Posts Tagged ‘bunnies’

Day 3 – A Real Century!….A Metric One, That Is

August 29, 2008

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America’s Best Inn

Leaving the motel at the crack of 9:00, we didn’t exactly get a early start. We did have our first real breakfast on the road, stopping off at a diner in Herkimer.

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The Diner where we ate breakfast

While we waited for Hobo eggs and a breakfast burrito, and I found some WiFi and searched the area for a bike shop. We found one in Herkimer that opened at 10:00, so after breakfast, we rolled on over, and got a couple spare tubes and a new tire for my rear wheel. We broke one tire iron with a steel core, putting the new tire on, and had to buy a new pair. Back on our bikes at 11:00, we continued our journey west.

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Inside the diner

We found the canal path quickly enough, and in places, it followed the abandoned canal. At times, the “path” was little more than two ruts, like a truck road. The sections that had water in them had filled up with algae, but were more scenic than the dry flora filled parts.

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On the road

Later, after we were shunted back onto Route 31 West, we decided to follow signs for the Erie Canal Village. We had almost decided we had gone too far, but then we saw a sign. Turns out, they were closed. But we got to look around, and the Village had horses, and a stretch of abandoned canal with a passenger boat, albeit with a regular leak, and a tow path to take tourists up and down a short section of canal. We rode along the towpath for a bit, after taking some photos with the Village.

On another stretch of stone dust trail, we encountered many fallen trees, that completely blocked the path. All of these obstacles required a dismount. Bumbling our way through these trees, we came out at Lock 20. A refurbished tugboat was midway through being lowered through the lock, and we got to chatting with the lock keeper. He told us about the lack of funding for the canal system, lock electronics, and he had a one sided discussion about the Tour de France (we haven’t been keeping up).

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The Erie Canal Village packet boat, with the bridge in the background.

Hunger started gnawing at our stomachs around 5pm, and we stopped at a local joint advertising “Fresh Seafood Daily.” We leaned our bikes up against the walls, passed the Harley bikers, and entered a dimly lit room with tables and metal chairs. At first glance, it seemed like a normal restaurant, but many customers were eating chicken wings. We sat down, and after waiting a while, a woman came over and asked “Were you hoping to get something to eat?” In fact, we were looking for food. It tuned out, however, that the kitchen closed early on Mondays and Tuesdays, offering only chicken wings after 2pm. This was the second “seafood” restaurant we had encountered that wasn’t serving seafood.

Down the road, we came to a pizza place the woman at the wings shop had recommended. We ordered lasagna, garlic knots, and salads, and went outside to wait. Dad decided to bike around, and try to find a place for us to set up a tent nearby. The Dunkin’ Donuts across the street would be handy for breakfast, and there were a few churches we could pitch a tent behind. He found no convenient places.

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I am clobbered by a fallen tree.

While we were eating, a local cyclist drove up in his car, and asked us where we were going and we were from. We told him, and he asked if we had found a place to spend the night. We had not, and he offered to go look for a place; he thought that the local marina had tenting opportunities. Dad and I took him up on the offer, and he drove off, letting us finish our meal. When he came back, he wrote out directions to the marina, told us about a place for breakfast, WiFi, and about his life as a time trials cyclist, until a work related accident prevented him from cycling.

After we finished our dinner, Dad went inside to pay, and the clerk had overheard our conversation about our biking journey, and in passing asked Dad how many miles he had ever bike in one day. “180 miles” came the reply. “Approximately how far is that?” asked the confused sales clerk. As Dad scooted out the door, he shot over his shoulder, “About a few miles less than 190.”

Stats:

Miles: 71
Avg Spd: 13.2
Mechanicals: 0
Bunnies: 1
Trains: 4

Day 2 – Our First Whole Day In New York

August 27, 2008

“Pitter-patter, pitter-patter” Rain. 1 am, Monday morning. However, it had quit by the time we woke up and got packed up.

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Peeking out from our tent on Monday morning.

Out on the road, we rode for almost too long before finding breakfast at a convenience store; “muffins”, “pastries” and coffee.

We wound around, looking for the Canal Path, and eventually found it. It was paved, until we lost the trail, only to find it again in a different place. The map we had from the State Canalway System and the Rand MacNally state road map seemed to differ from the actual trails and roads in real life.

 

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Our “tent site”

Occasionally, the trail surface would change to crushed stone, which wasn’t awful to ride on, especially since the alternative was riding on the state highways with a headwind. There were several long sections with nice mowed sides, the occasional bridge, and frequent farm road crossings.

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The tracks near Rotterdam Junction.

At one point, near Rotterdam Junction, we came to a sharp right turn in the trail, and we could see railroad tracks. There were a few jersey barriers blocking the trail from vehicles, but room enough to get bikes through. There, the evidence of a bike path ended. There were no signs, or graded crossing path. We could however, hear a train coming. We had seen a side trail going left off the trail a little way back, and I decided to scope out that trail, while Dad took a photo of the train. I went up the side trail, which quickly turned to a stream bed with medium sized rocks, and Japanese Knotweed growing thick and plentiful on each side. It continued up, steeper than before, and all the while, the train was getting closer. I came out of the Knotweed, to see a railroad bridge, and a train with three Union Pacific engines. This was the train Dad had been hoping to photograph!

 

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After coming a 8 % grade. Ooomph!

I got back to Dad, (my trail had dead-ended at the bridge) and we decided to heft the bikes over the tracks, and check out a similar road on the other side, complete with jersey barriers. Lifting the bob attached to my bike didn’t turn out to be much of a hassle, but it was a two person job.

 

The road on the other side was the one we were looking for, and we found a place for lunch. “Joey D’s Seafood” read the sign. However, they were sold out of fish! We split a ham grinder instead.

 

Later on, we found a farm stand where we got some peppers, peaches, and ice cream. The canal path was right across the road from the farm stand, yet there was no sign on the path advertising “Ice Cream, this way” or anything. (It seems like they may be missing out on some business.)

 

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A newspaper article describing Joey D’s Seafood.

Blasting along on the stone dust, we came to some people weeding some bushes by the side of the path. We stopped to thank them for volunteering, and they told us about some places to stay the night. The first place we tried was in Little Falls, on the north side of the canal. However, they wouldn’t let us bring our bikes into our room, and we didn’t want them outside. The next place was in Herkimer, and we got there around 8:30. America’s Best Inn was a motel, with doors to rooms on the ground level, so we were able to push our bikes into our room. We walked to dinner, and had a nice meal at a local cafe, getting back to our room around 9:45. It was a late night.

 

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A possible tenting site, but we decided to motel it that night.

Stats:

Miles: 92
Avg Spd: 13.6
Mechanicals: 0
Bunnies: 8
Trains:4