Today’s theme is gratitude. Here goes. 🙂
Yesterday I underestimated the hills of Lake Ontario. I coasted through the morning, and thought I could push beyond my goal of Sodus Point. By the time I arrived, I was tired and ready to relax. Gratitude #1: South Shore RV Park charges only $5 for bicycle tent camping, has warm showers, and a beautiful view of the lake. Thank you. On top of that, I made an amazing dinner (following Papa’s comment about my being blown over for lack of brown rice… I had brown rice, black beans, raw garlic, green pepper, fresh snap peas from Kit’s garden, hummus and water. YUM)
I also met some WONDERFUL people (gratitude #2). Barbara and one of her two girls was camping at the RV park as well, and her friend Jude came out with her daughters for the day. They struck up a conversation with me over my little home away from home, and before you knew it, I joined them for dessert around their campfire. I brought fresh blueberries, they provided the s’mores! It was truly delightful to talk with them after being silent much of the day. Their kids had so much energy!
I tucked in at 9pm, and was asleep by 9:30.
I woke up today at 5:30 but couldn’t rouse myself till 6. After a more leisurely breakfast than usual, I pedaled out some time after 7. On my way to Pultneyville I saw the end of the Underground Railroad (Gratitude #3).
I thought about Bowdoin’s connection as well. Today proved to have big connections with the abolitionist movement, as I also passed through Rochester, where Frederick Douglass is buried at Mount Hope Cemetary…
On my way through Pultneyville, I stopped at the Pultneyville Deli Copmany. What a great place!!! I met 5 amazing people and one beautiful old dog named Sweetie (Gratitude #4). We had such a great conversation, that one of the gentlemen had to remind me that if I wanted to reach my destination for the night, I should probably get hopping. Fine fine. I rolled on in a great mood sometime after 9.
The ride from Pultneyville to my next stop of the Vet in Walworth was also something to behold. (Gratitudes #5, 6, and 7)
I met Guffy’s little cousin Tuffy. Look at how short and stout he is! No blowing him over on his bicycle. 🙂
Then… my inner Hungarian was bowled over by what I found at Morgan’s Farm Market in Marion:
Sour cherries!!!!!!!!!!! MMMmmm… 🙂 (Can you tell yet why today is all about gratitude. Wow.)
My mouth is watering now just typing about them. They were delicious. I had only pulled over at the farm stand because I needed to look more closely at my maps, as I had planned to take detour off the ACA route to visit Karen, a friend-of-a-friend of Jill’s. Anywho. Great surprise!
Carrying on from Marion, I came across a few super hills, but I was in such a great mood they were no big deal. My detouring was a success and I found the Vet with ease. There, before anything else, I met Gratitude #8: Katy the puppy with the floppy left ear and the softest fur you can imagine, and the wettest little tongue. Heaven.
Inside the vet I also met Karen and all her coworkers (Gratitude #9). I wasn’t able to talk with them long because they were all very busy, but the stop was well received on my part. We talked about puppies, and hamsters, and my dream job (Flavia Chen, Healthy Puppy Doctor). I gave them half my sour cherries and with their warm wishes, went on my way.
In Madedon, I joined up with the Erie Canal Trail, an awesome path that goes from Palmyra to Lockport. I’d never seen the Erie Canal before, but I remember reading about it at Bowdoin. Yay navigable waterway connecting the Great Lakes to the Atlantic! It was momentous for me, and represents Gratitude #10.
Here is one of the locks at Macedon, filling to allow two kayakers to pass!
At this point it was about 12. I called Mama while I ate my leftover rice and beans and garlic. Then I set out on what proved to be a rather epic 32 miles on the canal trail to Spencerport.
The canal path varies quite a bit through all the little towns. At points it is paved, at others it is some crushed stone that is white and leaves a fine powder on you and everything else. In other towns it is chunkier like gravel. They were all rather speedy surfaces, but I think that was largely because the road was flat. (Gratitude #11) I sailed along, stopping briefly in Pittsford at the Jembetat Gallery & Gelataria. I met an amazing barista and she allowed me to charge my ipad and my phone for a while. We talked, I ate lemon & coconut gelato and drank absolutely delicious french pressed coffee. Thank you thank you thank you! (Gratitude #12)
One of the things we talked about was how I feel about biking Glacier by myself. Good question. I’m not really sure yet. I’d really like to do the Continental Divide during this trip, and I’m really really really pumped for Glacier, but I almost feel like I’d rather wait till Vijay could do that section with me. I know he’d really like to be on this trip, and that seems like it’ll be a very memorable stretch. I think I’d also prefer to camp out in the National Park with him rather than alone. Thanks to Mark (hi Mark!!!) I have awesome fisherman-approved bear spray… but there is no replacing a second brain to make sure all the food is hung properly from the trees and all proper precautions taken, you know? We’ll see.
