Category: diary

We woke this morning to the realization that this is our last day of homelessness and hours of fresh air.  Who knew we would have such mixed feelings about having a roof over our heads and a soft bed once again.  But reality is such and in just 33 or so miles our trip will be finished and it will all be just photos and memories.

We hopped out of bed to a chilly 48 degree day with clear skies inviting us to ride.  We stopped in the house to say goodbye to our hosts who were offering us breakfast and a bit more conversation.  So we were happy to sit with them and wait for the day to warm.  As the time passed nine we had no choice but to get moving, so we thanked  Jim and Cathy and headed out.

We stopped right down the road at the Dunkin’ Donuts for a bit more to eat (partly to satisfy a curiosity about the place) and consumed another half hour or so sitting in the sun and eating.  This would summarize our pattern for the day, lacking focus on our ride and spending more time enjoying crossing borders, eating, chatting with folks who want to know what we’re up to and taking pictures around Narragansett at some of our favorite spots.

Our path took us through new then familiar areas as we made our way. With only 33 miles to go we weren’t going to cover a lot of ground today so we could simple enjoy the moment.  Voluntown, CT to Narragansett, RI 002 Route 138 was our first road for today and it took us to Wyoming, RI. It was a short spin and from there it would be all back roads into Wakefield.  Not too far from our start we crossed the Rhode Island Border and stopped for our last border crossing pictures.  Up ahead we reached the intersection of 138 and 112.  Cyndy eyed the farmers market and disappeared.  We gawked at all the produce and spent some time trying to pet the alpacas.  Stuffed the booty in our bags so we could get going again. 

We turned to the south on 112 to avoid some construction and enjoy a designated bike route.  We were in familiar territory now, but not so much that we couldn’t miss a turn.  After a little meeting with Alice we figured out that the turn was still a head, woops!  The time passed and so did the beautiful New England farm houses and forest.  Before long we were turning onto Main Street in Wakefield past Point Judith Boats and into our last town.

We stopped at the Town Meat & Deli on Main Street. Word was out that we were on our final 10 miles and sandwiches were “on the house”.  Another unexpected fun gift from very generous supporters.  Now it was time to have a little fun and visit our favorite spots around the coast line at Narragansett so we could enjoy the view and snap our victory photos.  This little detour would add 6 miles and two and a half hours to our day, but it was all for fun.

Voluntown, CT to Narragansett, RI 011 Turned the corner towards Narragansett Beach where Steve’s dad was waiting to get a few photos.  We stopped and said hello then took a moment to enjoy our first look at the Atlantic.  Moved ahead just a little past the old Coast Guard House Towers to get a few more shots then cruised down Ocean Road to Point Judith Lighthouse.  Voluntown, CT to Narragansett, RI 062Such a refreshing sight to see the bright shimmering ocean after all that barren desert!  Block Island was clear as day and beckoned to us.    We swung by Galilee beach for Steve to jump into the water and wash the 3,500 plus miles of road grime off his helmet.  A bunch of beachgoers were curious as to what we were up to, so we spent 40 minutes sharing stories.

Voluntown, CT to Narragansett, RI 069 The final stretch from the beach into Great Island was only a couple of minutes.  Stopped one more time for photos at the sign for the island and now with only 1000 feet or so to go, there was nothing Cyndy could to to stop us from finishing.  She didn’t want the trip to be over but here we were.   Now it simply felt just like we were on our annual vacation here, not the end of our grand adventure.Voluntown, CT to Narragansett, RI 048  We pulled up to the house with little fanfare, just as planned.  As we rolled the bikes into the garage and took off the bike clothes we once again joined the ranks of the suburbanites.  We were no longer adventurers, just average folks doing average stuff.  Humph.

Safe and sound, we made it.   No major scrapes or detours, mechanical issues or illness.  We have seen dry barren moonscapes and lush ferns under forest trees.  The sound of a babbling brook, lapping  or crashing waves is a melody to our ears.  Stars and sunshine.  History of our country from the wild West to our Revolutionary fathers.  The appreciation of how vast and large our country is.  We at least had the occasional ability to cool off in air conditioning, have fresh food, ice and tires with a little more bounce than those who were in wagons, horseback or steam engine.  We travelled so many miles, slightly different accents but the same language and currency.

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Today’s ride reminded us how much we appreciate the back roads with no traffic, although the generosity of drivers makes just about any route enjoyable or not.  We transitioned a number of times between quiet and busy and for the most part the drivers made it  all a pleasure.

