We left Tim and Janet’s house a bit later than planned, as we enjoyed a pleasant breakfast and chatting. We rode out of their neighborhood and took a short-cut to the Queenston-Lewiston bridge rather than following Adventure Cycling’s route on the bike path. We reached the bridge, and faced with a long line of cars waiting to cross the bridge and go through US Customs, we decided not to cheat the line and waited behind the cars. After about 30 minutes of inching slowly forward, we met some cyclists who were riding in a large event around the region, and they encouraged us to skip the rest of the wait to take advantage of the special treatment that their ride’s participants had in getting through the border crossing.
Unfortunately, while we were waiting in line, we realized we had left our safety flags for our trailers back at Tim and Janet’s place! We had already biked 10 miles and waited to cross the bridge, so it didn’t seem worth it to turn back. Just at the crossing, some cyclists mentioned that two motorcyclists had tried to ask them to take some flags up to “the cyclists with trailers.” Tim and Janet had ridden their motorcycles up to the bridge to try to get our flags to us! Unfortunately, something was lost in the communication, and those cyclists hadn’t understood what they were being asked to do, so they had declined to help deliver the flags. We hesitantly rode onward into New York without our flags, aware that our trailers were not very visible to drivers. We passed by many items that seemed like they might work as replacements, such as American flags on lawns, and dowels sticking out of fire hydrants, if only they were available for us without stealing.
We passed by a home where two plastic poles lay on the ground, the kind that appear to be used to mark driveways for snow plows. A man worked on the garden down the driveway, so Nick rode down to talk with him and see if we might take the poles. The man ended up being Greg, and though the enormous knife attached to his belt was a little frightening, he was very friendly and happy to give us those poles to use as flag poles. We duct-taped the poles to our trailers and tied rags to the tops, and these worked quite well!
Shortly after aquiring our make-shift flags, we got onto the Erie Canal tow-path. It’s unpaved, with soft gravel that isn’t too bad for riding. It was flat, and the canal was pretty, so it was a nice ride for the most part. Some sections were poorly marked, and there were areas where families used the path to spread out while fishing, creating some obstacles for cycling, but for the most part, it was pretty easy. We saw many geese, and nearly ran over a cuddle-puddle of ducklings in the middle of the path! We stopped in Lockport for some surprisingly good pizza – it was fast, cheap, and the crust was excellent.
When we reached Rochester, NY, we used the maps program on our phones to find the home of Nick’s childhood friend, Wes. Just before dark, we arrived, where Wes and his husband, Sean, greeted us with wine, quinoa salad, and quiche, and showed us to a lovely guest room. We had let them know that we wanted to take a day off here so that Rachel could get some work done. They were incredibly hospitable, cooking for us, letting Rachel use the computer, and being great company. It was a perfect break, despite the multiple days off we’ve taken over the past week or so. We figure it will help us to be rested as we head into the Adirondacks and the higher passes of Vermont and New Hampshire.