May 7: North Hudson to Long Lake, NY - The Great North American Sticky Bun Hunt - CycleBlaze

May 7: North Hudson to Long Lake, NY

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TODAY WE HAVE BEEN wandering the roads of the Adirondacks, a state park of exceptional, quiet beauty, larger than all the other American parks of note together but unknown to almost everybody in Europe.

The road has been of a melodic beauty of a sort I have experienced just once or twice in my life. Mountain pines - the road climbed to 620m, which is a low mountain - were short and Christmas-like and tall and slender, horny matchsticks with green candy floss touching the mist. In the distance, the mountains leaned against the sky, decked in changing greens. There was all but music in the harmony and I am at a loss to describe it.

There is no commercialism in the forest. Hours pass on a bike with barely a building passed. On the approach roads, though, skeletons of perished motels lay beside the road, sad, unkempt, all that remained of someone's dream and life. Gas stations had their canopy but not their pumps. Signs that they were for sale had been there long enough to fade.

Upstate New York has grand houses and failed businesses. It has been touched by the recession and, say local folk, cruel decisions by accountants in New York City. The first evidence was the blue and white signs that urged "Save Moriah Shock - call your legislator." We thought she - possibly he - was a candidate for Death Row. Instead we found that Moriah was a shock-treatment centre for juvenile delinquents. It was to close to keep the state's accounts honourable.

"The governor is hitting us hard with budget cuts," a woman in her 60s told us. "He wants to close it. Shame is that for the kids who pass through, it works. For the community, they get sent out to work in society, so we'll lose all that good work. But more than that, a lot of people work there and a lot of businesses depend on it. That's going to hit us hard if that closes."

The roads of New York have these strange signs along them. One number refers to the road. The other two, we thought, were house numbers. But they aren't. What can they mean?
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Imagine, then, the contrast to the story that a woman of the same age told us further on in Newcomb. She had retired to the village in which she was born after 40 years in nursing in Syracuse, working for New York state. She told us the school at Newcomb - a village of fewer than 500 - had 80 children... and a budget of $5 million.

"Our kids are getting a $60,000 education and nobody seems to have noticed. The facilities are wonderful. We've now set ourselves up as an exchange agency to bring in kids from abroad, to give them experience and to widen the contacts of our own children. They come here from all over Europe and they all comment how the mountains here remind them of home. This year we're getting Russian children for the first time. It gives our children good experience and it keeps the roll numbers up."

As we passed the school a few minutes later, we noticed a sign announcing an imminent budget meeting. We wondered if it was good or bad news.

AMERICAN FLAGS SEEN: 84

DRAGITS: Possibly one but I wasn't sure

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