Downtime!

off-dutyOff-Duty for a couple weeks … Yay!

I looked at my calendar and see that since early April, I’ve been home only 19 days. Retired? Yeah, right!

Between working tours for Adventure Cycling, Wilderness Voyageurs, and a couple personal trips (more on that shortly), I’ve managed to keep this year’s cycling season pretty full, and I’m nowhere near done. Cycling “season”? Actually, there is no “season”. I cycle year round and I may have a plan up my sleeve for this winter on my fat-bike.

But backing up to July … No sooner than I finished the Finger Lakes tour with Adventure Cycling (see last post), I was on my way to Ohiopyle PA to prepare for leading back-to-back tours for Wilderness Voyageurs with my partner Lisa. Lisa is also a Rochester area native, and her knowledge of our area combined with a super-friendly personality and great organizational skills makes her the perfect partner for working these tours.

Erie Canal Group visits Trailside Bike shop in Hulberton
Erie Canal Group visits Trailside Bike shop in Hulberton

Our first gig together was the four-day Erie Canal tour that begins at Fort Niagara at the mouth of the Niagara River into Lake Ontario, just downstream from Niagara Falls. After taking a tour of the fort, this trip starts with a day of road-riding along the shore of Lake Ontario before turning south and picking up the Erie Canalway Trail the following day. The next three days are all on the trail … no cars, no problems, and all the wonderful “Port” towns along the way.

A day off between tours, and we once again join the Ride for Pride gang to kick off Pride Week in Rochester by doing the “Rainbow Ride”. All the riders regrouped for a ten mile ride through Rochester’s gayborhoods with a stop at the Bachelor Forum for free Jello Shots before arriving at Cobbs Hill park to ring in the week’s festivities.

Refreshments provided by Peter Mohr, owner of the Bachelor Forum
Refreshments provided by Peter Mohr, owner of the Bachelor Forum

Back to work the next day, we hit the road with WV’s Finger Lakes Tour group. This year’s route (see the video!) was modified to include two new lodging venues (Argos Inn in Ithaca and the Belhurst Castle in Geneva!) and included all the usual cool spots like wineries, Watkins GlenHammondsport and a stop at the Three Brothers Estate in Geneva on the final day.

The Lovey-Dovey gang at romantic Belhurst Castle
The Lovey-Dovey gang at romantic Belhurst Castle

After the WV tours, and after another two days of returning the rig to HQ, I get ONE day off before hopping in the car and heading out for Whitefish Montana! Finally!! After a year’s delay due to taking on a private tour gig last year, our team of four gets together for an adventure on the Canada section of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. I call this “Taking Care of Unfinished Business”. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that back in 2013, I rode the USA border-to-border (Antelope Wells New Mexico to Roosville Montana) sections of the GDMBR and journaled it on CrazyGuyOnABike. Todd (The Sherpa) joined me for the last 8 days of the trip and logistics dictated that we should stop at the Canada border and plan to do the Canada section later.

So here we are … buddy Linda and I driving out with all the bikes and gear …

Yeah ... she's smiling NOW!
Yeah … she’s smiling NOW!

… and Todd and Karen fly to meet us in Whitefish 3 days later. On the way to Whitefish, we stopped briefly in Glacier National Park so Linda could get a look. I got to ride the Going To The Sun Road back in ’88 and was certain she’d enjoy seeing it.

East side of the pass ... and it only gets better!
East side of the pass … and it only gets better!

In Whitefish, we arrive at the Whitefish Bike Retreat … and a reunion with our buddy Cricket … So great to see her again! After Todd and Karen arrived the next day, we returned to Glacier for another look before Cricket shuttled us up to Banff …

Cricket, You Rock!
Cricket, You Rock!

…where we started southbound on the GDMBR toward the USA border and on to Polebridge and back to Whitefish.

A Grand Time in the Canadian Rockies
A Grand Time in the Canadian Rockies

The gang did great on the trip and we even finished in time to pay a visit to Adventure Cycling HQ in Missoula before heading home. Like my Route 66 tour this year, I’ll save a full write-up (and video) for a later post. Getting back to Rochester after the Divide, I drove home alone and retraced the route I took on the motorcycle to Calgary in 2010 between Minot ND and Rochester. It takes a bit longer on US2 than the interstates, but it’s much more pleasant.

I arrived home in Rochester just in time to marshall “The Crit” … the Rochester Twilight Criterium. And just two days later, I’m BACK out on the trail with another Erie Canal Tour for WV! As we often do on these tours, we had tons of laughs and good times …

Darla and Katie cracking it up
Darla and Katie cracking it up

… and we even met a special visitor. Elea is a cyclist doing a circumnavigation of the USA and we met her on the trail in Middleport. When she said she was eastbound through Rochester, I suggested she contact Karen through Warm Showers and stay the night with her at my home. She did, and since she’s a writer working on a blog and a book, she asked to stay another night. I finished the Erie Canal tour the next day …

Wrapping it up on the gates at Lock 30
Wrapping it up on the gates at Lock 30

… and made it home in time to have dinner and conversation with Karen and Elea. She has a great story and shares on her blog at “The Many Roads to Kindness”. Check it out!

Elea eastbound on the Erie Canalway Trail
Elea eastbound on the Erie Canalway Trail

And here I am now, breathing deeply with TWO WEEKS of free time before I’m on the road again. AGAIN? Now what? How about scouting out the details and running two back-to-back, 6 day tours of the new Mickelson Trail and Badlands tour with Wilderness Voyageurs!!

Retirement.  Yeah, right!

Tailwinds!

Life Behind Bars