Lots of history in this area as we passed towns that were established in 1725 and earlier.  The houses also had strong roots in 18th and nineteenth century.  We also toured far away places like Scotland and Canterbury.  We passed quite a number of general stores and town squares with white churches and grand steeples.

Steve stopped to wait for Cyndy in front of a Enfield to Voluntown, CT 004pen with a number of cows today.  Unlike the Colorado bunch that would run away at the sight of the bikes, these guys got up and came over to the fence to check him out and pose for photos.  Much friendlier crowd.

In Willimantic we stopped for our afternoon ice cream where Cyndy double dipped with a yogurt parfait at McDonalds and then a cone across the street at Friendly’s.  While eating our ice cream outside a cute little old lady stopped by to ask about our trip and to brag about her granddaughter who had just completed the Appalachian Trail.  She was very supportive and encouraged us to enjoy ourselves as she wished she had.Enfield to Voluntown, CT 009

Late afternoon we stopped at Josie’s General Store.  It was as much a candy store as anything.  We were both hungry so we ended up with apples freshly picked, cheese and some other goodies to make our last night on the road a bit of a celebration.  As we were checking out the guy doing the pricing mentioned he would like to do the cross country thing too one day, so the conversation continued alongside our bikes.  We spent about a half hour downloading everything we knew until we realized we had lost precious time we needed to find a place to stay.

Cyndy went ahead and Steve headed out shortly after.  When we stopped a few minutes out to clarify directions, a couple riding a tandem pulled in behind to see what we were up to.  We gave them a briefing and they invited us to pitch in their back yard.  Given the lateness of the hour, the spots’ proximity to our route and their generosity, we accepted.  So we followed Jim and Kathy the 7 miles to their house where they not only offered their camper to us, but also provided dinner and very pleasant company for the evening. 

These folks were much more committed to the biking thing than we are.  Steve got a tour of Jims’ shop and all the toys in it.  One odd item was bike tires with studs, the kind used for ice.  So when most of us say goodbye to biking season, they change the tires and go mountain biking, “this icier the better”.

Our sincerest thanks to them for taking us in.

Google says 33 to go tomorrow.

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Maintaining our causal touring mornings we missed the continental breakfast but between provisions and the generosity of the hotel clerk  were managed to eat too much just the same.  Cleaned up and got outside to a chilly morning, the thermometer said 52 degrees.  BBBBrrrrr.  Canaan, NY to Enfield, CT 003 Just 0.8 miles down the road we crossed into Massachusetts.

The morning roads were quiet and pretty as we  wound our way just 8 miles to the town of Stockbridge.  This town was a nice New England location with the architecture and age you’d expect.  The main street was lined with shops and restaurants and Cyndy was intoxicated by the possibilities.  We took the time to stroll the sidewalk to window shop and even though we had eaten just 45 minutes before we couldn’t resist the charm.  Cyndy was checking the cafe’s out when we looked at the menu at one quiet place and there was the story of Alice’s Restaurant.  Not able to resist we went in.

Canaan, NY to Enfield, CT 009 This place, it turns out, is the location of the restaurant owned by Alice and made famous by Arlo Guthrie’s song Alice’s Restaurant.  They had a photo with Arlo, Alice and the new owner Theresa displayed in a case.  Steve was in need of a T-shirt from the place but they were out of the cool ones that he wanted so the only souvenir was a couple of photos.  But Canaan, NY to Enfield, CT 008 now we can say we’ve been to Alice’s restaurant.

We rolled out of town full of food so we needed some miles to work it off.  We passed through rural villages with great homes and yards as we continued to turn this way and that through the forest.  We passed a general store around 3pm, time for lunch.  Talked with the owner for quite a while and ate some more great food then we enjoyed a 5 mile down hill to the outskirts of Westfield.

Cyndy was less excited about this fast decent because the temperature had not risen above the mid-fifties all day.  A bit more than half way down Steve stopped to check up on a teeth chattering Cyndy who was threatening to put her rain pants on.  The portion just below was more rolling and gave both of us a chance to pedal and warm a little while we came flying into the stop at the bottom.

We turned a little south of Westfield and enjoyed another nice quiet road with beautiful houses, at least for a little while.  As we passed south and east of town the roads became very busy as commute time reached its peak.  Fortunately the drivers were generous and the ride south out of town was enjoyable.

