My Route

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Day 11: Thursday, 12th July. Destination: Deer Meadows Motel, Inlet, New York

This is bear country, and everyone has a photo or two to show you of a bear wandering through their backyard. But we haven’t seen any yet – just a few chipmunk and some pretty flowers. First stop of the day was at the tourist town of Long Lake in order to drink coffee and check out the quality of local snacks. Pulling in to Hoss’s General Store, we saw a young man pushing a large, black bear across the yard in a shopping cart. Not a real one, as it turned out, but from a distance close enough to make you wonder – if just for a moment.

The Adirondacks are all lush forested mountains and crisp blue lakes. Lovely cycling country: the hills are just big enough to make you feel like you’re making an effort, without being so big as to wear you out. We passed Blue Mountain Lake, where people were fishing and rowing boats, enjoying the sunshine and quiet roads. Lunch at a rock’n’roll bar in Raquette Lake then on to the Meadow Motel outside a place called Inlet. Edward headed into town to have more work done on his bike (he’d been cycling most of the day with his front disk brake rubbing against the wheel, which would have driven me crazy), while Ewa and I checked out the lake across the road.

Some paddling was done (by Ewa), and then we wandered along to where a sign advertised flying-boat trips. Seeing the plane bobbing on the lake by the shore was all it took to convince us that this was an opportunity we’d regret not taking. So, a couple of hours later, the three of us were being whisked across the lake and into the air for a 20 minute loop over the surrounding lakes, forests and mountains. A lot of fun, and strangely disorientating to see from above the countryside we’d cycled through: roads and houses disappeared under the canopy of trees making the area look uninhabited as far as the eye could see. How on earth did we make our way through all that?

In the evening we ate at a rather posh restaurant at the eastern end of the Fulton Chain lakes, which Edward had discovered on his earlier cycle-mending foray into town. In an unexpected touch, the place provided crayons to doodle on the paper placemats. We drew some flowers. As dusk fell, Adirondack chairs set alongside the grassy shore provided an almost too picturesque location to watch the sun set across golden waters, till we were left in fairy lights and darkness - before having to belt home to rescue our almost-dry clothes from an unexpectedly heavy shower.