July 1, A Trip to Fort Ticonderoga

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Welcome to Fort Ticonderoga

I was up at 6:30. I started with a shower at the park facilities they were fine. The two shower stalls are spacious and clean. I did not have to tuck my elbows to turn around. I decided to stop for breakfast and prepared for a day trip.

The day’s plan was a trip to Fort Ticonderoga. The RV has water, electric and sewer. The sewer hole is not conveniently located. Other sites seemed better planned. I disconnected the water and electric then swung the RV closer to the site sewage dump. My sewer line was barely long enough to reach the hole in the ground. It was stretched near to its limits. The hose trailed down then slightly up over a tree root and then up again onto the concrete circle with the sewer port. I stabilized the hose end with a supplied piece of raw wood complete with bark. After dumping the black (nasty) water I carefully raised the hose from the RV end and walked it toward the sewer. It took two attempts, before I no longer heard any sloshing water. I then completed the gray water dump in the same manner. The hose was disconnected from the RV and carefully drained then rinsed with my water hose, being careful not to contaminate the end. I left the water hose and electric cable hanging on the posts. The park staff had told me they would be safe there for the day.

I checked local diners on Google Maps and decided to head south to Sonny’s Restaurant at Ballard Rd. and I-87. It is a part of a Sunoco gas station. Parking was difficult. I considered using the truck parking behind the restaurant but it did not look very friendly. By the time I had circled back around several cars had pulled out from adjacent spots. I moved in.

The restaurant looked clean. The hostess and waitresses were very nice and dressed with patriotic colors, ear rings, and other decor. I seated myself at the far end of the small five stool horseshoe shaped counter. Another man was seated opposite me near the cash register. Half of the tables were occupied.

The waitress cheerfully announced, “Good. I got another customer.” and took my drink order of water and coffee. I asked her to get me the best deal for two pancakes, two eggs, and bacon. That’s what I got for $8.00 and change. The coffee was palatable. I got a freshen up on a half cup from another waitress. When my waitress came around she goaded me for not touching my coffee. When I told her she was late and had been beaten to the draw she accused her coworker of showing her up. Waitress banter.

While eating, a tall lanky thirty something man walked in and all the waitresses shouted out, “Eddie!”. The man sat down at a booth with his back immediately to my left and began to hassle the waitresses. When left to himself, I heard him mumbling, and laughing, and grumbling and thought he was on the phone. He was not. Shields up! I was on alert. Nothing ever happened but it was very uncomfortable to hear him whisper opinions of the waitresses and nonsensical things.

I finished eating but had not received a bill. Another patron said he was waiting for his too. I did not see the waitress. I decided to get in line for the cash register. The waitress took her cue and met me in line with the bill.

When I left I checked the pumps at the Sunoco station, and the Mobile station across the road. Neither had diesel fuel. I had plenty of fuel but wanted to top off. I headed north on I-87. As I drove I noticed a trend of only a few exit signs advertising diesel available. The interstate traffic came to a near halt when a blinding rain blew through. After five miles of driving in the rain at fifteen to thirty miles per hour I reached my exit and turned north on US 9, East SR 149. There was a Dunkn’ Donuts/ Mobil fuel station to the right. I fueled up and parked the RV to wait out the storm. It also gave me time to put on my rain jacket and grab a cup of coffee. I bought an apple fritter and left it untouched in the RV.

Back on the road the rains came and went all the way to Fort Ticonderoga. State Route 149 proved to be mostly 45 MPH speed limits interspersed with 55 MPH. I turned north on US 4. the speeds were better until the occasional town or village. There were also steep grades to climb with additional slow lanes. I would always pull to the right lane but I never got passed. I even passed one car along the way.

In Whitehall Goggle Maps got lost leaving me to decide where to go. I decided to stay on US 4 and took a right toward the Champlain Canal. The GPS picked back up and alerted me to turn before the bridge and get back onto SR 22. This took me by the Skenesborough Museum.
It looked interesting but I stayed on target. SR 22 crosses the northern tip of South Bay and meanders along away and back again from the New York, Vermont borders. It is a long twisty road.

After turning left on SR 74 at Ticonderoga, NY the park entrance was a mile up on the right.
It costs $23.00 to enter. Several discounts were offered for senior citizens, military, and AAA members. I took the AAA discount.

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The Militia

 

 

 

The rains had just stopped when I arrived. The Overflow parking to the right of the fort entrance fit the RV easily. It was a short walk to the entry. I arrived in time for a musket firing drill demonstration. The staff in period clothing did an expert job with the commander explaining the process and asking questions to involve the audience. Afterwards they addressed individual questions from the crowd on a one on one basis.

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Fort Entrance Plaque

 

I walked through the fort entrance and witnessed a plaque of individual’s names who had been through those doors. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen, and Anthony Wayne were just a few of the names.

