Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Champlain Breakfast

From MONTREAL, Canada to SCHENECTADY, USA is 200 miles. Lake Champlain is 125 miles long and so most of my Amtrak train journey is spent hugging it's shoreline.Never has 6 hours looking out of a window been so interesting! The train's mournful whistle,the clapboard houses, the isolated farms: an American dream held for 30 years now fulfilled. Upon arrival & 2 hr stopover in Schenectady NY, despite the snow,my first Stateside beer is called for and within minutes I'm engaged in great conversation with a top lad called Mark complete with phone photos of his KX125. Taken off to another bar to discuss the merits of side-valve engines,vintage tractor pulls,the local girls.. and all too soon I'm off to UTICA.
I'm met at the station by Gene & Kathy, I'd never met Gene before- just emails and some mail exchanges concerning our mutual ownership of Dalesmans. The bag round Kathy's neck contains a tiny flying squirrel; somewhat unusual, but takes more than that to concern me. We slide through the snow to Wal-Mart get food & beer and head to their abode. It's a trailer in the back of beyond and whilst I do have some bike parts & magazines in my house,these guys are US clutter champions! Anyways,you can get to the fridge,sofa/bed & the toilet so we have some good late nights staying up talking. A trip to the Saranac Brewery was better than expected; interesting,funny and anyone who thinks US beer is only Buttwiper,Coors etc check out their lush range of ales from dark to blond. Free beer too at the end! Through my new friend's kindness I get a tour of the area, ROME, Oriskany battleground,and the peaceful Welsh settlements around Remsen .Sad to say farewell but more of backwoods America awaits. 
Who needs a fancy lakeside retreat?

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