TRIP 2014

Update #10 - April 24th
Chittenango, New York
3,619.60 miles (5,791.76 KM)

Today, I'm taking a day off to do some well needed repair work on Alice (my recumbent). If all goes well today and weather permitting, I'll be resuming the ride to Chicago, Illinois and then parts West in the Midwest.

April 16 : Manhattan, New York City, NY to Manhattan, New York City, NY - 00.00 miles (00.00 KM)

I had an okay night at the hotel. There were a few problems. There seems to be a problem with the wall thermostat because it doesn't get the room really warm. Also, there wasn't any hot water last night. I let the water in the bathroom run for almost 20 minutes and there wasn't any change in the water temperature.

When I went downstairs for breakfast, the breakfast area was packed. There wasn't any pancake mix but I was still able to get a hot breakfast. I got a tray and took my breakfast up to my room. When I looked outside, I saw snow covering the tops of the vehicles below. The outside morning temperature was just 32 and it is only supposed to get up to 50 in the afternoon.

I got my winter clothes out of my panniers. I waited till around 10 am before venturing outside. It was still around 34. I decided to head South. I went South to check out Lower Manhattan. I walked around the Freedom Tower. From there, I headed West to the Hudson River and Battery Park. I walked to the Southern tip of Manhattan and got views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I saw the Staten Island Ferry. From Battery Park, I walked through the Wall Street area and China Town. Instead of walking back to the hotel, I opted to take a subway back. The fare was $2.75 and I bought the ticket through an automated machine. The ride was just five stations and the cars were not that crowded but I was glad to get off at the 28th station. From the station, I had a block or two walk back to the hotel.

April 17 : Manhattan, New York City, NY to Lake Katrine, NY - 26.20 miles (41.92 KM)

I had an okay night at the hotel. My feet were pretty sore when I got back. I was going to venture out a little more before dark but I opted against it. I just wanted to have time to decompress from all of the people. I had to take time to go through the three hundred or so photos that I took today. I got Alice repacked and loaded up for tomorrow. I got about five hours of sleep. I went downstairs around 6:25 am so I got at breakfast right before it started so I was one of the first ones to get breakfast.

I had a really terrible time getting downstairs with Alice. Every elevator was packed. After about 25 minutes, I called guest services to see if they could get somebody in an elevator to help me out. The person was able to get me an empty elevator in ten minutes. It was almost 9 am when I finally got out of the hotel.

I walked passed Penn Station. I helped two homeless people in wheelchairs. Both of them were missing legs. They had signs that said that they were disabled veterans. My plan was to make my way over to Grand Central Station to catch a train to Poughkeepsie but I sort of misjudged and found myself in Times Square. I got a really friendly police officer take a couple of pictures of me and Alice.

I got to Grand Central Station around 10:40 am. I bought my ticket for $17. In the main concourse, I was surprised at seeing a pair of cyclists who looked like they were touring as well. They were an elderly couple who were going to Poughkeepsie to take a day trip on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail. The train was going to leave at 11:43. I found the platform. It was down a hallway and a ramp. No elevators. Around 11:30 am, I decided to go ahead and get on the train and get Alice secured. The car was just a couple of cars behind the engine.

The train ride was okay along the Hudson River. It was neat going under the Bear Mountain Bridge north of Peeskill. I walked and road across the bridge a couple of times. We got to the train station in Poughkeepsie around 1:30 pm. I was a little upset that I somehow lost my sunglasses. To get across the Hudson River I headed over to the Walkway Over The Hudson. This is an abandoned railroad bridge that was taken over by the Hudson Valley Rail Trail. The only problem was that I was directed onto a road that didn't have direct access to the rail trail. I had to follow a tricky path behind a person's home and up a narrow steep path on a tricky slope.

The Hudson Valley Rail Trail opened up around 2010. The main part is the 1.38 mile (2.2 km) long railroad bridge that is 210 feet above the Hudson River. The completed trail is supposed to be six miles (10 km) long. The walkway over the bridge was packed. There were a lot of Jewish families (mostly Orthodox). The interesting one was a teenage boy on roller blades, wearing sweatpants, a hoodie, with the tassels of his tallit showing. There was also a young couple from Japan who were wearing animal costumes. I think that the guy had a tiger costume on with a tail. Halfway across the bridge was some construction. We all got directed around a truck that had legs extended.

