Saturday, July 30, 2016

99: We're all alone . . .

Not our hotel, but pretty cool, eh?
Roger and I were talking with the proprietor of the little inn that we stayed in yesterday, and she said she had not had many cyclists this year. We were also thinking that we'd expected to see more tourists once we got back on the Northern Tier route, but except for Graylan the other day, we've not seen anyone doing a coast-to-coast tour since we got back to the states.

We wonder if we will see anyone else as we continue east to Vermont. We don't have too much longer ourselves on the eastbound portion of our trip, and we came to the conclusion that anyone starting out now for Seattle is going to be pushing the weather in the Cascades . . . hence, we probably won't see anyone else on the road out here. Most of the cyclists we met when we left the San Juan Islands were heading east, as we were. Most of them were zooming due to some deadline they had with work or other commitments. We ran across some others in the Midwest - and they may be well on the way to the west coast by now.

So we are wondering, when we start the southbound portion of our trip - who will we see? There may still be people doing some north/south routes, and they will have plenty of time to get where they are going before the weather gets too bad, so we're hopeful that we'll run across some other tourists. To tell the truth, we enjoy talking with them, finding out where they are going, and where they have been. It gets a bit lonely out here!
They never look as fierce in the photos!

Today's ride brought us up to about 1600 feet in the Adirondacks.  It was not too long - just 52 miles. But it was really up-and-down. On at least 17 of the "ups" we hit gradients of 10% or more. That just stops the tandem dead in its tracks! Those of you who are cyclists in the Redlands area will know the portion of 5th Street after you cross Wildwood Canyon Road where you go down and then curve right and go straight up that hill. It's sort of like that, except that most of these, you do not get that nice running start so we just do not have the momentum to make it up to the top.  We pretty much just grunt and grind it out. And we did that 17 times today. Ay yi yi!
Pick your numbers, kiddos!

Payouts and betting
The other thing I thought I would share today is this fun little game that folks up here play in the bars and cafes.  (We saw it also in Michigan, and maybe also Wisconsin.) It's a great voluntary form of taxation in which people select a couple of numbers from a grid of 80, and place bets on whether their numbers will come up or not when the next set of numbers is drawn. And the monitor in the bar is just set on this station, where the numbers get drawn over and over again, every 5 minutes or so. And all over the state, people are marking little cards, and giving the bartender money for their bets, and the little numbers are coming up - or not. This in a place where breakfast (two eggs, toast and coffee) is $4.50 every morning. I watched one woman in Wisconsin place her $2 bet for three consecutive draws. Nada for her.  Oh, well. I guess it's fun, somehow. The grandkids were helping her look for her numbers. Nice lesson for them, eh?  Here's what we do with our spare $6!

Lovely old home in one of these little towns
There are great old homes and buildings in most of these small towns, as well as houses that need a whole lot of love to be restored. Some of the old ones have doors on the second floor. Roger noticed one of them yesterday. I said maybe the front porch used to be a walk-out balcony, but what I learned yesterday is that many old houses had second floor doors because there was so much snow in the winter they just didn't even try to keep the ground floor accessible!  Now that's a lot of snow.

Another observation I made today, and it shocked me when I realized it: fall is coming! The golden Alexander that we enjoyed on the roadside in Wisconsin is done blooming and turning gold and going to seed out here. The goldenrods are blooming, there are bright red berries on many shrubs and vines, the cattails are up and lovely, the sorrel seeds are deep maroon or brown . . . even some of the trees have tints of gold or brown (probably from stress due to drought, but still!) It is lovely to see, but scary. Can we possibly be heading into another season again so soon?  Perhaps the warmth and dryness of the season has brought this on early this year. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

The day's report:  Redfield to Thendara, 52.2 miles/4985.7 to date

Tomorrow we hit two big milestones:  We will be on our 100th day, and we will pass 5000 miles!

Here's the route for you:  Up and Down from Redfield
Autumn is creeping into the landscape already


  1. Yup, fall is coming. We haven't hit 100 for two days now.

  2. Ain't gonna be fall anytime soon here on SoCal....just sayin


I'd love to hear from you, but want to know who you are. If you are not registered to comment, please include your email in your comment so I can respond directly to you.