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New York!

Monday July 4: Vernondale, PA to Angola, NY

Zip, we are through Pennsylvania! Well, to be fair, we went through the smallest possible part of Pennsylvania, and enjoyed every minute. Erie was a nice town, especially where we passed through Gannon University. We crossed into New York at about 10:30 AM. We stuck to the roads along the lake all day, and continued to have views of the lake off and on. A local rider suggested we stop at Lake Erie State Park for lunch. The picnic area was nice, but we wondered why on July 4th, there were so few people at the beach. Well, we didn't realize that swimming here requires a Fear Factor Challenge! There was about 15 feet of slimy green muck to wade through before you can get to clean lake water. And of course the slime is still there when you come out!

We met Bonita, who is riding the Adventure Cycling Northern Tier headed west. She started on the Alabama/Florida border and rode up the east coast. Now she is headed west along the northern tier to Seattle, then south to San Diego, and finally across the southern route back home. What a ride! She has her own web site HERE. We wished her well and safe riding on such an adventursome trip.

A decorated frog at Gannon Univ. in Erie, and look-alike
Crossing the border into the Empire State
Getting local knowledge from a passing day rider
Picnic at the beach before the fear factor challenge!
Here it is, the green muck!
We met Bonita who is riding all around the country (see above)

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Tuesday July 5: Angola, NY to Virgil, ON

We started out our day at the Angola Motel, which we highly un-recommend. Seventeen miles east, we met Eric's friends Jeff Jones and Valerie Heywood for breakfast at Tim Hortons Resturant. Jeff and Valerie both play for the Buffalo Philharmonic, so Annie and I heard alot of music shop talk as we munched our bagels and muffins. Further up the line in south Buffalo, Annie found two guys who buy their outfits at the same place she does.

We met up with the girls in a park just on the Buffalo side of the bridge to Canada, and shortly thereafter Peter & Mary Joselin (our cousins) met us there as well. Sarah rode with Mary, and Peter rode with Mackenzie, and they all headed through customs and on up to the falls, and eventually to Peter and Mary's house in Virgil, Ontario. the bikers also crossed the bridge, and rode up the parkway bike path on the west side of the Niagra river. About half way between the Peace Bridge and the falls, the skies opened up and we thought we were under Niagra falls. We were able to duck under the awning of a motel and wait out the storm. The lady running the motel even made us a pot of coffee.

After the weather broke we rode up to Niagra Falls. The mist from the falls was quite heavy, and it obscures some of the view. Never the less the falls were very impressive, as they always are. About an hour later we arrived at the Joselin's in Virgil, where we were treated to a wonderful dinner of grilled turkey, mashed potatoes and vegatables. Andrew and Christine Forber drove down from Toronto to be a part of the event, and their son (Peter and Mary's grandson) Collin was also there, as he has been attending a sailing camp on the lake.

Thanks again to all the Joselins and Forbers for making our visit such a delight, and for taking such good care of us.

The infamous Angola Motel
John, Jeff Jones, Valerie Heywood and Annie outside Tim Horton's
Annie and her look-alikes
Waiting for the Joselin's at a park in Buffalo
Eric crossing the Peace Bridge and headed into customs
John and Annie under the motel awning during the deluge
View of the motel during the deluge
View over Eric's shoulder of the Canadian falls from above
View of the Canadian Niagra Falls
View of the American Falls from the Canadian side
Maid of the Mists heading up into the falls
Sarah, Mackenzie & John at the Joselins, just after arriving
The girls have had enough pictures taken already!
Peter Joselin, Andrew and Christine Forber
Mary Joselin the cook!
Peter and grandson Collin Forber

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Wednesday July 6: Virgil, ON to Brockport, NY

We got off to a fine start in Virgil, and rode down through orchards to the Queenston-Lewiston bridge to the US. Our plan was to meet Mackenzie and Sarah at the US customs, but they would not let us stop and wait before customs, so we went through and waited on the US side. They came through about 5 minutes later with no problems at all. We then parted company and headed east.