On the West side of Hudson, I got on US 9W. I stopped at a BK in Highland for a late lunch. There was a paved shoulder on 9W. It was a rolling up and down ride to Kingston. There was a long climb in the Kington area. I got through Kingston a little before dark. In Lake Katrine, I stopped at the first motel that I came across. I did this because it was going to be around freezing over the night. I paid a little more than what I wanted to. Instead of being a Potel, it was being run by a Chinese lady.

My goal is to get at least through Albany today. I'm shooting for Amsterdam tomorrow.

April 18 : Lake Katrine, NY to Latham, NY - 63.38 miles (101.41 KM)

I had an okay night at the motel. The heater worked a lot better than the heater in the expensive room at the hotel in New York City because there was no wall thermostat. I got maybe five hours of sleep. For me the room would have been better if I had a room closer to the office because I didn't get any wifi signal. The closer rooms were more expensive.

I left the motel around 7:40 am. Before leaving, I bundled up again in layers because the temperature was in the low 30s. The ride to Saugerties was really hilly. I stopped at a Stewarts in Saugerties for a light breakfast. Between Saugerties and Catskill, the route was really windy. In a couple of places, the road narrowed to just one lane when it went through underpasses under a railroad. There were two underpasses. I was in the Western foothills of the Catskill Mountains. About five miles to the West was Catskill State Park and I was about a mile from the Hudson River. Along the way, I rode passed very large cement plants that were closed down that had large conveyers that carried the crushed rock from the mines in the mountains and crossed the road to the plants.

I got into Catskill a little before noon. Because of the hills, I was only able to make 19 miles in by noon. I did a little shopping to get some new sunglasses and groceries. I stopped at a pretty large thrift store. I was really happy when I was able to find a pair of tennis shoes. The shoes that I had were already worn out from Sylacauga, Alabama. I had bought them back on March 10th and they only had 1,482 miles (2,371.1 km) on them. There were holes in the thin soles. There were a couple of tennis shoes that fit. I found a pair of Nike Flywires for just $4.99. They were sort of high tops (above the ankle) and the soles didn't have any wear on them. Hopefully, they will last a long time. These are the third pair of shoes that I had this year. Before leaving the Catskill area, I stopped for lunch at a BK.

I was really surprised at the terraign change North of Catskill. Instead of more windy roads and narrow shoulders, the terraign changed to more open spaces with a few fields just plowed and there was a wider shoulder along the highway. The terraign leveled out a lot more and there weren't that many climbs.

I got into Ravenna a little after 4 pm. I was hoping to find some activity around the churches but there wasn't any not even any preparation fora pre-Easter service. There was one motel in town but it didn't look too appealing. The person who ran it turned most of the place into a fast food place. I was about 13 miles from Albany. I went on in hopes that I could find a place to stop before I got into the Albany area.

I got into the Albany area a little after 6:30 pm. Instead of going passed the downtown area and the capitol district, US 9W took a more Westerly direction around the downtown area and capitol district before it turned North again. I was really concerned in getting caught in Albany after dark because I was riding through an area that didn't look to safe. I was really happy when the residential area disappeared and I got into some open spaces just South of I-90. It was really tricky getting through the area around I-90 because there were several roads with fast traffic joining the highway. I had to turn on my lights but they were really weak. About a mile more, US 9 went from a divided four-lane highway to a two laned road.

It was almost 8 pm when I got into the Loudonville area. I saw some activity at this community church. It was a pretty large church. I was hoping to find a compassionate minister who would help me find someplace inside because it was supposed to be down in the thirties tonight but this wasn't the case. I caught the service near the end. People were lining up to pound some nails in this wooden cross up front. Supposedly, you could write some kind of sin on a piece of paper and nail it to the cross. I had about a fifteen minute wait before I was able to talk to the minister. I was really hoping to find a compassionate minister during this pre-Easter season but I didn't. He hemmed and hawed when I asked him if there was any place in the many church buildings where I could maybe put a sleeping bag down on the floor. He told me that they never really allowed anybody to spend the night in the church because of some kind of liability or another. He had me wait about ten minutes more while he talked to some people. When he finally motioned me over, he sort of introduced me to this black guy and then he walked away. I was being passed-off.The guy was an elder of the church. I was really shocked when he suggested to transport me back into Albany and take me to the Capitol City rescue mission that they supported. This really got to me because during the past two weekends I had extended stays inside churches. I should have known that I wasn't going to find some compassionate person because the population of the area was over 8,000. This was pretty well what happened back in Southport, North Carolina. There was no way that I was going to go back into Albany and stay at someplace where none of the people at that church stayed at. This wasn't the way to treat a minister or anybody else. What showing of compassion was that especially this time of year. This wasn't the way. I wasn't even offered a glass of water while I waited. Here was a church with no real actions so their faith was dead.

