Tuesday, July 31, 2007


"Raised by Wolves", my favorite Indian, (Patsy Sweet) has gone back home to the mountains after an interesting week on Lake George. Patsy is the toughest woman I know and she had a couple of really "nasty" days on Lake George caused by wind, water and waves. And, she toughed it out without complaint. But.... she also had a very nice day from Hague to Rogers Rock. We even had time to catch a few fish along the way.
Thank you Patsy!
For the next week or so we are going to continue to explore Lake George. We need to explore the history of the Eastern shore of Lake George. We've heard stories of whaleboats being transported 5 miles across land from Hulett's Landing to Lake Champlain, and we want to know the truth!
We'll keep you posted!
Best to all who are taking the time to tune in. Thanks.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hague, NY on Lake George by Judy Stock

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hague, NY Program

Hi to all,
We are alive and well and exploring the various facets of Lake George, all 32 miles of it. You can best catch up with us this Friday night, July 27th in Hague, NY at the Community Center for our Slide presentation on The French and Indian War - The Basics. It's free and open to the public, having been sponsored by the Hague Historical Society. Bring a few of your friends. For more details go to our EVENTS page at www.RogerFulton.com
See you there!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Attacking Lake George; or vice versa

Patsy Sweet left her mountain home to join the Common Man Tour to paddle up Lake George. We affectionately refer to her as "Raised by Wolves." An experienced canoeist, she cut a fine figure dressed in her traditional Indian garb. (She really IS of Canadian Indian descent.)
We launched on time from Lake Avenue Park in Lake George, headlong into an 11 mile per hour north headwind, just as they might have in the 1750's. We had anticipated some boat wake chop, which they didn't have in the 1750's, but we were not prepared mentally for the incredibly choppy waters from both the wind and boat wakes. Lake George is an incredibly busy lake on a Saturday afternoon in mid-July. The boat wakes were almost continuous and tested our paddling skills. But, at day's end we arrived safely at our destination, tired, but safe.
What's next? We're going to spend the next few days exploring Lake George from a variety of angles. If we happen to travel through your area, please give us a wave and a smile!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Upcoming events

To all:
The July 18th booksigning at Glens Falls Printing has been cancelled due to a death in our publisher's family. Our condolences.
Join us at the Lake George Historical Society on July 20th at 7 pm for our slide presentation of The French and Indian War - The Basics. Media welcome at 6:30 pm.
Change in departure location for the launch of our trek up Lake George on Saturday, July 21st. Now departing from Lake Avenue Park at the end of Lake Avenue, Corner of Routes 9 and 9N at the northern end of Lake George Village. Media welcome at 2 pm. Actual departure at 3 pm. Please bring 100 of your closest friends to see us off; but only if they have bought one of our Lake George hiking or canoeing/kayaking books. lol
Thanks for your interest and attendance. Questions, please call me at 386-956-6089.

Crown Point "Arrival"

With the Crown Point Bridge in the background, this photo was taken at the Crown Point State Historic Site, where the forts used to be before they all got blown up and burned down. Actually, the defenses at Crown Point were never "taken" by the British during the French and Indian War. They were blown up and abandoned by the French in the face of an overwhelming British attack force.
In this photo, the Common Man poses with Adam Tokes, the Lead Interpreter at this historic site. This site is the northern terminus of the eastern segment of the Common Man Tour. We'll revisit segments of this trip later this summer, but for now, our trip from Albany to this Crown Point site, which we started on June 23rd, is now complete on July 15th.
And a "Thank you" to Adam for a great tour of this historic site on the day we arrived.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Crisis at hand!

So Roger and the Common Man Tour are sailing north on Lake Champlain on Saturday the 14th of July. A stiff south breeze is driving the tour forward. Then the winds pick up, and the tour goes faster. Whitecaps fill the lake, but the trailing sea is no problem, even for a 15 ft. sailing canoe. I wouldn't venture out on such seas, but as long as I was already there.....
Then in the late afternoon, the wind suddenly shifted and was coming in strong from due west. With no keel, the stiff winds began pushing the Common Man canoe toward the Vermont shoreline. Lake Champlain is the dividing line between New York and Vermont. Maximum efforts to trim the makeshift sail and stop the push to Vermont were not working. Steering with the paddle AND sail were not working. Taking quickly to the oars, Roger turned the boat toward the New York shore, but by doing so was taking the seas broadside. Not good!
Okay, there's a reason the canoe carries a small motor, and it's time to crank it up to get out of this spot, before we slam into the Vermont coastline just before 5 Mile Point. Hustling to the back of the canoe, Roger puts down the always dependable motor and cranks it; and cranks it; and cranks it. It will not start!
Back to the oars! Against a strong west wind and broadside waves, Roger barely clears 5 Mile Point, but is still heading for the Vermont Coastline beyond. The west winds shifts slightly and Roger barely regains control with paddle and sail. But now, he is way behind schedule to meet June Curtis, his support person, at Monitor Point in Crown Point, New York. And, he's on the wrong side of the lake.
Enter the pontoon boat of Clark and Kelley Leonard out of Shoreham, Vermont. Out with the family for a short cruise, they sense the Common Man may be in trouble and swing by to get the full story of this guy in a sailing canoe in a tri-cornered hat, on water much too big. They advise of an impending storm coming in, and that makes it time to call it quits for the day! With their help making a "soft" landing at their dock in Vermont, the motor was deemed unrepairable at that location and the support team, June Curtis, was summoned to Shoreham, Vermont to pick up Roger and the previously endangered craft. Thanks June!
While "canoe-wrecked" at the Leonard residence, Roger was forced to imbibe in snacks and beer, and a healthy dose of Vermont hospitality, all compliments of his hosts. Thanks to the Leonards, all!
They have really good micro-brewed beer in Vermont I found out, but I think I'll just take the bridge over to there the next time.
We're alive and well and having fun, despite the occasional unexpected turn of events.
Best wishes,

