Bicycling 4,174 Miles Across the United States

Photograph of the Day

August 11th: Pulaski to Old Forge, NY

A view of the Salmon River from our bike route today.

August 11th Statistics:  Pulaski to Old Forge, NY

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 76.8 miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 13.4 mph
  • Today’s Time In Saddle – 5.6 hours
  • Today Ascent – 3,977 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 48
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 3,689.5 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 76.9 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 93,925 feet

Between a lack of internet connection at one hotel, not feeling well one day, and two wonderful evenings with six Philadelphia friends, Steve & Nancy, Ted & Kristin, and Jim & Nini, I have fallen four days behind in my blogs.  I am going to try to get as many posted as I can today (August 14th).

Today’s scenery was beautiful.  However, the threat of rain all day and heavy traffic for the last 10 miles on Route 28 detracted from the experience and left we with few opportunities for photos.  I left early this morning and took few breaks based upon the weather forecast.  Good decision – the rain started 3 miles from the Old Forge hotel so I only had about 10 minutes of biking in it.  The downpour started just as I arrived at the hotel.  Many in our group biked an hour or more in a downpour today.  Unfortunately, one rider took a wrong turn and rode over 20 miles in the wrong direction as well.

All bad weather was forgotten as my friends Nancy and Steve graciously hosted Doug, Robert, Jim and me at their vacation home near Old Forge for the evening.  The sky cleared, we took a boat ride on First, Second, and Third Lakes, met their dog, Parker, had our first delicious home cooked meal in nearly two months topped off with great wine, and exchanged stories of our trip and the Andirondacks.  Thank you Nancy and Steve.

The River House Restaurant pictured above was the location of our dinner last night in Pulaski, NY. Great meal – highly recommended.

Doug entering the Andirondack’s.

A view of the Salmon River which paralleled our bike path for the first part of the ride today near.

A view of Route 28 which we biked today. While the road was good, there was a lot of traffic which took away from the experience.

A view of the reading lounge at our hotel in Old Forge, Water’s Edge.

A view from the reading lounge of our hotel in Old Forge, Water’s Edge.

My friends Nancy and Steve, who have a vacation home near Old Forge, generously hosted a evening and dinner for Jim, Robert, Doug and me. Pictured above is Steve giving us a tour of the canoe collection at a lake reserved for non motorized boats.

Doug pictured with Steve & Nancy’s dog, Parker.

View of the evening sky while we were taking a boat ride with Steve and Nancy on Third Lake.

Robert on our Third Lake boat ride.

Nancy with Parker, Robert and Doug.


August 10th: Newark to Pulaski, NY

August 10th Statistics:  Newark to Pulaski, NY

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 77.7 miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 14.2 mph
  • Today’s Time In Saddle – 5.5 hours
  • Today Ascent – 3,258 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 47
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 3,612.7 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 76.9 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 89,948 feet

Today’s weather was threatening and the ride long, so I began riding about 7 am.  Our days of flat riding are certainly over – today we climbed over 3,000 feet, which we had done only day (Osceola, WI to Red Wing, MN when we were climbing the bluffs above the Mississippi River) since leaving the Rockies in Western Montana.  The overcast sky, occasion sprinkles, one rain shower, and terrain didn’t allow much photography so I only have two photos today.  However, they do provide you a good picture of today’s ride.  One more note – the road conditions in New York continue to be great for biking.

Dinner in Pulaski, NY at the River House Restaurant in Pulaski was exceptional – highly recommended.

Mile 32:  Typical view of the roads and scenery we biked today showing the rolling hills and road conditions.

Mile 45: Another typical view of today bike ride showing the rolling hills (note upper right hand side of photo which shows how this road continues).


August 9th: Brockport to Newark, NY

Mile 26: See story below.

Mile 26:  Doug and Tom, the owner of Bill Wahl’s Ice Cream Microcreamery (see story below).