I didn't want to get back on the highway after dark but I didn't have any choice. I looked for a store that was open so I could get some more batteries for my lights but there weren't any. I had a really scary ride going through this long section of road construction where NY 2 crossed over the highway. US 9 went down into this concrete canyon. It was really tricky with a really bad surface and no place for me to get off the road with traffic behind me. This person behind me was riding my tail but his lights abled me to see the road. I thought that I was going to be run over but after about a mile the construction zone ended.

I was really shook up and I didn't think that I could go on any farther. There were two motels (a Laquinta and a Travelodge. There was no way that I could afford either one of them. I called up my pastor friend in Chittenango to see if he could help me out. He offered to get me a room at the Travelodge if they would take his credit card information over the phone. The lady at the desk was quite friendly and because they had quite a few empty rooms they gave us nearly a $25 discount on a room.

Instead of going on to Saratoga Springs before I turn Westward, I'm going to cross the Mohawk River at in Crescent, I'll turn Westward. I'm going to get on Riverview Road which will possibly follow the old Erie Canal and then I get on NY 5 in Scotia. I'll be following my usual path along the Erie Canal Trail but at Utica I'll be turning Northwest to Pulaski instead of going to West to Chittenango. My Presbyterian minister friend is going to be heading out of town for the rest of the month tomorrow so I'll go up to Pulaski to see my Baptist minister friend an his family before continuing my trip to Rochester.

April 19 : Latham, NY to Amsterdam, NY - 41.07 miles (65.71 KM)

I had an okay night at the motel. There was a hot breakfast with waffles. I got on the road around 8 am. It was a little over a five mile (8 km) ride to the Mohawk River at Crescent. This was going to be my turning point. After a short break at a gas station, I headed West on Canal Street. There was a short section of the Erie Canal. After about a 2 mile ride of level terraign, there was a steep climb up to Riverview Road. Riverview Road was quite hilly. There were a couple of hills that I had to get off and walk them. It took a long time to get to Rexford and NY 146. Once passed Rexford, the rest of the way to Scotia went faster.

When I got into Scotia, I got on NY 5. The ride to Amsterdam went okay but it was a litle slow because I was riding against a stiff headwind. I got into Amsterdam around 6:30 pm. I stopped at the American Value Inn that used to be the old Days Inn. I was pretty well the only guest. The lady at the counter gave me about a $20 discount on the room.

April 20 : Amsterdam, NY to Palantine Bridge, NY - 24.78 miles (39.65 KM)

I had a somewhat okay night at the motel. I didn't know that it was a Potel but I found out in the morning. The room was on the second floor. The elevator that was close to the lobby was closed. I would have had to take everything off Alice and carry them upstairs but I was told that there was another elevator that I could use even though it was only for staff. It was down the hall of the first floor rooms. This floor was closed for some reason. Possibly renovation or water damage like flooding. Walking on the carpeting was kind of tricky because the floor seemed to wobble. The heater unit didn't work too well. The heater unit went off and on with the air keep on blowing. I woke up really early around 4:45 am and I couldn't fall asleep.

There was supposed to be a complentary continental breakfast but there wasn't much. A plate of store bought cinnamon buns (not cut apart), a bowl of bananas, possibly stale cereal, no milk, or juice. People wanting coffee would have been out of luck because there was none. The room was freezing.

I left the motel around 7:45 am. I didn't feel like staying in town for church. I decided to head out. It was a little cool. There were rolling hills. I stopped at a gas station in Fort Johnson. I rode on to the Fonda - Fultonville area. I rode across the Mohawk River to Fultonville because I saw a sign for the Methodist Church. When I got to the church, I saw that I was a half hour late for the service. There was a sign that said that the service started at 9:15 am and Sunday shool started at 9:45 am. This must have been a multiple charge church. There were a couple more churches in the town but they didn't seem to have been used in years.

