June 2006

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 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 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 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 3

06/17/2006 03:56:33 by Administrator

From: Milford, NH
To: Brattleboro, VT
Mileage: 64

Getting up Saturday was easy. Our goal today was to get to Brattleboro from home, with a stop over in Fitzwilliam to visit our friends, Perry and Roberta Nadeau. We have ridden most of today's roads before. We followed Rte 101 until the bottom Temple Mountain, and turned left after Gary's Harvest Restaurant. It is quieter going to this way west in New Hampshire. When we entered Temple center, we were greeted with a road closure sign for West road. Stopping in the Temple Market, we were given great work around directions that eventually led us back to West road and towards Jaffrey. We continued riding through the very hilly Monadnock mountain range. We circled Mount Monadnack (old baldy) as we road toward Fitzwilliam.

We arrived at the Nadeau 'compound' on Laurel Lake just in time for lunch. Roberta made sandwiches, and we had a picnic lunch on their boat in the middle of the lake. THANK YOU NADEAUS! What a great couple of hours. With full bellies, and a pretty nice down hill ride, we were off following Rte 119 towards Hinsdale. The ride was quiet for the most part, but still pretty hilly. In Hinsdale we took a break at the town park. The park had a friendly "welcome and stay" feeling, and we sat and enjoy it. Getting back on SeeMore, we rode to about a mile from Brattleboro when a few drops of rain begin to hit my knees. SeeMore immediately made a hard left turn into Tastefully Done, an Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop on Rte 119. SeeMore enjoyed sitting under the porch, and Mary and I enjoy some GREAT ice cream while the water came pouring down from the heavens.

The rainstorm was heavy but short, and we continued over the Connecticut River into Brattleboro. Our night was spend at the Dalem Chalet Motel (which was also on top of another hill!) and had dinner down the hill, and across the street. A good challenging day to test and see how fit we are. Tomorrow, the Green Mountains!