Canaan, NY to Enfield, CT 024 We passed through more rural neighborhoods and farms as we headed for Enfield.  Here we passed a collection of barns that had caught Steve’s attention because the siding was configured to open every fourth or so board.  There were agricultural products hanging in the barns.  Neither of us knew this was grown in the area.  Any idea what this (Picture to the right) product is????Canaan, NY to Enfield, CT 023

We crossed the Connecticut border then left the rural setting to make our crossing over the Connecticut River.  Steve had passed over this bridge a couple of weeks ago and knew it was under construction and disallowed bikes on the road and also that the pedestrian lane was closed.  He had hoped for a miracle, one where the pedestrian path was completed and open when we got there.  All Cyndy knew was that Steve was very insistent that we cross the river tonight (not during work hours).Canaan, NY to Enfield, CT 013

Well the construction hadn’t moved forward as far as Steve had hoped but the pedestrian path was somewhat clear.  So he scoped the scene and we dashed across without falling off or getting arrested.  We were never at risk and the alternative would have taken us 30 or so miles out of our way, an unpalatable alternative.

On the eastern side of the river Alice gave us directions to the local Motel-6 just 0.7 miles away… Oh but we can’t use route 190 in this section so the long way around was 3 or so miles.  The area was committed to making us do extra miles, we’ll give the win to Enfield  on this one.  The sun has been setting earlier and earlier and we slid in just after the sun had set.  The headlamps actually received a bit of use, glad we had them with us.

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We enjoyed our morning at the B&B, not really wanting to get out of bed at 7, but, having agreed to seven thirty for breakfast, we had no choice.  The lady made us a nice breakfast and we sat around the table eating and recounting our adventures for her.  Before we knew it it was nine fifteen and we had to get going.  Ran back up to the room to get our stuff together and move along.

Schenectady to Canaan, NY 001 We finally got our bikes out in front only to find Cyndy’s rear tire flat.  We should already have checked it given that it was low yesterday, but we didn’t.  So fixed her up, washed our hands while we could and started on our way.  A couple of turns and a few blocks and we were once again on the trail making our way east.

There we a few folks out on the trail in various places.  Just outside of Albany a guy stopped us to find out about the trail west to Amsterdam and some others stopped to chat as well.  The first guy was meeting a group who had rode from Buffalo and the second was with a senior riding club that came out twice a week to enjoy the trail and avoid getting “old”.  One lady was a Brit and loved Cyndy’s Brooks saddle and Raleigh bike.

The trail was paved, well marked and according to our map (online version) it would remain that way for the remainder of the trip to Albany.  Schenectady to Canaan, NY 004 After a detour around the General Electric research facility we found ourselves riding alongside of the Hudson.  The Erie Canal was gone for good and we had somehow missed the last locks.  Steve wanted to see these because they are a set of 5 locks in series that looks like a stair case.  Oh well.

A couple more on street excursions and we were eating lunch at River Point Bar and Grill at the Albany river front.  Cyndy had wanted to go over to Troy for lunch (actually to find the Uncle Sam origins of the “We want you ”slogan”) but a local warned us about the area and we chose not to go.

This lunch marked the last of the Erie bike path and the end of our riding on paths for this trip.  From here it’s over the Hudson River and the down hill ride to little rhody (RI) via rural roads and small towns.

Leaving lunch we had a couple of sprinkles of rain but that’s all it amounted to as we got underway. Schenectady to Canaan, NY 014 While we were on the bridge over the Hudson, we stopped to take a couple of photos and ran into a gent from Great Britain.  He was hiking around New England and in the process of looking for a trail that went north and east into Vermont.  We weren’t any help.

The other side of the river turned hilly and we spent the next couple of hours getting used to riding hills again.  These climbs are a bit different in that they are short but relatively steep and are stacked one right after the next.  After a week of flats along the canal it was a bit of a reality check.  We’re up for it!

We wound our way around the New York Throughway and finally reached Canaan and the hotel that Steve had stayed in a couple of weeks ago when he drove the route.  Schenectady to Canaan, NY 020At the truck stop right below the hotel, Steve saw trucks with a complete wind turbine set parked and couldn’t pass up a close encounter.  If you look at the photo of the blade there is a black line towards the right tip.  That’s not a tie or dirt on the lens. it’s Cyndy standing by to provide scale.  Click on the photo to enlarge it, I’m not kidding.  Grabbed a really good sandwich from the truck stop at the same corner then retired for the evening… after a shower and doing laundry of course.

