#acaNoTier North Hudson to Ripton, 54 Miles | Say Cheese!

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We have entered Vermont! But you know you are in trouble when the state tag line has the word “mountain” in it.

Here are Tom’s highlights of the day:

  • Up early enjoying Deb’s oatmeal and coffee while we packed up, pushups/planks and hit the road ~6:30 or so
  • Enjoying another sunny, chilly morning riding the backroads of eastern New York
  • Jumping on a busy road for 16 miles at 7:30am just in time for the Monday morning rush hour.
  • Stopping for breakfast in Ticonderoga at Mickey D’s
  • Jumping on the Ferry crossing Lake Champlain to Vermont
  • Let climbs begin in the Green Mountains
  • Checking into the Chapman Hill Inn half way up the climb to Bread Loaf.
  • Sitting with the owner and other guests at 6pm chatting and next thing you look at your watch and it is 10 pm
  • Loving to hear about the history of the Inn. Back in the 70s, Ben or Jerry would ride their motorcycle with 5 gallon bucket of ice cream in the panniers and hand deliver in to the walk in cold fridge in the Inn.
  • Robert Frost used to spend 39 years visiting in Ripton
  • Having a great sleep in a comfy bed which will be the last for the remainder of our trip

#acaNoTier Raquette Lake to North Hudson, 62 Miles | Cycling The Adirondacks

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From Tom:

Today’s blog is going to be a bullet list of today’s memories.

  • Carrying the bikes down the stairs at 6am hoping the grocery was open early for coffee (no luck 😔)
  • Jumping on the bikes at 6:30am before anyone is stirring on highway 28 and we had the road to ourselves
  • Stopping at mile 15 at Blue Mountain grocery for coffee and breakfast sandwich
  • Visiting with Baxter and Steve for over an hour who also stopped for coffee. They just left Bar Harbor a week ago and are heading west to our start, Anacortes, WA. And we are a week away from finishing at Bar Harbor.

  • Watching Baxter’s drone videos from their first week. He is carrying a 10 lb case with him with his drone (he is only 20 and Debster is major tech envy of his skills)
  • Riding the next 30 miles along Highway 28 up and down and all around the pine tree lined Adirondacks
  • Stopping at “The Scoop” for ice cream and a strawberry shake
  • Enjoying our first big climbs since we left West Glacier
  • Enjoying all the Harley riders giving us the wave as they cruised by
  • Every other car that went by us with kayaks and bikes hanging on their cars
  • The number of lakes that we passed during our ride
  • The last 10 mile downhill reaching 39.5 mph and trying to outrace the turbo Carrara that passed me and gave me a thumbs up
  • Reaching our destination and pulling into a Jellystone campground/Park (this place is awesome with beautiful campground, spotless showers, store, restaurant, and laundry facility). Oh and yogi is walking around greeting all the guests 😁
  • Reaching the 3700 mile mark and starting our last week of riding tomorrow 😟

Ok the tent is set up and all dried out from the heavy dew and rain from a couple of days ago. The thermarests/sleeping bags are febreezed and aired out. Our snacks are eaten. Time to shower up and decide on dinner.

From Deb:

I LOVE the Adirondacks. Riding surrounded by dense timber, crystal clear lakes, with favorable winds and skies made for stellar riding. Could not have been better.

#acaNoTier West Leyden to Raquette Lake, 57 Miles | On The Water

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From Tom:

We rode home last night from dinner in the dark to set our tent up behind the Hilltop Grocery. Waking up, everything was soaked from the heavy dew.

We ventured into the grocery store bright and early to grab a coffee. Interesting to see what locals show up early on a Saturday morning. Many locals showing up with trucks on trailers. Turns out there is a fair going on down the road with a tractor pull.

We packed up and headed east with the destination of Raquette Lake, 60 miles down the road. The ride was beautiful with rolling/curving hills throughout the Adirondacks. We stopped at Old Forge which was Nashville on steroids for a quick lunch. We arrived at our hotel at 3pm, Raquette Hotel and Taproom. This entire town is in one building: Grocery, Hotel, Tap Room, Post Office, and Laundry. It is right on the lake. We walked into the taproom and asked for a room and cold brewski just the way they did back in the day. Instead of surrounded by cowboys, we were surrounded by local New Yorkers enjoying the lake on the weekend. Several of the locals said we need to do the dinner cruise on the lake.

Just imagine us sitting outside the taproom enjoying wonderful conversations with everyone asking about our trip. At 5pm, we ventured down to the docks to investigate the cruise. It launches at 5:30 and is a 4 course meal. We were still in our bike clothes at this time and hadn’t even been up to our room which was upstairs over the bar. We said “sign us up” and we hustled up to take our bags/bikes up to the room, get dressed and get back to the boat for the 5:30 launch. We made it back in time and the captain’s wife said we made quite the transformation over the past half hour. The captain blew the horn and we were off.

