Friday, August 23, 2013

Silver Lake, Perry, New York to Kensington, Connecticut

Erie Canal

Leaving Silver Lake on Friday we headed north to link up with NY State Bicycle Route 5, which parallels the Erie Canal and the NY State Thruway.   Unfortunately Hank didn’t check the route carefully before we left.  Part of the route turned out to be on the Genesee Valley Greenway, which was little more than an unpaved cow path, which meandered through the woods along the Genesee River.  After jamming the derailer into the uneven ground, bending the derailer hanger, and later fording a washed out section of the trail, we got back on a road south of Avon and made our way to Henrietta.  

Erie Canal
Saturday we continued northeast to Pittsford where we picked up state bike route 5 and head east along the Erie Canal, past the B & B where we stayed 5 weeks earlier with the Brumbaughs and Glasgows.  

Lake Oneida
We continued east on bicycle Route 5, spending the night in Weedsport.  Sunday we rode north of Syracuse and along the lower edge of Lake Oneida, spending the night in Verona.   Leaving Verona, we rode to Rome, NY to do some banking and to visit Fort Stanwix, an important fort during the French and Indian Wars and the Revolutionary War. 

Fort Stanwix, Rome NY
Touring Tandem Couple
We spent that night in Herkimer and the next night in Amsterdam.  Riding between Amsterdam and Schenectady, we met another couple touring on a tandem.  They had left Albany that morning and were headed to Niagara Falls.  Later that day we jammed the chain again as a result of repeatedly bending and straightening the derailer hanger.  Unfortunately this time we kinked the chain.  After stopping at a farmhouse and borrowing two pairs of pliers in an attempt to straighten the chain, we ultimately had to replace a link.  We limped into a bike shop in Schenectady where we replaced both the chain and the cassette.  Stoker Carolyn says that her captain did a great job as an emergency mechanic keeping is up and rolling.

Close Bridge on Route to Westerlo
That day we also rode through Scotia where some of Carolyn’s relatives had lived.  From Schenectady we rode into the foothills of the Catskill Mountains to visit Carolyn’s cousin in Westerlo.  Along the route, we came to a closed and barricaded bridge.  We unloaded the panniers and packs, picked the bike up over the barricade, walked across the bridge and repeated the process on the other side.  The ride up to Westerlo was a tough climb and we arrived totally exhausted.   We spent Saturday with the relatives, in the morning visiting two cemeteries, including the Westerlo Cemetery where Carolyn’s parents are buried and in the afternoon visiting more relatives.  Sunday we left Westerlo and rode, mostly down hill, to Schodack NY.  Along the way we stopped in Albany at the USS Slater where Carolyn took a toured.

Kate, Carolyn, Hank, Alvin (Carolyn's Cousin)
USS Slater, Albany, NY

Shaker Museum, Mount Lebanon NY
Monday we rode into Massachusetts, spending that night and the next night in Pittsfield. MA.  On the climb into Pittsfield we stopped for a picnic lunch at the Mount Lebanon Shaker Village.  Although this was the most influential Shaker community, many of the buildings are much need of renovation.  Because of the time and the climb in front of us, we only visited the museum and did not tour the other buildings.  Later that day we rode past another Shaker community in Pittsfield, MA, which had been restored.  Again because of time constraints, we did not take the tour.  

Shaker Village, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Tobacco Drying Barns
On our day off the bike we relaxed in the morning and went to see “The Butler” starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey in the afternoon.  Heading south from Pittsfield we had a 900 ft. climb, which, combined with the temperature and the humidity, was possibly the toughest climb (actually a long walk pushing the bike uphill) of the whole trip.  We also lost a front brake pad along the way, probably while using the brake to hold the bike on the hill.  Riding into Westfield, we stopped at the New Horizons bike shop for new brake pads and a new brake cable.  We told the owner where we were headed and he recommended taking the Columbia Greenway bike trail, which runs from Westfield, MA to Farmington, CT.  The next day we took the trail, part of which is a “rails to trail” route.  We like these because the grades are always very gentle.  Along the trail, we rode past a farm where they were harvesting tobacco.  
Harvesting Tobacco
Thursday afternoon we arrived at Carolyn’s niece’s home in Kensington CT, where we will stay until Tuesday.

