Tuesday, August 31, 2010

To Boonville

I got going earlier this morning. It's supposed to be hotter and more humid. Looming around us is Hurricane Earl coming up the Atlantic coast and a cold weather system pushing from the west. More weather adventures? The Salmon River Reservoir:

Dick and I met for lunch in Osceola. In the next booth were Charlie and Lila Gallo. They offered to give us a lift to Boonville. Dick declined, but I accepted. It was such a hot day and the hill climbing has been tough.

Lila was very sweet. The last thing she said before driving away was "I hope you have a nice life."
In Boonville, I found a chair in front of the hardware store to wait for Dick to arrive. I had a great conversation with Eric who plans one day to do some bicycle touring. Dick arrived looking pretty beat and I was glad I'd gotten a ride. We rode another two miles to Stysh's Brown Barn Campground. We had access to a TV and kitchen inside the barn.

Miles completed = 3913

Monday, August 30, 2010

To Richland

We went for breakfast at a nearby Dunkin Donuts (another of Dick's favorites). Before I could leave, Dick fixed a flat on my bike. I watched carefully since it's been a long time since I've had to fix a flat. This would turn out to be a very good thing for me to review.

The Salmon River before it empties into Lake Ontario near Port Ontario. From here we turn eastward, and our maps say it begins to get hilly. Hilly? It's BEEN hilly.

We met for a late lunch in Pulaski, then Dick went to buy groceries, and I was going to ride on, but I had another flat tire. I began changing it myself, and did pretty good until the final pumping up. The tires need 60-80 psi, I can usually pump to 40 psi. Dick to the rescue. The flat tire count at this point was A=5, D=1, Bob=1. Now it's late in the day again and we had to rethink the day's goal. We rode another 6 miles to Richland then 2 miles off route to Brenda's Motel and Campground. Hurray for Brenda, she gives a deep discount to bicycle riders so we got a motel room. It was rather rustic, this place is used mainly by fishermen. In fact the motel price will quadruple after September 1 when salmon season opens. There was a plastic trash bag prominently hanging from one of the dresser drawers:

Miles completed = 3888

Sunday, August 29, 2010

To Fulton

This morning Dick still had to deal with the flat tire that wouldn't hold a patch. We were completely out of tubes, all the tubes we carried had 4-6 patches each, there hadn't been any bike shops in the last two days. What to do? Maryann to the rescue. She drove us to two different bike shops. The first, Dick's Sporting Goods in Clay, was 30 miles away. They only had one tube in the size we needed, so on the way back, we also stopped in Baldwinsville.

With the tire fixed, it was time for lunch and for us to get on the road. We all went to Hardware Cafe and, this time, I was quick to snatch up the bill. Maryann and Herb, you are the best! We can't thank you enough for all you did for us.

We ended up not riding very far today. It was hot and hilly and we only made it to North Bay Campground in Fulton. Sunset on Lake Neatahwanka:

Miles completed = 3857

Saturday, August 28, 2010

To Fair Haven

We thought we'd save some miles by riding SR 31 out of Pittsford instead of riding along the Erie Canal. We saved miles but had to ride some rolling hills. Dick met me in Palmyra at a corner of four churches. The one, the Episcopal Church, is the oldest building in Palmyra, built in 1832.

Between Williamson and Sodus on SR 104 (again we're off route and saving miles), Dick got a flat tire. I rode on knowing he would catch up with me. This was not to be.

25 miles later, he called me and said the tire patching was not working. Maybe the glue in the patch kit was too old? He was about to try his last patch, if that didn't work, he wanted me to ride BACK to him. What!! There was no way I wanted to do that, so I began thinking of alternate plans. It was already 6 pm. I decided I would get a nearby motel first, and then find someone who would drive me back to where he was stranded. In Red Creek I went up to a dark green Jeep with a couple just pulling away from a garage sale and asked about a motel in town. There were none in Red Creek, but about 4 miles up the road, before the town of Fair Haven, there was a motel. On I went, only to find out there was no vacancy. I decided to ride into Fair Haven where there were more options. Coming the opposite direction was the dark green Jeep which stopped. I told the driver what was going on and he offered to go and get Dick. I called Dick and told him, "A Trail Angel has just dropped into our life. His name is Wayne and he's coming to get you."

Meanwhile I could now locate a campground. I turned down a side road and stopped to check my map. A car pulled up, the driver rolled down the window and asked if I needed any help. Again I told my story. She invited us to camp in her backyard. OMG, another Trail Angel. I followed her down the road to her home and then we introduced ourselves. Maryann and her husband,Herb - Trail Angels for sure. The three of us drove into town, met Dick, and had dinner at O'Connors Restaurant. And then, they paid for our dinners. Amazing generosity!

It was dark and rather cold by the time we got back to Maryann and Herb's house, so we accepted their invitation to sleep inside. What a day and what a fine ending.

Miles completed = 3841

Thursday, August 26, 2010

To Pittsford

Towns along the canal have bridges which can be raised to let boats go through. Each bridge has the name of the town posted in the center and three flags flying. This is the Middleport bridge:

The Culvert Road is the only road that goes UNDER the Erie Canal. The road lies in a little valley and it was cheaper to build a tunnel underneath.

Much of the Erie Canal reminds us of the Sacramento Delta.

Lock #33 in Pittsford. Two boats wanted to pass through. The lockmaster first drained the water out through pipes.

Then opened the gate so the boats could pass through. The gate was closed and water began filling the basin.

