The Crooked Canes Journal


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Zim Smith Trail Bike ~ Jun 7, 2012

Journal entry by Ken Gericke



Hi Folks

Outings with the Crooked Canes or the EZriders are always an adventure, and Thursday's 6/7 joint bike ride didn't disappoint. With days of sun and thunderstorms predicted, watching the forecast was as variable as the weather itself. Thursday looked good, and I headed for Saratoga and an early start at the Warming Hut in Saratoga State Park. Hardy bikers Donna, Lynn, Rose, and Lenore, (and Pat Wells unbeknown to us had left earlier) had opted for the day's LONG ride.

With a few small bike adjustments, we were off, pedaling the pretty back roads of Saratoga County. Our goal was to cover the 10-11 miles to the Shenantaha Park to meet the rest of the crew at 10 AM. Well, 'Ken and his Harem', as Lenore dubbed us, pulled into the park right at 10...and...WOW!...'crew' just doesn't cover it! 19 additional bikers filled the parking lot...orange jerseys, red, green, and more; new bikes and new faces galore. This was going to be some day.

The Zim Smith trail is straight (north to south) level, and paved except for a couple miles of cinder on the southern end, and Shenantaha Park is approximately in the middle. The plan was to bike south, passing the Village of Round Lake, some lovely forests, wildflowers, and wetlands, make a short loop on Usher and English Rds, returning to the trail, and heading back to Round Lake for a short tour of the village's interesting cottages and architecture. 'The best laid plans!.....'

It is inevitable with 24 bikers that the group becomes strung out. We made a couple of stops to 'close ranks', and at the Clifton Park end of the trail, we halted to let everyone catch up, and take a head count before heading north again. Yup...all accounted for....all except 2....that our leader didn't realize were missing until we reached Round Lake on our return leg. AH OH! Jim Israel, always helpful, offered to pedal back and shepherd them home. In a little bit, Lenore decided to join in the search.

In the mean time, I led 6-8 riders on a short circuit of Round Lake. Established in 1867 as a Methodist Camp, there are many quaint cottages, close together, with interesting scroll work and color schemes, and lovely flowers and landscaping. There are also a few large Victorian structures like the Round Lake Inn and the beautiful and historic Auditorium. Usually closed to the public, except for performances, we were fortunate to meet a young lady, a caretaker of the Auditorium, who allowed us to enter via the service/performers entrance to view the interior. It is a large airy space, tall windows along the length of both sides and a few stained glass windows bordering the stage; long rows of fold-down seating, and the center piece...the Ferris Track Organ. Originally built in 1847 for the Calvary Episcopal Church in NYC, it was moved to the Round Lake Auditorium in 1888, and is considered to be the oldest and largest 3-manual organ in existence. It is still in use for musical programs.

On returning to the bike trail we learned the missing bikers had not turned up...and the searchers weren't back either. OH BOY?! So, while the majority headed for Shenantaha for lunch, I backtracked to find the lost sheep. Eventually, everyone was located and arrived safely at lunch. Amazingly, all the colorful riders attracted the attention of an Albany Times Union reporter doing a piece on Shenantaha Park. Peter gave him some background on the Crooked Canes and the EZriders. He, the reporter, took a group picture, and Peter will be notified when the article is published, Pretty darned Cool!

So...all's well that ends well..right?...Right? Some of the folks decided to leave after lunch, others with Jack planned on riding the north end of the trail to Oak Street in Balston Spa...stopping at Stewarts along the way for an ice cream treat. Noticing the ominous, darkening skies to the north, the 5, now 6 with Pat Wells, who had begun the day in Saratoga 10-11 miles distant, sped off, fearing a bit of rain. Near the northern end of the trail it started to rain and we stopped to put on jackets and ponchos. By the time we reached Oak Street it was pouring...by the Village of Balston Spa it was a deluge, as though someone had flushed the skies. We tried stopping under trees and an underpass, then continuing....to no avail. 'Ken's Harem' was now a pack of drowning rats. In desperation, Donna suggested we just go up on someone's porch...so we did! Up a driveway to a total stranger's front porch, 6 drenched Caners took refuge from the downpour. Fortunately, no one was home. Using cell phones, Lenore got hold of Jack, who, with the Shenantaha contingent, had intelligently gone home and avoided the storm. And Donna called her daughter-in-law who lives in nearby Malta....Help was on the way.

Arriving at virtually the same moment were Jack, Donna's DIL, and a break in the clouds...a little sunshine. Lynn, Rose, and Lenore loaded their bikes into Jack's 4-bike rack for the return to the Warming Hut in Saratoga. Donna, Pat and I said 'What the Heck', and decided to pedal the remaining 4-5 miles back. The skies above us were sunny as we started out, but up ahead, to the north, huge black storm clouds were hovering over Saratoga. But finally, a bit of luck, we made it back to the cars just as it started raining once again.

What a day!....24 bikers, lost a couple, but reeled em in; pictures and reporters, violent thunderstorms...more rescues. More importantly, a day of adventure shared with wonderful friends, old and new. Many thanks to Tom, Don, Fran, Ray, Jack and Lenore, Peter and Linda, Dave and Mary, Diane, Donna, Karen, Claudia, Blanche, Gloria, Carol, Lynn, Jim Israel, Jim Ralston, Rose, Pat and Anita.

Ken

6/8/12 - Wanderer . added 8 photos.

6/8/12 - Ray Bouchard added 10 photos.

6/11/12 - Anita Dingman added 1 photo.

7/16/12 - Dave King added 1 photo.

24 photos



Here come the Canes!



Yup, more caners.



OK...really need a time-lapse function to shoot this group.



This guy saw all the bikers coming and actually ran across the bike path!



Getting Ready - 1 - by Wanderer



Getting Ready - 2 - by Wanderer



Before the Ride - by Wanderer



A Helping Hand - Say Cheese! - by Wanderer



Darn Budget Cuts! - What Will All the Fido's Do Now? - by Wanderer



Short Break - by Wanderer



Trailside Cascade - by Wanderer



Another Cascade - by Wanderer



Dave King, without whom the Crooked Canes Journal wouldn't exist. We owe him a big debt of gratitude for all he does for us. Thank him the next time you see him. - by Ray



It looks like she's found a friend for life. - by Ray



A totem pole along the Zim Smith Trail. - by Ray



A shield of Poison Ivy protects this labor of love. - by Ray



Tom Gibbs reading a little bit of the history of Round Lake. - by Ray



Tom Gibbs & our leader, Ken Gericke, checking out the brochure in the Round Lake Auditorium. - by Ray



This is the beginning of a series of pictures showing just a few of the beautiful homes/cottages that grace this wonderful village. - by Ray



Photo by Ray



Photo by Ray



Fini. - by Ray



a little dark but this is the organ at the auditorium in Round Lake.... - by Anita



Photo from timesunion.com, July 16 2012, by Jackson Wang, from the article "Nine miles of bliss in Saratoga County". The article briefly mentioned the Crooked Canes, and quoted Peter as saying (of the trail) "It's biker-friendly and safe," The odds are that Peter said no such thing, but I'm sure the quote captured the spirit of his comments. - by Dave




Hey Canes, we made Section D, Page 2 of today's Albany Times Union. Hopefully the link below will allow you to read the article and see our group picture. In case you don't recognize me I'm the one with the cute legs and the red jersey. Shameless, I know. Enjoy! Ray

ps... Hopefully you won't receive duplicates of the link. I tried to send it out via email to all and it seemed to fail.

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Nine-miles-of-bliss-3676131.php?t=1ce0aa78f3

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