Taking a break at one of Erie Canal’s many locks
As I’m going through my usual morning routine of dressing, gathering gear, eating, and lathering with sunblock, my mood is overshadowed by my lack of sleep, swollen itchy eyes, and runny nose. I woke for the third morning in a row with my eyes crusted shut. This turns out to be prime ragweed season here and I’m VERY allergic. Having skirted through Minnesota without issue, I thought I was home free but apparently not.
We’ve only got another 30 miles on the Erie Canal before we veer north to Saratoga Springs and Emily’s alma mater, Skidmore College. Tomorrow is a planned rest day so we’ll tour the campus, visit Emily’s favorite spots, and take in some horse racing at the local track. And of course watch the eclipse.
Route planning and logistics has become exhausting. We’re off Adventure Cycling Association’s Norther Tier route now, so the process of using Google Maps and RideWithGPS is a tedious and time consuming compilation of bike blog notes, cycling tours and races, and just plain connecting of the dots with hopes for the best road conditions. Google Earth is helpful but more than once what appeared to be a concrete road turned out to be loose gravel. The Catskill “Mountains” will be our final physical challenge, though hardly a bother compared to the mental challenge this journey has become. We are ready to reach Boston and take a break!
It’s not all bad though. Our crossing into Ontario, CA on the small Blue Water ferry over the St. Clair river was fun. The ten minute crossing, costing only $4, dropped us in Sombra where friendly Canadian customs officials cheerfully scanned our Nexus cards and welcomed us in true Canadian spirit. Olivia was carrying the 12-pack of Molson Canadian I’d purchased at the tiny duty free store prior to boarding the ferry, which produced a snicker from the customs official.
We spent the next few days riding the northern shore of Lake Erie, with winds predominately at our backs. One night we stayed at a park with “Ontario’s largest sand pile” and swam in the lake, which was warm with big waves, and NOT salty. Very strange.
As we continued our ride to the northeast we passed through quaint beach communities, reminiscent of Whidbey Island or Hood Canal. There were larger ports with boat harbors, touristy shops, and restaurants with good beer and local fish.
We caught up to two bicyclists that turned out to be a mother and her 14 year old sun, riding cross country! Her husband is a teacher, driving their RV. We hit it off and had dinner together that might, and rode with them again the next day to Niagara Falls.
We took turns drafting with our new friends, Denise and Kobe
Niagara Falls was a good spot for a rest day. We did the boat tour, went behind the falls, saw the 4D movie, and played tourist. The Falls are pretty but it was very crowded and overly touristy.
Tomorrow, we rest before our final four days of riding to Boston. We’re getting excited!