After a week trekking across the state of New York, through some ugly weather and beautiful farmland, I have reached the western edge, marked by those magnificent falls, a mighty tourist mecca of gushing water. While the physical demands were not terribly rigorous, mentally, crossing New York was strenuous. I have been struggling with finding drive and meaning to my journey now. Every inspiration I have found seems to be fleeting, not lasting more than a day. Still, at a relatively slow pace, I have trucked on.
Now I find myself at the end of the state and hopefully the end of an era. Tomorrow I will cross the bridge over the Niagara River into Ontario, Canada. From there it is into Michigan and on towards Chicago, my first family visit. I have decided to increase my daily mileage starting tomorrow. I am going to shoot to cover at least 65 miles a day, aiming more toward eighty. Yesterday morning I ran into three kids about my age who were heading west. They began in British Columbia the day after I left Knoxville and were heading to Maine. Having been on the road just one day less than myself, they had covered over a thousand miles more. For a minute I felt inferior, wondering why I had accomplished less in the same period of time. Really, though, there is no comparing our trips. They seemed to be just doing it for the accomplishment, a summer of travel after graduation. They were heading west, with the wind, and had already passed through the west and midwest, an area where doing long days of high mileage is really the best option. It was great to meet some fellow cyclists. I wish I could have spent a bit more time chatting with them, but they set out to cover some miles. Only going around 35 miles to Niagara Falls yesterday, I took my time getting out of town.
Before I met these kids, I had already devised my plan to cover more miles per day. I think this will really help my spirits and my energy. Lately I have ended each day, having only covered 30 or 40, maybe 50, miles, not feeling the satisfaction that comes from the exhaustion after 60 or 70 or more miles. And really, I haven’t had any reason to do such short days. I thought it was good to not make haste, but I found myself stuck in the opposite, not moving forward enough. So I plan to cover more miles per day, keeping good momentum, and stopping when there is something worth stopping for, whether it be family stops or exhaustion or a beautiful view. The forecast of snow and crossing the Rockies still looms in the future, and I have to recognize that and act accordingly.
The rain hasn’t shown itself the last few days, despite the constant forecast of isolated and scattered thunder storms. In its stead, wind has decided to take over as the antagonizing force. Yesterday was particularly brutal with twenty-mile-an-hour headwind and gusts over thirty mph. That pretty much doubled my travel time.
Today I am taking a day off, resting up and enjoying the beauty of the river and falls here. Currently I am taking a mid-afternoon break to get on the computer and write and work. The weather today so far has been nearly ideal- warm with a cool breeze, blue skies, white puffy clouds, clear air. I am posting pictures of the last few days and today and will post the rest of today’s pictures later.
So tomorrow shall mark a new stretch of this trip. I will be passing into Canada and turning my phone off to avoid ridiculous charges. I think it will take me about two days to get back into the states. I will be covering more miles, staying focused on my goal of visiting all the family before weather conditions become too adverse. I’m looking forward to this new mindset.