Thursday, August 2†††† Utica, NY†† to†† Albany, NY††††††† 94 miles
††††††††† My eyes popped open at 5 AM and I was up and out at 5:15.†† ( It helps to line up my clothes at the foot of the bed the night before so I can jump right into them ).† Dennyís diner is open 24 hours a day so I biked the quarter mile over there and had my breakfast.† Right after I got there, Mona and Ron and Marsh arrived and joined me.† We didnít want to wait until 6:30 for the official scheduled breakfast at Friendlyís.†† I ordered a bowl of oatmeal but it was so dry I could have cut it with a knife!† It was the instant kind and the cook didnít add enough water.† The waitress must have seen the look on my face as I tried to gag it down.† She didnít charge me.† So I ordered a piece of pie to go. Yummy.†
As soon as I got back, the truck was taking our luggage and I left.† Following my roommate Nancy,† she tool a turn on a road that I didnít think was the right one.† It didnít say River Rd. Ė some other name.† But we came out right and merged on to the right road.† Ended up cutting two whole miles off the trip.†
The roads were really super on Rte 5 which we were on for 81.9 miles.† On the right side we could see the Mohawk River almost all the time.† Sure is a wide river.† We were in a valley most of the time but the climb up to the high cliff was so gradual that† I hardly knew I was climbing a lot of the time.† Had some nice descents too.† We passed through a lot of villages and towns.† There was a lot of traffic the entire ride but on Rte 5 the shoulders were 8 to 12 feet wide.†† I could clip along at a good pace.† Todayís route reminded me a lot of what it looks like following the Ohio River south from Steubenville to Wheeling on the West Virginia side of the river.
††††††††† Between the town of Fonda and Amsterdam, I came upon the National Shrine to Blessed Kateri Tekawith.† It was beautiful.† This is the home of this special soul who was a Mohawk Indian.† Going up the mountain side is a beautiful area for meditation with fourteen Stations of the Cross.† There were chapels and many beautiful gardens.† I spent a little time there this morning.
††††††††† Amsterdam, NY was a good sized town, a lot bigger and busier than I expected.† It seemed from Amsterdam we were in and out of towns all the time and Scotia flowed right into Schenectady.† That was really busy with traffic and had to be on the look out for the turns so I didnít miss any.†
By 12 noon the sky oven was turned up to roasting.† It was getting darn HOT out there.† By the second SAG stop at 65 miles, I was looking for something cold to drink an eat.† Went into the Quick Mart there at the SAG and cooled my tongue and tummy with an ice cream bar.
††††††††† I think the birds in New York have something wrong with them.† Judging from the carnage of birds on the roads they donít know how to fly fast enough to avoid being hit by speeding vehicles!
††††††††† It was good to land here at the Clarion Inn by 2 PM.† No whirlpool here, darn, but Iíll jump into the swimming pool for a little while.
††††††††† We are getting anxious and excited as we near the end of our wonderful cross country challenge.† Just three more biking days. Tomorrow and the next day will be mountains.† Then on Sunday a coast into Portsmouth, NH. ††We will leave New York sometime tomorrow and be in Vermont.† Wow!† It seems so impossible that we are so close to the end.† People are talking more and more about their going home plans and what it will be like to not be on the saddle of a bicycle for more than a day.† Me?† Iíll have to schedule a color job on these gray hair roots that have been growing for seven weeks!