Day 22 – Amsterdam, NY to Ballston Spa, NY – 23 miles

Rain.

It was 2:00 pm before I finally left for the day. I used the time for some wonderful rest though :)

Stopped at a place called Cappie’s Drive-In for some afternoon food after a long climb out of Amsterdam. Inside, nobody really paid attention to me when they saw me roll in on my bike. It took a while – until I was almost done eating – for someone to jokingly ask about how the day was for a bike ride. I could have just said it wasn’t too good, but I added that I’ve biked from Minnesota.

Instantly all heads in the establishment turned to look at me and I could tell that I had the compete attention of the place. I gave a brief description of the ride and my ride last year. The people inside Cappie’s were flabbergasted. A few of them made the comment that they could never do something like what I’m doing and such.

I should’ve responded to them that they were wrong. With that attitude, absolutely you can’t do it. So much of touring is mental. Also, after all, by myself, I wouldn’t be able to do this trip either. It is God that gives me the strength.

Maybe those good folks will see this :)

I continued on through the light drizzle into the slight NE headwind. It was a rather worthless day. Not much cooperated today.

I was able to find some great hosts for tonight though!

Hopefully I’ll be able to go farther tomorrow.

Day 21 – New York Mills, NY to Amsterdam, NY – 72 miles

The day went pretty well today.

The first part of the day was a little tricky. Biking through Utica (just east of New York Mills) is terrible. No bike lanes and limited sidewalks combined with a substantial detour made it a rather unenjoyable city.

It started getting hilly just before Little Falls. I could definitely tell I’m brushing the southern Adirondack mountains. In Little Falls, the Erie Canal Trail continues east. I followed it through the Mohawk Valley.

Another great people experience occurred today in St. Johnsville. I stopped at a hot dog stand outside of a store on main street. The guy running the stand ended up giving me the food for free.

We talked for a few minutes after eating and I thanked him for the food.

I followed the canal trail all of the way to Amsterdam.

1,503 miles on the odometer for the trip. It is going quick!

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One of the climbs today
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Beautiful historical site along the trail

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Flowers along the trail

Day 20 – Auburn, NY to New York Mills, NY – 84 miles

I am very grateful for the stay in Auburn. It rained last night and I would’ve been in it if I didn’t have hosts.

The canal trail has been calling my name since I left it to get to Geneva and Seneca Falls. Knowing that it was flat biking gave good reason to use the trail, so I headed north out of Auburn and picked up the trail in Weedsport.

The canal trail continued until Syracuse. Against my better judgment, I biked through the middle of Syracuse. It wasn’t too bad. There was a ton of construction downtown, but that almost made it easier on a bike because of the constrained and slower traffic. On the east side of the city, a bike lane appeared and I followed that out of Syracuse.

Intermittent drizzle throughout the day and high humidity made the biking less enjoyable. But hey, I am traveling and seeing the world – I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else.

While biking the canal trail in the evening, a large snapping turtle decided to camp out right in the middle of the path.

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I had to plow through the tall grass to get around it.

I continued biking through the drizzle all the way to New York Mills.

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A section of the Old Erie Canal Trail
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Old bridge over Old Erie Canal

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Day 19 – Geneva, NY to Auburn, NY – 28 miles

Only 28 miles today, but that is okay!

I survived the night in the vacant lot last night. The tent, humidity, and temperature did not lend itself well to a good night of sleep. Not getting a shower last night did not help either, but it didn’t take long for 6:00 a.m. to roll around.

My bike Rambow was packed by 7:00 a.m. The damp tent dried a little and would dry during the day from the wind.

The Captain’s Café a few blocks away provided breakfast. I spent some time by the lake before going to church at St. Francis deSales church. Going to mass in a different parish is always fun. Meeting new people and experiencing subtle differences in worship is awesome.

From church, I changed clothes at the bathrooms by Seneca Lake and headed off.

