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Terrific Ticondaroga

Buffalo in the Adirondacks.

Buffalo in the Adirondacks.

August 11, 2009: Newcomb, NY to Ticondaroga, NY

Again we were pelted by rain during the early morning hours at our camp near Newcomb, NY. Fortunately the rain stopped prior to our departure for Ticondaroga, NY, a distance of about 40 miles. Today’s route was short, but included some climbs as well as some exciting descents towards the northeast border of New York state.

When one thinks of New York state, for many the vision of New York City always comes to mind. This area is very different from that vision. Upstate New York is heavily wooded and includes a number of small family farms. The Adirondack Mountains, in particular, are very beautiful and tranquil.

Lake Champlain.

Lake Champlain.

The roads today were somewhat rough in spots, especially on some of the descents, but we all made it into Ticondaroga unscathed. Due to a lack of local camp sites, we are currently staying at the Stonehouse Motel in the old town district. Since we made it to our destination before noon, we hope to spend the balance of the day doing laundry, taking in some of the sights and resting up for tomorrow’s ride. Tomorrow we exit New York and hope to make a quick trip through northern Vermont.

Today’s bicycling distance: 40 miles.

Entrance to Ticonderoga.

Entrance to Ticonderoga.

Fort Ticonderoga.

Fort Ticonderoga.

New York State of Mind

Upstate New York - it's that kind of place.

Upstate New York - it's that kind of place.

August 10, 2009: Upstate New York

Chuck: The flat is over!!  After two days of riding the Erie Canal on a pea-gravel flat terrain, we are now in the hills, and headed for the mountains. Sixty-five miles and 3,300 feet of climbing was enough of a warm up today for what will be the rest of the trip – steep hills and mountains.  While riding on the canal, we encountered a group riding the same route as us but heading west.  They warned us about the 14,000 feet of climbing they did in two days.  I can hardly wait.

Riding in upstate New York has been pleasant – mostly great road surfaces with mostly decent shoulders.  This area of the state is agriculturally based – derived from the breadbasket of the US in the Erie Canal days, to diversified farmlands of grains, corn, soybeans, and a wide variety of fruits.  We have been among the beneficiaries of this cornucopia, nourishing ourselves with fresh fruits and vegetables every day.

The upper Hudson River

The upper Hudson River

As our destination comes into view, I am taking even more time to savor the scenery and every day of the event.  Thanks to Howard and Chicken for the recent kind words of encouragement. They really meant a lot. We really miss you guys and, as I told Howard when asked, “MY BUTT STILL HURTS!!”

Mark on the Hudson.

Mark on the Hudson.

Marshall and Ann at dinner in Old Forge.

Marshall and Ann at dinner in Old Forge.

Mark discovers the Big Apple.

Mark discovers the Big Apple.

August 7, 2009: Holley, NY to Sodus Point, NY

When we arose today, we had the benefit of a complete kitchen, thanks to the Holley Fire Department. As a result, Marshall was able to sleep in a little longer, since it was not necessary for him to fire-up his gas cook stove.

After enjoying our normal breakfast of oatmeal and juice, we prepared to bicycle towards Sodus Point, NY, a distance of about 80 miles. Most of the route was on the Erie Canal Trail which, as mentioned yesterday, is mainly comprised of packed sand and fine gravel. However, as we approached sections of the trail that were in the vicinity of larger cities, such as Rochester, the trail was paved, which helped boost our average speed for the day.  It was a  beautiful day for cycling – the weather was warm and the winds were favorable.

The Erie Canal Trail.

The Erie Canal Trail.

Once we left the trail, near the village of Palmyra, we rode through an agricultural area that included some rollers. Our destination, Sodus Point, is located along the shores of Lake Ontario.

One of the interesting aspects of the towns along the Erie Canal, is that many of them were settled at around the same time as the American Revolution. The architecture of the buildings (especially the churches) in towns such as Albion, reflects the period.

The Albion court house.

The Albion court house.

Tomorrow, we will undertake a slightly shorter ride, as we travel to Port Ontario, NY, a distance of about 62 miles.  Distance bicycled today: 80 miles.

A lock on the Erie Canal.

A lock on the Erie Canal.

Back on Native Soil

Debbie & Dennis on the Erie Canal.

Debbie & Dennis on the Erie Canal.

August 6, 2009: Ridgeway, ON to Holley, NY

After a fun-filled day on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, we were ready to return to the good old USA. Today’s route would take us across the Lewiston-Elizabethton Bridge to New York State. Once in New York State, the route wound through rural New York up to Holley, a small town on the Erie Canal. Altogether, the route was about 70 miles long.

