06/23/2006 03:10:11 by Administrator
From: Little Falls, NY
To: Cicero, NY
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.
06/24/2006 03:12:00 by Administrator
From: Cicero, NY
To: Egypt, NY
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.
06/25/2006 03:13:36 by Administrator
06/26/2006 03:15:52 by Administrator
From: Rochester, NY
To: Lockport, NY
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.
06/27/2006 03:17:23 by Administrator
06/28/2006 03:18:49 by Administrator
From: Port Colborne, Ontario
To: Port Dover, Ontario
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!
06/29/2006 03:21:31 by Administrator
From: Port Dover, Ontario
To: Port Stanley, Ontario
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.