So, here we are 4 miles west of the Hudson River which means that I am FURTHER East than most of the people reading this blog. As we approach the last great river we will cross, I think the geography of America can be defined by it’s waterways, so let me recap this trip through them. We started this trip at the convergence of the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River, then rode in the Columbia Valley, until leaving it for the Willamette River Valley. We then left river valleys for a few days, but soon enough picked up the Snake River, which we followed for well over a week through Idaho and western Wyoming. No more rivers until the Missouri, then finally the Mississippi. Then the Great Lakes, Niagara River and Falls, the Erie Canal/Mohawk River, and tomorrow finally the Hudson. There is still the Connecticut River separating Vermont from New Hampshire, and THEN……THE ATLANTIC OCEAN! What a ride!
We left Liverpool on Thursday morning hoping to outrace the storm that was coming in behind us, we didn’t make it. Can’t complain as it was the first rain of any significance since Western South Dakota. But it was a THUNDERSTORM, with LOTS of LIGHTNING. All the riders sought shelter, some in office buildings, some in the ABB vans, some on people’s porches, my group ended up in a service station, that had 2 bays open, and about 15 of us crowded in, put our bikes under the eaves of the building, and waited it out. The 2 guys working on the cars were a lot of fun. Sym and I left while it was still raining, but no more lightning. On the way we passed through a town called Canastota, which has, of all things, a 9/11 memorial, complete with a beam from one of the towers. I can only assume that some first responders from this area worked at the site of the World Trade Center. Thursday night we stayed in the lovely little town of Little Falls, which is along the Canal. Like a lot of the small towns in upstate New York that we have ridden through, it seems like it is struggling, with lots of vacant stores and buildings. but with beautiful old brick structures throughout the town.
Friday we left Little Falls for Latham, the weather was warmer than it has been, but as we climbed on to a ridge, we found ourselves in dense fog, not the beautiful morning sun we had at the hotel. It gave everything an otherworldly quality, but forced us to pay a little more attention to the road and traffic, as visibility was greatly reduced. In the town of Ft.Plains, I had what is a daily occurrence for us, while waiting for the light to turn green, a car pulled up and an elderly woman asked “Where did you start your ride?” I replied, “Today, in Little Falls, but originally in Oregon”, “You mean the STATE?” and we had a nice chat after that. However the converse also occurs. Yesterday one of the riders got grazed by the mirror of a passing car. Luckily, he didn’t fall, he is okay and rode today, just a little shaken. And finally, after 47 days on the road, in the state of my birth, some driver finally flipped me the bird today, because he had to slow down to “share the road” with a biker, oh well. For lunch we stopped at a crazy place called “Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In”. Unbelievably busy, lots of fried stuff that I wouldn’t eat, but good Coffee Milk Shakes. Tomorrow is back to climbing as we cross the Hudson River and enter Vermont.