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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.

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