Sometimes, ya just get carried away.
For instance: I've been planning to do a tour of the Erie Canalway Trail from Rochester to the eastern end at the Hudson River / Albany area.
My thinking was I would load up the bike with all the "luxuries" of a loaded tour, including a stove and cook kit and extra sets of on and off-bike clothing, and really comfy camping accommodations like a TWO person tent and warm clothing. The idea was simply to go easy, shoot photos, investigate historic sites, and just have a nice gentle ride. Maybe I'd take 5 or 6 days, then turn around at the end, and maybe spend even MORE time coming back once I got a feel for where things are. Sound Great?
Someone didn't really do his homework. Someone should have planned out exactly how far each day would be and make arrangements for every night's layover. "Winging it" isn't always the best plan.
One the first day out, I figured I'd do maybe 50 miles and camp somewhere near the Montezuma area. I had identified a couple optional sites. I didn't exactly "twiddle" to Clyde, since I've already ridden all that part, so I kinda "made time" to Kee Kee Run Cafe in the town square … by 1pm. After a leisurely lunch, I all too soon found myself at the Richmond Aqueduct Ruins in the early afternoon.
So, I had to decide … call it a day real early and camp nearby with the threat of mosquito swarms …
… or continue on and hope to fall upon a decent camp site a bit down the trail. No acceptable stealth camp options came up between Montezuma and Weedsport, so … back on the canal trail. The trail followed the old "Enlarged" canal route, but not the "modern" (NYS Barge) canal, so the popular option of camping at any locks was not to be. More things to see along the way … cool … but not a chance for any kind of quiet site to pitch a tent.
I reached Route 173 in Amboy at the west side of Syracuse, and by now it was obvious. I was NOT going to find a campsite anywhere in this area, and it's getting late in the day. I followed the "route" into downtown Syracuse and checked the smartphone for hotels. Of course, anything downtown was outta sight, price wise.
Final option: get OUT of the city and find a cheap place. It's dark now, my lights are on, and I'm plodding through residential areas into Dewitt on the east side of the Syracuse metro area, and spot an Econolodge right off the route. I scored a cheap room, got a hot shower after a surprisingly warm and sticky day, and grabbed a sandwich at the C-Store next door.
Checked the GPS: 103 miles.
A Slow Day, huh?
So, Day One of my easy tour didn't go as planned, and neither did much of the rest of the tour, but it turned out to be a Really Great Time™ anyway. And I scored my "Century #22" for the year. Fully loaded, in fact. To read about the rest of the adventure … including the "High Point", visit my journal "The Erie Canal and Bonus Points" on CrazyGuyOnABike.com.
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