The day’s non riding funnies include a tip on how to make your eyes water to get a bug out and how to shop for dinner in a mini mart.  Just check with Cyndy for her latest medical treatment plans.

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Woke up this morning to the sound of some anglers just before the alarm went off.  We had left the tent fly only partially on to help with ventilation and during the night it had blown off so we had a nice view of our lock and the surrounding forest.  While we were admiring the surroundings we also noticed a couple million mosquitoes trying to break in and have breakfast.  A couple had lock picks and others with battering rams, we’re talking determined. Let’s just say Cyndy found squished bugs many miles later, one at the nape of her neck.

Given the hostile environment we packed everything we could while barricaded in the tent then made a run for the bikes, packing everything in record time.  Grabbed the bikes and headed for the other side of the lock and into the parking lot.  Whew, we were much safer.  Boy, is it a challenge to be walking that narrow walkway on top of the lock gates, with the open grate to stare at the water below.  Time to brush the teeth and make sure we have everything.  All this rushing had us going in record time.

Lock 18, Little Falls to Schenectady, NY 028 Headed six miles down the road to Little Falls to get breakfast at Ann Street Cafe as recommended by Ed last night.  Whipped out the computer to finish the blog entry and check our route for today.  Not wanting to have a repeat of yesterday Steve took the time, while we had an internet connection, to check each departure from a path and plot the streets required to get to next entrance.  This consumed 2 hours so we ended up leaving at ten forty, so much for a early start, but we were prepared.  All that work and there was actually plenty of signage to direct us.

Lock 18, Little Falls to Schenectady, NY 002 Shortly after getting on the road we came across Lock 17 the largest drop of any lock on the Barge Canal at 40.5 feet.  This one had a down stream door that dropped vertically into place and had a concrete bulkhead overhead to accommodate the large change in water level.  Steve wanted to just take a quick look because of the late start but we ended up there for a half hour anyway.

Headed up the path to lock fifteen where we stopped for at the camping area and enjoyed a few minutes of relative quiet along the side of the canal under some pine trees.  Didn’t miss the opportunity to snack a bit while we were stopped.  Lock 18, Little Falls to Schenectady, NY 015 The power station door was open for viewing so Steve took the opportunity to check out the old switch gear and the two original four cylinder gas engines driving DC generators.  Cyndy just nodded when she heard about the hardware, but enjoyed staring at the water and eating fresh Concord grapes.  Who knew there is actually a way to eat them by popping the center into your mouth, spit the seed then enjoy the skin part.

The path went through the edge of Canajoharie, which means “pot that washes itself” (too bad we didn’t find the actual creek with this whirlpool in it)..  Stopped at a local diner down Main Street for a soft serve ice cream, if you can believe that.  The lady gave us a small size cone that was piled a mile high.  She started asking questions and was in disbelief at the answers so we had to show her the bikes.  As we sat in the restaurant we could hear her repeating the story to anyone that would listen.

Came across another lockLock 18, Little Falls to Schenectady, NY 022 from the original canal.  It was not as accessible as the others but very cool just the same.  A replica of a grocery store also stood on the spot.  It was hard to image that  the large canal in the background didn’t exist when the grocery was in operation.

At this point we started to look at our evening destination.  Amsterdam was a choice at only five miles away, but we really wanted to make Schenectady.  (Cyndy just loves the name with the accent in the wrong place, just keeps thinking of Randy Meyers schmackdaddy hat…) Some re-plotting gave us reassurance that it was only 20 miles away and we still had two and one half hours of sunlight.

The trail was paved for the rest of the ride (where there was trail) and we made very good time until we stopped at lock 8 on the outskirts of Schenectady to find lodging.  We found the information we needed and Alice did her usual job of guiding us to our destination.  Luckily the B&B we are staying at was right on the trail (it was really on the city roads that lead to the next segment of trail).  This B&B was built c1775 in the historic downtown area.  Lots of magnificent stone buildings.  We walked up to diner on Erie St.. We were told the original canal ran where the street is today, also hard to imagine.

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Somehow we managed to get up and out this morning before lunch.  In fact we were at a breakfast place before 8:30… Let’s get an amen!!  While we were at the restaurant we inquired into the reason for the boxing centric community.  The waitress told us that there were a high number of local guys who have made it big from the town.  Who’d a thunkit?

