I headed out of Utica in the direction of Rome. It seems fitting, since all roads lead there anyway, right? Along the way I stopped to check out the Oriskany Battlefield where an important ambush took place during the American Revolution. I got to chat with the ranger for a while since it was empty other than myself. Before I got all the way to Rome, though. I found the Erie Canalway Trail! This was miles of great off-road riding and I got to see functional locks.
I stopped in Syracuse for the night, putting in a bit more than 50 miles. Heading out the next morning, my destination was Oswego. I was going to meet Dave, from WarmShowers. WarmShowers is site that connects touring cyclists with welcoming locals, typically other cyclists, who offer a variety of amenities. They can range anywhere from tent space in the yard, to floor space in the house, to a bed, meal, shower, car support, wifi, etc. Dave was kind enough to offer a spare bed to me and I was very grateful. He was a wonderful host (who planted more crazy ideas in my head).
Through Dave I found out about a fatbike ride across a frozen lake in northern Canada. It’s at the end of February. I want to do it and anyone else that’s game, let me know. The website is www.velosurlac.com. I also heard about Fat Guy Across America. He’s an extremely overweight guy trying to bike across country. I wish him all the best!
When Dave bid me farewell, I headed to Williamson for a stay at Mooch’s parent’s house. Mooch was due to finish her last section on that day and would be coming home the next. Her parents treated me to a lovely dinner out while we all waited to hear from Mooch that she had completed. We didn’t get word until quite late, which finally gave her mother some relief.
I took a zero for the day and watched their dog while her parents drove to NH to pick her up. They got back that evening with an ecstatic thru-hiker. I also spent the next day hanging out with Mooch. We went all over the place visiting one of her friends that was in town, hitting up some of her favorite restaurants, grabbing cider and donuts at the farmers market, getting ice cream…. Ok, so the whole day basically revolved around food. Who could blame us?
Leaving the next morning was pretty damn hard. I was headed away from the last of my trail friends. I assure you, all the water in my eyes was due to the cold, stiff headwind and not because I didn’t know when or if I’d see any of the people I’d met on my trip ever again. I’ll also blame the wind for my lack of motivation that day. I just didn’t make much distance. I got my first flat of the trip too, just before I rolled in to Batavia.
Very little progress was made the next day either. It was accompanied by my second flat. New York was wrapping up as a very bitter goodbye. I did get my first view of Lake Erie though, so home was getting close. I made it as far as Hamburg that evening.
The next day I was welcomed to Pennsylvania!
And into Ohio on the next!
Finally by Ohio I was making decent progress. I closely followed the lake for the first part of the state. This took me through Cleveland and Google Maps decided going through the projects was a good idea. It probably wasn’t the safest area, but I came out unscathed so all is well. I spent the night in Avon Lake after eating at my usual restaurant. I had driven this section many time when work would take me to Cleveland. I’d nearly always stop in Avon Lake at Buffalo Wild Wings. It was a nice reminder of the past.
Headed out of Avon Lake, I wanted to follow my standard route home along US 2. Sadly, bikes can’t cross the bridge across Sandusky Bay. I thought about going anyway, but it’s about 3 miles I think and I’m sure it’s a hefty ticket. This setback added an extra 10 miles since I now had to go around the bay instead. I dropped down to Fremont and was happy to discover the North Coast Inland Trail. It was a paved rails to trails initiative and had great, easy, flat cycling for miles! My plan for the day was originally to get to the Oregon area (East Toledo), but that would have me at 95 miles. I wanted to get my first century ride in. So as the day progressed, I decided to get to northern Toledo. Once I got closer though, I said screw it, I’m going all the way! I biked the last 15 or 20 in the dark to home. I came in at 131 for the day. My previous high had been around 80, so this was quite a bit more.
So there it was, the end of my AT trip. I was home. I haven’t fully wrapped my head around what that means yet. I think I’m still suspended in a bit of disbelief. I won’t be home long though, my next adventure awaits! I’m headed on a roadtrip out west. I’ll be sure to have my bike and backpack with me while I explore some huge national playgrounds. I’ll keep you posted-
To all my friends on the AT, I miss you dearly and the whole trail wouldn’t have been the same without all of you along the way. The people out there truly shape every bit of the hike and words can’t express my gratitude for how wonderful my encounters were.