Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 45 – Henrietta to Liverpool, NY

Today: 94 miles, 1931 feet of climb
Cumulative to date: 3316 miles, 105421 feet of climb
Remaining: Approx. 389 miles, 17260 feet of climb

It was another signature day!

The Erie Canal from the Canalway Trail path

This morning we rode Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal. OK, we actually rode 20.5 miles on the Canalway Trail path along the Erie Canal, and it was fantastic. A nice warm sunny day, birds chirping, and beautiful scenery along the canal. Plenty of other cyclists out there too. We passed several locks and even stopped to see a boat come through one of them. By the way, “fifteen miles” in the Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal song refers to the distance a mule team could pull a barge in a day. And “low bridge” refers to the need for people to get lower in the barge or boat when passing under a bridge.

Here we are riding on the Canalway Trail path. Pictures are better than words:

I lived on Long Island when I was young, and took New York State history in elementary school and junior high. So I’m well aware of the Erie Canal. But when seeing it in person you cannot imagine how they could have built the whole thing back in 1825. It is 363 miles long (from Buffalo on Lake Erie to Albany and the Hudson River). And it was originally 40 feet wide and 4 foot deep with a net change in elevation of about 600 feet via about 36 locks. The cost to build it, even at that time, was staggering. It had a tremendous economic impact on the upstate NY area and cut transportation costs by 95%. I won’t go into more details. You can Google those if you wish. But just seeing the thing is very impressive, considering the time in history in which it was built. And now it is beautiful and peaceful for recreation too. (Note to Gary and Harold: We have to come back here for the Erie Canal 7 day ride. When do we sign up?)

On the left, the Canal runs through the town of Pittsford. On the right, a view as Toronto Mark rides the canal path.

Today we left the hotel and reached the Canal pathway after about 6 miles. Then after leaving the path, we spent the rest of the day on NY Route 31 and NY Route 173. We’ve also been following Bike Path #5 since we left Niagara Falls. The roads in New York are pretty good. Smooth with wide shoulders. Somebody has been paying a lot of taxes for these roads.

That is Jeff on the left. On the right, a boat going through Lock 30. We saw many boats docked in Pittsford.

We passed through many pretty small towns. Fairport, Pittsford, Macedon, Palmyra, Newark, Lyons, Clyde, Tyre, Montezuma, Port Byron, Savannah, and Weedsport to name some of them. For the most part, people take good care of their houses and yards here.

This is the town of Port Byron

For a 93.5 mile day, the miles and time went pretty quickly, along with the two SAG stops and the one store stop we made. Today, the pace line was four of the five Geldings, Toronto Mark, Jeff, Dave, and me. We stayed together all day, except when Toronto Mark would get a head start from the SAG stops. We’d chase him down though.

Another scene along the Erie Canal

Lunch was the $7.29 special at Tully’s. A choice of five sandwiches, fries, and a soft drink or beer. I went with the pulled pork which was pretty good. The beer wasn’t bad either. Especially after a hot humid day on the road. After freshening up at the hotel and attending rap, the day concluded with a trip to Dinosaur Barbecue in downtown Syracuse, followed by some mint chip ice cream from a store near our hotel. All in all, another great memorable day in biking (and eating) paradise. Only five riding days left until it is time to come home. It’s been a great trip. Not over yet. But everyone is already starting to reminisce about the last six weeks.

We've been following roads designated at Bike Route 5 since Niagara Falls. Most roads have wide shoulders or a bike lane.

Today’s route:

1 comment:

  1. i grew up on long island too, and remember that one year of social studies was all about ny state.
    later, i wondered why they wasted that year on unimportant things. but i loved it in seventh grade (or whenever it was) and it stayed with me. and it put a local face on bigger issues like the industrial revolution, the underground rail road, etc. i think it was more memorable than any other year of social studies. matt, scottsville, ny