Our run of the long summer and hot days came to an abrupt end today. Our start from Corning was 44 degrees, (a drop of nearly 20 degrees from the day before), and dropped to 32.9 degrees as we rode out of town. Fortunately my booties, winter gloves, leggings and jacket kept me warm. By around 2:00 it warmed up to nearly 60 degrees and I was back in my shorts soaking up the rays!
The ride was beautiful riding south of Rochester and Syracuse through New York’s Finger Lakes Region including Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen and Ithaca, (home of Cornell and Ithaca College). We arrived in Cazenovia, NY just before the clouds rolled in and a few rain drops fell.
Tomorrow is our last “century”, 102 mile ride to Speculator NY. Just 5 days and 430 miles to go to Portland Maine where I will be dipping my toes and wheels into the Atlantic Ocean and reuniting with family including my wife, mother, sister and brother-in-law.
Corning NY – Today was a day of rest, sleeping in to 7:00 am, doing laundry and visiting some of the sites including the Corning Museum of Glass, the Rockwell Museum, and the local orthopedic doctor for a check up on my elbow injury from Day 3. Good news; I have a green light to ride till then end with daily icing, wrapping and an anti-inflammatory prescription.
The highlight of the day was getting my hair cut. I was referred to a classic barber shop where locals hung out. It was the hub for local news and banter among the locals. The barber Lynn, when learning about my ride across America refused payment, telling me to donate the money to Alzheimer’s. The other barbers and customers proceeded to share stories of friends who have had the challenge of being caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients.
One comment struck a cord. He stated Alzheimer’s knowns no boundaries and does not discriminate. Educated or not, black, white or brown we are all at risk.
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After my hair cut I walked across the Chemung River to the Glass Museum. It was interesting seeing the early origin of glass making and how it has evolved (along with the technology) to seeing Seattle’s Dale Chihuly’s work featured in the lobby. The Rockwell Museum has some excellent exhibits including how horses (aka “horse power”), changed America. It also included a fantastic exhibit by black artists including Seattle’s Jacob Lawrence and how their work reflected societal issues and changes since the 1920s.
Downtown Corning and its merchants where friendly and engaging with a warm sense of community. With the fall colors changing in the trees, the pumpkins, gourds, corn and colorful mums were displayed on nearly every corner of town. With the change of temperatures and a forecast of 43 degrees tomorrow morning, it appears the heat wave is over and fall is here!
Riding through Pennsylvania I observed Americana. Kids walking to school, mothers waiting at bus stops with their children, farmers working their fields and construction workers building and repairing homes. Riding through the small towns and across rivers brought back fond memories of growing up in in the state. While I grew up in Yardley PA, (Bucks Country which is on the border of New Jersey and the Delaware river), riding over the Allegheny river and across canals, I began reminiscing of my childhood. The following day (Sept 27) we entered New York, where I went to school in Rochester NY. Entering the town of “Little Genesee” rekindled memories of drinking Genny Cream Ale in college.
Fortunately for me I have the ability to recall these memories. Those affected by ALZ are not. Please consider a donation to help reach our goal of $10,000!
Leaving Bradford Pennsylvania before first light we rode through rolling hills engulfed in fog as we climbed out of town. The dew dripped off our helmets and glasses as if it was raining. Fortunately the sun burned the fog off providing a beautiful day as we made our way into NY, the “Empire State”. I proudly wore my University of Washington jersey, bringing the “Huskies” to NY, (thanks to my son’s Jake and Josh for the jersey!).
We rode 101 miles into downtown Corning NY, for a total of 3,269 miles. Only 500 +/- to go! Tomorrow (9/28), is day 40 our last rest day before attacking the hills across NY and into Maine.
Today was a relatively flat 60-mile ride through the Amish community riding into Meadville, Pennsylvania. We left at dawn in attempt to miss the heat and humidity. By the time we reached our hotel it was nearly 90 degrees.
Leaving early in the morning we saw kids going to school, laundry being hung to dry while others made their way to work in the horse and buggies. The views were great as the sun burned off the morning dew. The most striking image was the buggy with the kids play cars by its side in front of a house with solar panels. I had to wonder how the family balanced their desire to retain their culture, kids desire to play with cars they see on the road, while they debated on the use of solar power. I learned later that solar is accepted by some Amish to charge batteries, run house lights and power electric fences as they seek to remain off the public grid in order to prevent worldly influences from entering their home, and as a symbolic means of remaining separate from the rest of the world.
Riding from Oberlin to Burton was another great ride, with the highlights of friends and family cheering me (and the entire group on). A big thank you to Anne, Susan, Glenn, Cathy, Jim, Pam and Bob! Leaving Oberlin we took a detour through town enjoying the architecture and learning of the history including its role in the Underground Railroad. For the third day we dodged walnuts on the road and navigated some rough roads through the parks as we made our way around Cleveland. Stopping at the Pick & Save Orchard in Media Ohio, we were treated to “apple cider smoothies”. Cool and refreshing with a much needed energy boost to get to lunch at mile 49!
Mother-in-law Anne, got high marks from the group for her enthusiasm cheering everyone on and ringing a bell in Hudson when it was over 90 degrees out. During the day one of Liz’s best friends Pam and Bob Reisinger from high-school, spent a few hours chasing me down along the route meeting with many of the other riders and finally catching up with me at the Red Maple Inn in Burton, Ohio. The Inn is fantastic with a great view of the Geauga County and Sugar Loaf Mountain from my room. Geauga County is home to the 4th largest Amish Community in the world. Burton has a rich history of surviving the depression by tapping the maple trees in the park to make and sell syrup to pay their taxes and monthly expenses. Today the tapping of the trees continue with proceeds benefiting the boy scouts, high school scholarships and historical society. A “sweet success passed from generation to generation.” Another hot and humid day, but rewarding and enriching!
A beautiful ride today through the suburbs of Toledo and Cleveland, enjoying the “flats” on some of smoothest bike paths I have ever ridden on. We rode on the North Shore Inland Bikeway. The first 40 miles were on a wide and smooth pavement. Other then “dodging” the walnuts on the trail, (the size of small apples), we were spoiled as the last 10 miles were on crushed stone, requiring a firm hold on the handlebars as we bounced around on the path. As I rode in Oberlin, we came across a train museum and saw a sign welcoming me to Bellevue, (Ohio not Washington State). No I did not make a wrong turn.
Oberlin is a quaint college down, southwest of Cleveland home of Oberlin College, a liberal arts college and music conservatory. The town was the birthplace of the Anti-Saloon League, the leading organization lobbying for prohibition. The highlight of the day was vising with my mother-in-law (Anne), sister in-law Cathy and brother-in-law, Jim (aka John). A great relaxing dinner. Thank you Anne.
Riding from Marshall, Michigan to Rossford, OH, was the second longest ride (120 miles) and relatively flat at a climb of less than 2,000 feet, yet it proved one of the hardest with temperatures in the mid 90’s and humidly at 100%. Drinking gallons of water and cold drinks throughout the ride was my “best friend. The ride along some of the rivers and lakes was enchanting, with a great lunch barbecue at Randy’s reminding me how far we have traveled from Seattle; 2,840 miles by bike and 2,312 miles as the “crow flies”.
The highlight of the day was a visit by my sister-in-law Susan and her husband Glenn. It was great to have them visit and catch up while discussing the impact of Alzheimer’s on our families and friends.