I know, I wouldn’t have to spit out so many bugs if I kept my mouth closed. There are a couple of problems with that. One is that I don’t think I could ride far if I didn’t also breathe out of my mouth. The second problem is that I am an attorney. You can’t really expect me to keep my mouth shut for hours on end.
August 12, Saturday, Liverpool to Little Falls. 81 miles and 1,832′ of climbing. It could have been fewer miles if I had followed Google’s bike route. The problem is that then I would have spent the entire day on the Erie Canal Trail and, as I have said before, that is mostly unpaved. I was quite willing to ride farther if I could ride on pavement. So I again followed the car route, highways avoided, and was very satisfied with the result. There were almost always decently wide shoulders with good surfaces and, except when going through Utica, none of those jarring joints about which I have repeatedly complained. All in all, very pleasant riding.
Except that there were 80 miles. That isn’t so bad but sometimes the thought of so many miles is depressing, or intimidating, or both. The thing is, though, that the miles do go by so long as I keep pedaling. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case when I am resting. And I do stop to rest, primarily to try to get rid of the pain between my shoulder blades. I don’t know what I have been doing wrong to keep having that problem, but I am definitely doing something. After the ride I asked Ale to give me a massage concentrating on that area and though it felt great, it didn’t prevent the same thing from happening today, Sunday.
We both agree that the countryside here in northern New York is as pretty as any we have seen on this trip. The total flats that we had been in have give way to rolling hills that feature lots of green trees and fields and because of the hills, sometimes sweeping views after one of the numerous climbs.
A few miles past Utica a rider loaded down with panniers was coming toward me. Because the street wasn’t busy, and because it had been hundreds of miles – back in Wyoming? – since I had seen another long distance rider, I crossed over and got him to stop. It turns out that he and his 3 friends, who soon caught him and also stopped, were riding from NY City with San Francisco as their destination When I asked how they were getting to the coast – because I figured they would approach San Francisco from the north – they said they were going to go through Yosemite. I really have no idea what their route will be. Alexander, Alex, Andrew and (sorry, not Alfred, Albert or A…) Johnny flew to NY with their bikes from Cambridge to make their epic trip. (They are in that order in the photo.) They plan to finish sometime in late October since they are riding around 50 miles a day with a rest day every 5 days or so. I warned them of the possibility of snow in Yosemite then but, based on their research, they thought they would be ok. After confirming that they were from the U.K., which was really pretty obvious from listening to them, I mentioned how we had been in London, had just left Liverpool and would soon be in Manchester.
Although I rode to Little Falls, we didn’t stay there because there were no rooms available since they were celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal.
When Ale drove me back to the motel, she said that the guy in the room next door had arrived on a bike. Naturally, I knocked on his door to see what he is doing. He is doing a week long ride, essentially from Buffalo to Albany at the rate of about 60 miles a day on the Erie Canal Trail. He is riding a more appropriate bike for that kind of riding than I am. While we were talking, an older couple rode up on very loaded down bikes to get into the room next to us on the other side. I asked where they were riding from and can’t repeat the answer because while they were obviously doing a lot of miles, it was pretty meandering and wasn’t across the country.
We had dinner at a small Italian restaurant that served the first decent dinner bread we have had. We also enjoyed our lasagna.
August 13, Sunday, Little Falls to Latham (which is right next to Albany). I started in Little Falls because that was where I finished yesterday. Before I started the ride, a woman asked if she could take a photo of the back of my Laura’s Ride North jersey (which features a photo of Laura). Of course I said yes and I gave her one of the Laura’s Ride North cards. When she left, a man approached and asked if we needed water or anything and said he would get us a case of water if we needed it. (We were in a grocery store parking lot.) We didn’t need one but I did take the opportunity to give him one of the same cards. He asid he would give it to his wife to make a donation. Thank you!
When I started the ride, I again opted for the auto route to avoid the Erie Canal Trail I had mentioned earlier that it was more than 350 miles long when built and still runs at least to Albany.
This time my choice didn’t increase the mileage but it did increase the climbing. The Canal Trail is essentially flat with a slight decline when going east. In contrast, the route I took had numerous climbs with one getting to 16%. In fairness, though, I have to say that my computer registered 16% for only a couple of seconds. The total climb was 3,333 feet. Despite having to work on the hills, I told myself, even while doing the climbing, that I preferred that riding to being on the dirt path.i am not rushing out to buy a mountain bike.
The scenery was again beautiful. Lots of green, lots of trees, lots of green hills and again many beautiful vistas from the tops of those hills.And there were also some beautiful views of the Canal, something that isn’t always true even when you can see the Canal because there are long stretches where it isn’t particularly pretty.
Some of the roads were as good as I have come to expect in NY but some were of much lower quality. Still rideable but uneven enough to make me go even slower than I usually do on descents.
The approach to Albany when I got into the urban area got uncomfortable because of the increased traffic with no shoulders or bike lanes. I did best when I just staked out the entire right lane but I finally chickened out and got on a sidewalk until I was next supposed to turn. And then, miraculously, Ale appeared. Tomorrow she will drive me back to where she got me since the motel we are staying in is a bit out of town.
Tomorrow is scheduled for 79 miles and 5,000′ of climbing. Together with the 4,500′ scheduled for tomorrow, that has been marked on my mental calendar with a bit of trepidation. We will see.
Tonight was a sea food restaurant. For at least the 4th time, Ale had mussels. Together with a calamari pasta. I had clam chowder and sword fish.
Now, in addition to scenery and food photos, here are a couple pictures of my legs. I know, pictures of Ale’s would be more appreciated but they wouldn’t show how tan I have gotten or the tribute to the ride that now adorns my right calf. Actually, that is a bit presumptuous because it says, “Twice Across America” and I haven’t quite made it the second time. But I will. In a mere 3 days from now.
I will let you know how the 5,000′ go.