Adventures in Saratoga Springs
What do the NY Yankees and the people of Saratoga Springs have in common? Not much, other than being from New York. The Yankees are kind of mean and have bad attitudes. And they don’t like to play in the rain. (Sorry NY – as a Sox fan I can’t help but pick on your guys a little bit.) The people in Saratoga Springs, however, are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met (at times they were so friendly I thought I was in the South), and they don’t let a little rain downpour stop them from having a good time.
Tim and I arrived in Saratoga Springs Friday afternoon and stopped by the store to drop off the trailer and speak with George, the guy unquestionably in charge of the demo. We quickly moved through the formalities and began discussing what to do with the rest of our afternoon. We were going to drive to Lake Placid and do a little bouldering, but the weather didn’t look very promising. After George rattled off a long list of alternative activities, we (ok, I) decided to visit Saratoga National Historical Park, even though it’s a Revolutionary War site…hey, I can be flexible! And it was a beautiful day for a tour of such an important battlefield.
Later that night, we scoped out the local rock gym and were able to get our climbing fix while talking to the only other two guys there about crazy climbers. Once our arms turned to Jell-o, we returned to the EMS parking lot, inflated our fancy air mattress, played a game of scrabble, and passed out. Sadly, when we awoke, the weather had taken a turn for the worse…and that was only the beginning of our misfortune.
About five miles from Tinney’s Tavern, the “check gauges” light came on; the truck was overheating. We found a suitable place to pull over and let the truck cool for a little while. But we were running late and were so close to the demo location that we tried to just get there. The truck did not agree with this plan and – despite lacking a safe spot to pull over again – it rebelled a mere two miles from where we needed to be. Even with the driving rain, Tim volunteered to walk the rest of the way up the hill to get some help. But a few minutes after he left, one of our kayak reps and a Saratoga employee stopped to assist. Eventually we were able to get the trailer up to Tinney’s (thanks to Courtney, the Confluence rep’s beast of a truck), but that only solved one of the day’s perceived problems: it was still raining pretty heavily, and surely nobody in their right mind would want to come paddle in such weather! Or so I thought.
I was wrong. About forty brave souls came out to play, in spite of the fog and less-than-desirable paddling conditions. Saratoga Springs-area paddlers: kudos to you for being so hardcore! It’s because of people like you that we do what we do, and, more importantly, that we enjoy doing what we do.
After the demo, George graciously offered Tim and I a place to stay. Unfortunately we had to decline, but the offer was still very much appreciated, as was all of the help we received throughout the day. Between Courtney, George and the other staff, and Aaron (the owner of Tinney’s), a very stressful situation was made much more bearable. And because of the demo participants’ badassery, all of the trouble seemed worth it.
If you’re ever in the area, I strongly recommend stopping by the Saratoga Springs store (or Albany, if you’re closer to them) for your outdoor needs, as well as Tinney’s if you have time…their quesadillas are the best!