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

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