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Short Day

Hank – The heat, humidity, and 60+ miles took a toll yesterday so we decided on a short day today of maybe 30 miles. Gretchen cooked up some French toast for breakfast and we left her to pack for her tour that starts tomorrow. We got back on the Erie Canal Trail and puttered along to Macedon and then Palmyra. It rained hard enough for five minutes that we got our rain jackets out. The jacket kept the rain out but the sweat in. I was happy the rain ended quickly.

We stopped for a sandwich at the Muddy Creek Cafe, a bike-friendly place right on the canal. I hung my jacket on a chair to dry. After getting back on the road again, Kathy didn’t care for the hills so we returned to the mostly flat canal trail.

We stopped for a short break near Newark, NY when another touring couple rode up and said hello. Ryan and Ali left Portland, OR two months enroute to New York City. They have a YouTube channel and they’ve been creating content during this tour that focuses on love. (They’re a young couple.) After hearing our story they asked if we would talk on camera. So now we’re YouTube guests!

We quickly wrapped up the day and got to Anne and Carl’s farm near Lyons, NY. Anne and Carl are retired environmental engineers. They worked at the EPA. Anne was in the enforcement division. Remember the Volkswagen emissions scandal? She was there for that. She had also worked on a similar huge case involving diesel engines many years ago. She said it was a billion dollar case before there were billion dollar cases. Now she and Carl are working at becoming as self sufficient as possible on their farm. They’ve done several tours on a tandem road bike in the northeast and out west. Anne has also toured in Europe when she was young. Anne prepared a wonderful wholesome meal with homemade spaghetti sauce and locally grown meat and veggies. We we’re stuffed.

One of Anne’s many talents is stained glass windows. She made the windows for all her cupboard doors.

Kathy – Well today was one of those days where I really didn’t feel like riding. It maybe a combination of the heat again or our longer day of riding yesterday with all the climbing. Regardless I was happy we chose to only go 25 – 30 miles today. We rode 28 miles today with the temps again in the 90’s with the heat index. Sometimes we were on the gravel trail which slows us down significantly and other times we were on the roads which increased our speed but also included constant rolling hills. So you pick the best of the two. The trail was it for our last 10 miles today. It was too hot and muggy to continue climbing the hills on the street route. Today seemed to drag on for such s short ride day. I’m thinking the heat and ride yesterday took a bit more out of me than I care to admit. Happy to have the days ride done.

Today’s landscapes were a mix of farmlands, small towns and shops and the Erie Canal Trail. Even though I was a hot day, it was a beautiful ride. I was happy to end the day and meet our new Warm Showers host Anne and Carl. They have a beautiful country home that they are in the process of renovating. It is amazing to see the beautiful woodwork and all the preservation to restore much of it back to the original state. We enjoyed lots of good conversations and a delicious dinner together. Lucky to meet such great hosts that make you feel comfortable in their home. We are thankful for people like Anne and Carl for opening up their home to us. It was a good day but we hoping for a good night’s sleep too.

Trail-Road-Trail-Road

Hank – We packed up and left without having the opportunity meet our WarmShowers hosts. We are very thankful for Gloria and Michael allowing us to stay at their campground.

We got on the Erie Canalway Trail and rode about 11 miles to Albion. The trail was very cool following the canal and we had it all to ourselves to town. We stopped for breakfast and went over the day’s route. We had at least 61 miles to our WarmShowers host in Fairport, NY so it was going to be a long day. It was hot and humid and thunderstorms we’re supposed to hit before our arrival. So we decided to take the road, since we travel faster on pavement, instead of the canal trail.

That worked out pretty well for us even though we had more ups and downs on the road than we would have had on the mostly flat trail. But the heat was definitely affecting us and we got slower in the afternoon. We stayed south of Rochester and got back in the trail. Now the trail was paved and roomy. Imagine our surprise when we came up on an REI store right next to the trail. We bought a couple more dehydrated meals and I got some new socks. We we’re back on the trail for a few more miles and switched back to the road for that last six. The road was a straight shot to our host’s house. Taking the trail that made a large S shape would have added four miles. So we put up with rush hour traffic and did the more direct route.

Gretchen welcomed us and showed us to our room. We showered and I helped Gretchen make dinner. She makes her own tomato sauce from her garden tomatoes. The spaghetti was awesome. Gretchen has toured the northern and southern tier routes and parts of others as well. She’s hoping to do the southern tier again next spring but she’s been having issues with a knee. She’s leaving on Saturday for a week-long tour to see how her knee does. We chatted and traded stories until bed time.

Kathy – Today we rode 64 miles. Our first eleven miles were in the unpaved Erie Canal Trail. It was pretty and flat, but the unpaved surface slowed us down. Getting back on the roads was a good choice except for the fact that now we had constant rolling hills for approximately 40 miles. We were much faster on the road…especially on the downhills. We had a nice wide shoulder to ride on. New York seems to be a state of rolling hills. I could swear there were more uphills than downhills. I’m sure this perception is related to going slower up and faster down. Happy most of our climbing was gradual rather than steep climbs.

The temps slowed us down towards the later part of the day. It quickly rose to 88 degrees and with the humidity the heat index was registering in the mid 90’s. We were drenched in sweat all day. We just tried to keep pushing the fluids. Our last six miles to our Warm Showers host home was all climbing (no downhills, not a perception but the truth). Must say we were both happy to have this tough day of riding done.

We rode through lots of farm lands today. Just as the sweet grapes I talked about a few days ago, I never realized they grow cabbage in the upper New York area. We seen fields of cabbage heads. It has a unique color and was pretty to see in the landscapes. We also seen lots of corn fields. We have seen so many corn fields in the 15 states we have passed through so far. Tons of corn! 🌽 How can humans and cattle eat so much corn every year?!

We also met lots of really nice people today during our stops. Most found it amazing that we rode our bikes so far from home. Others asked a multitude of questions and were inspired to either start riding their bikes more often or possibly try some bike touring. We don’t feel like we are doing anything great here. We are just riding our bikes, seeing the United States, and meeting wonderful people along the way. But, if we are inspiring more people to get on their bikes that’s always a plus.

I planted my flowers in New York in a small farming area. No doubt they will add beauty to the area. Just my contribution to Make America More Beautiful – one pack of flower seeds planted in each state we visit.

Our Warm Showers host Gretchen prepared us a fantastic dinner. We were so hungry and ate so much it was a little embarrassing. Since we pushed the fluids throughout the day we weren’t hungry so we didn’t eat much during our 64 miles today. Once we showered and relaxed then we were really hungry. Gretchen has done lots of touring and totally understands our appetites. Also, she is leaving on a bike trip in a few days and doesn’t want any food to go to waste. So we helped her prevent such a tragic event from happening!

Gretchen is 68 years old and has done an unbelievable amount of bike touring. She did her first tour at age 55. She is such a rock star! We really enjoyed our evening chatting with her and sharing cycling stories (and eating). Looking forward to more talks with her in the morning.