The Erie Canal, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
We just spent the better part of 6 days cycling the Erie Canal. I can tell you, we all are giving it a huge thumbs up! Where else can you ride for so long and be car free for the majority of the time? Plus, this thing is mostly flat, but if you ride west to east, you are basically riding downhill most of the way. What else can you ask for? Still, not all is perfect on the trail, welcome to another edition of the good? The bad, and the ugly.
Well, I pretty much mentioned a few of the great things already, but in addition to that, our friends Katl and Kristin came and joined us for two nights on the trail. Like when Bill came, they brought food and a bunch of goodies for us. We got to ride with one, or sometimes both of them so it was a special treat to actually converse with someone different other than the 3 others on this trip! Plus, they also carried our stuff for a day and a half, so we took advantage of the situation and elongated our full day of riding with them. This made it posible to shorten the next 3 days to about 50 miles per day, instead of 60ish. This is great as we are no longer on a flat canal path and have hit the mountains in VT and MA.
If there bad thing about the canal, it is that you do have to leave it to get food or to resupply. So, say we're riding along and we wanted ice cream, we'd have to see when the next town was, and then leave the canal to get your fix. This isn't a huge issue, but when you are on the road, and your are coming into a town, you can get a feel for what the town may or may not offer as you are riding in. When you are on the canal, you just drop in right in the middle of town and see what the town is like. We got lucky once and found what we needed, but more often, we'd have to keep looking or just get moving and. Ack in the trail.
The mosquitos. They were horrible. The first night with K$K we decided to camp at what seemed like a great place called Lock 20. We were basically pushed there by the tailwind and rolled onto camp on the early side. That seemed great as we'd have ample time to set up camp and cook. But the wind, even when it seems in your favor, it can be cruel. When we arrived, there were no mosquitoes and even in the early evening, there weren't a whole of them. But when the wind stopped completely, nature's greatest killer came out starving. These were no ordinary mosquitoes. I'm not sure if it was just the sheer number of them, but nothing seemed to stop them. We tried losse clothing, deed, swatting them, and they didn't care. It didn't even move when you swatted. In the end, I probably ended up with about 40 bites, too many to count, really.
Still, given all the above, I'd ride the trail again in a heart beat. But maybe this time I'd do it in the Fall to see if there any less vicious killers. Or I would suck it up and carry heavy clothing that I knew could prevent those pestering murderers from taking my blood.