Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: friends, special events, travel, vacation

So we woke up early in Niagara Falls… ready to get started on Day Two of our adventure!
We knew we had a long ways to go… and yet we had to walk down to see the falls in daylight first!!! So cool to see it in natural light… to fully see the power & force of the water. But where does it all come from? Where does it all go?… and more importantly… Why doesn’t it ever stop???

We stopped to get gas before we head out…
and I loved seeing how they had even “Canada-ized” the McDonald’s logo!!!

And then the moment of truth… going through Customs in the opposite direction!
The Customs Agent going into Canada told us that Canada pretty much lets anyone into their country… but it’s getting back into the USA that is a bit tougher. And here we are without any passports!… “PASSPORTS PLEASE!!!”

So here go again… but this time we know what’s going on… and we’re hoping for the best. Needless to say, the US Customs Agent was not nearly as chatty & cute. He was a bit more gruff & obstinate. He found no humor in our situation. But eventually he let us through.. and BACK INTO THE USA!!!

And so we were off… back on the road. I finally got a chance to drive…
and found out that Chris is a brilliant conversationalist!!!

Needless to say, upstate New York is beautiful! So many trees and hills…
and they only increased as we headed towards Lake Placid and into the Adirondack Mountains! As the mountains & trees increased, so did my anticipation, excitement & anxiety about the race!

And then with Chris back at the wheel… the rain clouds moved in!
Okay, maybe full-on STORM CLOUDS!!! It was crazy. Tough to see the road at times! Good thing was that the locals all turn their flashing hazard lights on when the rain comes. Brilliant idea!

The rain stopped as we carried on… but there were more clouds to come.

The sky eventually cleared up as we entered Adirondacks State Park.

As we continued on, the trees & mountains increased. So pretty… and yet somewhere back in the deep recesses of my head I started worrying about the IRONMAN race ahead of us. This are not little hills for bike riding… they’re downright MOUNTAINS!!!

At the High Peaks North rest area, we read some signs about how HUGE the Adirondacks State Park is… it’s the largest contiguous state park in the country, over six million acres… approximately the same size as Vermont… and three times the size of Yellowstone!

Somewhere along the road… I had forgotten how big Adirondacks State Park was… I knew it was huge, but I was wrong when I kept referring to it as “six hundred million acres!!!” By erroneously adding the “hundred” into the equation, I made the park a LOT bigger in my head… and my stories!!!

Soon enough we started seeing signs… exciting & somewhat terrifying… LAKE PLACID!!! Reality started setting in about the endurance race before us! Chris may have been training for real… legit training with a professional trainer!!! Me?… not so much. I was a bit concerned about my lack of training. And quite honestly, a bit unfocused knowing that my Mom was still in the hospital and not getting better… and knowing that some tough decisions were being made while I was gone. In fact TODAY was the day that my Dad, brother & sister were having a very serious meeting with my Mom’s doctors to determine if there was truly any hope of her improving. I wish I could have been there… as it was in my mind a lot of the day… but we all knew that my Mom would have wanted me to go through with this trip to compete in my THIRD full IRONMAN race!

The scenery was AMAZING!!!
So beautiful… we had to stop a couple times along the way to take in the sights & smells….
and dip our toes in the water!!!

We finally made it to the small town of Lake Placid. A quaint little town known for hosting TWO Winter Olympics!!!… as well as hosting the Lake Placid IRONMAN!!! So much so that they have a large placard on a boulder in front of Mirror Lake. See the buoys?… already set out in the lake for the race. A little concerning as I am NOT a strong swimmer! And can you see where the buoys go?… ALL THE WAY down to the other end of the lake!!! I was a little freaked seeing the distance… and knowing that we had to swim all the way down & back… hop out of the water… get back in… and do it all again for a second loop!!! YIKES!!!

A full 2.4 miles of YIKES!!!

And here you can see the buoys a bit better… ALL THE WAY DOWN!!!
For this race, the buoys would always be on our right… swimming the yellow side first, then returning back on the orange side!

After a bit of an internal meltdown… I calmed down a bit as we walked around town and finally had dinner at a sweet little restaurant overlooking Mirror Lake… and the ever-present Swim course! Just as a constant reminder! A reminder that I don’t know how to swim well… and might NOT be prepared enough to do this!!! 2.4 miles is a LONG way to swim!!!

Loved the low-flying fog & clouds moving in & floating through the hills opposite the lake!

A healthy dinner after all of the junk & coffee cake pizza I had eaten all day in the car. A little clean protein and something green actually tasted great! And another great ending to Day Two of our adventure!… and Welcome to Lake Placid!!!





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