Day 3: September 26, 2015
Gettin' NY Kicks

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When I left home, I had loose plans to take interstates to near Buffalo, follow US-20 to somewhere around Syracuse, then angle northeast on an assortment of roads to Montpelier, Vermont. I hit Twenty early because I was tired of the expressway. I stayed with it beyond Syracuse because of Steve Rider. Steve is a top tier memorabilia collector who I know from several Route 66 events as well as his first Lincoln Highway conference last year. When he saw I was in New York and might be near his home in Albany, he invited me to take a look at his garage/museum. I jumped at the opportunity and benefited from the decision long before I reached Steve's house. The portion of US-20 that I'd have missed if I'd turned off at Syracuse is, as I noted yesterday, quite scenic.

Steve's second garage does continue to serve its intended purpose. Its occupants include Steve's 1962 Thunderbird convertible. But it is also a real museum -- and library -- with memorabilia organized and displayed along the walls and on shelves. Route 66 items naturally fill the most space. Behind Steve is his collection of about forty samples of Route 66 pavement from many periods and locations. Many of these samples appeared in the recent Route 66 exhibit at the Autry Museum in California. Car culture is also represented as are other roads such as the Lincoln Highway and the National Old Trails Road. Those are some pretty impressive NOTR signs in the last picture.

The "Rider Garage & Museum" is just one turn off of US-20 and I-87 crosses US-20 just a short distance away. Steve suggested that I take the interstate as far as Saratoga Springs to avoid some highly commercial parts of US-9 which was what I'd more or less been planning. I'll confess to initially second guessing the advice when I encountered construction on I-87 (Those cars may be moving but not much.) but it soon cleared up and worked out fine. The congestion was easily forgotten once I hit two-lane, trees, and glimpses of Lake George.

I didn't realize just how close I would be to Fort Ticonderoga until a friend mentioned it over lunch on Wednesday. One look at the map an it was firmly part of the trip. I moved to US-9 in time to drive through the pretty and pretty touristy Saratoga Springs then made my way to the fort on it and its pardner, US-9N. The only thing I could remember about Ticonderoga was that Ethan Allen had captured it during the American Revolution and that that was a good thing. Fortunately, I was at the right place at the right time for Gordy's tour. He explained that the spot was a prized one because of the portage between Lakes George and Champlain and that it was swapped between French and British a few times with the British having control at the start of the revolution. Allen's capture of the fort was a good thing because it was the American's first victory and it gained possession of a bunch of cannons that Henry Knox hauled to Boston to get the British out of there, too.

All cannons currently at the fort are real and from the correct period but almost none were actually at the fort. The one I've pictured is from 1794 and many are older. The only two that were ever at the fort is this pair that were among the 59 that Knox transported to Boston. The fort is a museum, with much of the interior space holding a variety of exhibits, and it is also a living history operation, with all clothing worn by docents and re-enactors being made and repaired on site.

I deviated a little more from the "plan" when I discovered there was a ferry to Vermont right next to the fort. Then, I missed just a little as I hastily pointed the zoomed-too-far camera at the "Welcome to Vermont" sign.

In many states, using a GPS to plot the fastest route to their capital would put you on a big expressway but not in Vermont. I like it this way. The stop in the last picture isn't for construction but for a wreck near the summit of VT-17 through Camel's Hump State Park.

I snapped a shot of the capitol in the twilight then another of the nearly full moon over Montpelier as I headed off to try to find a room. There was little to no phone reception on that scenic road and weekends are VERY busy around here this time of year. It was quite dark before I found a bed but I'll spare you the details.

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