Erie Canal Bicycle Tour Day Nine

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After my morning chores, I headed back across the bridge to a diner that Tom recommended for breakfast. It was a place across the street from the family restaurant where I ate last night. It was another nice dining experience in Little Falls.

I went back to camp satisfied, packed the bike and started on one of the last two legs of the adventure. I took a parting picture of the Catholic Church in Little Falls. I would miss Little Falls, especially since the next two days turned out to be hard.

The first hour or so was alright. I came upon a monument to the Palatines. The Palatines were a group of Germans who immigrated to this location in 1710. It was another group of persecuted and displaced people who found some peach in upstate New York.

The first bad thing happened when my rear tire went flat. I stopped in some shade and unpacked enough of my stuff to get the tools and the spare inner tube out. I worked slowly so that I wouldn’t work up a needless sweat. Another cyclist stopped to offer help. Short of doing the work for me, there was nothing he could do. I pumped the tire up to eighty pounds per square inch. I repacked and reloaded the bike. It took almost an hour to complete the whole exercise.

I had a head wind that lasted through the morning. In the early afternoon, a thunderstorm crashed overhead. We are told there is no hiding from lightning. That’s true, but there are ways to minimize your chances of being hit. This is my opinion and my opinion may be derived from necessity and lack of other options, so use it with caution. My opinion is that if you get caught in a thunderstorm and there is no shelter, at the very least don’t make yourself a target. It would be a bad idea to continue to ride the bike. It would be a bad idea to stand or walk in an area where you are the tallest thing, such as a path with no tree cover. I sat on the ground covered with my rain jacket until the thunder and lightning stopped or passed into the distance to the north.

That was it for attractions this day. The trail was also empty. I saw nobody after leaving Little Falls. I don’t mind travelling alone and the other parts of the trail gave me the feeling that at least somebody would find my body if something happened to me. This thirty mile segment was devoid of people. The cell phone worked and I called ahead for a hotel room in Amsterdam.

I discovered what I think the reason is for the lack of people on this section of trail. When I arrived near Amsterdam I was puzzled about how to actually get there. I could see it, but the only bridge that I could see seemed to be an interstate or controlled access road. A biker stopped and offered help, but he was no help. He was not from Amsterdam. He offered that there was another bridge several miles to the east. That didn’t sound good to me. I pulled out my smart phone and pulled up a map of my location. I panned along the canal and could not see another bridge anywhere nearby. I said goodbye to the guy and decided to chance the auto entrance ramp up to the bridge. It turned out to be a local road that is not bicycle friendly. There is no sidewalk. The cars going into town are still slowing down from the fifty five mile per hour speed limit outside of town. The cars coming out of town are speeding up to the fifty five mile per hour speed limit at the other side of the bridge. It is a long bridge since it crosses railroad tracks and the Erie Canal. The reason for the lack of people on the trail is that cyclers and hikers don’t want to cross that inhospitable bridge to get to the trail.

Once across the bridge, the next challenge was to find the hotel. I was flummoxed again. I called the hotel and told them where I was standing. The good news was the hotel was two blocks away. This was also a hotel with an attached restaurant and decent food. I unloaded, showered, ate, and went to bed. Before going up to my room I confirmed the time that the hotel restaurant would open in the morning. The answer from the front desk was 7 AM. That was a good time.

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