August 9th Statistics:  Brockport to Newark, NY

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 56.6 miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 15.6 mph
  • Today’s Time In Saddle – 3.8 hours
  • Today Ascent – 380 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 46
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 3,535.0 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 76.8 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 86,690 feet

Relatively short day – 57 miles, nearly all of the riding being on the Erie Canalway Trail.  Much of the scenery was similar to what we had seen on the trail earlier.  On today’s section of the Erie Canal we saw many more homes, private boats and rowers, and commercial establishments, particularly around the Rochester area (which unfortunately also had a lot of graffiti – something we had not seen earlier).  Today ended our biking on the Erie Canalway Trail (we covered 95 miles).

One town the Erie Canal passed through that was particularly pretty and upscale was Pittsford.  Doug and I had an exceptional experience in Pittsford.  As Doug, Robert, Jim, and I were biking through an area of upscale stores (including an exceptional bike shop) and restaurants in Pittsford, I noticed the Bill Wahl’s Ice Cream Microcreamery on the bike path.  We stopped in front of it and I joked about the use of the term “Microcreamery” Cream to the others.  Robert and Jim continued to ride, but Doug wanted to try the ice cream.  Not being adverse to trying the ice cream myself, I joined Doug and went to the store’s front door.  Unfortunately, the store didn’t open until noon and it was only 10:30 am (still not too early to try microcreamery ice cream in my opinion).  Dejected, we started to leave, when a man we had not noticed who was sitting on the porch outside the store, spoke to us and said he was the owner.  Tom graciously offered to open the store for us, which Doug and I readily accepted.  With two scoops each, we pulled out our cash to pay but Tom refused to accept payment.  The three of us sat on the porch and spoke for an hour about Tom’s background, the history of this ice cream store (it burnt down in 2002 and was rebuild in its current form about the time he bought it), the ice cream business, and education.  We found many connections (e.g. Tom graduated from Villanova and lived for a while in Doug’s home town).  We also found out that the term “microcreamery” has a legal definition which Tom discovered as he was crafting the business.  It is restricted to an ice cream business that 1) manufactures its own ice cream and 2) produces no more than 60 gallons per day.  It was a nice way to spend an hour in a beautiful setting on the Erie Canal.  By the way – my cinnamon and caramel delight ice cream scoops were delicious.

Mile 3:  The Erie Canalway Trail near Brockport, NY.

Mile 11:  The Erie Canal near Spencerport, NY.

Mile 15:  Maintenance boat and barge on the Erie Canal.

Mile 19:  Who know we would be visiting Greece on our tour?

Mile 20:  A view of the Erie Canalway Trail as we approached Rochester.

Mile 22:  The snacks available to us at the first SAG wagon stop.

Mile 27:  Historical Marker – Erie Canal.

Mile 27:  Information marker describing one of the locks on the Erie Canal.

Mile 27: Informational marker about the current Erie Canal.

Mile 27:  Scene of a rower on the Erie Canal near Pittsford, NY

Mile 30:  View of a pleasure boat on the Erie Canal.

Mile 32:   Another view of the Erie Canalway Trail near Pittsford, NY.

Mile 45: This photo shows how the Erie Canalway Trail looked as we approached Newark, NY.


August 7th – Lewiston to Brockport, NY and August 8th – Rest Day in Brockport

MIle 47: View of the Erie Canal Trail that we biked for abut 45 miles today. While not paved, it was very hard packed dirt with fine gravel – not difficult for a road bike to travel. We will bike a total of 95 miles on the Erie Canalway Trail.

August 7th Statistics:  Lewiston to Brockport, NY

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 64.4 miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 15.6 mph
  • Today’s Time In Saddle – 4.1 hours
  • Today Ascent – 455 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 45
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 3,478.4 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 77.3 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 86,310 feet

Today was another perfect day for biking.  After 20 miles of biking on country roads, we arrived in Lockport, NY to begin our 95 mile ride over two days on the Erie Canalway Trail.  While the Erie Canalway Trail was not paved, it was hard packed dirt with fine gravel in most places and not difficult for road bike travel.  It was very lightly travels by casual bikers, runners, and hikers.  Except for a 10 miles stretch where the canal drained (see photo below of explanation), it was a very beautiful ride.