After about 15 miles we came to Lockport, where we joined the Erie Canal at locks 34 and 35. This pair of locks drops the water level from the level of Lake Erie down 45 feet to the height of the canal for the next 35 miles or so. We then rode along the tow path beside the canal for the rest of the day. Riding the tow path was nice because there was no motorized traffic, it was quiet, and we were able to pass under most highways. There was an occasional road crossing or need to ride away from the canal and back, but most of it was right along the water. The path itself is fine grained gravel or cement dust, so the riding surface was fine, but the rolling friction was higher than pavement, and we were worn down after 45 miles of it.

In the evening we drove from Brockport into Rochester, and were cooked a wonderful dinner by John's friends Jim and Jeanne Sutton. Jim grilled steak on the barbecue, while Jeanne put out a huge fruit salad and bowl of couscous. Their son Jeff was also there, and his friend Sam. We had a great visit and a wonderful meal, thanks to Jim and Jeanne for hosting us on relatively short notice.

John watching the lock doors close
Looking down to the lower lock and the canal beyond
Riding along the canal. This little red tug was gaily decorated
Here the canal is bridged over a stream that passes underneath
Having a snack near some emergency flow gates
Jeanne and Jim Sutton, at their house in Rochester
Mackenzie shows her spoon-on-the-nose style
Jeff Sutton and his friend Sam working on the spoon thing
Sarah has the spoon-on-nose thing all figured out!

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Thursday July 7: Brockport to Sodus Point, NY

Today we rode along the tow path for another 25 miles, occasionally crossing the canal, and then crossing back. Eric had arranged to meet Don Reinfeld, another musician friend, for a brief chat, and we hooked up at one of the locks, right on schedule. There were two nice towns in a row which offered services to the bikers, walkers, and joggers right along the tow path, Pittsford and Fairport. After leaving the canal, we turned north back to the lake, and then followed the lake shore to Sodus Point. This is a nice lake front town and we are staying in a beautiful B&B.

Today the girls went to visit the University of Rochester, where they sat in on an information session in the admissions office, and then took a tour of the campus. They both fell in love with the university, and were very disappointed to hear that it is a good 8-hour ride from home. They plan to visit Syracuse tomorrow, and perhaps Colgate on Saturday.

Avoiding the Canada Geese who also like the towpath
Along the towpath in Pittsford, NY
Meeting Don Reinfeld for a brief chat at the locks
The lock gates from below
Riding a less well used portion of the tow path
Eric gets caught on the other side of the bridge when it goes up!
Annie & John buying fresh cherries in Pultneyville, NY
Snacking by the lake in Pultneyville
An interesting trio of brass plantings in Pultneyville

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Friday July 8: Sodus Point to Port Ontario, NY

Rain and broken bikes were our peak experiences today. Early in the day Annie's rear derailleur cable broke right at the shift lever, causing her bike to shift to the highest gear; not a good thing on a hill. So we stopped and replaced the cable. Further down the line John had yet another flat tire. This time it was a piece of glass which must have become embedded in the tread some miles back, and finally worked its way through the tread, the kevlar belt, and into the inner tube. John replaced both the tube and the tire, since it still had glass poking through, and because the tire tread was well worn after 3,900 miles of riding.

From the weather side, we are experiencing the results of tropical storm Cindy, which is dumping rain across the region. We started out dry, but got about an hour of steady rain in the morning. Then we had a dry spell through about 2:00, but again got rain for the last hour of the ride to test our determination and our rain gear.

Mackenzie and Sarah visited Syracuse University today, and were awed with its size, but not as impressed overall as much as they were with U-Rochester. Tomorrow is a day off, and we will visit Colgate.

