After all the planning it is finally time to go.
Travelling to Schiphol
We are off to a bum start. At Schiphol airport Geoff discovers that he has not got his bank pass with him. Panic! Did he drop it at the airport or did he leave it at home? We ring our kind neighbour Foke who goes into our house to search for it. She confirms the pass is still at home and places it her own safe for safe keeping. I quickly make some money over from my savings account to my current account so that we can use my bank pass for all our transactions.
The flight is delayed an hour and there is a long wait in Boston to enter the US but we are happy to find all our luggage has arrived. We drive to the crummy motel we have booked in Albany next to the Honest Weight Coop and around 7 pm we are rushing around the store buying dried fruit and textured vegetable protein. What a great shop - it is a shame we do not live in Albany.
Jet lag prevents us sleeping in and we get up at 5am and make a shopping list of the other groceries that we need (milk powder, cheese, etc) and at 6.15 am we are wheeling a shopping cart around Walmart. We purchase basic stuff to last us 8 days and the dried food from the Coop to last us for 2 weeks.
We enjoy breakfast at Peaches, a nice cafe in a small shopping area and then drive to Old Forge. We make acquaintance with Mike at the visitor center, scout the Moose River, and indulge in some cookies and coffee in a cafe and then we are off to Mountain Man to meet Wil and to pick up the boat we bought and paid for last november. Geoff works hard all afternoon drilling holes and fitting airbags and endloops. We also add the stickers we have had made with the boat name "Floating Dutchman".
Fitting out our new Penobscot 17
In the shop at Mountain Man we managed to arrange a cheap ride back from New Hartford the folllowing morning (that is where we have to bring our rental car) as one of the staff lives in that town and he is given permission to turn up a little later tomorrow morning. We also hear of a possible pick-up in Fort Kent via a friend of the Werner paddler delaer, Dannie, who was visiting Mountain Man while we were there. We still have not sorted out how we are going to get out of Fort Kent and sell the canoe so we are very grateful for the contact Dannie gives us.
Back at the hotel we have a long session of food packing and all other packing into water proof bags taking a break for an excellent dinner at the 5 Cornes Cafe. Exhausted we get to bed around 10.30pm.
Geoff set off early this morning to Utica/New Hartford to return the rental car and asks me to extend our reservation 1 day at the hotel as the weather is wet, wet, and windy.
Luckily they have 1 room for the Friday evening but not the room we slept in last night so I portage our stuff from room 101 to room 224. The Waters Edge Inn is an excellent hotel for the price and provides a good breakfast. I feel sorry for Geoff who has missed it.
Geoff is back in Old Forge around 10 am and we walk up to Mountain Man to collect our boat. Our first idea was to paddle it upstream on the Moose river to the dam but considering the amount or rain falling we do not fancy getting wet and trolley the canoe back to the hotel.
Living in the Netherlands where tipping is an exception as service is always included in the prices I am trying to fathom out how it works here. Sitting down in a restaurant and tipping for a meal is clear cut, but standing at a bar and ordering a beer, or a take-away coffee? Observing the locals it seems that every transaction requires a tip. This evening at a bar in town, we were presented with a tiping stone. You pay for your drink, receive change in notes and at the same time a small rock is placed on the counter. Put some dollar bills under the stone. In the hotel room there is an envelop for the maid so that is also clear cut.
Friday evening and New Yorkers flood into Old Forge
Yesterday evening was quiet in town. This evening it is busy and there is an old car / hot rod display at 7pm in the pouring rain.
The main road thru town is one continuous stream of cars with bicylcles, motor boats, canoes and large mobile homes on wheels.
We had a very pleasant evening talking to Roger and Jan whom we met in a bar while watching the parade. They hail from Texas, and are industrial chemists no less, and have a vacation house here in Old Forge. We were able to talk shop for hours. They drove us back to the hotel as the rain never ceased.