The trail was much easier to find today because we started in the same place that we exited last night.  Into the woods once again to enjoy the countryside.  Today’s  route took us through nice valleys and small villages and of course along the old canal.  Cansatota to Lock18 - Little Falls, NY 019 As we were passing one of the many flooded sections we noticed turtles sunning themselves on floating timber.  Not just one or two but maybe 10 or fifteen on one log.  Our attempts to photograph them were met with mixed results as stopping caused a mass exodus.  We were able to sneak up on on one or two and get a photo but the large groups would have none of us.  Too many eyes we think

We consistently think that we are in the middle of nowhere when a train comes zooming by on nearby tracks.  We even had one of the engineers blow the horn to say hello.

Cansatota to Lock18 - Little Falls, NY 001 We had the pleasure of actually having signs marking the on road sections of our route today when approaching Rome.  Very nice change.  Of course all good things must come to an end and that happened at Erie Village a little reproduction town at the west end of Rome.  You know the story, well this one was even more unbelievable, but Steve has decided that complaining about this route deserves its own full page so you can follow future evaluations of the route and the people responsible for it at our Erie Canalway review page.

After a little bushwhacking and hearing Cyndy huff and puff in agony (or fear?) over the rough single track trail, we back tracked a bit and exited to the road.  We made our way through town and back onto the trail east of Rome where we continued on our way. Of course this was after consulting the map (useless) and Alice (who has proven her worth).

The trail ended once again as we entered the City of Utica.  This was expected, even had an end sign.  Riding through town gave us an opportunity to grab some lunch/dinner.  Cyndy wanted to go to the Triangle Coffee Shop and so we gave them a call to call to make sure they had the Lemon Meringue pie Cyndy was focused on.  While making the call Steve’s bike tried to kill him one more time, a little dancing and maneuvering and its plans where thwarted, again.  In the end they didn’t have any pie so we went another direction.

Left out of Utica after lunch for a stretch on the road towards Ilion where we would pick up the trail again and you guessed it, it wasn’t where the map had shown.  Stopped in a marina that we thought might be hiding the entrance, but it wasn’t. We started a conversation with some folks who were barbequing on the bulkhead.  They had taken their boat from Ontario, down St Lawrence Seaway, now back on the Erie Canal.  Sounded like they had a great time and saw lots of beautiful country.  I got the password to the network from them, whipped out the laptop at the steps of office and we were on track again. 

At this point the sun was hovering over the western horizon, so with no time to waste we bypassed the small section of path leading to our camp in favor of the road to make better time.  We finally made Lock 18, our camping spot for the night, around 7:30.

Cansatota to Lock18 - Little Falls, NY 024 While Steve was wandering the lock Ed, the “night roamer”, showed up.  His job was to monitor water levels at six locks throughout the night.  He was a very nice gent and filled us in on the workings of his job and the locks and local resources for the morning.  We ended up chatting with him for at least an hour.  But the mosquitoes were getting the best of us and Ed had work to do, so we set up camp and called it a day.  No sense in having dinner or brushing our teeth, we will make up for it tomorrow somewhere where the mosquitoes won’t carry us away.

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Out of bed at the ungodly hour of, ohhhhh… 8:15 this morning, then headed over to the continental breakfast.  Rushed through that in about an hour.  Hmmmm, what were we supposed to do today??  Oh that’s right that pesky bike thingy again.  The bikes are absolutely filthy and have turned quite gray after all the stone dust.  Harriet finally received a new chain after about 2,400 miles and Cyndy is hoping she will roll along much faster, at least smoother today!

After yesterday’s unguided tour through the countryside Steve was in no mood to take chances, so he plotted our route through Syracuse in Google maps and then printed the street directions.  Having the printer available in the hotel lobby was worth the premium.  What he didn’t look up is how to get back on the path this morning.

Allegedly the path started just east of our hotel with the entry through the Arby’s parking lot (great place to begin the pride and joy of NY).  This wonderful unimproved section dumped us at the local fairgrounds and once again there were no directions provided.  Made a few assumptions based on the “share the road” signs to the right… wrong again.  We road down “bike route 5” a little bit then decided it was time to look at the map again.

Pulled over and took another look at the paper map.  It shows the path to the south of the road we were on, the path was definitely on the north of the road.  Now we have absolutely no confidence in the map and Steve embarks on a tirade of colorful metaphors.  In between rants Steve pulls out the laptop and data phone and gets the electronic map showing the first segment we had just left located in the correct place and also our mistake.  Fortunately we can pick up the path just ahead.

