Day 134 Saratoga Springs to Schenectady, New York: We take our life skills out for a spin - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

September 11, 2011

Day 134 Saratoga Springs to Schenectady, New York: We take our life skills out for a spin

September 11, 2011. This is a poignant day for the people here.

It's the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and we are in New York (state). Later in the day we wandered around Lowe's asking for a box cutter. Not really the best activity to choose.
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The hills of the Adirondacks were behind us and we pedaled easily down highway 50 toward Schenectady. On the route is the town of Ballston Spa. It is a quiet place, lacking the ra ra of Lake George or the glitz of Saratoga Springs.

In Ballston Spa they were raising a huge flag above the road. This photo does not show quite how huge.
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Ballston Spa looks pretty historic
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Speaking of history, here is the gas price - for the record
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One more street in Ballston Spa
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We left Ballston and just continued steadily toward our train home.

By the roadside, the milkweeds are ready to fly. We watched them bloom and mature as we cycled along on our trip, and we read various roadside accounts of the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly. If the milkweeds are ready to go, we should be too.
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We crossed the Mohawk River
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... and made it to Schenectady!
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Dodie starts by challenging a biker to a race.
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But we do arrive at the train station.
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Art (Free Range Retiree) had warned us in our guestbook of possible glitches when dealing with Amtrak and bike boxes. The version of this that we ran in to was that while they did have four bike boxes on hand, they were 9 inches wide. A BoB trailer is 12 inches and the agent insisted the box was not allowed to bulge. So we headed off in search of some boxes for the BoBs that would presumably be 12 inches wide and not bulge.

We set off along Freeman Bridge Road to Walmart (where in any event we could get packing tape). We passed Freeman Bridge Sports, a bike shop, and located not only some boxes out back, but also Sara:

Little Sara greets us at the bike shop back door
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These boxes will do the trick for the BoBs.
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This bike shop was on the way to Lowes and Walmart
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After nipping over to Walmart we came back and collected the boxes.

Dodie loaded up our treasure
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... and I hauled it into town
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General Electric is big here. Watch for a tour of other highlights of the town tomorrow.
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We dropped the boxes at Amtrak and set off to nail down a motel room. We had read various reviews of the Econolodge. Some claimed it was a bad place with mean staff, and some liked it. We did not like the $79 quoted price. When I asked what we would get in the room for that amount of money, the clerk looked at me and said "Like what?" When I replied "Like a coffee maker, shampoo, microwave, etc." he looked at me like I was nuts. We moved on up State Street, but other motels there looked too iffy to even check the price.

The Econolodge was in a pretty sleazy neighbourhood
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Nearby competition did not look any better than the Econolodge
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while the Holiday Inn was too costly
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We turned around and made our way to Days Inn and Holiday Inn, across the street from each other. Days Inn was also $79 but gave us 10% off for being seniors.

The Days Inn was just right. Our room was super huge and bright, and we filled it right away with stuff.
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This photo does not show well just how big the room was.
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We headed back to Amtrak, where we spent the next four hours disassembling the BoBs and cutting and fitting cardboard to make boxes to fit.

We took over the Amtrak waiting room
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We actually used ten, not five seats as shown
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One half the final product
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The final result was boxed BoBs in boxes that far exceeded the supposed 22 x 28 x 14 size limit. Still, this seemed to be OK, while a 2 inch bulge in a bike box was not OK.

A strict interpretation of the rules would have been curtains for us
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So now our trailers and bags are checked, and we have our bikes still out for touring the city tomorrow. It took us most of a day of running around, but we are almost set to go!

Today's ride: 47 km (29 miles)
Total: 7,383 km (4,585 miles)

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