Journals (Start to Finish) Our tours, start to finish

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 4

06/18/2006 03:58:29 by Administrator

From: Brattleboro, VT
To: Bennington, VT
Mileage: 42

Wilmington by 9:45 am, Bennington by 12:30, piece of cake. . . .yeah right. The temperatures reached 95 degrees today. The Rear Admiral and I were finishing off breakfast at the Royal Diner, which is located at the base of Hogback Mountain, at 7:00am. We knew it was going to be hot as we climbed the Green Mountains of Vermont. We also knew that it was motorcycle weekend in Loudon, NH and Rte 9 would be a major route for people coming back and returning to their homes in New York. Only about 35 vehicles pass us as we climbed up and over Hogback Mountain. It was so quiet at times, we could not believe our luck. On the west side of Marlboro, we got our first flat tire of the trip. It had been such a long time that we had a flat (over 1700 miles). We pulled into the highway department's area, I found a small stream and located the small hole. We were patched and on our way in about 10 minutes, not bad for being rusty.

We continued to climb, and Mary spotted a fawn by the side of the road. I was looking out for moose, but didn't see this shy creature today. Once on Hogback, we tried to absorb the 100-mile view. We felt on top of the world, for now, knowing that Searsburg Mountain was 15 miles to the west. Riding into Wilmington, we stopped at the Shaw's supermarket for some oranges and Gatorade.

As we climbed out of Wilmington, the traffic increased, the temperature rose, and the grade got steeper. On the last part of our ascent up Searsburg, we were (barely) passed by two elderly gentlemen, each riding their own moped/scooter. I think they were maxed out at 10 mph. When we reach the top, they were waiting for us and cheering us on! What an experience.

We stopped in the General Store at the top of the 3-mile downhill, that would lead us into Bennington, for another Gatorade and some more stretching. Then the fun began. We reached 46 mph going downhill. We would have reached higher, but the Rear Admiral put on her brake a couple of times. She has to feel safe, or this trip is no fun and I agree.

We rode through main street in Bennington, past the Hemmings gas station and up the hill leading out of town, then turned and rode back through town. We didn't want Katelyn (who picked us up and brought us home) to experience the Sunday traffic (parking lot) jam.

I have a couple more days of school, then Kate will drop us back in Bennington to continue!

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 5

06/21/2006 04:00:29 by Administrator

From: Bennington, VT
To: Schenectady, NY
Mileage: 55

We were on the road at about 1:30PM. Kate (thank you sweetie) drove us back out to Bennington, VT to take up where we left off on Sunday. Here we go! Fully loaded!

Today was a 10. Temperatures were in the low 80's and the sky was bright blue. We cycled on route 7 into New York over rolling hills a pretty views of farms. We had a nice gradual climb up to Brunswick where we picked up route 142. Route 142 skirts downtown Troy nicely and is mostly downhill!. We sailed over the Hudson River into Waterford and then down to Cohoes where we started to look for start of the Erie Canal trail. We've been to this end of the Canal trail so we had a pretty good idea of the general vicinity of where to look. We were stopped by a very nice man who asked us if we were on tour, not only did he show us how to get to the trail he gave us a few tips on places to stay for the night. Thank you Rich!

The canal trail was beautiful, like riding through a big lush green tunnel. Once in a while there is a glimpse of the Mohawk River. Lots of hikers, cyclist and runners were on the trail, it's great to see the trail so well used.

We took a short break in Niskayuna, at a small park on the trail overlooking the Mohawk River. We found a quiet bench and watched the boats go by. After a quick snack and some stretches we were on our way to Schenectady. The Mohawk trail disappears at either end of Schenectady. You need to ride through downtown, past Union college. This reminds us of the areas in Boston around NorthEastern and BC/BU.

Tonight we are at the "lovely" L and M motel in Schenectady. We rate it a 3. It right off the bike path though, and we did have chinese food delivered. We fought over the broccoli

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 6

06/22/2006 03:08:11 by Administrator

From: Schenectady, NY
To: Little Falls, NY
Mileage: 59

Today was another 10. Stop us if you hear this record before! Had the free continental breakfast at L and M Motel, cold cereal, coffee, and orange juice. It held me well for the morning, but the Rear Admiral needs her lumberjack special!