It took about 20 minutes to fill. Meanwhile,, the boats are tethered to cables with fenders carefully placed so the boat doesn't scrape the concrete sides of the lock. The gates open and

out the boats motor out.

Tonight we are staying with Warmshowers hosts, Dave and his mother Jean. They took us to an amazing grocery store, Wegmans. Most impressive was a huge array of choices for dinner all freshly prepared for you on the spot. After paying, you can go upstairs to the dining room to enjoy your meal. Dick was so impressed, "I LOVE a good grocery store!"

This creek, behind Dave and Jean's house flows UNDER the Erie Canal. When the canal was built, they created a one-mile long embankment across this little valley, but left a space for the creek to continue flowing.

Miles completed = 3784

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To Middleport, New York

Across the Niagara River is Buffalo, New York.The Peace Bridge clogged with traffic.

Above Niagara Falls, the mist rises. Niagara Falls, Ontario, is in the background.

Horseshoe Falls with one of the Maid of the Mist tour boats below:

American Falls:

We tried to look over the side at Whirlpool Falls, but couldn't see much, so I began to move my bike back onto the road when Dick said, "Aren't you going to take a picture for Tom?" So, here you go, Brother-in-law Tom the Geologist. I look forward to your analysis.

We crossed into New York on the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. After getting lost, we made our way back to follow the little bicycle signs that led us to a remote bicycles-only access road. The bridgemaster then directed us across several lanes of traffic (but there were none since the cars left the Canadian customs stop just periodically).

We then joined all the cars and trucks going to other way, towards the US border and customs.

There we were, waiting our turn, with dozens on cars on either side. An elderly gentleman rolled down his window and said, "Are you from California?" I said yes, but asked how would he guess that. "You're so brown." I had to show him it was really a bicycle tan and ended at the hem lines.

Again, it was confusing getting off (immediately!) I-190 and finding our way to Upper Mountain Rd. 20 more miles to Lockport where we shopped for groceries and eventually we found the beginning of the Erie Canalway Trail which we will ride for the next 90 miles.

The surface of the trail is paved only in small sections. It was surprisingly noisy riding a surface of "smooth stone dust" and a bit more challenging when it became "smooth gravel screenings." It was getting late, but I had to stop and take a picture of two boys jumping from one of the bridges into the canal. The first boy jumped before I could press the button. I heard him say, "It's better if you don't think about it, just jump." The other young man counted to three for me before he leapt.

We got lost a couple of times today which made our arrival in Middleport around 7 pm, although it seemed later because of the darkening skies. Rain is on its way. Middleport Boater/Hiker/Biker Campground.

This will end up being one of our favorite campsites ever. Right on the canal, with tables, showers/bathrooms, electricity, nearby restaurants, and it was affordable (there's a donation box).

Miles completed = 3724

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

To Niagara Falls

It feels pretty good to be riding again after a couple of days of lazing around. Approaching Long Beach, Ontario:The Welland Canal in Pt Colborne:

Here the Friendship Trail, a paved bike path begins and will take us all the way to Ft Erie where the Niagara Parkway begins.

Dick and I met for lunch in Ridgeway. We were sitting on a bench in front of a market when Catherine, a local resident, came up and asked if we'd like a B & B tonight. I thought perhaps she owned one, but no, she was offering us a place to stay in her home with breakfast in the morning. It always amazes me when complete strangers make such generous offers. We declined since we wanted to get more miles in today. We're on a schedule now, I booked our train tickets which will take us from Portland Maine back to Sacramento.

We were able to find a reasonably-priced campground just inside the city limits of Niagara Falls, a high-priced tourist mecca. The temperatures have cooled considerably so sleeping tonight will be pleasant. Is it possible we won't have to deal with heat anymore this summer? Friends in Sacramento are bracing for temperatures around 105 degrees and tonight I need to wear a sweatshirt.

Miles completed = 3673

Monday, August 23, 2010

To Dunnville

I can't believe it. I haven't take any pictures for three days. None on the ride to Dunnville, partially because we were trying to outrun an approaching storm. The humidity was back, but it was also overcast so not too hot. We got to the motel just in time, it poured buckets on Saturday night and has been raining off and on since then.

We've just taken another two-day rest in a motel, but are totally ready to ride tomorrow.

Friday, August 20, 2010

To Booth's Harbor

Brother-in-law Tom, the Geologist told us about riding the Niagara Escarpment back when we were riding along Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but we hardly noticed any escarpment then. Today's escarpment (not the Niagara one) was brutal. Every time a river ran into Lake Erie, the county road was so steep. This is fun going downhill, but required pushing my bike up the other side TWICE today. Windfarms were everywhere today with lots of construction for more going on.Asparagus:
Behind a chain link fence, small herd of huge reindeer:

Crops frequently grew on top of the escarpment with a sliver of Lake Erie in the background:

The worst steep hill took us down to Fin and Feather Marina & Campground in Booth's Harbor.

Miles completed = 3568

Thursday, August 19, 2010

To Port Stanley

Along with peach and pear orchards, apple orchard are also plentiful.

Conquered by George Street in Port Stanley. This is the first hill on this trip that I could not ride up. Even pushing my bike up this hill was a challenge. As it turned out, we were lost and didn't even have get up and over the top - darn!

Our potential Warmshowers host, Margaret, was unable to accomodate us, but amazingly put out the call to her friends. Lynn generously accepted the challenge. Her cottage faced Lake Erie with spectacular views.

The decking behind the house was multi-leveled, we pitched our tent on the lower level next to the waterfall.

Lynn and grandson AJ:
Miles completed = 3515