The road to Potsdam runs through the heart of New York’s Adirondack forest, which has become a place of ruins. The Adirondacks were once the playground where all New Yorkers went to vacation. The camps were filled with kids and parents, and the resorts were booming with couples and groups of all sorts. Not any more.
It should come as no surprise that abandonment has even touched the road maintenance, and infrastructure like dams and bridges . . . And the 2011 hurricane and flooding did its part, too . . .
You need to be careful up north. Infrastructure has gone to seed, and what looked at a distance like a friendly gas station is now abandoned broken by man, and it's home to wolves and were-bears. God help you if you step too close to those doors late at night. A fellow across the street says the flag hangs there as bait, and I saw for myself how true that was. The screaming was unearthly.
There are places up there that make books like The Shining seem like kiddie stories. And you don't hear much about them because those who learn the truth never emerge. Your best advice - enter the country with a full tank of gas and a shotgun. Don't step out of the vehicle at night.
When you see those heavy grates welded over storm drains . . . that is not to keep you out. It's to keep THEM in.
Places like the 3 Bears Gluten Free Bakery are thriving, but you know times are tough when the tavern next door goes bust.
I left Clarkson in Potsdam and headed home Sunday night about 9. Once I cleared Potsdam, it was 150 miles through the mountains to the honky-tonk of Lake George. In that whole distance I passed 16 moving cars. Think about that. Can you imagine driving from Boston to New Haven and seeng less than 20 other motorists? It gives pause for thought . . .
Until next time . . .
John Elder Robison is an autistic adult and advocate for people with neurological differences. He's the author of Look Me in the Eye, Be Different, Raising Cubby, and the forthcoming Switched On. He's served on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee of the US Dept of Health and Human Services and many other autism-related boards. He's co-founder of the TCS Auto Program (A school for teens with developmental challenges) and he’s the Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The opinions expressed here are his own. There is no warranty expressed or implied. While reading this essay may give you food for thought, actually printing and eating it may make you sick.