We love the Erie Canal. It is a cyclist's paradise. The morning saw us riding through light rain. It could rain like this everyday, and it would be perfect for the farmers and the bicycle riders. We saw multitudes of birds, rabbits, turtles, squirrels, and woodchucks. The towpath is crushed stone through most of today's travels. We are using a 20 x 1.50 tire in the front and a 26 x 2.00 tire in the back. So we move through the trail slower than riding on pavement, but we manage just fine.

We were brought to a stop at the Information Booth in downtown Canajoharie by one the volunteers. He was impressed with SeeMore and his town. The trail way runs right through downtown and this part of the trail is paved. Canajoharie does everything to attract cyclist and boaters into down town. He directed us to a deli/used furniture store. That is NOT a typo. We had extremely tasty sandwiches while sitting at a dining room table that could be yours for $29.99 (table only, no chairs).

After Canajoharie we rode into Fort Plain and then on toward Little Falls. We had some rough going about 8 miles east of Herkimer Mansion. The trail was very muddy and not maintained. Mary asked if I had made a wrong turn. We stopped at Herkimer Mansion for a look-see. This homestead was built in 1764 and was owned by General Nicholas Herkimer, Palatine hero of the Battle of Oriskany. That's what the sign said, don't shoot the messenger.

We are hold up at the Best Western Motel in downtown Little Falls. Life is really hard on us! We walked downtown Little Falls and window shopped, purchase salad and fruit for dinner AND CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS. Remember, it's not about the riding; it's about the eating!

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 7

06/23/2006 03:10:11 by Administrator

From: Little Falls, NY
To: Cicero, NY
Mileage: 82

The day started out ominously. For these first 3 days, the weather men, my mom, and our son and daughter have been warning us of serious thunderstorms, hence the hotel living. We did not see a lick of rain today, but it looked threatening all day. The really storm was on this laptop. Windows XP wanted to install a huge update, and knowing how important it is to keep updated, I hit the install button. 45 minutes later I was ready to toss the laptop out the window and watch it break into a thousand pieces. Things improved after I finally got to close the cover to the laptop. We had breakfast up the hill at Katrina's CafÈ. The Rear Admiral had her lumberjack special (2 eggs 1 pancake 2 bacon) and I had three pancakes with peanut butter on top (this set us back a whole $7.00!). Might sound kind of funny, but the peanut butter helps to elongate the digestion of the pancakes.

We left the hotel and were immediately greeted by 15 fellow cyclists who were journeying from Buffalo to Albany, following the Erie Canal. We traded war stories and trail news. It was great to talk to them. We head out on Route 5s, which is a NY designated bicycle route and also a 4 lane highway all the way into Utica (thank you very much). We felt very safe, but the noise made the bike riding less then ideal. We played the Alphabet game as we got closer to Utica, and I beat the Real Admiral by a Z.

We screwed up Utica, again. One day we will get it down pat and be able to ride through Utica correctly on bicycle friendly routes. We do not know how to get on the beginning of the Canal path in Utica, but we know it's not by going down the major route 8. We did some guardrail hopping, and carried SeeMore and the bags down an embankment to finally get onto the path that runs beside the canal. As soon as we got on the trail, our heart rates went down and our smiles went up. What a treasure it was to ride from Utica to Rome on the trail. We stopped to have oranges and just thank our lucky stars for such a great experience.

We got off the trail in Rome and had lunch at a small diner. After lunch we went down ANOTHER major 4-lane highway (yes, this is ALSO a NY designated bicycle route) for about 10 miles. Turning onto Route 31 and following Lake Oneida's southern shores, SeeMore decided to turn the horses lose. We had a small headwind, but Mary and I felt really good and we average better than 14 mph for almost 25 miles. We were watching the lake, looking at people's homes, and just enjoying the day!

We are hold up in the Seneca hotel in Cicero. This is not your typical 3 star hotel, we don't think the owners know about the star ratings. It cost us $52.50 for tonights lodging. $50.00 (cash) for the room, and $2.50 for the Febreeze air refresher we purchased at Wal-Mart to try a get rid of the cigarette smell in our room.

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 8

06/24/2006 03:12:00 by Administrator

From: Cicero, NY
To: Egypt, NY
Mileage: 94

Today was a perfect 10-riding day. No humidity, and temperatures in the low 80s. Today we would follow Rte 31 (Bicycle route 5) for 85 percent of the day. Rte 31 took us through rolling farmland of central New York State. We rode into Baldwinsville and stopped to have breakfast, downtown at the diner. It was all decked out if fifties motif, and there seemed to be more waitresses than customers.