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There were some people sailing on Seneca Lake

I biked through Waterloo before getting to Seneca Falls. Seneca Falls is one of the highlights of the trip I made sure to include on the route.

In 1848, the Women’s Rights Convention led by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton occurred here in Seneca Falls. This convention helped spark the Women’s Rights Movement. It took many years with many hardships for women to obtain rights that so many of us take for granted today. In 1878, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton drafted an amendment to give women the right to vote. It wasn’t until 1919, however, that Congress submitted it to the states for ratification. In 1920, after Tennessee declared approval, the states ratified it – the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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Site of the Woman’s Rights Convention in 1848
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Wesleyan Church

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Seneca Falls was great.

I stopped in Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge east of Seneca Falls. I wrote some post cards here while looking across the vast grassland with many birds.
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An ice cream shop made me stop just east of Auburn. While here, a couple people asked about the ride.

I made it to my hosts a little after 4:00 pm in Auburn. I took a shower right away and felt better instantly.

They did their weekly band practice in the basement. It was great to listen to while writing this post and relaxing.

Today was a great day of bike touring despite the short mileage. But, after all, Sundays are the day of rest!

Day 18 – Holley, NY to Geneva, NY – 76 miles

The first half of the day didn’t entail much. I awoke to the early sun shining across the Erie Canal. People were beginning to set up for the town’s summer festival day in the park nearby. After packing up camp, I rode through the park to a diner and had breakfast.

I followed the Erie Canal trail until Pittsford. The trail started to get rough and parts of it had construction.

I then started riding on highway 96 east. This road took me all the way east before turning south for 5 miles to Geneva.

Biking into Geneva, NY, I happened to see a banner that saying the St. Stephen’s and St. Francis Desales church is having an event at the church today. Being Catholic I felt compelled to stop in, so I did. I happened to ask the festival chairperson (what are the odds?) where the food was because I was hungry. After finding out why I was riding my bike, he told me that my food would be paid for.
“Welcome to Geneva, NY”

Another awesome experience that I know God had a role in.

I spent about 2 hours of the evening along the shores of Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes here in New York.

I’m currently writing this post in my tent that is set up in a vacant lot in Geneva (the owner said I could tent here). Fireworks are being shot off over the lake to cap off the city carnival that happened today. The loud explosions interrupt the hip hop music that can be heard faintly from one of the houses about a block down the street.

The finale of fireworks just ended. Let’s hope I can get some sleep tonight.

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A bridge near Rochester, NY
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Seneca Lake
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Bike path around Seneca Lake
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Sunset between trees

Day 17 – Niagara Falls, ON to Holley, NY – 76 miles

Had to say good bye to the falls this morning, and by doing that I also said good bye to Canada.  It has been a great three days in Ontario.

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New York side of the falls

While on a pier overlooking the skyline of Niagara Falls, I decided to check the amount of tread left on my back tire.  Good thing I did because it didn’t have many miles left.  It was no surprise to me.  I knew all along that I would need to replace that tire.  I put on over 1,000 miles on that tire before this tour even started.

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After the bike shop in Tonawanda, I ate at one of the awesome canalside vendors.

It was all designated bike route to Lockport from Tonawanda – meaning wide and smooth shoulder on the road.  In Lockport, I said good bye to the roads and said hello to the Erie Canal Heritage Trail.  This path follows right alongside the Erie Canal and goes from Lockport all of the way to Albany in the other side of New York.  Essentially, this path takes you across the entire state of New York.

The trail is awesome.

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I saw deer, fox, beaver, ducks, fish, turtles, and many geese that hiss at you if you get too close.

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The trail traverses areas of woods, farmlands, and prairies between the elegant canal towns.

In Holley here, I’m set up at a park next to the canal.  It has shower facilities – usually for people who dock their boats here – but the bridge operator (who lifts the drawbridge when boaters call ahead) gave me the code for the showers and I made good use of it.

There were a few decent pictures today.

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