Saturday, 24 June 2006
Albany, NY to Amsterdam, NY
60.0 miles, 5h09m, 11.6 mph
Elapsed Time: 6h54m, Max speed: 29.0mph
Total Climbing: 1386ft, Max elevation: 496ft
Total mileage: 60.0
My karma reset from yesterday must have helped today. It was
supposed to rain all day, but it turned out to be beautiful. It
was wet in the morning but before noon the sun was shining, and I think
we even had a tailwind.
We had a lot of things to do in the morning so we didn't hit the road
until almost 9am. Then we forgot to take a departure photo, so we rode
eight miles to the state capitol and declared that to be the "official"
start of the ride.
"Official" Start Photo
Notice that Kevin has gigantic ziplock bags covering his panniers.
That may also have helped with our weather karma.
Once the opening ceremonies were over, we worked our way down to the
river (it involved an elevator and a parking garage). Down there
we discovered that there was some kind of charity walk going on on our
route. We fought our way through the walkers by riding on the
grass, weaving through the people, trying to get them to move to the
right....it was brutal. We were about halfway through the crowd
when we reached the historical marker for the start of the old Erie
Canal. It would have been nice to have a picture, but then we
would have had to pass all the same people again. I guess now the
pressure's off to get a picture at the other end of the canal.
Walkers Walking Wide
Kevin, with the Albany skyline in the distance.
The bike path ended at one of my favorite places: Waterveliet.
Why do I like Waterveliet? Because it's the only place in the
world where I can get a fish fry. In my childhood there were two
fish fry places within a half mile of each other in Waterveliet: Ted's
and Gallagher's. We always preferred Gallagher's, but a few years
ago they turned it into a bar, so now it's just Ted. It was too
early for lunch so I had to settle for a picture. (We later saw a sign
for a fish fry place in Cohoes, so things may be looking up).
Soon after that, we saw what might have been lock 1 of the New York
State Barge Canal. The Barge Canal is the modern version of the
Erie Canal. The Erie Canal is the old, defunct version of the
Barge Canal. I'm glad we've cleared that up.
This might be lock 1.
We climbed up through the streets of Cohoes to reach the Mohawk-Hudson
Bikeway. The bikeway would pretty much carry us for the rest of
the day. In some places the trail was really nice, in other
places it was lousy.
My lawschool collegues appreciate the significance of Cohoes (or at
least of Cohoes Pipe).
Here it was nice.
Here there was a nice view of the Mohawk River.
Outside of Schenectady we encountered a fork in the trail. The
good trail went up a hill and the bad trail stayed down by the
river. So naturally we stayed down by the river. After a
half mile the trail reached a fence and we had to climb back up to the
good trail on an abandoned road. Always follow the good trail.
We stopped at Lock 8 to watch a sailboat go through. The couple
on board was from Toronto. They had their boat shipped to the
Florida Keys and have been sailing and motoring back. They are
just a couple of days from reaching Lake Ontario so they can raise the
mast and sail the rest of the way home. We may see them again,
although we travel at about twice the speed, and we can skip the locks.
A slow boat to Canada (leaving Lock 8).
A particularly nice stretch of trail.
There was a trail detour at Rotterdam Junction and we were rerouted on
to NY route 5S, which happens to be NY Bike Route 5. We took the
crossroad back toward the canal and ate a late lunch at a place called
Anthony's. We had fish fries. They were okay but there were
a couple of things wrong. First, there was no chili sauce, only
tartar sauce. For those who are not familiar with chili sauce, it
is essentially ketchup with sweet relish mixed in. Tastes great
on a fish fry. Second, the thing was only about 8 inches long and
served on a sub roll. Fish fries should be about a foot long and
should be served on crappy little hot dog rolls so the ends stick out
an absurd amount. You shouldn't be able to pick up a fish fry
without a scalding hot piece of fish breaking off and burning your
hand. Third, they should be so hot that you can't eat them
without burning yourself. These were a reasonable temperature and
were quite edible. I am encouraged that fish fries are available
though. Hopefully, we can find more tomorrow.
We returned to the trail for a little while, but then it ended--without
fanfare--and dumped us back on 5S. The trail suddenly reappeared
as we approached Amsterdam, so we jumped back over.
Some low-grade industrial decay near Amsterdam.
Eventually we climbed up to the Thruway and found our motel: the Super
8. High price. No Internet. No nearby
restaurants. We ordered our food from a pizza joint. We're
Tomorrow we ride to Utica.
"Erie Canal (and more!) Tour 2006" Copyright © 2006 By
Clemons. All rights reserved.