I rode back across the Mohawk River to Fonda. There seemed just to be two churches. A Catholic church and a Reformed Church. I decided to stop at the Reformed Church. I had seen somebody go out of a back door. I thought that it was going to take me into a fellowship hallway or a hallway but it went into the kitchen. I heard some people practicing music upstairs. I went up a back stairway but it took me to the back of the stage. There was this teenager playing some game on this tablet but she didn't look up from it. I finally found a front stairway that took me up to the sanctuary. It was going to be a contemporary service. I listened to the praise team practicing. There were some guitarists but you couldn't hear them because they were electric and the sound for them was turned way down. The vocals drowned them out. I must have sat in a front pew for about 40 minutes. Nobody really bothered to talk to me or welcome me. Finally a lady came over to talk to me. I thought that she would have possibly found the minister (a lady) and told them about me but she didn't. People were coming in and sitting in back socializing. Nobody came by to shake my hand. The noise of the chatter was getting to me and I was starting to get a headache. About 5 minutes before the service started, I had enough and I got up and left. I was thinking that maybe somebody would have caught up with me and asked me what my problem was but nobody did. I'm not going to sit through a religious performance when I don't feel welcome. I felt very much like a stranger. Nobody wished me a Happy Easter. After the bad incident at the church in Loudonville a couple of nights ago, I just didn't have a good opinion about churches in this state. They surely weren't like the last two churches that I attended and spoke at. I almost wished that I was back at my friend's Methodist church in Tuckerton, New Jersey.

Before leaving Fonda, I stopped at a gas station for something to eat. I rode on to Palentine Bridge. Because I didn't get much sleep last night, I decided to stop at a motel that I had stayed at last night. I was expecting to not pay much but I payed more than what I had wanted to. I didn't feel like riding closer to Utica.

I'm not sure how far I'm going to travel tomorrow. I do plan to make it through Utica. Tomorrow, the temperature is supposed to be at least 10 degrees warmer than today. Tuesday might be a wet day. Even though my Presbyterian friend is out of the state for the rest of the month, he offered to let me stay at his house in Chittenango for a couple of days. I'm going to possibly stay there two nights. I've got to take the time to do some needed repair work on Alice. He has the tools in the garage and I think I can buy what I need at the hardware store in town.

April 21 : Palantine Bridge, NY to Herkimer, NY - 30.11 miles (48.18 KM)

I had a somewhat okay night at the motel. I feel that I really overpaid for the condition of the room. The electric base heaters didn't work so there was a portable electric heater. The heater was turned on even with the back windows open. I had to go out in back of the motel to push the windows in because the cranks didn't work. The bedding looked like they should have been replaced and the tv didn't work very well. I should have gone through town and stopped at the other motel but I never stopped there before. There wasn't any breakfast. The one good thing was that there was a good wifi signal.

In the year that I had been here last, the motel had changed hands and gone more downhill. It used to be a Rodeway Inn. I had expected a Patel to be at the desk. Instead, there was an older guy in a dirty grey sweatshirt who was more involved in playing a game on his laptop instead of knowing that I was there. He only looked away from his computer up at me after his little dog came into the room to bark at me. I should have moved on when I saw the trashcans overflowing up front by the rooms.

It was a little before 9 am when I headed out. It was in the 40s so I didn't have to layer up. I rode about a mile into town and stopped at a Stewarts for some breakfast. Instead of staying on NY 5, I decided to cross the Mohawk River at Nelliston and get on NY 5S at Fort Plain. NY 5S is part of NY Bike Route 5. Between Fort Plain and Little Falls, there were several really long climbs to get over but there was a really long downhill run from Indian Castle to around Little Falls. I crossed the Mohawk River to Little Falls and I stopped at a McDs for lunch. It was warm enough to take my jacket and pullover shirt off. After lunch, I rode over the Mohawk River again because there was a paved bike path along the Erie Canal to Mohawk.

I got into Mohawk around 3 pm. I stopped at a Family Dollar for some supplies. I didn't feel like going on to Utica. While going through Mohawk, I saw a car at the Word Christian Center Church. The pastor was in. Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, Pastor Kipper offered to meet me at the Herkimer Motel across the Mohawk River in Herkimer next to a Dennys. After getting me checked in and before he left, Pastor Kipp surprised me with a $20 "GH" so I could ge a hot meal at the Dennys. The room is as nice or nicer than the room that I had at the Holiday Inn Express in New York City. It's at least twice the size and it has more amenties like a micowave and refrigerator.

