Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 135, 9/20/10 - Sodus Point to Fair Haven Beach State Park, NY

Just the Basics: 26 sobering miles. We got a late start and stopped early due to lodging complications - but this is VERY HILLY country and the hills are pretty steep. Tomorrow we HAVE to do about 800 feet of climbing and 44 miles in order to get to the next motel.

We are discouraged.

Tonight we are in a cabin in Fair Haven Beach State Park on Lake Ontario, just past the village of Fair Haven. The cabin has no water but the bathrooms are nearby - and it does have: Heat, lights, a stove, and a fridge. There are 4 single bunks with mattresses but no bedding - we will put a couple of the mattresses on the floor and sleep in our sleeping bags. There are no dishes or pots and pans, but our camping stuff is sufficient. The park is beautiful - very well cared for with spacious lawns, a bay, a pond and a marsh, in addition to Lake Ontario; and wooded areas as well as the grassy cabin area, campsites and picnic areas.

Today's Photos: (1) The Maxwell Creek Inn B & B - a Cobblestone House; (2) Cobblestone House Closeup (see For Those Who Want More for info on Cobblestone Houses.); and (3) Scene from the road.

Tomorrow: We go about 44 miles to a Super 8 in Pulaski, NY. To our shock, the cheapest room is about $133 with tax, even with an AAA discount - seems it's salmon fishing season . . . . Yikes!

For Those Who Want More:

Maxwell Creek Inn B & B: Our hostess Belinda McElroy sat with us at breakfast and told us lots about her remarkable home. Here's a taste of what we heard:

  • It was built in 1846 by William Swale as a wedding gift for his daughter Elizabeth and remained in family hands until the fairly recent past.
  • It is a Cobblestone Home - a building style unique to this part of New York. There were three distinct phases of cobblestone houses - the stones came primarily from the digging which created the Erie Canal. Theirs belongs to the second phase. The inner walls are made mainly of large cobbles and mortar and some bricks, the outer layer is composed of very regular small cobbles (maybe 4 inches across on the exposed side) in regular rows with mortar applied in a very specific way known as "pointing" - craftsman in the area who know this technique do the repairs to this day.
  • It is highly likely that the house was used as a station on the Underground Railroad! The family was active in the abolition movement and there was a secret compartment behind the fireplace in the kitchen with a tunnel leading out into the woods!
Meals: Great breakfast at the Maxwell Creek Inn B & B: Homemade applesauce with a bit of granola, smoked Swiss cheese and sliced apple omelets, bacon, wheat toast, OJ and coffee. Great lunch on the road, sitting outside a farm stand/gift shop: Cheddar cheese, cucumber & nectarines from the farm stand, plus an apple we already had. Dinner in our cabin: Labatts Blue, Sour Cream & Onion Chex Mix, and Dinty Moore turkey stew (stick with the beef!).

Great Folks in Fair Haven: We stopped at a convenience store/gas station in Fair Haven around 4:30, to get a snack and try to confirm lodging in Oswego - we were going off route in order to find any place to stay within a reasonable distance. The folks we met in the store were great and super helpful:

R.L. Murray: R.L., an 11th grade history teacher and enthusiastic biker, came in, asking us if we were riding The Northern Tier (we are) or around the Lakes - and in which direction. He wanted to let us know about a closed road we might encounter! He then gave great advice on a less hilly way to get to Oswego and lots of info about it, and drew us a map. He also suggested several places to stay and to eat in Fair Haven if we decided to stop where we were for the day, and gave us his phone number in case we needed anything! He also took our canister and a can of camp stove fuel - we are sending a bunch of stuff back to WA, including our stove, but can't ship fuel. We offered it to him as a gift but it turned out to be the wrong kind for his stove - he said he'd find someone to use it!

Sheila and Family: We hope we have her name right - it might have been Sylvia and we can't find where we wrote it down. If she reads this and we have it wrong, we apologize! Sheila was also at the convenience store - her daughter-in-law works there and she brought a granddaughter in for some mac & cheese (today's lunch item). We had stopped at the counter to find out where one of the recommended motels was - turned out it was closed for the season. Shelia has lived here all her life. Long story short, she:

  • Recommended a couple of B & Bs and called them on our behalf - no answer.

  • Suggested we stay in a cabin in Fair Haven Beach State Park. Her son is the maintenance man there. His wife (who works in the store) called them, since she knows the staff there very well and they were about to close.

  • Shelia said she'd drive us to the park and back so we could register, if they could wait a few minutes for us. They could and she did - we could never have biked there in time.

  • Once we registered and paid, she drove us to the cabin so we'd know how to find it when we biked back, then drove us around to see the Bay, and then drove us back to our bikes!

  • We took off quickly, stopped briefly for groceries, and biked to our cabin - incredible!

1 comment:

  1. Following this post we got wonderfully encouraging emails from a daughter-in-law and a cousin:

    From Daughter-in-Law Heather: Re: hills and such, hang in there! You've made it over 3000 miles. Don't let a few small bumps in the road get you down. I know that area from college touring. It was like riding a roller coaster.

    From Cousin Steve: Hang in there guys! You are close to your goal. Push through the dogs days of your trip. Weather, hills, sore legs, etc. are what you need to gut your way through now that the prize is nearly at hand. Keep Smilin'. A Karma tail wind is comin' yer way soon! Goooo Team Newman!!