Our destination of Brockport, NY is a quaint college town (SUNY-Brockport).  Dale was a professor at SUNY-Brockport prior to starting Classic Adventures.  After 2,000 miles on my tires, I decided to replace them at the Brockport bike shop even though the tires seemed to still have some life in them.  I have ridden nearly 3,500 miles without a flat tire and hope to maintain that record until I reach the Atlantic Ocean.  Besides bike servicing, I used our rest day in Brockport to do laundry and catch up on my blog.

Dale and Diane hosted a reception at their beautiful home on August 8th for the cyclists continuing to Freeport, ME – Doug, Jim, Robert, and me as well as 7 new cyclists, Bill from Southington, CT, Susie and Dave from Grand Rapids, MI, Steve and Sharon from Los Gatos, CA, Mollie from Coral Gables, FL, and Greg, a fellow Delaware Valley resident from Valley Forge, PA.  Three more cyclist are to join us over the next several days.  Unfortunately, one person had to cancel at the last moment.  The evening was very enjoyable and made a family event with the addition of two of Dale’s and Diane’s son’s (Nate and Benton), their wives and children (including a 10 year old boy who is an accomplished pianist and played for us).  Their son Nate is featured in my early posts as he biked with us from Anacortes, WA to Minot, ND.  Their son Benton has been the owner and president of Classic Adventures for the last 10 years.  Dinner at the Hamlin Station Bar & Grill completed the perfect start for the final leg of the tour for the new group of cycle adventures.

Mile 12: View of the countryside I biked through this morning near Pekin, NY.

Mile 20: View of the locks at the beginning of the Erie Canalway Trail in Lockport, NY.

Mile 20: View of the water falls which are part of the locks in Lockport, NY – Doug, Dale, Jim, and Robert on the bridge.

Mile 22: Dale, Jim and Doug biking the Erie Canalway Trail shortly after leaving Lockport, NY.

Mile 29: An example of one of the dams on the Erie Canal (near Gasport, NY).

Mile 35: View of the countryside next to the Erie Canalway Trail. Interestingly, the crops we passed today were very diverse, e.g. grapes, corn, apples, and tomatoes (I could not identify the crop in this photo).

Mile 43: At one point the Erie Canal was completely dry and I didn’t understand why. It became apparent near Albion, NY (shown in photo) that a canal side wall had collapsed and a 10 miles section of the canal had been drained so repairs could be made. Immediately after Albion the Erie Canal was full of water.

Mile 54: View of the Erie Canalway Trail near Holley, NY.

Mile 60: Map of a portion of the Erie Canalway Trail (Lockport to Rochester, NY). We will bike a total of 95 miles on the Erie Canalway Trail.


August 6th: Angola to Lewiston, NY

Mile 58: Jim, Robert, and Doug at Niagara Falls, Canada.

August 6th Statistics:  Angola to Lewiston, NY

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 76.1 miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 15.2 mph
  • Today’s Time In Saddle – 5.0 hours
  • Today Ascent – 1,348 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 44
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 3,414.0 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 77.6 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 85,855 feet

Today was the most perfect day for biking of the entire tour so far – sunshine, low-mid 70s, low humidity.  We could not have had a better day for seeing Niagara Falls.  The roads were good for biking (actually better than much of the bike paths on the route so we often biked the roads) and we had minimal riding through unsightly areas of Buffalo.  While riding into Canada on the Peace Bridge was easy and quick, the return to the US via the Queenston Bridge required us to wait in line (mostly in the sun and exhaust fumes) for about 45 minutes with hundreds of cars and trucks.

I almost forgot a milestone today – I biked the entire day with Doug, Jim, and Robert and even led the group for part of the ride.  This is quite a change from a month ago.  I can clearly tell that I am a stronger rider every day.

 

Our evening was spent in Lewiston, NY.  After dinner at Maci’s Italian Restaurant, I decided to walk the town and relish the beautiful evening weather – glad I did.  As I walked into this quaint town I heard music.  There was a concert in the town square with hundred of people in lawn chairs enjoying it as they sipped their wine.  Further along there was a restaurant with a solo artist playing guitar and singing smooth jazz to a small crowd.  As I reached the Niagara River waterfront in Lewiston it was buzzing with activity.  I again heard music (this time rock & roll) coming from one of the many restaurants there, the ice cream palor was packed, and the walking path full of couples.  A nice way to end the day.

