Erie Canalway Trail

Mon - Aug 30

This morning we had breakfast at the Denny’s next door to our hotel (Quality Inn) in Rome, and it was the first bacon & egg type breakfast we’ve had on the trip so far, so it was tasty. After breakfast, we packed up and pulled out around 9:30 am and headed back to the trail.

Today’s riding was a mix of trail and on-road riding, with the on-road sections starting around Utica and continuing until just on the east side of Frankfort. In between, there were sections of trail that varied in surface condition from nicely paved asphalt trails to pea-gravel trails, to the trace of a trail in the woods. The trails in the woods were sometimes bumpy with muddy spots, and we had to keep our eyes on the trail to look for the soft places.

Stopping for any length of time was not advisable because of the mosquitos. New York has had a particularly wet summer, we are told, and the mosquitos are plentiful. We decided that the mosquitos on the other side of Syracuse had sent word ahead to their friends in this region that there are two slow-moving, warm blooded objects coming their way because they seemed to be ready for us.

About 8 miles outside of Rome, we encountered a large tree across the trail, but fortunately it was just the trunk that blocked our way, and we could lift our bikes over it and ride on. While I was trying to get my bike across, two mosquitos flew in my mouth, and I swallowed them before I knew it. I washed them down with several gulps of water.

The route moved in a northeasterly direction, and some turns were not well marked. We had studied the route maps and made notes about some of these spots, so when the trail dumped us into a big gravel parking lot, we knew that we should be looking for a narrow pathway on its perimeter. A couple of cyclists came from behind and passed us, so we were thinking we could just follow them. We arrived at a set of locks with no real apparent marked route forward. We started down a path the other cyclist followed and pretty soon met him coming back, saying, “this is a dead end.” We all quickly found the right route and crossed on the catwalk of the locks.

The other cyclist was riding an e-bike (electric assist bicycle), and he zoomed on ahead. We saw him several other times because he was relying on Google maps, and that’s not particularly accurate in this section of the trail. We continued on our mapped route, and he took off on another direction. But pretty soon, he showed up behind us again, after discovering that the best route was the one we were taking. As he went by, he said that he had accumulated “a lot of bonus miles.”

In the town of Utica, we followed a detour that took us along NY Hwy 5 going east out of town. The shoulder of the road was wide enough for us to ride safely with the traffic for much of it, but we grew tired of hearing the noise. It was only a 5-mile stretch, though, and then we crossed the Mohawk River and continued eastward on a quieter road. Drivers were considerate and gave us plenty of space as we continued on that route for about another 8 miles.

We stopped in the town of Frankfort at a convenience store with some picnic tables in the shade. There was a man sitting at one of the tables when we pulled up, and he was a friendly fellow. He was a native of Queens, NY, but had moved out of the city just a couple of years ago - before the pandemic - and was glad that he had.

The morning’s weather had brought in a few sprinkles of rain, changing to a light drizzle at times. During most of that time, we were still riding under the canopy of the woods and did not get wet enough to bother breaking out our rain jackets. By the time we stopped at Frankfort, the rain was out of the area, and the sun was starting to warm things up.

Just a few miles east of Frankfort, we rolled onto a newly constructed section of bike way, and we continued on this all all the way to Little Falls, our stopping point for today. We are in the Mohawk River valley now, and ridges of the Adirondacks are cropping up in front of us. In Little Falls, we are staying at a spot situated in a river gorge of the Mohawk River, and the stone cliffs are visible from our hotel window.

We’re staying at a place called the Inn at the Stone Mill, a lodging establishment on the third floor of a huge old stone building. The other floors have businesses or offices. It’s wonderfully quiet here, and our room is spacious and comfortable. The inn hosts are very accommodating, helping us identify options for dinner on an evening when most restaurants in town are closed. We ordered a couple of wrap sandwiches from a downstairs cafe, and Steve went out and located a bottle of wine from a wine store in town (but up a hill, so he had to pedal a little harder at the end of a day).

Wildlife sightings today: chipmunk, frog, heron, bunny.

Total miles: 40.85

Monday morning coffee

Monday morning coffee

tree across the trail

Steve lifts his bike over a tree across the trail near Oriskany

Underpass graffiti

Underpass graffiti

Roots on the trail

Painted lines are to warn bicyclists of bumps caused by roots under the asphalt

Lunch at Frankfort

Lunch at Frankfort

Stone church near Little Falls

Stone church near Little Falls

Bike trail in the Mohawk River Valley

Steve riding the trail in the Mohawk River Valley

Little Falls cheese

Little Falls was a center of cheese production and trading. They have an annual cheese festival in October.

Room in the Inn at Stone Mill

Our room in the Inn at Stone Mill

View from the window at the inn

View from the window of our room at the Inn.

Aug 22 and 23 - Getting to the starting point
Aug 24 - Buffalo to Lockport
Aug 25 - Lockport to Brockport
Aug 26 - Brockport to Palmyra
Aug 27 - Palmyra to Weedsport
Aug 28 - Weedsport to Syracuse
Aug 29 - Syracuse to Rome
Aug 30 - Rome to Little Falls
Aug 31 - Little Falls to Amsterdam
Sep 1 - Amsterdam to Albany
Sep 2 - Albany

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