It has been over a week since I’ve blogged (few Wi-Fi options) and I’ve got a lot to catch up on!
From Lake Erie State Park I traveled another short 30ish mile day to Evangola State Park. The beach is the most beautiful of all the beaches in New York along Lake Erie I’ve seen by far. It had about a mile long rocky beach with just a short section populated with families swimming. I walked the entire length, down and back… singing Pocahontas songs, barefoot, soaking up the water, sun, wind, and fresh air. FREEDOM! I felt so alive, I found a spot behind some shale cliffs and took a naked stroll and swim, loving life. I collected a handful of small beach glass which is popular along Lake Erie for jewelry making. Later in the evening, I enjoyed watching the sunset over the water from my tent, reading the Eco-Foods guide, by sustainable agriculture and consumer advocate Cynthia Barstow. Another fantastic day.
From Evangola State Park, I had about 40 miles to Buffalo where I again took advantage of Warm Showers and stayed with Adam who works at Go Bike Buffalo. It rained in the morning so I relaxed in the tent eating oatmeal until about 10:30 or so. Adam didn’t get off work until 9pm so I knew I had plenty of time. The day was overcast and a little chilly which was much appreciated after days and days of sun and heat. I stopped at a farmers market and picked up some Hungarian hot peppers and fresh fruit. In Hamburg, instead of traveling the extra 8-10 miles out of my way to Orchard Park like the maps told me to do, I decided to take an alternate route that would take me a more direct way to Buffalo. The route was a little sketchy at parts, busier roads through run down neighborhoods, but all together not bad. I tried to hop on a bike path in Buffalo that unfortunately turned out to be closed after about 5 miles. The detour was a bit confusing and I got lost trying to pick up the trail again. Luckily, I met a cyclist that was kind enough to take me to the bike shop where Adam works. In the first 5 minutes of riding, a motorist cussed us out for crossing the street in front of him (he wanted to turn right on a red light) and the cyclist decided to chase after him and give the motorist a piece of his mind, leaving me speechless and wide-eyed on the sidewalk. What did I get myself into? After that incident, the ride was pretty smooth and Ben, the cyclist, was full of interesting stories. Once at the bike shop, I was able to tune up my bike and chat with the many wonderful volunteers in the shop before biking back to Adam’s house. Alvin didn’t get into town until after 2am after driving the whole way from the Twin Cities!
We woke up early the next morning and had brunch at a nice Greek restaurant, Acropolis. After brunch, we decided to drive to Niagara Falls. WOW! It truly is a must see. We walked around for a few hours and then decided to make our way to Ithaca. On the way, we stopped at the Silver Line Tap Room in Trumansburg. Ithaca is a beautiful city, but I couldn’t help but notice the massive hills on either side of it that had me nervous for the bike ride out. Annie Socci, who works at Cornell University and at Voyageur Outward Bound, let us park the car for the month at her “Shabin” about 8 miles South East of Ithaca in Boonville. The next day we spent a solid chunk of the morning/early afternoon packing up food and Alvin’s gear for the ride. Annie gave us some delicious “chicken of the woods” to take with us. After packing and eating lunch, it was late afternoon and we decided it was in our best interest to camp at Annie’s another night and head out early the next morning. We headed back into town to run a few more errands and enjoyed watching the stars come out from the roof of the Shabin that night.
The next day we road out of Ithaca to Cortland, NY. Oh the hills of Ithaca… They were as difficult as I imagined, but somehow our legs were able to muscle through it with the encouragement from one another. We biked up and down the beautiful rolling hills about 15 miles to a bulk foods store where we stopped for lunch. We met Amy and Maddie there who were very kind and gave us HUGE tortillas and a very heavy bag of mixed nuts. We bought eggs and boiled them in the parking lot while eating lunch. After lunch, we continued another 15 miles to Cortland where we stopped at Cortland Brewing Company for one drink, got a second, and then a group of teachers bought us another. A woman new to cycling, Tova, saw our bikes and took a picture to send to her friends. We started chatting with her and her friend Betty and they treated us to hot dogs! I don’t eat a lot of meat, but never turn down a gift of free food. We stayed longer than anticipated, so decided to camp a few miles down the road at the Country Music Campground and Hall of Fame.The next day, we made great time despite the hills. The roads were beautiful and we came across Chittenango Falls State Park where we stopped to check out the site. After Chittenango, we came into the town of Canastota where we stopped at a local ice cream parlor, The North Pole. Some locals gave us a tip where they thought there might be free camping down the road. We continued on and a few miles later passed a house with a lot of cars parked out front. Someone from the parking lot rooted us on and waved. I called up to Alvin and when we looked back, we saw a number of tents out back. We decided to turn around and see what was up. Turns out there was a wedding going on and people were camping out. After chatting with a few people, the bride Jami, invited us to stay. We enjoyed an evening filled with conversation, food, drinks, and of course a fire. We had such a great time! We can’t thank Jami and Ryan enough for letting us crash their wedding. Everyone we met there was so nice and generous.
The next morning we left, tired, but thankful and continued on through the many hills to Pixley Falls State Park. Where there’s a down there’s an up, were there’s an up there’s a down and ohhh that glorious down. Along the way, a car pulled to the side and waved us over. It was Fizz, who we met the day before at The North Pole! He’s a cyclist we met briefly and he was working the New York State Time Trials at Lake Delta, just up the road from where he stopped us. He gave us some water, spare tubes, and told us about some free food still set up from the race at the lake. We thanked him and went into the park where we enjoyed lunch and a refreshing swim in the lake. After lunch, we continued to the State Park which was practically abandoned due to budget cuts. We found a secluded spot to camp in the woods and enjoyed a quiet evening with the deer.
After leaving Pixley we caught up to the Northern Tier Route in Boonville and followed Moose River Road to 28, through the Adirondack Mountains. Again, despite the many hills, the road was beautiful and we were making good time. We decided to try to make it past Old Forge to Raquette Lake where there was camping and a tap room. After leaving Inlet, Alvin needed to fill up on water so we stopped at a gas station for a quick break. In the parking lot, a woman came up to me to chat and after talking for a few minutes we discovered something miraculous. Cyndee and her husband Elliot are Annie Socci’s parents!!! They live in New York City, but have a few cabins on the lake just up the street that they visit during the summer and offered us a place to stay for the night. What are the odds? We took them up on their offer and had a wonderful evening chatting and eating Thanksgiving dinner at Mulligan’s Golf Course. The lake and cabin is beautiful and the perfect place for a layover day. We are so incredibly lucky. A HUGE thank you to the Socci family! Life is amazing!