Tomorrow, I'm going to recross the Mohawk River and follow Old NY 5S into Utica and get back on NY 5 towards Chittenango. Not too sure I'll get to Chittenango tomorrow because it might be a wet day.

April 22 : Herkimer, NY to Whitesboro, NY - 22.88 miles (36.61 KM)

I had a really good night at the motel. The motel was probably one of the best ones that I stayed at in a long time. The room was really big. It was nearly 2.5 times bigger than the room that I stayed in at the Holiday Inn Express in Manhattan, New York City, New York. Everything about it was two hundred percent better. I was able to get the last three articles printed out. Having a Denny's next door was great. I took up Rev Kipper's offer and went there for supper instead of having something cold out of my food pannier. I got something from the 55+ menu. The chicken fried steak was okay but I enjoyed the vegetables a lot better. I went to bed around 11 pm and I woke up around 5 am. There was an okay breakfast even though there wasn't any hot food. It still was filling. Before leaving, I struck up a conversation with the general manager. He told me that if I was ever back in the Herkimer, I should contact him and he would either help me out with a comp room or a discount. He wanted to take my picture in front of their sign.

It looked pretty overcast when I went for breakfast around 6:30 am. It was supposed to be a rainy day but it had started yet. I got on the road a little around 8:30 am. I backtracked into Mohawk and then I continued on to Illion. It started to lightly rain when I got into Illion. Illion is supposed to be the birthplace of the typewriter (where it was first manufactured). I rode passed a large factory where they made Remington guns. Instead of attempting to ride along NY 5S, I chose to follow local roads that took me on the route of the Old NY 5S before the new divided 4-lane highway got built. There were signs that said that this section of NY 5S was part of the NY 5 bike route but I didn't trust the signs because the last time I attempted to ride along it I was stopped and given a warning by a local sheriff deputy. Following the old highway took me into Frankfort and into West Frankfort. Overall, the ride was a lot easier than yesterday because the terraign was mostly flat. In several sections, I rode passed parts of the old Erie Canal that were abandoned. The Mohawk River was about a half mile to the North.

Once I got into Utica, the ride got a litle difficult. I rode through the industrial part of the city into downtown Utica. I was hoping to get on NY 5 but it was a restricted highway (bicycles and pedestrians not allowed). This section of NY 5 would be restricted access until New Hartford. I tried finding a parallel route but I hit some road construction. I had to backtrack about three-quarters of a mile to NY 5S. NY 5S makes a half loop around Utica through Yorkville, Whitesboro, and Clark Mills.

The rain became a little stronger. I stopped at a McDs for some lunch. I wasn't sure how far I wanted to ride and risk it because according the weather report on the radio there was a good chance for thunderstorms in the afternoon. Around 1:30 pm, I got into the Whitesboro area. I thought it would be best for me to check out the churches to see if somebody would be around. I happened to say a lady leave the Presbyterian Church from a side door and go back into the church. It turns out that she was the church secretary. The pastor wasn't there but she was contacted. I got permission to stay in the church for the night. I'll be camping out downstairs in the youth area. There is a small portable electric heater to keep the room warm and also a couch that was big enough to stretch my sleeping bag on.

I'm about 31 miles away from Chittenango. It might be a wet morning.

April 23 : Whitesboro, NY to Chittenango, NY - 35.41 miles (56.66 KM)

I had a really good night at the church. The church got really quiet after the ladies group left. The portable heater helped get the room that I was in comfy. I spent most of the night watching some movies on my laptop. I woke up early but I was able to fall back asleep till around 5:30 am.

I decided to head out a little after first light. I got on the road around 6:40 am. It was really cold and damp. The temperature was around 39 but with the stiff headwind from the West tne wind chill factor had to be around freezing. I stopped at a Paneras for something to hot to eat. It was a slow morning because of the hills and the wind. I only got aound 17 miles (27 km) by noon.

The afternoon ride was a little better because the temperature got up into the low 40s. The hills lessoned up some. I got into Chittenango around 3:30 pm. Even though my friends were out of state till the first week of May, I got permission to spend a couple of nights off the road. Tomorrow, I'm going to spend most of the time working on Alice repairing some of the problems that I've been wanting to get fixed the past couple of months.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between May 01st and May 08th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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