Captain Dean gave a great history lesson as we toured on the lake. The captain explained he and a crew hand built this boat over 40 years ago and it took over two years. It is now a family owned business with his wife and three children as part of the crew.

Back in the day this lake is where the Carnegie’s and Mellon’s had their summer camps (homes). We were all summoned to head below, that dinner will be served. Our table mates were visiting their summer camps on the lake and had their 88 year old mother with them.

The boat went right by their camp and they pointed it out and explained you can only reach the house by boat and there is no electricity to this location of the shore. During the winters the lake freezes to 4 feet thick and the locals travel by car or snow mobile over the lake.

I could ramble on for quite awhile about the cruise since it obviously was a highlight of our entire trip. Going from camping in the weeds behind the convenience store to sitting in a beautiful boat being served a 4 course dinner on white linens; we have experienced it all 😁.

We returned back our hotel room, showered up and called it a night. What an absolute great day.

#acaNoTier Fair Haven to West Leyden, 82 Miles | Eat Local; Drink Local

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From Tom:

We fell asleep to a few thunderstorms and gentle showers last night coming down on the tent

We got up early and Tom packed things up while Deb cooked up another one of her gourmet breakfasts. We were once again greeted by our neighbors inviting us over for coffee, but we needed to head off to get our 2nd Breakfast and for Deb to get started on yesterday’s blog. Every so often it is good to stop into a fast food joint and get a large coffee and breakfast Sammie. BK was right on the route at mile 20. 😀. Debbie worked on the blog and I spent time looking for places to stay tonight.

We are trying to split two long days into three more manageable rides with the mountains coming up. I am typing this blog during our ride today.

We just finished about 10 miles on a NY bike route which consisted of a 2 ft shoulder and semis/dump trucks whizzing by at 60mph without even trying to slow down or get out of your way. I just got honked off the road by an oversized load semi hauling a huge piece of construction front loader. Folks this isn’t Canada anymore.

We got off the busy road and enjoyed the countryside of New York with flat riding and nice tailwind 😁 for about 10 miles. Then at 50 miles I saw a sign “6 miles to skiing slopes”. I knew what was coming. The next 10 miles was a solid climb to Redfield and our 1st possible destination.

We arrived at 3:30 and had a chat with the motel guy who was doing his best to convince us to stay at his place (since the place was deserted). We chose to continue for the next 20 miles to the next town in West Leyden population 239. The only place to stay is camp behind the local gas station/convenience store.

We scoped out the camping spot and headed down to the local pub “The Milk Plant”. The Meatloaf dinner was highly recommended and did not disappoint followed with the rhubarb pie a la mode 👍.

We enjoyed multiple conversations with the locals who saw our bikes and loved hearing our stories. Right now Deb and I are lying in the tent behind the gas station and looking forward to a good cup of coffee at 6am tomorrow 😁

#acaNoTier Rochester to Fairhaven, 77 Miles | What’s In A Name?

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You know when you are cycling on a road named Furnace Road in New York at the end of July at 4:30pm its going to be a scorcher.

Just the same as when your hubby has claimed a campsite in the Bluff Campground you know you’re going to have some climbing to do before you rest for the night.

That would not be so problematic except that…we’d already climbed a lot! And we stopped in town at the C-store for provisions which included three cold Molson tall boys, a free piece of hot pizza, some broccoli and a sammie.

While “grannnying” up to the “bluffs” I’m thinking our beer is getting warm, the pizza is getting cold and is this hill ever going to end.

All good though! We arrived at site 83 and immediately received invites from camping neighbors. One for dinner and one for s’mores.

Are New Yorkers the best or what?

We passed on dinner because there was that pizza, broccoli and sammie but opted in on the s’mores.

As far as the ride, it was splendid. It really was. However surprisingly we took very few pics. Mostly Tom and I were in prayerful reflection about a very special young man named Owen.

Owen’s parents were our warm shower hosts for the night. They let us sleep in their home, fed us, let us use their laundry, etc.

We met Chris several weeks ago just outside Babb, Montana as he was touring around Jasper and down to Glacier. We met in a parking lot just after we came down from Logan Pass.

He said he and his wife Kate were warm shower hosts in Rochester and we should look them up if our route took us near there.

I never gave it a second thought, however Tom took a note and contacted Chris on the WS app a few days ago. We discovered from their write up they are parents of two young adult sons, one however was killed in a boating accident in August 2017.

What to do? Honestly it was a bit daunting. We have been in cycling/vacation mode since June 1 and meanwhile these people whom we’d not met were experiencing the most significant loss one could experience. What would we even say and how could we be happy in the midst of their great loss?

We decided to let the Spirit lead us and stay with Chris, Kate and Michael.

What we walked away with was more than we could have imagined. Chris is a solid adventurer and litigator. He’s been everywhere and has his own hand glider.

