Thursday, June 30, 2011

Holley to Olcott

As an asside, it should be mentioned that in order to keep myself close to the Amtrak two bag limit and also for me to be able to carry all my things in one shot, I elected to go without a sleeping bag. Looking ahead at the weather report, the lowest nightime temp was predicted to be 55. This turned out to be unwise. My bag is down and quite small, takes up only about 4
Times the space of the liner I did bring and 55 is pretty cool when lying on the ground. I repeat that last night I wore almost every stitch of clothing I had brought, including three short sleeved tops, smartwool bottoms, pants and rain pants, two pairs socks and my Gore jacket. Still cold. Still cold. Did excercises. Only helped for 30 min.
Lesson? It would be better to leave behind the second set of cycling clothes or bring an empty bag to bungie on the rack for food or whatever.
Despite this Holley was one of the most pleasant sleeping spots one could ask for.
We returned to town for breakfast. So pleasant.
The towpath is well kept, except for a small patch near Medina, which goes over a deep rivine and creek far below.
We watched them raise a bridge to allow a canal boat to pass. That boat and several others are obviously charters and looked pretty cool.

We got snacks and a bag lunch in Medina and parted from the path near Gasport.

This is Bill and Linda. People asked if Linda and I were sisters. Curly hair. I think Bill is very lucky to travel with two such lovely ladies.
We traveled up towards Lake Ontario and Olcott, always conscious of the chimney from the Somerset power plant. It reminded me of the prarie castles (grain elevators) of Kansas. You could see them for 20 miles, but they never got closer.
Nearing Olcott we found an ice cream stand. Having overshot our mandatory 30 miles, we gratiously accepted its siren's call.
We arrived at Linda's cottage and got to meet her parents before jumping in a car to drive back to Syracuse to retrieve Linda's car.
A grocery store provided us with dinnerous stuff so we could pretty much collapse on our return.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

45 miles, no ice cream

We headed into Macedonia for breakfast and possible laundry.
Sorry to be so negative, but how can they mess up a vegetable omlette? Put a really gross sauce on it with no herbs.
There was a beautiful empty cobblestone house. I am not sure I would call it abandoned, but the grass was two feet tall. Hard to believe that house would not sell.
Returning to the closed bridge, Bill suggested we use two people to lift each bike over the cable barrier and this worked fine.

The day was cool and overcast and probably never made the predicted 77. We met a few other touring cyclists, including one from Wisconsin. He had crossed Superior on the ferry and never had heard of Adv. Cycling.
Lunch was in Spencerport.

They could have gotten more money out of us, but offered poor service and uninspired food choices. The Ac directions through Rochester confusing and I was busy second guessing myself though I have been through there at least 5 times. I don't usually go in that direction.

Holley has a beautiful canalside with a camping area, but there was no bridge attendant to help with the access code for the shower and bathrooms. Going into town for ice cream, Bill talked to the town clerk, who called the bridge attendant to get the code!
Although there was no grocery store per se, there was a huge "mini-mart", from which we procured cheese, crackers and Mike's hard lemonade. The evening was completed by visiting a lovely falls in the nearby park. Loads of poison ivy deters leisurely strolls through the woods however.
Second note to self: too cold without sleeping bag. I put on every item of clothing, collapsed the tent's vestibules and put my panniers under my feet. Absurd in the end of June. A surprisingly restful night fraught with waking to make sure my full back or front was against the sleeping pad to maximize its warmth potential. But I didn't have to admit defeat by getting into Bill's tent!
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Contrasts 50 miles

A lovely start to the day, with moderate fog over Lake Ontario looking out from FairHaven State Park. It rapidly cleared while we breakfasted in town. There we met a couple from Montreal a few days into an extensive tour. They are going to be doing a Lonely Planet Guide to inexpensive bicycle touring.
The cafe had wireless, but some fool IT person told the owner that the name of the wireless network and password could not be changed. As a result, the network was generically named C390 and the password was about 25 characters long, including 15 zeros at the end. If she had had the password to get into the router, I would have fixed it for her.
We toodled up to Sodus Bay, ate local cherries and strawberry rhubarb pie

and got caught in a warm thundershower.

