Erie Canal Bicycle Tour Day Five

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My hopes were high when I woke up, anticipating breakfast at a restaurant I was told was just about two miles south on the lake road. The sun was shining brightly onto the lake. The glistening edges of the lake along the road were dotted with summer homes and docks. Down the road I rode. Restaurant closed. Not open for breakfast. No problem. On the way back to the camp I stopped at a small grocery store close to the camp. They had bread and milk, the fixings that I needed to make a peanut butter sandwich. They also had coffee, almost a medicinal necessity for me. The owner invited me to sit on the porch of the store to drink my coffee.

The owner was an affable guy. We chatted about the lake, the life, and the state of the country. We solved quite a few weighty problems as I finished my coffee.

Back at camp I made a sandwich and used about half of my jar of peanut butter. I love peanut butter and my opinion is that bread is only a vehicle for peanut butter. I finished the bottle of milk as I cleaned up the camp site and packed. The bike loaded, I hit the road.

The road back to the Erie Canalway trail went through Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. The road took me through the middle of the reserve and over Interstate 90. At the upper edge of the reserve I crossed the Erie Canal at Lock 25. The locks are things of beauty. Men were fishing on the adjoining creek. It was off road enough that the spot was peaceful and quiet. I lingered for a while and hydrated, resting for the last push to the trail about two miles north.

I passed an old farm building that was being reclaimed by nature. There was a rusty tractor inside. This is all a part of the great changes taking place in the small towns and farms along the trail. The businesses and the young have left the small towns and the old people who grew up in them remain behind. I imagine that some of the farmers aged and let their farms go to ruin since their children had little interest in that life and they grew too old to maintain. Itinerant poor move through leaving nothing behind but American ruins.

Now back on the trail, this section has little shade and I was not doing well. I stopped and bought a melon from an Amish produce stand alongside the road. My expectation of the melon was not met. A warm melon, regardless of how sweet, is not as refreshing as one that has been refrigerated. I derived some fluid and some sugar from the melon and it probably kept me going a few more miles. But this was going to be a short day.

I was now riding along the path of the old Erie Canal with more striking American ruins. There were old lock remains with collapsed aqueducts, water still running through them. There was an interesting bridge abutment that was built in 1904 that had a mural depicting the “four freedoms”, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s August  1941 State of the Union: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, freedom from fear.

Weedsport would be the end of the day, twenty six miles gone. I pulled up at the first decent motel that I found at 2:30 in the afternoon. I checked-in, dumped everything in my room, and crashed for about two hours. It was a hot day and that contributed, I’m sure.

Meds may also have played a role. I take a beta blocker each night before I go to bed to control heart arrhythmia. The previous night I thought that I felt a heart arrhythmia. My cardiologist advised that I could take an additional tablet to control those things, so I did. This morning I took another since I still felt that I had an arrhythmia. One side effect is fatigue because you can’t get the heart rate up to support the activity, which was likely the major contributor to my poor performance on the road.

After my nap, I took my dirty clothes to a Laundromat and started a load. While it was washing, I went across the street to what seemed to be a very popular drive-in restaurant. It was very good food.

Went back to the Laundromat to dry my clothes where I had a little misunderstanding with another patron. It seems there were these plastic clothes baskets on the top of the row of clothes washers. I grabbed one, thinking they were there for all to use. Not so. I was quickly upbraided by the shrill owner: “That’s mine!“  I reached for another one. “That’s mine, too! These are all mine!”

I finally got it. Those belonged to her. But I had to laugh at the situation, which I’m sure annoyed her all the more. Basketless, I grabbed all of my stuff in a bunch and hustled off to a dryer. I read quietly while my stuff was being dried, hoping that she wouldn’t slug me.

Once back at the motel, I retired a little early and slept well.

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