Mile 13: This is a view of Buffalo from Old Lake Shore Drive near Hamburg, NY. While the straight line distance to Buffalo was about 15 miles, it took us 30 miles to bike to it.

Mile 38: Robert and Doug biking along Amvets Drive pathway in Buffalo (taken with my iPhone as I was riding on the road).

Mile 40:  View of Buffalo from the Peace Bridge to Canada.

Mile 41:  Another view of Buffalo from the Peace Bridge to Canada.

Mile 56:  Approaching Niagara Falls on the Niagara Recreational Trail.

Mile 57:  View of the city of Niagara Falls, Canada from the Niagara Recreational Trail.  You can see the rapids building just prior to Niagara Falls and the mist being generated by the Falls.

Mile 57:  Another view of the rapids just prior to Niagara Falls.  Amazingly, the steel boat stranded directly in the center of the photo has been there since 1918 when the sailors who were rescued grounded it.

Mile 58: View from the Canadian side of the American Falls (US) left and Horseshoe Falls (Canada) right making up two of the three falls of Niagara Falls.

Mile 58: View of Bridal Veil Falls and the American Falls, two of the three falls that make up Niagara Falls with the US lookout site in the center.

Mile 58: Photo documenting my visit to Niagara Falls.

Mile 58: Photo documentation of Doug at Niagara Falls, Canada.

Mile 58: View of Bridal Veil Falls, the smallest of the three falls that make up Niagara Falls.

Mile 59: Another view of Bridal Veil Falls. Note the US extended lookout platform on the left top part of the photo.

Mile 61: View of Whirlpool Gorge and the cable car that is suspended from six cables and traverses the width of the gorge at almost 1 kilometer (.6 miles) in length.

MIle 61: Another view of the Whirlpool Gorge and cable car.

Sunset view at the waterfront in Lewiston, NY.


August 5th: Erie, PA to Angola, NY

Mile 32:  The only field of sunflowers I have seen on my tour.  Unfortunately, the weather was heavily overcast which prevented the photo from being more brilliant in color.

August 5th Statistics:  Erie, PA to Angola, NY

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 74.4 miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 17.3 mph
  • Today’s Time In Saddle – 4.3 hours
  • Today Ascent – 1,455 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 43
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 3,337.9 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 77.6 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 84,507 feet

Today had a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms so we started biking early.  I left even earlier than the rest of group and didn’t see anyone except Doug until the end of the ride.  Good thing I did ride straight through – while I had a few sprinkles, I made it to the motel without any rain (same with Doug).  The other riders had to cope with some downpours before they arrived.  All of us were very lucky as shorty after the last person arrived, a very severe thunderstorm hit.  The rain was blowing sideways, the streets flooded, and, water started pouring from my bathroom ceiling.  I am clearly cursed when it comes to hotel rooms on this tour.  I quickly was relocated to very dry room and enjoyed a nap.

One comment about the scenery today – very beautiful ride with vistas of valleys to the south, Lake Erie and homes on the north, and grape vines on either side of the road.

Mile 15:  Shortly after leaving Erie, I biked on Route 5, paralleling the shoreline of Lake Erie.  For over 50 miles in both Pennsylvania and New York, I passed field after field of grapes on both sides of the road.  Not only were there numerous wineries, but I also passed several college research farms dedicated to grapes.  This is a photo of a grape field with a stately home on Lake Erie.

Mile 16: One of the wineries I passed in Pennsylvania.

Mile 24:  Arrival in New York State – the 12th state on my tour – 3 states to go.

Mile 35:  An example of the road conditions in New York, wide and smooth shoulders (but not as smooth as the road which I road unless traffic was coming) that were great for biking – moderate traffic.

Mile 44:  A view of the Lake Erie shoreline near Van Buren Point, NY.

