Pictures are here.
Total Miles: 3664
Flats Today: 1; Total flats:9
Climbing: Nice and flat most of the day.
Weather: Overcast to start turning to light rain half way out. Rain stopped before we got in.
Chuck and I talked about hammering it out today, but before I pulled out from the motel Jim had a hotel flat and I decided to stay and ride with him. There was a second flat and then a third.
It was flat riding and cool temperatures going out and Jim and I had a good time riding and talking to the first SAG stop. We picked up Zero at the SAG and the three of us pedaled on with many sections of the ride along the Erie Canal. As we have had the canal in our sights regularly over the past few days, I have been quite amazed at the huge undertaking this was, even by today's standards. Digging this all out mostly by hand in the mid 1800's is a staggering thought. And then the canal was in use for only a relatively short amount of time before it was obsoleted by the trains.
We continue to travel toward New England and the towns and homes and old factories become more and more New English as we go. Old Inns, old brick factories, twisty roads and large wood piles are just some of the sights along the route.
By the time we got to the second SAG it was raining lightly but steadily. We ducked into the Subway there for lunch and Jim decided he would SAG on in. EDI (Every Dry Inch) has become his motto since he is only doing a partial crossing anyway. Zero and I pressed on. Suddnely we heard a loud "poof' followed by a steady "pishshshsh" I had my ninth flat. I sent Zero on because fixing flats by committee does not work well and then started the task. Soon I had it done, though I could not identify the cause at the time. As I was putting stuff back into the tool bag, another rider passed by-- but it was not one of our AbB folks since he was on a mountain bike and had panniers.
When I caught him, I struck up a conversation with him. Les was a 35 year old Hartford teacher. He had driven to Buffalo in a rental car and was now pedaling along the Erie Canal back to Hartford. We had a great time talking. Les had done a lot of traveling including a bike trip to the Yucatan and a 2 year Peace Corps stint in Cameroon. The time passed quickly and we were soon in Little Falls where Les also got off and checked into the same hotel we were staying in.
This Knights Inn is close to the bike path along the canal and so was a popular bikers rest. Several other bikers rolled in over the course of the afternoon including Dave and Gordon, who were also doing a cross country crossing. Theirs was self contained, starting in Washington State and also ending in Portsmouth. Gordon had done the trip 28 years ago and was struck by the traffic increase and the growth of the urban centers. They had each had only one flat which amazed me since they' d been on busy highways regularly as well.
At route rap Michelle and Gerard talked some more about the trip end logistics. Packing bikes, reaching the beach with police escort, the last night's festivities and such things. Most folks are becoming reflective, relieved, morose or other moods we've not had before. Only 4 riding days left. Tomorrow will be another relatively flat medium length day. Got to enjoy each one!
Partida e ... chegada ! — Paris, France
6 months ago