Date: June 1st, 2019
Miles Traveled: 59
Weather: Overcast/partly cloudy, warm weather. Headwinds in the morning, tailwinds in the afternoon.
Physical Status: Felt dreadfully tired mid-day, but three slices of pizza, ice cream, and an electrolyte tablet really perked me up. Thanks, Andy.
Emotional Status: In the morning, I was super unmotivated and sick of riding on gravel. In the afternoon, I found a new appreciation for life.
TL;DR: Got my bike fixed, continued on the Erie Canalway, rode along some soon exceptionally rural roads, had a profound experience, and met one amazing couple.
I packed my bike up at 9:00am this morning and set off to towards the nearest bike shop on the map, “The Bikery” in Baldwinsville, New York, to get some much-needed new tires. Remember the whole flat tire fiasco yesterday? Yup, the gash was still there:
Along the way, I rode along a lovely, paved bike path with an amazing diversity of birds. Everything from waterfowl to raptors to sparrows. Behold, an osprey holding its breakfast:
There was even an enormous ampitheater right along the path where various concerts are held:
Finally, after another flat tire and a couple miles of riding, I saw the most beautiful sight:
No. More. Flats.
*Knocks on wood*
With new tires and a new found confidence, I rode a few miles to get back on the Erie Canalway and rode it all the way to Jordan, New York, where I stopped for some damn good pizza and reviewed “The Canal Law”.
If you ever find yourself in the middle of fucking nowhere between Syracuse and Rochester, I’d highly recommend Towpath Pizza. It’s pretty bomb.
Outside the pizza joint, I had a lovely chat with a sweet older women who’s accent, a mix of Canadian and (Buffalo-ian?), made me so giddy inside.
I was in nice-people country, where strangers wave to each other, cars go 10 feet around you to pass, and it was great.
Now could y’all just flip me off or something? I mean, seriously. I need my fix of good ol’ New Jersey disdain.
After riding along the Erie Canalway for a couple more miles, I hopped on highway 31 in Port Byron, New York, which was such a relief. Having ridden on the gravel path of the canalway for over a hundred miles at this point, traveling on smooth, low traffic highways with large shoulders was a real treat.
And then I made it to Montezuma…
After riding through the countryside for a bit, I came through a clearing in the trees and witnessed something amazing.
A farm so big that the treeline on the far side of the highway was overlayed with a faint blue haze from the atmosphere:
For what seemed like miles, I rode in complete awe of this vast, open space, continually looking around just to take it all in.
And then I cried.
Being in such solitude with nothing but the sound of rustling grasses and chirping birds, I was suddenly overcome with emotion as I thought of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, a profound speech about our place in the Universe.
I felt small.
As if all of my problems, desires, and experiences paled in comparison to everything else in this world.
It was humbling.
After biking through picturesque countryside and a few small villages, I finally arrived at my host’s farm in Lyons, New York.
As I rolled up to the dirt driveway, I saw a house with no number plate and a man in an old t-shirt and overalls carrying a large compost bag down the front lawn.
“Ya lookin’ for Anne?” he called out in a deep voice and pointed his hand towards the house behind him.
“Yes! Are you Carl?” I replied cheerily.
Without replying, he dumped his compost bag and slowly lumbered over to me. He then extended out an enormous hand with the faintest smirk on his face.
“Yea, and you are?”
“Quinn. It’s nice to meet you!” I replied.
Carl led me up to the house to meet Anne, his wife, who introduced me to her two adorable cats, their 1850s house, and their farm.
Turns out, Carl and Anne were probably the coolest fucking people I have met to date.
For those of you who are environmentally conscious, I’m sure you’ve thought, “I should just go live out in the woods, grow my own food, and live a simple life” at one point or another.
Welp, Carl and Anne, after retiring from working as mechanical and nuclear engineers for a couple decades, did just that.
They now live on 20 acres of land and grow a large portion of their food on their highly sustainable, organic farm using strictly eco-agriculture practices. That means no pesticides and no artificial fertilizers whatsoever, using knowledge acquired from technical books to cultivate a thriving agricultural ecosystem right in their backyard.
It was awesome. They are awesome.
That night, we had a delicious dinner together, which consisted of beets, asparagus, and some other vegetable grown directly on the farm with some halibut, and discussed everything from modern day consumerism to awful Warmshowers guests to cricket agriculture. Oh, and dessert? Anne’s homemade fudge.
Say what? Homemade fudge? For real?
Yes, the fudge was fucking delicious too.
Tomorrow, I’ll be riding 47 miles along the Erie Canalway to a friend of my aunt’s just North of Rochester, New York.
Until next time!