Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Leaving Gettysburg....

Well, I decided to only stay two days in Gettysburg.  Not sure of what the hills may be like in the northern part of PA, so I want to have a few extra days to be able to do some short days in case I encounter hills like western PA.

Gettysburg was, and always is, very interesting to me.  The history, the story, there is just so incredible.  Whether you're a Northerner or Southerner, the place has an aura about it that draws one in.  Perhaps it's the casualties, their spirits, that is at the root of it all.  Whatever it is, it is powerful.

Day 37:  Gettysburg, PA - Selinsgrove, PA.  88 miles.  What I thought would be a hilly day turned out to be flatter than I expected, so I went to Selinsgrove, PA.  The traffic, as I approached Selinsgrove, was like I would see on the outskirts of a major city, but the city is relatively small.  When I asked at the motel, the clerk stated it was a major route to Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and NYC.  Who would have thought, eh?  Anyways, the trip was pretty...mostly along the Susquehanna river, which is why the road was primarily flat.

Day 38:  Selinsgrove, PA - Towanda, PA.  96 miles.  Decided to make for TOWANDA!!!  Anyone remember "Fried Green Tomatoes"???  So, I had to get there.  David Wilmot of the "Wilmot Provision" fame lived there, as did Stephen Foster.  The issue I had there was that there was an influx of gas workers that had booked all of the available motel rooms and there were no campsites nearby.  After 96 miles, I wasn't up for riding much farther, plus it was late...almost 6pm.  Stopped a woman on the main street and asked her where the motels were... she informed me about the lack of available rooms due to the gas workers, but told me where the closest motel was and about a B&B that was on the route to the motel.  The B&B was booked, so I went on to the Towanda Motel.  When I was parking my bicycle next to the building, a woman came out of a bar that was part of the motel.  She told me there were no motel rooms available in Towanda, but invited me in for some water and said she'd make some calls for me to locate a place to stay.  Ah, the touch of human kindness once again.  When I entered the bar, there were about 6 people there.  Local bar.  Didn't get the woman's name, but she started calling around to other motels and some friends.  No luck.  Closest motel was 40 miles away in Owego, NY.  After it appeared there was nothing to do but find some open space to set up my tent, a guy in his lalte 30's, who was seated at the bar, came over to me and said that he had a 38ft trailer that he lived in nearby and offered to let me spend the night there.  I agreed and he gave me directions to the trailer.  He said it was unlocked...and to just help myself and that he'd be there later.

I headed off to Greg's trailer and got some food for dinner on the way.  Located the trailer, went in, brought my gear in, locked my bicycle, and ate dinner.  What dawned on me next had me nervous until Greg appeared... what if I was not in the right trailer???  What would I say to the person or persons who would come in???  "Honest, the guy at the bar said this was his trailer!!!"  So, when Greg showed up, I was relieved, to say the least.  Anyways, another case of human kindness.  Greg is one of the gas workers there.  He lives in Erie, PA, with his wife and two kids, who come to visit him when he off working on gas drilling sites....that's why he has the trailer, so he has a good place to stay and his family can come visit.

Day 39:  Towanda, PA - Johnson City, NY.  66 miles.  Entered NY state this morning.  No sign indicating that I was in NY, just one on the other side of the road welcoming people to PA.  Go figure.  Took Rt. 17, which is a major road...soon to be a part of I-86, but is not yet...so, bicycles were not prohibited.  I had ridden quite a ways, when all of a sudden I hear a siren behind me.  Yes, it was a Tioga County Sheriff pulling me over!!!  When I turned and looked at the Deputy, he motioned for me to come back to his car.  I pushed my bicycle over to the passenger side and asked what was the problem.  He stated their office had received a few calls about me bicycling on Rt. 17 and he was sent out to check on the situation to make sure it wasn't some "crazy" person out there.  I told him that some of my friends thought I was crazy but that in the 2800 miles that I'd bicycled from Silver City, NM, I hadn't had a problem or been pulled over by the police before.  As what I said to him registered, he had this look on his face that was priceless.  He asked me, "Where did you bicycle from?"  Um, New Mexico, Sir.  "Jesus, that's incredible!"  I told him that I was headed to  Binghamton that day, then to Oneonta ot meet college roommates, then to Glens Falls for my 45th high school reunion.  Another look of amazement.  We chatted for a while.  He had grown up around there, moved to Long Island,  married, and, when they had their first child, they decided to move back to a small town in NY near where he grew up.  I told him that I'd grown up in a small town and was very happy to be living in Silver City because it was small and people actually said hello to each other there.  He wished me safe travels and took off.  I continued on toward Binghamton.  Stopped at a Best Western in Johnson City, two miles West of Binghamton, because the sky was very clouded over and it was starting to rain....got into the motel just in time.  My last motel, thank God...!!!

