Across the USA - From New Hampshire to Washington State

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.

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 11

06/27/2006 03:17:23 by Administrator

From: Lockport, NY
To: Port Colborne, Ontario
Mileage: 59

We headed out of Lockport this morning and the sky was lead gray. Knowing that our luck was about to run out we had our rain jackets within easy reach. Our adventure this morning was to get though Buffalo and over the Peace Bridge into Canada. Noel had obtained a map of bicycle routes in the greater Buffalo area so we had an excellent reference to guide. Too bad the navigator was not as good as the map and as a result we did a little off-roading down an orange dot trail (not complete trail) that unfortunately just lead into the woods. I think Bertha (our very large backpack) knew we were headed the wrong direction because she jumped off twice (could have been the bumps?). Before too long we got straightened out and back onto the correct road. We were having a lovely ride though some very pretty countryside when all at once the heavens opened up. Fortunately, we were able to stop under a big tree for some cover to get our rain coats on. A lady came out of her house and asked if we would like to come in out of the rain. We said thank you, but just asked if she could steer us to a place for breakfast, which she did.

Back on the road after breakfast with the Rear Admiral wearing all of her rain gear on (I decided it was too light drizzel for rain gear) we hooked up with the River trail that runs along the Niagara River down to the Peace Bridge. This is a terrific trail, very pretty ride. It is well marked until the end where it stops in Broderick Park. [Mary] From there we pretty much had to feel our way to the bridge. But Noel's sense of direction saved the day and we went right over. There is a sidewalk along the bridge so we did not have to ride the bridge with the cars.

We zipped right though customs! She did not even ask us our names, just the purpose of our visit. The border guard was so nice, she even took the time out to show us the way to the trail. The rest of our trip today was on the Friendship trail though beautiful countryside. Both bicycle trails today where fantastic. The Friendship trail now reaches from Fort Erie to Port Colborne, with only a little break when you have to go on a dirt track through Erie Park.

We are now drying out in a hotel in Port Colborne. This was a great test to see how water proof everything is.

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 12

06/28/2006 03:18:49 by Administrator

From: Port Colborne, Ontario
To: Port Dover, Ontario
Mileage: 63

Another great day of riding! The Adventure Cycling maps lead us out of Port Colborne along Lakeshore drive. We followed the coastline of Lake Erie for 95 percent of the day today. We passed miles and miles of summer cottages (with a sprinkling of luxury houses) as we rode along the water's edge. This was our first full day using the Adventure Cycling maps, and we saw a couple riding east bound on a regular tandem. We met a young man riding from Minnesota to New Jersey while we were eating at the Sunflower CafÈ in beautiful downtown Selkirk. He was doing it solo, I'm not sure I could. I am glad the Rear Admiral is along with me on this adventure.

The Canadian drivers are wonderful. When we were on the roads next to the lake, it was like riding on a bike trail. Once, about every two miles, a car would pass us with a wide berth and a friendly wave or honk.

Outside of Nanticoke two touring cyclists (Amanda and Mike) rode up beside us, and we carried on a conversation all the way into Port Dover. They started in Boston and are trying to make it to Montana in 3.5 weeks. A great couple, and hopefully we will meet up with them again. You can read about their ride here.

Tonight we are right near to lake, and plan to explore the beach and town. SeeMore, the Rear Admiral, and I are enjoying our adventure very much!

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 13

06/29/2006 03:21:31 by Administrator

From: Port Dover, Ontario
To: Port Stanley, Ontario
Mileage: 70

Did you know that there are switchbacks on the road that follows Lake Erie on the Ontario side?

We got up early and were packing SeeMore when the gentlemen next door came over for a chat. We are meeting so many amazingly nice people on this tour. They were on a bike tour that was designing maps for Canadian cyclists. One of the gentlemen rides a Rans Screamer (just like SeeMore) with his wife, but not on this trip. They told us of a detour in our planed route today, and advised us to just ignore it and cycle straight through. This saved us some miles. They also told us about switchbacks ahead, and we took it with a grain of salt. But there were two switchbacks!

We were away from the lake for the most part of today's ride. We saw lots of farms and birds, with glimpses of the Lake here and there. Not as pretty as yesterday, but then we stumbled on to the land of giant windmills, which provided interesting scenery. Miles and miles of electric generating wind turbines. We asked a couple of people about them. Now this is word of month, but each wind turbine cost between 1 and 2 million (Canadian) dollars to construct. The land they sit on is leased from the farmers for around $7500 per year, with a 40-year lease. We were told that there are approximately 70 wind turbines that line the coast of Lake Erie between Port Royal and Port Bruce (30 miles). . . but we think the number is higher.

Now the smart reader would probably be thinking right now. . . wind turbines. . .wind turbines. . .millions of dollars. . Hum. . must be a little wind blowing around here. Yes, and it was in our face for most of the day! Even with the headwind we still averaged above 10 mph, which is pretty respectable, the Rear Admiral must have been working hard.

We pulled into Copenhagen to have lunch, and as soon as we parked SeeMore under the porch the heavens opened up. As the idiom goes, it rained cats and dogs, right up until the Rear Admiral finished her last bite of cherry pie. We shared our weather and meal with Amanda and Mike (the couple we met yesterday), they too just missed getting a free shower.

The rest of the day was more farmland, and out running the black clouds. We did very well, and only got a little wet once (not enough for rain gear). Tonight we are off to explore Port Stanley.