Perspective - On Lake Champlain

A short while after June Curtis took the last picture, she took this one. It would be best titled, "Big, big lake - Little, little boat", both on the Common Man Tour this past weekend. That's Roger and his "sailing canoe" as a dot just before that far point of land, believe it or not, in the middle of this picture. Now we give you this perspective for a reason. Stay tuned!

Sailing Lake Champlain

It was time to "sail away" up Lake Champlain this weekend as exhibited in the photo by June Curtis, our support person. Later she would be badly needed.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Post Star Article and Video

Todays' Post Star Newspaper (Glens Falls, NY area) has a nice article on the Common Man Tour. At their website at www.PostStar.com they have also published an accompanying video interview and footage. For your convenience we have linked the article to my webpage. Since this Blog can't handle hypertext, perhaps the best way to go is to go to my homepage at www.RogerFulton.com and, once there, click on News. The article link is at the bottom of that page. If you are really adventurous go directly to http://www.rogerfulton.com/ecotours/newsletter.htm
Thanks for tuning in. And special thanks to Reporter Maury Thompson and Videographer Lonnie Spath for their fine coverage.
Also, please join us in Ticonderoga this evening for our slide presentation on The French and Indian War - The Basics. 7 pm at the Hancock House at the circle in Ti.
Best wishes,
Roger Fulton, AKA The Common Man

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Math and Safety

No, l I am not "canoe-wrecked" on Lake Champlain! But that's probably only because I have not been dumb enough to go out there! It's all based on mathematical and grammatical theories.
First the math. It's one of those word problems that plagued you in grade school. If a 15 foot canoe goes out on a lake of thousands of square miles, with only one Common Man aboard, and a thunderstorm comes up with 6o mile per hour winds and dime size hail, what is the Common Man's life worth at that point? (Hint: No insurance company would insure him!)
The grammar part is that when a weatherman starts using phrases like "severe" thunderstorms, damaging winds and take cover indoors immediately, it's probably not a good idea to be out on Lake Champlain, 8 miles from the nearest safe haven.
I know, they didn't have such warnings on TV in the 1750's. There was no Weather Channel. And Doppler was the court jester somewhere in Europe.
But American history has recorded lots and lots of shipwrecks on Lake Champlain. And I'm not going to add to those statistics if I can help it!
Thanks for checking in, Roger

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Thank yous!

This is just a thank you note for those who have recently supported the Common Man Tour and helped us get from Albany to Whitehall. It was Tony Gillespie of Glens Falls who helped us get from Schuylerville to Fort Edward. We had to Exit at the Fort Edward Town Dock, lifting the Gheenoe over railings and carrying it a bit of a way. And thanks to the unknown Jason who had been minding his own business, fishing, when his mother volunteered his manual labor services to help us.
Then my buddy Bruce Metcalf arrived from the Rochester area to help. He recruited his buddy Ray Burlett of So. Glens Falls to join the cause. They got me through the storms, a little wet, but none the worse for the wear under difficult circumstances. Thanks guys!
And, as I will soon go through Lock 12, and head up into Lake Champlain - Tuesday methinks - I want to thank all of the locktenders along the Hudson River and the Champlain Canal for their assistance. Originally I thought they would be annoyed by a 15 ft. canoe bothering them to go through their locks. Just the opposite! They were friendly, supportive and called me through to each successive lock to be sure I made it. Thanks to all.
Special thanks to Kevin at Lock 5 for all his planning help, last year and this year. Mike at Lock 7 helped me find a boat launch to make my life, and the life of my team, a little easier. Bill? at Lock 9 for figuring a way to keep my canoe overnight. And thank you to Director Carmella Mellita of the NYS Canal System for your support and pledging the support of your entire staff. It was a great and interesting ride!
And thanks to all of you for following the Common Man Tour. For more info, go to www.RogerFulton.com for future events and activities along our 300 mile book tour.
Best wishes to all,

Skene Manor Booksigning

The volunteer staff at Skene Manor could not have been more helpful as we arrived for our scheduled booksigning on Sunday afternoon. We met many new friends and had a very nice afternoon. These citizen volunteers are trying to save this historic landmark overlooking Whitehall. They have come a long way in recent years, but still need lots of help.
Stop up for a great lunch on the weekends, as well as free tours of this great old mansion.
Thanks to all of the staff who were so gracious with their hospitality.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

You can't get lost!