Kate is one of the most compassionate, poised, intelligent, faith filled woman I’ve ever met. There are no words to explain what Tom and I walked away with from our morning conversation with Kate. Through the loss of her mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s, the unexpected tragic death of their son and even a propane gas explosion in their camper that could have killed Kate and did destroy many treasured family artifacts they were transporting this woman remains peaceful, prayerful and hopeful.

So sometimes it’s not what we say, but how much we listen and learn.

What’s in a name? The name Owen will be honored, loved, cherished and sweetly remembered for many reasons by many people but also by those who benefit concretely from Owen’s House.

So more about the ride. The first 30 miles we continued on the Erie Canal on what we think might be our fave stretch of the canal. And then it was on to rural New York, a place lush with apple orchards and loaded with hills. #ouch

We also met several riders riding the Bon Ton ride. That’s been on our bucket list for a while so that was fun chatting it up with the riders.

Finally, we said hello to our third Great Lake, Lake Ontario!

As we spin toward the finish we are so very aware of the gifts of others and what we can learn from them. And while we are so anxious to see family soon, we know we will miss our bicycle adventures.

#acaNoTier Lockport to Rochester, 70 Miles | The Erie Canal

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Having stayed in a motel we again averted sleeping in a tent through a stormy night. #missionaccomplished

And the Mexican food we had the night before at the mom and pop diner was fab. Although Tom has always eaten his meals fast, I now eat all of the food on my plate within seven seconds without a morsel left. It’s as if someone is going to take the food away at the eight second mark. #alwayshungry

But by far the most memorable conversation of the day was the chat we had first thing in the morning with Linda and Norman from New Zealand.

We were going in the direction they’d just come from and they were heading west on the Northern Tier down through Pennsylvania and Ohio.

After our route rap Linda shared more about a camping spot near Old Forge where she and Norman camped for the night. They were on their bikes and when they checked in, the ranger said to be sure to store food in their car. Linda of course said there was no car, and the ranger proceeded to tell them to hang their food bag from a rope.

In her unique coquettish New Zealand accent, she said she thought they were being a bit dramatic. Norman said their campsite number was #642. What were the chances a bear would visit their campsite, on that night.

Without a rope to hang food, as a precaution they left the panniers with food on the bikes that night.

Sure enough in the middle of the night Linda heard an animal. Yogi was there for a meal. Linda jumped out of the tent (no clothes on) and started jumping up and down and clapping her hands to shoo the bear away. Norman just giggled and said it was her first bear encounter and it was like “bare met bear”.

Folks ya can’t make this up. And they told their own story a lot better than we ever could. It was a lot of fun talking to these bicycle world travelers.

As far as the ride went, we were able to avoid all rain and actually had a tail wind. We moved back and forth between the historic and scenic Erie Canal and Route 31.

Apparently Rochester had just experienced torrential rains and the canal path was a bit muddy which made for tougher cycling as our tires sunk into the soft trail surface.

There was an REI right on the canal so we were able to resupply and then we cycled on to our warm shower host in Rochester.

We will have more of the canal tomorrow for half a day and then it’s on to the Adirondacks for some elevation tomorrow.

#acaNoTier Dunville, Ontario to Lockport, NY, 92 Miles | So Long Ontario

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Ontario we will miss your courteous drivers as you slow down and give cyclists plenty of room when passing. Even during our short visit to Alberta a month ago, Canadian drivers watch out for cyclists. Thank you Canada!

Today we are back in the USA and had another epic ride. We averted the rain, even had a bit of a tailwind and were able to use scenic cycleways for a good bit of the 92 mile ride today.

Niagra Falls was on the route however it was just a quick stop for us to view and “do” the Falls. There were SO many tourists. That’s not what we are used to. Still it was worth the quick stop.

The border crossing was somewhat of a cluster and we laugh about it now. Apparently the “Border Commander” on the Canadian side was new in his position. He told us just to cross the Lewiston Bridge and just stay on the right side with the trucks.

Honestly there was no one in the office. He could have been part of the cleaning crew because his instructions to cross were a bit vague. We had to cut through a “Do Not Enter” area.

Nevertheless we boldly set out on bikes with bags to renter the USA.

Keep in mind it’s mid 90’s, we are pedaling our little hearts out with the big trucks over the Niagra River. I wanted to take a lot of pics but restrained myself.

When we hit the USA border the border officials there were aghast. What? You crossed with the trucks, on bicycles?! You are NOT allowed to do that. They walked us over 5-6 lanes of traffic, all re-entering the USA. We had to lift our front and back tires up over the curbs – yep that’s one way to get an arm workout in.

Finally we were quickly readmitted to our native country. I guess that’s one way to get expedited to the front of the customs line, and we consider ourselves a couple of rebels, for a minute.

So… a new state, New York, and a new map is on our agenda today.

As always we are so grateful for this opportunity and continue to pray for all those who have asked for prayers.