Weedsport to Cansatota, NY 017 Once we get on the trail calm prevails and we begin to enjoy ourselves once again.  This section of the trail follows the original canal that we think hadn’t been widened in any of the post creation work.  The trail was right on the side and we had a great perspective of the canal dimensions.

Weedsport to Cansatota, NY 001 In Jordan we came across the remains of one of the original locks in this canal.  It was drained and mowed and all the stone work was still in place and in perfect condition.  The lock was two parallel systems each 18.5 feet wide.  Shipping sure has changed.

Weedsport to Cansatota, NY 008 A bit further down the path we arrived at Camillus.  The Town had acquired the canal property and rehabilitated it creating a working canal segment about 2 miles long and a canal side museum.  The truly impressive part of the rehab is their rebuilding of the aqueduct one mile to the east that had just been reopened a month before our visit.  From the documentation in the museum, the first aqueduct cost $54,800 to build, footings and all. The last one cost $2.4 million.  They also run a river boat down the canal and over the aqueduct for your pleasure.  Nope, we didn’t take the ride.

Weedsport to Cansatota, NY 031

Just a mile down the path and it was back onto the streets to cross Syracuse.  Fortunately we had proper directions and except for missing one turn we entered and exited Syracuse with none of the indecision that had plagued us the last few days.

Just short of returning to the path we ran into the same folks we had the last two evenings.  They were a little unsure where to go next and they have the formal NY guide to the trail.  We chatted about our days and then confirmed our route with theirs and they were off again.  We were happy to be out of the big city, too many cars and potholes, thank goodness it was a Sunday as the route took us right into downtown.Weedsport to Cansatota, NY 004

We stopped for dinner before returning to the path in east Syracuse knowing that resources were sparse for the evening trail segments and that we might camp in a park just 5 miles east.  Stopped at Pisano’s or something like that.  A real Italian food place with the good food, attitude and all.

When we got going again it was five fifteen, kind of late but we had only gone 30 miles so far so we skipped the campground and kept heading east along the path (that is we never saw the signs for the campground!).  The sections today have been less overgrown in a lot of spots so getting the feel for the canal was easy.  There are hints of fall in the air with some of the vines changing color or just a limb on some trees.  Lot’s of people using the path around east Syracuse too.  There was a marathoner doing his “16 miler” and lots of families on bikes, and dogs being walked.

Just after returning to the path we ran into another Aqueduct.  At some point (the year escapes us) they began replacing the wood trough with concrete troughs.  This was one that had been replaced and was still intact.

The route east of Syracuse was a very nice finish to the day, winding through quiet forest with the only indications of civilization being the occasional street crossing.  Although there is little civilization there is also little opportunity for rural camping so we reached our mileage in the town of Canastota.  Neither Alice nor the locals could come up with a place to camp so off to another hotel, Boooo.  The rest of the trail promises more camping opportunities.

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Macedon to Weedsport, NY 001The day dawned, cool & misty but we were nice and dry inside the covered picnic area.   It was our fifteen minutes of fame, we slept on the stage in Macedon!  The morning excitement included watching the same Carver boat go through the lock that we followed yesterday .

Another beautiful trail ride through the trees and following the canal.  In Palmyra we made a Macedon to Weedsport, NY 004quick stop to visit the Aqueduct, which is a structure that ported the canal over the Ganargua Creek via a stone and wood trough.  Although the wood portion is long gone the stone was still intact and provided a great insight into the workings.  We also grabbed a bite to eat at a local diner, the off bike activities having sucked up most of our morning.

We have been following the Erie Canalway Trail, however it is not a complete trail as of now, only 220 miles.  The path ends in Newark but we faithfully followed the street markings for many more miles as we assumed it would connect. In the town of Clyde there was a split, left for State Bike route 5 or this other sign…we went right, through beautiful rolling country side and farms.  Another Amish community with several buggies and children with dresses and bonnets!

When we got to Seneca Falls, we realized the trail markings had detoured us via Seneca Falls and Waterloo, an optional route that added 20 miles to our day.  Here Cyndy is starving (no ice cream stops as of yet today nor fruit stands!) and cranky and Steve is not impressed, again, with the markings on for the trail.  Did we mention they aren’t just bad, THEY DON’T EXIST!!!!  More virtual reality bike trail riding.Macedon to Weedsport, NY 013

When we got to Waterloo we were very flexible on the food front so we ended up at KFC (this kills Cyndy for the reasons of it not being a local shop and fast food to boot).  Then headed into the town where we had the privilege of touring the back streets as the “signs” for the trail took us in circles.  Then we found the problem, these markings are for a century ride and we found the start.  Tempers getting short at this point!  It was time to take control instead of being lead blindly.  Stopped on confirmed several turns and avoided a couple of mis-steps and finally we were back on track.

