Day 17 - Middleport to Palmyra NY - 82 miles (892 total)

July 8th, 2013

Long day. No time for pics. Will update later. For now....

We left Middleport after a strange night. In the night the city siren went off from a building just next to our campsite. Chuck calls these brain melters.....indeed my brain melted. I scrambled to check the radar and saw nothing. The alarm continued for several minutes. Confused, we laid there listening to it blare. Eventually people started arriving in the parking lot. It was the ambulance crew; the alarm is used to call them in. They climbed into the city ambulance and sped away....and the siren subsided.

In the morning we said goodbye to Officer Swick, gave a donation to the park, and had breakfast at Darrels. Katie and I had an awesome later.

We inspected the bike trail, and it was doubletrack, so we backtracked to highway 31 and stuck to that. We made great time and had 31 miles in by lunch at 11:30 at subway in Holley. A 5mph tailwind sure does wonders. We are getting spoiled.

We continued on the road, but it got crazy busy, bumper to bumper, which was annoying and unpleasant even with a great bike lane/shoulder. We hopped over to the Erie bike trail in Spencerport.

We started catching up with many of the riders in the 500 rider group going from Buffalo to Albany. They were only covering 50 miles today; we were starting before them and ending after them. I rode with Chris Bolt, a reporter from public radio, for many miles. He told us about the ride, and that even an 89 year old man was completing it. Amazing.

Soon Chris Bolt came to his destination town, and so we also began looking for lodging. The skies were starting to look bleak. After striking out with hotels and camping (except one $500 per night offer), we went back to the trail to try the next town. While there, we took a break. It was nice without riding on a crowded trail, since we had passed the ending point of the 500 cyclists. After a bit, an old man stopped on his bike, looking very confused. I made conversation with him, complimenting his bike, hoping to find out if he needed help. As it turns out, it was Stewart, the 89 year old from the group of 500. He overshot the destination town, and was lost.

A few phone calls, and an hour later, and we found Stewarts sag support. We finally got a confirmation call from the SAG support that they were picking him up in 15 minutes, and they had the destination I gave them. We told Stewart to sit tight, and we hit the trail. We all felt guilty leaving him, but the daylight was starting to fade and we still had no lodging. Stewart awaited his pickup. Hopefully they arrived on time. I made sure his daughter and the company providing sag, knew exactly where he was waiting for them. I sure hope Stewart is okay.

After saying goodbye to stewart, we hit the trail and the skies unleashed the rains upon us. We had been lucky at this point, and had we not helped Stewart we would have outran the rain easily. It caught us from behind. In short, the towns we wanted to stay in had no options. The backup plan was a free campground which was a bit damp and primative. So we went quite a few miles further than expected, to a hotel we found. It is far more expensive than we like to spend for a single night of this trip, but it is worth it.

The Palmyra inn has been wonderful. The friendly staffer at the front desk gave us extra towels (then brought us more fresh from the drier even), and gave us a 3 bed room for a good price. Breakfast is included tomorrow, which really is worth at least $30 to us....making the room a lot more affordable.

We have stuff drying all over the room, and Katie cleaned all our pannier covers in the tub. What a girl. Too bad the tub drain is plugged (before we got here). A quick pizza delivery, typing this, and off to bed. Long long long day. Much longer than planned.

Those who have bicycle toured totally know how hard it is to peddle a loaded touring bike down a muddy bike trail. Doing it after 75 miles of riding, and after a previous day of hard riding, is very challenging. We went from before noon until after 9pm between eating and covered a ton of hard miles. I am proud of the group for pushing so hard, being so hot, then cold, then muddy, and still laughing. Taters especially. She doesn't handle going too long without a lot of food.....she has no reserves around the body like the rest of us do.

Great job team. Oh yeah, and I got stung by another bee today. Right in the right ear. That was fun! Well, Roger thinks it's funny anyway. I think he puts bee attraction spray on me when I am not looking.