Today was the first day of the ride. We camped last night at the Nichols school in Buffalo. I checked the weather before going to bed and was prepared for rain. Lots of rain. I had just re-waterproofed the seams and fly on my tent a couple of weeks ago. I am really glad I did. It rained a lot but I stayed pretty dry… until 4am. I had unzipped a vent in the fly to keep air circulating because it was hot. The loose fabric made a nice puddle zone and at 4am, enough water accumulated to tip the puddle over in my head. Needless to say, I’ve been awake since 4am. A little bonus prayer time.
They fed us well and I loaded my fairly wet camping gear into the truck. We had a pre-ride kickoff by a few officials and then we routed across surface streets and some nice multi-purpose recreation paths to get out of Buffalo.
We had a few miles to get out of Buffalo streets, then to the riverfront path. The scenery on the riverfront was really nice. When we reached the Tonowandas, we turned eastward and took surface streets a few miles to get to Lockport.
Three years ago when Anne Marie and I rode this route, we missed a critical turn and ended up going about 6-7 miles out of our way and backtracking. Anne Marie: I saw where we missed that turn today 🙂
I spent most of my ride today with Jim and Mike – two friends from Virginia that I met last year on the sojourn ride. Once we were clear of the bulk of the riders, we kept a pretty good pace all day. A nice tailwind helped, too.
We arrived in Lockport by about 10:30 and grabbed a lunch while we waited for a 12:30 boat ride that took us through the massive locks. By about 2pm, we were back on the path to Medina.
The weather was absolutely perfect for riding today. The morning was overcast and cool, the afternoon was sunny and mild. The wind was mostly to our backs and cool.
We arrived at Medina middle school and set up tents in a shady spot. After getting everything dried out and eating some dinner, the amazing shower truck was waiting! What has 18 wheels, plenty of hot water, sparkling clean, and is a welcome sight at the end of a day? The shower truck! I still think the inventor should receive a Nobel prize for this amazing truck.
Tomorrow’s ride takes us into Pittsford. Very familiar territory, since I lived there for a few years after college.
I hope tonight’s camping is a little dryer experience… Otherwise, this has been a pretty fabulous day on the Erie Canal.
– Deacon Matt