players make the trek over to 'Casey'. One of the rituals of attending the LLBWS. I had asked the lady in the museum where the public library was and got directions. I drove over, signed up for a computer, checked my e-mails plus the weather on my route to South Dakota.
I got back onto I-80 West and made it to Ohio before I got tired of driving and found a Walmart for the night outside of Akron. Next day was the same routine, food, gas, drive into Iowa and spent the night at a Walmart outside of Iowa City. Next day I took I-80 to I680 to I-29 North. I saw a sign for Lewis & Clark State Park and decided to stop. I had watched the Ken Burn's 'Corps of Discovery' and wanted to see some of the places highlighted on the TV series. The park is on Blue Lake, one of the Missouri River's many branches. Lewis & Clark used the Missouri River as their path West. While at this camping spot, they made the trek to Blackbird's Grave on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. This is 1804 and most of the continent west of St. Louis had not been fully explored. The goal of the Corps of Discovery was to reach the Pacific Ocean by using the rivers. Perhaps the greatest and most difficult exploration of the US in our history. I encourage anyone not familiar with the Lewis & Clark Expedition to read the book or watch the Ken Burns special. It will be worth your time. I got some decent photos and headed for Sioux City.
There is a monument to Sergeant Floyd, the only man to die on the Lewis & Clark Expedition. It is high on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River and worth a stop if you are passing thru Sioux City.
Gas, food, and I entered South Dakota. I stopped at the information center on I-90 and then headed West. I stopped at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, photos and moved on.
I made it to Chamberlain, right on the Missouri River. Ate at McDonald's and afterward headed for a campground. I saw their sign entering Chamberlain and wanted to see their facilities and prices. It was around 8pm and figured they would be reasonable on prices for 1 night's camping. I was wrong again. They charge $23 just to park my van and a shower. I chatted with the lady and she told me about free camping down by the river. She drew me a map and I drove to the river. It really is a nice location. Quiet, close to the river, free. I had used the bathroom at McDonald's so was ready for bed. Around 9pm I got in my sleeping bag and called it a night.