Last week we went on our 3rd annual trip to Lake Lila, in the William C. Whitney Wilderness area of the Adirondacks in upstate NY.
It's a helluva long drive from New Jersey. The last two years it took 7.5 hours to drive the 325 miles north. This year it took only about six hours (54 mph on average).
For the 3rd straight year, we took my father-in-law's land yacht, a 1994 Cadillac Sedan de Ville with 175,000 miles. There's nothing comforting about driving this relic, especially down the 10 miles of dirt road to Lake Lila. In past years, I've had to offload personnel & cargo to get over some of the boulders in the dirt road.
Driving up, we lost an hour due to the right front tire blowing out about 100 miles into the trip. The tire didn't really blow out - it just started wobbling like a drunken sailor. We stopped at a convenience store. I stuck my ear near the tire to listen for a leak, and felt along the inside rim. My hand suddenly scraped against a tangled mess of steel belt - something had shredded a three-inch chunk of tire. I was surprised there was any air in the tire at all.
I changed to the emergency tire and we went looking for a tire store. We drove by Walmart and Sears, but I was looking for a good old-fashioned tire store. We drove a couple of miles and I hung a U-Turn into a business. I said to my son, "I really want to find a tire store. Let's head back the way we came and look for one."
Shelf Life says, "Um, dad, this place has tires."
I look at the business and see no evidence of tires. "Where are the tires?" I ask.
Shelf Life says, "Um, in the garage over there. It's got wall-to-wall tires."
"Oh," says I, as I suddenly see the tires and big signs with Michelin and every other brand around the property. A fat man comes out, and asks if I want a new or used tire.
"How much is new?" I ask, and he says, "$140 installed." To which I reply, "Well, I guess used it is!"
Ten minutes and $70 later, we're on the road again. Before jumping on I-87, we stopped at Five Guys in Newburgh for burgers. Man, were they good, but we both got some serious gas that would later befoul the pristine forest air of the Adirondacks. The funniest part was that each gaseous emission smelled exactly like Five Guys.
The only other food I know of that is so readily identifiable by conversion to methane is Hawk Vittles - I'll bet I could name the meal just using olfactory senses after the emission. Hmm, that smells like Packers' Potatoes Plus!
Shelf Life doesn't like to stir the Hawk Vittles - he likes those crunchy bits that haven't fully rehydrated. As these crunchy bits expand in the digestive system, I think they cause gas.
We arrived at our campsite on the Racquette River after dark. Shelf Life made a fire while I set up the hammocks. In the morning we packed up and left by six am. We stopped and grabbed a breakfast sandwich, and were on Lake Lila by 7:30 am.
Weekends at Lake Lila are a zoo - there are only 22 campsites and a lot more people than that show up on a weekend in August. We met a party coming in, and they said they just left Spruce Island, so that's where we headed.
The island was free, and we set up camp. Then we canoe'd back to the drop-in to wait for son Rocco, who arrived shortly.
My friends KYBob and GMarc joined us on Saturday. We cooked chili over the fire in my Trangia Swiss Army mess kit. We ate the chili in tortillas - mmm good!
The next couple of days were just fishing, swimming, cooking, canoeing and kayaking, and sleeping. We hiked to Mt Frederica on Sunday, On Monday, we had to leave. KYBob and Gmarc stayed through Wednesday.
I'm looking forward to the 4th Annual Lake Lila trip. It's a beautiful patch of wilderness!