Today, Saturday 07/07/07, was a great day. We traveled the Champlain Canal essentially from Ft. Ann to Whitehall, and had a great time doing it. You can't get lost because it is essentially 15 miles of a canal, about 100 yards wide that actually goes straight for miles.
Along the way we passed farmers' fields, but mostly just wooded areas along both sides of the canal. We could hear birds constantly. It's an ornithologist or bird watchers dream trip. As we got further north, those fields turned into stone outcroppings, and even small cliffs at times. But the bird sounds were still there.
Our arrival in Whitehall required us to "outrun" a group of large power boats gaining on us. (We were rowing when we spotted them bearing down on us.) We quickly switched to our motor and kicked it into high gear. In town we turned and faced them and their wakes. Out of 5 boats, all slowed down except one large vessel. Other boaters chastised them by pointing to the "no wake" signs after they threw their wake at us.
Large boat wakes continue to be the greatest threat to us on our trip.
We're signing books on Sunday from 2-4 pm at Skene Manor Castle overlooking Whitehall. Join us!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tough Day!

This duck met us as we started our day at Lock 7 of the Champlain Canal. She was to be a harbinger of our day to come. It was certainly "duck" weather on this day on the water. We had already been delayed for two hours by serious thunderstorms. Thanks to good advice from our support staff and the final decision to delay by the Common Man, we did not launch early on. Two waves of unpredicted and nasty thunderstorms stormed through and then we thought it was over, so we launched.
Fifteen minutes later, the rains came, with more thunder in the background. We made some headway, but a couple of hours later another series of storms were coming in with heavy thunder and rains.
Despite all that, we made our 8 miles to Lock 9, just short of Fort Ann. Other local areas were hit by 60 mile an hour winds, hail and lots of lightning. We missed the worst of it and got off the water just before more of it hit.
So I guess you could say that that duck was a lucky charm for us today!
Pushing on to Whitehall, the Birthplace of the American Navy tomorrow, hopefully in much better weather.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

It doesn't get any more American!

The Common Man, a young lady dressed in period costume and the American Flag! It just doesn't get any better than this.
It was standing room only at the Rogers Island Visitors Center in Fort Edward, NY last night as more than 50 people attended our first full presentation. Included among those was this young lady who was there with her father to learn about the French and Indian War - The Basics. We had great fun, and we all learned a little bit of history.
We'll be back at Rogers Island on September 21st to tell everyone what we have found on our 300 mile trek over the summer. Hope to see you all back there at that time.
In the meantime, the Tour must go on. We'll be dodging afternoon thunderstorms as we head out for Fort Ann later today.
Life is good!

Monday, July 2, 2007

So where is The Common Man?

He has arrived at Fort Edward, NY. That is where the Champlain Canal completely leaves the Hudson River and heads north to Lake Champlain. We'll be stopping here for a few days and a couple of programs. Please join us Thursday evening, July 5th at 7 pm at the Rogers Island Visitors Center for our first Powerpoint slide presentation of The French and Indian War - The Basics. It's about an overview of the French and Indian War from the Common Man's perspective.
The photo above was taken by June Curtis of Ticonderoga. It is of the Common Man rowing up the Hudson River out of Albany.
It's a big river out there and we're a very small canoe!
We're glad to be entering the relative safety of the Champlain Canal for a few days starting on Saturday. Weather looks good so far.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

My canoe doesn't leak! ....ANYMORE!

So we are traveling along the Hudson River and suddenly there appears to be water in my canoe. Condensation from the cold water bottles? Not a gallon's worth!
No other explanation other than that the canoe was taking on water, 7 miles into the trip, with 7 miles to go!
This ceased to be funny very quickly.
Now I carry a bucket in the boat, so we're not likely to sink. And this canoe is billed to be unsinkable, (But with a hole in it?) That probably voids the warranty. LOL
Waiting about 15 minutes for Lock 5 to open, we isolate the problem. The canoe is leaking up front!
We gallantly REFUSE to abandon ship! Especially since the water is only seeping in gradually.
Once on land for the night, ACE Hardware has a fiberglass repair kit. After an hour of work , following the directions, we hope the repair worked, despite the rain right after we did the work.
The next day we re-launched into the Hudson River.
The best news is that we did not sink. The repair was apparently successful since we saw no undue water in our canoe that day.
Hey, and you thought this 300 mile trip was gonna be easy.
Thanks for your support and tuning in to our Blog.