The trip across the bridge was somewhat of an experience, since it did not have a designated bicycle lane. Instead, bicycles and automobiles shared the same lanes, which made for an interesting mix.  Once we reached them, the customs people at the border could not have been nicer, as they welcomed us back to the U.S.

Having crossed the bridge, we cycled through Lewiston, NY and made our way onto Upper Mountain Road and into rural New York state. This area was a welcome relief after dealing with the dense traffic around Niagara Falls. Most of today’s route followed the Erie Canal trail, a densely packed sand and gravel pathway that was actually nice to ride on.

A fellow traveler on the Erie Canal.

A fellow traveler on the Erie Canal.

We arrived in Holley, NY and are currently camped at the Firemen’s Park. The park has a nice pavilion, complete with a kitchen that we are allowed to use. Our thanks to Fran for all of his help in making us feel welcome and setting us up in this nice location!

Tomorrow’s ride should start to get us back into climbing shape, as we head for the Adirondack Mountains. The 90+ mile route will take us to Sodus Point, NY.

August 5, 2009: Rest Day at Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls - U.S. side.

Niagara Falls - U.S. side.

Niagara Falls - U.S. and Canadian sides.

Niagara Falls - U.S. and Canadian sides.

Canadian side of the falls aboard the Maid of the Mist.

Canadian side of the falls aboard the Maid of the Mist.

Marshall aboard the Maid of the Mist.

Marshall aboard the Maid of the Mist.

Suzi on the Maid of the Mist

Suzi on the Maid of the Mist

View from beneath the Falls.

View from beneath the Falls.

Mark on the Friendship Trail.

Mark on the Friendship Trail.

August 4, 2009: Port Ryerse, ON to Ridgeway, ON

We are still in Canada, and probably all agree that one of the main reasons that we would like to see Canada in our respective rear view mirrors  is the lack of adequate camping sites. The upside of our northern neighbor, however, is definitely the people; they are generous, out-going and a lot of fun.

The route today took us from Port Ryerse to Ridgeway, a distance of some 75-80 miles, depending upon the route that one chose to take.

No cell phone service at Port Ryerse.

No cell phone service at Port Ryerse.

Chuck, Dennis and Debbie took the longer route along the coast of Lake Erie. Chuck mentioned that the area had a distinct smell all along the route related to algae and bacteria problems in the lake.

Sue and Mark stayed on County Road 3, which was more inland and direct.

Both groups ended up on the Friendship Trail in Port Colborne, adjacent to the St. Lawrence Seaway. The trail, which is an established walking/biking path, extends from Port Colborne to Niagara and the Canadian/US border.

The St. Lawrence Seaway.

The St. Lawrence Seaway.

We are currently camped at Knights Hideaway RV park in Ridgeway, Ontario. Tomorrow we will bicycle the short distance to a KOA camp in Niagara and spend the majority of the day experiencing Niagara Falls.

Our hosts at Knight's Landing - Thank You!

Our hosts at Knight's Landing - Thank You!

Today’s Bicycling Distance: 75 or 83 miles, depending upon the route.

First full day in Canada

Lake Erie as seen from Port Rowan.

Lake Erie as seen from Port Rowan.

August 3, 2009: Eagle, ON to Port Ryerse, ON

After a night in the “party camp” near Eagle, Ontario – Canadians really know how to party and because they are on a three-day holiday, Sunday night was no exception – we headed towards Port Ryerse, a distance of 80+ miles.

The day was beautiful, the wind was favorable, but, again, the shoulders were essentially non-existent. The region of Ontario through which we were bicycling was once a major tobacco-producing area, but is now converting to an assortment of row crops, such as cucumbers and beans.

Tobacco Drying Shed - Port Stanley

Tobacco Drying Shed - Port Stanley.

While Sue and Mark were passing through Port Royal, they met Dennis Shram, a local bicyclist. After a visit, Dennis invited the Petersens to his house just east of Port Royal, where they met Dennis’ wife Wanda, and had a nice visit. Prior to leaving the Shrams and heading for Port Ryerse, Dennis presented the Petersens with lighted safety vests for all of the riders in our group. The vests are great!! Thank you Dennis and Wanda for your kind hospitality and for the terrific vests.

Tomorrow’s ride will take us closer to the US border and Niagara Falls, as we make our way to an area east of Fort Coburn, Ontario.

Distance Bicycled Today: 85 miles

Campsite at Norfolk Conservation Park

Campsite at Norfolk Conservation Park.