A quick side note before I regale you with photos from the Adirondacks and the beautiful state of New York: WE MADE IT TO THE FINISH LINE!
I know, I know, you’re wondering when the hell that happened. Why is this post about New York if you terds have already finished?! But you’re just going to have to suffer through it, and eventually, I will tell you all about our victory plunge into the frigid Atlantic!
For now, if you’re up for it, here’s how the trip through New York went down…
Our first day in New York actually started in Canada. We woke up on the north shore of Lake Erie and got an early start so that we could take too many photos at Niagara Falls and also get through customs while still managing to pedal at least 55 miles.
Shortly after we made it through customs, we found ourselves at an orchard stand selling freshly picked honey crisp apples and home baked goodies from the farm.
We had gone about 55 miles for the day, it was 5:30, and we still had to figure out where we were camping. Finding a place to stay for the night is always a chore, sometimes easier, sometimes harder, but always a challenge. This time we knew it wouldn’t be too hard as long as we made it onto the Erie Canal bike path about 10 miles up the road. Once we were on it, there would be plenty of options for camping.
It was at this point, apple pie and zucchini bread in hand, that we realized this bike path was the perfect place to accomplish our century day! Most people on a bike tour try to get in a century day, or some crazy people do them all of the time, but we are not that crazy. Getting onto the Erie Canal bike path would allow us to ride at night safely and the temperatures were supposed to be fairly mild for night riding – in the high 40’s. And so we declared, “100 MILES OR BUST!”
We got to Lockport, where the Erie Canal starts, and grabbed a big dinner and a beer (of course) at the local pub. Leaving the pub, we bundled up and hit the
road bike path with lights and reflective gear blazing.
It was all fun and games until I almost got sprayed by a skunk.
It was terrifying.
Here’s what happened:
As Mike and I were riding along I noticed him slow down a bit and saw something furry on the edge of my headlight beam. I thought it was a squirrel (so so wrong). Luckily, the skunk must have been as startled as I was, because the moment I realized what the furry creature was, he was sidled up against my back wheel, completely disoriented and trying to escape. I started pedaling as hard and fast as I could and was fairly sure I had escaped the spray.
Then I realized Mike was behind me (you know, because he’s so much slower than I am on a bike) and hoped to the heavens he hadn’t been sprayed after I almost ran over the crazed black and white critter.
Well, Mike caught up with me and, miracle of all miracles, neither of us were sprayed. I don’t know how or why, but I also don’t ever need to know. I just know that I don’t ever want to be that close to a skunk again.
Our only other siting on the path was a family of raccoons, who ran across safely 10-15 yards out in front of us, and a buck and his deer family along the side of the trail. They didn’t even notice us until we were gone.
I didn’t think about the fact that we’d have a higher chance of seeing wildlife as we rode at night, although obviously in hind sight, it makes sense. On top of the sightings, we also heard lots of frogs jumping into the canal as we rode by, startling them. In addition, the night stars were out and beautiful, but also hard to look at while trying not to ride your bike into the canal.
Anyways, the going was a little slow on the crushed limestone path, but by 1 am we made it to a campground in Holley. The odometer read 101 miles.
We celebrated our century day with a bottle of wine we’d picked up at the duty free store at the border and an apple pie from the farmer’s stand.
The next morning, we slept in until the sun was high in the sky. And the park on the side of the canal was peaceful and the weather was magnificent. We sat on the side of the canal and saw a tugboat chugging along, took in the fall colors and generally lazed about.
Then we remembered we were supposed to be riding our bikes across the country.
We packed up camp and hit the trail at about 2 in the afternoon.
We made it ~40 miles and WOW were we starting to see some fall colors on our first full day in New York.
The canal bike path was such a fun ride. The towns were right along the path, so getting food and water was a breeze, and we didn’t have to deal with traffic. Plus, it was scenic as hell.
That afternoon, we found ourselves racing the sunset, but we couldn’t help but to stop at a brewery we saw along the canal in Pittsford.
And then we carried on into the sunset…
The next day we were able to catch up with an old college friend of mine north of the finger lakes. Skrobs and Liz treated us like kings for a day. Most people only eat that well once a year on Thanksgiving. It was amazing. And I’m totally kicking myself for not getting a photo with them. If I was good at photoshop I would sneak them into a funny photo, but I’m not that cool…
After a day of relaxation and home cooked meals, we hit the road and started heading north for upstate New York and our first mountains since we left Montana.
We were totally spoiled in New York, because shortly after Skrobs and Liz took care of us we were able to stay at a friend’s family cabin at Long Lake in the Adirondacks. It was foggy and rainy day riding into Long Lake, but gorgeous nonetheless.
It probably also helped knowing that no matter how wet or cold we got, we’d get to sleep in a warm bed that night!
Their cabin was beautiful and just what we needed after a long day out in the elements. The views from the front porch…
The only downside to the cabin was not being able to stay and enjoy the cabin for longer. But we had lobster to get to and two more mountain ranges to conquer!
In two days time, we were closing in on Vermont where we’d get to catch up with the outlaws we’d met back in Montana along with our sheriff friend!
And that’s where I will leave it for New York.
Here are some more beautiful pictures of the Adirondacks. I’m so glad I really got to experience this part of the country that I never knew I was missing!
The Moose River.
Fall foliage overload.
Descending into camp on our last night in New York.
Waking up in Blue Ridge, NY.
Up next, The Home Stretch: VT, NH, and ME!