April 22, 2015
The day dawned cool and overcast and after a leisurely walk around the hotel, I ran into the first minor complication that came with my travelling friends. As I would soon learn, most if not all hotels have a clause that you not leave the dogs in the room unattended. The biggest problem with that was then going to the restaurant to make the most of my complimentary breakfast. Now that I think about it, it’s really not complimentary since I’m sure I covered the cost with my hotel fee. I’m sure this has occurred to others before me so I will continue on. I stopped in the lobby to chat with the manager who was absolutely in love with the dogs and she waved aside my concerns and told me to come back for some food.
As we were talking an older couple had to get in on the dog love. During the conversation, I asked if there was anywhere that I had to visit in and around the Adirondacks. He suggested Cranberry Lake and warned me that there would not be anyone around. Great. There’s no cell service. Even better. If you get into trouble, you’re on your own. Perfect. He seemed to be very confused by my excited reaction. After a rushed buffet breakfast, we packed up the car and headed towards mountains.
The sky stayed grey as we wound our way through the increasingly hilly terrain. Finally we came to the Brandy Brook Trail at Cranberry Lake. And it started to rain. It wasn’t too bad, an intermittent spattering; hardly enough to climb back into the car.
True to his word, we did not see another person as we hiked the trails around that lake. It was not quite as rugged as I had expected; in fact it reminded me a lot of Algonquin Park. The trail was very well-marked and there was no danger of getting lost. I didn’t even find any parts that were particularly hazardous aside from the few boggy patches. The trail was covered with leaves and as I was enjoying the solitude I didn’t notice some of the leaves were a little less stable until I sank ankle deep into a puddle. Well that was great.
The rain would turn to snow and then back to rain. When it started to get a bit later, we turned around to go back to the car. As we sat there waiting for the heat to kick in, I realized that we had been gone for about five hours. The dogs were asleep in no time…as usual.
The time came then to find a hotel room. I had decided that I would use an app to find cheap hotels and when we finally got to a place with cell service, I started looking. I found a motel that I thought would do the trick just outside of Albany. Now here dear reader, I have a bit of a dilemma: do I mention the hotel and gloss over some of the details of our stay? Or do I deliver a no holds barred account of without mentioning this fine establishment to avoid any, shall we say, issues?
For entertainment purposes, just this once, I think I shall withhold the name. I should have walked away as soon as I parked the car but I didn’t want to jump to any rash decisions. And I was tired from hiking all day. And it was raining and all I wanted was to have a long shower and climb into bed. I walked into the lobby and there on the counter was a sign saying no pets. Huh. I had quite the discussion when I told the man working that this online site had said the place was dog-friendly. Eventually I got the key to my room and had my first experience with a motel.
Now rain and darkness do not do much to help with the appearances of many places and this was no exception. It was like something from a movie it was so surreal. I half expected to hear power tools going or see vats of chemicals being wheeled in to “dispose” of things.
I got the dogs into the room and started taking stock of what I had picked for the night. Now I probably should have done that before I cracked into the bottle because the more I looked, the more I wanted to leave. It was so bad I actually called the app people to complain; first about the rating and second about the issue with the dogs.
The operator was quite kind but unfortunately there were no other hotels in the area that were even close to where we were. So I could suck it up or try and find something on my own.
Well that’s just great. By this time it was getting pretty late so I just decided to accept it as part of the adventure and try to touch as few things as possible. The moral of this story: not all two stars are created equal.
I ordered a pizza from a local joint and after it was delivered, I used my pack and anything else I could find to barricade the door before shoving as much of that cheesy goodness down my throat.
By the time I crawled into bed it was getting close to midnight. I set my alarm for 6:00 and fell asleep listening for…well…anything