Broken cable head from Annie's shifter
Annie replacing cable to her rear derailleur
John changes his rear tire after picking up a piece of glass
Resting at Canal Landing near Fulton, NY

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Saturday July 9: Day off in Port Ontario, NY

We took a day off today to wait out the rain. Eric & Annie hung out at the motel, worked on the bikes, and did some food shopping. Mackenzie, Sarah and John drove down to Hamilton, NY to visit Colgate College, which was very impressive, and definately on the list of colleges to which they would like to apply.

In the evening we went to dinner at the Golden Fish, a resturant just a few doors down from the motel, and then at the urging of the girls, we went to the go-cart track across from the motel, to take a few runs around the track. A bit of ice cream after the race wrapped up the evening!

Sunset in Port Ontario
Racers lining up at the starting line
John and Mackenzie shoot out of the starting gate
Sara flys through a tight turn
Annie close on her heels
Annie trying to pass John

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Sunday July 10: Port Ontario to Thendara, NY

Not many pictures, but lots of riding today. We had a beautiful weather day, with a clear sky, cool temperatures and a tail wind! We did our 76 miles and were at the Inn in Thendara by 2:30! Our stats show that we did a significant amount of climbing, and yet we had our third fastest riding average of the trip. The girls spent some time at a beach and met us at the inn. We are clearly in vacation country now. Campers abound, and all the local services are catering to the tourist trade.

Van Auken's Inn in Thendara
The train station just in front of the inn

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Monday July 11: Thendara to Long Lake, NY

Van Auken's Inn serves a continental breakfast of muffins, small containers of fruit in plastic, coffee and orange juice. And it can't be set up before 8:00. Not recommended for long distance bikers. We started a bit late to get the breakfast, and because we had a short day planned. Then as soon as we left the inn we passed two places that would have served us a nice breakfast. Oh well.

Thendara to Long Lake is only 46 miles. We passed a whole series of lakes (First Lake, Second Lake, ... Eighth lake) along the middle branch of the Moose River while following Rt. 28. Then at Blue Mountain Lake we turned north on Rt. 30 to go another 10 miles into Long Lake.

We stayed at Long View Inn, which had a small beach on the lake, and canoes for our use. Mackenzie and Sarah went out in a canoe for awhile; the bikers rested, tooled up the bikes, and generally had a slow afternoon.

Short detour into Raquette Lake for a s-l-o-w snack
Riding Rt. 28 towards Blue Mountain Lake
Long Lake at sunset from the Long View Inn beach
View of the back of the Inn
View of the back porch overlooking the lake

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Tuesday July 12: Long Lake to Ticonderoga, NY

Today the heat returned with a vengence. We started the day fairly cool at 7:30 AM, but the humidity was high and we knew we were in for some hot riding. By 11:00 the temperature was about 87 and humid. Just at the end of the day we dropped about 1000 feet to come down into the Champlain Valley, and the temperature rose with every foot of elevation we lost. Luckily we were in our air conditioned Super 8 rooms by the time mid-afternoon heat reached its peak.

We had a couple of long climbs today, but nothing too steep. It was good preparation for tackling Middlebury Pass tomorrow in Vermont. We zipped through 60 miles and were in Ticonderoga by about 1:30 PM, even with a flat tire enroute. It is clear we are in the north woods now. Yesterday we saw a dead porcupine on the road, we have not seen a porcupine anywhere else on the trip. Today we passed through long stretches of pine stands as seen in the third picture below, this is typical of the Adirondacks and of Maine.

We drove a few miles down along Lake George to The View resturant, and met Carl Zutz and Cory Zutz for dinner. Kate is still travelling, we were sad we could not also visit with her. A great meal on the outside deck, with a great view of the lake, good conversation, and even a few leftovers wrapped up in tinfoil ducks.

Riding Rt 2B past an old barn
The spin doc fixes a flat
NY 74 over the last hill into the Champlain Valley
Dinner on Lake George. Carl Zutz and John
Cory Zutz and Mackenzie
Mackenzie and Sarah

On to New England!

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