Greenway Trail Sign

Greenway Sign

Greenway Sign

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Silver Lake, Ridgeway Ontario on Lake Erie, Silver Lake

Carolyn and Steve on Steve's Sailboat

When we returned from the Upstate New York Rambling tour, Carolyn’s niece Karen and her son Billy joined us at the cottage on Silver Lake.  During the time we were together, Hank enjoyed fishing with Billy while Carolyn enjoyed reconnecting with her niece.  On Thursday we rode 74 miles from Silver Lake to Ridgeway, Ontario to visit Hank’s fraternity brother Steve and his wife Karen.  The ride went very smoothly, even through Buffalo and the border crossing, and we arrived just in time to join them on the race committee boat for the evening sailboat races.  Friday we kicked back and relaxed.  Saturday we went for a sail on Steve’s 35 foot sailboat.  The wind was quite strong, with 3 foot waves and some rain.  Sunday Hank went out again with Steve, Karen and some friends while Carolyn stayed at their home and relaxed.  The wind was again strong but the skies were clear with no rain.  
Hank at the Helm of Steve's Sailboat
Corn Fields in Upstate NY
Monday Steve and Karen had a barbeque with five other couples.  Most were from Buffalo with second homes in Ontario.  Some of the conversation focused on border crossing issues and Canadian regulations regarding US citizens residing in Canada.  Tuesday we left Ridgeway for Silver Lake, spending the night in Batavia.  Silver Lake is about 800 ft. higher than Lake Erie and we felt the additional climbing on the return trip was more than we wanted to attempt in one day.   

Fresh Picked Blueberries 
Wednesday we arrived back at Silver Lake before lunch.  Friday we went to a nearby blueberry farm and picked 8 quarts of blueberries.  Over the next few days we enjoyed fresh blueberries, blueberry pancakes and two blueberry pies which Hank made.  

Saturday we visited the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo.  The plane shown in the picture to the right is a C47. This plane was the lead aircraft of the 37th Troop Carrier Group and dropped 17 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division near St. Mere Eglise in Normandy on D-day.  The museum is planning to fly the plane to Europe for a reenactment of the jump on the 70th anniversary of the D-day invasion.  

Carolyn's Brother Fred (on far right) in Choral Group
Sunday we attended the Pioneer Picnic and listened to Carolyn’s brother Fred sing in a barbershop choral group.   

Farm Near Silver Lake
Monday we went for a 40 mile training ride around the lake in preparation for our departure on Friday for points east, ending in Boston.

Hank and Carolyn with Fred and Priscilla

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Upstate New York Rambling Tour

When we arrived back at Silver Lake from Toronto we had been off the bike for ten days and needed to train for the tour, which Don and Kathie Brumbaugh had organized for the following week.  Wyoming County, where Silver Lake is located, has the most agriculture of any county in New York State.  We found a number of scenic farm roads to use for our training, including a lot of climbing.

Ross, Donna, Don, Hank, Carolyn, Kathie
Saturday Don and Kathie picked us up at the lake cottage and drove to Mount Morris near Letchworth Park where we were joined by Ross and Donna Glascow.  Sunday we did a loop ride back through Perry, entering Letchworth Park at the Castile entrance and riding through the park to Mount Morris.  Letchworth is known as the Grand Canyon of the east and the temperature in the valley was in the mid 90s.  We enjoyed a well deserve ice cream at the end of the ride.  That evening we dined at the Glenn Iris, the estate home of the donor of much of Letchworth Park. 

Geneseo River, Letchworth Park
Barn Quilt, Leroy NY
Monday we rode north to Brockport, a town on the Erie Canal near Rochester.  Along the route we went through the town of Leroy, which is know for it’s barn quilts, quilt patterns painted on barns and other buildings.  We passed maybe a dozen of the some 75 barn quilts in the Leroy and of course took pictures of each.  We also took a number of photos in the historic town of Brockport.

