Erie Canalway Trail

Wed - Sep 1

We packed up our things and left the Amsterdam Castle around 8 am and rode our bikes about one block to a little local restaurant named Evolve. We learned that the Castle is not really back to their usual full-service since the pandemic shutdown earlier this year, so they do not serve a breakfast for guests.

Evolve was a dandy little spot, with great coffee and a varied menu for breakfast and lunch items. Steve had an egg sandwich, and I ordered a breakfast burrito. Both of us had coffee, and it was the best coffee I’ve had so far on this trip.

Gina, the owner (and cook, and cashier) was a smiling, pleasant young woman who made us feel welcome. Her uncle was also there, and he was asking us about our bicycle trip. He works as a tow-truck driver, and some of his stories were astounding. This morning, for instance, he had just returned from a call to help a disabled motorist who had hit a piece of debris on the road. It was large metal auger, like a post-hole digger. It probably fell off a load of junk someone else was hauling, and it completely destroyed the car which hit it. Fortunately, the young man who was driving the car was not injured, but the air bag on his car deployed, and the auger ripped out the transmission, oil pan and other parts of his car. The tow-truck driver told us the young man was visibly shaking when he arrived on the scene, and he first spent a little time calming him down.

“I put my arm around him,” he said, “and told him, ‘Hey, you made it. You did well keeping your car under control and getting it off the road. You can replace the car. The important thing is that you’re still here.”

We enjoyed chatting with him while we had breakfast, and we learned that he was the one who put the old flower-filled VW mini-van outside in the back of the restaurant. The entire thing looks like a garden, complete with a hummingbird feeder and other little touches. He apparently takes care of watering it and keeping it nice looking.

After breakfast, we filled our water bottles (leaving out the ice this time because the air temperature was so cool this morning - around 68 degrees), and we headed on down the trail.

The trail did not pass through many communities on today’s route, and there was only a short stretch of riding on the roads before we reached Schenectady. We saw a few people out on the trail walking, and only one or two bicyclists.

At Schenectady, we cycled right through the old part of town (the Stockade District), with its old Dutch colonial homes. On the east side of town, we passed near the campus of Union College and could see the architecturally interesting Mandeville Gallery from a distance.

We connected with the Mohawk-Hudson Trail (which is part of the Erie Canalway Trail), and followed it along the Mohawk River as it makes a big sweeping curve to the north. We encountered a few climbs, one of which was steep enough to make us get off and walk the bikes. We passed by the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory on the northeast edge of Schenectady and then enjoyed a mile-long downhill glide into the valley.

We could hear an eagle’s call now and then but never really got a good look at him/her.

The trail continued through the woods, and when the leading edge of the remnant of Hurricane Ida started sprinkling on us, we didn’t get wet right away. Thankfully, the rain never really picked up much beyond a light rain, and though we paused to put on our rain jackets, it was mostly to keep warm.

In Cohoes, the trail turned south and emerged onto Alexander Street. We stopped at a barbecue restaurant to use the restroom and get a bite to eat around 1:30 pm. We rested there a bit and then moved on, with the final miles being a combination of on-street riding in Cohoes and Albany and trail riding along the Hudson River.

Near the Corning Preserve Boat Ramp on the Hudson, we stopped for an “end-of-the-trail” photo at a sign noting the distance from that point to Buffalo and to New York City. This is also near the location of Lock 1, the end of the Erie Canal.

Still riding in light rain, we found our way to the bike trail that took us up a protected bike-lane ramp and on to Dun Memorial Bridge across the Hudson River. From there, it was just a short four or five block to our car in the parking lot at the Amtrak station in Rensselaer. It was still there.

We removed all the bags from the bikes and loaded them and the bicycles into the back of our car and drove back over the river to Albany, where we checked in to the Hampton Inn on Chapel Street. We’ve had warm showers and a nice steak dinner, and we’ll be asleep shortly.

Trails end.

Today’s miles: 49.62
Total miles for the trip: 401

Amsterdam Castle

Amsterdam Castle - the building was originally a National Guard Armory

Amsterdam Castle

Steve, departing from Amsterdam Castle

View from the castle

View from the castle, looking toward the Mohawk River and Amersterdam on the north side

Sir Steve

Sir Steven

VW mini-bus garden

The VW mini-bus garden at the Evolve Eatery in Amsterdam

Ghost bike

A ghost bike along the trail - near a busy intersection. Ghost bikes are memorials to cyclists who have been killed while riding. This one appears to have been there for more than a few years.

street in historic district, Schenectady

Washington Street, Schenectady, NY

house in Schenectady

At a house in Schenectady on Washington Street

Mandeville Gallery, Schenectady

Mandeville Gallery, on the campus of Union College at Schenectady

Mandeville Gallery, Schenectady

(image borrowed from the internet) - a better view of Mandeville Gallery

mural on the outskirts of Schenectady

A mural on the outskirts of Schenectady

steep hill sign

A steep hill east of Schenectady

young lungs at work

A sign we saw in a shelter at the top of the steep hill. Our lungs aren't young, but they were definitely working (mostly) at this point.

Molly at the end point

Molly at the point on the Hudson River where the Erie Canal ended

Steve at the end point

Steve at the end point. We rode on from here, along and across the Hudson to get back to our car at the Amtrak station in Rensselaer.

Molly and Steve at the eastern end of the Erie Canal

Molly and Steve, at the eastern end of the Erie Canal

historical marker

Historical marker noting the Erie Canal's eastern terminus

Administration buildling of SUNY System

Administration Building of SUNY System - the historic location of Fort Orange was behind this building

Hudson River, from Dun Memorial Bridge

The Hudson River, looking northward from the Dun Memorial Bridge.

Grafitti - Keep On

Grafitti at an underpass in Rensselaer - "Keep On"

Steve and the end of our bike trip

Steve - back at our car (it's still there!) and the end of our bicycling.

Molly at bike trip end point in Rensselaer's Amtrak parking lot

Molly, at the bike trip endpoint in Rensselaer's Amtrak parking lot

radar image sep 1 2021

Radar image from around 10:30 pm, Sep 1 - a few hours after we ended our bicycling portion of the trip and about an hour after devastating rains from Hurricane Ida hit New York City and parts of NJ.

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 and reflections

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