Day 40:  Johnson City, NY - Oneonta, NY.  66 miles.  The ride to Oneonta was pretty good.  Hadn't been in that part of NY in quite a while and I had never been to Binghamton/Johnson City before.  Not too hilly, cloudy but only a few sprinkles.  When I was about 5 miles outside of Oneonta, I called Clyde to let him know that I'd be there soon.  As I rode into Oneonta, Clyde was there and took my picture.  Will post that later.  We went to a coffee shop where I had an espresso, then we went to The Copper Fox, and old haunt of ours from our college days in Oneonta.  After two guinnesses, we walked around town to see what was still there and what had changed.  I have very few memories of Oneonta.  Clyde has more because his daughter, Cassie, (who broke her vow to marry me that she made when she was about 6yrs old....she fell in love with that Yankee, Jeter, instead....can you believe it???) went to college there and worked there after she graduated.  We put my bike in the back of Clyde's pickup and he drove me to his camp on Canadarago Lake, outside of Richfield Springs, NY.  What a beautiful spot!  Margaret, Clyde's wife...and a college friend, was there waiting for us to arrive.  I spent the weekend there, lounging, eating, sleeping, drinking beer, sitting on the dock, drinking beer, eating, sleeping... you get the picture, I'm sure.  On Monday, bright and early...0530...I was up, packed up the gear, loaded the bike, Margaret fixed a great breakfast for me despite it being WAY too early for her to be awake and then I was off for Glens Falls.  It was overcast and cool, but not too cold.  Clyde took some pics that I'll post soon.

Day 41:  Richfield Springs, NY - Glens Falls, NY.  100 miles.  Last day of the ride was a century ride.  Seemed appropriate since I was planning on consuming mass quantities of calories on arrival in GF, my hometown.  The weather was good...about 70 degrees for a high, sunny...and some wind.  Mostly flat but with some climbs to remind me that NY is not flat.  Made good time getting to GF...left Clyde and Margaret around 7am, got into GF around 4pm.  Headed DIRECTLY to Dirty John's (New Way Lunch) for hotdogs when I got into GF...ate 6 hotdogs...then realized that I wanted to save room for Davidson Brothers stout...so I decided not to try and eat 12 hotdogs.  Discretion is the better part of trying to eat too many hotdogs when beer is involved.  So, off to Davidson Bros....  Rick Davidson wasn't there, but I knew that I'd see him sometime, so I dug into the stout.  Good stuff!  Had three pints, then headed home while I could still maneuver the bicycle the final mile or so home.  Pulled into the driveway of the house that I grew up in that my older sister, Sally, owns now.  Coming home is always a good feeling to know.

So, this adventure has come to its end, but the adventures have not.  While bicycling across country, I have had many thoughts about rides that I will do in the future.  First one is the 2010 El Tour de Tucson that I'll do with some friends from Albuquerque.  Having my family/friends follow my progress across country was great.  The support helped me on some of those days when I was looking for a car rental.  No lie.  Particularly in Western PA!  I have had Dirty John's hotdogs, Davidson Bros stout, Sutton's Farms apple cider donuts, so far.... yet to eat is Harvest (Hart's) pizza, Dobert's Dairy milkshake, Nuns of Newskete chocolate cheesecake (worth having a heart attack over), and some good NY bagels.  REAL bagels that are made the way they're supposed to be made.  Boiled, then baked.  In between all of this eating, I will continue cycling to keep the pounds off.

Here's one of my favorite songs from my past....
"A Good Feeling To Know" - POCO. One of my favorites when I lived in Glens Falls.

Signing off for now..I'll still be posting things as my life proceeds along the good road.  El Tour is next.  Later....Padraig