Brockport, NY
Brockport, NY

Erie Canal, Spencerport, NY
Tuesday we did a lop ride through a number of canal towns west of Brockport.  Carolyn and I missed a turn and enjoyed riding along the canal by ourselves until we caught up with the group.

Pleasure Boat on Erie Canal
Erie Canal
Wednesday was another transfer day from Brockport to Pittsford.  We rode east, frequently paralleling the canal as well as riding on the paved canal path.   We stayed at the Canal Lantern B & B next to the canal.

Canal Lantern Inn
Don and Kathie at RIT
Thursday we did a loop ride, first to Rochester Institute of Technology, which Don had attended.  We also toured Mount Hope Cemetery, final resting place of noted abolitionist Frederick Douglas and women suffrage advocate Susan B Anthony. In the afternoon we toured the Eastman House, former home of George Eastman, the founder of Kodak.  The displays included a timeline of the development photography.  Hank found the history of the development on digital photography (according to Kodak) rather amusing, having worked on some of the same technologies at Hughes Aircraft Company in the 1970s.

Grave Stone for Susan B Anthony at Mount Hope Cemetery
Eastman House
View from Hills above Keuka Lake
Friday was another transfer day, this time from Pittsford to Penn Yan at the top of Keuka Lake, on of the Finger Lakes.  The scenery and the vistas riding through the farmland were beautiful but the temperature was in the mid 90s, making the climbing very difficult.

Curtiss June Bug, First Plane to Fly 1 Kilometer  
Saturday was our final loop ride around Keuka Lake.  We stopped at the Glenn Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport.  Like the Wright brothers, Curtiss had a bicycle shop and became interested in motorizing bicycles.  Through his interest in light motors, he became involved in building early airplanes. On July 4, 1908 he became the first person to fly a plane one kilometer, winning the Scientific American trophy worth $2500.   The museum displays included bicycles, motorized bicycles, motorcycles and aircraft.  After touring the museum, we had lunch in Hammondsport and visited a display of old boats, including a number of Chris Craft.  After completing the ride around the lake, we had dinner at the Bully Hill Vineyards high on the hills overlooking Keuka Lake.   Sunday Don and Kathie drove us back to Silver Lake after dropping Ross and Donna at their car in Mount Morris.  It was a delightful trip and thanks to Don and Kathie for their planning.
Antique Boats at Hammondsport on Keuka Lake

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Silver Lake, Toronto and the International Barbershop Competition

Fred, Pris and Hank at Silver Lake Cottage

Our first few days at Carolyn’s brother Fred’s cottage Silver Lake in Perry New York were spent relaxing and preparing to go to Toronto on July 1 for the Barbershop Harmony Society’s International Competition.  Fred sings bass in two barbershop choruses and a quartet.   He was not competing but Fred and his wife Pricilla frequently attend the international competition.  The drive by car to Toronto on Monday was uneventful.  We were all surprised at the size and density of Toronto and the number of high-rise buildings under construction.  In many ways it reminded us of San Francisco.  

Sunset over Silver Lake
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
Tuesday Carolyn and I visited the Royal Ontario Museum.  The exterior of the building is a contrast in styles, the original classical building from the 19th century to the ultra modern addition with glass walls at unusual angles.  We both thought the museum displays were exceptionally well done.  The displays were organized by geographic area and presented a wealth of information on the various cultures.  For example, the Asian section includes displays on Chinese, Japanese and Korean artifacts.  We found the section on native Americans (American Aborigines) very interesting.

Toronto Skyline with the CN Tower on the left
The barbershop competition started on Tuesday afternoon with the collegiate quartet groups.   Wednesday and Thursday were the quartet quarterfinals and semifinals.  Friday was the chorus competition and Saturday afternoon was the quartet finals.  Unfortunately Hank became ill Tuesday afternoon and spent the next two days recovering in the hotel room.  Friday he had recovered sufficiently to attend the chorus finals and the quarter finals Saturday afternoon.  Saturday morning we took a boat ride out to Toronto Island Park.  Sunday we returned to Silver Lake after a hour forty minute delay at the border.