Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 132, 9/17/10 - Lockport to Albion, NY

Just the Basics: Updated 9/18/10! See For Those Who Want More.

33 miles today, most of it on the Erie Canalway Trail. Riding the Trail turns out to be slower than riding on roads, due to the surface, which is mainly packed powdered stone - which is still wet from yesterday's day-long rain. Sort of like riding on a not-quite-hard oatmeal cookie heavily dusted with sugar. Not like riding on sand, but definitely sticky - you have to sort of plow through. Also considerable mud and some big gravel. That said - great scenery and NO CARS.

It's been a nice day and we'll be back with more later - maybe tomorrow - but it's Friday night and we're going to watch a movie. = ) = )

Today's Pictures: We've got 'em and we'll get some posted, but not tonight. Note on 9/18: Posted with 9/18 post.

Tomorrow: 35-40 miles on the Trail to a Comfort Inn in Rochester.

For Those Who Want More:
Weather: Chilly - high of 62 predicted for the day. Wore our coats most of the morning and stopped at a hardware store in Lockport and each bought lightweight one-size-fits-all brown cotton gloves for $2 a pair to wear under our biking gloves. AHH! The hardware store was wonderful - old fashioned no-nonsense hardware and lots of it, with a workbench in the middle where a guy was very busy repairing old-fashioned wood-framed window screens.

Erie Canal Interpretive Center: We spent about an hour at the Center before leaving town. It's based in an old stone building near the Erie Canal. There are a nice gift shop and a few historic items but the current focus is a very well done multi-media presentation, based on an enormous historic painting of the celebration which occurred in the town when the canal was opened. The painting shows a large crowd in Lockport standing above the canal with some notable historic persons in the foreground, including the Chief Engineer. A canalboat is below, carrying Gov. DeWitt Clinton, the "Father of the Canal," and barrels of Lake Erie water which he was carrying along the canal to the Hudson River to dump into the river, symbolically "marrying" Lake Erie to the Harbor.

Visitors begin their experience sitting in front of the painting with a staff member reviewing some of the canal's history and the history of the painting. Then the lights are dimmed and in front of your eyes the chief engineer appears to step out of the painting and begins describing the work of creating the canal - it's astoundingly well done!

Encounters: On the way out of the Canal Interpretive Center we had a nice long chat about our trip with Karen and Burnell, a couple about our age. Burnell is also a blogger - he does a sort of daily journal as away to keep in touch with their kids! Later in the day we met Michael and Ronnie, also in our age range, who were out for a bike ride. Michael is one power-biker. He has biked across this country and much of Europe, the former Soviet Union, China, and Africa - and will set out for South America shortly. He bikes to raise money to fight breast cancer - astounding and humbling!

Lunch: We had lunch at the Talk of the Town in Gasport (?? we think??). We had gotten off the trail to look for a place to eat and saw only a bar. A guy rode up on a motorcycle and asked about our ride - turned out he once rode his bicycle from Alaska to California; we told him that Riley once rode his motorcycle from California to Alaska - how's that for symmetry? We asked him to recommend a place for lunch - without hesitation he said he'd lead us to a great place and took us right to the Talk of the Town. Riley had a tuna melt and Becky had a roast beef melt and we shared a salad. Riley then had cherry pie and Becky had tapioca which Riley helped her finish. YUM!

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