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Saturday, July 26, 2008

From the Erie Canal to New England

We kept a pretty slow pace for our two full days on the canal, stopping at all the little towns and enjoying the ease of travel. So, it was kind of a shock when we left the canal and began to go over hill after hill. It seems like most of our travel since then has been up and down with very few flat areas.

From the canal we rode north to Lake Ontario. The first town we saw on the lake, Pultneyville, was full of history and historic buildings from the war of 1812 and the underground railroad. It was very quaint. Then we went to Sodus Point and checked out a lighthouse as well as the town which was full of marinas and pretty touristy. The areas that we rode through around the lake were farmland -- mostly orchards and fruit growing. After riding past so many orchards and seeing trees laden with bright red cherries I had to stop at a farm stand and get some cherries and other fresh veggies for dinner. That night we camped on a lake in Fulton, NY.

While riding along the canal and in the following days we were caught in a few downpours and chased by clouds. On wednesday it was cloudy all day but we managed to miss nearly all of the rain. By the afternoon we were getting into the Adirondack area and had some bigger climbs to get up into the hills. That night we got to West Lydon which was at the top of a big hill, only to find that the place we had planned to camp was no longer there. Luckily we called the police and they said we could stay at a town park. Fortunately we were camped under a pavilion because it was raining steadily when we woke up. It stopped long enough for us to get going but the whole way to Boonville the sky was dark and we got rained on.

We got rained on all morning actually, as we rode along the Moose River in a long procession of hills and descents. It did stop sometime shortly before noon when we got onto a bigger state road which made the hills longer and more gradual. As we were riding along we came to Thendera and a train station with some of the old Adirondack railraod cars. We decided that after seeing so many trains we had to ride on this one. Unfortunately it was merely a scenic route down a track for about 40 minutes and back (no ride to the next town). But it was fun to stand in the baggage car and look at the rivers and forest as we went by. When the train turned around we opted to sit in the passenger car, bask in the luxury of being transported without exurting ourselves, and took a short nap.

In the afternoon we passed through Old Forge and rode around a lake through forest lined roads. There were little signs all along the roads for people's camps and cabins with names such as "Adirondack Gem" and "Loon-a-tic Camp." We raced along the second half of this road, trying to beat the dark forboding clouds that were chasing us. We got to the little town of Inlet, which seemed to be mostly open for summer people, and stayed there until the rain passed. Then we rode another 20 miles to Blue Mountain Lake, which was not a town, but a hamlet, according to the sign. We camped out the in back yard of the Blue Mountain Lake Inn, just across the street from the beautiful lake and surrounding mountains.

First thing the next morning we rode over Blue Mountain (well, probably not over it, but there was a pretty long climb to get past it) and continued through the ups and downs of the Adirondacks. The day was clear and warm, but not too hot. We attached out wet clothes to our rear racks to dry. It was a lovely ride through sweet smelling forests, past lakes and streams, and with views of mountains. There were a few small towns, but mostly just forest with occaisional camps and houses. Although there were a few long climbs the down hill mostly balanced out the uphill.

We had planned to go all the way to Ticonderoga until we met three cyclists from Wisconsin who pointed out that there was no camping there. We ended up sharing a campsite with them at Paradox Lake and shared many stories of each of our adventures. This morning we got up early and rode quickly to Ticonderoga (well, I rode quickly because I realized after a mile that I had left my raincoat at the campsite so I was trying not to get too far behind Ray). We took the seven minute ferry ride, on a surprisingly small ferry over to Vermont.

The ride to Middlebury was, of course, hilly and through lots of farmland unlike the forested areas we were in before this. It was incredibly beautiful with mountains to the west and east. So far today the weather has been good -- hazy and hot, but no rain yet. We arrived in Middlebury to a bustling town full or tourists and people out enjoying saturday in a fun and interesting place. We had lunch with Jess, Jeremy, Cadien and Rowen -- the first familiar people we have seen on our trip. We probably won't go much farther today, but tomorrow we will begin the first of our big climbs to get over the Green and White Mountains, all that's keeping us from getting to Maine. While I'm not really looking forward to long uphills, now that we've crossed almost the whole country it doesn't seem like that big a deal. I'll let you know how it goes and we'll see you really soon!


Anonymous said...

hi, I cant believe your so close. Nats Stu and I were also on the Moose river with tons of rain but we had an extra guest- swarms of mosquitos. the trip was really fun and of course I thought of you Anna and Carrie on our Moose river trip. Keep us updated about your arrival.ps We didnt see any one on the entire length of the river.Natalie and Stu really came thru on this trip when the torrents of rain came. I love you guys!!

Brita said...

Must have been fun (and maybe a bit strange) to see the Vermont family...makes it that much more real that you're almost home. I'm looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday. Did your mom tell you that I'll have my entire family in tow? Say hi to the Whites for me!

Jess said...

We had such a good time seeing you on Saturday! What a lovely day, too. I hope you found suitable digs that night. Cadien, of course, is talking about you guys and your bikes all the time! Have a great homecoming tomorrow...