Mile 65:  A unique store fixture at a gift shop near Silver Creek, NY.  It looked like it might be for sale if your interested.

Mile 70: This is June & Gary Feeney from Bay City, Michigan.  They are completing a loop around Lakes Erie and Ontario.  When we met on the road near Irving, NY they had biked 1,100 miles over the last 48 days.

Mile 71:  Another unique store fixture on an indian reservation.  I am at a loss to see the linkage between the gorilla and duty free tobacco, ice, and night crawlers.


August 4th: Mentor, OH to Erie, PA

Mile 52: Back home in Pennsylvania after biking 3,200+ miles (although I am 400 miles from home).

August 4th Statistics:   Mentor, OH to Erie, PA

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 79.3 miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 15.9 mph
  • Today’s Time In Saddle – 5.0 hours
  • Today Ascent – 1,198 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 42
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 3,263.5 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 77.7 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 83,052 feet

What a difference a day makes.  Once we left the Cleveland area, the roads improved, the scenery improved, and the traffic improved. The only downgrade was the temperature (mid 90s by the end of the ride today).  It is hard to believe that I ended the day in my home state of Pennsylvania (400 miles from home).  I started biking early to avoid the afternoon heat and biked the entire 80 miles only stopping for water.  I didn’t see a person in my group until the Comfort Inn in Erie.  It worked out great as I passed a large Trek bike shop a mile before the Comfort Inn and was able to get my bike serviced (new chain and cassettes, and cleaned & oiled) on the spot.  I still reached the hotel by 2 pm just as Doug arrived by bike and Dale arrived in the SAG wagon.  Since our rooms were not ready, Doug and I researched the best ice cream in town and road our bikes to Sally’s on Presque Isle (see photo below).

Unfortunately, I realized after several hours (and trying to take a nap) that the room was not cooling down (it was up to 87 degrees based upon my bike computer) – the air conditioner was not working.  The hotel (which was very nice) was sold out and didn’t have another room available, so they replaced the entire air conditioning unit in my room.   When I got back from a great dinner at Sarafini’s Italian Restaurant down the road from the Comfort Inn, I found that the replacement air conditioner didn’t work either.  Happy ending – while the front desk was working on a solution, I got a call that the hotel had a cancelation and a new room with perfectly working air conditioning was available.  I slept very well.

Two couples who rode this cross-country tour last year with Diane and Dale  joined us for the ride today and shared great stories of their tour last year and other tours they have taken.  One couple, Ron & Judy, biked Vietnam with Dale and Diane several years ago and had biked with Classic Adventures to Greece.

A positive comment I failed to make yesterday was the beauty of the homes (modest home as well as the estates) we passed on Lake Erie.  This was particularly true in the suburbs on either side of Cleveland (even if the roads were great for biking).

Mile 8: A view of the Grand River near Painesville, OH at 7:30 am.

Mile 15: I saw hundreds of these mailbox protectors in Ohio. I don’t recall seeing any until I reached Ohio. They varied from very elaborate and designer protectors to unpainted plywood with no markings. After having to replace my own mailbox twice due to vandals, I will consider one for us if it happens again.

Mie 30: A bicycle on display in Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH. The bike is about 8 feet tall and covered in lights – I would have liked to see it lit at night.

Mile 53: Historical Marker – Pennsylvania

Mile 59: View on Route 5 in Pennsylvania today – Great roads and scenery (the black tar marks on the road were very smooth and the shoulders even better to ride than the road much of the day).

Mile 60: Historical Marker – Pennsylvania State Line.

Mile 64: Today’s ride was designated three different ways, 1) Lake Erie Circle Tour, 2) Seaway Trail, and 3) Bicycle PA Route Z.

Sally’s, Presque Isle: Doug and I arrived very early at the Comfort Inn (2 pm) and before the rooms were ready. After consulting the hotel staff on the best ice cream in town we biked a mile to Sally’s – A landmark establishment at the entrance to Presque Isle State Park. It was mobbed with people enjoying the ice cream (like the black raspberry I had).  This view only represents a small portion of the entire restaurant that was in two different buildings.

View of Presque Isle State Park Beach.