Day 6 – Our longest day yet!

So, a few people have asked about the bunnies. The reason we saw so many in those first few days is that we were riding on the bike path, and they didn’t seem to get much traffic. And yes, all the bunnies in the bunny count are alive. Also, in regard to the roadkill count, they stink so much its hard not to count them, if that makes sense. You can see bigger versions of these photos and more at my Flickr Bike To School Album.

The house where we spent the last 34 hours.

The house where we spent the last 34 hours.

After a breakfast of hot seven grains, we hit the road at 8:00. We cruised down the nice long gentle hill we had climbed 34 hours before. Rain hit shortly after we made the turn on to the canal path. Our rain gear came out of our packs, but then the weather cleared up. Of course. The wet stone dust was actually easier to ride on than the dry, since the narrow wheels plow through the dust when dry, but the rain had compacted the dust, and it didn’t stick to our tires. Around Rochester, the surface changed to pavement, which allowed us to increase our speed a few mph.

Dad, biking along the canal

Dad, biking along the canal

Near Greece, we headed north, to ride along Lake Ontario. Along the way, we stopped at a farm stand, where we supported a girl making money for college by buying a pepper and four peaches. We watched a older couple drive in, but only on a section of gravel, not the “dirty” part of the driveway. The lady got out, walking very carefully, so as not to dirty her blindingly white shoes. We thought it was funny, because he seemed like he didn’t want to get the car dirty, so he made her walk around instead.

A tree with tons of bulbous growths.

A tree with tons of bulbous growths.

Up near the lake, we encountered the Lake Ontario State Parkway. It was a straight highway, had no view of the lake, and we had a headwind. However, it was divided, and had no commercial trucks and minimal traffic. There were several state parks along the parkway, which seemed to be the only reason the parkway was there at all.

We pulled into the Hamlin Beach State Park, and didn’t have to pay an entrance fee, since we were on bicycles. The snack bar where we ate was about one mile from the main gate, but was situated nicely under a stand of beeches. There was a great view of the lake, and there was a group of children playing on the park, running around, laughing, enjoying the day. Beneath our feet, the ground had a dappled texture, since it had recently rained.

The farmstand where we supported a girl going to college.

The farmstand where we supported a girl going to college.

Back on the road, we decided to turn off the Parkway, and ride along Lake Shore Road, which was actually right next to the lake, didn’t have much wind, and we saw no cars. It was what we were hoping the Parkway was going to be.

Fortunately, the Parkway didn’t go on for ever. It ended, and we got onto Route 18 West, which still followed the contour of the lake, but was set back from the lake a ways. It did tend to become straight at times, sometimes for twenty minutes or so.

On one of these stretches, we stopped at another farm stand. They had the biggest blackberries we have ever seen. The woman running the stand let us sample one, and boy was it sweet. They were nearly the size of ping-pong balls!

Back on Route 18, we plowed along for miles, making good time. We pushed our average higher and higher, and watched the miles accumulate. There really wasn’t anything else to look at. It was kind of amazing to watch our average climb over 16.0 mph after more than 100 miles that day.

Dinner that night was at an ice cream stand, which also served burgers and hot dogs. As we were finishing our portions, a cyclist drove up. He lived across the road, and had seen our bikes from the road, and decided to see where we were going, and where we were from. He asked if we needed any parts or repairs. We didn’t, and we told him about our plan to ride across Ontario, and he helped us plan our route. He produced a map book of Ontario, and sketched out a good route. Ontario was his home province, so he had a good idea of which towns and roads to go through, and which to avoid. He was a great help!

Lunch at the State Park.

Lunch at the State Park.

However, night was approaching fast, and we got back on the road quickly. We headed for Fort Niagara State Park, and shortly got on the Robert J. Moses State Parkway. When we first got on this Parkway, it seemed like a scene out of a post-apocalyptic thriller. The highway was deserted. Grass was growing up from between the concrete road surface. Wide, sharp edged cracks and wheel-eating frost heaves were common. I was sure zombies were going to start running out onto the road, clamoring for our flesh.

We rode for fifteen minutes before we saw a car. The riding was awful. We were sure we were going to flat, and the sun was right on the horizon. At one point, we were riding sort of side by side, and a trench appeared that ran nearly across the whole road. We both headed for the “nice” part. It was nearly too narrow for both of us, but we didn’t have an accident.

Mercifully, the State Park appeared, and the road surface changed once again. However, it seemed that we had misread the state map, and Fort Niagara closed at sunset, and didn’t allow camping. They did have 24 hour bathrooms, so we found a secluded area of the park, and waited until it was pitch dark, and then setup the tent. Since we were under trees, we didn’t bother putting up the rain fly. We didn’t get wet, or get woken up in the night by a grumpy park warden.


Miles: 121.5
Avg Spd: 16.2
Mechanicals: 0
Bunnies: 0
Trains: 0
Roadkill: 0
West-East Cross Country Cyclists: 0
Hours of Rain: 0.5

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