It was rather ironic that we found our way into Seneca Falls as Cyndy had been interested in touring the town but it was too far off course.  At least we were able to get “close” to the Finger Lakes.  We also learned that this was the birthplace for women’s rights. 

We decided Weedsport would be our stop for the evening. As we were calling the two motels in town the folks we camped near and chatted with last night walked up to us.  They had a leisurely breakfast, a casual 45 mile Macedon to Weedsport, NY 018day, got to town in time to have dinner and do laundry then off to the grocery store from where they were returning when we met them.  Can you imagine what was going through our minds!?!?!

Although the detour took us through some beautiful countryside and the roads where great, it would have been nice to have made a conscious decision rather than be hijacked.

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Whoa!! Forty one miles!  We’re getting a little crazy here.  We did get a late start after handling the logistics of going to the bike shop where Cyndy’s bike was reassembled.  Then unloading the rental car across the street on the bike path. Then dropping off the rental car and riding the twelve miles back to meet Cyndy.

While waiting for Steve to return the rental car, Cyndy was able to rearrange the panniers, figure out the map orientation, watch the few boaters and chat with several walkers & cyclists enjoying their morning.  Three older gentleman were just too darn cute as they gawked at all the stuff we had out on the picnic table, they were going “credit card style” at a max of 40 miles per day, enjoying their retirement & old friendships as they met up here from all over the states.

Niagara Falls to Medina, NY 003

12:30 we were finally on our way, but those first few pedal strokes felt alien as we adapted to our fully loaded bikes once again.  Thankfully the path was paved and quiet to give us a chance to get with the program once again.  We have the fortune to enjoy this path, for the most part, all the way across New York State, from Buffalo to Albany.

Trees, trees everywhere!! Except where there is water.  What an amazing change for Cyndy since her departure from the trip in Kansas.  Here everything is green!  Beautiful blue sky day.

Here’s a bit of info for you who might be considering a ride on the Erie Canal Trail;  The trail transitions from dedicated path to road side fairly often.  The signage is non-existent, save for the generosity of someone who painted some marks on the road surface.  Very disappointing for a trail so well documented electronically (a bit of virtual reality).  We had intended to go through the Niagara Falls area on the way out of town… Missed that turn.  Had to guess (incorrectly) at one or two other intersections.  No harm in the end other than adjusting expectations, plus we passed the same ice cream store 3 times.  We took that as a sign. 

We followed the Tonawanda Creek for a while, it was reminiscent of the Delta but even nicer with the green manicured lawns and East Coast style homes. Niagara Falls to Medina, NY 018 The first town we encountered was Lockport.  Cyndy spied the local farm stand and Steve the canal and first lock we would encounter, we parted ways here.

Both of us satisfied with our findings, we descended into the little gorge housing the lock and the beginning to the next trail segment.  There happened to be a museum right at the entry so weNiagara Falls to Medina, NY 012 stopped to get educated on the local lock system.  Chatted with one of the workers and had him snap a photo of us.

For the next 100 miles we’ll ride right on the tow path at the side of the canal taking us behind yards, buildings and forests right on the canals’ edge.  Very enjoyable afternoon ride, complete with farm fresh local apples for a snack.Niagara Falls to Medina, NY 016

Slower speeds prevailed as Cyndy became reacquainted with Harriet her chariot (who may only be a pound or two lighter, but quickly filling with snacks & maps) and with a trail that is paved only with stone dust.

We stopped in Middleport around 6pm and struck up a conversation with a local walking his dog.  Got the skinny on the local eateries and lodging, as well as some info on the next town.  Steve wanting to get in at least 50 for the day was ready to push on and Cyndy was happy with “touring”.  In the end sunset came very early and the decision was made for us.

We wheeled into Medina and made a couple of phone calls to set up a B&B for the night (yup, camping went out the window too).  By default we ended up at the Historic Village Bed & Breakfast, turned out to be a good decision.  Wonderfully remodeled 1866 home, clean and friendly owners.  Good food right down the street too!

