Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pittsburgh to Upstate New York

Elegant Home in New Castle

 From the Orr’s in Cranberry, PA, we headed north along the Adventure Cycling Underground Railroad route to Erie.  The first night we stayed near the freeway in New Castle and rode through the town the following morning, passing a number of elegant old homes. 

Amish Buggy
The ride from New Castle to Mercer, was short, only 18 miles, but very hilly and many steep climbs, many of which we walked.  From Mercer to Meadville, we passed through more farmland and the first of several Amish communities.  The ride from Meadville to Erie was pleasant and we enjoyed descending toward the lake.   We spent the night at the Avalon Hotel in Downtown Erie where we had stayed in 2012 for Cheryl’s MBA graduation.  We also ate at the Puffer Belly, a favorite during Cheryl’s time at Penn State Erie.  Both entering and leaving Erie we saw a number of signs protesting GE’s plan to move 850 jobs out of the Erie area.  GE builds locomotives in Erie and also large mining trucks or components for large mining equipment.

Farm North of Mercer

Vineyard Along Lake Erie
Leaving Erie we rode east through the wine country in Pennsylvania and New York. We recalled our first ride on a road tandem, which we rented in the town of North East Pennsylvania in 2000.  The wine growing region extends five to ten miles south of Lake Erie.  The area is well suited for growing grapes because Lake Erie moderates the spring time temperatures, minimizing the potential of a late spring frost which would damage the grape blossoms.  Welches moved their headquarters to Westfield, east of Erie, in the 1900s to take advantage of the favorable climate for growing grapes.  In Westfield we turned inland along NY state bicycle Route 17, which traverses the state east/west.  We spent the night at a B & B Westfield.   The owner of the B & B also owned the house next door, which had an interesting history.  The house had been moved in one piece from a site a few hundred yards away.  Some towns take preservation of historical building more seriously than others.  

House in Westfield Moved to Make Room for a CVS
Lunch Spot on Lake Chautauqua
From Westfield we climbed up away from Lake Erie before descending past Lake Chautauqua and spending the night in Falconer.   From Falconer we continued east to Salamanca where we took a day off after seven days of riding.  The ride from Salamanca to Wellsville went through rolling countryside. The one long climb was very gradual and we arrived in Wellsville still feeling well rested.  The next day we headed north on NY State Bicycle Route 17, arriving at Carolyn’s brother’s cottage on Silver Lake in the late afternoon.  The week of July 1st we were in Toronto at the International Barbershop Harmony Society Convention with Carolyn’s brother and his wife.  It was 5 days of quartets and choruses entertaining us.   On July 13th  we started a tour of upstate NY with friends from Pennywise.  

Victorian Home in Upstate NY

One of Several Long Climbs Along NY Bike Route 17

Alpaca Farm in Upstate NY