A tour was assembling in the fort courtyard. Just then it started to rain. Then the rains became a downpour. It did not let up the entire time I was visiting. I had arrived around 10:00AM and left after 2:30. The fort was awash in rain waters that can not drain down the hillside fast enough to clear the area. The tour guide mercifully kept the tour indoors through the museum displays. It was historically informative.

After the tour I went back through the fort to look over the displays at my own pace. A man in period uniform came through announcing the fife and drum demonstration was about to start and had been moved to the auditorium due to inclement weather.

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Fife and Drum

I arrived at the large auditorium in time to catch the entire production. Three drummers and four fifers played a series of battle command tunes followed by a selection of popular songs of the American Revolution. The whole crowd seemed to enjoy the half hour show.

The rains had let up a little. I took the opportunity to grab my umbrella from the RV. I was partially soaked. My shoes and lower pant legs had taken the worst of it due to the constant runoff from the fort grounds. As I returned under my umbrella the rains became heavy again.

I finished looking through the museum and spoke to some of the re-enactors. Two young men were smoking clay pipes. The tobacco they used was as close to period tobacco as they could find from a Boston shop. The odor reminded me of burnt grass clippings. The soldiers were taking a lunch break of beef stew.

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Bringing Out the Canon

The next big event was the cannon firing at 2:00. I watched from the upper fort ramparts as the hitched cannon was moved by hand with tow ropes from the inner court to just outside the entrance. It was raining very hard. I was getting soaked in spite of the umbrella. I left the perch and took up a place in the protection of the entryway behind a crowd of spectators. We were all packed into the small hall stretching to hear and see the cannon go boom. The rain was making the firing very difficult. A soldier had to dash back in to get a fresh fire. As he passed the large flaming sparkler smelled of gunpowder. The first attempt was a dud. They waited an appropriate time and then repeated the firing process. This time it succeeded. A second firing required another run for fire. It went off without a problem.

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Canon Defense Line
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The View from the Entrance

I had been at the fort for four hours. My feet were drenched as well as my lower pants and my shirt was damp. I walked through the gift shop to the restaurant and took a table with a view of the valley along the fort’s base. The special of the day was soldier soup and a cheese sandwich. The soup selection was either split pea with ham or vegetable beef. I had the vegetable beef and an iced tea. The bowl was no bigger than my cupped hand. I could have used more. It was very tasty as was the cheese sandwich. The waitress came back to ask if I wanted desert. When she rattled off the pies and came to strawberry rhubarb, I stopped her. I could have resisted all the other selections but not strawberry rhubarb. It was served heated and a’ la mode. The meal cost $18.90 not including the tip. You pay for the atmosphere.

When I returned to the RV, I took off my shoes and removed the inserts. They were soaked. The rest of the shoe seemed dry. I got a fresh pair of socks and a change of shirt. Driving your home has its benefits. I was much more comfortable as a dry driver.

It rained most of the way back, sometimes heavily. The drive down SR 22 passes by cut rock surfaces that had become lengthy waterfalls. A deep channel along the roadside guides the water away from the pavement. I picked up US 4 in Whitehall and continued south.

I decided to stop in Hudson Falls for groceries at a Hannaford Supermarket. I also used their restrooms. With groceries put away I drove away but found that I there were no exits directly out to the side street. I returned to the exit where I had pulled in off of US 4. It was a right turn only. I needed to turn left. I crossed U.S. 4 into a CVS parking lot and drove around the building to a side street. It was right turn only and again I needed to turn left. I turned left and proceeded to US 4 south.

I remained on US 4 past the point that the GPS wanted to guide me down a steep narrow side street. I glanced at the sharp curve of the road and decided to pass. It looked like an RV accident waiting to happen. Google Maps then directed me to turn right at SR 197 across the Hudson River. This route continued west until I reached SR 32. From SR 32 into Ganesvoort, the home address of my RV park. In Ganesvoort I did a quick left and then right across a railroad track and onto SR 50. The RV park was about a mile ahead on the right.

I backed into my space and connected up. The rains had stopped but the grounds were soaked and puddles were everywhere. Shortly after getting settled a thunderstorm saturated the area. I was dry inside the RV. The storm abated. I went for a walk and was astonished to see my neighbors across the road surrounded by a puddle that reached far into the road ahead of me. That was not there before that last storm. My RV was spared on higher grounds.

As I walked around the park the exposed road was mostly covered with sandy mud streams. Some lower areas were under water and required me to walk on the higher grounds above the road for ten to thirty yards. It had rained most of the day at the park. The latest downpour had nowhere to go. I learned on the Sunday news that the area had seen almost two inches of rain during the day.

I stopped at the office and as I was talking to the attendant discovered that cable TV hook up was included in the price. It was not optional. Everyplace else I have stayed made it optional at an additional cost. My antenna cable was too short to reach the connection. I thought maybe I could get a cable on Sunday. The evening’s TV reception was terrible. I did not watch it. It was good to just go to bed.

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