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So here we are back on the tour September 8, 2009.  Cyndy came in from Sacramento via South West Airlines and arrived at 5:30 and Steve drove in from Narragansett (look it up) to meet her at the Buffalo, New York airport.  Everything went according to plan and we were out of the airport before 6 pm.  Nice when there weren’t any bags to check.

We had decided to tour north eastern Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and Niagara Falls on Wednesday via car, but had plenty of time this evening so we decided to zip down to Lake Erie to see what there was to see.

We backtracked the route Steve had rode, it offered great views of the lake and the conditions he encountered on his way to Niagara.  Lots of stuff to look at along the lakeside, from houses (fun to see the same 8 acre lots marketed as 8 acre estates as we got closer to buffalo) to the beaches and tourist spots.  Steve was amazed how close the beach bars/resort area of Angola were by car, they seemed so far away from Niagara before.  One of the best town names is “Lackawanna”, Steve thinks that’s what the whole country is suffering from.  The lake is a huge body of water, but hardly a boat at all out on this beautiful night.

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We had staved off our hunger with a couple of Fritos and nectarines but as we turned back to Buffalo it was time to plan our dinner.  Cyndy had already picked out two restaurants to choose from;  One, the originator of Buffalo wings called The Anchor Bar and the other served food with fern parts on it.  We went to the wings place.  It was yummy! (Back down the slippery slope of fried foods for Cyndy)

That was it, to the hotel for a good nights’ sleep.

Wasn’t in any big rush to drag ourselves out of bed on Wednesday, we had already seen Erie, our original morning activity, and the Maid of the Mist doesn’t start running until 9:45.  So we took our time departing, stopping for the continental breakfast just before it closed at 10am and chatting with the front desk clerk who was planning to do Team in Training marathon team next spring.

Headed to the falls to do the full on tourist thing.  Steve wanted to do the Journey Behind the Falls and Cyndy wanted to do the Maid of the Mist boat ride.  The wild card was that the behind the falls tour was from the Canadian side and we didn’t have passports.  There was a possible alternative called an enhanced license, we didn’t know what these were and if ours were it.  A trip to the info center gave us the answer Steve didn’t want so the Journey was out.

The boat ride started with a walk out on a platform that extends over the edge of the gorge and down a 180 foot elevator. Niagara Falls, NY 035 Then we headed out on the Maid and enjoyed a 15 minute boat ride in front of the American falls and Bridal Vail falls then up into the mist of the Horseshoe (Canadian) falls where we held position for about five minutes assuring everyone was good and wet.  We snapped a bunch of photos when the ride was dry but it was impossible in the midst of the mist.

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While we were on the ride we saw the boardwalk for the Cave of the Winds, another attraction the lets you walk around the area at the bottom of the Bridal Veil Falls.  We decided this would be a nice substitute.

This walk takes you down to and over the talus and actually lets you get close enough to get wet from splashing falls water.  So down another elevator, this one running through a Niagara Falls, NY 086shaft hand cut into the side of the gorge.  We walked around the relatively dry areas and then headed up to the hurricane deck.  From above you can see the mist being carried away from the bottom of the falls, when you stand in front of this you realize that it’s a high velocity column of air being discharged from the falling water.  So the hurricane deck is a combination of heavy mist to flowing water coupled with 40+ MPH wind.  Very unique experience outside of a big coastal storm.  By the way, the disclaimer before you head down the elevator “clothes may get damp” Haha.

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After the manufactured attraction we walked around to the various platforms at the top of the falls and took in the stunning views of the water flows as it headed down the rapids and then flung itself over the cliff.  But like all things this too had to end and we were off to see the lower Niagara River and then Lake Ontario.

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On our way we stopped at The Whirlpool where the Niagara spun in circles as it tried to make a ninety degree turn to continue its journey to Ontario.  Then it was off to the mouth of the Niagara at Fort Niagara.  We could see the sky line of Toronto across the lake but nothing else.  Another immense body of water.  We kept going east along its edge enjoying the vistas and local architecture.

It was getting towards dinner time and we were close to the town of Wilson where there was dinner to be had at the Wilsons Boat House and Marina.  How nice, a marina, boats, dinner, who could ask for more? (A perfect birthday dinner for Steve!)

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After dinner we strolled the docks and took in one more view of the l ake and we were headed back to the hotel.  Not too late but we needed our beauty sleep. It was so refreshing to spend the day surrounded by water.

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