After Pittsford riding got tough. The weather had been delightfully overcast all day, but turned more drizzly. I put on my cheep-o rainpants and immediately realized I was creating condensation on the inside that was far worse than the drizzle outside. Oh well. Rochester itself left something to be desired. I got the sense that there were people who took advantage of the path, but many also seemed to disregard and disrespect it. Numerous directional signs were spray painted over, which made navigation difficult in an already sort of labyrinthine area (thanks to our dear friend Mr. Olmstead, there is a huge park-area that encompasses part of the trail. Several trails converge, and they are poorly marked with spray painted arrows on the path. Ooofta.) I also realized I didn’t feel as comfortable in the urban environment. Things were just edgy. It’s weird. You go from deer jumping in the bushes in the Adirondacks to people jumping in the bushes and 10 times out of 10 I’d prefer the deer. I don’t think the cloudy grey sky helped either.
I was starting to get nervous about the weather, so I pulled over to call the campground I was planning on staying at in Holley. Ring ring. Ring ring. EEEEEEEEEEEEEE. “The number you have dialed is out of service.” WHAT!?!?! I should have called earlier. I keep riding, hoping to find something along the way. I roll into Spencerport and see a building with a huge WELCOME sign. It is the Spencerport Depot & Canal Museum. Here come Gratitudes # 13 and #14. I roll my bike over the bridge and up to the entrance. A gentleman is standing outside talking with a couple on a boat, maybe in their 60s or 70s. The man identifies himself as John, the volunteer manning the Museum for the day. I ask him if he knows anything about a campground in Holley. Hmm… No… We get to talking and I explain my predicament. Well, he says, I’ve seen people just camp out front here. REALLY!?!?!? I’m overjoyed. Not only I don’t have to chase down a campground that might not exist, but I don’t have to go a single tenth of a mile more for the day!!! We stand outside talking for a little bit and then go into the museum. He allows me to charge my things, and I prepare myself to go down to the grocery store maybe 500 feet away. I’m seriously in heaven. Then, up steps Gratitude #14. Her name is Judy. She even looks like Dame Judy Dench! She asks if I’d like to have dinner with her, her husband, and their grandson. I’m bowled over and speechless. They are the couple John was talking with when I rolled up. In a matter of minutes, I went from concern and post-Rochester funk to such gratitude you wouldn’t believe. I brought my pineapple-juice-preserved pineapples to share. We had a really heartwarming conversation. Allen and Judy are from Pennsylvania (yins!) and they are seizing the opportunity to live the adventure they’ve worked for all their lives. They boat everywhere and are sharing it with one of their grandsons this summer. Here we are, post dinner. Amazing people.
After dinner, I set up my tent on the porch of the Spencerport Depot facing the canal. The drawbridge guard gave us the key code for the showers downstairs, which I made good use of. I got my groceries all stocked for the ride tomorrow and now I’m wrapping up my hilariously long blog post from the comfort of my tent using the Wifi network called “Spencerport Depot Free Wifi.”
Yes. Tremendous day of gratitude wraps up week 2 of bicycling with Guffy and running with Noodles.
Tomorrow I have a huge day planned, including my first glimpse of Niagara Falls (Canadian side, baby!!!) and a WarmShowers host in a location I won’t divulge until I get there. I’m mildly concerned about the distance, but like the little engine that could… “I think I can… I think I can…”
Lots of love and a really really really big thank you to you all!!!
PS Please send positive thoughts and prayers to all the people in Zanzibar affected by the recent ferry tragedy. One of our fellow Polar Bears was on the boat and made it safely to shore with one of her friends, but many many people did not. I’m really grateful that she’s ok, and I wish comfort for the families of those who are not.