After having three days with amazing friends at Farm Sanctuary and around Ithaca - a very friendly place for vegans, I packed my trailer and headed into the Ithaca co-op around 8am. After grabbing a 'breakfast burrito' and a couple muffins I said my final goodbyes.
The day had not started as well as one would wish - my cycling shoes were nowhere to be found in the hotel room where I had stayed with friends. There was little I could do but wear my sneakers and push off. Luckily I had picked up some $3 plastic inserts (that normally come with new bikes/clipless pedals) before I left Hamilton - if I did not have these I was destined to have very sore feet.
The mornings ride was the most scenic and enjoyable I have ever had. It was warm, yet the views of Cayuga Lake were beautiful. The climb out of Ithaca was consistent yet pleasant. My fitness was very high and I had recovered fully from the long days of riding to arrive in Watkins Glen - and I am sure this impacted on how it felt. I was heading north along highway 89 - the Cayuga Lake Scenic byway and stopped not far into the climb for my first view of the morning over the Lake.
I pushed on for Taughannock Falls State Park - where I intended to have a quick snack/breakfast. It was a short 30 minute undulating ride that found my on the lakes edge to enjoy some of my breakfast burrito, an apple and some dried fruit and nuts. It was a beautiful view from the edge of the lake - and indicative of the terrain for riding.
I pushed on north and around half way into the ride along the lakes edge I passed two (well one was off in the bushes) fellow tourers heading south. I continued on this very pleasant route north to Seneca Falls. As I headed west to Waterloo I again came across signs for the Women's Rights National Historical Park - given it was somewhere I wanted to stop at on the trip to Watkins Glen yet seemingly could not find, I was very much looking forward to stopping there. Again the signs seemingly disappeared and I could not find the park.
Riding west along highway 96, I pushed north on highway 68 towards Newark. My riding was at a relaxed pace as I intended to take maybe 3-4 days for the return rote, in contrast to the two days for the initial ride. I joined the New York State Canalway trail - finding it to be very pleasant in this area. I arrived at my intended campsite near Macedon wherre there are campsites adjacent to the trail (similar to at Holley). Given that it was early/mid afternoon, not wanting to sit for the hours remaining in the day, and starting to really miss the company of the last three days I decided to push on further. At this stage, I had no specific plans as to how far I would ride and kept a relaxed pace.
I came across a few riders who participating in the annual organised ride east, somewhere between Fairport and Pittsford, where I turned of the trail to ride through Rochester. I planned to stop in the city for dinner before heading east to camp somewhere for the night. I eventually found my way onto NY State Bike route 5. Whilst the existence of a designated bike (road) route is very supportive of cycling, again the signs ceased to exist and I found myself riding by ear (so to speak). Just before I hit Rochester a sizable yet brief storm coalesced - I was able to wait it out under a freeway bridge.
In the city centre I found a map near the falls. I used this map as a reference to head east and rejoin the Canalway Trail. After some 35km riding, and mistakenly not questioning the ferry signs that were increasing in frequency, I re-assessed the situation to determine that the map in Rochester was oriented with what was west actually being north - as such I had traveled due north, almost making it to Lake Ontario. I decided to push west for Holley, not really knowing where I was, yet aware that I was very further north than I had intended on being. I was quite frustrated.
Being hit three more times by this storm - the second time being very heavy after I found myself on a very busy road that I was not comfortable in being on. As the sun was fading, coinciding with this downpour, I took refuge under an overpass. Once the rain ceased, I rode on with very wet shoes, heading east and southeast aiming for highway 104.
After a very long and at times frustrating day I arrived at the Holley campsite (adjacent to the Canalway Trail) at 10pm. Having come 234km with 11hrs in the saddle I slept very soundly (despite being sticky)...