This is just a picture to pique your curiosity, as I’m exhausted and will update in the morning. I made it to Buffalo (and another great WarmShowers host!) after 103 miles of pedaling. Holy Noodles it was a long day. But amazing and full of great people.
Please pray for humanity. The domestic news today was really heartbreaking. 😦
Alrighty! 7:45am and I’m finally awake. Yesterday I woke up insanely early, not intentionally, but because of the rain pattering on my tent. I knew the haul from Spencerport to Buffalo would be huge, and I was a bit bummed to see that it would (at least start) in the rain. I was also surprised to see how late the sun comes up now, even in July! By 6am, I was breakfasted, tent packed, and on the road. Spencerport was really good to me. Here’s my hotel just before take off:
The first 50ish miles were all flat along the canal. It stopped raining right as I took off, and proved a beautiful morning ride.
I passed through many sleepy towns along the canal. I stopped for a cup of coffee in Albion. It was terrible, but the town was pretty. Apparently the one coffee shop went under because the owner wouldn’t open before 10am. Hmm.
Further along the canal I met a wonderful couple biking the canal just for the morning. We were going in the same direction so we biked together to Middleport. Since I hadn’t seen anyone on the path all morning, I’d been listening to NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me while riding. I love the show, but it was even better to have miles of conversation instead. They are runners, she an ultramarathoner, he a more sane-distance runner, and they live in Ohio. I’ll stop by when I pass through! We kept up a good clip together – it is easy to slack off on the pace if you ride by yourself and you have a long long way to go. This way, we made it to Middleport and they took off while I nibbled on my lunch.
I continued on to Lockport and the end of the Erie Canal trail. When I arrived, I was greeted by a very pleasant little establishment: a combination smoothy shop and bike shop! I was able to pump up my tires (it was too bumpy for fully inflated tires along the canal) and have a delicious mango-peach smoothy.
They really know how to get riders to come in… I actually think it would be a great draw to many restaurants to advertise their bike-friendliness. “We have a bike pump, come on in!” 🙂
After Lockport, I really missed the relaxed mental state of biking alone on the canal. I was back to defensive city driving for about 18 miles to Niagara Falls. I’d never been before, and while I could have made it more directly to Buffalo, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to check it out. I crossed into Canada at the Rainbow bridge because I met a man named Bob biking in the other direction who gave me his route to the Falls. My route went quite a ways north to avoid the city of Niagara Falls. He recommended going through, and while I’m glad I did, it didn’t save me any miles in the end. Waiting in line to go through the toll booth was an adventure. There were no signs saying bikes were or were not allowed, except for at the pedestrian pass which made it perfectly clear that we were not allowed. Guffy and I had a fun time going with the cars over the bridge. I had a great Canadian passport agent who asked me why I wasn’t biking through Canada. (Next time!) Guffy really enjoyed being charged the $0.50 toll to pass through.
I found a nice person to take a picture of me in front of the falls. Unfortunately Guffy was too short to make the picture.
The road from the Falls to Buffalo was winding but beautiful and quiet. The Niagara Recreation Trail parallels the Niagara Parkway most of the way to Fort Erie and the Peace Bridge. The bridge itself was something to behold. I appreciated the steelwork and noticed that it was made the same year as my Grandmother, 1926! Nicely done!
I walked over the bridge, though I’m sure many people don’t heed the kind “Please walk your bike” signs. The view was amazing. Here is the full bridge from the US side:
Right in the middle of the span, I crossed the international line for the second time in one afternoon.
US customs was a pleasant experience, as well. This time there was a separate pedestrian/biker area that felt much safer than riding with the cars/trucks. From the bottom of the bridge, I had another 20+ minute ride to my WarmShowers hosts, two wonderful lawyers who have many stories of bike tourists to tell. We had a delicious dinner on their porch, discussed maps and routing for a bit, and then I pretty much instantly fell asleep.
This morning, we are off to the Buffalo Farmer’s Market. I’m taking it easy today after yesterday’s adventure. I need to call Evangola State Park and see if there is room for me to camp tonight! The next night will probably be Erie, PA.