Unable to find a decent lunch stop in Williamstown, we grabbed sandwiches from a grocery. Bill picked up wine and local cheese and we got crackers for the evening.

Hopping on the Erie Canal towpath at Palmyra we headed towards Macedon to camp. Passing by the hiker/ biker campsite at lock 30, we tried out the marina, but there was no one in attendance. The bridge to it was barricaded, but I took off my two panniers and lifted the bike over the barricades. Instead of the marina, there was a huge set of ballfields and after a little searching and help from some soccer players, I located him and got permission for us to camp out. No showers, but clean flush toilets. The caretaker, Lorb Miller, managed to locate the person who locks up and the toilets were left open for us. So sweet.
Washing, wine and cheese and bed. Frogs serenaded us.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Tiny Tour

Gave Amtrak another try. I haven't ridden a train in twenty years. The cost has been too high and I have memories of being unable to get a seat. But $27 for a single person to go 120 miles with the folding bike was too good to resist. No other bikes are allowed on trains without baggage cars and most trains lack those cars.
I would have had to make two trips to put the two panniers, the handlebar bag and bike on the train, because the angle of the steps and my inability to lift the bike one handed over my head would have made it impossible. Instead a porter at the top of the steps grabbed it and moved it to a stow area for me.
The train was 1:15 late to Syracuse, but otherwise it was a pleasant trip.
Bill picked me up there. He and Linda had arrived There after finishing an Atlantic tour.

50 miles from Syracuse we landed in Fair Haven on the shores of Lake Ontario. Beautiful sunset.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Temp drop

This past Saturday I rode from Buffalo to Wilson on the shore of Lake Ontario. Leaving Buffalo, the temperature was cool and expected to rise to 80. In Wilson, 40 miles away, the temp never topped 68. Brrrr. On the way, I performed my smallest rescue yet. Any smaller and I would have thought it a rock.

That is my bracelet encompassing this tiny turtle. I passed it by, sighed and went back for it.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Talking to strangers

Riding home from work, I passed a woman on a fully loaded bike stopped and on a cell phone. I just asked her if she needed a place to stay and she indicated that she needed a bike shipping box, so my family helped her obtain one, fed her and listened to her stories while telling some of our own.
I am always astonished how many touring cyclists don't know about warmshowers, similar to couchsurfing. If you tour and need places to stay, I would strongly encourage you to sign up. If you just love cyclists, you can host. In some way this allows you to live vicariously when not on tour. There is even a smartphone app for it.
In addition to shelter, warmshowers hosts often have the resources and or knowledge to help you figure things out.

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Festival time in Buffalo

Many visitors to our area comment on the joie de vivre of Buffalo's population in good weather. Festivals abound and the streets tend to be filled with people.
The Allentown art Festival draws thousands of people from the Upstate NY area. I was surprised at the lack of bicycles locked around the festival area. Maybe we just entered from the wrong direction. We had little trouble finding a place to lock up.
Here is a totally open rack with nifty adornments.

There is also a "locally owned" section of the festival. One vendor had bright green T's with "share the road" on them. Bought one, of course.

More cyclists than ever

This just in from the Center for Unintended consequences:
As Buffalo sees a surge in cyclists, it is beginning to be more dangerous to skimp on following rules. In the olden days (a couple years ago), slowing for a stop sign was always adequate. Now there is rapidly increasing chance that you will suffer from a collision, not with a car but another cyclist. The same things which make cyclists invisible to motorists are what makes bike collisions so likely. We roll up to a stop sign, don't see any large obsticles coming, so we keep going.
My daughter was broadsided by someone going the wrong way down a street. He assumed that since he saw no cars, he was okay as he cruised into a blind intersection.
The next day I was surprised by a cyclist when we ran through an intersection at a 90 degree angle from each other without stopping.
The day after that there was another similar incident.
Awareness needs to increase for all parties, but it is kind of a nice problem to experience, since it shows the vast increase in cycling traffic.

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