After the diner we rode into the farmlands of New York, and visited small towns of Weedsport, and Port Byron. We stopped for a picnic lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, oranges and Fritos corn chips in the town square of Clyde. Meet a fellow tandem couple that live in the area and were out for a 30 miler. They were riding a yellow Burley road tandem. Their parents (who are 74 years young) introduced them to riding tandems about 5 years ago.

After lunch we rode through Lyons and into Newark. In Newark we stopped at the Chamber of Commerce/Information Booth and the lady said that the bike trail along the canal went right past her booth completely into Rochester, all the way! Her information was wrong. The trail ended about 8 miles west of Newark, in the middle of nowhere. We asked a fellow biker, and he said to turn left when we get out of the park. We did, and 7 miles later we were in the little town of Marion. A very pretty town, but 8 miles further north of the canal then we were suppose to be. We stopped at a house in Marion and got GREAT directions back to Palmyra AND the best ice cream shop in Palmyra. They also wouldn't let us go until they filled our water bottles up with ice water. We meet the nicest people all the time, it is truly amazing! After 8 miles, and some ice cream, we continued west towards Rochester. We knew that it was too far to go to stay the night with Dustin, so we are here in Egypt waiting for Dustin to come by so we can take him out to dinner.

Tomorrow will be an easy day, looks like no more than 20 miles to Dustin's condo.

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 9

06/25/2006 03:13:36 by Administrator

From: Egypt, NY
To: Rochester, NY
Mileage: 20

Today was an easy day of bicycling, mostly on a paved path. Yet another "10" with temperatures in the low 80's filled out completely with blue skies. Our only obstacle to negotiate was about 3 miles of torn up Rte 31 (bicycle rte 5). Weaving in and out of orange barrels was not very fun with moderate Sunday traffic.

Once we found the canal trail, everything was perfect. This part of New York is blessed with bicycle paths. We rode into Pittsford and had breakfast at the Coal Silo (I hope I got the name right) restaurant. Getting back on SeeMore we met up with Dustin who rode with us back to his apartment. We were happy we are getting time to spend here. He is a fantastic host.

More great hospitality came when Dustin's roommate, Chris Lybik and his folks invited us up to their lake front house for the afternoon. Steve and Barbara made for such a comfortable afternoon, that we wish we could have stayed longer. The youngsters picked on us old guys by beating us at horseshoes. Steve's handicap (me) was too much of a burden to pull off the victory. We ate our way through the afternoon first enjoying terrific sandwiches for lunch and steaks on the grill for supper, it was great to taste home cooking. THANKS CHRIS, STEVE, and BARBARA for your warm hospitality and letting us enjoy a piece of Lake Ontario.

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 10

06/26/2006 03:15:52 by Administrator

From: Rochester, NY
To: Lockport, NY
Mileage: 68

Wow! Today was 98% bike path. Weather was overcast and threatening us with all kinds of rain, but once again we were spared. A couple drops of liquid sunshine fell on us heading out of Rochester and then again, on the last mile around Lockport.

We cruised all day, with a tailwind! The paved bike path led us safely out of Rochester and turned into crushed stone from Greece onward. Very easy riding, with one monster of a hill at the end of the trail in downtown Lockport. The only thing we had to worry about were geese droppings that made navigating parts of the canal-way very interesting. Onlookers might have question the amount of beers these tandem riders were consuming.

Kingfishers, orioles, hawks, cardinals, finches, geese, heron, red wing black birds, and other birds were in abundance. We rode into a couple of the small towns that were founded as the Erie Canal was being built. We had breakfast in downtown Spencerport, and lunch in downtown Gasport. Almost every town ends with the word port. We had a number of houseboats as companions going towards Buffalo. We watched the drawbridges raise and lower for some of them. There were only two locks on this part of the journey, both in downtown Lockport.

We had the trail to ourselves most of the time, unless we were coming to or leaving a town. We did meet one other person on tour headed eastbound. They were traveling very light only two small panniers. I (Mary) couldn't believe how little they were carrying. I guess you can make the trip from hotel to hotel and most of them are pretty nice. I'll tell you though, every once in a while your tent looks a darned site better than a few of these hotel rooms.

Dustin will meet up with us tonight for one last dinner before we head into Canada. This will be our first trip west without the kids, some things about kids growning up really s#*&. However, without their help (keeping the home fires burning) this trip would not be possible, so thanks Dustin and Kate for everything. We love you.